Kevonte Mitchell

Late Rally Helps Emeralds Sparkle at Riverview

Kevonte Mitchell smashed a solo HR to lead-off the inning and Frandy de la Rosa belted a two-run triple and scored on a WP to highlight a four-run 8th, as the Eugene Emeralds rallied to defeat the Mesa Cubs 5-3 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Eloy Jimenez reached base four times (two singles and two walks) for Eugene, Yohan Matos slugged a solo HR and singled twice for the Mesa Cubs, and the two starting pitchers (LHP Justin Steele and RHP Oscar de la Cruz) combined to hurl six innings of shutout ball.

Mesa Cubs LF Jose Paniagua left the game after being hit on the helmet by a Daniel Bard fastball in the top of the 4th. (Bard was pulled out of the game after throwing only eight pitches).

Mike Olt (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - broken right wrist) took pre-game BP but did not play in the game.

In EXST Cubs roster news, OF Shawon Dunston (on Myrtle Beach 7-day since April 23rd with a right shoulder injury) has completed his rehab and has returned to the Pelicans, and C-1B Alberto Mineo has been moved-up to Myrtle Beach.

Mineo will be inactive at MB (technically he's on the Eugene Reserve List) and will serve as a bullpen catcher for the Pelicans, but he can be activated if necessary.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game, followed by the updated Cubs Extended Spring Training roster: 

Olt & Ramirez Ready to Rumble at Riverview

Ho-Young Son tripled, singled twice, stole two bases, scored three runs, and drove-in two more, Kevonte Mitchell belted a bases-loaded triple, singled, and walked, and Joey Martarano drilled a double and an RBI single and scored a run, helping the Eugene Emeralds thrash the Mesa Cubs 10-2 in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning on Field #1 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

Neil Ramirez (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - right shoulder inflammation) saw his first game action since April 16th, and Mike Olt (on Cubs MLB 60-day DL - fractured right wrist) saw his first game action since April 20th,

Getting the start for Eugene, Ramirez allowed singles to the first two men he faced (an infield single followed by a line-drive single to right) and then the runners pulled off a double-steal. Ramirez then struck out the next two hitters, one swinging and one looking. He threw 17 pitches (11 strikes), and was pulled from the game when he reached his pre-planned pitch limit.

Mike Olt played 3rd base for three innings for the Mesa Cubs and got four Plate Appearances, one in each of the first four innings. He struck out (swinging) on three pitches against Neil Ramirez in the top of the 1st, was called out on strikes on a 1-2 pitch in the 2nd, drew a walk and scored a run in the 3rd, and grounded out 6-3 in his fourth and final PA in the 4th (with the last three AB coming against LHP Jose Paulino). He did not handle any chances in the field.

Here is the abridged box score from today's game: 


Moreno & Cease Piggy-Back Their Way to Fitch Park

Trace Loehr singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Jean Carlo Rodriguez drilled a bases-loaded three-run double, Vicmal de la Cruz belted a solo home run, walked, and drove-in another run with a GO, Andy Paz slugged a two-run HR, and RHSP Jon Massad tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball, leading the Athletics to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs in Memorial Day Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

Kevin Encarnacion hammered a solo home run and an RBI single, Kevonte Mitchell drilled an RBI single, a double, drew a walk, stole a base, and scored a run, and Ricardo Marcano roped an RBI triple, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

In 22 Cactus League EXST games, Kevonte Mitchell leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with 12 (one CS and one PO). Also, he is hitting 239/345/310, with three doubles and a triple, eleven walks, 15 K, and one HBP, ten runs scored, and seven RBI, in the 22 games (84 PA). The 19-year old 6'4 185 Mitchell (Cubs 2014 13th round draft pick - Kennett HS - Kennett, Mo) is a virtual lock to play CF and hit lead-off for the Eugene Emeralds, once the Northwest League (NWL) commences play next month. 

RHP Erling Moreno (2013 IFA - Colombia) got the start for the Cubs today and retired six of the seven men he faced (1B, 5-3, 4-3, K, F-8, K, 4-3). He allowed one run on one hit (a single leading off the bottom of the 1st inning that came around to score on a couple of ground outs and a WP) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both swinging). Moreno rolled easily through his two innings, throwing a good percentage of strikes (27 pitches - 18 strikes - 67% K), and mixing his 91-92 MPH fastball, plus-curve, and change-up to keep the A's hitters mostly off-balance.

