Schwarber & Zagunis Star at Riverview Park

Kyle Schwarber singled, doubled, and scored a run, Mark Zagunis ripped an RBI double and scored and drove-in another run with a sacrifice fly, and Charcer Burks singled twice and walked, in a seven-inning AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning on Field #1 at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.  

The contest was game one in a five game intrasquad "Cubs World Series" to be played at Riverview Park this week, between the "Northside Rooftops" and the "Wrigley Field Ivy," each team chosen by draft by the two managers (Jimmy Gonzalez and Mark Johnson). Team Johnson won today's game by a score of 3-1.

Gioskar Amaya got the start at catcher for Team Gonzalez, and handled himself well behind the plate for the four innings he spent there. (Amaya is in the Catcher Conversion Program at Instructs). He then moved to 3rd base for the final three innings and made the defensive play of the game, a run-saving stop & throw to end the top of the 5th. Amaya had a fine day offensively, too, with a line-drive double into the LF corner, a walk, and a stolen base.   

Kevin Encarnacion played RF for Team Johnson, his first game action since suffering a near career-ending shoulder injury and 3rd degree burns in a car crash in the Dominican Republic last December. He (understandably) looked rusty both in the field and at the plate, committing an error on a ground single to right (he bobbled the ball, allowing a baserunner to advance from 2nd to 3rd), and he went 0-3 at the plate with two strikeouts (both swinging) and a weak infield pop out. Probably because of the injuries he sustained in the car crash, Encarnacion is now hitting only left-handed (he previously had been a switch-hitter). In his one AB batting LH against a LH pitcher (Jordan Minch), Encarnacion struck out on three pitches. 

The Cubs are not playing games against other MLB organizations at Instructs this year, instead opting to spend more time on morning field instruction & afternoon classroom training. Players attending Instructs are also spending some of their off hours researching the history of the Cubs, and presenting the information they learn to the the other players. 

Most of the Cub brass are in attendance at Instructs this week, including Team President Theo Epstein, Executive VP & GM Jed Hoyer, and Senior VP & Scoutng/Player Development Director Jason McLeod.

Here is the box score from today's game:

TEAM JOHNSON LINEUP:
1. Rashad Crawford, CF: 0-2 (K, F-9, BB)
2. Chesny Young, 2B: 0-3 (F-9, 4-3, 5-3)
3. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 1-3 (K, 1B, 2-3, R)
4. Kyle Schwarber, C: 2-3 (2B, 3-1, 1B, R, SB)
5. Mark Zagunis, LF: 1-2 (2B, L-7 SF, K, R, 2 RBI)
6. Mark  Malave, 1B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, L-6, RBI)
7. Kevin Encarnacion, RF: 0-3 (K, P-4, K)
8. Tyler Alamo, DH: 2-3 (K, 1B, 1B)
9. Ho-Young Son, SS: 0-2 (4-3, 1-3 SH, 6-4-3 DP)

TEAM GONZALEZ LINEUP:
1. Charcer Burks, CF: 2-3 (1B, K, BB, 1B, R, CS)
2. Gleyber Torres, SS: 0-4 (F-9, 6-3, 5-3, K)
3. Billy McKinney, RF: 0-2 (F-9, BB, K, HBP)
4. Victor Caratini, 1B-C: 1-4 (F-8, F-8, 1B, 4-3, RBI)
5. Jordan Hankins, 3B-1B: 0-3 (L-8, 6-3, K)
6. Eloy Jimenez, DH: 0-2 (L-6, BB, P-2)
7. Gioskar Amaya, C-3B: 1-2 (2B, BB, F-8, SB)
8. Kevonte Mitchell, LF: 0-3 (K, F-9, K)
9. Danny Lockhart, 2B: 1-2 (2B, K, BB)

