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.
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).