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.
Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 45 min ago (view)
Lame. He was intriguing
crunch 18 hours 54 min ago (view)
cubs release matt dermody...he's heading to japan.
Cubster 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
and they are including amusement tax, healthcare costs (Doc Adams doesn't come cheap!), social security and political donations to the City and the Governor of Nebraska.
bradsbeard 1 day 4 hours ago (view)
It all depends what you count as "payroll." If you include the $11M in Lester and Descalso's buyouts plus the $3M sent in the Darvish trade you get to somewhere like $145M. If you include the $15M in estimated share of player benefits, you get to $160M. I think that last year, including player benefits, they were slated to be up around $205M for MLB payroll before the pandemic.
crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
not sure, but i think it's around 130-135m right now even with bryant/baez/contreras still on board...including the 3m to set darvish free and other random $$ expenses on the roster.
tack on another 3-4m for happ when that gets settled....plus other odds/ends that have a chance to make the roster (s.miller, a.morgan, j.holder, etc) and other pre-arbitration guys...
cubs still need someone to back up contreras (if he sticks around, which i wouldn't be surprised to see him stick around)...not sure if taylor gushue is gonna be that guy and m.amaya is too young.
George Altman 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Seriously, what's the 2021 payroll number? Currently at approximately $165M and after they trade Bryant, Baez, & Contreras - $130M. Is that it, $135-140M.
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Q to the angels...supposedly 1/8m
crunch 2 days 6 min ago (view)
pete ricketts (the governor of Nebraska ricketts) is a key part of an anti-gambling Nebraska group called "Gambling With The Good Life" that actively lobbied their open legislature...including a speech by pete...to keep gambling illegal in Nebraska.
he last spoke for the group to the state government in-session 3 months ago.
...it's also worth mentioning all of this is separate from the Draft Kings/Wrigley Field deal that flew under the radar toward the end of the season that will put a sportsbook directly in wrigley field, itself.
Charlie 2 days 41 min ago (view)
Of all the things, why does this most make me want to punch
Cubster 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
I thought the Cubs had lost a rising star in Porter, seems the just got lucky with him leaving the organization.
crunch 2 days 13 hours ago (view)
jared porter...damn dude...mets gm, ex cubs director of scouting...
crunch 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
cubs freeing up that chatwood + lester loot sure did help...wait...sigh.
Cubster 2 days 17 hours ago (view)
Plus Chatwood signing w Bluejays is done.
crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
...and done. 1 year deal with a mutual option.
Cubster 2 days 19 hours ago (view)
Dolorous in discussions with the Washington Schwarbs.