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.

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In reply to by Arizona Phil

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,

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. 

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

Cubs MLB Roster

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40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full)    

Last updated 1-24-2023
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 21
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Brad Boxberger
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Julian Merryweather
Ethan Roberts 
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
* Tucker Barnhart 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 8
Nico Hoerner
* Eric Hosmer
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 8 
Kevin Alcantara
* Cody Bellinger 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez


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