Morel and Young Help Cubs Tie A's at Riverview

Rafael Morel blasted a three-run HR, singled, and reached base on an HBP, and Jared Young collected three singles, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored a run for the Cubs, and Pedro Pineda belted a two-run double, Jose Bonilla drilled a two-run single, drew a walk, and scored a run, and Jalen Greer laced an RBI single, walked twice, and scored a run for the Athletics, as the two teams played to a 5-5 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

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

X. Jared Young, 1B: 3-4 (4-3, HBP, 1B, 1B, 1B, R, SB, PO)
NOTE: Young batted third in the bottom of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th innings
1. Ismael Mena, CF: 0-2 (4-3, BB, K, BB, R, SB)
2. Reggie Preciado, SS: 1-4 (1B, 4-3, 4-3, K, RBI)
3. Owen Caissie, RF: 0-3 (K, BB, 1-3, K, R)
4. Rafael Morel, 2B: 2-2 (1B, HR, HBP, R, 3 RBI) 
5. Yovanny Cuevas, LF: 0-1 (E-6, BB, BB, R, PO) 
6. Felix Stevens, DH #1: 0-2 (4-6 FC, K, BB, CS)
7a. Malcom Quintero, C: 0-0 (BB, BB) 
7b. Edgar Gamargo, C: 0-1 (5-3 DP)
8. Shendrik Apostel, DH #2: 0-1 (BB, BB, L-5)
9a. Juan Mora, 3B: 0-1 (K, BB)
9b. Widimer Joaquin, 3B: 0-1 (E-3) 

1. Joel Machado: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 3/1 GO/AO, 39 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Yovanny Cabrera: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 2 HBP, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 1/1 GO/AO, 18 pitches (7 strikes) 
3. Gregori Montano: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 0/1 GO/AO, 22 pitches (12 strikes)
4. Johzan Oquendo: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/2 GO/AO, 8 pitches (7 strikes) 
5. Luis Devers: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 12 pitches (7 strikes) 
6. Andricson Salvador: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/AO, 17 pitches (9 strikes) 
7. Dawel Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 11 pitches (9 strikes) 



WEATHER: Clear with temperatures 100+ 


"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen" 


n.hoerner rehab starts tomorrow in AAA.  nice.

AZ Phil, would you be able to give an updated scouting report on Rafael Morel after the layoff? How does he compare to his brother at the same age?

BRADSBEARD: Rafael Morel is a very different player from his brother. Christopher is faster and has more range in the field, and he projects as a true multi-positional MLB player (SS-3B-2B-CF-LF-RF). Reggie Preciado is actually much more like Christopher Morel than Rafael is. 

Rafael has a thicker body-type than his brother and is probably more similar to somebody like Chase Strumpf, which is to say Rafael is a legit MLB prospect, but not as a multi-positional guy like his brother (or like Preciado). It wouldn't necessarily surprise me to see the Cubs convert Rafael to catcher sometime in the near future, because he has the physical tools and body type that fit that position. 

Rafael has plus-power and a good eye at the plate and if you've seen the Cubs EXST box scores you will note that he has an odd knack for getting hit by pitches. He is a very confident and flamboyant player and doesn't appear to be afraid of anything. He doesn't just smile a lot, he laughs a lot. 

He has settled in very nicely at 3B and he also can play 2B. He played a couple of innings at SS in an EXST game this past week, but he never works out at SS in fielding practice. He's about 75% at 3B and 25% at 2B.

Just like with his brother, Rafael is probably one of my favorite players to watch, whether it be a practice or a game. I would place him in the same long-term legit prospect group as Caissie, Preciado, and Mena. They hang-out as a group in BP and are developing as a core quartet that could move up through the pipeline together. They actually batted 1-2-3-4 (Mena - Preciado - Caissie - Morel) in the final EXST Cubs game Friday night, and that could become a regular thing. 

I also want to update something on Ismael Mena, based upon my observations over the past few games.

