Max the Bain of the Inland Empire's Existence at Sloan Park

SP Max Bain fired three innings of one hit shutout ball with six strikeouts and combined with five relievers on a four-hit shutout with 14 punch-outs, and Ed Howard IV singled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Lo-A affiliate) blanked the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Lo-A affiliate) 4-0 in Cactus League Minor League Camp game action Monday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.    

The Defensive Gem of the Day was a spectacular back-handed diving catch in left-centerfield by Pelicans LF Jacob Wetzel, proving the old adage, "You can take the boy out of centerfield, but you can't take the centerfielder out of the boy." 

Meanwhile, 23-year old 6'5 240 Max Bain has emerged as one of the Cubs top pitching prospects, and today he showed why.

Doing his best Trevor Bauer impression, Bain absolutely smoked the 66ers with overpowering gas, throwing mostly his electric 97-99 FB (which sat at 98-99 throughout his three innings of work) and mixing it with a high-velo 86-88 MPH SL/CT and an 84 MPH CH combo. I think it's likely that Bain will be the Opening Day SP for Myrtle Beach, but he probably won't remain there for long.   

Bain had an unusual path to affiliated ball (to say the least), signing with the Cubs as a non-drafted free-agent just before Spring Training 2020. He pitched for four years in obscurity (and mostly ineffectively) at NCAA D-2 Northwoods University in Michigan 2016-19, and then spent the summer following his senior year pitching for the Utica Unicorns in the independent United Shore Professional Baseball League in suburban Detroit. The Cubs signed him only after he lost a considerable amount of weight, which is why the timing of his signing (January) was so peculiar. 

Since signing with the Cubs, Bain has embraced the 21st century technology available at the Cubs Pitching Lab in Mesa and he has become an expert in the lab's various tools. He has also worked extensively with ex-Cub Luke Hagerty at Hagerty's 's X-2 Athletic Performance training center in Scottsdale.  

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

1a. Darius Hill, CF: 0-2 (K, BB, P-6, R)
1b. Jacob Olson, LF: 0-1 (F-8)
2a. Ethan Hearn, C: 0-2 (K, F-8, BB, R)
2b. Jake Washer, C: 0-1 (K)
3a. Ed Howard IV, SS: 2-3 (K, 1B, 1B, R, RBI)
3b. Scott McKeon, 2B: 0-1 (4-3)
4. Jacob Wetzel, LF-CF: 0-3 (K, K, F-9)
5. Yohendrick Pinango, RF: 0-3 (3-1, E-3, 1-3, R, SB)
6. Jake Slaughter, 3B: 1-2 (1-3, 1B, HBP, RBI)
7. Ryan Reynolds, 1B: 1-3 (4-3, K, 1B)
8. Grayson Byrd, DH: 0-3 (K, 4-3, K)
9. Yeison Santana, 2B-SS: 0-2 (K, F-9, BB)

1. Max Bain: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 1/1 GO/AO, 47 pitches (30 strikes) 
2. Tanner Jesson-Dalton: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GO/AO, 27 pitches (15 strikes)
3. Richard Gallardo: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 18 pitches (11 strikes) 
4. Graham Lawson: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 10 pitches (8 strikes)
5. Eury Ramos: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 9 pitches (7 strikes)
6. Ben Leeper: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 13 pitches (11 strikes) 

CF Darius Hill - batter thrown out 8-6-5 attempting to stretch double into triple, this play also featured an outstanding middleman laser relay throw from Ed Howard IV irom short CF to 3rd base...  


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's 


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


And despite what you might read elsewhere, It was - NOT - a "hot" gun.  

PHIL: Any velo readings on Ramos? Earlier reports also had him sitting 98-99. Thanks!

K-DUB: Eury Ramos FB was 97-99. 

Thank you, kind sir.

K-DUB: Eury Ramos FB velo was down to 95-97 last night (Monday night) and he couldn't command his slider. 

