Ballesteros and Morfa Launch Cub Comeback at Riverview

Moises Ballesteros drilled an RBI single in the bottom of the first, singled and scored in the fourth, and belted a game-tying HR over the RF fence in the seventh, Carlos Morfa slugged a solo HR over the LF fence in the seventh and roped a double and scored in the eighth, Reivaj Garcia singled twice, walked, scored two runs, and drove-in three, and the bullpen retired nine of the last ten batters faced, as the Cubs raliied to score eight runs in the final two innings while holding the opposition scoreless, en route to a hard-fought 13-10 victory over the Diamondbacks Red squad in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

This was the third HR hit by Ballesteros in the last eight days, as he is now second on the EXST Cubs in HR with three (Cristian Hernandez has four, plus two more in intrasquad games). Over his last nine Cactus League EXST games (29 PA), Ballesteros is hitting a robust 480/552/960, with three HR, three doubles, four walks, and seven RBI.  

As outstanding as the bullpen was at the end of the game, two Cubs pitchers -- LHP Marino Santy and RHP Gleiber Morales -- combined to issue twelve walks, hit a batter, uncork five wild pitches, and commit two balks, as the D'backs took an early 9-5 lead. 

The Diamondbacks Red squad manager was thrown out of the game after arguing that an RBI double that drove-in a runner from 1st base was actually a ground-rule double that bounced off the warning track and then off the netting beyond the RF fence (and he was right, by the way). He then sat in the bleachers outside the first base side fence, until he was spotted by the base umpire and told to go sit in the bus. It was 105 degrees, so having to sit in an air-conditioned bus wasn't necessarily the worst punishment imaginable!   

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

In EXST Cubs news, catcher Dilan Granadillo is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting LH-only.   

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

CUBS LINEUP:
1a. Christian Olivo, CF: 2-2 (1B, 1B, R, SB)
1b. Cristian More, CF: 2-3 (6-3, 1B, 2B, SB, R)
2. Pedro Ramirez, 2B-DH: 1-4 (BB, 4-3, 3-U, 5-3, 1B, R, RBI, SB) 
3a. Cristian Hernandez, SS: 0-2 (4-3, L-4 DP) 
3b. Josue Huma, SS: 1-3 (1B, 6-3, F-8, SB) 
4. Moises Ballesteros, DH #1: 3-4 (1B, 1B, K, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI) 
5. Frank Hernandez, LF: 1-4 (K, 1B, 4-3, 6-3) 
6. Rafael Morel, 3B: 1-4 (1B, K, K, 5-3) 
7a. Casey Opitz, C: 0-2 (F-7, HBP, 3-U, R)
7b. Dilan Granadillo, C: 0-0 (HBP, R) 
8a. Raino Coran, RF: 0-2 (3-U, 5-U FC, R, RBI) 
8b. Carlos Morfa, RF: 2-2 (HR, 2B, 2 R, RBI) 
9. Reivaj Garcia, DH-2B: 2-3 (5-3, 1B, BB, 1B, 2 R, 3 RBI) 
10. Alejandro Rivero, 1B: 1-4 (5-3, 5-3, 2B, F-7, R, RBI, SB) 

CUBS PITCHERS
1. Marino Santy: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 4 R (4 ER), 6 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 1 BALK, 1 PO, 0/1 GO/AO, 40 pitches (12 strikes) 
2. Yovanny Cabrera: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 17 pitches (12 strikes) 
3. Gleiber Morales: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 4 R (4 ER), 6 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 1 BALK, 1/1 GO/AO, 48 pitches (17 strikes) 
4. Dominic Hambley: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/AO, 26 pitches (16 strikes) 
5. Angel Hernandez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 22 pitches (13 strikes)
6. Gregori Montano: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 14 pitches (9 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: 1 
SS Cristian Hernandez: E-6 (booted ground ball allowing batter to reach base safely)  

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Casey Opitz: 1-3 CS 

CUBS OUTFIELD ASSISTS:  
1. RF Raino Coran - runner thrown out 9-2 attempting to score from 2nd base on line-drive single to right 
2. LF Frank Hernandez - batter thrown out 7-4 attempting to stretch bloop single down LF line into double 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+ 

