Tseng & Company Fan Flames as Cub Hitters Extinguish Blaze

Cubs 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jen-Ho Tseng and six relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts, David Bote singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, scored three runs, and drove-in another, and Shamil Ubiera singled twice, walked twice, and knocked-in three runs, as the Cubs blanked the Langley Blaze 10-0 in Minor League Camp game action today on Field #3 at Mesa Cubtown.   


A member of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL), the Blaze are one of the top amateur baseball clubs in Canada. Notable alumni include Brett Lawrie and Scott Mathieson, as well as Cub minor leaguers Wes Darvill and Jesse Hodges. 

The Blaze are on an eleven-day Arizona Spring Training Trip, where they are playing minor league teams, college and high school teams, and another Canadian amateur club from Ontario. The Blaze are scheduled to play one or two (and sometimes even three!) games per day, including morning games, afternoon games, night games, doubleheaders, and split squad games, so the Canadian lads (age 15-18) are playing a LOT of baseball in the Valley of the Sun.

In Cubs Minor League Camp roster news, 21-year old Venezuelan Miguel Rico has arrived in Mesa, and (surprise!) he is being converted from 3B to catcher. Rico spent the last three seasons playing ball in Latin America (one season with the DSL Cubs and two with the VSL Cubs), hitting a combined 241/344/375 with 16 HR and 27 doubles in 174 games (681 PA). 

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

CUBS LINEUP:
1a. Tim Saunders, SS: 1-3 (1B, F-8, 5-4-3 DP, R, 2 SB)
1b. Bryant Flete, SS: 0-1 (BB, BB, 6-3, R) 
2. David Bote, 3B-DH: 3-4 (1B, 2B, BB, 5-3 DP, 1B, 3 R, RBI, 2 SB)
3. Tanner Witt, 2B: 1-4 (4-3, F-9, 2B, 6-3, SF-E8, 2 R, 2 RBI)
4. Shane Kennedy, DH-3B: 0-3 (BB, BB,5-3, F-9, 5-3, RBI, SB, CS) 
5. Shamil Ubiera, RF: 2-2 (BB, F-9 SF, 1B, BB, 1B, 3 RBI, SB) 
6a. Justin Marra, 1B: 0-2 (P-5, F-8, BB) 
6b. Alex Tomasovich, 1B: 0-0 (BB, L-8 SF, RBI) 
7. Charlie White, LF: 1-3 (HBP, 1B, HBP, F-8, 3-U, R, SB)
8a. Calvin Graves, CF: 1-3 (L-9, 2B, K, R)
8b. Kevin Encarnacion, CF: 0-2 (F-8, F-7) 
9a. Alberto Mineo, C: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, 2 RBI)
9b. Jhonny Pereda, C: 2-2 (1B, BB, 2B, R)

CUBS PITCHERS
1. Jen-Ho Tseng: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 4/0 GO/FO, 39 pitches (29 strikes) 
2. Trevor Graham: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 18 pitches (10 strikes) 
3. Sam Wilson: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 12 pitches (10 strikes) 
4. Alex Santana: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 16 pitches (9 strikes) 
5. Ryan McNeil: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GO/FO, 18 pitches (10 strikes) 
6. Tanner Griggs: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 13 pitches (12 strikes) 
7. Andin Diaz: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 14 pitches (11 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: NONE 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
1. Alberto Mineo: 0-2 CS
2. Jhonny Pereda: 0-1 CS 

CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS
LF Charle White - threw out baserunner 7-2 trying to score from 2nd base on line single to left

WEATHER
: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's 

ATTENDANCE
: 42 

 

 

Comments

Seven pitchers threw "live" BP today at Minor League Camp: 

* throws left

ONE INNING (15 pitches): 
Francisco Carrillo 
* Gerardo Concepcion 
Lars Huijer 
Daniel Lewis (threw post-game "live" BP versus Langley Blaze hitters)
* Jordan Minch 
Juan Carlos Paniagua 
* Tommy Thorpe

AZ Phil, have you heard whether Joe Martarano is still going to play baseball now that the Cubs are no longer in Boise? I noticed he was listed as inactive/attending school in your post the other day.

