Cub Power on Display in Maryvale

Jose Paniagua belted a solo home run, singled twice, walked, and scored three runs, Isaac Paredes doubled twice, singled, drove-in two runs, and scored three more, Marcus Mastrobuoni belted an RBI triple and a single, walked, and scored three runs, Yeiler Peguero drilled an RBI single and a two-run double, Vimael Machin collected three singles, a walk, and an RBI, Roberto Garcia ripped two doubles, scored a run, and drove-in another, and four pitchers combined to fan 17 opposing batters, helping the Cubs demolish the Brewers 15-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (AKA "Paul Molitor Field") at the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.  

Nicolas Pierre (RBI triple), Gilbert Lara (RBI double), and Yeraldy Martinez (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a four-run 3rd that gave the Brew Crew a short-lived 4-1 lead, before the Cubs scored the final 14 runs of the game.  

The game was called by mutual consent after 8-1/2 innings of play. 

Through today's Cactus League EXST game, the Cubs are 23-12-5.

But did you know?...  

1. SS-2B Yeiler Peguero is hitting 377/421/528 with only two strikeouts in 57 PA (including 50 consecutive PA without a strikeout 4/17 - 5/20);
2. SS (now 3B) Isaac Paredes is hitting 306/370/551 (9% K-rate) with a team-leading 16 RBI in just 16 games played; 
3. 1B Jose Paniagua is hitting 326/356/721 (11% K-rate) with a team-leading five HR (all five HR plus ten RBI in his last eleven games);
4. C-1B Marcus Mastrobuoni is hitting a team-leading 483/595/828 (5% K-rate) and is tied for the team-lead in doubles with five;
5. OF Kevonte Mitchell is hitting 277/438/426 (17% K-rate - 22% walk-rate) in 64 PA with a team-leading 14 walks and 15 runs scored and is tied for second in stolen bases with five; 
6. CF D. J. Wilson is hitting only 200/284/338 (15% K-rate) in 74 PA but he is hitting 281/343/500 over his last ten games (35 PA), and he leads the team in triples with four and in stolen bases with six,
7. 1B (ex-LHP) Chris Pieters is hitting 327/414/429 (8% K-rate - 12% walk-rate) in 17 games (58 PA) and is tied for second in SB with Mitchell,
8. 3B Wladimir Galindo is hitting 300/345/400 (25% K-rate) in 55 PA and is tied for the team-lead in doubles with Mastrobuoni; 
9. 3B-2B-SS Vimael Machin is hitting 324/600/432 (5% K-rate - 30% walk-rate) in 16 games (40 PA), and
10. SS-2B-3B Andruw Monasterio is hitting 333/367/400 (14% K-rate) in 15 games (49 PA).  


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

CUBS LINEUP:
1. Robert Garcia, CF: 2-6 (K, 4-3, P-6, 2B, 2B, 3-U, R, RBI)
2. Aramis Ademan, SS: 1-5 (4-3, L-9, 1B, K, FC+E1, R)
3. Roberto Caro, RF: 1-5 (1B, 4-3, K, K, F-7)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 3-4 (1B, BB, 1B, HR, 6-3, 3 R, RBI)
5. Isaac Paredes, 3B: 3-5 (L-6, 1B, 2B, E-5, 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI)
6a. Marcus Mastrobuoni, C: 2-2 (1B, 3B, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI)
6b. Jhonny Pereda, C: 1-2 (6-4 FC, 2B, R, RBI)
7. Vimael Machin, 2B: 3-4 (1B, 1B, 1B, L-7, BB, RBI)
8. Kwang-Min Kwon, DH #1: 0-5 (F-9, K, E-4, F-9, 5-4 FC, R)
9. Ruben Reyes, LF: 0-4 (1-3 SH, 5-4 FC, 4-3, E-1, 3-U, 2 R, RBI, SB)
10. Yeiler Peguero, DH #2: 2-5 (4-3, 1B, F-8, 4-3, 2B, 3 RBI, CS)

CUBS PITCHERS
1. Jose Paulino: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 2/1 GO/AO, 59 pitches (44 strikes) 
2. M. T. Minacci: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 39 pitches (25 strikes) 
3. Mark Malave: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
4. Pedro Araujo: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 18 pitches (17 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 1 
LF Ruben Reyes: E-7 (dropped pop fly allowing batter to reach 2nd base safely) 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Marcus Mastrobuoni: 1 PB 

ATTENDANCE: 10 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 80's 

Comments

So, the Mesa Cubs should be solid this summer in the AZL Rookie League? And, I like the, "But did you know" lead in there. Something a little different. I can tell really like this group of hitters in AZ right now. What pitchers out there, other than Cease, should we be excited about? Thanks as always for the info.

CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now. 

LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.  

RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.   

As far as relievers are concerned, RHP Tommy Nance throws 94-96 with a plus-curve, RHP Daniel Lewis throws 95-97 with a hard-slider, and Pedro Araujo is a rubber-armed strike-throwing machine with both his fastball, curve, and change-up (he threw 18 pitches - 17 strikes yesterday) .

Nance pitched at U. of Santa Clara (he was their Friday night starter) but went undrafted after his senior season, sat out a year, and then pitched for Windy City (Frontier League) last season. He's a real find. He's a big dude (6'6 240+), reminds me of somebody like Brad Penny.

Lewis was in the U. S, military and was discovered by a Cubs scout pitching at Pensacola  JC in Florida. He's 25, but has a "young arm" (he's only been pitching for two years). The younger pitchers really look up to him. He's a natural leader. 

