Oscar de la Cruz Goes Six Strong at Riverview

Oscar de la Cruz hurled six innings (78 pitches - 72% strikes) of one-run/three-hit ball (run was unearned) with five strikeouts and no walks, Cam Balego drilled an RBI single and an RBI double and drew a walk, Delvin Zinn singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored three runs, Jonathan Soto belted a two-run HR and a single, and Alexander Guerra smacked a solo HR, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Tuesday morning on Field #6 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Alec Mills (Iowa) and Oscar de la Cruz (Tennessee) were the starting pitchers in the game. Both were left behind in Mesa by their respective full-season clubs so that they could pitch in a game on what was their normal day to pitch, with both scheduled to make regular-season starts for their teams this coming Sunday or Monday. So it was a matter of them getting both their normal-scheduled work and increasing their pitch counts closer to regular-season levels.  

Enrique de los Rios and Brendan King followed de la Cruz and Mills to the mound, getting stretched-out in preparation for being Cubs EXST SP.  
 
Here is the box score from the game:      

SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Roberto Caro, LF: 1-4 (F-8, 1B, F-7, P-5, CS)
2. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 2-4 (2B, K, K, 1B)
3. Jonathan Sierra, RF: 0-4 (F-7, P-2, F-7, 4-3 DP)
4. Alexander Guerra, C: 1-4 (K+WP, K, 6-3, HR, 2 R, RBI)
5. Rafael Mejia, 1B: 0-4 (P-6, K, 5-3, E-5)
6. Fidel Mejia, 3B: 2-4 (E-4, 3B, 1B, F-9)
7. Ramsey Romano, SS: 0-2 (F-8 SF, 1-3, F-9, RBI)
8a. Christopher Morel, DH: 0-2 (F-9, 5-3)
8b. Eric Gonzalez, PH: 0-1 (F-9)
9. Fernando Kelli, CF: 0-3 (K, F-8, P-4)

SQUAD "A" LINEUP:
X. Chris Coghlan, RF: 0-2 (BB, K, BB, P-2)
NOTE: Coghlan led-off 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th innings
1. Delvin Zinn, 2B: 2-4 (5-4 FC, 2B, 1B, K, 3 R, SB)
2. Jonathan Soto, C: 2-4 (K, F-7, HR, 1B, R, 2 RBI)
3. Cam Balego, 3B: 2-3 (2B, 1B, BB, 5-4-3 DP, 2 RBI)
4. Luis Diaz, DH: 1-4 (5-3, 6-3, 5-4-3 DP, 3B, R)
5. Luis Vazquez, SS: 1-4 (E-5, L-9, P-3, 1B, RBI)
6. Joe Martarano, 1B: 0-4 (K, K, 5-3, K)
7. Jose Gutierrez, CF: 0-3 (0-3, 4-3, K, K)
8. Jose A. Gonzalez, LF: 0-3 (K, F-8, 6-3)

SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Alec Mills: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 4/2 GO/AO, 75 pitches (48 strikes)
2. Brendan King: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 2 GIDP, 4/3 GO/AO, 55 pitches (35 strikes)  

SQUAD "A" PITCHERS:
1. Oscar de la Cruz: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 2 WP, 2/9 GO/AO, 78 pitches (56 strikes)
2. Enrique de los Rios: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 3/5 GO/AO, 52 pitches (31 strikes)

SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 1
3B Fidel Mejia: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

SQUAD "A" ERRORS: 2
1. 2B Delvin Zinn: E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. 3B Cam Balego: E-5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

SQUAD "B" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Alexander Guerra: 0-1 CS

SQUAD "A" CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jonathan Soto: 1-1 CS

SQUAD "A" OUTFIELD ASSIST:
CF Jose Gutierrez - batter (Fidel Mejia) thrown out 8-6-2 attempting to stretch triple into inside-the-park HR

ATTENDANCE: 16

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's

Arizona
Scoring
Service

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

Comments

Phil, do you expect some additional players from the D.R. academy soon?

HAGSAG: Yes. They will be arriving this weekend.

PHIL: I noticed the AZ and DSL inactive lists have several players listed as signed for future service. This happens every year but I forget when those guys are able to start playing.

Are those players able to participate in extended spring training? And is their any significance to the placement of some of those "signed for future service" guys on the AZ roster? Are they more advanced and likely to start the season in Mesa or is it more just a clerical thing like you can only have so many inactive players per team?

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge!

K-DUB: A player who is "Signed for Future Service" is any player who signs his first pro contract after July 1st (typically an International Free-Agent, but not always) where the contract is for the following season.

These players can participate (without any restriction) in post-season Instructs, Minor League Camp (Spring Training), and Extended Spring Training, and as long as the player is not placed on a full-season affiliate's roster, the player does not count against the affiliate's reserve list limit until that affiliate's Opening Day (which isn't until June for short-season clubs like Eugene, AZL Cubs #1, AZL Cubs #2, DSL Cubs #1, and DSL Cubs #2). This effectively allows an MLB organization to sign as many IFA as it wants after July 1st without having to worry about overloading an affiliate's reserve list -- that is, until the start of the short-season leagues in June.

