Leathersich Impressive at Salt River Fields

RHSP Melvin Ovalles hurled three innings of shutout ball and combined with four relievers to toss a three-hitter and Kyle Smith (2016 NDFA - Vanderbilt) drilled an RBI double and later scored to highlight a two-run 4th, as the AZL Diamondbacks took a 3-0 lead and then held-on to edge the AZL Cubs 3-2 in AZL mini-camp pre-season game action Saturday night on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

The game was called by mutual-consent after seven innings of play. 

Ex-NYM LHRP Jack Leathersich (July 2015 TJS) was unhittable in his one inning of work for the AZL Cubs, striking out the side (all three swinging).  

In AZL Cubs roster news, C-1B Michael Cruz (Cubs 2016 7th round draft pick - Bethune-Cookman) has arrived and he was in uniform at Salt River Fields, although he did not play in the game. Cruz was the first (and is apparently the only) 2016 draft pick signed by the Cubs (so far).  

Also, 16-year old SS Christopher Morel (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic - $800K signing bonus) has been added to the AZL Cubs roster. Morel suffered a severe laceration to his left arm last off-season that delayed his pro debut and he has been rehabbing at the UAPC for the last few months. He will provide temporary infield depth for the AZL Cubs until more draft picks arrive, and then he will be sent to the DSL.   

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

AZL CUBS LINEUP:
1. Luis Ayala, RF: 1-2 (1B, F-7, BB, R)
2. Jose Gonzalez, CF: 0-2 (L-5 DP, 5-3, HBP, R)
3. Jhonny Bethencort, SS: 1-1 (BB, 1B, BB, SB) 
4a. Gustavo Polanco, C: 0-2 (6-3, BB, 6-4-3 DP)
4b. Eric Gonzalez, C: NO AB 
5. Kevin Zamudio, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, K, K)
6. Adonis Paula, DH: 1-3 (1B, F-9, K)
7. Rafael Mejia, 3B: 0-3 (6-4-3 DP, K, F-7)
8. Edgar Rondon, 2B: 0-2 (K, 3-U, BB)
9. Ruben Reyes, LF: 0-3 (3-1, K, F-9)

AZL CUBS PITCHERS
1. Javier Assad: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/AO, 36 pitches (23 strikes) 
2. Jack Leathersich: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 16 pitches (12 strikes) 
3. Junior Marte: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 0/2 GO/AO, 20 pitches (14 strikes) 
4. Tanner Griggs: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 PO, 1/1 GO/AO, 14 pitches (10 strikes) 
5. Eugenio Palma: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 18 pitches (12 strikes) 
6. Yapson Gomez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 14 pitches (10 strikes) 

AZL CUBS ERRORS: 3 
1. 3B Rafael Mejia: E-5 (two-base throwing error allowed batter to reach 2nd base safely) 
2. SS Jhonny Bethencourt: E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 
3. SS Jhonny Bethencourt: E-6 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely) 

AZL CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE 
Gustavo Polanco: 0-2 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 19

WEATHER: Clear with temperatures 110+  

Comments

PHIL: Any guns on Nathan or Leathersich? Are they in mid-90's? Which one is making up to the show first in your opinion?

E-MAN: I don't have velocity readings on Nathan, but Leathersich was throwing a four-seamer 90-91 (touched 92-93) and a curve last night. Leathersich reminds me of Travis Wood (except Wood has the versatlity to start or relieve and pitch multiple innings) in that when you see the reactions of the hitters to Leathersich's fastball you would think he is throwing harder than he really is. Leathersich's history shows a consistent "reverse split," where he is tougher on RH hitters than on LH hitters, and it has appeared to be that way down here, too. So Leathersich is NOT a LOOGY, he's a one-inning reliever who happens to throw LH. 

