Cub Offense Shines Under the Lights in ACL Opening Night

Ezequiel Pagan blasted a solo HR to key a four-run third, Reggie Preciado immediately followed with a solo HR and then later walked three times (once with the bases loaded) and stole a base, Rafael Morel singled, walked, and scored a run, Owen Caissie singled twice, walked, and stole a base, Felix Stevens smacked a double and an RBI triple and scored two runs, Malcom Quintero doubled, walked, and scored two runs, Ismael Mena laced two RBI singles and drew a walk, and Shendrik Apostel singled and walked, helping the ACL Cubs defeat the ACL Diamondbacks 7-4 in Arizona Complex League (formerly AZL) Opening Night game action Monday evening on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.     

Juan Corniel belted an RBI triple and scored in the 3rd and drilled a two-run single in the 7th to provide most of the offense for the D'backs. 

The Cubs scored five runs on nine hits (five singles, two doubles, and two HR) off Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Taylor Widener in 2.2 IP. Widener has been on the D'backs MLB 10-day IL for over a month with a groin strain, and was making what he problably thought was a ho-hum Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab start in Mesa. Or as Augie Ojeda once said about doing a rehab stint in the AZL: "This is a really tough league for big leaguers." 

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

1. Ezequiel Pagan, LF: 1-5 (3-1, HR, K, 4-3, K, R, RBI) 
2. Reggie Preciado, SS: 1-2 (K, HR, BB, BB, BB, R, 2 RBI, SB)
3. Rafael Morel, 3B: 1-4 (K, 1B, K, BB, F-7)
4. Owen Caissie, RF: 2-4 (1B, K, 1B, K, BB, SB)
5. Felix Stevens, DH: 2-5 (6-4-3 DP, 2B, K, 3B, F-8, 2 R, RBI)
6. Malcom Quintero, C: 1-4 (2B, K, 4-3, BB, L-6, 2 R) 
7. Ismael Mena, CF: 2-4 (1B, 1B, BB, K, F-7, 2 RBI)
8. Shendrik Apostel, 1B: 1-3 (1B, K, 5-4 FC, BB)  
9. Widimer Joaquin, 2B: 0-3 (4-3, K, P-6, BB) 

1. Porter Hodge: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 4 K, 2 BALKS, 1 GIDP, 3/1 GO/AO, 64 pitches (37 strikes) 
2. Johzan Oquendo: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GO/AO, 22 pitches (14 strikes) 
3. Angel Gonzalez-Martinez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 28 pitches (10 strikes) 
4. Alberto Sojo: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R 0 BB, 4 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 36 pitches (28 strikes) 
5. Dawel Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/AO, 7 pitches (6 strikes)

1. P Porter Hodge: E-1 (errant pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 2nd)  
2. SS Reggie Preciado: E-6 (fielding miscue/bobble allowed batter to reach base safely) 

Malcom Quintero: 0-2 CS 


WEATHER: Mostly cloudy and breezy with tempeatures 100+



48 players active, plus one player is on 60-DAY IL 
NOTE: There is no Active List roster limit in the ACL

* bats or throws left 
# bats both 

Elian Almanzar 
Rony Baez 
Josh Burgmann
Yovanny Cabrera 
Chris Clarke 
Luis Devers 
Kelvin Feliz 
Wilfri Figuereo 
Angel Gonzalez-Martinez
* Angel Hernandez 
Porter Hodge 
Adam Heidenfelder 
* Luke Little 
* Joel Machado 
Gregori Montano 
Koen Moreno 
Johzan Oquendo 
Marco Prieto 
Sheldon Reed 
Jorge Remon 
Benjamin Rodriguez 
Dawel Rodriguez 
* Luis Angel Rodriguez 
Robinson Rodriguez 
* Andricson Salvador 
Tyler Schlaffer 
Alberto Sojo 
* Dalton Stambaugh

