Rivas Leads Cubs to Victory at Fitch

Luis Rivas singled, doubled, and homered, scored twice, and drove-in four runs, and Ryan Freel reached base four times and scored three runs, leading the EXST Cubs to a 7-4 victory over the EXST A's at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.  

Two Chicago Cubs (Ryan Freel and Aaron Miles) and one Iowa Cub (Luis Rivas) rehabbing from injuries at Fitch Park hit 1-2-3 in each of the first four innings, and were responsible for most of the Cubs scoring.

And all three rehabbers looked to be 100% healthy, too. Freel and Rivas (both rehabbing from hamstring injuries) looked just fine running hard around the bases, and Freel (in particular) was running with unbridled abandon

Notre Dame outfielder A. J. Pollock played CF for all nine innings and got eight plate appearances, as the Cubs Scouting Department tries to figure out who they will select with the team's 1st round pick (#31 overall) in next week's Rule 4 Draft.    

19-year old Venezuelan bonus baby (and Carlos Zambrano clone) RHP Larry Suarez got the start on the mound for the Cubs, and appeared to be overthrowing a bit, as he was pitching in front of practically the entire Cubs Scouting Department and Minor League Pitching Coordinator Mark Riggins. (Both Riggins and Cubs Minor League Hitting Coordinator Dave Keller have been at Fitch Park all week). 

Suarez labored throughout his entire outing, and was relieved before he could complete three innings. Although he struck out the side, Suarez surrendered an unearned run in the top of the 1st on a double, a single, and an E-3 by 1B Sean Hoorelbeke on a pick-off attempt, and then the big right-hander gave up an earned run in the top of the 2nd on back to back doubles. He was removed from the game with runners at 2nd and 3rd and two outs in the top of the 3rd when he reached his max pitch count.    

The Cubs offense, however, was up for the challenge, and scored six runs in the first three innings.      

Freel reached base on a catcher's interference (E-2) leading off the bottom of the 1st, and advanced to 3rd on a one-out double by Rivas. After a walk loaded the the bases, Sean Hoorelbeke struck out, but then Matt Cerda walked with the bases loaded to force-in the 1st Cubs run.

The Cubs scored three more runs in the 2nd, when Freel and Miles led-off the inning with consecutive singles (with both runners advancing an extra base on Miles' single when the A's left-fielder bobbled the ball), and then both runners scored on an RBI single to center by Rivas. After Rivas moved up to 2nd base on a balk, Juan Medina drove him in with a line single to center. 

The Cubs plated two more runs in the bottom of the 4th on a lead-off single by Freel followed by a one-out towering two-run homer onto 8th Street by Rivas, and then the Cubs completed their scoring in the 8th. 

Tomorrow's Extended Spring Training game at the A's camp at the Papago Baseball Complex in Phoenix has been canceled because the Cubs want to have a closed "Camp Day" work-out for potential draft picks for their scouts at Fitch Park  So today's game concluded the Cubs Extended Spring Training schedule.

Here is today's abridged box score (Cubs players only). Note that the Cubs took their at bats in the bottom of the 9th even though they already had won the game, because the A's pitcher needed another inning of work, Freel-Miles-Rivas-Pollock hit 1-2-3-4 in each of the first four innings, Pollock led-off innings 5-6-7-8-9, and Soto remained in the game defensively in LF after he was replaced in the batting order by Guevara.    

LINEUP:
1a. Ryan Freel, DH #1:      2-2  (E2-CI, 1B, BB, 1B - 3 R, 1 PO)
1b. Jose Made, DH #1:      1-2  (L-7, 1B)
2a. Aaron Miles, 3B:         1-4  (F-7, 1B+E-7, F-8, F-7 - 1 R)
2b. Dwayne Kemp, 2B:     0-2  (E-5, F-9)
3a. Luis Rivas, 2B:            3-4  (2B, 1B, P-4, HR, - 2 R, 4 RBI)
3b. George Matheus, 3B:  1-2  (1B, FC+E4)  
4. A. J. Pollock, CF:          1-6  (BB, P-6, BB, K, F-8, K, 1B, F-8 - 1 R, 1 SB)
5. Sean Hoorelbeke, 1B:   0-3  (K, L-8, K)
6. Matt Cerda, DH #2:        0-1  (BB, K, BB - 1 RBI)
7. Juan Medina, C-DH #3:  2-2  (1B, 1B - 1 RBI, 1 CS)
8a. Kevin Soto, LF:            0-2  (K-DP, 4-3) 
8b. Jose Guevara, PH-C:   0-2  (K, P-3)
9a. Robert Bautista, SS:    0-1  (BB, F-8 - 1 CS)
9b. Logan Watkins, SS:     1-1  (1B)
10. Sean Williams, RF:      0-2  (L-7, K)