Joe Nathan is a proven closer and I do not have his fastball velocity from his outing on Friday night, but I was told that he was throwing his fastball at 93-94 MPH in bullpen side-sessions over the last couple of weeks. Of the two, Nathan is most-likely to arrive in Chicago first (probably in mid-July when he is eligible to be reinstated from the 60-day DL), but Leathersich is looking good (so far) and he could get called-up sooner rather than later. I'm just not sure that Maddon values what Leathersich brings to the table (a one-inning only version of Travis Wood). 

Nathan and Leathersich (and Aaron Crow,  Brian Matusz, and Joel Peralta, too) are all potential alternatives to Richard, Warren, and Grimm, but I'm not sure they would be better. They might be, or they might not be.

CHILDERS: I wrote this last Monday and there is nothing more to add to it at this time, other than that if he continues to throw side-sesseions without medical setbacks, he should see AZL game action within a week or two... 

"RHSP Oscar de la Cruz (right elbow soreness) threw a 25-pitch bullpen side-session this morning (6/13) and apparently had no problems, unlike last week when his bullpen was shut-down after only a half-dozen pitches. One of the Cubs top prospects (he was ranked as the Cubs #3 pitching prospect and their 8th best overall prospect by 
Baseball America coming into the 2016 season), de la Cruz has not pitched in a game since being shut-down with a sore elbow at Minor League Camp in March."  

Hudson is 19, Cease is 20, and Paulino is 21.

As far as Jose Paulino is concerned, he throws a 91-93 MPH two-seamer that touches 94-95, a slider, and a change-up, and he is an extreme ground ball pitrcher. Because his stuiff is so electric he struggles with command from time-to-time. He is a legit prospect. He was one of the last three pitchers cut from the South Bend roster at the end of Minor League Camp (Lewis and Araujo were the other two). Paulino is Rule 5 Draft-eligible, and being a lefty, he could get grabbed by another organization post-2016 even without having pitched on a full-season minor league team. If the Cubs were to add him to their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) post-2016 (not likely, but possible), he would have four minor league options rather than the usual three. 

Phil, Cease, Hudson and Paulino have been nails for Eugene to start the year. All are 19 yrs old I believe. What did you see in Paulino? Also, any updates on Oscar de La Cruz? Seems like he's probably going to miss this yr. Thanks,

Does anyone know what type of injury Ryan Williams has and is he in Mesa?

HAGSAG: Ryan Williams was at the UAPC last week but I didn't see him out on the field. I don't know what his injury is. 

Tommy Birch @TommyBirch Ryan Williams said he felt some discomfort in his shoulder. That's what landed him on the DL. Says it's nothing serious. Precautionary.

Thank Phil. I apologize for making you repeat yourself there.

CHILDERS: Not a problem. I don't mind. 

Recent comments

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  • Charlie 3 hours 32 min ago (view)

    Yeah, it seems like I lean more toward overvaluing Bryant than most commenters here. Also, I completely stopped following prospect lists once the Cubs were good again, so I'm out of the loop on Pache especially. I had imagined that the Cubs would be looking more for immediate major league value rather than a projectable prospect, but I guess if you really like Pache you don't mind waiting a couple years.

     

  • K Dub 10 hours 16 min ago (view)

    PHIL: Excellent breakdown, Phil. Thanks. 

    I'm sure you heard. QO value was set at $17.8 million the day after you made your post.

     

  • K Dub 10 hours 24 min ago (view)

    Pache, Wright, Muller and Riley feels light to you, Charlie? I respect your opinion, but I would jump at it. I highly doubt the Braves would do it, though. Were talking 2 years of Bryant at what could be 18 million and 28-30 million in his last year of arbitration. 

    The Cubs would be hurting their chances next year and building for 2021 in a deal like that, but that's rebuilding/retooling in one fell swoop. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    CHARLIE: Austin Riley is actually a third-baseman but he had to play LF for the Braves in 2019 because he was blocked by Josh Donaldson, and Cristian Pache is considered to be the best defensive centerfielder in the minors and his bat has improved enough over the past year or two to where he is now rated in or just outside the top ten overall prospects in MLB.

