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):  

CUBS LINEUP
:
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)

CUBS PITCHERS
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 




Comments

AZ Phil, have the Cubs signed any NDFA? I have not seen any news on that front.

HAGSAG: As far as I know, the Cubs have not signed any NDFA (yet). 

excubs ‏@EXCUB_NEWS Luis Valbuena has 19 home runs and we are still a few weeks short of the All Star break. #ExCubBeastMode

He's also hitting .195. In fact his batting average hasn't been over .220 since April. 14 of the 19 homers have been solo shots. Yuck.

.269 obp too.

Hi Phil, enjoying your write-ups. Good to see some of those young guys doing well. Galindo was impressive when I was down there. I think he will be a good one. I notice that Zagunis, Chen and Chesney Young are having huge years at Myrtle Beach.

BOB: The first ten draft picks who signed should be about ready to get activated, so we'll be seeing some newbees in action here very soon. 

Speaking of which, INF Vimael Machin (2015 10th round pick - Virginia Commonwealth U.) and 3B-1B Blake Headley (2015 29th round pick - U. of Nebraska) have been assigned to Eugene (skipping AZL Cubs). I did get to watch some of their back-field workouts over the past ten days or so, however, as was the case with Ian Happ before he left for Eugene. 

Machin and Headley are both polished D-1 college seniors, so it's not much of a surprise that they would get assigned to Eugene.  

RHP Frank Batista has been moved up from AA Tennessee to AAA Iowa, and that very likely means that LHP Rob Zastryzny (who made a rehab start for the AZL Cubs Monday night and threw 4.0 IP and 63 pitches) will be reinstated from the Tennessee DL this weekend and be inserted back into the Smokies rotation.  

Recent comments

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  • JustSayin' 4 hours 25 min ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.

     

  • crunch 5 hours 57 min ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.

     

  • crunch 2 days 22 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 3 days 4 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 3 days 6 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 4 days 4 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 11 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 4 days 13 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 17 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 5 days 6 hours ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 6 days 9 hours ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---

     

  • bradsbeard 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    This one has me scratching my head too. Surely they knew Lakins would have a hard time clearing waivers. Hate to just lose Pereda like that. Feels like they gave up more for Lakins than for Sadler, and I'm guessing Sadler might have been slightly more likely to clear waivers since he's out of options. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    I think the most puzzling aspect to the Travis Lakins Caper is that the only plausible reason for the Cubs to have struck a pre-emptive trade with the Red Sox instead of waiting and hoping to win a waiver claim is that the Cubs believed that another club with a better waiver claim priority would almost certainly claim him. So to ensure that they would be able to acquire Lakins, the Cubs must have offered the Red Sox something more than the $50,000 waiver price, otherwise there would have been no point in the Red Sox agreeing to the deal. 

     

  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    RedSox acquire catcher Jhonny Pereda from the #Cubs, completing the January 21 trade for RHP Travis Lakins

    ...cubs lost lakins on waivers to BAL, btw

     

  • erich081 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    I wore my Rick Wilkins #2 shirsey today and kept thinking real baseball was only a week away. And then I remembered this weird alternate reality we've seemed to have slipped into. Hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    I am installing a padded room to sit in until this hell is over.