Cubs and Rockies Just Split the Difference at Fitch
Eduardo Gonzalez capped a four-run 2nd inning with a three-run inside-the-park HR, leading one squad of EXST Cubs to a 4-2 victory over one squad of EXST Rockies on Field #3, while four pitchers combined to throw a four-hitter as the other squad of EXST Rockies defeated the other squad of EXST Cubs 5-1 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training doubleheader played this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
The games were played simultaneously on adjacent fields, and both games were seven-inning affairs.
LHP (ex-OF) Kyler Burke made his third EXST appearance, starting the game on Field #2. Unlike Burke’s previous outings, the lefty struggled with his control throughout his 2.1 IP of work, throwing a first-pitch “ball one” to all seven batters he faced, and throwing only half of his 42 pitches for strikes. However, he also struck out three and allowed just one hit—a lead-off single to the first man he faced (Burke then proceeded to pick the runner off), and the only run charged to him was an inherited run allowed by Santo Rodriguez when the Dominican right-hander surrendered a two-run HR to the first man he faced after relieving Burke with one out and a man on 1st base in the top of the 3rd inning.
Meanwhile, RHP (ex-3B) Charles Thomas had his finest outing of the year, starting the game on Field #2 and working three shutout innings (38 pitches – 22 strikes). The Lee Smith clone used his 98 MPH fastball to strike out four, while allowing just a single, a walk, and a HBP in his three innings of work. Like Burke, Thomas also picked a runner off 1st base.
In EXST Cubs roster news, 21-year old RHP Felix Pena has arrived at Fitch Park from the Dominican Academy, while 2B-SS Rafael Valdes has been moved up to Daytona.
The 27-year old Valdes is one of four Cuban defectors signed by the Cubs over the past six months (C Yaniel Cabezas, OF Rubi Silva, and OF Mayke Reyes being the other three), and while he may be a bit too old to still be considered a “prospect,” the slick-fielding middle-infielder does bring extensive experience to the Cubs organization, after playing several seasons with Pinar Del Rio in the Cuban National Series (the Cuban “major league”), as well as playing for Team Cuba in various international tournaments. (Valdes was the 2B for Team Cuba at the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam when LHP Aroldis Chapman defected in July 2009).
The Cubs Scouting Department has convened at Fitch Park to prepare for next week’s Rule 4 Draft (AKA “First-Year Player Draft”). Several potential draft picks worked-out for the Cubs scouts on Field #1 early this morning, prior to the EXST doubleheader.
Here are the abridged box scores from today’s games (Cubs players only)
SQUAD “A” LINEUP:
1. Pin-Chieh Chen, CF: 1-3 (1B, 3-U, K, R)
2. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, K)
3. Wilson Contreras, 1B: 0-3 (5-3, 6-3, F-8, RBI)
4. Jesus Morelli, RF: 1-2 (F-8, 1B, BB)
5. Reggie Golden, DH #1: 0-2 (BB, 1-3, F-8)
6a. Yaniel Cabezas, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
6b. Carlos Romero, PH: 0-1 (6-3)
7. Wes Darvill, SS: 0-3 (4-3 DP, 6-3, K)
8. Blair Springfield, LF: 0-3 (6-3, 6-3, L-8)
9. Max Kwan, DH #2: 2-2 (1B, 1B)
10. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 0-2 (3-U, 4-6-3 DP)
SQUAD “A” PITCHERS:
1. Charles Thomas: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 PO, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
2. Ramon Garcia: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 30 pitches (22 strikes), 1/4 GO/FO
3. Jean Sandoval: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 37 pitches (21 strikes), 2/2 GO/FO
SQUAD “A” ERRORS: 3
1. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely – eventually led to two unearned runs scoring)
3. 3B Gregori Gonzalez - E5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
SQUAD “A” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Yaniel Cabezas: 1-1 CS
SQUAD “A” OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
RF Jesus Morelli - batter-runner thrown out at 2nd base
SQUAD “B” LINEUP:
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, F-8, 6-3, R, RBI)
2. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 3-4 (1B, HR, 4-3, 1B, R, 3 RBI, SB, CS)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 2-3 (1B, 4-3 1B, SB)
4. Brian Inoa, DH: 0-3 (K, K, 3-1)
5. Brandon May, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 4-3)
6. Dustin Geiger, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, P-3, F-8)
7. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, R)
8. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-3 (F-7, 5-4 FC, 4-6-3 DP)
9. Oliver Zapata, CF: 2-3 (1B, 4-6-3 DP, 1B, R)
SQUAD “B” PITCHERS:
1. Kyler Burke: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 PO, 42 pitches (21 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Santo Rodriguez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 28 pitches (18 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Ryan Hartman: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 13 pitches (10 strikes), 1/1 GO/FO
4. Colin Richardson: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 13 pitches (9 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
SQUAD “B” ERRORS: 1
C Johan DeJesus - E2 (throwing error on stolen base attempt at 2nd base allowed base-runner to advance to 3rd base)
SQUAD “B” CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Johan DeJesus: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy and breezy 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 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.
For some reason