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.
Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.
CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.
Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.
Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.
I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.
It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.
Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.
My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.
In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.
One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.
I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.
Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.
What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?
I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.
there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.
I certainly am digging the RISP machine Zobrist version.
Cubs are taking advantage of bad D by their opponents -- did it a few times in PIT and the Nats botched 2-out rundown leads to 3 Cub runs in the 8th. Which were nice to have.
I hope Kyle had fun at the dance party -- he was terrific.
i hope he's getting more consideration for the 2-slot vs lefties, too.