PITCHERS:
1. Larry Suarez -         2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 2/1 GO/FO
2. Eduardo Figueroa - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO
3. Yohan Gonzalez -    3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 1/3 GO/FO
4. Melvin Vasquez -     2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GO/FO

ERRORS (2): 
1B Sean Hoorelbeke - ball bounced off his glove on pick-off attempt at 1st base, allowing runner to advance to 3rd base and eventually score unearned run.
P Yohan Gonzalez - threw attempted pick-off at 2nd base into CF, allowing runner to advance to 3rd base. 

CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Juan Medina - 1 PB

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Comments

i forgot the cubs had rivas...watch out andres blanco...this guy can field and can't hit, too.

So it sounds like it's time to hear what your predictions are for Boise, Mesa, and maybe even Peoria. Care to take a stab at it Arizona Phil?

I don't wish ill on anyone, but um ... can Aaron Miles take his time?

I really don't want to take a guy like AJ Pollock in the first. I guess he fits the up the middle philosophy, but I'd rather not take a leadoff hitter like Pollock in the first. I think we need some more power, arms and bats, and Pollock just doesn't intrigue me. Obviously, as late as we are picking, it's hard to figure what will be there, but a guy like Brett Jackson intrigues me quite a bit more. There's a few other possibilities. I'd take a gamble on a lefty power arm like Andy Oliver if he's there. If Jared Mitchell falls, I'd guess him (Maineri connections with Hendry and "tools" and athleticism). I'd be interested in HS guys like David Renfroe and Mychal Givens for their 2 way potential and possible ability to play shortstop.

but I am hoping someone falls for money reasons (like Purke or Tate) and we grab them. Or that we find some techinicality that allows us to get Bryce Harper :)

I know some think differently, but with enough stopgap guys in the upper levels, few immediate needs in the upper levels, what I'd like to see is a gamble on upside early (could be a raw college guy), followed by some "safer" guys in the, say, 3rd-7th round area. Tate, Purke, Jiovanni Mier, Mike Trout all come to mind of guys who I'd like to grab in the first, but I'm not all that sold that we'll see us gamble on some of them, partly due to cost. Recently, we tend to go overslot a bit later, with the McDaniels and the Russells so I'm not expecting it early.

That said, I wouldn't mind popping one of those guys and trying to hold a firm line. Worst case, we pick up the 32nd pick next year ... in a draft that, as of now, looks better than this one.

"raw college guy"

You're going to have to list an example here, because that smacks of the same type of player the Cubs have drafted for the last 40 years to our eternal woe.

When I'm referencing raw college guys, I'm talking about guys like Jay Jackson. An athletic guy who was still developing at the position that he was going to be drafted for. In this draft, Jared Mitchell is one possibility since he hasn't been focusing full time on baseball. There's others - I guess my point in saying raw college guy is to note that too often, many assume that all college guys have higher floors/are safer and HS guys have higher ceilings/more risk. There's obviously a reasonable underlying justification for the generalization, but it is a generalization.

I would say the drafting philosophy under Hendry was a bit different from Stockstill, and that Wilken is a bit different from both. That said, I think you need to draft for your organization. Ideally, yes, you'd like a bang up system, top to bottom filled with talent. But for our organization right now, we need upside. There aren't enough high impact bats. The arms stock has improved based upon last year, but some more power arms wouldn't hurt since the attrition rate is high. There are enough stopgap assets within the system, MI's, fringe starting arms, pen arms.

My point is, whether HS or college, I'd like an upside pick focused on adding power, arm or bat, to the system and that taking a guy like AJ Pollock, a solid player but a bit limited offensively, doesn't seem necessary or ideal for me. But that's me.

Yeah, I would have to disagree. I still tend to prefer that you take ballplayers first and athletes second. Colvin also fills your profile of a 'raw college guy', and though he is not quite officially a bust yet, Travis Snider is the guy drafted immediately after him. Jackson was a 9th round pick, no need to use the #31 pick on a projection guy from a podunk school.

If you want big upside guys, pick highschoolers who still have more growing to do. If you want to get players you're confident will become big league contributors, guys who controlled the strike zone in the tougher NCAA conferences are the way to go.

We're basically working off somewhat different definitions. Different conclusions, but different definitions. Athleticism isn't the only asset that I consider to justify calling someone an "upside" guy (it just so happened that the two examples I used were athletes in Jay Jackson and Jared Mitchell). For example, Snider would've been an upside guy. A guy with a big time power bat - that would be someone I considered an upside guy as well. A big time power arm fits the mold as well. I don't need said player to be athletic - I want their attributes/tools to be key towards baseball. That may involve athleticism, but it isn't limited to it.

