Cubs No-Hit D'backs at Riverview

Cristian Hernandez singled twice, stole two bases, scored the first run of the game, and drove-in the last one, Raino Coran singled twice and knocked-in a run, and Michael Arias, Yovanny Cruz, Dominic Hambley, Elian Almanzar, Yovanny Cabrera, and Alfredo Zarraga combined to hurl a no-run / no-hit game with 15 strikeouts, as the Cubs blanked the Diamondbacks Black squad 2-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Cabrera and Zarraga combined to strike out eight of the last ten men they faced. 

EXST Cubs top pitching prospect Michael Arias saw his first game action in more than three weeks, and threw a 1-2-3 nine-pitch 1st inning to get things started. Arias suffered a lower-body injury in a game at Sloan Park on May 10th when he attempted to cover home plate on a bases loaded wild pitch and stepped awkwardly coming off the mound.  

Cubs catcher Dilan Granadillo replaced starting catcher Moises Ballesteros behind the plate in the top of the 7th inning, but had to leave the game in the 8th after getting hit on the hand with a foul tip.    

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

Luke Weaver & Associates Stymie Cub Bats at Salt River Fields

Johan Benitez drilled a single in the third, belted an RBI triple and scored in the fifth, and collected an RBI on a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and SP Luke Weaver (on Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 60-day IL with right elbow inflammation) threw two shutout innings and combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, as the Diamondbacks Red squad defeated the Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

RHP Yovanny Cruz (on Hi-A South Bend 7-day IL) made his first game appearance since undergoing TJS a year ago, and worked a nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning (4-3, K-swinging, 4-3). Because it was such a short, easy inning, Cruz went out to the bullpen and threw an additional 15 pitches after the inning was over. All set to be in the South Bend starting rotation at the end of Minor League Camp 2021, his season was sidetracked less than a week before Opening Day.  

RHP Zac Leigh (on South Bend 7-day IL since Minor League Camp with a right shoulder issue) blasted his 95-98 MPH FB past D'back hitters, this time mixing it with a slurvy breaking ball that he can throw for strikes (he threw only FB in his last outing).   

RHP Joel Sierra had a 1-2-3 inning, finishing it up with an ascending 98-99-100 MPH FB trilogy (strikeout - swinging) that sucked the air right out of the park.  

Casey Opitz (on Myrtle Beach 7-day IL since Opening Day) is back to switch-hitting again, going 2-2 with two singles and a walk in the game. He caught all nine innings in extreme heat, and looks to be about ready to go to Myrtle Beach. He is considered to be the best defensive catcher in the Cubs organization. Casey is the younger brother of ex-Cubs minor league infielder Jake Opitz (who was a manager in the Rockies system for a few years after he retired).   

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

Cubs @ White Sox: Series Thread (Games 45 & 46)

The Cubs passed the quarter-way mark in their last series against the Reds, a series they opened with two wins and closed with two losses, including Thursday's 20-earned-runs-allowed blowout. A day off on Friday and a night sleeping in their hometown beds might help to press the reset button. They take on the Sox for two games this long weekend. See below for the matchups.

Ballesteros and Morfa Launch Cub Comeback at Riverview

Moises Ballesteros drilled an RBI single in the bottom of the first, singled and scored in the fourth, and belted a game-tying HR over the RF fence in the seventh, Carlos Morfa slugged a solo HR over the LF fence in the seventh and roped a double and scored in the eighth, Reivaj Garcia singled twice, walked, scored two runs, and drove-in three, and the bullpen retired nine of the last ten batters faced, as the Cubs raliied to score eight runs in the final two innings while holding the opposition scoreless, en route to a hard-fought 13-10 victory over the Diamondbacks Red squad in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

This was the third HR hit by Ballesteros in the last eight days, as he is now second on the EXST Cubs in HR with three (Cristian Hernandez has four, plus two more in intrasquad games). Over his last nine Cactus League EXST games (29 PA), Ballesteros is hitting a robust 480/552/960, with three HR, three doubles, four walks, and seven RBI.  

As outstanding as the bullpen was at the end of the game, two Cubs pitchers -- LHP Marino Santy and RHP Gleiber Morales -- combined to issue twelve walks, hit a batter, uncork five wild pitches, and commit two balks, as the D'backs took an early 9-5 lead. 

