Albertos Gives D'backs Plenty of Nothin' at Salt River Fields

RHSP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M signing bonus) hurled four innings of one-hit shutout ball with seven strikeouts and Cubs 2016 7th round draft pick Michael Cruz (making his pro debut) belted an RBI double off the top of the right-centerfield fence (near HR) with two outs in the top of the 8th that drove-in the run that ultimately proved to be the difference in the game, as the AZL Cubs withstood a four-run 9th inning rally and edged the AZL Diamondbacks 5-4 in Arizona League action Wednesday night on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Strick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Besides the 8th inning RBI double, Cruz also was hit by a pitch (right shoulder) in his first pro AB, fouled a ball off his right instep in his second AB, and took a foul-tip off his right shoulder in the bottom of the 4th while working behind the plate (he caught all nine innings in 105+ degree heat). Welcome to pro ball. 

The 17-year old Albertos was masterful beyond his years in his four innings of work, staying ahead in the count (69% of his pitches were strikes) and mixing a 96-98 MPH fastball with a plus-change and an occasional curve to keep the opposing hitters off-balance. In fact, the Albertos change-up was so deceptive that one D'backs hitter injured his right knee (and had to leave the game) screwing himself into the ground on a swinging third strike trying in vain to hit one. The only hit off Albertos was a broken-bat line drive single over the third-baseman's head with two outs in the top of the 1st.

The AZL Diamondbacks were held to one hit (the first-inning broken-bat single) through the first eight innings of the game, but Kyle Smith (two-run double), Juan Araujo (RBI double), and Michael Branigan (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to the four-run 9th inning rally that fell a run short, as the potential tying and winning runs were left-stranded on the bases.

LHRP Jack Leathersich (ex-NYM) had another clean 1-2-3 inning (K, K, 6-3), as he continues to impress in his rehab from July 2015 TJS.    

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

AZL CUBS LINEUP:
1. Luis Ayala, RF: 1-5 (L-7, L-5, 1B, 1-3, K)
2. Jose Gonzalez, CF: 0-4 (1-3, 4-3, 6-3, BB, K, R)
3. Jhonny Bethencourt, SS: 0-3 (4-3, L-4, BB, 6-3, R, SB)
4. Gustavo Polanco, 1B: 1-4 (3-U, L-8, F-9, 1B, R, RBI)
5. Kevin Zamudio, DH: 1-4 (2B, F-9, 5-3, F-8, R)
6. Michael Cruz, C: 1-3 (HBP, F-7, F-8, 2B, RBI)
7. Rafael Mejia, 3B: 2-4 (1B, 2B, 6-3, K, R)
8. Edgar Rondon, 2B: 1-3 (3-U, 5-3 SH, 1B, K, RBI)
9. Ruben Reyes, LF: 1-3 (4-3, F-7 SF, K, 1B, RBI)

AZL CUBS PITCHERS
1. Jose Albertos: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, 3/2 GO/AO, 54 pitches (37 strikes) 
2. Jack Leathersich: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 14 pitches (8 strikes)
3. Eugenio Palma: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 4/2 GO/AO, 19 pitches (12 strikes) 
4. Tanner Griggs: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 2/2 GO/AO, 28 pitches (17 strikes) 
5. Luis Aquino: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 4 pitches (4 strikes)

AZL CUBS ERRORS: 1 
1B Gustavo Polanco: E-3 (missed catch allowed batter to reach base safely)

AZL CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Michael Cruz: 1 PB

ATTENDANCE: 16

WEATHER: Clear with temperatures 100+  

Comments

Az Phil, have any of the draft picks showed up yet besides Cruz? Thanks.

HAGSAG: I haven't seen any others. 

John Arguello (Cubs Den) also goes to the AZL Cubs games and he writes game reports, often has a photo gallery, and provides a link to the milb.com box score, so if you want info about the AZL Cubs and AZL Cubs games going forward, please visit Cubs Den.  

link 

One thing I have noticed about two of the Mexican pitchers (Camargo and  Albertos) who have come through Mesa Riverview over the past couple of years is that they have a plus-change-up but struggle a bit with their curve. This is almost exactly the opposite of what you see with most other young pitchers down here. Usually a young pitcher has a promising fastball and a decent if not plus-breaking ball (curve or slider) but struggles to learn the off-speed straight-change.  

Could it have something to do with the way young pitchers are coached in Mexico? Perhaps the change-up is taught instead of a breaking ball to help cut-down on elbow and shoulder injuries. 

Michael Cruz - would you say he looks credible as a catcher?

BRADSBEARD: I haven't seen enough of Michael Cruz to say one way or the other, but he received the electric stuff Jose Albertos was throwing without any problems. (It was by far the best outing Albertos has had as a pro as far as command is concerned, going back to post-2015 Instructs, 2016 Minor League Camp, and EXST).

Cruz wasn't challenged by any D'backs base runners (because there were only three through the first eight innings, and none of them tried to steal), but FWIW, he did make some really lousy (Miguel Montero-like) throws to 2nd base after pre-inning pitcher warm-ups. 

Cruz will certainly get some intense instruction/evaluation at post-season Instructs, and his future as a catcher will be more-clear after that. I'm sure the Cubs very much want Cruz to remain a catcher if at all possible. 

As a hitter, just prior to the 8th inning RBI double off the right-centerfield fence, Cruz hit a long fly down the RF line that had home run distance but hooked foul at the last second. I've seen him take BP a few times, too, and he has legit raw HR power. A LH hitting catcher with HR power would be really nice to have. 

