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):  

CUBS LINEUP
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) 

CUBS PITCHERS:
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) 

CUBS ERRORS: NONE 

ATTENDANCE: N/A 

WEATHER: Clear with temperatures 100+ 

Arizona 
Scoring
Service 

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

Comments

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 

HR POWER / HIGH -ANGLE LOFT: 
1. Owen Caissie 
2. Felix Stevens  
3. Rafael Morel 
4. Ronnier Quintero
5. Shendrik Apostel 

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

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

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

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

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

CATCHER DEFENSE:  
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. 

PROJECTED OPENING WEEK STARTING ROTATION FOR ACL CUBS: 

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)    

PITCHED IN RELIEF IN EXST GAMES: 
Elian Almanzar 
Yovanny Cabrera 
Luis Devers 
Angel Gonzalez-Martinez 
Gregori Montano 
Johzan Oquendo 
Dawel Rodriguez
Andricson Salvador 
Alberto Sojo 

ARRIVED LATE - DID NOT PITCH IN EXST GAMES: 
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?