Giants Plate 13 on Friday the 13th

Ryan Reckley (2022 IFA - The Bahamas - $2.2M signing bonus) tripled and scored, walked and scored, and drilled an RBI single, Onil Perez laced two run-scoring singles and collected three RBI, Anyesper Sivira drove-in three runs with a two-run double and an RBI GO, Jean Pena walked and scored three times and smacked an RBI single, and P. J. Hilson singled and scored twice, leading the Giants to a 13-2 drubbing of the Cubs in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning at the Papago Park Complex in Phoenix, AZ.   

Cubs batters struck out twelve times, and Cubs pitchers issued 14 walks. 

David Bote played second-base for four innings and was the middle-man on a snappy inning-ending 6-4-3 DP in the bottom of the 2nd, before switching to DH in the 5th. He went 1-3 at the plate (struck out looking, then an F-7 to the warning track, and finally a 6-3 GO with 17-year old hot-shot SS Ryan Reckley showing off his plus range, glove, and arm to nip Bote at 1st base).   

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

Bote Is Back at Diamondbacks Black

Miguel Pabon and Brayan Altuve laced run-scoring singles, Felix Stevens and Reivaj Garcia singled, walked, and scored one run a piece, Raino Coran reached base three times on two singles and a walk and gunned down a runner trying to score from 2nd base on a line-drive single to RF, fireballin' RP Alfredo Zarraga struck out three of the last four men he faced (all three swinging) to protect the lead and record the win, and catcher Moises Ballesteros threw out a runner attempting to steal second base to end the game after earlier picking a runner off 2nd base to blunt a potential 4th inning rally, as the Cubs scored a late tie-breaking run and edged the Diamondbacks Black squad 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning on Whilrlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Danyer Sanabria drilled an RBI single and tripled and scored for the D'backs. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning affair. 

David Bote saw his first game action of 2022 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder last October. He served as a DH in the game and went 1-3, grounding out in his first two ABs and then reaching base on an infield hit his final time up. Barring a medical setback, Bote will be playing in EXST games through next week, and then he will report to AAA Iowa on 5/23 and begin an official Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. Because he was placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL during Spring Training, he must spend at least the first 60 days of the MLB regular season on the IL, which means June 6th is the earliest he can be reinstated.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Dakota Mekkes has completed his EXST rehab and he has moved-up to AAA Iowa (he pitched in just one Cactus League EXST game, and that was two days ago). Also, INF Carlos Sepulveda has been assigned to Iowa (he played in the EXST intrasquad game yesterday, so the move was sudden), and 1B Grayson Byrd has been moved up to South Bend. Like Jake Slaughter and Wyatt Short, Sepulveda and Byrd were left behind at EXST when the four Cubs full-season minor league affiliates left town last month. 

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

Much Ado About Nothing at Riverview

Anthony Martinez threw two perfect innings and Miguel Pabon belted a triple, providing the highlights from a Cubs Extended Spring Training two-inning intrasquad game played Wednesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The "core" of the proto-ACL Cubs -- Cristian Hernandez, Moises Ballesteros, Pedro Ramirez, and Rafael Morel -- got the day off. 

RHP Michael McAvene threw a bullpen prior to the game, so he could be ready for Cactus League EXST game action in the near-future. 

Here is the box score from the game:  

D'backs Black Blank the Cubs at Sloan Park

Deivi Estrada belted a solo HR, Luis Rubio singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Jose Fernandez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, Grayson Greiner drilled a single and a double, and Sean Poppen, Ricardo Yan, and Miguel Gil combined to toss a four-hit shutout with nine strikeouts, as the Diamondbacks Black squad blanked the Cubs 4-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven inning affair.  

EXST Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Michael Arias (ex-SS) got the start for the Cubs, but had to leave the game after recording only one out when he suffered a lower body injury while covering home plate after a bases-loaded wild pitch. He also had a blister issue earlier in the inning, which may be why his usual upper 90's FB velo was down a couple of clicks (94-97 MPH instead of 96-99).      

RHP Dakota Mekkes (on AAA Iowa 7-day IL) made his first game appearance of the season, working 2.1 IP (30 pitches - 18 strikes) in relief. He allowed a run on two hits (the Estrada HR and the Greiner double), walked one, and struck out three (all swinging). He  displayed his usual 89-92 MPH FB, 85-88 CH, and 76-79 MPH CV in the game, had decent command of all of his pitches, and threw 60% strikes. Mekkes will be an MLB Rule 9 minor league 6YFA post-2022 if he isn't added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) or signs a 2023 minor league successor contract. He would appear to profile as a "once-through-the order / multi-inning" reliever at this point, and that's exactly how he was used in the game today.  

