Guzman throws in Intrasquad Game, Ward still taking BP
Angel Guzman threw two innings (25 pitches - 19 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO) in an AZL Cubs intrasquad game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning, allowing two runs (one ER) on two hits, with no walks and two stikeouts (both swinging).
Also, Daryle Ward continued his rehab at Fitch Park, with an extended pre-game BP session in which he clubbed bomb after bomb over the RF fence. He also shagged some fly balls in RF.
Ward will be staying one more day in Mesa, and then will leave on Saturday for a three or four game minor league rehab assignment (either at AA or AAA, still TBD) before rejoining the Cubs next week in Chicago.
In AZL Cubs roster news, LHP Jeffrey Beliveau (2008 18th round pick out of Florida Atlantic) and RF Jericho Jones (2008 20th round pick out of Louisiana Tech) have been signed by the Cubs and both are now at Fitch Park. In fact, Jones even played in the intrasquad game and had an RBI single in his first game AB, after pumping several dingers onto Center Street in pre-game BP
Jones was a RHP (rotation starter) who played RF on days he wasn't pitching at Louisiana Tech, but he will be playing outfield-only in pro ball. (And he definitely has a RF arm, too!).
The Cubs have now signed 26 of their 51 picks in this month's Rule 4 Draft, including 17 of their first 21.
Also, INF Jose Made has been promoted from AZL Cubs (Mesa) to Daytona, and switch-hitting IF-OF David Macias (2008 19th round pick out of Vanderbilt) and OF Ryan Sontag (2008 23rd round pick out of Arizona State) have been promoted from AZL Cubs to Boise.
Macias replaces CF Tony Campana (2008 13th round pick out of the U. of Cincinnati), who suffered a broken hand in his very first pro game Tuesday night in Boise. Campana will apparently be returning to Mesa (Fitch Park) for his rehab at some point in the near future.
In addition, 2B Jeffrey Rea (2007 18th round pick out of Mississippi State) and OF Cesar Salazar (signed as a FA out of Venezuela in February) have been released.
Rea was hampered by a sore arm in Minor League Camp and then was hobbled with a strained quad for most of the past couple of months. A below average defender at 2B but an above-average hitter (and a very good baserunner, when healthy), Rea should have no difficuilty getting a gig with an independent league team (if he doesn't get signed by another MLB organization), and if he does go the indy route, he could well get back into the minor leagues (albeit not with the Cubs) in very short order. He just needs to prove he's healthy.
Here is the abridged box score from today's very abbreviated AZL Cubs intrasquad game:
1. Kevin Soto, CF: 0-2 (K, SB)
2. Bryan Jost, 1B (R, 3B, K)
3. Starlin Castro, SS: (SF-RBI)
4. Nelson Perez, RF: 0-1
5. John Contreras, 3B: 1-1 (R)
6. Roberto Sabates, LF: 0-1
7. Robinson Chirinos, 2B: 0-1
8. Jose Guevara, C (rehab from broken hand - slot skipped)
1. Kurt Calvert, LF: 1-1 (CS)
2. George Matheus, SS: 1-1 (CS)
3. Junior Lake, 3B: 1-1 (R, SB)
4. Jericho Jones, RF: 1-1 (RBI)
5. Sean Hoorelbeke, 1B: No AB
6. Dwayne Kemp, 2B: No AB
7. Alvaro Sosa, C: No AB
8. TeWayne Willis, CF: No AB
9. Matt Cerda, DH: No AB
Manolin DeLeon - 1.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K
Angel Guzman - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K
Dwayne Kemp, E-4, muffed two-out ground ball, allowing runner to score from 3rd base.
Jose Guevara: 2-3 CS
Alvaro Sosa: 0-1 CS
WEATHER: Clear, cloudless, and VERY hot, with game-time temperatures in the upper 90's en route to 110+
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