AZ PHIL: Albertos is only 17!!? Not 18 until November, apparently. Julio Urias will be 20 this summer. I can assume that - since he is from Reynosa, MX (Broncos de Reynosa is the Club - apparently Kyle Farnsworth has prev been on their roster), and Urias' Diablos Rojos del Mexico were in the same league - that they know one another. If Albertos pans out, it could be a huge coup for the Cubs, as Urias is for the Dodgers. The team certainly needs some impact arms in a big way, as I am not feeling so happy-face over Underwood and Pierce Johnson - or ANY Iowa Cubs starter except perhaps Ryan Williams.

E-MAN: The Top 5 Cubs SP prospects right now are (alphabetical):
Jose Albertos 
Dylan Cease 
Trevor Clifton
Bryan Hudson
Duane Underwood Jr

SHOW ME THE MONEY: Jose Albertos has signed with Mega-Agent Scott Boras.

Albertos has already received his signing bonus and won't see any additional significant money until he reaches the big leagues, so this is a long-term investment for the Boras Corporation.  

Other Cubs represented by Boras include Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Albert Almora Jr. 

Boras is 63, maybe he'll be retired or dead by the time Bryant, Russell, Almora, Albertos all hit free agency. Doubt he will be before Jake hits there though.

Recent comments

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  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 5 min ago (view)

    The fact hat the Cubs have not run him through waivers by now tells me the Cubs know Duane Underwood Jr is a lock to get claimed and so they are hoping to find a club that would be willing to give the Cubs something more than the $50,000 waiver price in return for Dunderwood (either more $$$ and/or a player). 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 hour 47 min ago (view)

    Today's pitchers, most of them the same guys who threw last Tuesday: 

    Alec Mills:
    FB: 89-91 
    SL: 81 
    CH: 81-82 
    CV: 67-70 
    COMMENT: This just in: Mills heater now sitting at 91!!!!... had two easy innings and looked very good... threw only a handful of his "Bugs Bunny curves" but they are fun to watch because hitters don't know how to deal with it... ... 

    Craig Kimbrel: 
    FB: 93-96 
    CT: 87-88 
    SL: 82-84 

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 hours 21 min ago (view)

    DJL: Jason Adam sustained a right elbow fracture a few years ago and missed two full seasons, and when he returned to action he started using a "short-arm" delivery. 

     

  • crunch 2 hours 22 min ago (view)

    baez "soft tissue injury"...no biggie...it's spring.  he'll be back in a day or 2.

     

  • crunch 4 hours 31 min ago (view)

    kimbrel...K, single, HBP, 3 more hits...inning called due to pitch count.  4 earned.

    also, baez removed after being HBP on the hand.

    neat.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 10 hours 43 min ago (view)

    Cotton McKnight: In 23 years of broadcasting I thought I'd seen it all, folks. But it looks like Peter La Fleur has actually blindfolded himself.

    Pepper Brooks: He will not be able to see very well, Cotton. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 10 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Yes! Exactly... I'd love to be able to watch coverages in football or just key-in on a great WR to watch them work.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 10 hours 48 min ago (view)

    Wow... this is the most engagement I have ever received on any topic on social media platform. Please stay tuned for my opinions on the Oxford Comma, the APA Style Manual for Academic Writing, and the auto-correct on my iPhone.  

    I am an awesome guy at parties.... 

     

  • bradsbeard 21 hours 12 min ago (view)

    I watched some of the Puerto Rican Winter League games that Miguel Amaya played in this winter. At least one broadcast had a super wide shot for balls in play that let you see the OF and the baserunners at the same time. It was awesome. 

     

  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 18 min ago (view)

    3 dots on this evening's Cubs-Dodgers game - makes sense & they do color in the 3rd dot as they're going to commericals (Spectrum Sportsnet).

     

  • crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    3 dot crew represent.  i didn't have an opinion, but now i'm 100% on board.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    I agree on most of this, but I especially support three fillable dots for the outs--and fill in the third before cutting to a commercial!

    Not doing homework on the players in a Spring Training broadcast is pretty forgiveable, but ESPN is really bad about it pretty much all year. It would be nice if they made a habit of picking up a local color commentator and sort of interviewing them throughout games.

     

  • George Altman 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    The single thing I want in a sports broadcast is to become smarter about the sport,  to learn something from the broadcast crew.

    Stone does that, Romo does that, Eddie O on hockey, and that's about it. I watch sporting events with the sound down very low or off. I forgot more about baseball than most broadcasters will ever know, and I'm always shocked when I see something in a football game that the crew doesn't,  and I know about NOTHING about football. 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    Also... what is with only having 2 dots as the outs counter? I know that you don't really need the 3rd dot, but I find it counter-intuitive. If the dots fill in, then only having 2 throws me off b/c it's natural to subitize "3" associated with outs. You quickly see 0/3, 1/3, 2/3.  If the graphic does not have fill-in dots, then just put the #.  eg - OUTS: 1  It's minimalism for the sake of minimalism, not graphic design for effective communication.

     

  • crunch 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    tight shots + insane amount of screen real estate being taken up with graphics is a bit of a plague...especially the ones with a non-stop bottom news ticker.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    General comment on baseball broadcasting... I think that the color comentator (CC) needs to talk about 30% more & the PBP about 30% less. I would love a more stream of consciousness from the CC outlining what they would be looking for in a given situation. To that end, why not have 2 CC for national broadcasts - one a pitcher & one a position player. Would love for them to banter back & forth on micro strategy from their perspectives. I think this would turn the game's pauses between action into more of an asset.