Cubs Minor League Pitches & Catchers on Field at Riverview
83 pitchers and 14 catchers were on the field at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park this morning, as the Cubs minor league pitchers & catchers engaged in an extensive workout at Minor League Camp. The full squad will be on the field later this week, with the first minor league Cactus League games scheduled to commence on March 19th.
Among the pitchers on the field at Riverview Park today were two ex-position players.
6'4 230+ LHP (ex-OF) Ariel Ovando was selected by the Cubs from the Houston Astros in the AAA Phase of the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft, and it was reported at that time that the Cubs intended to move him to the mound. Now 21, Ovando was a one-time prized prospect, signed by the Astros as a 16-year old slugging outfielder out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, but he was unable to develop into the hitter the 'stros hoped he'd be, putting up a slash-line of 250/317/387 with 164 K in 154 games (627 PA) over four minor league seasons.
RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave received a reported $1.6M bonus when he signed with the Cubs out of Venezuela in 2011, the highest bonus the Cubs had ever given to a teenaged international free-agent up to that point in time. He was a pudgy, beefy, switch-hitting catcher with plus-HR power (projected) prior to signing his first contract, but his catching skills were poor and so the Cubs almost immediately moved him to 3B. He didn't hit enough to stay at the hot corner, howvver, so the Cubs moved him back to catcher and he also stopped switch-hitting (batting only right-handed going forward) in 2014. Unfortunately, he was unable to smooth out his receiving flaws sufficiently to rermain a backstop or hit enough to play another position (248/347/305 with no HR in 141 career minor league games). One thing about Malave was that he's always had a plus-arm, and so now he will have a chance to demonstrate if it can be a useful tool off the mound.
Among the catchers on the field today were ex-INF Gioskar Amaya, who was converted from 2B to catcher at AZ Instructs post-2014. He appeared to take to the position very well at that time, showing enthusiasm and looking comfortable behind the dish, and with enough arm to make all of the necessary throws. He might have to spend some time at Extended Spring Training before he will be ready to catch in AA games, but he could have a future as a catcher once he gets more experience.
INF Jordan Hankins was converted to catcher at Instructs post-2013, but he went back to playing 3B (only) during the regular season last year at Daytona after Jeimer Candelario was sent back to Kane County and Tim Saunders retired. But then he tried catching again at Instructs post-2014, and he is back catching again at Minor League Camp this year. Hankins' future would appear to be that of a multi-positional utility player where catching is just one more thing he can do, rather than a front-line catcher.
Catchers Tyler Alamo and Cael Brockmeyer were late additions to the big league NRI list last month, but while Brockmeyer is still with the big club, Alamo has been assigned to Minor League Camp.
The one catcher I expected to see who was absent from the field at Minor League Camp today was Will Remillard, who is considered to be the best defensive catcher in the system, but who has battled back problems off & on going back to when he signed with the Cubs in 2012. I thought it was odd that Remillard did not receive an NRI to Spring Training last month (he got one in 2014), so maybe the back is still an issue.
I saw all of the pitchers I expected to see today, with five exceptions. Among those absent from the field were veteran LHRP Pedro Feliciano (reportedly signed by the Cubs in January), and RHPs Matt Brazis, P. J. Francescon, Trey McNutt, and Yoanner Negrin. It's possible that Feliciano's contract was voided by the Cubs due to a failed physical or perhaps it wasn't approved by MLB for some reason, because (I would think) he should have received an NRI to big league camp. McNutt had shoulder surgery post-2013 and he may not able to pitch (or maybe he has retired), but I can't account for why Brazis (acquired from Seattle for Justin Ruggiano during the off-season), Francescon and Negrin weren't present on the field with the other pitchers. Also, recently-signed veteran LHRP Phil Coke is not getting into shape at Minor League Camp, so he must be working out with the big club.