BRADSBEARD: I have not heard.

Joey Martarano is getting to be a bigger part of the Boise State football team (he played well in the Fiesta Bowl), and I suspect the Cubs realize that football is his first love and that baseball is more of a fallback option right now (but then that was also thought to be true for Jeff Samardzija and Matt Szczur, too), and that they will just have wait until he finishes his college football career to find out if he has an opportunity to play in the NFL, and if he doesn't, if he would like to try playing pro baseball full-time. 

Until that happens, it will just be a waiting game for the Cubs. Sort of like an NBA team that drafts a young international player who is playing pro basketball in Europe and then waits a couple or three years to see if he will come to America to play in the NBA. 

That said, I would not be surprised if Martarano plays at least some baseball this coming May-June-July at Extended Spring Training and then with either the AZL Cubs or Eugene (before BSU's training camp starts up in August). 

Thanks! Hoping he stays healthy and eventually chooses baseball, but we'll see.

18-year old Dominican catcher Eric Gonzalez has arrived at Minor League Camp from the Dominican Academy. He hit 254/297/322 in 19 Games (66 PA) with the DSL Cubs in 2014.

Who are Tanner Witt and Shane Kennedy? Recent NDFAs?

t.witt was signed out of the frontier league...high end unsigned prospect...well, as far as "high end" can go with unsigned indie ball guys.

K-BANSAW: Shane Kennedy was signed by the Cubs as a 23-year old NDFA just prior to the start of Spring Training. (The July signing deadline did not apply to Kennedy because he has no college eligibility left). He is a 6'4 lanky right-handed hitter who looks a little bit like Kris Bryant at the plate, but (obviously) he doesn't have Bryant's talent. 

Kennedy was a freshman All-American at U. of North Florida, then transferred to Santa Fe CC where he was a JC All-American his sophmore year, and then he transferred to Clemson where he was 2nd team All-ACC in 2013. Then he tore up his knee (ACL) in October 2013 and had a terrible senior season in 2014 (he probably should have taken a medical redshirt). 

Kennedy has played both 1B and 3B at Minor League Camp, and has made some really nice stops at 3rd base, although his throwing needs work. He also is a surprisingly fast runner (especially for a big guy, and considering that he had a significant knee injury), and a good base-stealer, too. He doesn't seem to have a lot of HR power now (although he supposedly did before the knee injury), but he does have a nice line-drive stroke. He has "four-corner guy" (1B-3B-LF-RF) written all over him. 

Tanner Witt is 24 years old and he hits right-handed. He went to Lake Zurich HS and played college ball at Kansas State. But he wasn't drafted, and so he opted to play independent ball for the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, where he was Frontier League Rookie of the Year in 2014. He is a versatile player who can play anywhere in the infield or outfield. He has some HR power in BP, and he seems to have a plan when he takes an AB, which is something the Cubs liike to emphasize. He is an EXTREMELY choosy hitter at the plate and goes deep into the count almost every AB, and doesn't seem to mind hitting with two strikes.  

Witt signed a 2015 contract with the Rockford Aviators and then the Cubs acquired him just prior to the start of Minor League Camp, so he will likely return to the Aviators if he doesn't survive Spring Training. But players like Witt tend to have value in the minors, where versatility and character are the two most important traits among bench guys. He's the type of player who will probably eventually go through the Cubs catcher conversion program just to increase his value and versatility (that's if he remains with the Cubs going forward). 

Today's workout at Minor League Camp was temporailiy halted and the facility went into "lockdown" because a murder suspect was believed to be loose in the area. (The murder occurred at a motel about a mile south of Riverview Park, then there was another shooting at a nearby restaurant, and a car-jacking).

