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.
JustSayin' 13 hours 18 min ago (view)
I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports. The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers. The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits. If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt. At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.
crunch 14 hours 18 min ago (view)
rizzo took BP and did some field work today. also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.
Cubster 21 hours 37 min ago (view)
Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms
crunch 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
the COVID-Division should be fun.
teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other... CO is all "wtf, really?"
Cubster 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts.
Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?
Charlie 1 day 18 hours ago (view)
I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.
Cubster 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.
Cubster 3 days 22 hours ago (view)
per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).
Arizona Phil 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).
crunch 4 days 13 hours ago (view)
rizzo takes another day off (lower back). ross says the club is "exercising caution."
klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.
Ryno 4 days 14 hours ago (view)
Has anyone seen Darvish's pitch "The Supreme"? Isn't it just a sinker?
Ryno 4 days 14 hours ago (view)
In other words: This lineup sucks.
Arizona Phil 4 days 14 hours ago (view)
Jason Kipnis was released on June 29th and then he was re-signed to a new (different) 2020 minor league contract that does not require a $100K retention bonus if he is not added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 2020 MLB Opening Day (7/23).
Brandon Morrow remains on his original 2020 minor league contract which pays him a $100K retention bonus if he is not released by 7/18 or added to the Cubs MLB Reserve List by 7/23.
Eric S 4 days 15 hours ago (view)
There is that re Kimbrel - at worst, just another year on the books.
July 1st is Bobby Bonilla Day - the day that check is cut and paid annually.