The 18-year old 6'3 200 Moreno was signed by the Cubs ($650K bonus) out of the same 2013-14 International Signing Period class that produced OF Eloy Jimenez, SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, 3B-1B Wladmir Galindo, C Yohan Matos, and RHP Jeferson Mejia (since traded to AZ in the Miguel Montero deal), but he underwent an elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John Surgery) midway through the 2014 season that has slowed his development, and so this was his first game action in almost a year.

Moreno will likely join RHP Dylan Cease, ex-Mexico City Red Devils RHP Jesus Camargo, RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave, and probably either Adbert Alzolay or Santiago Rodriguez in the AZL Cubs starting rotation (at least at the outset of the AZL season, until the 2015 draft picks begin to arrive).     

Speaking of Dylan Cease, he also saw action in today's game, "piggy-backing" with Moreno. Although he threw just 1.0 IP, Cease actually pitched in parts of two different innings (facing eight hitters total), hence the high pitch count (37 pitches) in just one inning (three outs). 

Cease was working his fastball at 95-97 MPH to the first four batters he faced, but then elevated the FB velocity up to 98-99 when facing the next four. He continues to struggle with command, however, walking two and going to three-ball counts on two other hitters, bouncing his breaking ball (which is a really a plus-pitch when he throws it over the plate instead of bouncing it in front of the plate), and throwing only 56% strikes.

After throwing an amazing six wild pitches in just one inning of work last Friday versus the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick, RHRP Daniel Bard had another nightmare inning (actually just one-third of an inning), allowing four runs on one hit (the Rodriguez bases-loaded double) after walking three and hitting a batter. And he threw three more WP today, too, for a total of nine in his last 1.1 IP.       

Here is the abridged box score from today's games (Cubs players only) :

Angels Take Down Cubs in Diablo Park

Alex Abbott drilled a triple and a single and scored twice and Jose Antonio Rodriguez reached base three times (two singles and an HBP) and scored a run, helping the Angels to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe. 

Eloy Jimenez belted a two-run triple, walked, and scored a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, stole two bases, and scored a run, and Andrew Ely reached base three times (two singles and an HBP) for the Cubs in a losing cause.

Mitchell leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with eight (no CS) in 16 Cactus League EXST games, and E. Jimenez has been an "RBI machine," with 13 ribbies in just 15 Cactus League EXST games (leads team).

ELOY JIMENEZ in 15 Cactus League EXST games (55 PA):
265/309/511, with three doubles, three triples, and one HR, three walks, eight strikeouts, and one HBP, and two SB (no CS).  

NOTE: Through 23 Cactus League EXST games so far, the Cubs have hit only five home runs as a team... one each by Frandy de la Rosa, Eloy Jimenez, Ricardo Marcano, Yohan Matos, and Taylor Teagarden,  

19-year old lanky lefty Justin Steele (Cubs 2014 5th round draft pick - George County HS - Lucedale, MS) got the start for the Cubs and quickly and easily retired the first seven men he faced (6-3, 4-3, 3-U, 5-3, K, F-7, K) on just 20 pitches, before running into trouble with one out in the bottom of the third, when he allowed four consecutive batters to reach base (1B, 1B, BB, BB). The 2014 Mississippi High School Player of the Year, Steele was cruising along, working his two-seam fastball in the low 90's and getting a ton of ground balls with it, before he began to lose command in his third inning of work once he had to start pitching out of the stretch. 

JUSTIN STEELE in his four Cactus League EXST games : 
9.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R (3 ER), 4 BB, 9 K, 13/7 GO/FO, 63% strikes (4 games) 
2.79 ERA - 1.03 WHIP 

RHP Oscar de la Cruz "piggy-backed" with Steele, working 3.2 IP (65 pitches) and allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits (all singles), two walks, and an HBP. He struck out three (all swinging), with a 5/3 GO/FO. Along with RHRP Scott Frazier (whose fastball velocity has reached 99 MPH this spring) and Alexander Santana (mid-90's fastball that sits at 94 and touches 95), the 20-year old 6'6 de la Cruz is one of the hardest throwers among Cub pitchers at EXST, with a 94 MPH fastball that can touch 95. Like a lot of young pitchers, de la Cruz's fastball command and secondary stuff (breaking ball and change-up) need work, but he was the ace of the staff at DSL Cubs last season, and he is in the mix for one of the rotation starter jobs at Eugene this year. (Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Austyn Willis are virtual locks to make the Eugene rotation, with de la Cruz, Santana, and Jose Paulino likely competing for the remaining two slots). 

