Hops Go Brew Crew's Way, Barley Defeat Cubs at Riverview Park
Jorge Ortega tossed six shutout innings, Tucker Neuhaus (Brewers 2013 Supplemental 2nd round draft pick - Wharton HS - Tampa, FL) drilled two RBI doubles, singled, and scored a run, Edgardo Rivera reached base four times (a single and three walks), stole a base, and scored three runs, and Luis Aviles smacked a three-run home run, as the Brewers outlasted the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #6 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
Jeffrey Baez walked twice, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run and Eloy Jimenez singled, doubled, and scored a run for the Cubs. In 17 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (67 PA), Baez is hitting 345/433/500, with two doubles, two triples, one HR, 5 RBI, 8 RUNS, 9/8 BB/K, and 12 SB (0 CS), and he leads the team in OBP, SLG, SB, BB, and RUNS, is second only to the departed Matt Scioscia in AVG (Scioscia hit 348 in 26 PA), and is one of only three EXST Cubs players to hit a HR (Tyler Alamo and Rashad Crawford are the other two).
Justin Ruggiano (Cubs MLB 15-day DL - hamstring) and Casper Wells (AAA Iowa 7-day DL - back spasms) continued their EXST rehab assignments in today's game, going a collective 0-8.
Ruggiano popped-out to short and flied out three times (including two near-HR hit to the warning track, one in left and the other in right-center), and Wells tapped back to the pitcher on a check-swing, popped out to the shortstop, lined-out to CF, and reached base on an E-5 (dropped infield pop fly).
Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
1. Jeffrey Baez, DH #1: 1-2 (2B, P-6, BB, BB, R, SB)
2. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-3 (F-7, K, BB, P-6, R, SB)
3. Justin Ruggiano, DH #2: 0-4 (F-7, F-8, P-4, F-9)
4. Casper Wells, RF: 0-4 (1-3, P-6, E-5, L-8)
5. Eloy Jimenez, LF: 2-4 (1-3, K, 1B, 2B, R)
6. Antonio Valerio, C: 1-4 (E-5, 5-3, 5-4 FC, 1B, R, RBI)
7. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, HBP, F-9, R)
8. Roney Alcala, 1B: 1-3 (6-4-3 DP, K, 2B, BB, R, RBI)
9. Jesse Hodges, 3B: 1-3 (1B, F-8, E-4, HBP)
10. Dalfis Ortiz, 2B: 0-4 (4-6 FC, K, 4-U FC, FC. 2 RBI, 3 SB)
11. Arnaldo Calero, DH #3: 0-3 (HBP, F-9, E-6, K)
1. Michael Heesch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 18 pitches (13 strikes)
2. Erick Leal: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 8/1 GO/FO, 60 pitches (37 strikes)
3. Trey Lang: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 3/0 GO/FO, 39 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Francisco Carrillo: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1/3 GO/FO, 27 pitches (22 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 3B Jesse Hodges - E-5 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 2B Dalfis Ortiz - E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely - eventually scored unearned run)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Antonio Valerio: 0-2 CS
CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:
1. CF Oliver Zapata - threw out baserunner 8-2 trying to score from 2nd base on single to CF
2. CF Oliver Zapata - threw out baserunner 8-5 trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on single to CF
WEATHER: Sunny & breezy 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.