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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  • jdrnym 6 hours 23 min ago (view)

    AZPHIL, has there been official word as to whether the 26-man roster has been extended down to the minor league levels that previously had 25-man rosters? Can't really think of a reason why that shouldn't be the case...

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Another possibility for a "26th man" in 2020 would be a young pitcher selected in the Rule 5 Draft who has big league upside but who is clearly not yet "big league ready," or a pitcher who is out of minor league options who might not be quite MLB ready.

     

  • Cubster 13 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Just sign Rick Reuschel and lets move on

     

  • crunch 14 hours 7 min ago (view)

    "Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Scott Kazmir will throw for MLB teams this week.

    The 36-year-old Kazmir hasn't thrown in the majors since the 2016 season, but he recently told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he that he hit 90.9 mph with his fastball during a bullpen session."

    someone put another bottle of left-in-the-car warm water under the cubs hot stove and let's get this one done!  woo!

    sigh.

     

  • crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    bryce harper ruined that bat dragging thing for everyone after his ejection years ago at the junior college world series.

    also, hurrah for baseball making it's return.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    College ball started Saturday.  Umpire egos in D1 baseball are not that much smaller than in the pros, so of course there was a controversy.  In the late innings of a game in the weekend's biggest series (Michigan vs.

     

  • crunch 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    the news is mostly based on a Baseball America article from the 11th (behind a paywall)...so the gist of it is rather legit rumor-wise, though it's still too far in the future to call it a 100% done deal.

    btw, the cubs have been strongly linked to pursuing christian hernandez for quite a while.  the BA writer that wrote the article about the cubs links has been following c.hernandez since he was a 14yo talent and is quite familiar with him.  that signing probably is in the bag.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 3 days 5 hours ago (view)

    I don't know much about this website, but they are speculating that the Cubs may sign two of the top International Free Agents available during this signing period: https://www.cubshq.com/print/news.do?id=16441&isNe... Does anyone know if this sounds legit?

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Minnie Minoso was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 47 and Julio Franco was playing in the Mexican League (as a DH) at age 49, so Mexican League teams clearly do not have a problem with signing older players. 

    And of course the ageless Satchel Paige was still working as a SP in AAA (with the Miami Marlins) into his early 50's (and prior to that he pitched in MLB as late as age 46).  

     

  • crunch 4 days 10 hours ago (view)

    b.colon has signed to a mexican league team.  woo old dudes.  he turns 47 in may...believed by some to be older.

     

  • Cubster 4 days 18 hours ago (view)

    Replacing someone like David DeJesus?

     

  • crunch 5 days 11 hours ago (view)

    mark grace returns to chicago as an analyst/on-air-talent for Marquee.

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  • Eric S 5 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Increasing levels of smoke concerning a possible Arenado/KB trade

    https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2020/02/13/cubs-reportedly-are-absolutely-motivated-to-try-to-acquire-nolan-arenado/

    Get Arenado to agree to push back his opt out a few years or so down the road and this could work out nicely for the Cubs

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 5 hours ago (view)

    Jason Kipnis (like Brandon Morrow) was a post-2019 Article XX-B MLB free-agent who signed a 2020 minor league contract, so he gets a $100K retention bonus and an automatic June 1st player opt-out if he is not released by 12 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day prior to MLB Opening Day or added to an MLB 40-man roster or MLB 60-day IL by 12 PM (Eastern) on MLB Opening Day. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 days 6 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed post-2019 second-contract minor league FA catcher Jordan Procyshen to a 2020 minor league contract and he has been assigned to AA Tennessee.  

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 6 days 7 hours ago (view)

    Q could be subbed in for any of those too