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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  • Cubster 17 hours 56 min ago (view)


    then said quietly by his elves: although it can take up to 1-2 days (or two tanks of gas) to get through test lines and then 7-14 days to get results.


  • crunch 18 hours 20 min ago (view)

    5 cubs players + d.ross didn't work out with the team today because their tests were dealyed.  4 players + d.ross later came back negative and 1 test will have to be done again because it was compromised during transport and invalidated.

    ...turns out the compromised test was not a player, but a non-player/non-ross Tier 1 employee.  neat.


  • crunch 20 hours 41 min ago (view)

    v.caratini will continue to be darvish's preferred catcher this season.


  • crunch 20 hours 42 min ago (view)

    j.hicks (STL) opts out.  he's a T1 diabetic currently rehabbing from TJ.  he was expected to return in august.


  • JustSayin' 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports.  The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers.  The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits.  If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt.  At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.


  • crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    rizzo took BP and did some field work today.  also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.


  • Cubster 2 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms


  • crunch 2 days 15 hours ago (view)

    the COVID-Division should be fun.

    teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other...  CO is all "wtf, really?"


  • Cubster 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    ...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts. 

    Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?


  • Charlie 2 days 23 hours ago (view)

    I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.


  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.


  • Cubster 3 days 12 hours ago (view)

    WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S 


  • crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.


  • Cubster 5 days 3 hours ago (view)

    per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).


  • Arizona Phil 5 days 15 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).  


  • crunch 5 days 19 hours ago (view)

    rizzo takes another day off (lower back).  ross says the club is "exercising caution."

    klye ryan is expected to join the team tomorrow after some mysterious holdup.