ATTENDANCE: 16 

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Comments

Carlos Morfa gonna grab a spot in Myrtle Beach when the outfield promotions happen, unless one of the 2021 draft pick outfielders get healthy. Healthy hacks sounding kind of guy.

p.crow-armstrong .360/.451/.573

he's started 36 games.  he's had hits in 30 of them...19 of them multiple hit games.

this is getting silly.  find room for him at an upper level.

i mean, dude isn't acuna or franco, but he's not being challenged where he's at and could probably use another level of competition.

[ ]

In reply to by tim815

caisse is a great enough talent he needs everyday ABs.  that said, he may be over his head in south bend.  he doesn't even turn 20 for another month+.

the others and where they may fit...hey, there's a DH.  find a way to get crowe-armstrong ABs while playing CF.  with canairio in AA they can make that work.

i'm just ready for the dude to be challenged.  he may or may not even be up for it, but he's not been a streaky guy.  he's been consistently dominating and he's easily one of the top-3 bats in the minors for the cubs development focus, top-4 depending on one feels about middle IF'r james triantos.  he's not blocked by the only OF'r more important than him in the system, AAA b.davis.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

That's why every lefty slugger should play 1B and Cr OF in MiLB. Maximize as much of your defensive versatility as possible. Now the Cubs have some 1B doing well, and a couple of them are lefties! But that should take stop Caissie from learning the position a little. Hard to project the 2025 Cubs lineup. 

Some of the Iowa and Tennessee guys who will need 40 man protection this year will be moving up once the trade blender starts. That will open space for promotions.

PCA can easily move to CF in South Bend, with Nwogu moving down to MB or over to DH.  The fact that they have not done so indicates that they feel he should stay where he is to work on things not obvious in the stats.  I believe it is better to have top prospects work on weaknesses while at a level where they can still succeed in the stats, rather than have their overall game suffer.

[ ]

In reply to by DavidP

yeah, all i got is stats, video (limited) and what people are saying.  for all i know 90% of his success is hitting fastballs and he has a 90% whiff-rate on off-speed stuff.  it's just highly unlikely.

pca is 2023-2024 projection at best, and early 2023 would be very advanced prediction.

[ ]

In reply to by crunch

Years ago, Craig - on another board, nicknamed one of the more successful prospects, "Bananas" because all his hits came in bunches.  He would go

4 for 5 

0 for 4 

1 for 5

0 for 5

3 for 5

etc. for much of the season, ending up with fairly good stats, but a great number of games where he really stunk.

After he called this to my attention, over the years I came to the conclusion that some prospects turn out very good numbers over the course of the season by, seemingly, fattening their averages against pitchers that did not have the command or talent to exploit the hitter's weaknesses.  With each promotion, the number of good command pitchers increased, and the number of  bad command pitchers decreased, and the "4 for 5" days decreased, and the "1 for 5" days increased, until the career ended.

 

For those of us that have to rely mostly on stats, there is no way to tell how many fat pitches are going for hits, and how many great pitches are killing the batter.  But the on field evaluators have all that information at their disposal, and thus are in a much better position to determine when a prospect is ready to be promoted.  So I rarely grouse about slow promotions.  The organization has little reason to supress promotions for kids below AA, so I generally assume that they are slow for good reasons. 

James Triantos started the season by going 4-36 and he has .376 since then. Went through the same slow start last year in Arizona. The kid is a stud.

[ ]

In reply to by azbobbop

i dunno where it started, but im glad we've decided to call him "PCA"...crow-armstrong is a stupid amount of letters to type and i already type a lot of stupid things without adding more to the mix.

Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

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40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full)    

Last updated 1-24-2023
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 21
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Brad Boxberger
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Julian Merryweather
Ethan Roberts 
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
* Tucker Barnhart 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 8
Nico Hoerner
* Eric Hosmer
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 8 
Kevin Alcantara
* Cody Bellinger 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez


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