Ademan Blast Leads Cubs to Victory

Aramis Ademan (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $2M bonus) blasted a three-run home run high over the RF fence and onto the south bank of the Red Mountain Freeway to cap a four-run sixth inning, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Diamondbacks 5-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #5 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Acquired by the Cubs from the Oakland A's for OF Chris Coghlan after the Cubs re-signed CF Dexter Fowler in February, RHSP Aaron Brooks (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with a hip contusion) made his first Cactus League EXST game appearance, throwing one inning  (12 pitches - 8 strikes), and allowing no runs on two hits (a single and a double). His fastball velocity was 91-92 MPH, and he displayed a hard breaking ball.   

RHP Dylan Cease followed Brooks to the hill and worked three innings (63 pitches - 63% strikes), allowing three runs (all three earned) on five hits (two doubles and three singles) and two walks, with four strikeouts, and a 2/3 GO/AO. He also committed a two-base throwing error attempting to pick a runner off 1st base.  

Cease's fastball velocity sat consistently at 96-98 MPH, but he touched 99 twice and 100 once in the top of the third when he struck out the side (his only 1-2-3 inning). He also threw about a dozen curves (79-81 MPH) and about a half-dozen change-ups (82-84 MPH). He had trouble commanding his change-up (he bounced most of them), he hung a couple of curves that were hammered for line-drive hits, and he had trouble keeping his fastball at knee level (which is when it's virtually unhittable), leaving too many of his high-velocity offerings belt-high.  

Dylan Cease combined 2016 Cactus League EXST line (thru 5/23): 
6 games
2.95 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .246 OppBA 
18.1 IP, 16 H, 6 R (6 ER), 9 BB, 25 K, 1 HBP, 0 HR, 2 WP, 2 PO, 1 BALK, 2 GIDP, 17/7 GO/AO, 307 pitches (61% strikes), 16.7 PITCHES-PER-INNING 

Prior to the EXST game on Field #5, RHSP Dallas Beeler (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL since Spring Training with right shoulder inflammation) and RHRP P. J. Francescon threw "live" BP on Field #4 (one inning and 25 pitches each).

Beeler was throwing in Cactus League EXST games last month and appeared to be close to moving-up to AAA Iowa, but then he was shut-down (mid-AB) in what was supposed to be his next-to-last rehab start on April 30th. So now it's back to square-one, with today's "live" BP outing his first step to get back to where he was last month. Barring any further medical setbacks, Beeler and Brooks should be in the Iowa starting rotation within about three weeks. 

Francescon was the closer at AA Tennessee last year and it looked like he would get a shot at advancing to AAA Iowa in 2016, but then he received a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension from MLB last January that has left him throwing "live" BP, "sim" games, and intrasquad games at Extended Spring Training while he completes his "sentence." Francescon reminds me a bit of Rod Beck, with a pedestrian 88-90 MPH fastball used to set-up a dive-bomb splitter (his "swing & miss" pitch).   

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

CUBS LINEUP:
1. D. J. Wilson, CF: 1-4 (K, F-8, 1B, F-8, R)
2a. Aramis Ademan, SS: 2-3 (F-7, 1B, HR, R, 3 RBI)
2b. Jhonny Bethencourt, 3B: 0-1 (K)
3. Chris Pieters, 1B: 1-3 (3-U, 1B, L-4, HBP, RBI, SB)
4. Wladimir Galindo, DH #1: 0-3 (K, 6-3, BB, L-5)
5. Alex Bautista, DH #2: 1-3 (K, 1B, K, HBP, PO)
6. Ricardo Marcano, RF: 0-4 (6-3, F-9, K, K) 
7. Yonathan Perlaza, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, F-8, BB, 4-3)
8. Andruw Monasterio, 3B-SS: 2-3 (4-3, 2B, BB, 1B, R)
9a. Tyler Pearson, C: 0-1 (F-8)
9b. Gustavo Polanco, PH-C: 0-3 (6-3, K, F-8, RBI)
10. Luis Ayala, LF: 2-3 (1B, 1B, 5-3, 2 R)

CUBS PITCHERS
1. Aaron Brooks: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (8 strikes) 
2. Dylan Cease: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 4 K, 2/3 GO/AO, 63 pitches (40 strikes) 
3. Jared Cheek: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 20 pitches (16 strikes) 
4. Enrique de los Rios: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 27 pitches (18 strikes) 
5. Yapson Gomez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/AO, 10 pitches (9 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: 1 
P Dylan Cease: E-1 (two-base throwing error on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd) 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Tyler Pearson: 1-3 CS 

CUBS BASERUNNING ADVENTURES
Aramis Ademan - thrown-out 9-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on ground single to RF with one out in 4th

ATTENDANCE: 17 

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

Comments

Thanks for the post AZ. That's a huge attendance. Scouts must be excited about somebody. Would you say Cease's performance was a result of working on his change or was it just a bad outing? And isn't Ademan some ridiculous age, like 17 or something?What are your thoughts on him?

O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side). 

Aramis Ademan is 17 and very thin (5'11 160), but he actually has grown an inch or two since signing last year and has developed more upper-body strength, such that he is starting to drive the ball with authority. He's also a true shortstop and should remain there going forward, unlike fellow Cubs 2015 IFA shortstops Yonathan Perlaza (who has already been moved to 2B) and Isaac Paredes (who started playing 3B last week). 

Awesome thanks AZ

Hi Arizona Phil, Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?

RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.   

If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.