International Recruits Watch AZL Cubs Whitewash A's at Fitch Park

D. J. Wilson drilled an RBI triple, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, Roberto Caro ripped a triple and an RBI single and scored a run, Robert Garcia collected three hits, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in another, Carlos Sepulveda singled twice, walked, and collected two RBI, and Eric Jokisch and Austyn Willis combined to toss a shutout, as the AZL Cubs blanked the AZL Athletics 6-0 in Arizona League action Saturday night on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The Cubs got the scoring started in the top of 3rd inning, as D. J. Wilson drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored on a Carlos Sepulveda RBI opposite-field single sliced down the LF line.

The Cubs added five more runs over the final three innings to seal the victory. 

Roberto Caro drilled a triple into the right-centerfield alley to open the 7th, and scored on a Yohan Matos line-drive RBI single over the shortstop's head (infield was playing "in"), and then after advancing to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, Matos scored on a Robert Garcia RBI single that ricocheted off the pitchers leg. P. J. Higgins (line-drive to left), Michael Foster (line-drive to center), and Roberto Caro (line-drive to right) stroked consecutive one-out singles to plate another run in the 8th, and then D. J. Wilson creamed an opposite-field RBI triple into the left-centerfield alley to drive-in Robert Garcia (who had singled leading-off the 9th inning), before scoring on a Carlos Sepulveda infield hit to complete the Cub scoring. 

LHP Eric Jokisch (on AAA Iowa 7-day DL - rib cage inflammation) made his third rehab start for the AZL Cubs and worked five innings (69 pitches - 41 strikes), allowing four hits (all singles) and two walks while striking out six (all six swinging), with a 5/1 GO/FO (including two GIDP). Unless there just isn't room for Jokisch in the Iowa starting rotation (and given the motley group that's there, I find that hard to believe), this positively should be Jokisch's last rehab outing before returning to the I-Cubs. (Actually, I'm surprised his previous AZL rehab outing wasn't his last one).  

LHP Bryan Hudson (Cubs 2015 3rd round pick - Alton HS - Alton, IL) threw "live" BP at Mesa CubTown Field #1 prior to the team leaving for Fitch Park, the first outing for Hudson where he actually faced hitters. There had been speculation that other than throwing a few bullpen sessions, Hudson would not make his mound debut (facing hitters) until post-season "Instructs" (AZ Instructional League), but now it appears possible that he might actually see some game action at some point prior to the conclusion of the AZL season.   

Nine members of the Cubs 2015 IFA class attended the game, under the supervision of Gian Guzman. The nine are in town to get more extensive physicals than the ones they received at the Cubs Dominican Academy, and to be introduced to "The Cubs Way." 

Some of you will perhaps remember Gian Guzman as a one-time Cub minor league infielder. He was at Extended Spring Training in 2007 and 2008 at Fitch Park, with Marwin Gonzalez in 2007, and with Junior Lake, Starlin Castro, and Josh Vitters in 2008. As it turned out, four of the five (Castro, Lake, Gonzalez, and Vitters) eventually graduated to the big leagues, but Guzman (who had every bit as much promise as the others) had his playing career cut short by injuries.

First he suffered a broken leg in a 1st inning collision with RHP Julio Castillo while playing shortstop for Peoria in July 2008. That was the game that later erupted into a wild "beanball" brawl, where Castillo (known by his teammates as "Animal," because he captured and then kept a desert rat as a pet in his motel room in Mesa the previous summer) was arrested by Dayton Police (and actually eventually served time in the county jail after being convicted for "felonious assault causing serious physical injury") when he intentionally threw a baseball at a fan in the stands (and hit the fan) during the fight (Castillo threw a 95 MPH fastball at the time).



As for Guzman, he was unable to continue his career as an infielder, so he was tried as a pitcher for about a year, but he blew-out his shoulder and was forced to retire. But the Cubs didn't just kick him to the side of the road. He was retained as an apprentice scout and player development assistant, and was so good at it that now he is the Cubs Scouting Coordinator in the Dominican Republic (at the ripe old age of 26!).

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

AZL CUBS LINEUP:
1. Robert Garcia, RF: 3-5 (L-4, 1B, 4-3, 1B, 1B, R, RBI, SB, CS)
2. D. J. Wilson, CF: 1-4 (K, BB, E-4, 5-2 FC, 3B, 2 R, RBI, SB)
3. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 2-4 (BB, 1B, 1-4-3, 1-3, 1B, 2 RBI)
4. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 0-5 (K, 5-3, F-8, K, 5-4-3 DP)
5. P. J. Higgins, 3B:  1-5 (F-9, K, F-8, 1B, P-6, R)
6. Michael Foster, DH: 1-4 (6-3, 4-3, F-7, 1B)
7. Roberto Caro, LF: 2-3 (BB, K, 3B, 1B, R, RBI)
8. Yohan Matos, C: 1-4 (P-6, K, 1B, F-9, R, RBI)
9. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 1-3 (P-4, 1B, 1-3 SH, P-3)

AZL CUBS PITCHERS
1. Eric Jokisch: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 GIDP, 5/1 GO/FO, 69 pitches (41 strikes) 
2. Austyn Willis: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 PO, 2 GIDP, 4/3 GO/FO, 44 pitches (27 strikes) 

AZL CUBS ERRORS: 1 
1B Jose Paniagua: E-3 (missed catch on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed baserunner to advance to 3rd)

AZL CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Yohan Matos: 2-2 CS 

Comments

AZ Phil, can you tell us who the nine IFA'ers are? I know of four who have been reported.

