LaHair Ball Day at Fitch Park
Bryan LaHair singled, doubled, and tripled, scored two runs, and knocked-in two more, and Nate Samson had two hits, drove-in three runs and scored another, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough, as the Arkansas Travelers (Los Angeles Angels AA affiliate) took advantage of six errors to defeat the Tennessee Smokies 7-3 on Field #2, and the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) outlasted the Iowa Cubs 13-8 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.
Cubs first-baseman Bryan LaHair (hitting .188 with only one XBH and 11 K in 33 PA in Cactus League games through this past weekend) was assigned to Fitch Park today, and was apparently advised to get as many Plate Appearances as possible in as short a time as possible, because he was inserted into both the Tennessee and Iowa lineups (usually batting 2nd in the inning) at every opportunity. In total, he batted seven times, had three hits (a single, a double, and a triple), grounded out twice, flied out once, and struck out (swinging) in his final AB (he was probably tired). On two occasions he no sooner had scored a run for the I-Cubs on Field #3 than he ran through the gates separating the fields to take an AB for the Smokies on Field #2.
While LaHair was being omnipresent, the other players just confined themselves to playing in one game or the other.
Cubs #1 pitching prospect RHP Trey McNutt got the start for Tennessee, and allowed two runs on three hits (two doubles and single) plus a walk and a HBP in two innings of work. He struggled with his command (51 pitches – only 30 strikes), but he had good velocity and struck out three (two swinging).
22-year old LHP Eric Jokisch (who led all Cubs minor leaguers in wins last season, with 10 combined between Peoria and Tennessee) threw the next two innings, and allowed a run on two hits (a single and a triple) and a walk. He did not rack-up any strikeouts.
One-time Venezuelan bonus baby Larry Suarez (all 6’4 270 of him) was the third Tennessee pitcher to take the hill, and he struggled with his control. The 22-year old right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and two walks, and was pulled out of the game prior to completing his second inning of work.
24-year old Cuban defector RHP Juan Yasser Serrano threw a hitless 9th.
Meanwhile over on Field #3, RHRP Brian Schlitter saw his first game action since 2010, needing only six pitches to get through his one inning. Schlitter missed the 2011 season with an elbow injury that kept him on the 60-day DL for the entire season, a “pre-existing” injury that resulted in two waiver claims being voided, with the Cubs having to refund the waiver payment and pay Schiltter his major league split salary ($417K) while he spent the year at Fitch Park. He was outrighted to AAA after the season. Some of you may remember Schlitter as the PTBNL acquired by the Cubs from the Phillies in exchange for veteran LHRP Scott Eyre in August 2008, and he made his MLB debut (with the Cubs) in August 2010.
RHP Ty’Relle Harris (acquired from Atlanta in 2010 in the Derrek Lee trade) saw his first game action since being seriously injured after being hit by a drunk driver outside a nightclub in Knoxville last June. He appeared to be throwing the ball very well today.
The rest of the pitchers who took the hill at Fitch Park this afternoon were moved up (just for the day) from the Daytona, Peoria, or Boise/Mesa squads, and (generally) it showed. The one exception was Daytona RHRP P. J. Francescon (Cubs 2011 40th round draft pick out of Trevecca Nazarene U), who threw two shutout innings and struck out five. He was really dealin’ today. Francescon put up a 1.20 WHIP with 8/44 BB/K in 38 IP at three stops after signing last Summer, finishing up his pro debut at Hi-A Daytona.
Most of the roster movement at Minor League Camp is downward (as players cut from the MLB squad are sent to Fitch Park, a cascade of other roster moves result as another player gets moved down from the Iowa squad to Tennessee, and then another goes from the Tennessee squad to Daytona, etc), but every now & then someone manages to swim upstream. A performance like Francescon’s today (a Daytona pitcher throwing “light’s out” in a AAA game) could open some eyes and cause one of those reverse movements.
As usual, several of the player assigned to the Boise/Mesa squad served as late-inning replacements. (Boise/Mesa does not play games until it becomes the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad next month).
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played today at Fitch Park (Cubs players only)
FITCH PARK FIELD #2
NOTE: Bryan LaHair batted 3rd in the 1st inning, and 2nd in the 5th.
X. Bryan LaHair, DH #1: 0-2 (F-7, 3-U)
1a. Zeke DeVoss, 2B: 1-3 (K, K, 1B, SB)
1b. Pierre LePage, 2B: 1-1: (1B, RBI)
2a. Logan Watkins, SS: 0-1 (6-3, BB, BB, SB)
2b. Brad Zapenas, SS: 0-1 (6-4-3 DP)
3a. Matt Cerda, 3B: 0-2 (BB, 4-3, 6-4-3 DP, R)
3b. Jeimer Candelario, 3B: 0-1 (K)
4. Justin Bour, 1B-DH: 1-4 (1B, L-5, 4-3, 3-1, R)
5a. Richard Jones, DH-1B: 0-3 (F-9, F-8, F-7)
5b. Justin Marra, PH: 0-1 (K)
6a. Nelson Perez, RF: 1-1 (BB, 2B)
6b. Dong-Yub Kim, RF: 0-1 (5-3)
7a. John Andreoli, LF: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, RBI)
7b. Delbis Arcila, LF: 0-0 (BB)
8a. Rafael Lopez, C: 1-2 (1B, 5-3, RBI, PO)
8b. Chad Noble, C: 0-1 (K)
9. Taiwan Easterling, CF: 0-1 (K, HBP, HBP, R, 2 SB)
10. Luis Flores, DH #3: 0-3 (K, 3-U, F-9)
1. Trey McNutt: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 51 pitches (30 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
2. Eric Jokisch: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 25 pitches (17 strikes), 3/2 GO/FO
3. Larry Suarez: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 40 pitches (24 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
4. Scott Weismann: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (23 strikes), 4/1 GO/FO
5. Juan Serrano: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 14 pitches (12 strikes), 0/1 O/FO
TENNESSEE ERRORS: 6
1. C Rafael Lopez - E2 (errant throw allowed runner on 1st base to advance to 2nd base)
2. 3B Matt Cerda - E5 (overthrow to 1st base on infield single allowed batter to advance to 2nd base)
3. 3B Jeimer Candelario - E5 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
4. P Scott Weismann - E1 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
5. P Juan Serrano - E1 (errant throw allowed batter to reach base
6. SS Brad Zapenas - E6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
TENNESSEE CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Rafael Lopez: 1-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
FITCH PARK FIELD #3
NOTE: Bryan LaHair batted 2nd in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 6th innings, and he led-off the 3rd inning.
