Ryan Williams Keeps Rollin' at Riverview as Extended Spring Training Comes to an End

D. J. Wilson singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run, Franklin Tineo belted a solo HR, and SP Ryan Williams (2017 right shoulder surgery) hurled five innings of one-run ball, in a Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played Tuesday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings of play (only two pitchers were scheduled to throw in the game, both with a pre-determined 75-pitch limit). 

Tuesday marked the official end of Cubs Extended Spring Training. AZL mini-camp begins on Thursday, and the first AZL games are next Monday.

Meanwhile, the Eugene Emeralds (the Cubs short-season "A" affiliate) flew up to Oregon earlier in the afternoon, leaving AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 behind in Mesa to play the final EXST intrasquad game. The first Eugene game will be this coming Friday. 

Based upon who did and did not play in the intrasquad game and who I did not see on the bench (and we will have to wait for the Eugene roster to be released before this can be confirmed), it would appear that a number of the Cubs best EXST prospects have been assigned to Eugene (at least initially, pending the eventual arrival of some of this year's college draft picks), including SS-3B Christopher Morel, C Jonathan Soto, LHSP Brailyn Marquez, CF Fernando Kelli, SS Luis Vazquez, LHSP Faustino Carrera, RF Jonathan Sierra, 2B Luis Diaz, RHSP Eury Ramos, and 3B-2B Orian Nunez. (OF Nelson Velazquez -- who was moved up to South Bend from EXST last month -- has also been assigned to Eugene, so the Emeralds could be a fun team to watch).

Converseely, some of the older and more experienced players who were expecting to go to Eugene (C Alexander Guerra, OF Luis Gutierrez, OF Jose A. Gonzalez, 3B-1B Fidel Mejia, OF Yovanny Cuevas, and INF Yonathan Perlaza) as well as the youngsters making their pro debuts (SS Luis Verdugo, 2B Reivaj Garcia, and OF Kevin Moreno) were left behind to play in the AZL. (As most of you know by now, the Cubs Player Development Department likes to employ aggressive "challenge-promotions" for their best prospects). 

On the EXST medical front, Cubs 2017 6th round draft pick RHSP Jeremiah Estrada (who was a virtual lock for the Eugene starting rotation) was left behind in Mesa after suffering a right elbow injury in a Cactus League EXST game versus Angels at Diablo Park about ten days ago. RHSP Jose M. Gonzalez (who was not in contention for a Eugene SP slot but was expected to be a SP for one of the two Cubs AZL teams) has been shut-down indefinitely with a right elbow/forearm injury that ocurred in a Cactus League EXST game at Giants about two or three weeks ago (but no TJS for either Estrada or Gonzalez... yet). RHSP Danis Correa and RHRP Junior Marte have also been shut-down indefinitely (and I don't know why). And still no confirmation on the exact nature of DSL Cubs #2 LHSP Andres Bonalde's season-ending left elbow surgery (probably was TJS, but I'm not 100% sure). NOTE: Bonalde was called up from the Cubs Dominican Academy and was assigned to Cubs Extended Spring Training only - AFTER - he had the surgery. Myrtle Beach OF Chris Pieters was last seen a couple of weeks ago at the UAPC wearing a TJS-type contraption on his right (non-throwing) arm, but his injury could be any one of a number of different types of elbow/biceps type-injury (although whatever it is, it didn't look good). South Bend catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni had season-ending knee surgery last month. And no update yet on OF Carlos Pacheco, who suffered a leg injury while tripping over 1st base (and had to be carried from the field) in an intrasquad game last weekend (Pacheco -- who was tied for 2nd in the DSL in HR in 2017 -- was expected to play LF and provide a power-bat for one of the two AZL Cubs teams).   