He is one of the fastest players in the system and is an elite defensive CF with an above-average arm. Also, he tries to bunt for a hit at least once every game and kind of plays a small-ball type game, but he does have a line-drive stroke and rarely strikes out. He is always looking to stretch a single into a double and a double into a triple. 

The best current minor league Cubs comp would probably be Edmond Americaan, but Mena is a bit faster and better defensively.   

Based upon my observations in BP, fielding practice, baserunning drills, and in EXST games, I would rate them this way 

1. Owen Caissie 
2. Felix Stevens  
3. Rafael Morel 
4. Ronnier Quintero
5. Shendrik Apostel 

1. Owen Caissie 
2. Shendrik Apostel 
3. Rafael Morel 
4. Felix Stevens 
5. Wally Soto

1. Yeison Santana 
2. Ismael Mena 
3. Wally Soto 
4. Malcom Quintero 
5. Jose O. Lopez 

1. Owen Caissie 
2. Shendrik Apostel 
3. Malcom Quintero 
4. Reggie Preciado 
5. Rafael Morel

1. Ismael Mena 
2. Manny Collier (did not play in EXST games)
3. Yeison Santana 
4. Jose O. Lopez 
5. Reggie Preciado

1. Felix Stevens
2. Jose O. Lopez
3. Rafael Morel 
4. Reggie Preciado 
5. Ismael Mena 

1. Malcom Quintero 
2. Edgar Gamargo 
3. Miguel Fabrizio

AZ PHIL: Question on terms - does "PATIENCE" encompass strike zone awareness/control?  I have severe Wander Franco envy. 

FP-120: I mean it as the guy takes a lot of pitches, is willing to go deep into the count, and stays relaxed and focused and doesn't get jumpy and automatically swing on a close pitch with two strikes.

The problem is, ball / strike umpiring at this level is so inconsistent (much moreso than MLB) that a lot of times a player is not rewarded for having strike-zone awareness/control and as a result the player can get frustrated.

So coaches have to continually positively reinforce a player when he has a good AB but ends up striking out looking or gets into an 0-2 hole just because he got rung-up on a pitch that wasn'r really a strike. 

This level of detail is why you are my GM... speaking of - I would sooo purchase an Obvious Shirt that said something along the lines of  AZ PHIL IS MY GM   or  AZ PHIL TOLD ME ABOUT THIS GUY YEARS AGO  or the like.  Have you considered selling your own merch?

That's a promising report. Thanks! I knew Rafael wasn't going to have the same sort of defensive versatiltiy as Chris, but it sounds like he might be a better offensive player. Would be interesting if they did try him at C. The Morel brothers seem to really enjoy the game. Chris is a lot of fun to watch and I'm looking forward to seeing Rafael climb the ladder. 


1. Porter Hodge (last EXST game started was 6/22)
2. Tyler Schlaffer (last EXST game started was 6/24)
3. Joel Machado (last EXST game started was 6/25)
4. Luke Little (did not pitch in EXST games but threw 25-pitch "live" BP 6/26)
5. TBA
NOTE: SP could be a rehab pitcher in any game (TBD)    

Elian Almanzar 
Yovanny Cabrera 
Luis Devers 
Angel Gonzalez-Martinez 
Gregori Montano 
Johzan Oquendo 
Dawel Rodriguez
Andricson Salvador 
Alberto Sojo 

Rony Baez 
Kelvin Feliz
Wilfri Figuereo

Interesting that Little appears to be being tried as a starter. Should be fun to follow. 

Phil, I haven't seen anything about Koen Moreno... injured?

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  • bradsbeard 3 hours 5 min ago (view)

    I hope all is well with AZ Phil. Hasn't posted in a few weeks and typically would expect him to have a post up tracking IFA signings. Maybe he's waiting for something official from the Cubs (who don't seem to have announced any of the signings officially)? 


  • Cubster 5 hours 45 min ago (view)

    Les Grobstein dies at age 69. Encyclopedic Chicago historian and longtime sports talk overnight radio host, plus a controversial listen.


