Moreno & Cease Piggy-Back Their Way to Fitch Park

Trace Loehr singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Jean Carlo Rodriguez drilled a bases-loaded three-run double, Vicmal de la Cruz belted a solo home run, walked, and drove-in another run with a GO, Andy Paz slugged a two-run HR, and RHSP Jon Massad tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball, leading the Athletics to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs in Memorial Day Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

Kevin Encarnacion hammered a solo home run and an RBI single, Kevonte Mitchell drilled an RBI single, a double, drew a walk, stole a base, and scored a run, and Ricardo Marcano roped an RBI triple, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

In 22 Cactus League EXST games, Kevonte Mitchell leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with 12 (one CS and one PO). Also, he is hitting 239/345/310, with three doubles and a triple, eleven walks, 15 K, and one HBP, ten runs scored, and seven RBI, in the 22 games (84 PA). The 19-year old 6'4 185 Mitchell (Cubs 2014 13th round draft pick - Kennett HS - Kennett, Mo) is a virtual lock to play CF and hit lead-off for the Eugene Emeralds, once the Northwest League (NWL) commences play next month. 

RHP Erling Moreno (2013 IFA - Colombia) got the start for the Cubs today and retired six of the seven men he faced (1B, 5-3, 4-3, K, F-8, K, 4-3). He allowed one run on one hit (a single leading off the bottom of the 1st inning that came around to score on a couple of ground outs and a WP) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both swinging). Moreno rolled easily through his two innings, throwing a good percentage of strikes (27 pitches - 18 strikes - 67% K), and mixing his 91-92 MPH fastball, plus-curve, and change-up to keep the A's hitters mostly off-balance.

The 18-year old 6'3 200 Moreno was signed by the Cubs ($650K bonus) out of the same 2013-14 International Signing Period class that produced OF Eloy Jimenez, SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, 3B-1B Wladmir Galindo, C Yohan Matos, and RHP Jeferson Mejia (since traded to AZ in the Miguel Montero deal), but he underwent an elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John Surgery) midway through the 2014 season that has slowed his development, and so this was his first game action in almost a year.

Moreno will likely join RHP Dylan Cease, ex-Mexico City Red Devils RHP Jesus Camargo, RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave, and probably either Adbert Alzolay or Santiago Rodriguez in the AZL Cubs starting rotation (at least at the outset of the AZL season, until the 2015 draft picks begin to arrive).     

Speaking of Dylan Cease, he also saw action in today's game, "piggy-backing" with Moreno. Although he threw just 1.0 IP, Cease actually pitched in parts of two different innings (facing eight hitters total), hence the high pitch count (37 pitches) in just one inning (three outs). 

Cease was working his fastball at 95-97 MPH to the first four batters he faced, but then elevated the FB velocity up to 98-99 when facing the next four. He continues to struggle with command, however, walking two and going to three-ball counts on two other hitters, bouncing his breaking ball (which is a really a plus-pitch when he throws it over the plate instead of bouncing it in front of the plate), and throwing only 56% strikes.

After throwing an amazing six wild pitches in just one inning of work last Friday versus the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick, RHRP Daniel Bard had another nightmare inning (actually just one-third of an inning), allowing four runs on one hit (the Rodriguez bases-loaded double) after walking three and hitting a batter. And he threw three more WP today, too, for a total of nine in his last 1.1 IP.       

Here is the abridged box score from today's games (Cubs players only) :

CUBS LINEUP:
1. Kevonte Mitchell, CF 2-4 (BB, E-6, L-7, 2B, 1B, R, RBI, SB)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, SS: 0-3 (F-8, 5-3, BB, BB, F-7)
3. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 0-4 (P-6, 3-U, F-9, 6-3)
4. Tyler Alamo, C: 1-3 (5-3, P-5, 2B, F-7 SF, R, RBI)
5. Alberto Mineo, 1B-DH: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, K)
6. Kevin Encarnacion, DH #1: 2-3 (BB, P-4, 1B, HR, R, 2 RBI)
7. Joey Martarano, DH-1B: 1-3 (BB, 4-3, 1B, F-8)
8. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-4 (L-4, F-9, F-8, 2B, R)
9. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 1-3 (K, BB, P-5, 3B, R, RBI)
10. Robert Garcia, RF: 0-3 (4-3, HBP, K, K)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Erling Moreno: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/FO, 27 pitches (18 strikes) 
2. Dylan Cease: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 37 pitches (21 strikes) 
3. Daniel Bard: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 4 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 21 pitches (6 strikes) 
4. Santiago Rodriguez: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 3/2 GO/FO, 56 pitches (37 strikes)
5. John Michael Knighton: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 12 pitches (11 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 1
1B Alberto Mineo: E-3 (missed catch at 1st base allowed batter to reach base safely)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE;
Tyler Alamo: 1-3 CS, 1 PB

WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures in the 90's

ATTENDANCE: 9

 

Comments

what else does k.mitchell have to do to get promoted? seems like he should have made it out of ARZ by this point in his career going by performance stats alone. holes in his game or blocked at upper levels?

CRUNCH: Like Eloy Jimenez, Kevonte Mitchell almost made the South Bend Opening Day roster out of Minor League Camp.

I think part of the reason he was left behind at EXST is because he was moved to CF from 3B after he signed last season, while Rashad Crawford and Charcer Burks were drafted a year (Burks) or two (Crawford) ahead of him, are a year or two older,and they both played OF in HS.  

Also, Mitchell does strike out a bit more than the Cubs would probably like, so he is working on trying to make better contact. 

Tommy Birch interviews Jaron Madison, who updates several prospects including Schwarber, Edwards, Baez, Almora, McKinney and Rivero http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports...

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  • Charlie 9 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.

     

  • crunch 11 hours 1 min ago (view)

    RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists

     

  • bradsbeard 14 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 15 hours 46 min ago (view)

    There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 40 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.

    He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me. 

     

  • KingKongvsGodzilla 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!

     

  • crunch 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    jim hickey new nats pitching coach.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 

     

  • tim815 4 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.

     

  • crunch 4 days 12 hours ago (view)

    not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

    big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

    too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 13 hours ago (view)

    Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 18 hours ago (view)

    I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability

     

  • Hagsag 4 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?

     

  • tim815 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?cid=609&sid=milb

    Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.

    http://www.milb.com/roster/index.jsp?cid=2270&sid=...

     

  • crunch 5 days 13 hours ago (view)

    yup, they're gonna try.  starts in about a month.