Cubs Extended Spring Training In Overdrive

Brandon May reached base four times, scored four runs, and drove-in two more, Jonathan Mota knocked-in three runs, and Charles Thomas had three hits, leading the EXST Cubs to a 15-7 drubbing of the EXST Giants at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning in Mesa.


Today was Cactus League Extended Spring Training (EXST) Opening Day in the Valley of the Sun, as the EXST Cubs played the first of 38 games they will be playing over the next eight weeks.


The Cubs Extended Spring Training squad consists of 50 players (40 active players plus ten more on injury rehab assignments). The Cubs EXST squad is managed by Boise manager Jody Davis, with AZL Cubs manager Juan Cabreja assisting Jo-DEE. Jeff Fassero and Rick Tronerud are the pitching coaches, and Ricardo Medina and Desi Wilson are the hitting coaches.


In addition to the hitting heroics by May, Mota, and Thomas, 20-year old Dominican RHP Luis Liria used his plus change-up to strike out six Giant hitters in three innings of work in relief, and side-armin’ LHP James Leverton struck out all four men he faced. RHP David Patton (who was up with the Cubs for much of last season) threw one inning, striking out the last two men he faced (both looking). Both Leverton and Patton were assigned to Extended Spring Training after they fell behind other pitchers in Minor League Camp, but both now look about ready to get their Letter of Transit out of Arizona.


Jonathan Mota is at Extended Spring Training learning the art of catching, something he just started doing at Minor League Camp last month. He will get assigned to a full-season squad once he gets more experience behind the plate. (Mota is eligible to be a Rule 55 Minor League FA post-2010).


Also, 21-year old outfielder Albert Hernandez (295/397/440 for DSL Cubs #1 in 2009) has arrived at Fitch Park from the Dominican Academy and was in the lineup today. (He did not report to Minor League Camp last month with the other DSL players who are making their U. S. debut in 2010).


Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):


LINEUP:
1. Francisco Guzman, CF: 2-5 (6-3, 3-1, 1B, 1B, 3-U, 2 R, 2 RBI)
2. Arismendy Alcantara, SS: 2-5 (K, 1B, E-5, 3B, 6-3, 2 R, RBI)
3. Bobby Wagner, 1B: 1-4 (4-3, 2B, F-8 SF, 3-U, 5-3, R, RBI)
4. Brandon May, 3B: 2-3 (BB, 1B, 1B, 4-3, BB, 4 R, 2 RBI)
5. Charles Thomas, DH #1: 3-5 (F-8, 1B+E9, 1B, 6-3, 1B, R, RBI)
6a. Jonathan Mota, C-2B: 2-4 (K, E-6, 2B, 2B, 3 RBI)
6b. Wes Darvill, PH-2B: 1-1 (1B, RBI)
7. Albert Hernandez, RF: 1-5 (2B, 1-3, 6-3, K, F-9, R, RBI)
8a. D. J. Fitzgerald, DH #2: 2-3 (2B, K, BB, 2B, 2 R, RBI)
8b. Jae-Hoon Ha, C: 0-1 (6-3)
9a. Cody Shields, LF: 0-3 (E-1, K, K, R)
9b. Runey Davis, LF: 0-1 (1-3, HBP)
10a. Rafael Disla, 2B-DH: 2-4 (2B, 4-3, 1B, 3-U, R, 2 RBI, SB)
10b. Carlos Romero, PH: 0-1 (K)


PITCHERS
1. John Mincone – 2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R (5 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 5/2 GO/FO, 47 pitches (30 strikes)
2. David Patton – 1.0 IP, 1 H 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 13 pitches (9 strikes)
3. Luis Liria – 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 6 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 56 pitches (40 strikes)
4. James Leverton – 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 21 pitches (13 strikes)
5. Rogelio Carmona - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 10 pitches (6 strikes)


ERRORS: (1)
SS Arismendy Alcantara E-6 (two-base throwing error resulted in unearned run scoring)


CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jonathan Mota: 0-2 CS
Jae-Hoon Ha: 0-2 CS, 1 PB


OUTFIELD ASSIST:
Francisco Guzman: Doubled runner off 1st base 8-6-3


ATTENDANCE: 4 (includes Giants bus driver)


WEATHER: Warm & VERY breezy

Comments

Not only another nice report from AZ but a little HTML tutorial for you kids as a bonus! Thanks for the attendance figures. Always appreciated!

Nice one on the attendance - The Cubs lineup consisted of a lot of guys whose names sounded like they should be familiar - sort of weird.

Awesome to hear things go going.