The best EXST Cub pitching performance of the day was by RHRP Angel Gonzalez, who mixed his high velo 96-98 MPH FB with a 86-87 MPH SL  - AND - with much better FB command than seen previously. His FB velo and command seem to be better when he can focus on throwing just one inning, instead of working two innings as he sometimes has been used in EXST games. Known as "Angel Gonzalez-Martinez" when he was signed by the Cubs as a 17-year old NDFA out of Puerto Rico in 2020, he now just goes by the name Angel Gonzalez. If he can command his hard stuff going forward and stay healthy, he will move quickly through the system, with a ceiling of a high-leverage one-inning reliever.   

In EXST roster news, INF Jake Slaughter has been moved-up to Hi-A South Bend. He was left behind in Mesa when the four full season affiliates left town last month and appeared to be a potential release candidate sooner rather than later, but he didn't pout, and has hit the ball very well while providing stellar defense at 3rd base in Cactus League EXST games over the past three weeks. If anybody "deserved" another chance, it was Jake Slaughter.   

Also, LHRP Wyatt Short has been assigned to AA Tennessee. Like Jake Slaughter, Short was left behind at EXST when the four Cubs full-season affiliates left town last month.Short is scheduled to be an MLB Rule 9 minor leaguer 6YFA post-2022. 

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

Hernandez Drops a Bomb at Sloan Park

Brennon Lund belted a two-run HR, Gabriel Rodriguez doubled twice and scored a run, and SP Jorge Marcheco tossed three innings of one-hit shutout ball with five strikeouts, as the Angels defeated the Cubs 8-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Cristian Hernandez crushed a 440-foot solo HR high up onto the left-centerfield berm, walked, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, Rafael Morel singled twice and knocked-in a run, Flemin Bautista laced a two-run triple and scored a run, and Grayson Byrd doubled, walked, and scored two runs for the Cubs in losing cause.  

LHP Jack Patterson (on AA Tennessee 7-day IL - March 2021 TJS) got the start for the Cubs and went two innings (36 pitches - 17 strikes, 3/0 GO/AO), allowing two runs (one earned), one hit (one of Gabriel Rodriguez's doubles), and four walks. He fanned two (both swinging, the last two men he faced), and induced an inning-ending GIDP in his first inning of work. He also committed a balk. Patterson threw mostly an 88-91 MPH FB with sinking action, mixed with with a few 79-82 MPH CV and one 84 MPH CH. He had a lot of trouble commanding his FB, and so he mainly threw his CV when he needed a strike.  

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

Cubs & A's Play a Tie at Riverview

Christian Olivo belted a two-run double and Cristian Hernandez collected an RBI on a bases-loaded walk for the Cubs, and SP Wander Guante hurled four innings of two-hit shutout ball with seven strikeouts (no walks) for the Athletics, as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Sloan Park, but a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) event was held in the stadium simultaneous with the Cubs game, so the ball game was moved across the street. 

Pedro Ramirez returned to the Cubs lineup after being hit in the helmet by a pitch in an intrasquad game on Wednesday, so he apparently passed the concussion protocol with flying colors. 

In other EXST news, INF Andrelton Simmons has completed his EXST rehab and has been assigned to AAA Iowa on an official Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment (a maximum of 20 days because he is a position player, and the player can call it off at any time). Simmons appeared to be 100% at the plate and on the bases in Mesa, and while he hasn't played much shorstop in Cactus League EXST games, he did take grounders for 20 minutes on Field #1 on Wednesday and made all of the throws a shortstop would need to make in a game. How his shoulder felt afterward, I don't know. 

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

Cubs Tie D'backs Red Squad at Salt River Fields

Cristian More hammered a solo HR and Jake Slaughter rapped an RBI double and a single and scored a run for the Cubs, and SP Jose Cabrera hurled three innngs of one-run ball for the Diamondbacks "Red" squad, as the two teams played to a 6-6 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

Cubs pitchers issued 11 walks (seven by SP Marino Santy), hit a batter, committed a balk, and uncorked four wild pitches. 

The game was called after six innings of play. 

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

Giants Pitchers Throttle Cubs with Smoke

P. J. Hilson belted an RBI double and a solo HR, Juan Perez laced a two-run single, Anthony Rodriguez walked four times and scored two runs, and SP Mikell Manzano tossed three innings of one-run ball and combined with three relievers to strike out 14 (including the last six outs by gas throwin' closer William Suarez), as the Giants edged the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Andrelton Simmons served as a DH and singled twice, tripled, and scored a run, Carlos Sepulveda drove-in two runs with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single and scored a run, and Dilan Granadillo drilled a two-run single, to account for the four Cub runs.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 
 
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 47 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