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.

Recent comments

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  • jdrnym 4 hours 6 min ago (view)

    AZPHIL, has there been official word as to whether the 26-man roster has been extended down to the minor league levels that previously had 25-man rosters? Can't really think of a reason why that shouldn't be the case...

     

  • Arizona Phil 9 hours 1 min ago (view)

    Another possibility for a "26th man" in 2020 would be a young pitcher selected in the Rule 5 Draft who has big league upside but who is clearly not yet "big league ready," or a pitcher who is out of minor league options who might not be quite MLB ready.

     

  • Cubster 11 hours 7 min ago (view)

    Just sign Rick Reuschel and lets move on

     

  • crunch 11 hours 49 min ago (view)

    "Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Scott Kazmir will throw for MLB teams this week.

    The 36-year-old Kazmir hasn't thrown in the majors since the 2016 season, but he recently told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he that he hit 90.9 mph with his fastball during a bullpen session."

    someone put another bottle of left-in-the-car warm water under the cubs hot stove and let's get this one done!  woo!

    sigh.

     

  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    bryce harper ruined that bat dragging thing for everyone after his ejection years ago at the junior college world series.

    also, hurrah for baseball making it's return.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    College ball started Saturday.  Umpire egos in D1 baseball are not that much smaller than in the pros, so of course there was a controversy.  In the late innings of a game in the weekend's biggest series (Michigan vs.

     

  • crunch 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    the news is mostly based on a Baseball America article from the 11th (behind a paywall)...so the gist of it is rather legit rumor-wise, though it's still too far in the future to call it a 100% done deal.

    btw, the cubs have been strongly linked to pursuing christian hernandez for quite a while.  the BA writer that wrote the article about the cubs links has been following c.hernandez since he was a 14yo talent and is quite familiar with him.  that signing probably is in the bag.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    I don't know much about this website, but they are speculating that the Cubs may sign two of the top International Free Agents available during this signing period: https://www.cubshq.com/print/news.do?id=16441&isNe... Does anyone know if this sounds legit?

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Minnie Minoso was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 47 and Julio Franco was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 49, so Mexican League teams clearly do not have a problem with signing older players. 

    And of course the ageless Satchel Paige was still working as a SP in AAA (with the Miami Marlins) into his early 50's (and prior to that he pitched in MLB as late as age 46).  

     

  • crunch 4 days 7 hours ago (view)

    b.colon has signed to a mexican league team.  woo old dudes.  he turns 47 in may...believed by some to be older.

     

  • Cubster 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    Replacing someone like David DeJesus?

     

  • crunch 5 days 9 hours ago (view)

    mark grace returns to chicago as an analyst/on-air-talent for Marquee.

    he won't be part of the main game calling crew, but will be doing support content during games.

     

  • Eric S 5 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Increasing levels of smoke concerning a possible Arenado/KB trade

    https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2020/02/13/cubs-reportedly-are-absolutely-motivated-to-try-to-acquire-nolan-arenado/

    Get Arenado to agree to push back his opt out a few years or so down the road and this could work out nicely for the Cubs

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Jason Kipnis (like Brandon Morrow) was a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signed a 2020 minor league contract, so he gets a $100K retention bonus and an automatic June 1st player opt-out if he is not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 40-man roster or MLB 60-day IL by 12 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 3 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed post-2019 second-contract minor league FA catcher Jordan Procyshen to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.  

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 6 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Q could be subbed in for any of those too