Archive - Oct 2021

Date

October 16th

Rockies Roll But Little Shows Off Big Arm at Talking Stick

Colorado Rockies 2021 15th round draft pick Benjamin Sems doubled, singled, walked, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored a run, Rockies 2021 6th round draft pick Braxton Fulford drilled an RBI single, walked, reached base twice on an HBP, and scored a run, Rockies 2021 10th round pick Zach Kokoska singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, and RHSP Case Williams (Rockies 2020 4th round pick) fired five innings of one-hit shutout ball, leading the Rockies to a 6-1 victory over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

All told, the Rockies collected nine hits (eight singles and a double) and stole four bases, but they also took advantage of nine walks, six HBP, amd nine WP to claim the victory.

Felix Stevens tripled to lead-off the top of the eighth inning and scored on a 6-3 GO to account for the lone Cub run. 

SP Case Williams has had an unusual ride since being drafted by the Rockies out of a Colorado HS in 2020. He was one of two pitchers sent to the Reds last November in the deal that sent RHRP Robert Stephenson from Cincinnati to Colorado, and then he was reacquired by the Rockies from the Reds in exchange for RHRP Mychal Givens in a 2021 MLB Trade Deadline deal. Obviously the Rockies like Williams, and were probably thrilled to be given a chance to get him back. I can see why. 

LHP Luke Little (2020 4th round draft pick out of San Jacinto JC in Texas) got the start for the Cubs and was virtually unhittable, hurling 2.2 IP with eight strikeouts (all eight outs he recorded were by punch-out), as the Rockies were able to put only one ball into play (a ground single through the 5.5 hole by the second batter he faced). But the 21-year old 6'8 230+ lefty also struggled to throw strikes, issuing three walks, hitting two batters, and uncorking three WP during the course of his outing.

Despite the command issues, Little's stuff was electric, as he mixed a 95-98 MPH FB, a 90-92 CH, an 88-91 SL/CT, and a slow CV, all thrown with a release point closer to home than is the case with the average pitcher because of his long arms. Count him as another success story from the Cubs Mesa Pitch Lab, where he has spent most of the past 16 months since signing in June 2020.

Given his pitch mix, velo, and size, I would think Luke Little -- not be confused with another Cubs minor league LHP, 2018 1st round pick Brendon Little -- is probably among the Cubs' Top 10 pitching prospects right now, with a 2022 Opening Day starting pitcher assignment at Myrtle Beach (if not at South Bend) a distinct possibility.     

The 2021 AZIL Cubs finished their schedule with a 5-11-1 record. 19 games were originally scheduled, but one game was rained-out when a severe thunderstorm hit Mesa just as the game was about to start, and another was canceled because the opponent (the Rockies) didn't have enough pitchers available to play the game.

Of course the final AZIL W-L record isn't important, but it is what it is. Fact is, the 2021 AZIL Cubs were not exactly the 1927 Yankees in terms of game performance. They were shut out four times. That said, individual player development and team building is why the players were down here, and in that respect, Instructs was a definite success.

Many of the players who were at Instructs will return on November 1st for a four-month long conditioning & development program (with time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas) that will lead-up to the start of Minor League Camp in March.        

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

October 15th

Rockies Victory at Riverview Strictly Kafkaesque

Rockies 2021 1st round draft pick Benny Montgomery drilled a two-run single and scored a run to highlight a three-run third inning, Rockies 2021 8th round draft pick Robby Martin ripped a two-run single in a two-run seventh, and RHSP Cullen Kafka (Rockies 2021 9th round pick) tossed two innings of no- run / no-hit ball and combined with five relievers on a five-hitter, helping the Rockies defeat the Cubs 5-3 in AZ Instructional League game action Friday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Kevin Alcantara tripled, walked, and scored two runs and Peter Matt laced a two-run single, walked, and stole a base for the Cubs in a losing cause. 

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning contest. The Rockies canceled yesterday's game at Salt River Fields because they didn't have enough pitchers available to play a game.  

