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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  • JustSayin' 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

     I hear you but welcome to the world of Theo.  The team is always a step or two away from the World Series in his mind, whether that is true or not.  Therefore, the thing to do on the margin is to trade top prospects or younger guys on the roster for that missing puzzle piece, not build for the future.  I had a front-row seat for this as a Red Sox fan.  If Pedro Martinez doesn't insist the Red Sox sign David Ortiz for table scraps and Chris Bryant isn't the no-brainer second pick in the draft, we'd all be wondering what happened to that Theo guy who was in the Red S

     

  • Cubster 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Shogo Akiyama is a lefty bat, career BA at.301 w/ Seibu Lions.  Recent OBPs: .419, .385, .398, .403 and .392. HR 20-15 in last 3 seasons Stolen bases, 12 in 2019, 18 in best season (2016). Defense supposedly plus-plus, 7-10 assists (10 in 2016). Clearly a leadoff hitter.

     

  • crunch 3 days 19 hours ago (view)

    christian yelich committed internet homicide on yu darvish...

    https://twitter.com/ChristianYelich/status/1195462...

     

  • Charlie 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    Little in the offseason could make me happier than the Cubs finding ways to retain the good MLB players who came up with them while remaining competitive. This Javy extension talk makes me much happier as a fan than the Bryant and Contreras trade talk.

     

  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    "Javy Baez. The two-time All-Star shortstop and 2018 MVP runner-up already has begun negotiations on a potential long-term extension with the Cubs, according to sources."

    also, some talk of being linked to shogo akiyama (CF, Japan, 32yo in April)

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/cubs/2019/11/15/20966...

     

  • crunch 4 days 19 hours ago (view)

    j.odorizzi accepted his qualifying offer (17.8m) from MIN...so did j.abreu (CWS)....everyone else is gonna play the FA market.

    w.smith (SF) immediately signed with the braves for 3/39 (13m team option/1m buyout on the backend).  braves lose a 2nd round pick...which they'll probably get back when someone signs j.donaldson.

     

  • crunch 5 days 19 hours ago (view)

    nice.

    it's not like i think he's something special, but if he had 5mph more on his stuff he'd probably be a top prospect in the system combined with his command/control.  he's got highly repeatable junk and he's still young enough there might be a little more velocity to discover.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 23 hours ago (view)

    CRUNCH: As long as Carrera is placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 he should be safe from selection, and I would say he is in fact close to a lock to be placed on the Iowa roster.

    Presuming he is on the Iowa reserve list going into the Rule 5 Draft, I doubt very much that he would get selected in the Major League Phase because he hasn't pitched above Lo-A. 

     

  • crunch 5 days 23 hours ago (view)

    nice info...

    i'm low-key keeping an eye on faustino carrera if he's not protected...which he may not be protected.

    he throws junk, but he throws it well, and with great control.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 23 hours ago (view)

    I've talked to Player Development people over the past many years about the Rule 5 Draft and how an organization goes about deciding whether to protect or not protect a player from selection. 

    STEP 1: How many of your Rule 5 Draft-eligible players are actually legit candidates to get selected in the Major League Phase?. Usually there a dozen or more who could conceivably/realisticaly get selected. You need to identify them and then carefully evaluate them. 
    EXAMPLES: See my lists above. 

     

  • crunch 6 days 2 hours ago (view)

    "There are no untouchables," Epstein said.

    In truth, the Cubs boss has said the same every year, but it certainly sounds like he means it this time. "We're in the 'information collecting' stages of the process," one general manager put it on Tuesday.

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28066390/there...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 week 4 hours ago (view)

    I think, in relation to the higher profile guys like Javy or Contreras, they're trying to put some pressure on to sign extensions.

    That said I do think they're listening on everyone with the only name I haven't seen being Rizzo.

     

  • crunch 1 week 20 hours ago (view)

    i wonder where the cubs will go with things.

    there's a lot pointing to the cubs being expected to listen to offers on almost anyone.  as it is, on paper, the cubs could roll right into 2020 with no changes whatsoever and still field a very competitive team.  the whole "shakeup" thing seems to be a very hot topic from a variety of sources, though.

    bryant, contreras, schwarber have all been linked to "cubs may be listening" rumors...probably listening to anything on happ, bote, almora, russell, too...

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 21 hours ago (view)

    Even the Cubs should be able to out bid the Marlins!

     

  • crunch 1 week 21 hours ago (view)

    "According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, the Marlins are "believed" to have interest in free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos."

    by interest, i assume they mean they'd like to have some baseball rookie cards or his or maybe a hug from him.  i can't imagine they actually want to spend money on someone they could use to make their team better because that makes no sense.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Prior to joining the Cubs in 2012 Scott Harris was Director of Baseball Operations in the MLB office, which means he received, reviewed, and approved all major league and minor league contracts and transactions, as well as providing MLB clubs with schedules, rules updates, and draft information.