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.
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)
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
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.
Juan Medina - 1 PB
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
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!!!!!!