PHIL: Thank you so much for the update on Ramos. 

The Cubs have released LHP Ryan Kellogg, RHP Alex Moore, 3B Fidel Mejia, OF Jose Gutierrez, OF Eddy Julio Martinez, and OF Zac Taylor from Minor League Camp. 

Are these guys out of the org now? 

Anything on Gallardo, of interest, from today?

TIM: Richard Gallardo doesn't seem to be progressing as a SP, so he has apparently been moved to the bullpen.  He has a tendency to labor through innings and nibble too much and throw a lot of pitches. 

Wow, that's a pretty spectacular miss. He was so highly thought of when he signed.

DJL: How about Eddy Julio Martinez as a spectacular miss? A $3M signing bonus out of Cuba and he never made it out of AA. 

Phil, serious question: How good is the Cubs Player Development Department? Scale of 1 to 30 with 1 being best.  I mean, I can think of 5 teams right now who don't have near the Cubs resources but do better year after.

I mean there are organizations across sports who seem to coach the crap out of their draft picks and signees. They just got 4 teenagers for Darvish, but do they have the coaches to get any of them to the show? 

My pessimistic grade would be about 24. rated the Cubs 22 out of 30.

This season figures to tell quite a bit. No teams are terrible at player development anymore, and no teams look at the draft as a hopeless puzzle.

20s sounds about right. Considering they have gotten pretty much nothing out of pitching development in the last decade and only number one picks and Bote on the hitter side in the same time frame, that's pretty telling. I guess Contreras falls into that too but he had been around quite a while before Theo and Jed

Trading away some good prospects during the win-now phase is a confounding factor, since some of those guys *could* have gone on inside the organization to bolster the reputation. But one can hardly blame those trades for the lack of pitching development.

i know some are willing to fight me on this one, but i still can't believe the cubs gave up gleyber torres for a slew of innings of a.chapman.  yes, he was -the- best available, but it's not like the other guys (like mark melancon) were crap or the cubs were in some close chase to win the division.

Aroldis was 100 percent about the 2016 post-season.

I'm good with liking the trade. I'm good with not liking the trade. I'm not good with liking the trade because "Torres was blocked". A shortstop is very rarely blocked. A player like Vogelbach was blocked.

I'm OK with whatever happened that led to the Cubs winning the World Series, because I don't know that they would have won it without Chapman. Maybe. But also maybe not. So no regrets.

Now, Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease for Jose Quintana? Not OK. 

I've actually come around on the Quintana trade just a bit... still don't love it, but rather than just feeling furious comparing the players on paper & wishing for EJ's bat in the lineup, I try to remind myself of the context.  2016 WS; middle of very competitive 2017 season; Q seemed like a great fit in providing innings for '17 & the next couple years. Lackey & Arrieta were leaving; Lester was starting the "maybe eek out 1 more good year" phase of his career (with respect); maybe they already had eyes on Darvish... so locking up a cost-effective LHSP 3/4 seems smart on paper. Puts you at '18 & '19 with 1) Darvish, 2) Hendricks, 3/4) Lester &  Quintana, 5) ____ .  

Now the fact that Q travelled 10 miles up the Red Line and became 20% worse sucks & raises questions when combined with head scratchers Edwin Jackson & Tyler Chatwood. But at least Q had a solid track record the previous 4 years & wasn't just an advanced metrics crush. 

Extra credit to Q for bedeviling the Brewers for a few years.  And while there are regrets about the Q trade, I doubt it will be perceived as badly down the road when compared with Hahn's trade of Tatis Jr for Shields.

I was thinking that too, Phil. EJM failing so badly was another spectacular miss. Guess they should have let sleeping dogs lie when his first deal fell through (Dodgers or Giants, I think?)

