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

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Arizona Phil 31 sec ago (view)

    KKvG: Just from watching Ronnier Quintero take BP, offensively he reminds me a bit of a very young Carlos Delgado, who started at catcher and then was moved to 1B / DH. Quintero clearly has plus-power in BP, but I don't know yet if it will play in games. That is the $2.9M question.  

     

  • KingKongvsGodzilla 31 min 1 sec ago (view)

    AZPhil! Any impressions of Ronnier Quintero?

     

  • Arizona Phil 34 min 47 sec ago (view)

    From talking to people in the know out here, the missing level (short-season advanced -- what had been Eugene for the Cubs in the recent past) has messed up things, especially for position players.

    It's like there is a gap in the player development pipeline, with players (especially position players) who are clearly too advanced for the AZL (now ACL) but also not quite ready for full-season Lo-A in a kind of development limbo, either in over their heads at full-season Lo-A, or else dominating younger and/or inferior competition in the short-season complex leagues  

     

  • Wrigley Rat 36 min 25 sec ago (view)

    Some injuries that have been announced one way or another include Ben Hecht's TJS on 5/11 and Yovanny Cruz' "arm surgery" due to "forearm discomfort" in early May. Jack Patterson announced that he would miss all of 2021, but be back next year. Jonathan Holder was cleared to begin a throwing program last week, but was not ready for mound work at that time. On June 16th, a Rowan Wick update was "every time he ramped back up, he kept feeling something. he's throwing off a mound again, but it's gonna be a while."

     

  • crunch 1 hour 17 min ago (view)

    baseball as we know it is under heavy management shifts in every aspect of the minors and even the indie leagues with a common string being pulled by upper MLB leaders.

    it's kinda concerning to some people.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 37 min ago (view)

    K-DUB: For the first time ever the AZL (now the ACL) is being operated / supervised from outside Arizona, and so there has been some confusion on the ground. A lot of last-minute planning. Lots of TBA / TBD, both within the individual organizations and within the league itself. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 43 min ago (view)

    K-DUB: It's just a procedural move to open up slots on the 180-man Domestic Reserve List.

    Any player who was placed on the 60-day IL on Minor League Opening Day (5/3) or placed on the 7-day IL on Minor League Opening Day (5/3) and then subsequently was transferred to the 60-day IL is eligible to be reinstated a week from tomorrow (7/2).

    As for the type of injuries sustained by the guys who are on the 60-day IL, I would rather not say. I will leave it to the individual player and/or to the Cubs to divulge specific injury information as it relates to a particulart player.

     

  • K Dub 5 hours 56 min ago (view)

    Can't wait for ACL games to get started on the 28th! (Really wish they'd change the name of the league, though. Bad injury vibes...)

     

  • K Dub 5 hours 58 min ago (view)

    PHIL: Are you able to provide any clarifying info on the nature of Kohl Franklin's injury/rehab? I saw you moved him from the 7-day to the 60-day IL. Was that just a procedural move because enough time has passed or is that a sign that he's out for the season? Also, of the guys on the 60-day IL, can you clarify who is definitely out for the season/having surgery and those who might return?

    Thanks!

     

  • Eric S 11 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Great stuff, Charlie - Thanks!

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have purchased the contract of 25-year old 6'5 260 RHP Adam Heidenfelder from Gary (American Association) and he has been assigned to the ACL Cubs.  

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    Does anyone know what type of injury Amaya has?

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 15 hours ago (view)

    I can not believe what a good 3b he has been playing.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    Robert Stock was claimed off waivers by the Mets.

     

  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    HR in the 8th.  dope.

     

  • crunch 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    he's back out in the field in the top 3rd...must be okay, but he sure doesn't look confidently healthy.  *shrug*  off-day tomorrow...