    So a package that includes Riley and Pache and one of the Braves young MLB or MLB-ready SP would probably be more than enough to get the Cubs to bite.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 days 17 hours ago (view)

    Max Fried or Bryse Wilson

     

  • crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)

    https://www.espn.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/27828247/...

    t.skaggs story keeps getting deeper.

    allegations the team knew about skagg's drug abuse (also his family).  teams are required to report this to MLB.

     

  • Charlie 2 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Except for the headline, the linked post reads more like a trade hypothetical than a trade rumor. I like the idea of looking at this package as a discussion point for expected return for Bryant. I would say it feels a little light to me. It's deep, with two decent outfield prospects with upside and two OK pitching prospects. But Riley doesn't help the team solve the CF problem right now, so he's either redundant to Bote or sort of a Schwarber replacement. Muller's inflated BB% at AA this year worries me a bit too.

     

  • Cubster 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    I might have missed something and it's been talked about regarding a KB trade rumor from about 10-9-19. 

    https://apple.news/AJUMyEWodQ2GX1cj1gE4ENQ 

    Braves receive: 3B Kris Bryant 

     

  • crunch 4 days 16 hours ago (view)

    they get 3 guys and the cubs get 1 guy.  sounds like a slam dunk for the angels.  pencil trout in the cubs lineup.  he's got upside.

     

  • Jackstraw 4 days 18 hours ago (view)

    I'd hate to part with both Kemp and Chatwood, but if it will bring that Trout guy back, we could even throw in Almora.

     

  • crunch 4 days 21 hours ago (view)

    the ricketts got a brazillian dollar tax break...they need to trickle that down and flex on the entire league.

    we gonna get grandal, rendon, castellanos, g.cole, strasburg, ryu, a.chapman...maybe sign bumgarner and odorizzi to work the pen.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 22 hours ago (view)

    CHARLIE: If the Cubs trade Quintana and his new club pays 100% of his 2020 salary his new club assumes 100% of his salary AAV liability, but if the Cubs agree to pay a portion of Quintana's 2020 salary as part of the trade, whatever portion of Quintana's 2020 salary that is paid by the Cubs would count against the Cubs 2020 AAV. 

     

  • Charlie 4 days 23 hours ago (view)

    PHIL: Thanks for that Boston context--I hadn't realized the trend there. If the Cubs did decide to pick up Quintana's option and then trade him (assuming the Cubs would not agree to pay part of the contract as part of the trade), do they have to do that by a certain date in order for Quintana's contract not to count against them for the CBT? I haven't been able to find any dates attached to the CBT in a quick internet search.

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 4 min ago (view)

    My presumption in the Cubs declining Jose Quintana's 2020 club option as well as declining the club options on the veteran relievers who have one and non-tendering Addison Russell (and this also applies to Joe Maddon not returning as manager in 2020) is that after the monumental late-September collapse of 2019 on the heels of the 2018 Game #163 and Wild Card game defeats Ricketts will no longer accept the Cubs payroll going over the CBT threshold ($208M AAV in 2020) or extending a manager making $5M a year.   

     

  • crunch 5 days 5 hours ago (view)

    i actually like ATL the team...the fans and the 3+ hours of tommy hawk chawpin' non-stop is beyond annoying before even getting into how messed up it is they're still doing that in 2019.  it's all they do, just that 1 single thing...for hours...

    fans were so upset about not getting foam hatchets pre-game yesterday (that was the club's way to "dial it back") they were busy letting the "PC police" know they're here to chant and chop as loud as they could before the first pitch was even thrown.

    it took about 10 runs to shut them up.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 5 days 19 hours ago (view)

    Damn. Atlanta was the only team in the NL I was hoping would advance. I don’t know what I was hoping in LA vs WAS series. Cataclysmic event? (Side note, I live in the DC area, what a dreadful group of fans. They deserve nothing good ever.)