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. 

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 7 hours 7 min ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 8 min ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 29 min ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  

     

  • bradsbeard 14 hours 39 min ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 

     

  • Craig A. 15 hours 37 min ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 

     

  • bradsbeard 19 hours 5 min ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 

     

  • crunch 20 hours 22 min ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).

     

  • crunch 20 hours 58 min ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 4 min ago (view)

    -deleted-

     

  • crunch 21 hours 8 min ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.

     

  • Charlie 21 hours 16 min ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).

     

  • crunch 21 hours 18 min ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 19 min ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 22 min ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.

     

  • Charlie 21 hours 24 min ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 25 min ago (view)

    Q goes 2 effective (2ip 2h 1bb 2k, 0r/er) and here comes b.marquez...