Wells, It Could Have Been Worse
Ryan Cuneo homered and doubled (and just missed another HR when a long fly hooked foul at the last second), Pin Chieh Chen had three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), and Randy Wells saw his first game action since April 4th, but the EXST Angels got hits when they counted and induced three rally-killing double-plays, edging a split squad of EXST Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa this morning.
The game was extended an extra inning to allow all of the Angels and Cubs pitchers due to throw today to get their scheduled work.
Making his first appearance in a game since being placed on the 15-day DL on April 5th with a right forearm strain, Wells threw two innings (40 pitches), allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits (three singles, a double, and a triple), with no walks and two strikeouts, and a balk.
Wells retired the first man he faced on a fly out to left on a 2-2 pitch, before allowing a triple into the right-centerfield alley. A spectacular diving catch by CF Kyung-Min Na on a pop fly to short-center saved a run and another base-runner, but the next two batters ripped consecutive two-out RBI hits (a single and a double) to plate the Angels first two runs Wells then recorded the third out of the 1st inning on a 3-1 GO (where Wells had to double-time it to 1st base to just barely beat the batter to the bag).
Wells found himself in trouble again right at the outset of the 2nd inning when a fielding error put the Angels lead-off man on 1st base. A ground out moved the runner up to 2nd, before two singles (on consecutive pitches) drove-in the Angels third run. The big right-hander then got it together and struck out the final two batters he faced, both looking. (Of Wells 28 strikes, ten balls were put into play, three were fouled-off, 11 were called strikes, and four were of the swinging variety).
RHP Andrew Cashner (rotator cuff) is a bit behind Wells in his rehab, and was limited to throwing a "two-inning" (30 pitch) pre-game "live" BP session on Field #2. One of Cash's pitches hit Augie Ojeda on the foot, sending the diminutive veteran infielder to the clubhouse and knocking him out of the starting lineup of the game on Field #3. For Augie, Fitch Park must be starting to feel like The Hotel California.
While one squad of Cubs was playing the Angels at Fitch Park, the other squad (known as Squad “A”) traveled up the 101 Pima Freeway to the Talking Stick Resort to play the EXST Rockies at Salt River Fields. Unfortunately I can provide no information about that game.
Here is today’s abridged box score from the game played at Fitch Park (Cubs players only):
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, 2B: 3-4 (1B, 3B, 4-3, 2B+E9, R, RBI)
2. Dustin Geiger, 3B: 0-4 (6-4-3 DP, 6-3, K, K, RBI)
3. Ryan Cuneo, DH #1: 2-4 (HR, F-8, 2B, F-7, R, RBI)
4. Reggie Golden, RF: 0-4 (6-3, K, 1-3, 5-3)
5. Brian Inoa, DH #2: 2-4 (1B, F-7, 4-3, 3B, R, CS)
6. Eduardo Gonzalez, LF: 1-2 (F-7, BB, 1B, F-7 SF, RBI)
7. Johan DeJesus, C: 2-4 (2B, 5-4-3 DP, 6-4-3 DP, 1B)
8. Xavier Batista, 1B: 1-4 (K, 1B, K, K, CS)
9. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (P-4, K, K)
10. Kyung-Min Na, CF: 1-3 (F-8, 6-3, 1B, R)
1. Randy Wells: 2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 BALK, 40 pitches (28 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
2. Jose Rosario: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 53 pitches (30 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO
3. Yilver Sanchez: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 37 pitches (24 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
4. Manolin DeLeon: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 16 pitches (10 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
1. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
2. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
3. SS Wes Darvill - E6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
4. 1B Xavier Batista - E3 (missed catch on what should have been a 6-3 GO allowed batter to reach base safely)
Johan DeJesus: 3-3 CS
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80’s
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, and his fastbball 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.
For some reason