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.
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Wrigley Rat 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
Cubs Reportedly Sign Powerful Infielder Alejandro Rivero Out of Indy Ball: https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/10/21/cubs-reportedly-sign-powe...
crunch 3 days 15 hours ago (view)
* except for playing 1st base