So the 200+ Cubs players and coaches hot-footed it to the safety of the clubhouse, while the fans who were there stood around asking each other, "What just happened?"

The suspect was eventually captured by Mesa Police 2-1/2 miles away. One dead. Several others wounded. 

That is really intense and unfortunate. Why didn't they warn the crowd?

CARLITO: It looked like the work-out was over so most of the fans were already starting to leave. Then somebody found out that there had been a shooting nearby, and that the area was in "lockdown," and that we needed to leave -NOW-.  

I can only imagine the panic if there had been a Cubs Spring Training game at Sloan Park today. I'm not sure what the authorities would have done. 

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  • Hagsag 2 hours 46 min ago (view)

    Predictions on the Rule 5 draft this morning?

     

  • Hagsag 3 hours 4 min ago (view)

    Very, very interesting Phil. Thanks for the post.

     

  • Arizona Phil 7 hours 15 min ago (view)

    What was the stated purpose of the 1953 Bonus Rule? 

    COMMISSIONER FORD FRICK: "We want the kind of bonus rule that will discourage the Majors from paying out big bonuses, and encourage the little fellows (he is referring here to the minor leagues) to sign these youngsters and then sell them to clubs of a higher classification."

     

  • crunch 9 hours 45 min ago (view)

    g.cole - yanks - 9/324m

    s.strasburg - nats - 7/245m

    a.rendon - angels - 7/245m

    boras has signed $814m of contracts for his guys this week.  not bad.

     

  • crunch 9 hours 51 min ago (view)

    still waiting for rich hill to happen over here...i promise to be totally not impressed or happy about it.  not a tj guy, but he's injured as hell and not expected to show up until mid-season at best.

    whoever they pick to give a few million dollars over a couple seasons to not pitch for the cubs in any of them, i welcome them.

    on a serious tip, there are rumors of a minor league deal for b.morrow.

     

  • bradsbeard 10 hours 26 min ago (view)

    Taijuan Walker is a good candidate. 

     

  • cubbies.4ever 11 hours 51 min ago (view)

    So who is left in the free Agent market that has had Tommy John surgery?  That seems to be a Prerequisite for Theo.  Cotton and Winkler both did adding to all the other signings of Theo.  I would love to see how many people Theo has signed or drafted who has had TJS.

     

  • Charlie 20 hours 33 min ago (view)

    I hope "isn't happening" was more like, "we'd love to continue to discuss this soon"--after extensions/trades of younger players are a bit more sorted.

     

  • Charlie 20 hours 36 min ago (view)

    If only they had revenue from having recently won the World Series and a string of playoff appearances along with a new TV contract! Then they could really spend.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 53 min ago (view)

    i wish this team was owned by billionaires rather than these...oh, nevermind.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 21 hours 31 min ago (view)

    Apparently Cubs were approached by Rizzo's agent about an extension. They told him it wasn't happening.

    Cubs organization is performing a master class in how to burn good will among fans!

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    jdlym: The contract Brad Brach signed with the Mets includes a $850K base salary for 2020, a $1.25M club option for 2021, $400K in potential performance bonuses in 2020, potentially $2.25M in 2021 salary accelerators, and $500K in potential performance bonuses in 2021, so ordinarily the Cubs salary obligation to Brach would be the difference between Brach's new 2020 base salary ($850K) and what would have been his 2020 player option salary ($1.35M) if he hadn't been released by the Cubs. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    d.ross meets the media at winter meetings...video/audio

    https://www.pscp.tv/w/1ypKdBvlvzyJW

     

  • jdrnym 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    Hey AZPhil, when a player is released with money/years still remaining on his contract, does his next team *have* to give him the prorated major league minimum or can they offer more (meaning the original club owes less) to "outbid" other teams that may have had interest? I'm assuming that's what happened with Brad Brach, where the Mets signed him for 2020 at $850,000.

     

  • crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    jeremy jeffress agrees.

     

  • Rob Richardson 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    It's high time if you ask me.