For example, a guy like AJ Pollock, a guy considered a "player" - I don't get it in the first round. Maybe he's the pick - I'm not saying it won't happen as I obviously don't know. But for me, you can find an AJ Pollock type of guy later in the draft. They are always there - the guy that controls the strike zone, has some speed, solid defensive player. Unless you assume the guy has an elite asset, and Pollock has plus assets but from every indication, nothing elite, then I don't see the point. Our system has drafted those types of guys, and we have some of those guys right now. AJ Pollock isn't that much better than what Sam Fuld was a couple years ago. I'll take a gamble on Tony Campana's discipline and speed over AJ Pollock. A Josh Harrison is loosely similar (Harrison with more pop, Pollock with more speed). Those guys can be found. We have those guys in the system - adding a Pollock to the mix, while nice, isn't going to really impact much.

Let me be clear - for example, I don't want a hacker up there with "tools". I don't want an athletic pitcher with a power arm that has delivery flaws. For this system to eventually meet the needs of the big league club, without causing us to go out and grab FA's left and right, we're going to need to develop more Josh Vitters level talent and hope one or two come through as either an asset to directly impact the club or an asset that has the value to be utilized in a trade. We have a lot of "cup of tea" guys - guys that will get a shot in the bigs, may become decent players, but the chances of them filling a key role are slim. Maybe I'm not being fair to Pollock, and this discussion sort of evolved from simply my dislike of Pollock as an option in the first, but I don't like it. Look - if you have the high upside guys stocked in the system, go ahead and grab a safer pick. We don't have it right now, but we have a lot of cup of tea guys. Even with the raw talent in the lower levels, we're not talking about many big time power guys, and of those that we have, there's some limitation to their game. I'd like to balance that equation.

I think this is a really good discussion to have every year, around this time, on club philosophy and organizational outlook. I'm a big believer that a club philosophy should adjust each year, even if the changes are slim.

But at the 31st pick when you draft a high upside guy he's going to be a mediocre baseball player. If he was a good baseball player with high upside, guess what? He was drafted in the top 10. Matt LaPorta didn't get drafted 31st. I'll take the Theriots over the Colvins. Now, if you want a high upside guy, who's not a college player, yeah, those can be had and they've got a 3 years of learning to do where you can hopefully make them into a ballplayer. But to take a 21 year old who hasn't learned strike zone command with your top pick... you may as well just not draft him because you're more than likely to be throwing money down the drain.

I disagree on Brett Jackson. I don't like his lack of contact; that's a major red flag with an aluminum bat. Especially in an organization that struggles to improve the CPatts and Pies and Colvins and Rundles and Burkes of the world.

I'm hoping for a prep arm like Gould or James or a college arm like Arnett who are more likely to go in the 20s. I do like Mitchell who has better contact abilities and a high ceiling. Ideally a guy like Purke or Turner falls to the Cubs but with the Red Sox at 28 and the Yankees at 29, not much will fall.

I don't love Jackson ... I just prefer him more than AJ Pollock, and both are rumored in that late first range. There are a lot more guys that I would prefer over Pollock and Jackson, though. I'm fine with taking a gamble on tools early. With few major league holes, little chance that anyone in this draft would really storm to the bigs in a year or 2, a win now mentality, and enough stopgaps, I'm fine with an "upside" pick in the early rounds. So, yes, I'd hope for an upside guy, whether it be raw college guy or a HS arm.

A lot of people have Arnett to the Cubs, if he falls (some mocks have him going top 20). His lack of secondary polish worries me a bit, and looking at some of the pitchers Wilken has taken, I'm just not sold Arnett fits the mold. I'd like it a lot, but not sure.

Daytona down 1-0 so far to Charlotte.

Casnher’s night is done. 3 ip, 3 h, 1 bb, 2 K’s. Solid enough outing. 5/2 GO/FO rate. a balk.

Tony Campana and Starlin Castro are both 2/3, and both with a SB so far.

Peoria up 2-0 on Beloit.

Chris Carpenter had a rough outing last time out, but looks solid so far. 4 ip, 3 h, 1 bb, 3 k’s. 6/2 GO/FO.

2 run shot from Michael Brenly.

Tenneessee down 2-1 to Chattanooga so far.

Marcos Mateo – 6ip, 4 h, 2 r, 4 bb, 1 k, 1 hr (accouting for the 2 runs)

Iowa up on Nashville so far, 1-0

Kevin Hart – 2 ip, 1bb, 3 K’s.

