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 4 min 57 sec ago (view)

    The Cubs have purchased the contract of RHSP Mike Hauschild (ex-TOR) from Lexington (Atlantic League) and he has been asigned to AAA Iowa. 

     

  • crunch 1 hour 22 min ago (view)

    (c) hendricks gives up at least 60 homers in the regular season

    seriously, though...wisdom has "slowed down" the past 10 days or so, but he still managed a couple homers.  he's got a damn good shot at 20+ even if bote+duffy come back to steal a little time from him.

     

  • Charlie 1 hour 46 min ago (view)

    This Mets series is going poorly, so... off-topic question. Which of these outcomes do you currently think is more likely in 2021: (a) Javy hits at least 40 homeruns in the regular season, (b) Patrick Wisdom hits at least 20 homeruns in the regular season.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 35 min ago (view)

    wow...and he's done for the night.  that's not good...well, for mets fans.

    "right shoulder soreness"

     

  • crunch 20 hours 52 min ago (view)

    meanwhile...degrom with 8 Ks through 3 perfect innings.  he's also got a RBI single.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 30 min ago (view)

    and d.smith gets HBP.

    this is high end next level strategy.  you beat degrom by injuring everyone until they have to forfeit the game.  moneyballs.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 36 min ago (view)

    ow...villar got nailed in the ear and the back of the head by a throw from lobaton on a stolen base.

     

  • Arizona Phil 21 hours 55 min ago (view)

    CHARLIE: You are absolutely right.

    Granted there are existing rules prohibiting pitchers from using foreign substances, but you don't change enforcement protocols suddenly in the middle of the season. Pitchers should be given an opportunity to make adjustments during the course of Spring Training before any new enforcement policy is implememted.

    This can and should be addressed in the upcoming CBA negotiations. Not now. 

     

  • Charlie 22 hours 53 min ago (view)

    That was definitely my position prior to this year. But I am starting to buy into the claim that almost all pitchers are using something, even if it is rosin and sunscreen in many cases.

     

  • crunch 23 hours 35 min ago (view)

    brews did the cubs a solid by losing before the cubs have to take on degrom.

     

  • crunch 1 day 54 min ago (view)

    *laughs nervously looking over at craig kimbrel*

     

  • Jackstraw 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Guys who haven't been cheating don't need to change a thing.

     

  • crunch 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    dude can barely move behind the plate these days.  i wouldn't trust him to stop a passed ball or a wild pitch even with his advanced skill.

    that said, all the cubs in-house options kinda suck.

    hey d.ross, grab a glove and get to work.

     

  • Charlie 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Tyler Glasnow sprained his UCL and is pretty openly objecting to the MLB pushback on use of "sticky stuff," saying he thinks not using his "substance of choice," rosin and sunscreen, lead to his injury and will lead others to injury. I will be interested to hear a more open discourse on what pitchers use to get a grip on the ball, what will be permitted, and what adjustments pitchers will make.

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Time to sign Wilson Ramos.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    Beginning today (June 16th), post-2020 Article XX-B MLB free-agents who signed a 2021 MLB contract will no longer have an automatic "no trade" right, so Arrieta, Chafin, Marisnick, Pederson, and Romine can now be traded without restriction.