Some questions

Darvill - IIRC, someone last year said that he didn't have the arm strength to stay at short (might've been you actually). I'm just curious how he looks on the field. Seems like he's the kid that has good athleticism/speed now, and is expected to have/gain power as he ages, while losing said a lot of said athleticism. Is there any chance he has a shot at short? Is a positive comp perhaps Ryan Flaherty?

How does Albert Hernandez's frame look? IIRC, he was a skinny guy.

Do you have any idea if Charles Thomas will get time at 3rd? I know no one expects him to stick there, but considering the weakness at 3rd in the system, I wouldn't trying him there a bit longer.

What does Liria's arsenal look like? Well, mainly curious about his FB, because I don't recall. Also curious about how Carmona looked. FB/Slider guy, right? FB in the 92-94 range, from what I recall. I remember you pointing him out two years ago, and he's stuck in my mind since then.

Great to have you back. Thanks for the great info.

Submitted by toonsterwu on Tue, 04/13/2010 - 1:21am.
Awesome to hear things go going.

Some questions

Darvill - IIRC, someone last year said that he didn't have the arm strength to stay at short (might've been you actually). I'm just curious how he looks on the field. Seems like he's the kid that has good athleticism/speed now, and is expected to have/gain power as he ages, while losing said a lot of said athleticism. Is there any chance he has a shot at short? Is a positive comp perhaps Ryan Flaherty?

How does Albert Hernandez's frame look? IIRC, he was a skinny guy.

Do you have any idea if Charles Thomas will get time at 3rd? I know no one expects him to stick there, but considering the weakness at 3rd in the system, I wouldn't trying him there a bit longer.

What does Liria's arsenal look like? Well, mainly curious about his FB, because I don't recall. Also curious about how Carmona looked. FB/Slider guy, right? FB in the 92-94 range, from what I recall. I remember you pointing him out two years ago, and he's stuck in my mind since then.

Great to have you back. Thanks for the great info.

=====================================================

TOONSTER: Wes Darvill just turned 18, and he has lots of rough edges. He is a long-term project. I doubt VERY much that he can stay at SS, but he probably could play 2B (as he did yesterday), or maybe 1B or LF (but only if he develops some HR power). He has speed like LeMahieu and Flaherty, which is to say that although he's not a burner, he runs well but with a long stride. At the plate, he has a tendency to try and pull everything, which is OK if he hits HR, but maybe not so good if he doesn't develop HR power. We'll just have to wait to see how his body develops over the next two or three years, and (most importantly) how he responds to coaching.

Albert Hernandez has a medium build. I wouldn't call him skinny, but he's not Muscle Beach Party, either. He has quick wrists.

Luis Liria throws a low 90's fastball with an outstanding change-up and an OK breaking ball. He has the repertoire & stamina needed to be a starting pitcher.

Rogelio Carmona throws a 92-94 MPH fastball, and it's a "heavy" fastball, too. You don't see balls hit hard against him. He has pretty good control. He usually comes in throwing strikes. He doesn't mess around. The problem with guys like Carmona (and some other Latin pitchers who have been released over the past year or so, like D. Nunez, J. Pena, A. Santana, et al), is that while they have promise, they don't project as a starting pitcher, but they don't have the exceptional stuff (or one really outstanding pitch) you look for in a set-up guy or closer, either. The fact is, "A"-ball RH middle relievers--even ones that put up solid numbers--usually get released. You have to either be a starter, a closer, a set-up man, or a LHP to progress to AA. At least that's how it is in the Cubs system.

Thanks for the info.

Hmm ... Liria somewhat sounds like Robert Hernandez.

Houston hasn't won a game yet?

Nope. In their defense they've faced Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Halladay and Wainwright so far, but without Berkman they're probably a 65 win team.

Az Phil:

Are the young Koreans staying in the USA for the Summer? Thanks.

Submitted by Hagsag on Tue, 04/13/2010 - 7:41am.
Az Phil:

Are the young Koreans staying in the USA for the Summer? Thanks.

=========================================

HAGSAG: It appears that they all will be staying in the U. S, although it's always possible one or more might go home to attend school (as happened with Su-Min Jung last year).

I suspect RHP Jin-Keong Kim (who got a $1.2M bonus when he signed last month) will probably begin his pro career at the MLB Australian Academy and then get invited to Instructs (Fitch Park) post-2010. Several other Asian players (including Hak-Ju Lee) did that after signing with the Cubs.

BTW, the Cubs now have two Korean coaches, Woong-Chun Cho and Min-Kyu Sung. Cho played pro ball in Korea (he was a pitcher), and Sung is the bilingual OF who played college ball at Nebraska-Omaha, and then was signed by the Cubs as a NDFA player-coach to help mentor Dae-Eun Rhee at Peoria a couple of years ago. The Cubs also have a couple of Korean trainers at Fitch Park.