# Miguel Fabrizio 
Edgar Gamargo 
# Malcom Quintero  
* Ronnier Quintero 
* Wally Soto 

Shendrik Apostel 
Widimer Joaquin 
Juan Mora 
Rafael Morel
Miguel Pabon 
Oswaldo Pina 
# Reggie Preciado 

* Owen Caissie 
Manny Collier
Yovanny Cuevas 
Rafael Herrera 
* Jose O. Lopez 
* Ismael Mena 
Carlos Morfa (60-DAY IL)
* Ezequiel Pagan 
Felix Stevens  

Lance Rymel 

Jhonny Bethencourt 
Rachel Folden 
Armando Gabino 
Doug Willey 


Since covers ACL games, I will not be doing any more ACL game reports. I did this one just to post the Opening Day roster and provide a  transition from Extended Spring Training to the ACL. 

PHIL: Well, once again, thank you for your service, brother. Those who kinda know know enough to know that you're the one that knows. We appreciate you.

Also, contrary to what has been posted elsewhere in the Cubs blogosphere, that was MALCOM Quintero catching for the ACL Cubs Monday night - NOT - Ronnier Quintero. So Ronnier will have to wait at least one more day to make his "official" game debut. 

Should I be collosally shocked that Preciado drew three walks?


TIM: Not at all. Reggie Preciado had a 19% walk-rate in eight Cactus League EXST games (26 PA) prior to ACL Opening Night, and with the three walks last night his 2021 BB-rate is now up to 26% (same as his K-rate).

Just like Owen Caissie, Preciado takes a LOT of pitches and is willing to go deep into the count, which sometimes gets him called out on strikes. Shendrik Apostel, Malcom Quintero, and Rafael Morel are like that, too.

One might even think that there has perhaps been a shift in organizational hitting philosophy starting at the ground level. Just from my own personal observation, Rachel Folden is an - OUTSTANDING - hitting coach. 

Pound for pound, I think the ACL Cubs may have the most interesting and exciting group of position players in the Cubs system.

I hate to say this, but I would actually rather watch the ACL Cubs than the Chicago Cubs right now. 

good to hear the players are recpetive to folden.  didn't think it would go bad, but breaking new(ish) ground is always a bit up in the air.  good to hear she's getting results and being noticed, too.

The Pagan & Preciado back-to-back HR last night were hit to almost exactly the same spot, pulled down the line and over the RF fence high off the back-screen.  

It's good to hear that hitters might be systematically encouraged to develop patience and discipline starting early in their careers. I've always had the impression that gets nearly cemented before players reach the majors.

javy baez, hitting coach...see that ball the pitcher is throwing?  swing at that thing when it gets near you.  alright, high-5.

Define "near".  Closer than where it started?

javy baez, hitting coach says to not overthink it.  if you get it wrong the first time you get more swings.  if it's not working just keep swinging until it works.

good talk, go grab a gatorade and some bbq sunflower seeds.  maybe do a lap or something.

...btw, it was just this season that baez got his 100th career walk that wasn't a IBB (139 career walks, 31 IBB career, 2989 PA).

Javy Baez, Hitting Coach sounds like a gritty tv drama about Javy working his way up the ladder to the bigs after his playing career ends

Netflix gonna be all over that...then cancel it after 2 seasons with no series wrapup.

brennen davis (OF) and manuel rodriguez (RP) named to the futures team.

rodriguez pick weak as hell.

mega-super-prospect jasson dominguez (NYY) is playing even though he's yet to play outside of FCL (florida complex league).  he turned 18 back in february.

Brennen celebrated with an oppo HR tonight. 

not shocking, but no cubs starters elected to the all-star team.

pitchers and reserve/bench announced sunday.

kimbrel will most likely be a cubs representative...bryant, chafin, and contreras have a chance...

PHIL - We know some of Schlaffer, Hodge, and Machado from your EXST reports. What can you tell us about Luis Devers, Alberto Sojo, and Andricson Salvadaor?

Phil, is Cristian Hernandez in Arizona?

he's still in the dominican republic

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