Interesting that there had been no news on EJax hooking up with another team, including the minors or independent leagues. It's been more than 10 days since he was released. He's be a good candidate to upgrade the WSux rotation, replacing Shark for next weekend's series.

Is Shark injured or are you just thinking they would skip him because he has been horrible lately?

Shark not injured. Just pitching like EJax circa 2013-4.

Hmm. Buy-low option in the offseason?

I'd say Shark is getting what he deserves. He never has been the ace he thinks he is ... and now he's heading into his ballyhooed free agent period with major question marks. I don't see the Cubs going after him.

I had either completely forgotten or blocked from my memory the entire MLB career of Josh Vitters. When I read that, I thought Phil had made a mistake. Instead, it turns out that the Cubs organization is the one who made the mistake. Eeesh.

Interestingly, it doesn't appear Vitters is playing anywhere this year. Rockies signed him to a minor league deal in ST, but released him at the end of March. If he is playing baseball this year it must be abroad or independent ball of some sort, and I don't see it reported anywhere doing a quick search. Guy is still just 25.

I'm surprised, too, but we probably shouldn't be. Maybe Vitters is just smarter than the average 4A-type hitter who thinks he has a shot to make the majors as a righty-hitting 1B-LF. At age 25, he'll do better in the real world. Edit: Looks like Brett Jackson (age 26) has hung up his spikes, as well. Had brief stints with AZ last year and SF (AAA Sacramento River Cats) this year; but he's no longer on the Cats' roster, and Baseball Reference shows his last "teams played for" date as July 11th this year.
”He brings so much to the table” Sveum said. ”In my nine years of coaching he is the best young player I’ve seen in a major league camp. He is the full package. The swinging and missing, he has to work on and cutting down strikeouts. He just brings a lot to the table.”

after a while it's hard to keep plugging away in the minors unless you, your family, or some sponsor can support the quest for the dream. not only is minor league pay cruddy, it pretty much keeps you away from home for 1/2 year+ and that grind is too much for some people (especially when a wife/kid gets involved). guys like rex rundgren can spend a decade+ middling around in the minor/indie leagues without worrying about their "real life" after the game. this isn't a bad thing, it's just an advantage not everyone gets. the game has probably missed out of a lot of guys who could play in the bigs for a number of years only because the real world took control of their lives before their skills developed. some guys don't even last until age 25. that said, i have no idea what's going on with vitters. ...and yeah, he got $3m when he signed, but i dunno what he's done with it the past 8 years.

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  • crunch 19 min 48 sec ago (view)

    j.means throws a no-hitter for the O's...first since jim palmer in 1969.

    also, this is the 3rd no-hitter on the year that would have been a perfect game if not for a sole "mistake" (2x hbp (rondon/musgrove) + dropped 3rd strike (means)).

     

  • Charlie 1 hour 21 min ago (view)

    That is a solid recap--thank you!

     

  • Eric S 3 hours 19 min ago (view)

    Charlie - Here's a link to a fine - and free - recap of Hendricks outing:

    https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/05/05/hey-i-recognize-this-guy-kyle-hendricks-had-a-very-good-game/

     

  • Childersb3 8 hours 55 min ago (view)

    Since Jake Arrieta won't be ready to pitch in four or five days, I hope they keep Keegan up there. I'd say he deserves to start one more game for them until Jake comes back.

     

  • Arizona Phil 17 hours 54 min ago (view)

    RHP Kohl Stewart was recalled from AAA Iowa as the "27th man" for Game # 2 of the doubleheader but he did not pitch in the game.

    The 27th man is only available for both games if the doubleheader was scheduled as the resuilt of a postponed game from a previous series, so since the doubleheader resulted from the first game of the current series being postponed, the 27th man was only available for the second game.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 29 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have released RHRP Brandon Workman. He was Designated for Assignment last Thursday. 

    So the Cubs are now on the hook for Workman's $1M salary, but it would be offset by the pro-rated MLB minimum salary if he were to sign an MLB contract with another club, or sign a minor league contract with another club and then have his contract selected to an MLB 40-man roster. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 18 hours 32 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed second contract minor league FA LHP Alex Katz (ex-KC) and RHP Austin Krzeminski (ex-LAA) to minor league contracts.  

     

  • Charlie 18 hours 43 min ago (view)

    If you predicted the Cubs take both sides of the doubleheader vs Kershaw and Bauer, I hope you put some money on it.

     

  • crunch 19 hours 58 min ago (view)

    TIED!

    wow.  baez.

    i wish i didn't have to crash and get up early.  hate missing the rest of this.  wow.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 17 min ago (view)

    ...and a solo HR to follow it up.  that's neat-o.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 18 min ago (view)

    hey, look...runner scores on a wild pitch.

    sigh.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 20 min ago (view)

    hol up...we really bringing maples into a game where a guy starts on 2nd with 0 out?

    alright...we're living dangerously.

     

  • crunch 20 hours 36 min ago (view)

    kimbrel blew the save, giving up a solo homer, but this isn't a case of "kimbrel sucking"...he looked good.

    still...boo.

     

  • crunch 21 hours 24 min ago (view)

    damn this is a good game.

    bauer keeps coming close to screwing up badly and gets out of it.  cubs have a 1 run lead and it seems like it should be a few more.

    thompson looked great since an "average at best" 1st inning.

     

  • Jackstraw 22 hours 13 min ago (view)

    "Go get 'em, kid.  We've got three of the best guys on our roster out there behind you, and the other guy on the bump, well, his Cy Young should come with an asterisk."

     

  • Childersb3 22 hours 59 min ago (view)

    It's the opening night for MiLB, I knew SB was now A+ ball, and of course I get confused the first time I look at the GameDay for SB just now.

    That's going to take the full season to get used too.