Little and Lange Dominate at Riverview

LLHP Brendon Little (Cubs 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-hit ball (a solo HR by Austin Beck with two outs in the 4th), retired fifteen of the sixteen men he faced (including six via strikeout), and threw 76% strikes, Jared Young belted a solo HR and an RBI double, and Jhonny Bethencourt knocked-in three runs with two RBI doubles, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 10-3 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Oakland Athletics Lo-A affiliate) on Field #5, and RHSP Alex Lange (the Cubs other 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-run two-hit ball and retired the last eleven batters he faced, Chesny Young, Ryan Court, and Tyler Alamo clubbed back-to-back-to-back home runs to highlight a four-run 2nd inning, and Aramis Ademan capped the scoring with a solo HR in the 8th, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) 9-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.      

Brendon Little was absolutely mesmerizing, working very fast and throwing strikes, and effectively mixing his FB, CV, and CH to maximum degree (F-7, K, K, 5-3, 4-3, F-9, K, 5-3, F-7, F-7, K, HR, F-8, P-4, K, K).

Alex Lange was almost as good as Little over his five innings, flashing both his plus-CV and a CH in addition to his solid FB (BB, P-4, 3B, K, F-7, K, 1B, K, F-8, 6-3, K, 4-3, F-8, F-7, 4-3, 6-3, F-8, 3-U).

So it was a really good day for two of the Cubs top pitching prospects.

Not to be outdone, RHP Bailey Clark (Cubs 2016 5th round draft pick) "piggy-backed" with Little and brought 97 MPH FB gas and a hard slider to Field #5, racking up three innings of one-hit one-run ball. Clark retired the side easily 1-2-3 in his first two innings of work (K, 3-U, K, 4-3, 5-3, P-3), before losing his command a bit in his 3rd inning. The A's loaded the bases on a single and two walks with no outs, but then Clark induced a 4-6-3 DP on a 1-2 pitch and struck out the next hitter to get out of the jam. Clark opted to return to college (Duke) to get his degree after being drafted and signed by the Cubs in 2016, and he lost some valuable developmental time as a result, but the 6'4 220 righthander has all the earmarks of a stud power-pitcher.  

RHRP Shae Simmons got an inning of work, producing a 1-2-3 inning (K, K, 4-3). He was pounding the lower part of the strike zone with a 95 MPH FB mixed-with an occasional hard SL. (Simmons missed much of Spring Training with a sore shoulder, and was optioned to AAA Iowa just prior to the games at Riverview).

Just back from Fort  Myers, FL, where they traveled with the big club for a two-game pre-season set with the Red Sox, Iowa Cubs infielders Ryan Court and Chesny Young served as "roving designated hitters" in the two games, moving back & forth between the two fields in order to get maximum AB in as short a time as possible. Iowa C-1B Taylor Davis got somewhat less-intense DH work in with South Bend, taking all of his AB on Field #5.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only)
 

FIELD #5:

SOUTH BEND LINEUP:
X-1 Ryan Court, DH #3: 1-3 (F-8, K, 1B, R)
NOTE: Court batted 3rd in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings
X-2 Chesny Young, DH #4: 0-1 (3-U)
NOTE: C. Young batted 3rd in the 5th inning
1. Zach Davis, CF: 1-2 (BB, P-5, 1B, R, RBI, CS)
2. Rafael Narea, 2B: 1-3 (5-3, FC, 1B+E5, R, RBI)
3. Jared Young, 1B: 2-3 (HR, 2B, 6-3, R, 2 RBI)
4. Austin Filiere, 3B: 0-2 (BB, K, 5-3)
5. Michael Cruz, DH-C: 1-2 (1B, BB, 3-1, R)
6. Brandon Hughes, RF: F-8, BB, 6-3, R)
7. Taylor Davis, DH #2: 0-2 (BB, K, 5-3, R)
8. Jhonny Bethencourt, SS: 2-2 (2B, 2B, R, 3 RBI)
9. Tyler Payne, C-DH: 1-2 (F-7, 2B, R, RBI)
10. Chris Singleton, LF: 1-1 (3B, F-7 SF, R, RBI)
 