There were only four pitchers on Limited Activity Status today (RHPs Marcelo Carreno, Dylan Cease, Trey Masek, and Erling Moreno), but I'm sure there will be more before too long. All four of the Limited Activity guys had surgery last year and aren't ready to resume full activity. However, LHP Anthony Prieto, RHP Austin Reed, and RHP Brad Renner (all of whom had TJS in 2014) were cleared for full activity today, so I guess it all really depends on the individual pitcher and how fast he can recover.
jdrnym 5 hours 11 min ago (view)
AZPHIL, has there been official word as to whether the 26-man roster has been extended down to the minor league levels that previously had 25-man rosters? Can't really think of a reason why that shouldn't be the case...
Arizona Phil 10 hours 6 min ago (view)
Another possibility for a "26th man" in 2020 would be a young pitcher selected in the Rule 5 Draft who has big league upside but who is clearly not yet "big league ready," or a pitcher who is out of minor league options who might not be quite MLB ready.
Cubster 12 hours 12 min ago (view)
Just sign Rick Reuschel and lets move on
crunch 12 hours 54 min ago (view)
"Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Scott Kazmir will throw for MLB teams this week.
The 36-year-old Kazmir hasn't thrown in the majors since the 2016 season, but he recently told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he that he hit 90.9 mph with his fastball during a bullpen session."
someone put another bottle of left-in-the-car warm water under the cubs hot stove and let's get this one done! woo!
crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
bryce harper ruined that bat dragging thing for everyone after his ejection years ago at the junior college world series.
also, hurrah for baseball making it's return.
JustSayin' 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
College ball started Saturday. Umpire egos in D1 baseball are not that much smaller than in the pros, so of course there was a controversy. In the late innings of a game in the weekend's biggest series (Michigan vs.
crunch 3 days 2 hours ago (view)
the news is mostly based on a Baseball America article from the 11th (behind a paywall)...so the gist of it is rather legit rumor-wise, though it's still too far in the future to call it a 100% done deal.
btw, the cubs have been strongly linked to pursuing christian hernandez for quite a while. the BA writer that wrote the article about the cubs links has been following c.hernandez since he was a 14yo talent and is quite familiar with him. that signing probably is in the bag.
Wrigley Rat 3 days 4 hours ago (view)
I don't know much about this website, but they are speculating that the Cubs may sign two of the top International Free Agents available during this signing period: https://www.cubshq.com/print/news.do?id=16441&isNe... Does anyone know if this sounds legit?
Arizona Phil 4 days 8 hours ago (view)
Minnie Minoso was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 47 and Julio Franco was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 49, so Mexican League teams clearly do not have a problem with signing older players.
And of course the ageless Satchel Paige was still working as a SP in AAA (with the Miami Marlins) into his early 50's (and prior to that he pitched in MLB as late as age 46).
crunch 4 days 8 hours ago (view)
b.colon has signed to a mexican league team. woo old dudes. he turns 47 in may...believed by some to be older.
Cubster 4 days 17 hours ago (view)
Replacing someone like David DeJesus?
crunch 5 days 10 hours ago (view)
mark grace returns to chicago as an analyst/on-air-talent for Marquee.
he won't be part of the main game calling crew, but will be doing support content during games.
Eric S 5 days 13 hours ago (view)
Increasing levels of smoke concerning a possible Arenado/KB trade
Get Arenado to agree to push back his opt out a few years or so down the road and this could work out nicely for the Cubs
Arizona Phil 6 days 4 hours ago (view)
Jason Kipnis (like Brandon Morrow) was a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signed a 2020 minor league contract, so he gets a $100K retention bonus and an automatic June 1st player opt-out if he is not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 40-man roster or MLB 60-day IL by 12 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day.
Arizona Phil 6 days 4 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have signed post-2019 second-contract minor league FA catcher Jordan Procyshen to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.
Dolorous Jon Lester 6 days 6 hours ago (view)
Q could be subbed in for any of those too