Hey Phil, first time poster but long time reader on here. I'm very appreciative of your stuff and very impressed with your dedication to learning names as well as scouting them out. It's not for everyone, making it all the more impressive.

Do you think you could shed some light on Arismendy Alcantara. I've been reading the DSL stuff on the Cubs the past couple years, but I don't really see any gems. I saw Alcantara but you never really know what to expect because these Caribbean players can be so volatile and inconsistent. In your opinion, do you see him being able to make strides like say, a Starlin Castro, or do you see him ending up like more of a Junior Lake. Obviously, I'm not all that familiar with his skills, but what do you see as his strong suits, what his weaknesses are (saw the error above), and what his ceiling could be. Obviously, the better shortstop prospects we have in the organization, really the better of you can be (as they can move around the infield, move to the outfield ie Bj Upton, etc.)

Also, did the Cubs come away impressed with Wagner Mateo when he worked with AA during the spring? Haven't really heard anything about him recently, maybe they just weren't impressed? I'm sure you'd know more about it than we do. Anxiously awaiting your reply. Thanks a ton

Submitted by W Flag on Tue, 04/13/2010 - 10:29am.
Hey Phil, first time poster but long time reader on here. I'm very appreciative of your stuff and very impressed with your dedication to learning names as well as scouting them out. It's not for everyone, making it all the more impressive.

Do you think you could shed some light on Arismendy Alcantara. I've been reading the DSL stuff on the Cubs the past couple years, but I don't really see any gems. I saw Alcantara but you never really know what to expect because these Caribbean players can be so volatile and inconsistent. In your opinion, do you see him being able to make strides like say, a Starlin Castro, or do you see him ending up like more of a Junior Lake. Obviously, I'm not all that familiar with his skills, but what do you see as his strong suits, what his weaknesses are (saw the error above), and what his ceiling could be. Obviously, the better shortstop prospects we have in the organization, really the better of you can be (as they can move around the infield, move to the outfield ie Bj Upton, etc.)

Also, did the Cubs come away impressed with Wagner Mateo when he worked with AA during the spring? Haven't really heard anything about him recently, maybe they just weren't impressed? I'm sure you'd know more about it than we do. Anxiously awaiting your reply. Thanks a ton

=====================================================

W FLAG: Unlike Castro, Lake or HJ Lee, Arismendy Alcantara is a little guy, sort of a water bug. He has plus-speed and a plus-arm, he has the range and arm needed to play SS (as well as 2B), and he looks like he can hit, too (he's a switch-hitter). He is only 18 years old, so he might still be maturing physically.

It's interesting that the Cubs brought their four fastest DSL guys (Bieneme, A. Ramirez, Alcantara, and Disla) to Minor League Camp this Spring, while waiting to bring hitters like A. Hernandez, X. Batista, Camarena, and Pestana up to Fitch until just the last week.

I think the Cubs were impressed with Wagner Mateo and would probably like to sign him. I thought he looked pretty good at the plate at Fitch Park (he had an extended BP session prior to the AA game), although his outfield defense needs work. I guess it's a matter of which team makes the best offer. So far I have heard nothing about when he will be making his decision, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Cubs end up signing him.

on that note, via rotoworld just a few minutes ago

http://twitter.com/MelissaSeguraSI/status/121...

DBacks expected to sign Mateo by end of month

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  • Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.

    chitownmvp01 55 min 3 sec ago view
  • Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.

    He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.

    I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 35 min ago view
  • Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.

    The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.

    Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.

    Old and Blue 6 hours 38 min ago view
  • If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.

    billybucks 15 hours 41 min ago view
  • Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."

    billybucks 16 hours 24 min ago view
  • This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.

    Charlie 16 hours 35 min ago view
  • I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.

    They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.

    However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.

    The E-Man 16 hours 41 min ago view
  • I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
    - They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
    - Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.

    billybucks 16 hours 45 min ago view
  • new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup

    crunch 16 hours 56 min ago view
  • Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.

    .500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.

    blockhead25 17 hours 2 min ago view
  • ...i hate espn.

    nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.

    oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.

    crunch 17 hours 17 min ago view
  • I'm liking this rookie Nathan.

    CTSteve 17 hours 18 min ago view
  • Richard DFA'd. Meh...

    The E-Man 20 hours 9 min ago view
  • Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.

    Charlie 22 hours 42 min ago view
  • The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.

    chitownmvp01 23 hours 14 min ago view