Here is the box score from the game: 

CUBS SQUAD "B" LINEUP:
1. Tolly Filotei, LF: 1-3 (1B, K, 3-U) 
2. Jose Gutierrez, RF: 0-3 (K, F-8, K)
3. Luis Verdugo, SS: 0-2 (F-9, F-9)
4. Franklin Tineo, C: 1-2 (F-7, HR, R, RBI)
5. Josue Huma, 3B: 0-2 (L-7, 4-3)
6. Herson Perez, 2B: 2-2 (1B, 1B)
7. Richard Nunez, 1B: 0-2 (K, K)
8. Jose A. Gonzalez, CF: 0-1 (6-3, BB)
9. Eric Gonzalez, DH:  0-2 (6-3, L-7)

CUBS SQUAD "A" LINEUP
1. D. J. Wilson, CF: 2-2 (1B, 2B, R, SB)
2. Reivaj Garcia, 2B: 1-2 (1B, K, RBI)
3. Yonathan Perlaza, 3B: 0-2 (P-3 DP, 5-3)
4. Alexander Guerra, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-3)
5. Fidel Mejia, 1B: 1-2 (K, 1B)
6. Yovanny Cuevas, RF: 0-1 (K, BB)
7. Raymond Pena, DH #1: 1-2 (E-4, 1B)
8. Kevin Moreno, DH #2: 1-1 (BB, 1B)
9. Henrry Pedra, 2B: 0-2 (K, 5-3 DP)
10. Luis Ubiera, LF: 0-1 (K) 

CUBS SQUAD "B" PITCHER:
Didier Vargas: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/AO, 72 pitches (39 strikes) 

CUBS SQUAD "A" PITCHER:
Ryan Williams: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 4/6 GO/AO, 75 pitches (53 strikes) 
 
CUBS SQUAD "B" ERRORS: 1 
2B Herson Perez: E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 

CUBS SQUAD "A" ERRORS: NONE 

ATTENDANCE: 1 

WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures 100+ 

Arizona 
Scoring 
Service 

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

Comments

The Cubs have been toying with the idea of calling the two Cubs AZL teams "AZL Cubs Blue" and "AZL Cubs Red" instead of "AZL Cubs #1" and "AZL Cubs #2," although I don't think any final decision (one way or the other) has been made yet. (Some of the players assigned to Jonathan Mota's EXST Cubs squad have been wearing red arm sleeves and wristbands). 

FWIW, the Giants (like the Cubs, Indians, and Padres) are fielding two AZL teams this season, and they call their two AZL teams "AZL Giants Orange" and "AZL Giants Black."

Thanks for the great update Phil.

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  • MIL closer (but not their best reliever) c.knebel has gone from "tired arm" to "elbow might be a little bit torn up"

    unfortunately, they've been linked to c.kimbrel lately...hopefully that doesn't happen.

    crunch 5 hours 36 min ago view
  • Here is how the Cubs starting pitching is trending at Minor League Camp as of this morning (Thursday 3/21). There will be changes before the affiliates leave town in about ten days, but here is how things stand right now:  

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 49 min ago view
  • brach not throwing mid-90s yet at this point in spring is a bit concerning...he's been in the high 80s, touching low 90s almost all spring.

    slider velocity is on point.

    crunch 8 hours 17 min ago view
  • Here are the Cubs pitchers velo readings from Thursday afternoon's Cubs - Giants Cactus League game at Sloan Park: 

    KYLE HENDRICKS: 
    FB: 84-86 - T-87 
    CH: 77-80
    CV: 69-71 
    NOTE: Velo was down a bit across the board for Hendricks, but does it really matter?  

    BRIAN DUENSING: 
    FB: 88-89
    CH: 84-86 
    SL: 80
    NOTE: Finished Hendricks' final inning (the 6th)... best thing I can say about Duensing is that he appears to be healthy and is throwing the ball as well as he can... 