X. Bryan LaHair, DH #1: 3-5 (3B, 4-3, 2B, 1B, K, 2 R, 2 RBI)
1. Nate Samson, 2B: 2-3 (1B, F-7 SF, F-9, 2B, R, 3 RBI)
2. Ty Wright, LF: 2-4 (1B, 1B, K, K, 2 RBI, CS)
3. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 1-3 (BB, 3B, 6-3, K, R)
4. Rebel Ridling, DH #2: 1-4 (K, 1B, F-7, K)
5a. Michael Burgess, RF: 0-2 (K, K)
5b. Abner Abreu, RF: 0-1 (K)
6a. Jason Jaramillo, C: 0-2 (F-8, 6-4-3 DP)
6b. Juan Apodaca, C: 0-1 (F-8)
7a. Marquez Smith, 3B: 0-2 (6-3, K)
7b. Jake Opitz, 3B: : 0-1 (F-7)
8a. Jonathon Mota, SS: 1-2 (6-3, 2B)
8b. Carlos Penalver, SS: 1-1 (1B, R, SB)
9. Greg Rohan, 1B: 0-1 (BB, 6-3, BB, 2 R)
10. Leugim Barroso, DH #3: 1-3 (K, 2-3, 1B, R, RBI)
1. Brian Schlitter: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, 6 pitches (4 strikes), 0/3 GO/FO
2. Ty’Relle Harris: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 30 pitches (16 strikes), 1/3 GO/FO
3. Bryce Shafer: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 3 R (3 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 4 WP, 24 pitches (9 strikes), 2/0 GO/FO
4. Eduardo Figueroa: 0.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 26 pitches (11 strikes), 0/2 GO/FO
5. P. J. Francescon: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K, 30 pitches (20 strikes), 1/0 GO/FO
6. Ramon Garcia: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 25 pitches (13 strikes), 2/1 GO/FO
7. Austin Reed: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 19 pitches (8 strikes), 0/1 GO/FO
IOWA ERRORS: 2
1. C Jason Jaramillo – E2 (overthrow at 2nd base on stolen base attempt allowed runner to advance to 3rd base)
2. 2B Nate Samson - E4 (errant throw on rundown between 2nd & 3rd allowed runner to score)
DAYTONA CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Jason Jaramillo: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above)
Juan Apodaca: 0-2 CS
WEATHER: Mostly cloudy, cool, and VERY breezy, with temperatures in the 50’s
Charlie 3 hours 35 min ago (view)
Lol at Nico getting nominated for riding the bench a lot.
crunch 5 hours 34 min ago (view)
RF Jason Heyward, SS Javier Baez, 2B Nico Hoerner, 1B Anthony Rizzo, C Willson Contreras, and Ps Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills gold glove finalists
bradsbeard 9 hours 29 min ago (view)
Thank you, sir! Sounds like a nice get for the Cubs, and a good project for (what's left of) the new development infrastructure.
Arizona Phil 10 hours 19 min ago (view)
There have been some holes in the AZIL east-side schedule, with one team canceling games last week (although they are back playing this week) and another canceling game this week due to CoViD-19 issue, so the other teams (like the Cubs) are making up some of the "lost" games with intrasquad and in-house "sim" games.
Arizona Phil 11 hours 13 min ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: From what I have seen of Jacob Wetzel so far (BP, fielding practice, base-running drills, sim games, AZIL games, and yesterday's intasquad game), I would say he looks like a football running back playing baseball in that he has a high motor and plays with a bit of an edge.
He has a thick body but he also has plus speed (very much like a football running back in that respect), he runs the bases aggressively, makes hard contact, has HR power, a decent arm, maybe can use some work in the outfield as far as tracking balls.
bradsbeard 1 day 36 min ago (view)
Phil, curious if you've seen enough of Jacob Wetzel to offer an initial scouting report. Just from watching some prep video he looked pretty strong and fairly athletic (HS football player and all). Impressive numbers albeit in community college, but he was a division 1 recruit before that so he's pretty intriguing to me.
KingKongvsGodzilla 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
AZPhil, thank you for these updates! It's a nice little pick me up during this dumb year. If you have anything to say on Yohendrick Pinango, Joel Machado, Rafael Morel, or Richard Gallardo, I would love to hear it! Thanks again!
crunch 3 days 8 hours ago (view)
jim hickey new nats pitching coach.
bradsbeard 4 days 2 hours ago (view)
Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there.
tim815 4 days 3 hours ago (view)
Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.
crunch 4 days 6 hours ago (view)
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).
bradsbeard 4 days 7 hours ago (view)
Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 13 hours ago (view)
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
Hagsag 4 days 15 hours ago (view)
Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?
tim815 5 days 5 hours ago (view)
Blue and Red DSL instructs rosters. No Brayan Altuve.
crunch 5 days 7 hours ago (view)
yup, they're gonna try. starts in about a month.