Angels Bedevil Cubs at Diablo
The Angels shutout the Cubs 2-0 in AZ Instructional League action at Angels Minor League Complex Field #3 at Diablo Park in Tempe this afternoon.
While the Cubs hitters looked like they needed a wake-up call, four of the five Cubs pitchers threw the ball very well.
19-year old Dominican RHP Alberto Cabrera (2008 sore shoulder) got the start and looked very sharp over his two innings of work, throwing a four-seam heater together with an outstanding slider and change-up. When healthy, Cabrera is the Cubs best Dominican pitching prospect .
Mexican RHP Oswaldo Martinez (who celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday) followed and he was also sharp over his two innings (although he appeared to tire a bit at pitch #22), and then RHP Tarlandus Mitchell (2008 22nd round draft pick out of Alto HS - Alto, TX) had an easy eight-pitch 5th inning that he topped-off with a knee buckling curve that frroze an Angels hitter for an inning-ending "strike three called."
Ex-OF RHP Andres Quezada (up at Instructs from the DSL) had an easy bottom of the 6th, but then began to struggle in the bottom of the 7th before totally losing control right around pitch #24, at which point he threw two four-pitch walks and a wild pitch, committed a balk, and hit a batter. Quezada played OF for the AZL Cubs in 2007 before being converted to a RHP at Extended Spring Training at Fitch Park this past April.
DSL Cubs RHP Diego Encarnacion made his U. S. debut in relief of Quezada, and retired all four men he faced (5-3, P-4, P-5, and Kc) on just 11 pitches. Nothing special about Encarnacion, but there is certainly nothing wrong with a young pitcher making his first appearance in the U. S. who comes out throwing strikes.
The Cubs had a scare when CF Tony Campana (2008 13th round pick out of the U. of Cincinnati) and RF Brandon Guyer (the team's best player) collided going after a pop up in right-center on Alberto Cabrera's very first pitch in the bottom of the 1st inning (Campana and Guyer are both normally centerfielders, so that might be why neither backed-off). The ball fell for a triple, and Guyer and Campana both lay motionless on the field for a minute or two before regaining their bearings. But both players did stay in the game, and Campana even threw the runner out at the plate two batters later!
Not much to report offensively for the Cubs other than a Brandon Guyer 5th inning triple (near HR) off the right-center field fence, a beautiful bunt single by Starlin Castro, and a Tony Campana infield hit where the hyperactive lead-off man beat-out a routine ground ball to SS (Campana can REALLY fly, folks!).
Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Tony Campana, CF: 1-4 (K)
2. Josh Harrison, 2B: 0-4
3. Robinson Chirinos, C-DH: 0-3 (BB)
4. Brandon Guyer, RF: 1-3 (3B, K)
5. Rebel Ridling, 1B: 1-2 (BB)
6. Starlin Castro, 3B: 1-3 (K, GIDP)
7. Junior Lake, SS: 0-3
8. Carlos Perez, DH-C: 1-2 (BB)
9. Jericho Jones, DH #2: 0-3 (GIDP)
10. Carlos Morales, LF: 0-3 (2 K)
1. Alberto Cabrera - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (0/3 GO/FO) - 23 pitches (16 strikes)
2. Oswaldo Martinez - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K (2/1 GO/FO) - 29 pitches (19 strikes)
3. Tarlandus Mitchell - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 BALK (1/1 GO/FO) - 8 pitches (7 strikes)
4. Andres Quezada - 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 BALK (1/3 GO/FO) - 32 pitches (14 strikes)
5. Diego Encarnacion - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (1/2 GO/FO) - 11 pitches (8 strikes)
1. Tarlandus Mitchell, E-1, overthrew 2nd base on pick-off attempt allowing runner to advance to 3rd base
2. Andres Quezada, E-1, overthrew 2nd base on pick-off attempt allowing runner to advance to 3rd base
Carlos Perez: 1-1 CS
Tony Campana threw out runner 8-2 trying to score from 3rd base on fly ball hit to medium-deep CF
WEATHER: 100+, hot & breezy
ATTENDANCE: 17 (mostly scouts)
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.
For some reason
It is remarkable how my mood has become uplifted with one game against the Cards.
That is sick.
But, I have been an addict for a long time.
A W tomorrow and it will be a .500 road trip.
Also, to keep the losses in perspective, if the Cubs were to lose 10 games a month - a lot at this current pace - they still end up 102-60. Six months of the ride!
So, the Mesa Cubs should be solid this summer in the AZL Rookie League?
And, I like the, "But did you know" lead in there. Something a little different.
I can tell really like this group of hitters in AZ right now.
What pitchers out there, other than Cease, should we be excited about?
Thanks as always for the info.