Sweet Sixteen Gets Rushed by Cubs
GM Jim Hendry, Player Personnel & Player Development Director Oneri Fleita, all of the Cubs minor league hitting & outfield coaches, and any Cubs scout anywhere near Mesa, Arizona, were at Fitch Park today, personally scouting & evaluating OF Wagner Mateo, who stopped by for some pre-game BP, and then stuck around and played RF for AA Tennessee in a Minor League Spring Training game played on Field #2.
Some of you may remember Mateo as the 16-year old Dominican left-handed hitting (and throwing) right-fielder who got a $3.1M bonus from the St. Louis Cardinals during the International Signing Period in 2009, only to have the contract voided a couple of months later when Cardinals team doctors discovered what they believed was a career-limiting vision problem during a routine physical.
Well, based upon what I saw today, Mateo can see just fine. He hit ropes all over the place in BP, and then went 1-5 in the game, including a line-drive single to left and two hard-hit line-drive outs to LF, one requiring a spectactular diving catch by the Angels LF. The one big negative was a throw from RF that missed the cut-off man by a mile, but otherwise he looked pretty good for a 16-year old. I got the impression the Cubs are VERY interested in signing Mateo, although other clubs probably are as well (like maybe the Angels for instance, who got a good look at him today, too).
As for the AA Tennessee game, 20-year old Australian RHP (and 2009 Florida State League All-Star) Ryan Searle started and worked two innings (25 pitches – 18 strikes), getting tagged for two runs (a single, an RBI triple, and an RBI single with one out in the 1st). RHP Josh Whitlock got nailed for two more runs (two walks and two RBI hits in the 7th), and LHP James Leverton also was charged with two runs (a single, a triple, and a sacrifice fly), also in the 7th.
RHP James Archer had a wild outing, walking the first two men he faced on eight pitches, before striking out the next two batters, at which point he was pulled out of the game after have thrown 24 pitches (12 balls & 12 strikes).
Then RHP Alberto Cabrera came into the game, and proceeded to strike out five in just 2.1 IP (30 pitches – 21 strikes), allowing just one hit and no walks. Cabrera was definitely the most impressive Tennessee pitcher today. He was just plain dominating
Tennessee trailed 6-0 going into the bottom of the 7th, but the first seven men reached. Mark Reed walked, John Contreras singled, and Jordan Petraitis walked to load the bases, and then 2009 Cubs #1 draft pick Brett Jackson ripped a two run single to CF to plate the first two runs of the inning (Jackson also made a fine running catch in lerft-center earlier in the game). Then Brandon May drew a walk to re-load the bases, before ex-Rockford RiverHawks (Frontier League) All-Star OF Jason James and Marwin Gonzalez each plated a run with an RBI single to the outfield (James also doubled off the RF fence earlier in the game).
And just like that, the Smokies had cut the Arkansas lead to 6-5. But then the side was retired on a DP grounder and an F-8 fly ball to CF, and the Smokies mounted no further threats.
And that’s the way the game ended, with Arkansas defeating Tennesee 6-5.
Meanwhile, over on Field #3, Salt Lake (the Angels AAA squad) drubbed Iowa (the Cubs AAA squad) 10-3, with the I-Cubs runs scoring on a dropped infield pop up with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of te 9th.
Here is the abridged box score frrom today’s game between the Cubs AA squad (AKA “Tennessee”) and the Angels AA squad (AKA “Arkansas”) at Fitch Park:
NOTE: Wagner Mateo played RF and hit lead-off in every inning 1-6 (so six PA total), after-which he left the game and was not replaced in the batting order (the #1 slot in the order was skipped in both the bottom of the 7th and the bottom of the 8th).
Also, Brandon May and Jordan Petraitis were added to the Tennessee roster just for today’s game (both are presently assigned to the Boise/Mesa squad). It’s not unusual for players from the Boise/Mesa squad to provide the late-inning replacements in minor league Spring Training games.
1a. Wagner Mateo, RF: 1-5 (6-3, 1B, BB, Kc, L-7, L-7)
1b. SKIPPED after 6th inning
2a. Kyler Burke, 1B: 1-2 (P-6, 1B)
2b. Jordan Petraitis, 1B: 1-1 (BB, 1B, R, CS)
3. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-4 (1B, 6-3, 1B, Ks, R, 2 RBI, SB)
4a. Josh Vitters, 3B: 0-2 (F-8, 4-3)
4b. Brandon May, 3B: 0-1 (BB, Ks, R)
5. Jason James, DH-RF: 2-4 (4-6-3 GIDP, 2B, 1B, 1-3, RBI)
6a. D. J. Lemahieu, SS: 0-2 (L-4, Ks)
6b. Marwin Gonzalez, SS: 1-1 (1B, RBI)
7a. Ryan Flaherty, 2B: 0-1 (4-6 FC, PO)
7b. Jonathan Mota, 2B: 1-2 (1B, 6-4-3 GIDP).
