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)


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)
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)

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



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)

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)


Jhonny Pereda: 1 PO 


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


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


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!

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  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    a lot of people were all-in on it being a 2022 thing, but given how MLB has held the DH over the player's heads like it's some kind of extremely valuable chip worth more than the players seem to think it's worth...who knows...


  • Cubster 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    any estimates on the chances of the DH in the NL anytime soon?


  • crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

    k.schwarber is hella good at post-season baseball.


  • Cubster 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Carter Hawkins introduced to the press...


  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    e.castillo and t.payne off the 40man in 100% totally expected moves.

    both are/were catcher organizational depth.


  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    for those keeping track of the heating-up Mets head of baseball operations search, theo has already ruled himself out.

    mets want(ed) some heavy hitters (including b.beane and d.stearns), but none of them are on board...well, MIL took stearns off the board before he could chime in because he has a year left on his contract.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Something to keep in mind about clearing MLB 40-man roster slots for players eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft is that you can't non-tender players to create 40-man roster space for Rule 5 Draft eligibles. That's because players can only be non-tendered on 12/2, and the pre-Rule 5 Draft roster filing deadline is 11/19 (almost two weeks - PRIOR TO -the contract tender date). NOTE: Normally the roster filing deadline is 11/20, but it's moved up to 11/19 this year because 11/20 falls on a Saturday in 2021


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Just one game, some BP, infield practice, and baserunning drills. So not much to glean from that so far. 


  • crunch 2 days 6 hours ago (view)

    minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs).  this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living.  for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.

    activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen.  good work.


  • bradsbeard 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in). 


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.


  • Hagsag 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November. 


  • azbobbop 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.


  • tim815 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF). 


  • Arizona Phil 3 days 9 hours ago (view)

    KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.

    I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.

    Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.