FWIW, Paulino, Lewis, and Araujo were the last three cuts from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp, and so they would probably be the first to get moved-up if slots on the SB-Cubs pitching staff become available (except so far there haven't been any...).  

Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?

AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).

I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):  

* bats or throws left 
# bats both

EUGENE 

STARTING PITCHERS: 7
Jesus Castillo
Dylan Cease
* Bryan Hudson  
Erling Moreno
* Jose Paulino
* Manny Rondon
Pedro Silverio

BULLPEN: 12 
Pedro Araujo
Jared Cheek
Enrique de los Rios
Scott Frazier
* Yapson Gomez
John Michael Knighton 
Daniel Lewis 
Mark Malave 
M. T. Minacci 
Tommy Nance
* Tyler Peitzmeier
Alexander Santana

CATCHERS
: 5
Marcus Mastrobuoni 
* Alberto Mineo
Tyler Payne
Tyler Pearson 
Jhonny Pereda

INFIELDERS: 7
Wladimir Galindo 
* Vimael Machin
Andruw Monasterio
Jose Paniagua
Isaac Paredes 
# Yeiler Peguero
* Chris Pieters

OUTFIELDERS: 7
Alex Bautista
# Roberto Caro 
Michael Foster
# Robert Garcia
* Ricardo Marcano
Kevonte Mitchell 
* D. J. Wilson

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AZL CUBS 

PITCHERS: 18
Jose Albertos
Luis Aquino 
Javier Assad 
Jordan Brink (REHAB - post-2015 right shoulder surgery)
Jesus Camargo (REHAB - ???)
Oscar de la Cruz (REHAB - elbow)
Andin Diaz (REHAB - ???)
Wander Feliz (ex-OF)
Fancisco Garay (ex-INF)
Hector Garcia
Tanner Griggs (RESTRICTED LIST - ACTIVE AT EXST)
Luis Hernandez (REHAB - ???)
Jose Leidenz
Gabriel Lima (REHAB - ???)
Junior Marte
* Pablo Ochoa 
* Eugenio Palma 
Andry Rondon

CATCHERS
:  4 
Miguel Amaya 
Eric Gonzalez
Gustavo Polanco
Kevin Zamudio 

INFIELDERS: 9
* Aramis Ademan 
Jhonny Bethencourt
Joey Martarano (PRESENTLY NACTIVE - attending college at Boise State)
Rafael Mejia
Christopher Morel (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY AT THIS TIME - arm lacertaion)
Rafael Narea
# Yonathan Perlaza 
# Edgar Rondon 
Ho-Young Son (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY AT THIS TIME - ???)

OUTFIELDERS: 7
* Luis Ayala
Jose Gonzalez
* Kwang-Min Kwon
Yohan Matos (ex-C)
* Ruben Reyes
* Abraham Rodriguez
* Jonathan Sierra

Dominican Summer League (DSL) Opening Day is Saturday June 4th, so probably about 8-10 pitchers and position players presently at EXST in Mesa will be sent to the Cubs Dominican Academy (probably sometime this week) and be assigned to either DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2.  

PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.

E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season  either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.

Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.  

He played 1B-LF-RF at EXST last year, but was moved to full-time 1B this year. And his defense has really improved. He has made several nice picks of bad throws at 1st base, and the infielders feel confident when he's playing 1st base because they know he can save them an error.  

I think it's reasonable to believe that Paniagua is a prospect of some value. He has the XBH power and defensive acumen to stay at 1B, and he should be able to play some corner OF going-forward, too.

The one negative (the elephant in the room) is that he doesn't take walks. He didn't take any walks (that's ZERO walks) in 56 PA at EXST last year, he took only nine walks in 171 PA with the AZL Cubs last summer, and he has drawn just two walks in 45 PA at EXST this year. His 11% K-rate at EXST this year is pretty good for a HR hitter, but it was 29% at EXST and 23% at AZL Cubs last year, so he still has some work to do in that area.  

Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded? He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee. My guess? Toronto.

given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through. i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them. hopefully, he'll slip back into the minors and at least find his control/command even if his fastball velocity doesn't return back to the mid-90s. with a fb/slider/curve combo there's still something to be hopeful for even with lowered velocity. that said, as far as his trade value...i dunno where to handicap that given the above concerns vs the fact he's still cheap with decent upside if he can get control/command of his pitches.

With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?

Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.

Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.

BRADSBEARD: If all three are assigned to Eugene, the Cubs can play Galindo, Paredes, and Paniagua at the same time by moving Paredes between SS-3B-DH, Galindo between 3B-1B-DH, and Paniagua between 1B-LF-DH. 

The Cubs like to have their players (including their minor leaguers) learn to play more than one position even if they eventually are projected to settle at one spot, and I suspect that will be reflected at Eugene, with just about everybody who will be assigned there able to play at least two positions. 

For example, Andruw Monasterio has played three positions (SS-2B-3B) at EXST, Yeiler Peguero plays both SS & 2B interchangeably, Kevonte Mitchell plays all three OF positions, and most all of the catchers at EXST have logged games at 1B. 

Recent comments

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  • Charlie 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    Currently at a near full-time job that just barely covers my monthly expenses if nothing emerges.

    I make more than that.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 19 min ago (view)

    "Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball is considering opening the season in empty spring training parks -- with no fans and all players quarantined.

    The plan would have all teams stationed in one centralized location -- likely Arizona"

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 9 hours 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' 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 20 hours 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 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

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

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 11 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' 4 days 20 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 4 days 22 hours 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 1 week 14 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 1 week 20 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' 1 week 22 hours 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 1 week 1 day 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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.