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):

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)

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) 



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.

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  • crunch 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    a 22 month old.

    a'ite.  i'm done with Earth.  going to Pluto.  don't bother visiting or calling.  later.


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    20 year, 800m contract incoming...front loaded 150m over the first 2 years with a player opt out after that...


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    Darth Vader to rescue Carlos Correa's bruised ego. 


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  • bradsbeard 6 days 9 hours ago (view)

    The IFA market isn't exactly an equal access thing. Not only do the Cubs have a slightly smaller bonus pool than some teams, players are often linked to teams through their trainers well before they are able to sign. It's not like when these kids are 14 that the teams know for sure that they have a top of the class player on their hands two years in the future.


  • Wrigley Rat 6 days 10 hours ago (view)

    Cubbies.4ever - I read that the Cubs strategy with international free agents has been to spend most of their bonus money on young, position players and then take chances on cheaper, older pitching prospects who have been late bloomers (taller, stronger, more command of pitches, etc.). They are also grabbing guys at the end of the international signing period and signing them to future service contracts. They have six pitchers that were signed last year to future service contracts, and only one position player.


  • cubbies.4ever 6 days 11 hours ago (view)

    Cubs IFA Signings are heavy on SS (given SS usually can play many positions as the develop), but only 1 pitcher.  Given it's still early.  Also disappointing that their best signing is #18.  Gone are the days of Soler, Eloy, Torres, Marquez, Amaya etc.  I believe Christian Hernandez last year was highly rated though.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 week 5 hours ago (view)

    One more international free agent signing announced today: Daniel Benschop, OF, Aruba


  • bradsbeard 1 week 9 hours 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 1 week 12 hours ago (view)

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  • Cubster 1 week 12 hours ago (view)

    Hernandez ranks 18th on MLB's International prospect list. Sanchez ranks at #43.
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  • CubsCentral08 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    List is up to 12 now

    Adan Sanchez, C/3B, Panama
    Alexis Hernandez, SS, Dominican Republic
    Jefferson Rojas, SS, Dominican Republic
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    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 1 week 2 days 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 1 week 2 days 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