Archive - Mar 2017

Date

Trainer Olympics & Good Pitching Featured at Riverview Park

Zack Short collected three hits (two singles and a triple) and scored two runs, Chris Pieters singled twice and walked and drove-in a run, and RHSP Duncan Robinson (Cubs 2016 9th round draft pick - Dartmouth) hurled four innings of shutout ball (groundball machine with a 7/1 GO/AO) and RHP Matt Swarmer (Cubs 2016 19th round draft pick - Kutztown U.) followed with four innings of one-run ball (with six strikeouts), leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 4-2 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Lo-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) on Field #5, and RHSP Casey Meisner tossed four innings of one-run ball as the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) edged the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-affiliate) 3-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader action Friday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The game on Field #5 was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair. 

RHSP Thomas Hatch (Cubs 2016 3rd round draft pick - Oklahoma State) was the starting pitcher for Myrtle Beach on Field #6, working 4.2 IP (90 pitches) and allowing two runs on five hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts. He also threw a WP, and committed a two-base throwing error on an attempted pick-off at 1st base. Hatch is a very advanced pitcher and could move very quickly through the Cubs system. In fact he could see MLB as early as next season - IF - he can improve his command (he threw only 49% strikes in the game). 

Prior to the games, the Cubs Player Develpment Department held their annual "Trainers Olympics" on Field #6. Cubs minor league trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, equipment managers, clubhouse personnel, and video & IT techs participated. Events included a Home Run Derby (from 2nd base), catching pop-ups at home plate while wearing catchers gear, and throwing BP. 150 or so players gathered around the field to provide encouragement to the contestants as they gamely tried to show-off their baseball skills.    

Here are the abridged box scores from the games (Cubs players only):

March 30th

Just Another Cubs & Brew Crew Long-Ball Feud at Riverview Park

Cael Brockmeyer reached base five times (three singles, an RBI double, and a walk), Todd Glaesmann doubled and scored, belted a solo home run, and tripled (leaving him a single short of a "cycle"), Stephen Bruno roped a solo HR and an RBI single, walked, and reached base on an HBP, Jeffrey Baez slugged a solo HR and singled, and Jason Vosler doubled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another for the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs), and Lewis Brinson, Nick Noonan, and Brett Phillips drilled consecutive RBI singles to highlight a four-run 2nd inning and then Brinson (two-run shot), Phillips (solo blast), and Ryan Cordell (solo dinger) belted home runs (all three HR coming off RHRP Miguel Mejia) in a four-run 4th for the Colorado Sky Sox (AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers), as the two teams played to a 9-9 tie on Field #6, and Johnny Davis collected four hits and three RBI (two run-scoring doubles and two singles) and Dustin Houle drilled two RBI singles, walked, and scored two runs, leading the Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers AA affiliate) to an 11-3 drubbing of the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Thursday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.    

Ian Rice smacked a solo HR and singled and scored and Jesse Hodges went 3-3 (two singles and a triple) and scored a run for Tennessee in a losing cause.

A number of players were temporarily moved-up to the Iowa and Tennessee squads from lower levels to replace players who traveled with the Cubs MLB squad to Houston.

RHP Miguel Mejia (competing for a bullpen job with Iowa) and RHRP Daury Torrez (competing for a bullpen job with Tennessee) had especially bad outings at a most inopportune time. Mejia surrendered three home runs (plus two more near HR) in one inning and Torrez was belted around like a BP pitcher (allowing four runs on five hits while only recording two outs). 

Ex-Atlanta Braves RHSP Williams Perez (competing for a SP job with Iowa) was hit hard as well, getting the start for the I-Cubs and allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks in just three innings. Unless he is left behind at Extended Spring Training to "find his stuff," there does not appear to be a path to the Iowa roster for Perez.    

Here are the abridged box scores frrom the two games (Cubs players only):

March 29th

Cubs Bothered by RiverCats & Flying Squirrels at Indian School Park

Orlando Calixte drilled an RBI single in the third inning and a two-run single in the 7th that turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead, and the Sacramento RiverCats (AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) held-on to edge the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 4-3 on Field #1, and Miguel Gomez singled and tripled and scored two runs, Hunter Cole doubled twice, drove-in two runs, and scored another, and Chris Shaw ripped an RBI single and an RBI double, leading the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA affiliate) to a 6-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Wednesday afternoon at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.

Eddy Julio Martinez collected three hits (two singles and a double) for the Smokies in a losing cause.

As usual, a number of players were moved-up from lower levels to replace players assigned to the Cubs MLB game at Sloan Park. In fact, no less than 11 players were "called-up" to the AA/AAA games from the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) group. 

Iowa and Tenneessee starting pitcher candidates have been practicing their bunting for the past few days on the back-fields at Riverview Park in preparation for the start of the Southern League and PCL seasons next week, and so the Smokies and I-Cubs starting pitchers -- Duane Underwood Jr and Jake Buchanan -- plus Seth Frankoff (who is competing for a SP/RP "swing-man" gig) were sent up to bat to bunt in game situations where there was a man on base and less than two out. (The DH is used in all leagues below AA, and it's used in AA and AAA, too, but only in games where an American League affiliate is the home team).  