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

Grimm Day for Cubs at Riverview Park

Nick Jones (ex-LHP) belted a two-run home run and Jordan Johnson and four relievers combined to toss a four-hitter, helping the Giants defeat the Cubs 4-1 on Field #6, and Bryant Flete doubled, singled, and scored a run, and five Cub relievers combined to hurl five innings of perfect baseball, as the Cubs and Giants played to a 2-2 tie on Field #5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader action this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.

The game on Field #5 was called after seven innings with the score tied, and the game on Field #6 was called after 7-1/2 innings.   

Kevonte Mitchell tripled, singled, stole a base, and scored the lone Cub run on Field #6.

18-year old 6'6 RHP Austyn Willis (Cubs 2014 18th round draft pick - Barstow HS - Barstow, CA) got the start on Field #6 and threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball with four strikeouts, retiring Travis Ishikawa (on the Giants MLB 15-day DL with a lower back strain) three times (4-3 GO, K-swinging, and F-8 fly out). Willis has started three Cactus League EXST games, allowing one run on four hits (including a solo HR) and a walk with nine strikeouts in seven innings of work. He will very likely be in the Eugene starting rotation when the Northwest League season commences next month.  

RHRP Justin Grimm (on the Cubs MLB 15-day DL with a forearm strain retroactive to April 2nd) worked the top of the 4th inning on Field #6 and was dominating, striking out the side on 12 pitches. He looks to be in mid-season form. 

The Giants are unusual because they have two ex-LHP at Extended Spring Training being converted to position players (usually it's the other way around). Besides 6'6 first-baseman Nick Jones (who belted a tape measure two-run HR over the RF fence that provided the winning margin for the Giants on Field #6 this morning), outfielder Steven Neff drilled three hits (a single, a double, and a triple) in a game against the Cubs earlier this week in Scottsdale. 

Here is the abridged box score from today's games (Cubs players only): 

Lew Wolff Knows Cubs CAN Go Home Again

Robero Caro (opposite-field line-drive RBI double into left-centerfield alley), Kevonte Mitchell (two-out RBI single chopped over 3rd baseman's head and into LF), Bryant Flete (two-out RBI bloop double that fell between three defenders in short rightfield), Eloy Jimenez (two-out RBI ground single pulled through the 5.5 hole), and Tyler Alamo (two-out two-run double off CF "Batter's Eye") collected run-scoring hits in a seven-run top of the 7th, as the Cubs rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Athletics 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Center Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Jhonny Rodriguez drove-in three of the A's runs, with a two-run HR in the bottom of the 1st inning and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 3rd.

The Defensive Play of the Game was (once again) turned-in by speedy Cubs outfielder Roberto Caro, who made a spectacular sliding catch along the right-field line and into foul territory to end the bottom of the 7th inning.  

This was the first visit by the Cubs Extended Spring Training contingent to their former minor league HQ at Fitch Park, which is now home to the A's minor leagues. The clubhouse and batting cages have been expanded (and look great), and new bullpens have been added to the four fields.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only): 

Touki & Company Easily Handle Cubs at Riverview

Diamondbacks starting pitchers Touki Toussaint (Arizona 2014 1st round draft pick) and Carlos Hernandez combined to toss six innings of two-hit shutout ball, Gerard Hernandez drove-in three runs with an RBI double, a solo HR, and an RBI GO, and Ismael Pena clubbed a triple and a single, helping the D'backs sweep a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The Diamondbacks won the game played on Field #1 by a score of 4-2, and they won the game played on Field #2 by a score of 9-2.  

Kevonte Mitchell singled twice, walked, stole two bases, and scored a run, and Ricardo Marcano ripped a two-run triple for the Cubs in a losing cause on Field #1, and RHP Hector Perez was rocked to the tune of seven runs on eight hits (including five doubles) and a walk in just 1.2 IP on Field #2.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, catcher Taylor Teagarden (was on Iowa Cubs 7-day DL with right shoulder inflammation) has completed his Extended Spring Training rehab and has rejoined the I-Cubs. 

In addition, RHRP David Garner (Cubs 2013 7th round draft pick - Michigan State) was moved-up to Lo-A South Bend after the game. Although he struggled a bit with his control today, Garner struck out the side 1-2-3 last Wednesday versus the Rockies and likewise in an intrasquad game before that, and was clearly throwing the best among the more-experienced pitchers left behind at Extended Spring Training.  

With Garner gone, I would think Michael Wagner (who had a strong two-inning outing today) will probably be the next EXST Cubs RHRP to move-up to a full-season affiliate. Prior to getting drafted and signing with the Cubs in 2013 (he was the Cubs 15th round pick that year) , Wagner was the closer at the University of San Diego, and was a college teammate of Kris Bryant. 

