Cubs Rehabbers Shut-Down D'backs at Riverview

SP Erick Leal tossed five innings of one-run ball and four relievers combined to hurl five shutout innings, leading the Cubs "B" team to a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a ten-inning contest. 

At one point Cub pitchers retired 14 D'backs in a row. 

Four Cubs pitchers on Active Rehab at EXST saw action in the game: 

1. Erick Leal: FB 89-90 - CV 76-78 (62 pitches - 15 swings & misses)   
2. Tony Barnette: FB 90-91 - SL 81-84 
3. Danny Hultzen: FB 94-97 - SL 85-86 (12 pitches - seven swings & misses) 
4. Chad Hockin: FB 90 - SL 84-86 

In his three EXST game outings Hultzen has been unhittable. He has thrown three shutout innings (75% strikes) with eight strikeouts while allowing no walks and just an infield single and a weak P-6. His max FB velo has increased from 92 to 96 to 97 and his SL velo increased from 84 to 86 in a span of eight days. The difference seems to be that he has changed to a lower arm-slot (a lot like Andrew Miller circa 2015-16) which apparently puts less-stress on his shoulder and has led to a stunning uptick in his velo.

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

CUBS "B" TEAM LINEUP:
X. Eddy Julio Martinez, DH #1: 0-3 (FC, F-7, F-8, BB, RBI, CS)
NOTE: E. Martinez batted third in the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th innings 
1. Pedro Martinez, 3B: 1-3 (BB, 4-3, 1B, E-4, R, RBI, SB)
2. Abraham Rodriguez, 1B: 1-4 (F-8, P-3, K, 1B)
3. Jonathan Soto, C: 1-4 (K, 1B, 6-3, 6-4-3 DP) 
4. Luis Verdugo, SS: 1-3 (1B, F-8 DP, K)
5. Rochest Cruz, 2B: 0-2 (1-3 SH, 3-U, 4-3
6. Jose Gutierrez, CF: 0-2 (K, 6-3, BB, R, SB)
7a. Carlos Morfa, RF: 1-2 (K, 1B) 
7b. Yovanny Cuevas, PR-RF: 0-1 (K, R)
8. Kevin Moreno, LF: 1-3 (E-5, F-7, 1B, RBI, SB, CS)
9. Ervis Marchan, DH #2: 0-3 (K, K, F-9)
10. Brandon, Vicens, DH #3: 0-1 (P-2, SB)
NOTE: Vicens PR for E. Martinez in the bottom of the 7th/
Slot was skipped first two times thru batting order 

CUBS "B" TEAM PITCHERS
1. Erick Leal: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 6 K, 1 PO, 3/2 GO/AO, 62 pitches (43 strikes)
2. Tony Barnette: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 11 pitches (8 strikes)
3. Danny Hultzen: 1.0 IP, 0 H., 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (9 strikes) 
4. Chad Hockin: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/1 GO/AO, 28 pitches (20 strikes)
5. Luis Silva: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 PO, 1/1 GO/AO, 22 pitches (13 strikes)

CUBS "B" TEAM ERRORS: NONE 

CUBS "B" TEAM CATCHERS  DEFENSE
Jonathan Soto: 0-2 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 11 

WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the 80's 

Arizona 
Scoring 
Service 

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

Comments

Danny Hultzen is what Luke Hagerty was supposed to be. 

Americaan is in South Bend. Luis Vazzquez in Des Moines.

Great news on Hultzen.  Pulling for him.  And not just because of the Cubs connection.

I wonder what the chances are he makes his way to Chicago this year. I recall AZ Phil saying his chances are lower because he hasn’t been able to go on back to back days.

how much movement does hultzen get on his slider?  can he throw it for a strike, or does it fool batters getting swings for strikes?

CRUNCH: Hultzen's slider is good and it's at least around the strike zone (or starts in the strike zone if not actually ending up in the strike zone) which helps get swings & misses, but it's more effective than it otherwise might be because of his high FB velo.

For example, Chad Hockin's SL is comparable to Hultzen's, but Hockin's FB velo is 90 so neither of his pitches are unhittable. 

Hultzen works very fast and because his FB velo is so high his SL overwhelms the young hitters down here. It's like watching Josh Hader when he's on fire or Andrew Miller circa 2015-16. 

