Camargo Sharp as AZL Cubs Defeat AZL Snakes
Andruw Monasterio drilled a two-run triple, walked twice, scored a run, and collected a third RBI on a bases-loaded walk, Wladimir Galindo belted a two-run double and knocked-in a third run with a sacrifice fly, Roberto Caro reached base on a bunt single, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and RHSP Jesus Camargo hurled five innings of three-hit one-run ball with no walks and a 11/1 GO/FO, helping the AZL Cubs defeat the AZL Diamondbaks 8-4 in AZL action last night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.
The 2014 VSL HR champion, 18-year old Wladimir Galindo (2013 IFA - Venezuela) missed the last five weeks of Extended Spring Training with a left wrist injury, and while his wrist is still wrapped, he has been driving the ball in AZL games. Tonight was no exception, as he hammered a line-drive SF to LF in his first AB, crushed a two-run double into the LF corner his second time up, and lofted a fly ball to the warning track in CF in his third PA. He is still a raw player defensively at 3rd base, but he shows off a strong arm when given the opportunity. Galindo is a big kid (not quite as imposing as Eloy Jimenez, but close), and he is the #1 AZL Cub player to watch right now, at least until some of the 2015 draft picks are activated.
18-year old Venezuelan SS Andruw Monasterio was shaky offensively for most of Extended Spring Training (hitting 167/200/208 in 11 games and 25 PA), but he has settled down lately and is hitting the ball with more confidence and authority. He drove-in two runs with a sinking liner to left that the D'backs left-fielder played into a triple (thanks to an ill-advised diving attempt at a catch), and then walked twice in his final two AB, one of which was a two-out bases-loaded walk on a 3-2 pitch. He also started a nifty 6-4-3 DP that got struggling RHRP Jesus Castillo out of a jam in the 6th. Monasterio was a switch-hitter last season, but he gave up switch-hitting when he arrived at EXST and is now hitting only RH.
19-year old RHP Jesus Camargo (ex-Mexico City Red Devils) was outstanding last night, with four strikeouts and an 11/1 GO/FO. The thing is, Camargo was an extreme fly ball pitcher throughout Extended Spring Training, alternating a mediocre 87-88 MPH fastball with THE best change-up seen down here in a long time, so getting so many ground balls would seem to indicate that he is changing his approach (which is good).
The single most diffiicult pitch for most young pitchers to master is the change-up, and Camargo has done that and then some. In fact his change-up is so good that he wants to throw it on every pitch. Camargo struggled in Extended Spring Training (5.91 ERA and 1.88 WHIP, with 13 walks allowed in just 10.2 IP), and Cubs pitching coaches had to to convince him that the change-up is most-effective when mixed with a fastball (even a mediocre one). .
Last night also marked the game debut (as a pitcher) of 21-year old 6'4 LHP Ariel Ovando, who was signed by the Houston Astros as a 16-year old strong-armed slugging outfielder out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. Ovando received a $2.6M bonus when he signed (the largest signing bonus ever given to an IFA by the Astros up to that point in time) and was described by scouts who saw him back then as a young Darryl Strawberry. But Ovando struggled in four minor league seasons (2011-14) in the Houston organization, unable to advance past Lo-A while hitting just 233/299.335 in 261 games (1,026 PA). The Cubs selected Ovando in the AAA Phase of the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft with the intention of converting him to a pitcher, but he was shut-down during Minor League Camp and did not pitch at Extended Spring Training at all. He only began throwing bullpen sessions within the last couple of weeks. While he is a big dude with the "projectable" frame MLB clubs are always looking for, Ovando is the classic "soft-tossing lefty," mixing a mid-80's sinker with a slow curve. It worked well last night, though, as he worked a 1-2-3 9th with a 4-3 GO and two strikeouts (both swinging).
19-year old RHP Jesus Castillo continues to struggle, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk (plus two WP) and no strikeouts in 1.2 IP (36 pitches, including a 29-pitch 7th inning inning) last night. Castillo was one of two teenaged Venezuelan pitchers acquired from the Diamondbacks for OF Tony Campana prior to the 2013 season (RHP Erick Leal was the other one), and Castillo was supposed to have the most-upside of the two pitchers the Cubs acquired. But right now Castillo is throwing a 85-86 MPH two seamer and a so-so breaking ball and isn't fooling anybody in the AZL, while Leal is in the starting rotation at South Bend.
21-year old Miguel Rico missed the last five weeks of Extended Spring Training with a left knee injury, but he returned to the lineup last night as the AZL Cubs DH (he went 2-4 with two singles and a run scored). Rico was a 3B-1B for the VSL Cubs the last couple of years (hitting 241/344/375 in 174 games 2012-14), but was converted to catcher at Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training this season (interrupted by the knee injury). He is catching bullpen sessions, but he has yet to return to game action behind the plate. I think in Rico's case, the conversion to catcher is more a matter of adding greater versatlity to a guy who projects as a "four corner" utility player going forward, rather than the idea that he will become a front-line catcher.
