Cubs Celebrate Almora Departure with Laugher at Diablo Park
Steve Clevenger laced an RBI double and a single and scored two runs, Jesse Hodges belted an RBI double and a triple and scored three times, Dong-Yub Kim doubled, singled twice, drove-in two runs, and scored another, and Jacob Rogers drove-in three runs with an RBI 6-3 GO, a triple, and a bases-loaded walk, as the Cubs drubbed the Angels 16-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.
This was the final Cactus League Extended Spring Training game for Albert Almora (broken hand rehab), as he will be leaving Arizona tomorrow morning, en route to join the Kane County Cougars. In six Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (28 PA), Almora hit 259/286/444, with four singles, one double, and two triples, one walk and four strikeouts, five runs scored. and two RBI. He also stole a base.
The Cubs 2012 1st round pick (6th overall), Almora sustained a broken hamate bone at Minor League Camp on March 14th.
Steve Clevenger (strained oblique rehab) was a DH in today's game, and got four AB. He batted once in each of the first four innings, getting called out on strikes in his first PA, rifling a line-drive single over the pitcher's head his second time up and then scoring later that inning, roping an RBI double off the CF fence in his third AB before scoring another run later in that inning, and finally grounding into a DP his final turn at the bat.
Because Clevenger was placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day DL on April 14th, he won't be eligible to be reinstated until June 13th. So once Clevenger completes his work at Extended Spring Training, look for him to spend a few more days on a 20-day minor league rehab assignment at Tennessee and/or Iowa.
Cubs 2012 6th round pick RHP Trey Lang got the start for the Cubs and had a poor outing, allowing three runs on three hits, four walks, and a HBP (plus a WP) in just 2.1 IP (63 pitches - only 29 strikes). Four Angel runners were cut-down on the bases in the first two innings of the game (two CS, one catcher PO, and one pitcher PO), or Lang's line could have been even uglier than it was.
17-year old Venezuelan LHP Carlos Rodriguez followed Lang to the mound and threw 2.2 IP of no-run/no-hit ball, allowing a walk to the the first man he faced before retiring the last eight batters in a row (4-3, F-8, K, 4-3, 3-U, L-6, P-3, L-1). Rodriguez will likely be one of the AZL Cubs starting pitchers this summer.
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
X. Steve Clevenger, DH #1: 2-4 (K, 1B, 2B, 3-6-3 DP, 2 R, RBI)
NOTE: Clevenger batted four times, hitting third in the top of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings
1. Albert Almora, CF: 1-5 (F-8, BB, 1B, E-5, L-6, F-9, 2 R, SB)
2. Garrett Schlecht, RF: 1-4 (BB, K, BB, 1B, K, 4-3, R)
3. Rony Rodriguez, DH #2: 0-4 (F-8, K, HBP, P-3, E-5, 2 R)
4a. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 2-4 (3B, 2B, FC-E2, K, 3 R, RBI)
4b. Brad Zapenas, PH-3B: 1-1 (3B, R, 2 RBI)
5a. Jacob Rogers, 1B-DH: 1-3 (6-3, 3B, BB, 3-U, R, 3 RBI)
5b. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIFTH TIME THRU BATTING ORDER
6a. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 3-3 (2B, 1B, 1B, R, 2 RBI)
6b. Rashad Crawford, LF: 1-2 (K, 3B, RBI)
7. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 0-5 (4-3, 4-3, K, 3-1, 6-3, RBI)
8a. Wilfredo Petit, C: 1-3 (2B, 4-3, 3-6 FC, 2 RBI)
8b. Neftali Rosario, C: 0-2 (E-6, E-6, R)
9. Carlos Penalver, SS: 2-4 (L-6, 1B, BB, 1B, F-8, R)
10a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST THREE TIMES THRU BATTING ORDER
10b. Trevor Gretzky, 1B: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, R, RBI)
1. Trey Lang: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 PO, 63 pitches (29 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
2. Carlos Rodriguez: 2.2 IP: 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 3/4 GO/FO
3. Orbandy Rodriguez: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 18 pitches (10 strikes), 2/3 GO/FO
4. Matt Iannazzo: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 31 pitches (17 strikes), 4/0 GO/FO
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Wilfredo Petit: 2-2 CS, 1 PO
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
Garrett Schlecht - runner thrown out 9-6 trying to stretch a single into a double
WEATHER: Sunny & VERY breezy with temperatures in the 90's
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
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?