Ryan Williams and Erling Moreno Throw in Game at Riverview

Carlos Pacheco singled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, Delvin Zinn doubled, walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, and Reivaj Garcia contributed two RBI (a run-scoring double and an RBI GO), leading the Cubs to a 7-5 victory over the Angels Saturday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Johan Sala singled, walked, and belted a solo HR and Kevin Maitan singled twice and drove-in a run for the Angels in a losing cause. 

RHP Ryan Williams (2017 shoulder surgery) got the start for the Cubs and threw 3.2 IP (46 pitches), retiring the first six men he faced (6-3, 3-U, 4-3, P-6, 4-3, K-swinging) on only 20 pitches before allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits (both singles) and a walk in a 19-pitch third inning of work. The Williams FB sat at 81-83, but he featured a plus-CV and plus-CH that kept Angels hitters off-balance. 

RHP David Garner (on Restricted List and at Extended Spring Training while serving a 50-game Drug of Abuse suspension) relieved Williams and easily retired four of the five men he faced (he walked the first hitter and then retired four in a row - K-swinging, 6-3, 5-3, 4-3). Garner will be getting out of the "penalty box" next week, and he looks like he is ready to roll. 

RHP Erling Moreno worked two innings (32 pitches) in relief, and while his line wasn't great (he allowed two runs on three hits, including a HR), he was pumping his FB consistently at 96-98 MPH and mixing it with a hard slider. E. Moreno has been at EXST for the past couple of months throwing bullpen sessions and working on his mechanics, and from what he showed today, he could maybe fit a reliever profile (perhaps a two-inning reliever in the Archie Bradley/Josh Hader/Amir Garrett mold?).      

LHP Jonathan Bruzual (up from the Cubs Dominican Academy) made his U. S. game debut, throwing a shutout inning. Bruzual's FB sits at 84-86, but he has a solid CV and is working on a CH. He reported to EXST with the other DSL pitchers about two months ago, but he had been throwing only bullpen sessions up until today. 

Here is the unabridged box score (Cubs players only): 

1a. Fernando Kelli, CF: 0-1 (BB, L-7, 5-3 SH, R, SB)
1b. Luis Hidalgo, 1B: 0-1 (6-3 DP)
2. Reivaj Garcia, 2B: 1-3 (2B, 1-3, 3-U, R, 2 RBI)
3. Alexander Guerra, DH #1: 0-3 (F-9, F-9, K, BB)
4. Carlos Pacheco, DH #2: 2-3 (1B, F-9, 1B, R, RBI)
5a. Luis Ubiera, DH #3: 0-1 (BB, F-9)
5b. Eric Gonzalez, PH-C: 1-2 (1B, K, R)
6a. Henrry Pedra, DH #4: 0-2 (F-9, F-9)
6b. Jose Alonso Gaitan, PH-RF: 1-2 (1B, F-9 DP, RBI)
7. Yovanny Cuevas, RF-CF: 1-2 (BB, 1B, 3-U DP)
8. Fidel Mejia, 1B-3B: 0-3 (F-8, 4-3 DP, F-9)
9. Luis Vazquez, SS: 2-3 (BB, 2B, K, R, SB)
10. Delvin Zinn, 3B-DH: 1-1 (BB, 2B, BB, R, SB)
11a. Kevin Zamudio, C: 0-0 (BB)
11b. Raymond Pena, C-DH: 2-2 (1B, 1B, R)
12. Kevin Moreno, LF: 1-2 (K, 1B, BB, RBI)
1. Ryan Williams: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 4/4 GO/AO, 46 pitches (29 strikes) 
2. David Garner: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/0 GO/AO, 15 pitches (9 strikes) 
3. Erling Moreno: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 4/1 GO/AO, 32 pitches (20 strikes)
4. Jonathan Bruzual: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 14 pitches (10 strikes)
5. Fauris Guerrero: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1/0 GO/AO, 21 pitches (9 strikes) 

2B Reivaj Garcia: E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)

1. Raymond Pena: 0-1 CS 
2. Eric Gonzalez: 2-2 CS 

CF Fernando Kelly - runner thrown out 8-2 attempting to score after F-8 


WEATHER: Sunny & breezy with temperatures in the 90's 


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


"The Williams FB sat at 81-83"

yow.  dude's fastball has never been his big thing, but working 87-90 is a different world from 81-83....especially for a guy already on a 50-ish pitch count.  hopefully it's legit rust and he can hit those high-80s again.

I hope Garner can keep his nose clean and help things at Iowa.

PHIL: Thanks for the update. Taggng on to CRUNCH, was this Williams’ first EXST outing in a game since sugery?

E-MAN: Ryan Williams had thrown a couple of "sim" games over the previous ten days to get his pitch-count up.

Cubs Rehab Pitching Coordinator Ron Villone ran the game pitchers yesterday, which is why Williams got the start. Villone is a key member of the Cubs EXST coaching staff, because it's his job to run the Rehab Throwing Program (for pitchers rehabbing from injuries and/or getting into pitching shape) as well as working with pitchers (like E. Moreno and Albertos) who are at EXST to resolve mechanical issues.

I know Williams' FB velo is kind of alarming, but it's not much different from Jared Weaver's FB his last couple of seasons in MLB. It's not Cy Young-type stuff, but a pitcher with plus-FB command and effective off-speed stuff (CV and CH) that keep hitters off-balance can be very frustrating to hitters who aren't used to seeing it. It's almost like hitting against a knuckle-ball pitcher.

Another thing about Williams is that he reportedly takes his game-preparation and opposition-analysis very seriously (not so much at EXST, but when he was at Iowa). Former Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio was very impressed with Williams' approach to pitching in 2016-17 (the two seasons Williams had an NRI to Spring Training), not so much because of his stuff, but because of his command, intelligence, and make-up.

Williams is also is like a Big Brother mentor to the other pitchers at EXST. He is a great role model for pitchers in the Rehab Throwing Program because he is 100% commited to the program and what it requires. And since he was Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2015 and was seemingly headed for The Show, he has a great deal of street cred with the younger pitchers. When Williams talks, pitchers listen. 

I wouldn't be surprised if Williams becomes a pitching coach at some point down the line.

Is Danny Hultzen still working with the rehab group?

good stuff. thanks.

BRADSBEARD: Danny Hultzen has been throwing "live" BP so he is progressing, but obviously not as fast as Ryan Williams (both are rehabbing from shoulder surgery). And I don't have any velo readings for Hultzen or anything to report about his stuff. I don't think they're even using the gun when he pitches. I suspect he's just happy to be back on the mound facing hitters again.  

Apparently, when linked with the slot amounts, the 74th pick is worth about $7.25 million dollars.


Tyler Chatwood and Jon Jay are the best 74s historically.



AZ Phil:  Just wondering your thoughts on if Cubs need someone to start for Darvish on Saturday:  Montgomery again, or if a AAA call up -- Underwood or Alzolay?

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  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 19 min 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' 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 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 1 day 7 hours ago (view)

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


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 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' 3 days 5 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 3 days 7 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 5 days 23 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 6 days 5 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' 6 days 8 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 5 hours 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 13 hours 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 15 hours 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 19 hours 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.   


  • jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.


  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."