The Diamondbacks Red squad manager was thrown out of the game after arguing that an RBI double that drove-in a runner from 1st base was actually a ground-rule double that bounced off the warning track and then off the netting beyond the RF fence (and he was right, by the way). He then sat in the bleachers outside the first base side fence, until he was spotted by the base umpire and told to go sit in the bus. It was 105 degrees, so having to sit in an air-conditioned bus wasn't necessarily the worst punishment imaginable!   

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

In EXST Cubs news, catcher Dilan Granadillo is no longer switch-hitting, He is now batting LH-only.   

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

Cristian Hernandez Leads the Blue Charge at Riverview

Cristian Hernandez, Frank Hernandez, and Rafael Morel stroked consecutive RBI singles to highlight a three-run first inning for the Cubs "Blue" squad, and Miguel Pabon belted a solo HR over the left-centerfield fence to account for the lone run posted by the Cubs "Red" squad, as the "Blue" squad defeated the "Red" squad 3-1 in an Extended Spring Training four-inning intrasquad game played Thursday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Because all three pitchers who threw in the game were scheduled to work two innings, the "Red" team got an extra AB over what they ordinarily would have received, but they lost anyway 

Here is the box score frrom the game: 

Rockies Rock Cubs Boat at Riverview

Luis Paredes drilled an RBI double, singled twice, walked,and scored a run, Francisco Garcia doubled and scored, laced an RBI single, and collected another RBI on a bases-loaded walk, Cuba Bess slugged a solo HR, and SP Luis Urena (ex-MIA) and six reiievers combined to hurl a five-hit shutout, as the Rockies blanked the Cubs 9-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

South Bend RHP Zac Leigh continued his EXST rehab with a scoreless 1-2-3 nine-pitch inning, throwing nothing but his high octane 95-98 MPH FB. 

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Angel Gonzalez (2020 NDFA - Puerto Rico) has been moved up to Myrtle Beach. Gonzalez features a 96-98 MPH FB that was up to 99 in his final EXST outing last week and a 87-89 MPH SL, and was projected to be the EXST Cubs closer if he hadn't been moved-up to the Pelicans.  

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

Cub Bats Go Nuts at Fitch Park

Cristian Hernandez blasted an opposite-field two-run HR over the RF fence in the third, singled and scored in the sixth, and drilled an RBI single in the eighth, Alejandro Rivero blooped an RBI double and scored in the second and belted an opposite-field two-run triple and scored in the fifth, Raino Coran hammered an RBI double into the LF corner and scored in the fourth and crushed a lead-off double off the LF fence and scored in the eighth, Brayan Altuve roped an RBI double and scored in the second and singled and scored in the fourth, Christian Olivo singled, stole a base, and scored a run in the third and cracked an RBI single in the fourth, and Dilan Granadillo laced two RBI singles, leading an 18-hit attack as the Cubs uploaded a 15-4 pasting of the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.    

Nelson Beltran slugged a two-run HR in the bottom of the third and made a spectacular HR saving catch by leaping high and reaching over the LF fence to take back what would have been a Frank Hernandez four-bagger in the top of the seventh, and Lester Madden and Ramon Martinez ripped RBI doubles for the A's in a losing couse.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

With today's HR, Cristian Hernandez has now hit six home runs in 23 EXST games, including four in 19 Cactus League EXST games, and two in four EXST intrasquad games. Javier Baez holds the all-time EXST Cubs HR record. He hit eight in 26 Cactus League EXST games 2012. 

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

Cubs MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

+++++++++++
 
37 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (three slots are open)  

Last updated 11-18-2022
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 20
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Mark Leiter Jr
Ethan Roberts 
Manuel Rodriguez
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Keegan Thompson
Erich Uelmen 
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes
P. J. Higgins 

INFIELDERS: 8
Rylan Bannon 
Nico Hoerner
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
* Alfonso Rivas
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 6
Kevin Alcantara 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez

++++++++++++++++++++++

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

 

Recent comments

  • First.Pitch.120 2 hours ago (view)

    re: Ian Happ's Glove o' Gold -

    Can anybody give me a brief summary/analysis of what changed this year with IH's fielding?

    I didn't spring for the MLBtv package this season so I saw more highlights than full game footage. Beyond the flashy plays, any sense of what was different/better?

  • crunch 23 hours 22 minutes ago (view)

    astros sign jose abreu.

    that's one cubs rumor link now off the table.

