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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  • crunch 1 hour 46 min ago (view)

    3 dot crew represent.  i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.

     

  • Charlie 1 hour 53 min ago (view)

    I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!

    Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.

     

  • George Altman 5 hours 57 min ago (view)

    The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport,  to learn something from the broadcast crew.

    Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't,  and I know about NOTHING about football. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 8 hours 17 min ago (view)

    Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3.  If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #.  eg - OUTS: 1  It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.

     

  • crunch 8 hours 48 min ago (view)

    tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 9 hours 10 min ago (view)

    General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset.

     

  • crunch 10 hours 33 min ago (view)

    brews sign j.bradley 2/24m...decent deal for a quality CF'r.  he can opt out of the 2nd year.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 13 min ago (view)

    the national broadcasts on ESPN suffer badly from a lack of "homework" on the teams they're covering.

    yesterday i heard more riffing between the announcers about each other more than the players.  the only thing that saved them from more of that and dead air was in-progress action and player interviews (too many player interviews, but it's spring so whatever).

     

  • Hagsag 13 hours 49 min ago (view)

    Not impressed with ESPN's broadcast. I like Mendoza's work, but how many kids did we have to see rolling around the grass. Good day to see some young players ,but half the time you had no idea who was batting or pitching.

     

  • crunch 22 hours 41 min ago (view)

    cubs game totally not a delay broadcast for ESPN...thanks for that gem heyward.

    dunno if they'll be printing up any "You better have your shit in line" t-shirts, but it's as least as good as "Try not to suck"

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 41 min ago (view)

    Jason Adam is another who throws short arm. I don't think he was a position player, but maybe falls into the arm injury category?

     

  • Sonicwind75 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Thanks Phil, these pitching summaries are great!

     

  • Eric S 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Thanks, AZ Phil.  Looks like a better use of the off-season by Maples than Carl Jr's hop-in-delivery was a few years ago - and not against the rules either. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Even though he is signed to a minor lesague contract and is not on the MLB 40-man roster right now, I would think Eric Sogard is a virtual lock to make the Cubs Opening Day Active List 26-man roster. 

    The Cubs were reportedly looking to sign a left-handed hitting second-baseman, and Sogard certainly fits that description. And unlike Jason Kipnis, Sogard has the versatility to play 3B and SS as well as 2B. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    ERIC: Just as you said, the short-arm technique can improve command, hopefully without impacting the quality of a pitcher's stuff.

    Based on what I saw yesterday, Maples' stuff is as good as ever, and his command was better, too. Hopefully it will continue, because he probably has the best pure stuff on the staff. Command has always been the problem.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    CUBSTER: Unless there is a wave of pitcher injuries in Spring Training I would think Shelby Miller will probably begin the season at AAA (or at the ATS, since the start of the AAA season is supposely going to be delayed) where he can get stretched out.