____________________________

The pitching lines are all nice to see, for varying reasons. Hart's on the 40 man, so seeing him get in a groove is nice. I thought Hart would start in the rotation this year after last year (when he struggled to find a feel for his pitches until going into the rotation). Once again, he's been better out of the rotation, it seems. Mateo's command and consistency still isn't there, and with that electric stuff, the lack of K's is glaring, but at least he managed to work around the 4 bb's and go 6 innings. Don't mind keeping him in the rotation for now, but still wonder if he's better as a pen arm where his stuff may play better. Cashner's control looks better and Carpenter bounced back, as of now, from his last outing.

Tennessee came back to win 5-2 against Chattanooga. 2 shutout innings for Jayson Ruhlman (1 BB) got the win, with John Gaub getting the save with a K.

James Adduci – 3/4, R, 2B, RBI, K. Too bad he doesn’t have much power.
Marquez Smith – 2/4, R, K.
Tyler Colvin – 1/1, R, RBI. So far so good, I guess.
Darwin Barney – 3/4, R, 2B, 2 RBI. Keeping up a surprisingly solid offensive year.
Brandon Guyer – 0/4, BB, K. Welington Castillo – 0/2. The struggles continue.
Tony Thomas – 0/2, R, BB, K. The collapse continues.
Blake Lalli – 1/4, RBI.

Peoria beat Beloit 5-1.

Chris Carpenter – 5 ip, 5 h, 1 bb, 4 K’s.
Ryan Buchter – 2 ip, 1 h, 2 K’s, WP. We got him for Matt Avery … I’m pleased so far.

Junior Lake, Josh Harrison, Ryan Flaherty – 1/4 each. Lake 3 K’s, Flaherty RBI and a K.
Josh Vitters – 1/3, 2B, BB, K, SB.
Kyler Burke – 1/3, 2 R, 2B, BB, K. Here’s hoping he gets it going – because of his hot start, I don’t think many Cubs fans have realized how he’s really tumbled of late.
Rebel Ridling – 2/4, R, K. A little surge after a big slump.
Nelson Perez – 1/2, R, 2B, BB, K.
Michael Brenly – 1/2, R, HR, 3 RBI.
Drew Rundle – 1/3, 2B, RBI, K. Wish him the best, but some Cubs fans really overhyped him this past offseason off of basically a good month in Boise last year.

Just realized Daytona went up against former Cubs farmhand Darin Downs, he of 5 walks on the year.

Daytona scores 5 in the 9th to win 6-1.

Luke Sommer - 3 ip, 2 h, bb, 4 K's.
Tony Campana - 3/5, 1 R, 2 SB. Sure hope he can keep moving up the ladder ... would love that speed at the top of the Cubs lineup.
Starlin Castro - 2/3, 2 R, BB, 2 SB. I think he should get more attention for what he's done this year. Arizona to Daytona, and the bat is looking good. Still a work in progress, but awesome as a Cubs fan.
Jovan Rosa - 2/4, 1 R, 3B, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K. My biggest disappointment so far. Keep hoping he can get it going. When he's on, that's a sweet stroke, and he's got some power potential.
Jericho Jones - 2/3, 2B. Sweet.

Might as well finish it off.

I-Cubs beat Nashville 2-1.

Hart end up giving up 5 bb and 1 h in 5 ip. Did notch 5 K’. WP.
Justin Berg – 2.1 ip, 1 r, 2 bb, 2 K’s, WP. Neal Cotts – .2 ip.
Blake Parker – Save, 1 h, 1 bb, 1 ip.
Steve Clevenger – 1/4.
Doug Deeds – 2/4, 2B, K.

3 rounds at First Inning...

http://firstinning.com/?p=208

Eric Arnett in the first to the Cubs.

Sadly, it sounds like Arnett won't make it to the Cubs. Might go as high as 15 or 18. Even the creator of that mock admitted as much in a chat earlier today.

From what I gather there's about 10 players who definitely won't be there when the Cubs draft. Everyone else will have to see how things fall out.

pretty much - the talent level in this draft isn't the greatest, and a lot of the top pieces are HS guys, and thus, signability is a factor. I think there's probably 15-20 guys that we can be pretty certain won't be there, but the difference between say, the 15th and the 31st pick isn't going to be great this year. Some spec right now points to power lefties Andy Oliver and James Paxton perhaps being available for us (both of whom would intrigue me) and that a guy like Eric Arnett, for example, could go top 20. I just don't see the huge difference between the three, and Oliver/Paxton being lefties are nice.

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