TEAM JOHNSON PITCHERS:
1. Erick Leal: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0/5 GO/FO, 17 pitches (13 strikes)
2. Ryan McNeil: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO, 39 pitches (20 strikes)
3. Santiago Rodriguez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1/2 GO/FO, 29 pitches (19 strikes)
4. Oscar de la Cruz: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1/0 GO/FO, 24 pitches (11 strikes)

TEAM GONZALEZ PITCHERS:
1. Jeremy Null: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GO/FO, 30 pitches (20 strikes)
2. Yapson Gomez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 4/2 GO/FO, 19 pitches (11 strikes)
3. Trey Hedges: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 3/2 GO/FO, 27 pitches (18 strikes)
4. Jordan Minch: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 1/0 GO/FO, 14 pitches (9 strikes)  

TEAM JOHNSON ERRORS: 1
RF Kevin Encarnacion - E-9 (fielding error on ground single allowed baserunner to take an extra base)

TEAM GONZALEZ ERRORS: NONE

TEAM JOHNSON  CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Kyle Schwarber: 1-2 CS, 1 PB

TEAM GONZALEZ CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Victor Caratini: 0-1 CS

ATTENDANCE: 28 (mostly scouts)

WEATHER: Mostly sunny with temperatures in the 90's 

Comments

Cubs claim LHP Joe Ortiz off waivers from the Rangers

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/o...

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/...

One scout told me that Ortiz reminds him of former Ranger reliever Eddie Guardado in that Ortiz is a fun guy, but a hard-nosed competitor. Like Guardado, he doesn't have a high-octane fastball, but he knows how to locate pitches.

Was he hurt? He had good looks at AAA in 12 and 13 but spent this season between Rookie Ball and AA. Sounds like an interesting LHRP prospect at 24 years old.

he missed almost all of last year after he was "clipped" by a motorcycle, breaking his foot. he didn't have a very good return when he came back, but it was very limited action. that said, he profiles as a loogy rather exclusively.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/short-pitchers-s...

short pitchers are the new market inefficiency...

cue the Randy Newman song...

AZ Phil...would love your insight on Victor Caratini as a catching prospect (from the Braves system for Russell and Bonafacio) and team Gonzalez' starter with the awesome pitcher's name, Jeremy Null (I hope he has "infinite" talent).

CUBSTER: Jeremy Null is a VERY tall (6'7 or 6'8) RHP who "stands tall" and throws from an extreme downhill plane. He has a plus-slider that's gets a lot of swings & misses and an OK low-90's fastball that he uses to set-up his slider. He's trying to learn a change-up (but who isn't trying to learn a change-up at Instructs?).

Victor Caratini is a good hitter from both sides of the plate with a line-drive stroke that he uses to drill balls into the OF gaps and down the lines. Defense needs work, although he works hard in drills and appears to have the physical tools necessary to be a catcher. But he'll probably need some time to develop defensively. His bat is ahead of his glove right now.

"Bill Mueller has resigned as hitting coach of the Chicago Cubs, but don't expect Manny Ramirez to be the one filling his shoes, a source told ESPNChicago.com. A source close to the situation said the Cubs are already close to hiring a replacement for Mueller, whose resignation, a source said, came just more than a week after assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley was dismissed. Ramirez received positive reviews from his stint with Triple-A Iowa this season, but a source said Ramirez isn't under consideration for Mueller's job. However, the source said Ramirez could be in the mix for the assistant hitting coach position." http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/116...

It's hard to image Manny Ramirez being an assistant anything.

$15.3M will be the qualifying offer for this offseason.

Mattingly benching Puig tonight, putting Ethier in CF. Puig was 4th in the NL in wrc+, Ethier...was somewhere much farther down. Can't even call it a defensive move.

That's , um, something.

Puig tripled last night too, albeit K'ing a lot in the series.

dodger beat writer says Puig playing through ankle injury. Ethier walks in first AB.

