Javier Baez Tries 3rd base at HoHoKam Park

The Mesa Solar Sox played their AFL home opener this afternoon at HoHoKam Park, but the Salt River Rafters drubbed the home team 11-3 thanks in no small part to four home runs.


Four Cubs saw action for the Solar Sox in today’s game:



NICK STRUCK: Relieved starter Mike Wright to begin the 2nd inning after Wright allowed four first-inning runs (three earned). Struck worked (labored through) 1.1 innings (39 pitches - only 20 strikes), allowing no runs and no hits, while walking three. He also struck out one batter. Struck struggled with his control in both of the innings he worked. Looked rusty.


MATT SZCZUR: Was the DH and once again hit lead-off (as he did last night). Went 1-4 with a lead-off ground single through the 5.5 hole in the bottom of the 1st, and reached base on a HBP (a glancing blow) in his final AB in the 9th. In between he struck out (swinging) in the 3rd, popped out to the second-baseman in the 5th, and flied out to deep left in the 7th (outstanding catch by Rafters LF up against the fence on what was a near-HR)


RUBI SILVA: Played LF and hit #2 in the order behind Szczur. Silva struck out, flied out, and lined out in his first three ABs, before showing off his speed by beating the pitcher to 1st base for an infield single on a soft roller to the first-baseman (then taking 2nd on an E-1). Silva has the athleticism and versatility to play multiple positions (2B-LF-CF-RF), but despite above-average speed he has yet to learn the art of stealing bases (he looks confused on the bases), and he is a bit of "hacker" at the plate, too.


JAVIER BAEZ: Played 3B for the first time in his pro career, and he looked terrible. Without even discussing the body language (sullen and disengaged), there were three balls hit to him in the game, and he misplayed all three to one extent or another. The first was a ground ball that went through his legs for an error, the second was a bouncer where he ranged a couple of steps to his left and let the ball bound off his glove for another error (he should of let the shortstop make the play), and the third was a hard hit grounder to his right where he made a nice backhanded stop, before throwing a lame one-hopper to 2nd base for a FC on what should have been an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP (2B Jiovanni Mier saved Baez a third error by making a nice saving catch on the one-hop throw). Throughout the game Baez kept looking at Solar Sox SS Jonathan Schoop (who made a costly error himself in the top of the 1st inning), as if to say “How about we change places?” I don't think Baez wants any part of 3rd base. Offensively, Baez went 0-5 with three strikeouts in his final three AB (first two swinging on pitches up in the strike zone, and then looking on a 3-2 pitch right down Broadway in his final PA). The first two times up he grounded out sharply to short and lined out (an absolute rocket) to LF.


Meanwhile, the Cubs AZ Instructional League team played a five-inning intrasquad game this morning at Fitch Park Field #3. The game was played like a normal baseball game, with no pre-arranged "situational hitting" scenarios that were a big part of the controlled "sim" games that the Cubs have played over the past couple of weeks.


David Bote tripled, singled, and walked, and score twice, Yasiel Balaguert drove-in three runs with an RBI double, an RBI GO, and an RBI FC, and Stephen Bruno and Ben Carhart ripped RBI triples, to provide most of the game's offense.


RHP Ben Wells had a poor outing, allowing three runs (all earned) on three hits (a double and two triples) and two walks in one inning of work. 


Here is the box score from the Instructs intra-squad game:


SQUAD “A” LINEUP:
1. Gioskar Amaya, 2B: 1-3 (6-3, 6-3, 2B, RBI)
2. Albert Almora, CF: 0-3 (L-5, K, F-8)
3. Jorge Soler, RF: 0-2 (6-3, K)
4. Dan Vogelbach, 1B: 1-2 (K, 1B)
5. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 1-2 (6-3, 1B)
6. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-2 (4-3, F-7)
7. Rafael Lopez, C: 0-1 (BB, K, R)
8. Trevor Gretzky, LF: 1-2 (1B, F-7)
9. Wilson Contreras, DH: 0-2 (6-4 FC, 6-3)


SQUAD “B” LINEUP:
1. David Bote, SS: 2-2 (3B, 1B, BB, 2 R)
2. Stephen Bruno, 2B: 1-2 (K, 1-4 SH, 3B, R, RBI)
3. Yasiel Balaguert, RF: 1-3 (2B, 6-3, FC, 3 RBI)
4. Jacob Rogers, 1B: 0-2 (F-7, F-7)
5. Chadd Krist C: 1-2 (4-3, 2B, R)
6a. SLOT WAS SKIPPED FIRST TIME THRU ORDER
6b. Lance Rymel, DH #1: 0-1 (5-3)
7. Bijan Rademacher, LF: 0-2 (K, 4-3)
8. Ben Carhart, 3B-DH: 1-2 (1-U, 3B, RBI)
9. Shawon Dunston Jr, CF: 0-1 (F-8, BB)
10. Jesse Hodges, DH-3B: 0-1 (BB, F-8, R)


SQUAD “A” PITCHERS:
1. Starling Peralta: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 45 pitches (28 strikes), 4/3 GO/FO
2. Ben Wells: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO


SQUAD "B" PITCHERS:
1. Duane Underwood: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K, 46 pitches (26 strikes), 6/1 GO/FO
2. Paul Blackburn: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 38 pitches (22 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO


SQUAD “A” ERRORS: NONE


SQUAD “B” ERRORS: NONE

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  • Arizona Phil 1 day 1 hour ago (view)

    In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).   

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 10 hours ago (view)

    Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.

    That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.

     

  • Hagsag 1 day 14 hours ago (view)

    Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.

     

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 3 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020. 

     

  • JustSayin' 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever.  That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.

     

  • crunch 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    "According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."

    so that's where that promise landed.  the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.

     

  • crunch 6 days 6 hours ago (view)

    "Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.

     

  • crunch 6 days 12 hours ago (view)

    i miss baseball.  it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.

    there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list.  there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead.  former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup.  his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...

     

  • JustSayin' 6 days 15 hours ago (view)

    COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever.  It WAS still America's grass roots sport.  Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive.  I believe that era is over.  What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems.  With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go.  I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca

     

  • crunch 1 week 13 hours ago (view)

    fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv

    for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...

     

  • bradsbeard 1 week 20 hours ago (view)

    I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement. 

     

  • Hagsag 1 week 22 hours ago (view)

    AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.   

     

  • jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.

     

  • crunch 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    "Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.

    Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."

    ---