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

October 13th

Rockies' Rock Too Heavy for Cubs to Lift

Rockies 2021 2nd round draft pick LHSP Joe Rock hurled four innings of no-run / one-hit ball, Rockies 2021 10th round pick Zach Kokoska belted an RBI triple and an RBI single and scored a run, and Rockies 2021 6th round pick Braxton Fulford laced a single and and an RBI double and scored a run, helping the Rockies defeat the Cubs 7-3 in AZ Instructional League game action Wednesday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Felix Stevens clubbed a moonshot HR high over the LF fence and Luis Verdugo drilled a two-run single to account for the three Cub runs.

Felix Stevens and James Triantos are now tied for the AZIL Cubs lead in HR with two a piece. Matt Mervis and Ezequiel Pagan have each hit one (the AZIL Cubs as a team have hit six HR in 15 AZIL games), and Miguel Fabrizio hit a HR in the only "Blue - Red" intrasquad game played so far.  

With two RBI today, Luis Verdugo now leads the AZIL Cubs in RBI with five (Brayan Altuve, Ronnier Quintero, and Reggie Preciado are tied for second in RBI with three a piece). 

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

October 12th

Timely Hitting Helps Cubs Edge Angels at Diablo

Bryce Ball (RBI single), Reggie Preciado (RBI double), and Yeison Santana (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits, and Cubs pitchers retired the first twelve batters in a row and  eventually combined on a five-hitter, as the Cubs edged the Angels 4-3 in AZ Instructional League game action Tuesday afternoon on Field #3 at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ. 

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

October 9th

A's Appreciate Cub Gifts at Fitch Park

Oakland Athletics 2021 1st round draft pick Zack Gelof smacked a two-run HR and walked twice, Junior Perez (acquired from SD as the PTBNL in Jorge Mateo trade in 2020) lashed a two-run double off the top of the LF fence, walked, and scored a run, and Robert Puason (A's 2019 IFA signing - $5M bonus) ripped a triple, stole a base, and scored two runs, leading the A's to an 8-2 victory over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday morning on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

A's pitchers limited the Cubs to just three hits and retired the last 14 Cubs hitters (including seven by strikeout). 

The Cubs committed five errors in the field and Cubs pitchers issued nine walks.   

Christian Olivo tripled and scored in the third and Moises Ballesteros doubled and scored in the fifth to account for the two Cub runs.   

The Cub loss ended their modest three-game winning streak and dropped their AZIL record to 4-8-1.  

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

October 8th

Triantos Goes Deep and Cubs Pitchers Fan 16 Angels at Riverview

Cubs 2021 2nd round draft pick James Triantos doubled and scored in the bottom of the first inning and belted a solo HR in the bottom of the eighth, Yeison Santana singled, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Reggie Preciado drilled an RBI single, stole a base, and scored a run, Matt Mervis laced an RBI triple and scored a run, and five pitchers combined to toss a three-hitter with 16 strikeouts, as the Cubs defeated the Angels 5-2 in AZ Instructional League game action Friday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

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

October 7th

Felix the Top Cat at Riverview

Felix Stevens belted a solo HR, singled twice, and scored two runs, Pedro Ramirez (Cubs 2021 IFA - U. S. game debut) drilled an RBI double, singled, stole a base, and scored a run, Frank Hernandez (Cubs 2019 IFA - Team Spain 18U - U. S. game debut) singled twice and drove-in a run, Reggie Preciado laced an RBI single and drew a walk, and RHP Luis Devers tossed 3.1 IP of shutout ball anf picked a runner off base (third PO in his last two games), helping the Cubs throttle the Athletics 7-4 in AZ Instructional League game action Thursday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

A's 2021 2nd round pick Zack Gelof ripped a two-run double in a losing cause. 

Pedro Ramirez and Frank Hernandez were supposed to have made their U. S. game debut on Tuesday versus the Angels, except the contest was rained out just as the Cubs were about to take the field. (Angels 2021 1st round pick RHP Sam Bachman was to be the Halos' SP). Cubs SP Luke Little had finished his warm-up in the pen and the umpires were meeting with the Cubs and Angels managers at home plate, when lightning from an approaching storm drove everybody off the field. Then within ten minutes a gully-washer downpour flooded the field and canceled the game (and the planned U. S. game debut of P. Ramirez and F. Hernandez). The Cubs had an instructional "Camp Day" yesterday (emphasizing situational hitting, baserunning, and relay throws from the outfied), so today's game was the first AZIL game played by the Cubs since Monday. And for Ramirez and F. Hernandez, it was certainly worth the wait! 

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

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