  • Cubster 5 hours 58 min ago (view)

    Hernandez ranks 18th on MLB's International prospect list. Sanchez ranks at #43.
    Tribune article today on the Cub


  • CubsCentral08 2 days 1 hour ago (view)

    List is up to 12 now

    Adan Sanchez, C/3B, Panama
    Alexis Hernandez, SS, Dominican Republic
    Jefferson Rojas, SS, Dominican Republic
    Josefrailyn Alcantata, OF, Dominican Republic
    Carlos Altuve, C, Venezuela
    Josias Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic
    Moises Febrillet, SS, Dominican Republic
    Albertina Belliard, OF, Dominican Republic
    Yidel Diaz, C, Dominican Republic
    Freylin Silverio, RHP, Dominican Republic
    Sandy Sanchez, SS, Dominican Republic
    Darlin de Leon, SS, Dominican Republic


  • Wrigley Rat 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    In addition to those signed today, it's worth noting that seven players were signed to future-service contracts during the last international free agent signing period, and are expected to make their system-debut this coming season (most likely in the Dominican Republic). Those players are:

    • RHP - Luis Angel Reyes
    • LHP - Kevin Valdez
    • RHP - Jensi Ramirez
    • RHP - Yafrerlyn Vasquez
    • RHP - Eligio Paredes
    • RHP - Jair Jimenez
    • OF - Edward Vargas



  • Wrigley Rat 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs added four more International Free Agents so far today:

    • Josias Ramirez, OF, Dominican Republic
    • Moises Febrillet, SS, Dominican Republic
    • Albertina Belliard, OF, Dominican Republic
    • Yidel Diaz, C, Dominican Republic



  • Wrigley Rat 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Sneak peak into the International Free Agent Signings that officially start tomorrow (Saturday):

    Chicago Cubs ($5,179,700 total bonus pool) - 5 Signings (so far):

    • Adan Sanchez, C/3B, Panama ($1,500,000 bonus)
    • Alexis Hernandez, SS, Dominican Republic ($1,300,000 bonus)
    • Jefferson Rojas, SS, Dominican Republic ($1,000,000 bonus)
    • Josefrailyn Alcantata, OF, Dominican Republic
    • Carlos Altuve, C, Venezuela



  • crunch 2 days 13 hours ago (view)

    wsox snagging cuban oscar colas...23 year old high end power prospect that could slot into the majors quickly.

    they're building a hell of a batting core on the south side of town.


  • Cubster 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Jon Lester retires. Definitely one of the key people in their Theo era run. 


  • crunch 5 days 23 hours ago (view)

    meeting on thursday.  hopefully this stuff can get done before going too deep into february.


  • crunch 1 week 23 hours ago (view)

    yanks low-A naming rachel balkovec as manager.  first female manager in the minors.

    she was also the first female strength/conditioning coach and hitting coach in rookie leagues for the yanks.


  • crunch 1 week 3 days ago (view)

    "Evan Drellich of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball is preparing new economic proposals to present to the MLBPA, "likely this month.""


  • tim815 1 week 4 days ago (view)

    As best as I understand, there are the 4 full-season levels with only one affiliate per organization at each level, and the compound league. Toss in the DSL, and that's it. If a team wants and can accommodate a second (or third) Compound League team, that's a decision for "later than January".


  • Wrigley Rat 1 week 6 days ago (view)

    AZ Phil or others - Are major league teams allowed to announce new minor league affiliates for 2022 during this lockout? I ask because there was some discussion about possibly adding a short season league team for next year. Are clubs even allowed to have a 5th non-rookie league team? With all the players jammed up at the A level, it seems like it would be smart to add an additional team for them and this year's incoming draft picks. Of course, they could always just keep two Arizona teams going and it would probably be just fine. Just wondering - thanks and Happy New Year!


  • crunch 1 week 6 days ago (view)

    cameron maybin is retiring, which saves the cubs from once again obtaining or attempting to obtain cameron maybin.

    2022 looking good so far.


  • Cubster 2 weeks 2 days ago (view)

    Welcome to 2022. 
    First news of the year: The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks have reached a deal with Tyler Chatwalk! Hope they have a bigger strike zone there.