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
Hagsag 11 hours 54 min ago (view)
Chase Strumpf and Andy Weber invited to the ML camp.
Dolorous Jon Lester 17 hours 18 min ago (view)
Ryan Tepera returns. Major League deal
crunch 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
spring training TV is usually fluid...adding and subtracting broadcast games...
first cubs TV (as of now) is March 3 (wednesday) on ESPN at 3pm EST.
radio broadcasts available for almost every game that's not televised. the cubs get going on monday and some other teams will start the day before.
crunch 2 days 11 hours ago (view)
dj snelton's left elbow is screwed up...6 weeks rest then re-evaluate.
looks like he's going to try to avoid having surgery.
Arizona Phil 3 days 3 hours ago (view)
AAA leagues really need to play through the month of September, because with September rosters being limited to 28 instead of 40, players will need to be moved back & forth between MLB and AAA throughout the month of September instead of just through the month of August.
Mike Wellman 4 days 11 hours ago (view)
I get you, SW. Here in Des Moines, Cardinal fans flocked to I-Cub games when Memphis Redbirds were in town. That won't happen in '21 and even if it does in '22 & beyond it won't be as frequent as when they were in the same division. Not that I'll miss seeing Cardinal gear @ our ballpark...
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 12 hours ago (view)
Ervin claimed by Braves. So we lose a potential future (and also current) asset in exchange for one year of a very mediocre Jake Marisnick.
This team has no direction at the moment.
Sonicwind75 4 days 12 hours ago (view)
As a midwest kid now living in Texas, new scheduling is a bummer. Only get a chance to drive and see Cubs once every 3 years with interleague. Really looked forward to those games in Round Rock and the one season in San Antonio. I understand it makes more sense in the big picture, just selfishly disappointed.
Cubster 5 days 14 hours ago (view)
Barry Foote bobble day! Cool!
Mornington Crescent 5 days 16 hours ago (view)
They also gave away Larry Craig bobblefoot dolls as a promotion.
crunch 6 days 8 hours ago (view)
alcantara passes through waivers and is assigned to AAA.
marisnick contract final, phllip ervin (OF) DFA'd
Hagsag 6 days 10 hours ago (view)
Yes they did.
crunch 6 days 11 hours ago (view)
welcome to the "big time" st paul saints...they built a nice park, the fans showed up, and they go from indies to AAA (with a bit of $ help from the twins for part ownership).
billy murray is a part owner of the group that owns the saints, btw.
Mike Wellman 6 days 11 hours ago (view)
Hagsag, the River Bandits made the cut tho, right?
Craig A. 6 days 13 hours ago (view)
Could have an option year remaining. Bleacher Nation walked it back, per the link above.
Hagsag 6 days 13 hours ago (view)
Living in the Quad Cities area, I look forward to hopefully coming to Des Moines to see the I Cubs a few times this summer.