Cubs Repel Snakes at Riverview

Yovanny Cuevas (RBI triple), Cam Balego (two-run single), Jonathan Sierra (RBI single), and Fernando Kelli (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits and LHSP Brailyn Marquez and four relievers combined to hurl a five-hitter, as the Cubs cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The defensive gem of the game was turned-in by Cubs SS Luis Vazquez, who made a spectacular back-handed diving catch (at full-speed and with full extension) in short LF at the foul line, quickly righted himself, and then threw a laser-strike to 1st base to double-off the shocked/amazed D'backs baserunner to end the top of the 7th inning. (To prove he isn't ready for MLB just yet, Vazquez made a fielding error on an easy grounder to short in the top of the 9th).   
 
Recently-signed OF Lane Adams served as a DH in the game for the Cubs and got three AB, walking and scoring in the 1st, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 2nd, and striking out (swinging) on a 3-2 breaking ball in the 4th. Adams elected free-agency after being sent outright to AAA Gwinnett by the Atlanta Braves on April 25th,.and he officially signed with the Cubs today. He is at Extended Spring Training partly because he hadn't played in a game in about three weeks, and partly because there is not (at present) room for him at AAA Iowa.

The 28-year old Adams was one of the better "4th outfielders" in MLB last year, hitting 275/339/468 in 85 games with the Braves. But his best attribute is base-stealing. He swiped 25 bags last year, ten with Atlanta (no CS) and 15 for AAA Gwinnett prior to getting called up, after stealing 38 in AA in both 2013 and 2014, 31 in AA/AAA in 2015, and 44 in AA/AAA in 2016. 

Adams played in the Cubs organization in 2016 (first at AA Tennessee and then at AAA Iowa) after being released by the Yankees (he was released from AA Trenton to make room for OF Billy McKinney after the Yanks acquired McKinney as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, so in a way Adams signing with the Cubs in 2016 was indirectly a result of the Chapman deal), and he was actually "on the bubble" for a potential September call-up to Chicago that season as a "5th outfielder" (late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement), but he never got the call.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Cubs 2017 5th round draft pick OF Nelson Velazquez (P. J. Education School - Carolina, PR) has been promoted to South Bend.  

Here is the abridged box score from today's game (Cubs players only):
CUBS LINEUP:
1a. Lane Adams, DH #1: 0-2 (BB, F-8, K, R)
1b. Alexander Guerra, PH: 1-1 (2B, R)
2. Luis Ayala, CF: 1-3 (1B, P-5, 5-3, BB, R)
3. Fernando Kelli, DH #2: 1-4 (K, L-6, K, 1B, RBI)
4. Jonathan Sierra, RF: 1-3 (1B, 3-1, BB, K, R, RBI)
5a. Cam Balego, C: 1-3 (1B, 5-3, 6-4 FC, R, 2 RBI)
5b. Eric Gonzalez, C: 0-1 (K)
6. Yovanny Cuevas, LF: 2-4 (3B, 2B, K, K, R, RBI)
7. Luis Vazquez, SS: 1-3 (P-6, 3-U SH, 1B, 5-3, R)
8a. Fabian Pertuz, 3B: 0-2 (F-7, FC, RBI, CS)
8b. Henrry Pedra, 3B: 1-2 (1B, P-4)
9. Luis Hidalgo, 1B: 0-3 (K, BB, 5-4 FC, K, RBI)
10. Delvin Zinn, 2B: 1-3 (1B, E-5, P-3)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Brailyn Marquez: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GO/AO, 37 pitches (20 strikes)
2. Erick Leal: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/2 GO/AO, 17 pitches (14 strikes)
3. Manuel Rondon: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (9 strikes)
4. Casey Ryan: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/3 GO/AO, 17 pitches (13 strikes)
5. Mitch Stophel: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/AO, 20 pitches (18 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 1
SS Luis Vazquez: E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

ATTENDANCE: 6

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+

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Comments

19 year old OF Nelson Velazquez promoted from extended Spring Training to Low A South Bend, starting in RF and batting sixth in his first start tonight. 

Velazquez up to SB should be accompanied by Albertos down to Mesa.  Word is that the Cubs are changing his mechanics, to avoid elbow problems which have limitied his availability.  Maybe this will work but it is not working yet.  Saw him live last night and it was worse than the bad stats indicated.  No fastball command or consistency.  To avoid walks, he was throwing BP-like pitches in three ball counts.  They were being lined all over the place.  The place to work on mechanics is not in games at the highest level a pitcher has ever thrown.  The Cubs will turn this poor kid into a head case soon with this approach, if they haven't already.

That is pathetic. They are so thin on pitching prospects, when I hear this it is not encouraging. I have no idea if this is correlated, but in seeing Tseng during his time in AA (on the same squad w/Schwarbs), command of the strike zone was his forte ( and not Matt Forte). Since then, AAA and MLB starts - its eluded him.

I should say its primarily his FB. Just can't locate it.

Az Phil, can you provide your insight again on David Bote with his taste of mlb play this year. As I recall, he’s Zobrist lite. 

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In reply to by Cubster

CUBSTER: While (like Ben Zobrist) David Bote has positional versatility, I really don't see Bote as a Zobrist type exactly.

BRADSBEARD offered the Mark DeRosa comp here last fall when Bote was mashing in the AFL, and that's the best comp I've seen. Bote had the top average exit velocity of all Cubs minor leaguers last season, and he you can see the result of his bat-speed when he makes contact. He can rake.

Bote was a shortstop in HS and JC, and while he played some SS for the Cubs after he signed and occasionally at AA and AAA (and in the AFL lastr year), he really doesn't have the range required to play there at the big league level except in a pinch (sort of like Ron Santo would do occasionally back in the 1960's). Bote is, however, passably-adequate at 2B-3B-1B-LF-RF, and that's still a good number of defensive positions he can reasonably handle even if he doesn't play everywhere (including SS and CF), which Zobrist did in his prime.

That said, Bote could be the eventual long-term 25-man roster replacement for Zobrist (in 2020) after Zobrist's contract expires (Zobrist is signed through 2019), presuming Bote isn't traded in the meantime. 

Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

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36 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (four slots are open)  

Last updated 12-2-2022
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 20
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Mark Leiter Jr
Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Keegan Thompson
Erich Uelmen 
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes
P. J. Higgins 

INFIELDERS: 7
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
* Alfonso Rivas
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 6
Kevin Alcantara 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez

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