Cubs Hitters Go Old School Clutch All Day Long at Instructs

Jared Young singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Alfonso Rivas (RBI single), Matt Mervis (two-out RBI double), Cam Balego (RBI double), Christopher Morel (RBI triple), and Rafael Morel (game-tying two-out two-run single) collected run-scoring hits for the Cubs, and Armani Smith belted a booming three-run home run and Tyler Fitzgerald drilled a line-drive solo shot for the Giants, as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

RHP Manuel Rodriguez (on Cubs MLB 60-day IL) made his first game appearance since leaving a Cactus League Spring Training game last March with a right biceps strain, throwing one inning (10 pitches) and allowing one hit and one run (Fitzgerald's solo HR). He struck out one (swinging) and retired the other two batters on a 4-3 GO and F-8 FO.    

INF Kevin Made (July 2019 IFA - Dominican Republic - $1.5M signing bonus) made his pro game debut and got a hit in his first pro AB, reaching base on a two-out bloop single that fell in front of a diving Giants RF in the bottom of the 7th inning. Made would later score one of the two runs driven-in by Rafael Morel.  

You may have noticed that the Cubs have been playing their infielders all around the infield in AZIL games (and in instructs pre-game and Camp Day infield practice as well), and that's because with the extensive use of shifting today in MLB, infielders need to know the mechanics of all three positions (2B, 3B, and SS) as they move forward, even if the player might profile primarily at one infield position in particular.     

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

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

CUBS LINEUP
1a. Alfonso Rivas, DH: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, RBI)
1b. Fabian Pertuz, PH-DH: 0-2 (3-U, K) 
2a. Ed Howard IV, SS: 1-3 (1-3, 6-3, 1B, R)
2b. Andy Weber, SS: 0-2 (L-7, 6-3)
3a. Bryce Windham, C: 0-2 (4-3, 3-1)
3b. Cam Balego, C: 1-2 (2B, F-8, BB, R, RBI)
4a. Christopher Morel, 2B: 1-3 (K, F-8, 3B, R, RBI)
4b. Kevin Made, 2B: 1-1 (1B, R) 
4c. Luis Vazquez, PH: 0-1 (FC) 
5a. Jared Young, LF: 2-2 (1B, 1B, F-8 SF, R, RBI, SB)
5b. Jacob Wetzel, LF: 0-1 (K+WP, BB, R)
6a. Chase Strumpf, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, P-3, K)
6b. Rafael Morel, 3B: 1-2 (1B, 6-4 FC, 2 RBI)
7a. Nelson Velazquez, CF: 0-2 (5-3, K)
7b. Edmond Americaan, CF: 0-1 (K, BB) 
8. Matt Mervis, 1B: 1-3 (3-1, 2B, L-3, BB, RBI)
9a. Yohendrick Pinango, RF: 0-2 (E-6, 6-3, R)
9b. Jordan Nwogu, RF: 0-1 (BB, K)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Manuel Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/AO, 10 pitches (8 strikes) 
2. Manuel Espinoza: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 2/2 GO/AO, 46 pitches (30 strikes)   
3. Jose Miguel Gonzalez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 5 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 1/0 GO/AO, 50 pitches (19 strikes) 
4. Eduarniel Nunez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/AO, 21 pitches (12 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: NONE 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Bryce Windham: 1-2 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 0 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 

Arizona 
Scoring
Service 

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

Comments

Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?

not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).

I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability

Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 

Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.

Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 

jim hickey new nats pitching coach.

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  • Hagsag 1 hour 18 min ago (view)

    Phil, we all are so glad you are getting to somehow "view" these games. Stay safe my friend.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 6 hours ago (view)

    Someone to keep an eye on in 2021 is RHRP (ex-1B) Jerrick Suiter. 

    He was selected by the Cubs from the Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and the Cubs  immediately converted him from a mediocre AA first-baseman to a full-time pitcher, having seen him throw garbage innings in blow-outs for the Pirates AA Altoona affiliate in 2019.

     

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

    Good to see Roederer and Velasquez  providing some production. From what I've followed they haven't been up to much. Granted this season isn't great for development

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 16 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have added OF Brennen Davis to their AZIL Active List roster. 

     

  • crunch 1 day 18 hours ago (view)

    "He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable."

    reggie golden flashblacks...if BP was a game he'd be an all-star.

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    Unfortunately for the Cubs, all of their Top 10 position-player prospects (M. Amaya, Davis, Hearn, Howard, Made, C. Morel, R. Morel, Quintero, Roederer, and Strumpf -- listed alphabetically) are two or more years away from the big leagues, in most cases more like three or four or even five years away. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    TIM: One of the things people wonder about when they see a young shortstop for the first time is does he have the arm and range necessary to play SS or would his tools maybe be better suited for 2B, 3B or OF. So far at Instructs Kevin Made has shown all of the attributes of a SS, and he is an advanced hitter (for his age) as well. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    AZBOBBOP: Ethan Hearn showed off his plus-arm by back-picking a runner off 1st base last week. You don't see catchers with the confidence to attempt pick-offs much out here. 

    He's a strong kid and shows a lot of HR power in BP and it's just a matter of making it game-usable. His hitting (contact and barreling) has improved at instructs, and that's one of the things he needed to improve.

    His receiving should improve with experience as well. 

     

  • azbobbop 2 days 9 hours ago (view)

    Phil, saw Ethan Hearn with a couple of hits today. How has he been trending?

     

  • tim815 3 days 59 min ago (view)

    That Kevin Made is already representing offensively seems, on the 1 to 10 scale with 10 being fantastic news, in the 17 or 18 range.

    Nwogu in the 9 to 11 span.

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 18 hours ago (view)

    For those of you wondering about catcher Ronnier Quintero (the Cubs #1 IFA signing in the 2019-20 ISP), he participates fully in pre-game and Camp Day work-outs and he catches bullpens, and while he has been the bullpen catcher at every AZIL game he has not yet played in a game.

    As a catcher he has a lot to learn, and the Cubs would prefer that Quintero mainly concentrates on receiving and learning how to work with pitchers right now. He can learn about hitting and baserunning later. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 18 hours ago (view)

    In adition to the 22 pitchers originally on the Cubs AZIL Active List roster plus RHP Manuel Rodriguez (right biceps strain last March) and LHP Brad Wieck (wearing a brace on his left knee) who are on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL and are rehabbing at AZIL, the Cubs have added four additional pitchers to their AZIL Active List roster:  

    RHP Josh Burgmann 
    RHP Chris Clarke 
    LHP D. J. Herz
    RHP Michael McAvene 

     

  • Charlie 4 days 15 hours ago (view)

    This is weird. He seemed well liked and shifting him to another role would've made just as much sense.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 20 hours ago (view)

    I'd say the only guys who struggled all season were Baez and Bryant. Willson struggled for a lot of August but was one of the few who hit in September. Most of the team hit well in 2019 (including Baez and Bryant before injuries derailed them). I don't know if there's any reason to blame Ipoce in particular for the September slump. 

     

  • crunch 5 days 10 hours ago (view)

    iapoce expected to stay.  i'm surprised.  i know it's a weird/short season, but it was a season-long slump for a lot of guys and answers weren't showing up.

     

  • crunch 5 days 11 hours ago (view)

    i eagerly await the espn 10 part mini-series "Rafael Palmeiro, More Like Rafael Baseballmerio" covering those 28 legendary games.