    Arizona Phil 8 hours 30 min ago view
  • ...speaking of extensions...looks like goldschmidt/cards are going to be a long-term pain the cubs ass sometime soon.

    crunch 8 hours 56 min ago view
  • Ken Rosenthal‏ @Ken_Rosenthal

    Eloy Jimenez deal with #whitesox is six years, $43M with two club options, but in his camp’s view, he effectively is giving up only one free-agent year. Without deal, he would have started season in AAA and stayed down until at least point when CWS would gain seven years control.

    crunch 15 hours 2 min ago view
  • Thanks alot for the rundown. I’d really like to see them take some risks rather than run with retreads . For instance, I’d like to see Soto-Reynolds/Mejia-Perlaza-Vazquez-Morel to be the SB infield for a good chunk of the year or the MB OF to be Wilson/Artis-Gutierrez-Herron to open with Mitchell on the bench. I’d really really like to see one of Davis or Roederer open with SB (personal preference is Davis but only because I like his potential more). 

    KingKongvsGodzilla 16 hours 33 min ago view
  • ichiro goes 0/4 in his farewell game...it's been an interesting run for a guy who didn't get here til he was 27.

    3089 hits...509 sb...350+ ob%...10 GG...1 MVP

    M's win over the A's in 12 innings...

    crunch 18 hours 12 min ago view
  • For those of you who might have missed Wednesday night's MLB Cactus League Game at Sloan Park, here are the velo readings from Cubs pitchers (and one Dodger pitcher): 

    COLE HAMELS:  
    FB: 91-93 
    CT  87-89 
    CH: 83-85 
    CU: 77-79 
    NOTE: Mixed up his pitches very well and maintained FB velo throughout outing, but fly ball pitchers like Hamels usually don't fare too well in Arizona in March (they don't fare too well in Texas, either). 

    Arizona Phil 1 day 58 min ago view
  • BRADSBEARD: Cole Roederer has had an impressive week at Minor League Camp and with the MLB club as well, but I think the most-likely scenario is that he stays in Mesa at EXST April-June, is assigned to Eugene on NWL Opening Day, and then (if all goes well at Eugene) gets a promotion to South Bend in mid-July or August, and then gets assigned to the AFL post-2019, and then (best case scenario) - POSSIBLY - gets to AA sometime in 2020 (although Myrtle Beach would be a lot more-likely for Opening Day 2020).

    Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • The Cubs have released RHSP Christian Bergman from Minor League Camp. He was an NRI to MLB Camp, but was sent down to Minor League Camp last week 

    Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Thanks to PHIL and the ASS.

    On another topic - looks like J-Hey is in mid-season form at the plate in camp.

    The E-Man 1 day 4 hours ago view
  • Do you think Roederer opens the season at SB?

    bradsbeard 1 day 6 hours ago view
  • good news...

    Jordan Bastian‏ @MLBastian

    Yu Darvish's between-start bullpen session is scheduled for Friday. If all goes well, his next turn to pitch would fall on Sunday.

    crunch 1 day 7 hours ago view
  • Some things to keep in mind about the "backdating" of injured list assignments: 

    As long as the player did not appear in a game during the retroactive period (including "official" MLB Cactus League or Grapefruit League games or other MLB pre-season exhibition games), an MLB 10-day Injured List assignment can be backdated up to three days (including the three days prior to MLB Opening Day), and a 7-day (acute concussion) Injured List assignment can be backdated up to four days (including the four days prior to MLB Opening Day).

    Arizona Phil 2 days 4 hours ago view
  • For anyone interested, here are the Cubs pitchers velo readings from Tuesday's Cubs - Mariners game at Sloan Park: 

    YU DARVISH: 
    FB: 93-96 
    2S: 89-92
    SL: 83-86  
    CH: 80-83 
    CV: 78 
    ???: 59 (I don't know what type of pitch this was but it was the slowest pitch I've seen since Little League) 
    NOTE: A really interesting variety of pitches from Yu... Looked good until the blister caused him to leave the game earlier than planned...

    Arizona Phil 2 days 5 hours ago view