Jaque Fleet Feet on Display at Riverview

Erbin Jaque belted a two-run inside-the-park HR, Pedro Ramirez singled, doubled, and drew a walk, and Haydn McGeary singled twice and drove-in a run, as the Cubs "Blue Squad" blanked the Cubs "Red Squad" 4-0 in AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Monday afternoon on Field # 1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning contest. 

Pedro Ramirez saw his first-ever pro game action in CF, as the Cubs are attempting to exploit his power / speed combo all over the diamond. He was mostly a SS in the DSL in 2021, but was moved to 2B in the ACL this season to accommodate Cubs top SS prospect Cristian Hernandez. Ramirez also played some 3B in the ACL.   

The Jaque inside-the-park HR was amazing. It was like watching "The Freeze" race a fan at an Atlanta Braves game. The hit itself was an oppo-field line-drive into the right-centerfield alley, and CF Ismael Mena got to it quickly. Parker Chavers was on 1st base and was running on the pitch, but Jaque caught up with him at 3rd base and they both scored standing up about a foot apart.

Jaque may be the fastest runner I have ever seen on a baseball diamond. He is really, really fast. That said, there may be some issues with his hit tool. Despite the blazing speed displayed with the inside-the-park job, he also struck out swinging against DSL Cubs Blue Pitching Coach Jose Zapata.

Cubs 2022 4th round pick Nazier Mule once again served as a DH, the second time he has done so in a Cubs AZIL intrasquad game. He singled, stole second, and scored a run in the top of the 5th. Although he has not yet appeared in an AZIL game as a pitcher, he has been throwing bullpen side sessions and metriculating in the Pitch Lab on Camp Days. He also has taken ground balls at SS in infield practice. By all appearances, the Cubs do intend to allow Mule to be a two-way player. He is a very unique five-tool SS / RHP. No AZIL Cubs pitchers were scheduled to throw on Monday, so ACL Cubs hitting coach Rachel Folden pitched for the "Blue Squad" and DSL Cubs Blue pitching coach Jose Zapata pitched for the "Red Sqaud." (Folden hurled a complete game shutout). 

Some of you may remember Jose Zapata as a highly-touted Cubs pitching prospect back in the day, before suffering a broken neck in a car crash imvolving several Cubs minor leaguers in the Dominican Republic in 2014 that ended his playing career. Now 29, Zapata has been a pitching coach at the Cubs Dominican Academy for the last several years. It's amazing he is even able to throw at all, much less toss a seven-inning complete game!  

Here is the box score from the game: 

CUBS "BLUE SQUAD" LINEUP
1a. Ismael Mena, CF: 0-2 (F-8, F-7)
1b. Jefferson Rojas, 2B: 0-2 (P-5, P-2) 
2. Pedro Ramirez, 2B-CF: 2-3 (1B, BB, 2B, L-7)
3. Christopher Paciolla, SS: 0-4 (4-6-3 DP, 6-4-3 DP, 6-3, F-8)  
4. Rafael Morel, 3B: 1-3 (6-3, 2B, 4-3, R) 
5. Nazier Mule, DH: 1-3 (L-5, F-9, 1B, R, SB)
6a. Haydn McGeary, C: 2-2 (1B, 1B, RBI, PO) 
6b. Yoanis Aleksandrov, C: 1-1 (2B, RBI, PO) 
7a. Parker Chavers, RF: 1-2 (1B, 4-3, R) 
7b. Josefrailin Alcantara, RF: 0-1 (K) 
8a. Erbin Jaque, LF: 1-2 (HR, K, R, 2 RBI) 
8b. Brayan Altuve, LF: 0-0 (BB) 
9. Anderson Suriel, 1B: 2-3 (1B, F-7, 1B)  

CUBS "RED SQUAD" LINEUP
1. James Triantos, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, 5-3, 5-3)
2. Cristian Hernandez, SS: 1-3 (1B, F-8, F-7) 
3. Cristian More, CF: 2-3 (3-6 FC, 2B, 1B) 
4a. Andy Garriola, RF: 0-2 (5-4 FC, F-7)
4b. Raino Coran, RF: 1-1 (1B) 
5. Reggie Preciado, DH: 0-3 (F-8, 3-U, 4-6-3 DP) 
6. Frank Hernandez, LF: 1-3 (L-8, 1B, 5-3) 
7. Miguel Pabon, 1B: 0-2 (6-3, F-8)
8. Carlos Ramos, C: 1-2 (1B, 6-3)_
9. Christian Olivo, 3B: 0-2 (6-4-3 DP, F-8) 

CUBS "BLUE SQUAD" PITCHER
Rachel Folden: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 GIDP, 10/8 GO/AO 
NOTE: Folden is the ACL Cubs hitting coach 

CUBS "RED SQUAD" PITCHER
Jose Zapata: 7.0 IP, 11 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 2 GIDP, 6/9 GO/AO 
NOTE: Zapata is the DSL Cubs Blue pitching coach 

CUBS "BLUE SQUAD" ERRORS: NONE  

CUBS "RED SQUAD" ERRORS: NONE

CUBS "RED SQUAD" CATCHERS DEFENSE
Carlos Ramos: 0-1 CS, 2 PO 

CUBS "BLUE SQUAD: OUTFIELD ASSIST
CF Ismael Mena - batter (Cristian More) thrown out 8-6-5 attempting to stretch double into triple  

ATTENDANCE: 4 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+  

Arizona 
Scoring 
Service 

"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen"

Comments

[ ]

In reply to by JoePepitone

JOE P: Tony Campana is (or at least was) probably faster home-to-first only because he was a LH hitter and had a swing where the momentum took him toward first base, whereas Erbin Jaque has a full-blast RH power-swing (he has apparently never heard of "small ball") and so it takes him a beat to get out of the box. But I would say Jaque is faster than Campana running around the bases (like 1st to home).  

I don't know if the Cubs have considered it, but it might be worth a try to see if Jaque can maybe be taught to hit LH and be a switch-hitter (as the Cubs did a few years ago with Zach Davis). It's not like Jaque is a particularly talented RH hitter. He struck out swinging hitting against a pitching machine in the game played this morning, but to be fair he also ripped a triple into the LF corner (would have been a double for most guys), and he had the inside-the-park HR in the game yesterday. 

[ ]

In reply to by Arizona Phil

AZ Phil - Thanks for the insight! Regarding his swing, I recall that releasing the top hand as a right handed batter (ala the Charlie Lau method) made a real difference for me in being able to get out of the right handed batters' box, as the follow through was no longer pulling me over towards third base that way. I also didn't lose any power when I switched my swing over. 
 

I realize that my "speed" and my "power" don't compare in any way to a professional athlete, but that technique made a noticeable difference for me. Does he keep both hands on the bat during his follow through?

Interesting observations:

2. Pedro Ramirez, 2B-CF: 2-3 (1B, BB, 2B, L-7) - Played 2B, SS, and 3B this year. CF is new (as Phil mentioned)
5. Nazier Mule, DH: 1-3 (L-5, F-9, 1B, R, SB) - As we know, pitcher/hitter combo. Played SS before draft
6a. Haydn McGeary, C: 2-2 (1B, 1B, RBI, PO) - Hadn't played catcher for Cubs yet, only 1B & DH
6b. Yoanis Aleksandrov, C: 1-1 (2B, RBI PO) - Had 1 hit in 47 ABs this year (and 1 walk in 50 PAs)
1. James Triantos, 2B: 0-3 (F-8, 5-3, 5-3) - Played 3B this year, defense was iffy: .900 Fielding %
9. Christian Olivo, 3B: 0-2 (6-4-3 DP, F-8) - Played LF, CF, and a little 2B this year. Small, RHH, speedy, but nothing stands out yet.

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