Rosscup Strikes Fear into the Hearts of A's at Sloan Park

Shane Conlon drilled two singles and a double, reached base on an HBP, scored two runs, and drove-in three more, leading the AZL Athletics to a 10-2 drubbing of the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action Saturday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The final two innings were played in a light drizzle.  

Yohan Matos ended a 1-25 skid by lining a bases-loaded opposite-field two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to account for the two Cub runs and avert what otherwise would have been a shutout.  

LHP Manny Rondon (acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Rafael Lopez earlier this month) got the start for the AZL Cubs and was terrible, allowing seven runs (six earned) on five hits and three walks and a WP in just 1.1 IP, including a 30-pitch 2nd inning in which he retired only one batter. 

LHRP Zac Rosscup (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation since June 17th) made his second AZL appearance of the week and was brilliant, working one inning (16 pitches - 12 strikes) and striking out the side, with a virtually unhittable mixture of 94 MPH fastball and hard-breaking slider. The young A's hitters looked totally befuddled trying to deal with Rosscup's plus-stuff.  

20-year old RHP M. T. Minacci (Cubs 2015 33rd round draft pick - Powermill Training Academy) worked a 1-2-3 7th inning (6-3, F-7, 4-3). Minacci was a teammate of Cubs 2014 4th round draft pick LHP Carson Sands at North Florida Christian HS in Tallahassee, and was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 20th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft (Rule 4 Draft) but did not sign,. He chose instead to enroll at Florida State, but then transferred to Chipola College after only one semester at FSU, before joining Powermill last year. Minacci was working primarily with his fastball (90-92 MPH) Saturday night, with an  occasional slider and change-up mixed-in.   

In AZL Cubs roster news, LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (Cubs 2015 9th round draft pick - Cal State Fullerton) has been moved up to Eugene, and LHP Heath Dwyer (2015 NDFA - Virginia Commonwealth) has been moved down to AZL Cubs from Eugene. Dwyer pitched the 9th inning for the AZL Cubs in Saturday night's game, and was tagged for two runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple). Dwyer is a soft-tossing lefty who features a mid-80's fastball, a curve, and a plus-change up, but his smoke & mirrors stuff didn't fool the A's hitters. 

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

Cease Makes Snakes Desist Scoring Runs at Sloan Park

Alex Bautista slugged a two-run HR over the bullpen and onto the LF berm and Dylan Cease tossed three innings of shutout ball, as the AZL Cubs edged the AZL Diamondbacks 2-1 in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Rosscup Sharp at Papago Park

Rudy Martin singled, doubled, and walked, and scored two runs, and Luke Willis singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another with a sacrifice fly, lifting the AZL Royals to a 5-3 victory over the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action Wednesday night at Papago Park Sports Complex Field #2 in Phoenix, AZ.

Although they remain in the AZL West Division, the AZL Royals are playing their home games on the east-side of town at the Papago Park Sports Complex (the former home of the AZL Athletics) this season while their clubhouse is being renovated (expanded) at Surprise Stadium. (The Royals presently are in first place in the AZL West Division, and in fact they have the best record in the league). 
 
LHP Zac Rosscup (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - left shoulder inflammation) saw his first game action since June 16th, getting the start for the AZL Cubs and throwing one inning (17 pitches - 11 strikes) and allowing no hits, no runs, and no walks, with two strikeouts (both swinging). One runner reached base on an E-5. Rosscup was working his fastball at 91-93 MPH and touched 94, and his breaking ball was sharp and unhittable. He looked to be in mid-season form. (Lots of swings & misses). 

Shawon Dunston Jr (on Myrtle Beach 7-day DL) continued his AZL rehab, serving as the AZL Cubs DH and batting third in the order. He drilled a one-out line-drive single to center in the top of the 1st inning, before leaving the game for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 3rd.

RHP Casey Bloomquist (Cubs 2015 17th round draft pick - Cal Poly SLO) made his pro debut, working the eighth inning and retiring the side 1-2-3 (a 5-3 GO followed by two strikeouts). Bloomquist displayed an 87-88 MPH fastball with sinking action that he mixed with a slider and a change-up that dive-bombed out of the strike zone. Bloomquist was the Mustang's "Friday night starter" (#1 starter) as a junior, and unlike some of the Cubs 2015 draft picks who were college seniors with no eligibility left (and no leverage in negotiations), Bloomquist had the option to return to school for his senior year at Cal Poly if he had not signed with the Cubs.  

The defensive Play of the Game was turned in by AZL Cubs RF Michael Foster (Cuhs 2015 16th round draft pick - Northeastern University), who made a spectacular diving catch in right-centerfield in the bottom of the 6th inning. Foster also singled twice and scored a run for the AZL Cubs in a losing cause.

Here is the abridged box score from Wednesday night's game (Cubs players only: 

2015 Cubs First-Year Player Draft Negotiation List (Updated 7/14)

The deadline to sign high school, JC, and college players with eligibility remaining who were selected in last month's MLB Rule 4 Draft (First Year Player Draft) or who were eligible for selection but were not selected is 5 PM (Eastern) this coming Friday (7/18).

At present the Cubs have signed 29 of the 40 players they drafted plus one Rule 4 Draft eligible non-drafted free-agent (NDFA), with 24 of the signed players (23 of the draft picks plus the NDFA) having already made their pro debut. 

AZL Royals Shut-Down AZL Cubs at Sloan Park

Carlos Diaz collected four singles, stole a base, and scored two runs, Yeison Melo drilled an RBI single and a two-run double, and RHSP Arnaldo Hernandez tossed 5.2 IP of four-hit ball, leading the AZL Royals to a 6-1 victory over the AZL Cubs in Arizona League action Monday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

All-star "Game" Break

There are a lot of things than could be said about this team--the good, the bad, the Castro. But we are 7 over and currently holding a play-off spot 87 games into the season. Since every one of us would have signed up for that in a second during Spring Training, I guess we have to be pleased. 

The AS Game itself is marginally interesting to see how the managers squeeze everyone in, I suppose--even though it's at odds with the new format. And I am curious to see whether Rizzo is hit by a pitch during the Derby. Mostly, I'll be working on my book.

Enjoy the recess!

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