Here are the abridged box scores from today's games (Cubs players only):

Bard, Russell, and Denorfia Get Pre-Game Reps at Extended Spring Training

Adonis Paula singled twice, stole a base, and drove-in a run, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and scored a run, and Carlos Sepulveda smacked a solo home run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action this morning on Field #5 at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings with the score tied 2-2. (All three Extended Spring Training intrasquad games played this week have ended in a tie)

RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave finally made his game debut as a pitcher, throwing a shutout inning (4-3, 3-1, BB, 4-6 FC). I didn't see anthing special with his stuff, although he throws both a two-seam fastball and a curve (and the curve might be his best pitch). Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus when he was signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old switch-hitting catcher out of Venezuela in July 2011, the highest bonus ever given by the Cubs to an international amateur free-agent up to that point in time. He was moved almost immediately to 3rd base, and then he was moved back to catcher again (and gave up switch-hitting to hit only RH) after the 2013 season. He struggled offensively throughout his pro career as a postion player (248/347/305 in 141 career minor league games and 560 career minor league PA), and then was converted to a pitcher at Minor League Camp last month.       

In Cubs minor league roster news, RHP Daniel Bard (signed to a minor league contract during the off-season with an NRI to Spring Training, then couldn't throw strikes) and ex-Cubs LHP James Russell (signed to a minor league contract by the Cubs this morning after being released by the Atlanta Braves last week) have been assigned to Extended Spring Training. Both pitchers threw morning bullpen side-sessions but did not pitch in the game. Rehabbers RHP Dylan Cease (2014 TJS), RHP Trey Masek (2014 shoulder surgery), and RHP Austin Reed (2014 TJS) also threw bullpen side-sessions this morning.  

Chicago Cubs OF Chris Denorfia (15-day DL - hamstring) took BP on Field #6 prior to the game.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Down Goes Frazier!

Victor Caratini blasted a two-run home run, doubled, singled twice, walked, and scored four runs, Jordan Hankins knocked-in four runs with three run-scoring singles, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and doubled, scored twice, and drove-in a run, Chesny Young laced a bases-loaded three-run triple and a single, and Johan Matos belted a solo home run and singled, in an AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

The game was played at "Cubs Park" (home to the AZL Cubs and the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL, and the Chicago Cubs during Spring Training in March).

Collecting 17 hits (including three doubles, a triple, and a home run), Team Gonzalez evened-up the "Cubs World Series" at two games a piece with a 15-5 drubbing of Team Johnson. 

Eloy Jimenez left the game after being hit on the left arm by an Erick Leal fastball. 

Several of the Cubs young sluggers competed in the annual Cubs Instructs Home Run Derby on Field #2 prior to the game, and Billy McKinney edged out Scott Frazier to take home the title. 

Frazier is a pitcher, but the 6'7 fireballer was a two-way player (pitcher/outfielder) in HS, and he showed that he still knows how to swing the lumber, clubbing several prodigious shots onto the street beyond the LF fence ("Cubs Way') during the course of the contest. He then threw a 1-2-3 7th inning in the game that followed. 

Here is the box score from today's game:

C. J. Edwards Faces Diamondbacks at Riverview Park

The AZL Diamondbacks took advantage of four walks (including three bases-loaded walks that forced-in three runs) to plate seven runs in the 5th inning, and cruised to a 12-6 victory over the AZL Cubs Monday night at Cubs Park at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.

Gleyber Torres grounded out to end the game, but before that he reached base four consecutive times (single, walk, RBI single, and RBI triple) on the heels of last night's game at Salt River Fields when he reached base all six times he batted (two singles, two doubles, and two walks), for a total of ten consecutive Plate Appearances over the two games without being retired. 

2014 13th round draft pick Kevonte Mitchell (Kennett HS - Kennett, MO) continued his hot hitting, lacing three singles, while also stealing a base, scoring two runs, and collecting an RBI. He also made a fine running catch in CF. Torres, Mitchell, and Eloy Jimenez (who walked twice) are easily the top three position player prospects on the AZL Cubs right now (no others even close).  

Cubs top pitching prospect RHP C. J. Edwards (Tennessee 7-day DL - right shoulder inflamation) got the start for the Cubs (his second AZL rehab start) and worked 3.2 IP (62 pitches - 35 strikes), allowing one run on one hit and three walks with six strikeouts (four swinging and two looking) and a 4/1 GO/FO.