SOUTH BEND PITCHERS:
1. Brendon Little: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 3/6 GO/AO, 50 pitches (38 strikes)
2. Bailey Clark; 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 GIDP, 4/1 GO/AO, 43 pitches (28 strikes)
3. Ben Hecht: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 0/2 GO/AO, 23 pitches (11 strikes)

SOUTH BEND ERRORS: 1
SS Jhonny Bethencourt: E-6 (fielding eror allowed batter to reach base safely)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FIELD #6

MYRTLE BEACH LINEUP:
X-1 Chesny Young, DH #1: 2-2 (HR, 1B, 2 R, 2 RBI)
NOTE: C. Young batted 4th in the 1st inning and 1st in the 2nd)
X-2 Ryan Court, DH #2: 2-2 (HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI, PO)
NOTE: Court batted 5th in the 1st inning and 2nd in the 2nd)   
1a. Andruw Monasterio, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, L-7, 5-3)
1b. Austin Upshaw, 2B: 0-1 (BB, F-8)
2. Chris Pieters, RF: 1-5 (L-8, F-7, 3-U, K, 1B)
3. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 1-4 (BB, 1B, 4-3, 6-3, K, R, RBI)
4. Tyler Alamo, 1B: 2-4 (HR, 1-3, 2B, 6-3, 2 R, RBI)
5. Daniel Spingola, LF: 0-3 (4-3, K, K, BB)
6. Jhonny Pereda, C: 2-4 (4-3, 1B, 1B, K, R, RBI, CS) 
7. Connor Myers, CF: 1-4 (1-3, 2B, F-9, K)
8. Aramis Ademan, SS: 1-3 (HBP, 5-3, E-8, HR, 2 R, RBI, SB)

MYRTLE BEACH PITCHERS:
1. Alex Lange: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 3/5 GO/AO, 58 pitches (39 strikes)
2. Shae Simmons: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 10 pitches (8 strikes)
3. Jordan Minch: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 27 pitches (15 strikes)
4. Tyler Peyton: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/2 GO/AO, 6 pitches (5 strikes) 
5. Chad Hockin: 1.0 IP,2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 GIDP, 2/0 GO/AO,  18 pitches (10 strikes)

MYRTLE BEACH ERRORS: NONE

MYRTLE BEACH CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jhonny Pereda: 1 PO 

ATTENDANCE: 36

WEATHER: Sunny and breezy with temperatures in the 80's

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Scoring
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"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen"

Comments

If Little ends up representing, I'll happily eat the crow on it.

AZ PHIL: Thanks for the Little Lange eyes on the ground. That is very, very encouraging. I hope we can see them both at Wrigley someday.

I’m here for Bailey Clark bringing the 97 MPH fastball and hard slider. 

Wow, sounds like some really good news for the day.  

Obviously L+L is really fun.

But really surprised to have Simmons healthy enough to be pitching again already.  As a chronically injured guy, when he came out because of shoulder, I thought he might easily be done for the year.  Nice for him.  

It'll be interesting if Clark can keep this jump in velocity. If so, he could have the makings of a power reliever down the line. Even more encouraging is the news that Little was mixing in the change up they reportedly had him working on last season which was the apparent reason for his poor numbers in Eugene. 

Also nice to see De La Cruz get moved up to AA. The Smokies should have a pretty decent rotation to start the season with Alzolay, De La Cruz, Hatch, Rucker and Robinson as well as a possible bounce back year for Clifton. 

There will be some interesting cuts and demotions with the Iowa pitching staff. Phil, you got any predictions?

Not Phil, but I imagine about eight or ten players are about to come down with either a strained calf or a sore quad. Nice, vague, and recovers as soon as a real injury happens.

HAGSAG: I don't really have any predictions, but there are 19 pitchers on the Iowa roster right now for 13 slots, so they need to remove six by next week. Some may go on the DL and/or stay behind in Extended Spring Training (at least for a while), but it's also very possible that one or more could get released or possibly even traded. A couple of position players assigned to the Iowa or Tennessee squad could get released or traded as well.

Great work, AZ!