The battle continues for bullpen jobs at Iowa and Tennessee, and today's candidates were a mixed-bag. Michael Wagner couldn't find the strike zone, Jonathan Martinez didn't fool anybody and was hit hard, Juan Carlos Paniagua labored through his one inning (although he did pitch out of a runners at 2nd & 3rd and no outs jam), and Daniel Corcino easily retired the side 1-2-3 (F-7, 1-3, K). In fact, Corcino has been nothing short of a revelation so far at Spring Training, combining 96 MPH gas and a plus-breaking ball. The 26-year old Corcino was at one-time the top pitching prospect of the Cincinnati Reds, but he has bounced-around AA the last two or three years in search of his stuff, although he obviously hasn't missed many meals. He has indeed put on a few pounds over the past couple of years (I'd say he is about 5'11 240 right now), and that may have turned off some teams.        

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

2017 Minor League Camp Rosters (Updated 3/28)

3/31 MINOR LEAGUE CAMP ROSTERS UPDATE: 

IOWA
to TENNESSEE: RHP Stephen Perakslis 1B Yasiel Balaguert, and INF Jason Vosler;
TENNESSEE
 loaned to YUCATAN (Mexican League): RHP Mario Meza:
TENNESSEE to MYRTLE BEACH: RHP Craig Brooks, Scott Effross, Pedro Araujo, James Norwood, and Jeremy Null, LHP Jordan Minch and Tommy Thorpe, C Tyler Pearson, and 3B Jesse Hodges;
TENNESSEE to SOUTH BEND: C-1B Alberto Mineo;

March 28th

Smokies & I-Cubs get Swept at Riverview

Jared Walsh drilled two RBI singles and scored a run, as the Mobile BayBears (Los Angeles Angels AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs AA affiliate) 5-4 on Field #5, and Luis Tejada ripped an RBI single, walked twice, and scored a run, helping the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) slip past the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 3-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Tuesday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Bijan Rademacher belted a two-run home run and Victor Caratini hammered two doubles and scored a run for Iowa, and Ian Rice singled, doubled, and scored a run and RHRP Dillon Maples threw two innings of perfect relief (K, 5-3, 6-3, 5-3, 5-3, 4-3) for Tennessee. 

As usual, several players were moved-up from lower-levels for the day to replace Iowa and Tennessee players assigned to the Cubs MLB game at Sloan Park.

Here are the abridged box scores from the games (Cubs players only):

March 27th

Two-Out 9th Inning Magic Saves the Day for I-Cubs at Fitch

Jason Vosler hammered an opposite-field game-tying two-run double off the LF fence with two out in the top of the 9th and Ian Rice followed with a two-run home run over the left-centerfield fence to give the Cubs a two-run lead, and then Ryan McNeil converted the save (albeit allowing a run and stranding the potential game-tying run on base in the bottom of the 9th), as the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) rallied to edge the Nashville Sounds (AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 6-5 on Field #4, and Jesse Hodges belted a two-run HR over the LF fence onto Center Street to give the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) a 2-0 lead in the top of the 2nd, but Skye Bolt belted an RBI triple and scored, singled, and walked, as the Midland RockHounds (A's AA affiliate) plated four runs over the next seven innings en route to a 4-2 victory on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Monday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fiitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

As usual, several players were moved-up from lower-levels for the day to replace Iowa and Tennessee players assigned to the Cubs MLB game roster at Goodyear. 

It was a "bullpen day" for the Smokies, as five relievers vying for pen jobs at Tennessee got work. There were no stand-out eve-opening performances among the five (Pugliese, Skulina, Thorpe, Minch, and Norwood). 

Meanwhile, RHSP Jordan Pries (acquired from the Seattle Mariners along with LHP Mike Montgomery for 1B Dan Vogelbach and RHSP Paul Blackburn last June) got the start for the I-Cubs, in what might be his final opportinity to win a job at AAA. It will be tough for Pries to crack the Iowa starting rotation in 2017, and his 87-88 MPH fastball and OK (but not great) off-speed stuff probably don't have a whole lot of value out of the bullpen. However, he might find a job as a SP/RP "swing-man" at Iowa if he can beat-out Casey Kelly, Seth Frankoff, Williams Perez, and/or Dallas Beeler for a AAA "utility pitcher" slot. 

Veteran minor league RHRP Frank Batista saw his first game action since undergoing an elbow UCL transplant (TJS) last April, and retired the side 1-2-3 (5-3, K, F-9). The 27-year old (soon to be 28) diminutive (5'10) Batista has been around a while (he signed with the Cubs as an IFA out of the Dominican Republic in January 2009), but you could see he was stoked about his outing.    

Here are the abridged box scores from the games (Cubs players only):

March 23rd

Cease Fires Blanks at Greenjackets

Cubs top pitching prospect Dylan Cease tossed 3-1/3 innings of two-hit shutout ball (while issuing one walk and striking out six), Marcus Mastrobuoni (RBI double), Roberto Caro (RBI triple), and Luis Ayala (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits in a three-run 5th as the Cubs took a 3-0 lead, and then after the Greenjackets replied with one run in the 5th, one in the 7th, and three more in the 8th to take a 5-3 lead, Jhonny Pereda slugged a two-run home run over the LF fence in the top of the 9th to tie the game, as the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) and the Augusta Greenjackets (Lo-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) played to a 5-5 tie on Field #2, and LHP Conner Menez hurled four innings of no-run no-hit ball and combined with four relievers to spin a four-hitter and Jalen Miller drilled an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, leading the San Jose Giants (Hi-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) to a 7-2 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #1, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Thursday morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.  

Michael Cruz broke-up the San Jose no-hitter with a one-out line-drive single to right in the top of the 5th, and Connor Myers belted an opposite-field solo HR to put Myrtle Beach on the board in the top of the 6th, but otherwise the Pelicans didn't produce much offense. 

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):  

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