Altuve & Ballesteros U. S. Debut a Big Hit at Salt River Fields

Brayan Altuve (Cubs 2019 IFA signing - $1M bonus) drilled a game-tying RBI single in his first U. S. AB in the top of third inning and belted a two-run triple off the left-centerfield wall and scored a run in a four run fifth, Luis Verdugo drilled RBI singles in consecutive innings (one in the fourth and one in the fifth), Kevin Alcantara (acquired from the Yankees in the Anthony Rizzo trade) singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, Cubs 2021 4th round draft pick Christian Franklin singled twice, walked, and scored a run, Matt Mervis singled twice and scored a run, Cubs 2021 2nd round pick James Triantos singled, walked, and scored a run, Moises Ballesteros (Cubs 2021 IFA signing - $1.5M bonus) clubbed a PH double into the RF corner in his first U. S. AB, and Cubs 2021 9th round pick LHP Chase Watkins fired three innings of one-hit no-run ball out of the pen, helping the Cubs defeat the Rockies 7-3 in AZ Instructional League game action Monday afternoon on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale. AZ. 

Ezequiel Tovar tripled and scored in the bottom of the first inning and belted a two-run HR in the bottom of the third to account for all of the Rockies runs. 

The game was called after 8-1/2 innings of play. 

Here is the abridged box score frrom the game (Cubs players only): 

1. James Triantos Jr, 3B: 1-4 (K, BB, 1B, 5-4-3 DP, 5-U FC, R, PO) 
2. Ed Howard IV, SS: 0-4 (K, L-9, BB, K, K, R)
3a. Owen Caissie, LF: 0-1 (K) 
3b. Brayan Altuve, LF: 2-4 (1B, 3B, K, K, R, 3 RBI)
4a. Kevin Alcantara, RF-DH: 2-3 (1B, P-4, 1B, R, RBI)
4b. Moises Ballesteros, PH-DH: 1-2 (2B, K)
5. Christian Franklin, CF: 2-3 (1B, 1B, BB, 6-3, R)
6a. Pablo Aliendo, C: 1-3 (F-8, 2B, K, R)
6b. Casey Opitz, C: 0-1 (6-3)
7. Luis Verdugo, DH-RF: 2-4 (F-9, 1B, 1B, L-5, 2 RBI)
8. Christian Olivo, 2B: 1-3 (L-8, F-9 SF, 6-4-3 DP, 1B, RBI)
9. Matt Mervis, 1B: 2-4 (1B, 3-6-3 DP, 1B, K, R)

1. Bailey Horn: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 7/1 GO/AO, 32 pitches (26 strikes) 
2. Tyler Schlaffer: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 4/1 GO/AO, 22 pitches (15 strikes)
3. Chase Watkins: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 2/4 GO/AO, 40 pitches (27 strikes)  

2B Christian Olivo: E-4 (throwing error allowed batter to reach base safely)


WEATHER: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the 90's 


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


Cubs firing another hitting coach. That should fix everything.

i call next.

i don't have any idea how to do the job, but i'm sure that won't matter much.

If you don't have any idea how to do the job, you may be overqualified.

leading off for BOS tonight, schwarber

leading off for NYY tonight, rizzo


Chicago Cubs: Haven't had a dependable leadoff man since Kenny Lofton.

Schwarber vs Cole, 2015. One of my favorite moments in Wild Card history.

and Schwarber takes Cole out again. Gotta be so happy for Kyle. 

i dont wanna meet the baseball fan who doesn't like schwarber.  he's not an epic personality, but i can't see the dude getting hate (except hating on the quality of his OF defense).

And Rizzo makes his presence felt.  Another guy that is one of the good people of baseball as evidenced by being a Roberto Clemente Award winner.

If I was on a team w/ Schwarber, I would rub his head for good luck before every PA... I don't know, he just looks like he has a very rubbable head.  I don't even get hating on his defense... not loving, sure. The routes & range were suspect, but the arm PLAYED & he seemed to play the ball well enough on the ground. 

even with knocks on the D, none of it was laziness or lack of trying to get better and that's all you can ask for if a manager/team chooses to march him out there.

BOS playing him at 1st was/is a similar level of "this dude is a DH"

KB is a class act too!

AFL cubbies...rankings are MLB cubs system rankings.

Cubs (Mesa): Caleb Kilian, RHP (No. 14); Ryan Jensen, RHP (No. 15); Nelson Velazquez, OF (No. 29); Danis Correa, RHP; Brendon Little, LHP; Luis Vazquez, SS; Andy Weber, SS

meh.  at least kilian is there, but the rest of the list doesn't interest me too much.  i still don't understand why kilian is ranked so low on the cubs system ranking.

I'm intrigued by Kilian but the knock I've read on him is he doesn't currently have a MLB level "out" pitch.

I am interested to see Jensen and Velazquez. Little if he pitches well enough will likely be a AAA-MLB shuttle guy next year

Who is Troy Johnston?

unless there was a trade, he's a minor leaguer for MIA...probably a mistake from the writer i copy/pasted

...yeah, totally a mistake (not updated yet on the article).  he's listed on MIA's twitter feed as being named to their AFL roster.  i've deleted his name from the post above.


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  • crunch 2 hours 14 min ago (view)

    minor league baseball has to provide housing for minor leaguers starting 2022 (paid for by MLB parent clubs).  this is HUGE news and will make it possible for guys to stick around longer without having to quit the game just to earn a basic living.  for minor league players working in expensive housing markets this is a life saver.

    activist players from the OAK and LAA minor league teams as well as minor league player labor advocacy organizations were a huge part of making this happen.  good work.


  • bradsbeard 5 hours 57 min ago (view)

    Did you have any occasion to observe Pedro Ramirez? Not sure if he got into any games or not (now that I think of it, you wrote up at least one game he played in). 


  • Arizona Phil 11 hours 10 min ago (view)

    azbobbop: Certainly LHSPs Drew Gray and Luke Little have emerged as legit significant high-end SP prospects. RHSP Luis Devers has probably displaced Koen Moreno as the top "pitchability" SP prospect in the lower levels of the Cubs system. Tyler Schlaffer (another "pitchability" guy) also had an impressive Instructs, although Devers is a better SP prospect because he has a solid three-pitch mix and knows how to use it, while Schlaffer has just the 92-94 FB & CV (although both are solid offerngs) and isn't as polished as Devers is.


  • Hagsag 17 hours 20 min ago (view)

    This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November. 


  • azbobbop 1 day 1 min ago (view)

    Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.


  • tim815 1 day 3 hours ago (view)

    Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF). 


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    KKvG: I strongly suspect Koen Moreno's outing was more about getting out on the mound and throwing in a game than anything. He did get several swings & misses from his CH (which is a plus-pitch), and he uses his low 90's FB to set-up the CH.

    I didn't see any breaking balls, although it's possible I might have mistaken a CH for one.

    Koen Moreno is what scouts call a "pitchability" guy. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. MLB starting rotations are full of pitchers like that.  


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Childersb3: Not much bat speed. Just "lug-power." I actually like Matt Mervis better. 


  • Hagsag 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Thanks wrigley rat.


  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    HAGSAG - Not Phil, but I think this info was from him in the past:

    RHP/OF (signed as a two-way player - seems to be sticking with hitting for now), R/R, 5'11 180, Age 18, SPAIN


  • Childersb3 1 day 12 hours ago (view)


    Does Bryce Ball have any real bat speed, or is he just a big guy that waves at the ball and makes contact 1of5 times?


  • Hagsag 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    Phil, tell me about Frank Fernandez.


  • tim815 2 days 58 min ago (view)

    If Matt is "not horrible" at third, that could be useful.


  • crunch 3 days 1 hour ago (view)

    bonds got a standing-O after being introduced between innings at LAD @ SF.

    as he sat down, dude looked extremely genuinely happy to hear the park errupt in cheers for him again.

    it's not his first time back, nor his first set of cheers, but the park is packed and loud.


  • Cubster 4 days 27 min ago (view)

    Jed's GM search wrapping up, and the winner is: (Athletic write up): 37 yr old "Carter Hawkins, Cleveland assistant general manager, deals with all aspects of baseball operations in a front office admired for its stability, creativity in turning over the roster and ability to keep churning out pitchers.