Marquee to televise 14 I-Cub games, starting on 5/6...

about time they realized iowa really isn't that far away and hiring talent to produce a 3+ hour sports product there isn't a huge investment.

that said, hope people watch it.  i don't get Marquee (just feeds of cubs games), but i hear they need help with original content very badly.

I'm a bit surprised MiLB isn't pitching a fit. Because they want all the moneys.

The I-Cuba production is rather good, and not much needs to be added.

nice.  my local AAA (Durham Bulls) has a really nice broadcast put out by one of the dominate local cable providers.  it started rather modest in the pre-HD years, but it's become really polished.

MILB.TV finally updated their website and announced that all four Cubs full-season teams will be televised this year with a subscription:

2021 Subscription Includes:

  • More than 5,000 games
  • 95% of games streamed in HD
  • Games involving all 30 Triple-A teams
  • Games involving all 30 Double-A teams
  • Select games from other classifications

Subscriptions are NOT YET available, but they're coming soon!

Recent comments

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The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Hagsag 46 min 45 sec ago (view)

    Phil, I hope you get to see this group. What a bunch of middle infielders!


  • Arizona Phil 4 hours 45 min ago (view)

    The top four DSL Cubs position player prospects (SS Cristian Hernandez, C Moises Ballesteros, INF Pedro Ramirez, and OF Frank Hernandez) have been added to the Cubs AZIL roster (see updated roster in post above). 


  • Arizona Phil 23 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Dillon Maples does not have the right to elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but he will be automatically declared an MLB Rule 9 6YFA at 5 PM Eastern on the 5th day after the final game of the World Series if he is not added back to the 40 in the meantime. 


  • crunch 23 hours 16 min ago (view)

    p.wisdom is the new cubs all-time rookie HR leader.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 33 min ago (view)

    The Cubs will very likely be splitting the AZIL position players into two 14-man squads (like they did last year), with each squad playng in every other-game, and with the other squad having a Camp Day instructional work-out on a back-field when that squad is not playing in a game. There will also be five combined Camp Days during the course of the four weeks for all players from both squads.  


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 55 min ago (view)

    DJL: No. Signing a 2022 minor league successor contract would only matter with regard to a player in the Arizona Fall League, because the AFL schedule goes past the date when minor leaguers are declared free-agents. 

    AZ Instructs ends on October 16th, which is about two or three weeks before minor league free-agency, so the three guys at Cubs Instructs who are eligible to be free-agehts after the World Series (Dakota Chalmers. Nicholas Padilla, and Eury Ramos) do not need to sign successor contracts in order to play in AZIL games. 


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Sorry to hear about your dad, Charlie. I lost my father almost 2 years ago now, some of my fondest childhood memories are going to Wrigley with him.

    All the best wishes to you, sir.


  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    If you had Bote in the '11-'12- '13 Cubs draft dead pool, then you are a winner!


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Dakota Chalmers... interesting. He's scheduled to be a MILB FA, correct? Would this be a good sign he has signed a successor deal?


  • Cubster 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Maples dfa. Double Martini too.  Hoerner and Thompson back and Keegan to start today. Hoerner bats 5th.


  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    it's never a good time to be in the hospital, but things are extra complicated right now.

    hope everything goes well for everyone.

    go cubs


  • Charlie 1 day 21 hours ago (view)

    Listening to this in a hospital room because we are blacked out on I don't know which surprises me more, that the Cubs haven't beaten the Brewers since April or that the Cubs beat the Brewers in April.


  • crunch 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    m.rodriguez to 10d IL, a.morgan returns.


  • Jackstraw 3 days 7 hours ago (view)

    I like that the team was absolutely committed to not losing back-to-back games on a walk-off passed ball.


  • Eric S 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    And the funny thing is Rucker was the only Cubs pitcher tonight to post 0 runs allowed in the box score. You know things are really out of hand when Ross gives the okay for a Maples appearance.


  • George Altman 3 days 18 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil,

    Is there a reason Preciado hasn't been in an ACL game in about a month?