Double Plays, Errors, and Injuries Strike Cubs at Fitch Park
The EXST Diamondbacks turned four double plays and took advantage of seven EXST Cubs errors to score three unearned runs, en route to a 6-3 victory in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.
Today’s game was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the Cubs pitchers who were due to throw could get their scheduled work. Several other Cubs pitchers threw in a “sim game” on Field #2 simultaneous with the EXST game on Field #3.
This was the final Cactus League Extended Spring Training game for the Cubs, as the players will be given a short break before returning to Fitch Park after next week’s draft to prepare for the start of the short season leagues. The Boise Hawks begin play on June 17th at Eugene (Hawks home opener is June 22nd), and the AZL Cubs first game is the night of June 20th versus the AZL Giants at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.
The AZL Cubs will play their home games at HoHoKam Park (with a 7 PM start time) up through July 24th, before moving to Fitch Park and playing their home games in the morning (11 AM start time) beginning on July 26th.
As far as today’s game is concerned, lanky 20-year old Dominican LHP Willengton Cruz got the start (his third game started in six days), and allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits in three innings of work (53 pitches – 35 strikes). He was the unlucky victim of five errors behind him (four in the first inning alone), but he came back strong to strike out the last five batters he faced (all swinging).
Of the ten Cubs pitchers at Extended Spring Training who spent last season pitching in the Dominican Summer League, W. Cruz and 20-year old Dominican RHP Starling Peralta are easily the top two, and I would say both have a good chance to get assigned to Boise (skipping AZL Cubs).
Unfortunately, two Cubs suffered injuries and had to leave today’s game. OF Jesus Morelli was hit on the left hand by a pitch (and it did not look good), and catcher Johan DeJesus had to be helped from the field after taking a foul tip direct hit on the groin/protective cup. DeJesus was on the ground writhing in pain for five minutes, and looked like he was about to pass out once he got to his feet. (Just watching it made me feel like passing out, too).
1B Trevor Gretzky (Oaks Christian HS - Westlake Village, CA) worked out for Cubs scouts on Field #1. The son of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, Trevor didn't show a whole lot at the plate (opposite-field stroke with warning track power), but he is still recovering from labrum surgery. He has a lanky body with long legs, and looks like he could maybe benefit from an off-season body-building regimen at Camp Colvin. If he does not choose to sign with an MLB club this year, he will attend San Diego State.
Here is today’s abridged box score (Cubs players only):
1. Vismeldy Bieneme, 2B: 2-4 (1B, 6-3, K, 1B, RBI)
2a. Eduardo Gonzalez, RF: 0-1 (4-6-3 DP)
2b. Jesus Morelli, RF: 0-0 (HBP)
2c. Wilson Contreras, PR-3B: 0-2 (L-7, 3-1)
3. Marco Hernandez, SS: 0-4 (L-9, 3-6-3 DP, F-8, K)
4. Dong-Yub Kim, LF: 1-4 (P-4, K, K, 1B)
5. Brandon May, 1B: 2-4 (2B, 1B, 6-3, 6-4-3 DP, R)
6. Brian Inoa, DH #1: 1-3 (K, K, 2B, R)
7. Max Kwan, DH #2: 1-2 (1B, BB, E-6, RBI)
8a. Johan DeJesus, C: 0-2 (P-4, K)
8b. Carlos Romero, C: 0-1 (4-6-3 DP)
9. Gregori Gonzalez, 3B-RF: 1-3 (6-3, K, 2B, R, RBI, SB)
10. Oliver Zapata, CF: 0-2 (F-9, P-6, BB)
1. Willengton Cruz: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 53 pitches (35 strikes), 1/2 GO/FO
2. Luis Liria: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 47 pitches (27 strikes), 6/0 GO/FO
3. Jose Rosario: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 44 pitches (30 strikes), 5/0 GO/FO
4. Ramon Garcia: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 18 pitches (12 strikes)
1. 1B Brandon May - E3 (missed catch on pick-off attempt at 1st base allowed base-runner to advance to 2nd base)
2. 2B Vismeldy Bieneme - E4 (dropped pop fly in infield allowing batter to reach base safely – eventually scored unearned run)
3. C Johan DeJesus - E2 (errant throw on stolen base attempt at 2nd base alllowed runner on 3rd base to score)
4. C Johan DeJesus - E2 (missed catch on play at the plate on RBI single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base)
5. LF Dong-Yub Kim - E7 (fielding error on RBI double allowed batter to advance to 3rd base – eventually scored unearned run)
6. SS Marco Hernandez - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely and unearned run to score)
7. 1B Brandon May - E3 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
Johan DeJesus 3-5 CS, 2 E (see above)
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90’s
crunch 9 hours 3 min ago (view)
* except for playing 1st base
crunch 2 days 5 hours ago (view)
a lot of people were all-in on it being a 2022 thing, but given how MLB has held the DH over the player's heads like it's some kind of extremely valuable chip worth more than the players seem to think it's worth...who knows...
Cubster 2 days 6 hours ago (view)
any estimates on the chances of the DH in the NL anytime soon?
crunch 2 days 7 hours ago (view)
k.schwarber is hella good at post-season baseball.
crunch 2 days 9 hours ago (view)
e.castillo and t.payne off the 40man in 100% totally expected moves.
both are/were catcher organizational depth.
crunch 2 days 10 hours ago (view)
for those keeping track of the heating-up Mets head of baseball operations search, theo has already ruled himself out.
mets want(ed) some heavy hitters (including b.beane and d.stearns), but none of them are on board...well, MIL took stearns off the board before he could chime in because he has a year left on his contract.
Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)
Something to keep in mind about clearing MLB 40-man roster slots for players eligible for selection in this year's Rule 5 Draft is that you can't non-tender players to create 40-man roster space for Rule 5 Draft eligibles. That's because players can only be non-tendered on 12/2, and the pre-Rule 5 Draft roster filing deadline is 11/19 (almost two weeks - PRIOR TO -the contract tender date). NOTE: Normally the roster filing deadline is 11/20, but it's moved up to 11/19 this year because 11/20 falls on a Saturday in 2021
Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Just one game, some BP, infield practice, and baserunning drills. So not much to glean from that so far.
crunch 3 days 6 hours 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 3 days 10 hours 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 3 days 15 hours 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 3 days 21 hours ago (view)
This is the first time I have heard about the four month program in November.
azbobbop 4 days 4 hours ago (view)
Phil, now that instructional scare finished, which players impressed you the most and who are disappointments.
tim815 4 days 7 hours ago (view)
Cool. Should help his trade value if the bat plays.
Arizona Phil 4 days 10 hours ago (view)
TIM: Peter Matt looks very comfortable at 3B. He is a classic "four-corner" guy (1B-3B-LF-RF).