No more than twelve players "Signed for Future Service" can be assigned to any one affiliate, and the player loses this status if he is transferred to an MLB or full-season affiliate's roster.

The Cubs had two players with "Signed for Future Service" status (C Alexander Guerra and INF Christian Donahue) at Minor League Camp this year, but Donahue (who was Signed for Future Service as a NDFA out of Oregon State last August, and then was transferred to the South Bend reserve list a couple of days ago) no longer has "Signed for Future Service" status and so he now counts against the South Bend 35-man reserve list.

PHIL: Thank you, sir!

In case you are wondering why the Opening Day rosters of the Cubs four full-season affiliates (Iowa, Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend) are described as "preliminary" and have more than 25 players listed, players on minor league rosters cannot be placed on a minor league club's disabled list (7-day or 60-day) until Minor League Opening Day, so expect a flurry of additional roster moves on Thursday as injured or rehabbing players are placed on the DL. The rosters that I provided (and updated daily) during Minor League Camp are where the players were actually assigned that day at Minor League Camp. Injured and rehabbing players on the reserve list of a full season affiliate (including pitchers in the Rehab Throwing Program) will be placed on that affiliate's DL on Thursday. Injured or rehabbing players on a short-season affiliate's reserve list cannot be placed on the DL until the short-season leagues begin play in June.

PHIL: What do you see from Stephen Bruno lately? You liked the kid 4-5 years ago (or, maybe it was 10?). Now, at 27, is it time for him to consider another career?

dude is made of glass. im a bit surprised he's not 100% blind, totally deaf, and in one of those wheelchairs you gotta blow into a straw to operate. seriously, though...he's had some tough luck injuries. speaking of, it's nice to see oscar de la cruz go 6 deep with 5 Ks and no walks. he's not just made of glass, he's a straight up pre-shattered Bag O' Glass.

E-MAN: The Cubs like Stephen Bruno but there is no clear pathway for him to get to MLB. He is eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2018, so he will probably try his luck in another organization next season.

speaking of... it seems like a lot of these types of guys under the current developmental crew are getting a lot more "super utility" type work in the minors to see if they can add some value to their fringe skills. is this a thing or does it just seem this way?

CRUNCH: The Cubs have definitely placed a greater emphasis on position-versatility in their minor league system since Joe Maddon became manager.

it's unreal how the "humidor balls" are acting at Chase Field (ARZ).

stuff is dying in the OF after getting totally crushed.  pitchers gotta be loving it, though.

Phil, in addition to Vasquez, which players have impressed you the most this spring?

azbobbop: If you're talking just about position players, nobody makes harder contact than Christopher Morel. I can close my eyes during BP and tell you when Morel is hitting because it sounds like a rifle shot. He has been playing both SS and 3B at Minor League Camp (for example, he played 3B yesterday and SS today) and handles himself well at both spots. He has a high ceiling, and is probably a Cubs Top 15 prospect right now.

Miguel Amaya, Henderson Perez, and Jonathan Soto are the next wave of Cubs top catching prospects. M. Amaya is already at South Bend, while H. Perez and Soto will be at Extended Spring Training. M. Amaya is clearly a Cubs Top 15 prospect right now, but it is possible that H. Perez or Soto could jump AZL and end up at Eugene (as happened with M. Amaya last year). H. Perez is more-polished but Soto probably has the higher-ceiling (more like M. Amaya).

A couple of players you don't hear much about are 2B Luis Diaz and OF-1B Abraham Rodriguez, probably because both are "bat-first" guys (A. Rod is a train-wreck in the outfield). Both of them consistently drill hard-contact line-drives foul-line-to-foul-line.

A. Rodriguez missed the 2017 season after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder, but he is starting to get some lift in his swing, and could become a very interesting hitting prospect later this season (probably in the AZL, but maybe at Eugene).

L. Diaz is a bit stiff defensively and so 2B is probably his best-position going forward (as opposed to elsewhere in the infield). While he appears (right now) to be perfectly adequate at 2B, an eventual move to LF is possible (presuming he hits enough to play a corner OF slot). Like A. Rodriguez, L. Diaz could skip AZL and go directly to Eugene depending on how things go for him at Extended Spring Training.

Thanks, Phil! When John first wrote about Luis Diaz at Cubs Den, he called him primarily a "speed guy". Then, Luis put up some surprising power numbers last year in the DSL. He's listed as 5'9", 160 lbs. As far as you can tell, did he fill out any? If so, did it affect his speed? Is he still what you would describe as a "speedster"?

K-DUB: Luis Diaz has strong wrists and forearms, and that's where he gets his bat-speed. He is a fast runner, but not in the class of Fernando Kelli and Zach Davis (who are probably the two fastest runners in the Cubs system).

Wow, great to hear about Christopher Morel. Can't wait to see who will be coming this weekend from the D.R.

Recent comments

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 19 min ago (view)

    In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).   

     

  • JustSayin' 20 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 22 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.

    That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 3 min ago (view)

    Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 

     

  • JustSayin' 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.

     

  • crunch 3 days 26 min ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.

     

  • crunch 5 days 16 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 5 days 22 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 6 days 1 hour ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 6 days 22 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 1 week 6 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 8 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 12 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---