Cease Can't Stop Firing Blanks at AZL Giants

Joey Martarano belted three doubles, knocked in two runs, and scored another, Andruw Monasterio drilled a line-drive RBI triple and a single and walked, and Dylan Cease tossed three innings of perfect baseball (6-3, K, F-8, K, 1-3, K, L-9, F-7, 4-3) and combined with three relievers to hurl a four-hitter, as the AZL Cubs defeated the AZL Giants 6-1 in Arizona League action Friday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

While Cease did in fact throw three perfect innings, he also only threw 56% strikes, getting behind on most of the hitters he faced before rallying to put them away. 

Shawon Dunston Jr (on Myrtle Beach 7-day DL) continued his AZL rehab, playing the entire game in LF and going 2-4 with a single, a double, and a walk, so he should be just about ready to return to the Pelicans.  

After making his pro debut Thursday night with a pinch-hit game-winning two-run double, Cubs 2015 4th round draft pick D. J. Wilson (Canton South HS - Canton, OH) made his first pro game start in Friday night's game, playing CF and hitting lead-off. The 18-year old went 1-4, flying out to RF in the bottom of the 1st inning, drawing a walk, stealing second base, and then scoring the Cubs first run of the game on a Carlos Sepulveda RBI single to short-right in the 3rd (Wilson made a really fine "tight cut" coming around third, which alllowed him to score just ahead of the throw home), used his plus-speed to beat out what should have been a routine 4-3 ground out for an infield single in the 4th, struck out swinging with one out and a runner on 3rd in the 6th, and popped out to the second-baseman in short RF in his final PA in the 8th. He also made a nice running catch in right-centerfield to end the top of the 1st inning. A Vanderbilt recruit, Wilsom received a $1.3M signing bonus (equivalent to "2nd round money") to forgo college in favor of a pro baseball career. He reminds me a bit of Lenny Dykstra, except Wilson has not served time in a federal prison. 

After making his pro debut as a pinch-hitter Thursday night (FC), Cubs 2015 16th round pick Michael Foster (Northeastern U.) also made his first pro game start Friday night (he was the Cubs DH), going 1-4 with an RBI single and a run scored. The toolsy Foster was a "two-way player" (RHP/SS) in college, but figures to play CF in pro ball. He was both a champion swimmer and a member of the Candian Junior National baseball team as a teenager, and he majored in chemical engineering at Northeastern, so he's apparently a schmart guy, too.

Here is the abridged box score from Friday night's game (Cubs players only):

AZL CUBS LINEUP:
1. D. J. Wilson, CF: 1-4 (F-9, BB, 1B, K, P-4, R, SB)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-5 (K, 1B, 4-6 FC, F-7, F-7, 2 RBI)
3. Shawon Dunston Jr, LF: 2-4 (1B, 2B, L-9, P-4, BB)
4a. Wladimir Galindo, 3B: 2-4 (3-U, K, 1B, 1B, R, CS)
4b. Carlos Jimenez, 3B: 0-1 (K)
5. Alex Bautista, RF: 1-4 (L-9, K, K, 1B, R)
6. Joey Martarano, 1B: 3-4, (2B, 2B, 4-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
7. Marcus Mastrobuoni, C: 1-4 (3-U, F-9, 2B, 4-3, R)
8. Michael Foster, DH: 1-4 (3-1, 1B, 6-3, P-4, R, RBI)
9. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 2-3 (K, 1B, 3B, BB, RBI)

AZL CUBS PITCHERS
1. Dylan Cease: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 3/3 GO/FO, 39 pitches (22 strikes) 
2. Manny Rondon: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 5/4 GO/FO, 65 pitches (39 strikes) 
3. Luis Hernandez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/FO, 15 pitches (11 strikes) 
4. Carlos Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/3 GO/FO, 12 pitches (6 strikes) 

AZL CUBS ERRORS: NONE 

Comments

AZ PHIL: Wilson was a 2015 draftee, wasn't he? Wondering, from what you've seen, does Cease project to a #3 in the bigs? That is what I thought Tseng could achieve but his control has improved level to level. As for Foster, great to hear. Plus if his baseball career doesn't pan out he could always start a meth lab.

AZ Phil: I suspect Baez and LaStella are in AZ (as well as Rosscup). Let us know your take on how far away they are. If they are just starting "baseball activities" I'm assuming they are probably 2 weeks before activation although LaStella's (oblique) might be a longer timetable then Baez (finger) and Baez might go to Iowa first anyway. from the Trib/Mark Gonzales this am:
Extra innings: Infielder Javier Baez was cleared to start swinging a bat. Infielder Tommy La Stella also was cleared to begin baseball work. ... Left-hander Zac Rosscup began throwing bullpen sessions in Arizona.