Cubs Bats Observe Two-Hour Moment of Silence at Extended Spring Training
The Cubs managed only four hits (all singles), as the EXST A’s nipped the EXST Cubs 2-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
The Cubs lack of offense wasted some fine pitching performances by EXST Cubs hurlers.
20-year old 6’1 215 LHP John Mincone (Cubs 2009 11th round pick out of Suffolk County CC by way of James Madison U.) got the start for the EXST Cubs today, and threw three innings of one run ball. Over his last three EXST outings covering 9.0 IP (104 pitches – 67 strikes), Mincone has allowed just two runs (one ER) on four hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.
20-year old 6’4 220 RHRP Yohan Gonzalez struck out three A’s hitters while working two shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 1.00 and his WHIP to 0.67. He also has fanned nine while walking only two with a .161 OBA in 9.0 IP so far at Extended Spring Training. In three seasons in the Cubs system (2007 at DSL Cubs, 2008 at AZL Cubs, and 2009 at Boise), Gonzalez has a composite 3.14 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 30/75 BB/K in 109.0 IP.
20-year old 6’2 190 RHRP Rogelio Carmona threw one shutout inning, lowering his EXST ERA to 2.89 (he has a 0.96 WHIP, with 3/8 BB/K and a .176 OBA in 9.1 IP). Carmona seems to be at his best when he throws just one inning.
And finally, 22-year old 6’4 185 RHP Danny Keefe (Cubs 2009 16th round draft pick out of the U. of Tampa) struck out the side in the 9th, giving him a team-leading 14 strikeouts in just 10.1 IP. While Keefe’s EXST ERA is a bit ugly (it’s 6.09), his WHIP is only 1.06, because he has yet to issue a walk in seven EXST appearances. Keefe really struggled at Boise after signing last year (7.71 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in 35 IP), although he was one of the last two pitchers cut from the Peoria roster at the end of Minor League Camp last month (Larry Suarez was the other one, and he has already been promoted from Extended Spring Training to Peoria).
Along with LHP Marcos Perez (who has yet to give up a run in 14.1 IP), I would say Mincone, Gonzalez, Carmona, and Keefe are the EXST Cubs pitchers most-likely to get a promotion to Peoria in the near future.
While the Cubs played the A’s on Field #3, LHP Casey Lambert and RHP Marcus Hatley (both rehabbing from 2009 TJS) faced-off in a two inning "sim game" on Field #2, with Brandon May, Bobby Wagner, Arismendy Alcantara, and Rafael Disla providing the “opposition.” It’s been eight months since Lambert and Hatley had their TJS, so both are about where they would be expected to be at this time. I have not seen RHP Dylan Johnston (the other 2009 TJS rehabber) throw a sim game yet, however.
RHPs Angel Guzman (March 2010 shoulder surgery), Melvin Rosa (April 2010 TJS), and Manolin DeLeon (knee surgery) are at Fitch Park but are inactive, and I do not know the current status of RHP Justin Bristow or RHP Adam Spencer, both of whom were shut-down early in Minor League Camp.
Among the position players at Extended Spring Training, OF Dong-Yub Kim (unknown-type injury incurred six weeks ago in Minor League Camp), OF Manuel Pestana (shoulder injury suffered while sliding into 3rd base a couple of weeks ago) and OF Kyung-Min Na (left game with unknown-type injury a week ago) are at Fitch Park but are not active at this time.
Here is today’s abridged box score (EXST Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, DH #1: 0-3 (F-9, 6-3, BB, 6-3, R)
2. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-2 (P-3, BB, BB, K)
3. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-3 (F-8, 1-3, BB, K)
4. Charles Thomas, 3B: 0-2 (5-3, K, L-8 SF, RBI)
5. Albert Hernandez, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, F-8, K)
6. Alvaro Ramirez, CF: 1-3 (1B, K, 4-3)
7a. Luis Flores, C: 1-1 (BB, 1B, SB)
7b. Jose Guevara, C: 1-1 (1B)
8. Runey Davis, LF: 0-3 (K, K, 6-4 FC)
9. Xavier Batista, DH #2: 1-3 (K, K, 1B)
10. Blair Springfield, 2B: 0-3 (5-3, K, 5-3)
1. John Mincone – 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 5/1 GO/FO, 39 pitches (27 strikes)
2. Luis Liria – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 4/2 GO/FO, 36 pitches (19 strikes)
3. Rogelio Carmona – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 14 pitches (10 strikes)
4. Yohan Gonzalez – 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 25 pitches (19 strikes)
5. Danny Keefe - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 17 pitches (13 strikes)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
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!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.