  • crunch 1 day ago (view)

    OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO!  NOOOOOOOOOO!

  • DavidP 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    Just don't make him outfield coach.

  • crunch 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    brant brown new marlins hitting coach.

  • fullykräusened 3 days ago (view)

    Thanks, Phil.  Very thorough and informative post, as usual. 

    You confirmed my suspicion that the HS draftees and young international players wouldn't be well served by this new format. It will be interesting to see whether the tweaks you mentioned will be adopted. Wonder whether the new format will affect teams' draft practices; maybe they'll shy away from US-resident high schoolers and let them develop in college, to be drafted after that...

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 23 hours ago (view)

    fullykrausened: 

    The elimination of the SS-A (short season - advanced) level has mainly affected the development of teenaged international free-agents and HS draft picks.

    Most college draft picks and NDFA are not adversely affected by going immediately to Lo-A (with maybe a week or so at ACL/FCL before moving up), because Lo-A is kind of like D-1 college baseball. But the development of teenaged prospects really requires that extra SS-A level that has been eliminated. 

    What ended up happening was some players were promoted to Lo-A before they were ready for that level, mainly because they had mastered SS-R (short season - rookie). Or in some cases a player would be held back at SS-R when he should have been promoted to SS-A (if it was still there).  

    You can see that with several Cubs prospects who skipped the old SS-A level and went directly from SS-R to Lo-A, most notably position players like Ed Howard, Reggie Preciado, Ethan Hearn, and Ezequiel Pagan, and pitchers up from the DSL who were too advanced for SS-R but not  really ready for Lo-A.

    The SS-A level was eliminated because the in-season Domestic Reserve List was set at 180, and it would be very difficult for organizations to operate six domestic affiliates (four full season and two short season) with that roster limitation. There would probably be enough position players to operate six teams, but teams would run short of pitchers such that the number of games would have to be significantly reduced at all levels. 

    One idea that has been floated is to separate the FCL / ACL (complex) level into two sub-levels, rookie & advanced. Players at the complex would be divided into two groups, one advanced and one rookie. Because there aren't enough pitchers available for two complex squads, the number of games would be cut such that the SS-A and SS-R complex groups would each play three games per week (so a total  of six games played by the two squads each week), with a day off in between each game that would be used for instruction for that group. That hasn't happened (yet), but it might, because it would not require DRL roster expansion. 

    Another idea that almost happened when the SS-A level  was eliminated was for the SS-R level (complex) to operate like Extended Spring Training & instructs for the ENTIRE season, with no "official" games or "official" stats. That was shot down, however, because the majority of MLB organizations (but NOT all of them) felt that was just too radical of a change. It still could happen, though, because it might be a better way to do player development, especially for younger players not yet ready for Lo-A, as well as for injured players who are rehabbing. 

  • fullykräusened 6 days 22 hours ago (view)

    I have a question for Arizona Phil:

    When MLB collapsed the two-level Rookie Leagues into the complex leagues, how did that affect player development, in your view? It would seem to me that the youngest players, who would have been in the old "lower" rookie league, would be overshadowed by the slightly-older players (college draftees, etc.) who would have been in the "higher" rookie league before. And does the new system speed up the movement of the more advanced complex-league players into low A? Your thoughts would be appreciated, no hurry! 

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)

    Something to keep in mind as the Cubs head into the depths of the off-season is that Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez were both signed by the Red Sox when Theo & Jed were running the team, so Hoyer might still view those two as "his guys" (all things being equal...). 

  • Arizona Phil 1 week 2 days ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: The problem with Mark Leiter Jr (and this is also true of Zach McKinstry, as well) is that he will be out of minor league options in 2023, which will have a potentially deleterious effect on roster flexibility coming out of Spring Training. 

    Ideally, the Cubs would have non-tendered Leiter and McKinstry and then signed them to 2023 minor league contracts (but for big league money), so that if they have good Springs but there is a roster jam at the end of Spring Training, the Cubs would be able to send Leiter and/or McKinstry to AAA without having to risk them getting claimed off waivers.

    Also, Leiter has the right to elect free-agency if he gets outrighted, which is probably why he wasn't among the batch of Cubs players who were outrighted after the World Series. 

    Obviously the Cubs do not want to lose either Leiter or McKinstry. At least not right now