Angels Left Feeling Assad As Can Be at Riverview
Miguel Amaya reached base four times (two singles, an HBP, and a walk), collected an RBI, scored a run, and threw out a runner on the bases, Jose Gonzalez drilled two RBI singles and a double, Richard Nunez clubbed an RBI double, reached base on an HBP, and scored two runs, and RHSP Javier Assad hurled four innings of one-hit no-run ball and combined with three relievers to toss a three-hit shutout, as the Cubs blanked the Angels 6-0 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Wednesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
19-year old Javier Assad is one of several players signed by the Cubs out of Mexico over the past couple of years, and while RHSP Jose Albertos has received the most pub and no doubt has the higher ceiling (93-95 MPH fastball that has touched 96-98, a plus-curve, and an outstanding change-up), Assad is no slouch. Assad features a fastball that regularly sits at 92-93 and now frequently touches 94-95, a solid curve, and a dependable change-up. Assad also has the consistent command that Albertos lacks (so far). Assad's biggest enemy last year (his first in pro ball) was a soft body and general lack of conditioning, but he has taken full advantage of the Cubs Strength & Conditioning program (including off-season work) to get himself into better physical shape, and that has helped both his endurance and his general performance as a pitcher. Barring an injury in the next couple of weeks, Assad is a virtual lock to begin the 2017 short-season in the Eugene starting rotation. He could even be the Emeralds' Opening Night starter.
There more I see Miguel Amaya and Aramis Ademan in action, the more I am beginning to think that one or both could begin the 2017 short-season at Eugene (skipping the AZL entirely). Even though both players are only 18, they have the talent, make-up, and maturity to move quickly through the Cubs system, and AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW, there isn't anyone who would be blocking either of them at Eugene. Amaya's make-up is WAY off the charts. He is clearly the EXST Cubs team leader (he leads his teammates in the daily run around the bases every morning prior to BP), and he has that confident take-charge swagger that pitchers really like whenever he is behind the plate (as he was today, when he caught Assad). And hardly a game goes by when Ademan does not make a spectacular highlight-reel play at shortstop and/or do something to help his team offensively.
In EXST Cubs roster news, RHRP Conor Mullee (August 2016 ulnar nerve decompression surgery) has completed his EXST rehab, has been reinstated from the AAA Iowa 7-day DL, and has rejoined the I-Cubs. The Cubs claimed Mullee off waivers from the Yankees hours prior to the start of the 7th game of the 2016 World Series, so he was in fact a member of the Cubs MLB 40-man roster when they won Game 7. He was non-tendered on December 2nd, and then was re-signed by the Cubs to a 2017 minor league contract a few days later (with an NRI to Spring Training, although he was not yet ready to pitch when MLB Spring Training started).
Conor Mullee Cactus League EXST game stats:
3.86 ERA - 1.72 WHIP - .323 OppBA
7.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 10 K, 1 WP, 5/6 GO/AO
Also, OF Roberto Caro has been moved back up to AA Tennessee, where he began the 2017 minor league season (he was sent to Extended Spring Training on 5/10).
Roberto Caro Cactus League EXST game stats:
5 GAMES (18 PA)
1 3B, 4 RBI, 5 RUNS, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 2 SB (0 CS)
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only):
1. Aramis Ademan, SS: 1-3 (1B, 4-3, F-9, HBP, R)
2. Yovanny Cuevas, CF: 0-4 (K, L-8, K, E-6)
3. Miguel Amaya, C-DH: 2-2 (1B, 1B, HBP, BB, R, RBI, CS)
4. Kevin Zamudio,DH-C: 1-4 (2B, K, 5-3, P-3, RBI)
5. Joe Martarano, LF: 1-3 (1B, K, BB, K, CS)
6. Fidel Mejia, 3B: 0-4 (3-U, K, K, 3-U)
7. Edgar Rondon, 2B: 0-3 (L-8, K, K, BB, R)
8. Richard Nunez, 1B: 1-3 (F-8, 6-3, HBP, 2B, 2 R, RBI)
9. Jose A. Gonzalez, RF: 3-4 (2B, F-8, 1B, 1B, 2 RBI, CS)
10. Carlos Diaz, DH #2: 1-4 (5-3, K, 2B, 5-4 FC, R)
1. Javier Assad: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 6/2 GO/AO, 48 pitches (32 strikes)
2. Fauris Guerrero: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 0/4 GO/AO, 25 pitches (16 strikes)
3. Andin Diaz: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/0 GO/AO, 26 pitches (13 strikes)
4. Elvis Diaz: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GO/AO, 17 pitches (8 strikes)
CUBS ERRORS: 2
1. 2B Edgar Rondon: E-4 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
2. SS Aramis Ademan: E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely)
CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE:
Miguel Amaya: 1-2 CS
CUBS OTHER OUTS ON BASES (does not include CS & PO)
Kevin Zamudio - thrown out 9-4-5 attempting to stretch RBI double into triple
WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures 100+
"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen"