Cubs Blow Lead Then Rally to Edge A's at Sloan Park

Moises Ballesteros smacked an RBI double into the right-centerfield alley and scored and David Bote hammered an RBI triple into the LF corner and scored to highlight a three-run Cub 1st inning, Reivaj Garcia belted a two-run HR into the RF bullpen to plate two runs for the Cubs in the 2nd, and then after Hansen Lopez (RBI single), Jose Escorche (two-run single), and Darlyn Montero (two-run double) contributed run scoring hits in a five-run A's 5th that tied the game, Cristian More drilled an RBI single in the 6th and Bryan Serra laced an RBI single in the 7th, as the Cubs blew an early 5-0 lead and then came-back to edge the Athletics 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Saturday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

In addition, Jose Bonilla singled twice and scored twice and Angel Arevalo walked twice, lined an RBI single, and scored a run for the A's. 

Moises Ballesteros ended up collecting two doubles for the Cubs in the game as well as throwing out a runner trying to steal, while Frank Hernandez singled, doubled and scored, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Signed by the Cubs for a $1.5M bonus as a 16-year old out of Venezuela in 2021 the same day the Cubs signed Christian Hernandez, Moises Ballesteros has thrown out 67% (6 of 9) of baserunners atempting steal against him in Cactus League EXST games, as well as picking a runner off 2nd base. In 46 Cactus League EXST plate appearances, he is hitting 216/348/297, with a 17% BB-rate and a 17% K-rate. 

A native of Cuba who migrated with his twin brother Omar to Spain where they played together on the Team Spain 18U squad, Frank Hernandez is a high-contact hitter, with a 14% K-rate but only a 3% walk-rate. He is hitting 303/333/394, and leads the team in RBI and AVG (minimum 30 PA). He was a two-way player (RHP / OF) in Spain prior to signing with the Cubs in December 2019, and you can see he has a pitcher's arm when he uncorks throws from the outfield. Twin brother Omar is a catcher, and he was signed by the Kansas City Royals in 2018. Omar is presently playing in Lo-A.  

Cubs RHRP Angel Gonzalez continues to impress, mixing his high-octane 96-98 MPH FB with an 87-89 MPH SL. His command isn't necessarily quite where it needs to be yet, but it's a lot better than it was.      

Although the game was played in Sloan Park, the A's played as the home team because the Cubs did not have enough pitchers available to cover more than seven innings. As a resuilt, the game was called after 7-1/2 innings of play.

In EXST Cubs roster news, 1B Felix Stevens has completed his rehab and he has rejoined Myrtle Beach. 

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

Cubs @ Diamondbacks: Series Thread (Games 31-33)

Despite a hefty portion of the roster currently calling the injured list home, the Cubs managed to win two of three in San Diego. They'll take on the D-Backs sans Madrigal, likely Hoerner, Frazier, Hermosillo, David Robertson, Sean Newcomb, Ethan Roberts, and likely Seiya Suzuki. See below for the daily matchups.

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 MLB Roster

Cubs Organizational Depth Chart
40-Man Roster Info

+++++++++++
 
40 players are on the MLB RESERVE LIST (roster is full)    

Last updated 1-24-2023
 
* bats or throws left
# bats both

PITCHERS: 21
Adbert Alzolay
Javier Assad 
Brad Boxberger
Ben Brown
Jeremiah Estrada
Kyle Hendricks
Codi Heuer 
* Brandon Hughes
Ryan Jensen
Caleb Kilian 
Julian Merryweather
Ethan Roberts 
Michael Rucker
Adrian Sampson
* Drew Smyly
* Justin Steele 
Marcus Stroman
Jameson Taillon 
Keegan Thompson
Hayden Wesneski
Rowan Wick

CATCHERS: 3 
* Tucker Barnhart 
Miguel Amaya
Yan Gomes

INFIELDERS: 8
Nico Hoerner
* Eric Hosmer
Nick Madrigal
* Miles Mastrobuoni
* Zach McKinstry
Christopher Morel
Dansby Swanson
Patrick Wisdom

OUTFIELDERS: 8 
Kevin Alcantara
* Cody Bellinger 
Alexander Canario
Brennen Davis
# Ian Happ
Trey Mancini 
Seiya Suzuki 
Nelson Velazquez


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

Minor League Rosters
Rule 5 Draft 
Minor League Free-Agents

 

Recent comments

  • crunch 1 day 22 hours ago (view)

    cubs sign ex-MIN bullpen arm tyler duffey (RHP) to a minor league deal.  he lost velocity and became a bit too hitable last year.