The only reasons I can see Hultzen remaining in Mesa for a while longer are his lengthy history of shoulder problems (which hopefully have been assuaged by the lowering of his arm slot), and because he has yet to throw more than one inning in any outing, or two days in a row. 

But even if all that were to remain the case going forward through the balance iof the 2019 season, and presuming he remains healthy, at the very least Hultzen would have significant value when MLB active rosters expand in September as a power lefty-reliever, even if he can't throw more than one inning per outing and/or two days in a row.  

And there is always the possibility that he will eventually (I mean sometime soon) be able to throw two days in a row and/or throw more than one inning per outing. Otherwise it's hard to carry a guy in an eight-man MLB bullpen who can't do at least one or the other. 

A closer or even a lefty specialist will often need to pitch (even if it's just to face one batter) two or even three days in a row, otherwise his value is limited. And if it's in a Hader or a Miller type role, he would need to be able to pitch at least parts of two innings if necessary. So far that has not been attempted.

And also keep in mind that Hultzen is on the Iowa 60-day IL. It wasn't clear that he would even be able to pitch this season after getting shut-down in Minor League Camp. So far he has only pitched in three EXST games, and it took him the better part of two months and the re-working of his arm-slot and release point in the Cubs UAPC Pitching Lab just to get to this point. It's still a long-shot that he will make it to Wrigley Field in 2019, although it's becoming less of a long-shot with every outing. 

One other thing to keep in mind about Hultzen is that he is out of minor league options, so he is not a candidate to ride the Chicago - Des Moines shuttle if he were to be added to the Cubs MLB 25-man active roster (and MLB 40-man roster) at some point this season prior to September 1st. And if he were to be added to the 40 prior to 9/1 and the Cubs were able to get him through waivers, Hultzen has the right to elect free-agency if he's outrighted to the minors because he has been outrighted previously in his career. 

thanks a lot, phil.

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  • First.Pitch.120 5 hours 7 min ago (view)

    Cotton McKnight: In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I'd seen it all, folks. But it looks like Peter La Fleur has actually blindfolded himself.

    Pepper Brooks: He will not be able to see very well, Cotton. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 5 hours 9 min ago (view)

    Yes! Exactly... I'd love to be able to watch coverages in football or just key-in on a great WR to watch them work.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 5 hours 12 min ago (view)

    Wow... this is the most engagement I have ever received on any topic on social media platform. Please stay tuned for my opinions on the Oxford Comma, the APA Style Manual for Academic Writing, and the auto-correct on my iPhone.  

    I am an awesome guy at parties.... 

     

  • bradsbeard 15 hours 36 min ago (view)

    I watched some of the Puerto Rican Winter League games that Miguel Amaya played in this winter. At least one broadcast had a super wide shot for balls in play that let you see the OF and the baserunners at the same time. It was awesome. 

     

  • Wrigley Rat 18 hours 42 min ago (view)

    3 dots on this evening's Cubs-Dodgers game - makes sense & they do color in the 3rd dot as they're going to commericals (Spectrum Sportsnet).

     

  • crunch 20 hours 55 min ago (view)

    3 dot crew represent.  i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.

     

  • Charlie 21 hours 3 min ago (view)

    I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!

    Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.

     

  • George Altman 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport,  to learn something from the broadcast crew.

    Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't,  and I know about NOTHING about football. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3.  If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #.  eg - OUTS: 1  It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.

     

  • crunch 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset.

     

  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    brews sign j.bradley 2/24m...decent deal for a quality CF'r.  he can opt out of the 2nd year.

     

  • crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    the national broadcasts on ESPN suffer badly from a lack of "homework" on the teams they're covering.

    yesterday i heard more riffing between the announcers about each other more than the players.  the only thing that saved them from more of that and dead air was in-progress action and player interviews (too many player interviews, but it's spring so whatever).

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Not impressed with ESPN's broadcast. I like Mendoza's work, but how many kids did we have to see rolling around the grass. Good day to see some young players ,but half the time you had no idea who was batting or pitching.

     

  • crunch 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    cubs game totally not a delay broadcast for ESPN...thanks for that gem heyward.

    dunno if they'll be printing up any "You better have your shit in line" t-shirts, but it's as least as good as "Try not to suck"

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    Jason Adam is another who throws short arm. I don't think he was a position player, but maybe falls into the arm injury category?