Bryan Hudson Makes Pro Debut at Sloan Park

Tyler Brown singled, doubled, tripled, and scored a run, and Byron Murray belted a solo home run with one-out in the top of the 8th inning to break a 2-2 tie, as the AZL Giants edged the AZL Cubs 3-2 in Arizona League action Thursday night at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

P. J. Higgins (who collected two singles, a double, and a triple Wednesday night) clubbed a two-run HR in his first AB Thursday night to account for both AZL Cubs runs.

The Cubs 2015 12th round draft pick out of Old Dominion University, Higgins is a versatile player with all the earmarks of a first-class "super-sub," having played 2B-3B-SS so far for the AZL Cubs. Although he has yet to work behind-the-plate in pro ball, Higgins was a catcher in college, and so he will likely be assigned fo the Catcher Development Program next month at Instructs, where he can learn the finer points of the catching trade.    

18-year old 6'8 220 LHP Bryan Hudson (Cubs 2015 3rd round draft pick - Alton HS - Alton, IL) made his pro debut in the game, throwing 20 pitches (11 strikes) in the top of the 4th inning, before being relieved with two outs, two runs in, and a runner at 1st.

Hudson allowed two runs (both earned) on two hits (a rope-double lined off the LF fence and an infield single) and a walk. He also committed a balk and a throwing error on a pick-off attempt at 1st base, and failed to touch 1st base while attempting to retire the batter 3-1 on the infield single (should have been scored an E-1). He was working his fastball at 89-01 MPH, with a promising proto-curve. Hudson is all about "projectability," so don't expect him to rocket through the system. He is a long-term project.

20-year old left-handed hitting OF-1B Chris Pieters has finally arrived in Mesa from the DSL Cubs, after initially being assigned to the AZL Cubs at the start of the Arizona League season in June, only to remain in the DSL for the next two months (apparently due to a visa problem). He was the DH in Thursday night's game, going 1-4. He struck out in his first two AB (one swinging and one looking), before laying down what was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt with no outs and runners at 1st & 2nd in the bottom of the 7th (when the AZL Cubs loaded the bases with no outs, only to come-up empty-handed thanks to a 5-2 FC and a F-9 DP). The bunt was so well-placed (down the 3rd base line) that Pieters reached base easily on a bunt single. He was retired on a game-ending 2-3 top-out in the bottom of the 9th in his fourth AB, however, leaving the potential tying run stranded on 2nd base.

The 6'3 Pieters (signed by the Cubs as a 16-year old out of Curacao in 2011 - $350K bonus) is a lanky "long-strider" with plus-speed and athleticism (similar to Rashad Crawford), and he is making the unusual conversion of LHP to outfielder in 2015, after posting an ugly 9.31 ERA and issuing 119 walks in 77.1 IP over three seasons 2012-14. And Pieters was having a fine debut season as a position player for the DSL Cubs, too, hitting 311/437/428 in 53 games (230 PA), and leading the DSL Cubs in OBP, walks, SB, and RBI. He was also 3rd in the DSL in OBP and 5th in SB.

Although Pieters made his "official" U. S. game debut in Thursday night's AZL game, he did attend AZ Instructs post-2011 as a 16-year old LHP, and made his AZ Instructs game debut on October 1st of that year, throwing a 1-2-3 inning.

Latin American Field Coordinator Dave Keller and the manager and coaches from the VSL Cubs are at Sloan Park this week (the VSL regular season ended last Saturday, and the VSL Cubs did not qualify for the playoffs), working with the AZL Cubs (half of the players assigned to the AZL Cubs are from Latin America).

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

1.Robert Garcia, RF: 1-4 (F-8, 1B, K, F-9 DP, SB)
2. D. J. Wilson, CF: 1-4 (K, P-6, 1B, F-8, SB)
3. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 0-2 (BB, F-7, 5-3 SH, 4-3, R)
4. P. J. Higgins, 3B: 1-3 (HR, F-8, BB, K, R, 2 RBI)  
5. Jose Paniagua, 1B: 1-4 (F-9, K, 6-3 DP, 1B) 
6a. Daniel Spignola, LF: 1-2 (F-9, 2B, BB) 
6b. Roberto Caro, PR-LF: 0-0 (5-4 SH) 
7. Yohan Matos, C: 1-3 (1B, K, SH-FC, F-8)
8. Chris Pieters, DH: 1-4 (K, K, 1B, 2-3)
9. Andruw Monasterio, SS: 0-3 (3-U, 6-3, 5-2 FC)

1. Heath Dwyer: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 2/5 GO/FO, 41 pitches (25 strikes)
2. Bryan Hudson: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 BALK, 2/0 GO/FO, 20 pitches (11 strikes)
3. Carlos Rodriguez: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 5/0 GO/FO, 47 pitches (35 strikes) 
4. Santiago Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 0/3 GO/FO, 26 pitches (17 strikes) 
5. Ariel Ovando: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GO/FO, 21 pitches (13 strikes) 

P Bryan Hudson: E-1 (errant throw on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed runner to advance to 3rd)

Yohan Matos: 1-1 CS 

Yohan Matos - thrown out 9-2 trying to score from 3rd base on fly ball to RF


Can someone clue me in here on "proto-curve"?

Proto-anything (prototype) is the first experimental version of something that is promising, but needs to develop further over time. I think.

Makes sense, thanks. Just wanted to be sure it wasn't some specific way of throwing it like a spike or knuckle curve.

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  • Hagsag 5 hours 53 min ago (view)

    Is AZ Phil okay?


  • crunch 8 hours 12 min ago (view)

    gene clines has died.

    he was with the organization on/off for a notable amount of time as both a player and coach.


  • crunch 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    sammy sosa off the HOF ballot after 10 years.  he finishes up with a 18.5% vote, highest in any year.


  • crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)

    cubs sign 31 year old eric yardley to a minor league deal.

    he's a 31 year old righty that throws sub-90mph junk.


  • Sonicwind75 2 days 8 hours ago (view)

    Thank you for sharing Mike.  Sounds like the former owner was a high character human being and should be celebrated.  Haven't had a chance to attend a game there since I moved away from Des Moines in 2007 but recall it being a great ballpark experience.  Has there been any word of the new owners making any major changes?


  • crunch 5 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.


  • JoePepitone 5 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Ex-Cub Sergio Mitre convicted of rape and murder of a young child, per a news story from SI --


  • Cubster 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Jason Schmidt signs with Dodgers, 3/44.


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

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


  • videographer 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Darth Vader to rescue Carlos Correa's bruised ego. 


  • crunch 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    carlos correa has hired scott boras...


  • bradsbeard 1 week 2 days 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 1 week 2 days 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 1 week 2 days 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 3 days ago (view)

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


  • bradsbeard 1 week 3 days 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)?