  • crunch 2 days 19 hours ago (view)

    these cubs off-season moves have been neat and all, but why hasn't 3rd base coach willie harris been signed to a 10 year contract extension yet?  get the real work done, cubs...

  • Arizona Phil 2 days 21 hours ago (view)

    DJL: Definitely true for Seiya Suzuki, but I was not aware that Nelson Velazquez was technology averse during games. I hadn't heard that before. 

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days ago (view)

    I thought that story was about Seiya? Or I guess both could operate that way?

  • Childersb3 3 days 12 hours ago (view)

    Well he better hit!! 

    Because he's got a lot of young and talented OFs coming right behind him!!

  • Wrigley Rat 3 days 13 hours ago (view)

    Childersb3 - I'm stuck on something that was said about Nelson Velazquez during the season last year (I think by Cubs' broadcasters, but can't remember). Nelson doesn't use any of the technology (iPads) during games to analyze his swing, the way he's pitched, etc. He believes more in basing things on feel and instinct. I WOULD be fine with that if he was having success, but as a rookie who was batting near the Mendoza line all season, he should have taken any and all advice offered to him (in my opinion).

    Not sure if this is all true, if there's more or less to it, or if he's willing to change this year, but something about that really bothers me and makes me think the Cubs don't value him as much as the players right behind him who want to do everything in their power to improve. Since he still has trade value, he is a player I assume will be on the move to a team who values him more than the Cubs do.

  • First.Pitch.120 3 days 17 hours ago (view)

    Thanks, Phil. Wasn’t sure if MM leaned more “not good” or “just bad”. Helpful context. 

  • George Altman 3 days 19 hours ago (view)

    Or maybe, Mervis is a very excellent DH and can be an emergency 1B. And the Cubs sign a Machado, Chapman or trade for a better 3rd Baseman. They've got like $70-80M coming off the 2024 AAV, so it's not there's no money and they have other big spending needs.

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 20 hours ago (view)

    As I have said here before several times, right now Matt Mervis is a DH. He is a true lug if there ever was one. Hopefully he will improve his agility sufficiently to be able to play defense at the MLB level, but I will believe that when I see it. Fortunately, the National League now has the DH, so an N. L. club can actually develop a player to be a DH.

    All that said, it is very possible that Mervis will eventually be able to play at least a passable 1B at some point. He certainly has the size you would like in a first-baseman. He provides a really good target. Third-base is probably A Bridge Too Far, however. 

    The Cubs have an excellent off-season strength & conditioning program for its minor leaguers, and hopefully Mervis will benefit from that. Agility is the issue with Mervis. 

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 20 hours ago (view)

    Because they signed Article XX-B FA Dansby Swanson, the Cubs will have $500K subtracted from their International Signing Period (ISP) International Signing Bonus Pool (ISBP) in 2024, so the Swanson signing doesn't affect the Cubs signing international free agents this year, but it will next year. 

    On a positive note, after a two-year moratorium on trading ISBP Signing Bonus Values (SBV), SBV can once again be traded beginning with the start of the 2023 ISP that began ten days ago, so a penalized club can recover some of its lost ISBP via trade. 

    ISBP SBV can be traded only in increments of $250K (including multiples of $250K), unless a club is trading the balance of its ISBP in one transaction. A club can trade 100% of its assigned ISBP during the course of the ISP if it so desires. However, a club can only add 60% of its assigned ISBP via trade or trades.

    ISBP SBV acquired via a trade or trades can be flipped to a third club, but SBV cannot be sold for cash and cannot be substituted for a PTBNL.  

    ISBP SBV can only be traded during the ISP (January 15th through December 15th), and SBV acquired via a trade or trades cannot be used in the next ISP. With one exception, any potion of a club's ISBP not spent goes away at the end of the ISP. 

    The one exception is that a club can carry-over ISBP space from one ISP to the next ISP if a player's contract is voided as the result of the player failing his physical or being unable to obtain a visa to the U. S., or if an investigation by the MLB Commissioner determines the player falsified his age and/or identity prior to signing the contract. It  does not apply to contracts voided by the MLB Commissioner as a result of a rules violation by the club.

    Bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count against a club's ISBP.