Here is the abridged box score from last night's game (Cubs players only):
1. Roberto Caro, CF: 1-4 (1B, BB, F-8 SF, K, 5-U FC, 2 R, RBI, SB)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 2-5 (3-U, 1B, 6-3, 1B, K, R)
3. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 1-4 (L-7 SF, 2B, F-9, 5-3, K, 3 RBI)
4. Joey Martarano, 1B: 0-5 (6-3, K, K, 1-3, 4-3)
5. Jose Paniagua, LF: 2-4 (E-6, F-8, 3B, 2B, R, CS)
6. Jhonny Pereda, C: 1-3 (2B, 6-3, E6+E6, BB, R)
7. Jenner Emeterio, RF: 1-3 (6-3, 1B, 4-3, BB, R)
8. Miguel Rico, DH: 2-4 (F-7, 1B, 1B, K, R, RBI)
9. Amdruw Monasterio, SS: 1-2 (3-U, 3B, BB, BB, R, 3 RBI)
1. Jesus Camargo: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K, 11/1 GO/FO, 70 pitches (45 strikes)
2. Jesus Castillo: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/FO, 36 pitches (22 strikes)
3. Francisco Carrillo: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 3 pitches (2 strikes)
4. Trey Masek: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/0 GO/FO, 5 pitches (4 strikes)
5. Ariel Ovando: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 12 pitches (6 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 1
P Jesus Camargo: E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 2nd)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jhonny Pereda: 1 PB
CUBS BASERUNNING MISADVENTURES:
Jose Paniagua was thrown out 9-4-5 when he overran 3rd base after two-out triple in the 5th
crunch 6 hours 58 min ago (view)
"Yu Darvish threw his new pitch, a two-seam/splitter hybrid, during his first intrasquad game appearance on Saturday.
Darvish, who already had 10 different pitch variations in his arsenal, is calling this new pitch "The Supreme.""
crunch 7 hours 54 min ago (view)
"I've been thinking about it and been thinking about it before we put out that statement," (Terry) Francona said. "I know in the past, when I've been asked about, whether it's our name or the Chief Wahoo, I think I would usually answer and say I know that we're never trying to be disrespectful. And I still feel that way, but I don't think that's a good enough answer today. I think it's time to move forward. It's a very difficult subject. It's also delicate," he said.
Cubster 12 hours 44 min ago (view)
Two White Sox test positive for Covid. Not yet disclosed who they are. Reminder that the Cubs are going to be scheduled to play the WSox for 6 games.
Jackstraw 1 day 36 min ago (view)
Don't let short-term market fluctuations diminsh your enthusiasm for a great long-term investment.
crunch 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
freddy freeman + aaron nola are also positive star players.
the scary thing is freeman tested negative on tuesday. by thursday he was sick and tested positive shortly afterwards. some may question the strength of the MLB test if they were the ones who gave freeman's initial negative...
Cubster 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
COVID positive: LeMahieu NYY; Sano MIN; S Perez KC.
crunch 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
phillies now have 7 down with covid...freddy freeman (ATL) has symptomatic covid with fever/chills/aches for the past 3 days...some players on multiple teams are still awaiting initial test results so they can join spring training 2.0 with their teams...
also, this photo of pablo sandoval (SF) taking grounders at 3rd... https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcHFTylVcAAE5SI?format...
Cubster 1 day 5 hours ago (view)
Wittenmeyer tweet: Hendricks and Darvish combine for 4 Ks in a pair of scoreless half-innings.
Press box wag: "Cubs hitting sucks this year"
crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
2020 schedule to be announced monday (tentative).
crunch 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
d.price (LAD) to sit out the season.
LAD isn't going to get d.price at all in 2020 and they got m.betts for 60-ish games until he's a FA. ow. that duo cost them jeter downs, alex verdugo, and connor wong.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
I acquired Trout over the winter in a keeper league. Not feeling too great about that either.
Hagsag 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
Andrew Cashner still hasn't signed with anyone. Could be useful.
crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
the cleveland indians have released a statement that they are open for dialogue about the future of the team's name.
twitter is all over it and seems to be all about going back to "cleveland spiders", an unrelated dead MLB team lineage in cleveland from the 1800s (some guy named cy young played for them).
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
Q coming back in 4-6 weeks will be like a mid-season trade! sigh...
but yeah, they should be good in-house with expanded rosters unless they get slammed by IL stuff.
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
MLB has confirmed 38 positives (players/coaches/personel/etc) so far.
Arizona Phil 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
With 17 pitchers likely on the 30-man MLB Active List roster for the first two weeks and then probably 15 pitchers on the 28-man Active List for the next two weeks after that, the Cubs should be able to "bullpen" games quite a bit for the first month. They won't really need five starters.