8. Kevin Soto, LF: 0-3 (P-3, 6-4-3 GIDP, F-8)
9a. Marquez Smith, DH #2: 1-1 (1B)
9b. Mark Reed, PH-DH: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, R)
10a. Luis Flores, C: 0-1 (Ks)
10b. John Contreras, C: 1-2 (1B, 6-3, R)
Ryan Searle – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 3/1 GO/FO, 25 pitches – 18 strikes)
Chris Archer – 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 24 pitches (12 strikes)
Alberto Cabrera – 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (21 strikes)
Josh Whitlock – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/FO, 25 pitches (14 stiikes)
James Leverton – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 30 pitches (21 strikes)
Dan McDaniel – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 22 pitches (9 strikes)
Luis Flores 1-4 CS
Here are the Cubs minor league rosters at Fitch Park as they were this morning (3/19). RHPs Blake Parker and Jeff Stevens and catcher Welington Castillo were optioned to Iowa today and were in uniform, and NRI LHP J. R. Mathes, RHPs Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, and RHP Thomas Diamond, and 1B Bryan Lahair were also sent down to Minor League Camp by the Cubs. This brings the Cubs Spring Training roster down to 42 (MLB Active Lists must get down to 25 by MLB Opening Day on April 3rd).
UPDATED 2010 CUBS MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS – FRIDAY MORNING 3/19:
* Casey Lambert (Limited Activity Only - TJS rehab)
* Scott Maine
* J. R. Mathes
* Jeremy Papelbon
* Dustin Sasser
* Steve Clevenger
* Mark Johnson (Inactive – player/coach)
* Matt Camp
* Bryan Lahair
* Blake Lalli
# David Macias
* Jake Opitz
* Tony Campana
* Ryan Buchter
Chris Carpenter (Limited Activity Only – Injury Rehab)
* James Leverton
* Brooks Raley
* Chris Rusin
* Chris Siegfried
* Luke Sommer
John Contreras (ex-3B)
* Mark Reed
* Ryan Flaherty
# Marwin Gonzalez
D. J. LeMahieu
Rebel Ridling (Limited Activity – appendectomy rehab)
* Matt Spencer
* Kyler Burke
* Brett Jackson
* Jason James
* Jeffry Antigua
* Jeffrey Beliveau
Justin Bristow (Limited Activity Only – injury rehab)
Marcus Hatley (Limited Activity Only – TJS rehab)
Dylan Johnston (Limited Activity Only – injury rehab)
# Alvaro Sosa
* Justin Bour
# Matt Matulia (Inactive – player/coach)
* Ryne White
* Francisco Guzman
* Nelson Perez
# Jose Valdez
* Austin Kirk
Toby Matchulat (Limited Activity – Leg injury rehab)
Jae-Hoon Ha (ex-OF)
* Richard Jones
# Robert Bautista
* Matt Cerda
* Wes Darvill
D. J. Fitzgerald
* Hak-Ju Lee
* Bobby Wagner
* Logan Watkins
* Alvaro Ramirez
Gian Guzman (ex-SS)
* Cody Hams
* John Mincone
* Marcos Perez
* Drew Rundle (ex-OF)
* Sergio Burruel
Brandon May (ex-3B)
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Pin-Chieh Chen
# Rafael Disla
Derek Helenihi (Limited Activitty Only – injury rehab)
# Vismeldy Bieneme
* Kyung-Min Na
NOTE: The Boise/Mesa squad becomes the Cubs Extended Spring Training (EXST) team at Fitch Park April-May-June.
The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.
I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.
Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.
Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell
if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.
I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth
Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.
Wtf is up w/that?!
Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...
I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.
Awesome stuff, Phil.
listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.
That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.
it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?
sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.
HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).
Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.
I doubt we will see Pedro in any more "high leverage" situations this series. With Hendricks and the pen today, we need Bryant-Rizzo-Castro to get going ASAP.
One funny thing to see before the game was the two submariner pitchers (David Berg and Corbin Hoffner) playing catch with each other. Both pitchers throw "submarine" even when they play catch, and it's kind of mesmerizing to watch, even for the other players.
CUBSTER: One of the points of emphasis at "basic" Instructs this year was teaching the position players the art of baserunning and base-stealing, like getting a good primary and seconday lead, reading the pitcher, cutting bases sharply, and different ways to slide to maximize the baserunner's chance to arrive safely.