Every once in a while, the numbness wears off, and I am amazed at the guaranteed money baseball players are paid -- even those who will never make an All-Star team and who are not particularly good (by MLB standards). If not for baseball, most of these guys would be selling used cars in some hick town. Crazy stuff.

Recent comments

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  • JustSayin' 7 hours 55 min ago (view)

    Solid % improvement for minor leaguers and nice to see the Cubs among the first organizations to break ranks to the upside.  Three comments: 1. Yes, the bonus babies have already BEEN paid but that is the minority of these young men.  2.

     

  • crunch 10 hours 36 min ago (view)

    more spring news...

    i.happ expected to primarily play CF this spring.  rizzo expected to primarily hit 2nd going into the season.

     

  • Charlie 16 hours 42 min ago (view)

    That's fair. And  the discussion would be different if Almora were heads and shoulders above Happ defensively, which seems (surprisingly) not to be the case.

     

  • bradsbeard 16 hours 54 min ago (view)

    I'm not ready to write him off from the right side just yet. One of the things I believe about Happ is that switch hitters in general just take longer to establish themselves as hitters due to having to develop and maintain two separate swings. Given that he sees fewer lefties, you kind of have to give him a little more leeway to develop there I think. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 16 hours 55 min ago (view)

    jdrnym: No word yet on 2020 minor league active roster limits, but I doubt they will do anything new since the minor league 7-day IL with no doctor's note required (sometimes called the "phantom IL") allows clubs to easily rotate guys (especially pitchers) back & forth/on & off the active list. 

     

  • Charlie 17 hours 1 min ago (view)

    I didn't realize until today that the new network will be broadcasting almost every spring training game. Just a heads up for anyone else expecting the usual 4-6 broadcasts.

     

  • Charlie 17 hours 12 min ago (view)

    I think he's going to strike out over 25% of the time, but he's shown that he can be an above average overall hitter even if he's only batting .230-.250.

    I'm also not a big fan of the swing, and I'd be very skeptical of him if the ball is deadened. Stats suggest he'd benefit from a true platoon despite being a switch hitter. Sure would be nice if Almora could hold up the other end competently.

     

  • Hagsag 17 hours 13 min ago (view)

    Kelly C. to the Braves. Damn it.

     

  • First.Pitch.120 18 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Let us know if you see Dunderwood shagging flyballs in the OF... 

     

  • First.Pitch.120 18 hours 38 min ago (view)

    Re: 6-8, w/ JHey in the 6 hole there are a lot of interesting things that can happen 7-9. You have the 2B slot, Happ (CF), & P slot.  Happ is a Switch hitter (though admittedly better LHH), roster looks to be long on 2B options from both sides (quality issues TBD, but promising IMHO), & a slot you with pinch hit for at least x2/gm. Lots of dbl switch possibilities (w/o jacking up the rest of your lineup)

    That creates some brutal match up decisions for the opposing mgr right before recycling back to Bryzzo. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 19 hours 22 min ago (view)

    I think proving the K rate wasn't a fluke would go a long way toward convincing me. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 4 hours ago (view)

    Hey, if you hate the swing there's probably nothing I can say to change your mind. I personally think it's one of the nicer looking ones on the team. 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 5 hours ago (view)

    Extended period of good hitting? Not striking out at deeply inopportune times? Some baseball IQ in regard to situational hitting?

    I think I also just hate his swing. It's so long and loopy.

     

  • Wrigley Rat 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    C/1B Alberto Mineo (25) has re-signed with the Cubs organization according to: https://www.mister-baseball.com/alberto-mineo-mino...

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Happ has been an above average hitter every season he's been in the majors, and he killed it in his brief return from the minors last year (with better contact and lower K rates to boot). Aside from an extended period with the lower K rates, what else are you not seeing?

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 8 hours ago (view)

    Bote, for the moment, is adequate. Very unsold on the 2 LH hitting 2B options.

    I have never seen it for Happ. I'd love for him to prove me wrong but I dont see it happening.