Archive - Apr 2021

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April 19th

Max the Bain of the Inland Empire's Existence at Sloan Park

SP Max Bain fired three innings of one hit shutout ball with six strikeouts and combined with five relievers on a four-hit shutout with 14 punch-outs, and Ed Howard IV singled twice, drove-in a run, and scored another, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Lo-A affiliate) blanked the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Lo-A affiliate) 4-0 in Cactus League Minor League Camp game action Monday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.    

The Defensive Gem of the Day was a spectacular back-handed diving catch in left-centerfield by Pelicans LF Jacob Wetzel, proving the old adage, "You can take the boy out of centerfield, but you can't take the centerfielder out of the boy." 

Meanwhile, 23-year old 6'5 240 Max Bain has emerged as one of the Cubs top pitching prospects, and today he showed why.

Doing his best Trevor Bauer impression, Bain absolutely smoked the 66ers with overpowering gas, throwing mostly his electric 97-99 FB (which sat at 98-99 throughout his three innings of work) and mixing it with a high-velo 86-88 MPH SL/CT and an 84 MPH CH combo. I think it's likely that Bain will be the Opening Day SP for Myrtle Beach, but he probably won't remain there for long.   

Bain had an unusual path to affiliated ball (to say the least), signing with the Cubs as a non-drafted free-agent just before Spring Training 2020. He pitched for four years in obscurity (and mostly ineffectively) at NCAA D-2 Northwoods University in Michigan 2016-19, and then spent the summer following his senior year pitching for the Utica Unicorns in the independent United Shore Professional Baseball League in suburban Detroit. The Cubs signed him only after he lost a considerable amount of weight, which is why the timing of his signing (January) was so peculiar. 

Since signing with the Cubs, Bain has embraced the 21st century technology available at the Cubs Pitching Lab in Mesa and he has become an expert in the lab's various tools. He has also worked extensively with ex-Cub Luke Hagerty at Hagerty's 's X-2 Athletic Performance training center in Scottsdale.  

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

Cubs vs. Mets: Series Thread (Games 16-18)

The Cubs (6-9) dropped another series, this time to Atlanta, and now find themselves trailing Pittsburgh and alone in last place in the Central. They did, however, treat us to an offensive explosion in game 2 of that series and got 2-homer games from Bryant, Contreras, and Rizzo in the series. Bryant passed his homer mark from 2020 and is now 0.4 fWAR ahead of his total from that 60-game season, in a quarter of the time. Even so, he's been outhit thusfar by Willson Contreras, who has a .400 OBP. Rizzo's weekend also rocketed his slugging percentage up to .500.

April 17th

Cubs Loosen Lugnuts at Sloan Park

Luis Vazquez clubbed an opposite-field HR onto the right-centerfield berm on the first pitch of the bottom of the 1st inning, Luis Verdugo blasted a solo HR and singled, and Fidel Mejia laced a two-run double, leading the South Bend Cubs (Hi-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 5-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (Oakland Athletics' Hi-A affiliate) in Cactus League Minor League Camp game action Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.  

Marty Bechina belted a solo HR for the Lugnuts in a losing cause. 

The game was called after six innings of play. 

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

April 16th

RockHounds Uncover Victory at Sloan Park

Tyler Ramirez singled, doubled, and scored a run, and Mickey McDonald ripped a two run triple, walked, and scored, leading the Midland RockHounds (AA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) to a 6-4 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) in Cactus League Minor League game action Friday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Andy Weber collected three singles, stole two bases, drove-in a run, and scored another for the Cubs in a losing cause. Weber was just recently sent to Cubs Minor League Camp in Mesa from the Cubs Alternate Training Site in South Bend.  

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

Cubs vs. Atlanta: Series Thread (Games 13-15)

The Cubs (5-7) have dropped 3 series in a row to division opponents. After the Thursday off, they return to home turf to take on the similarly struggling Atlanta crew (5-8).

With Freddie Freeman off to a Rizzo-like start, Ronald Acuna looks like the main hitter to watch out for. The 23-year-old OF is slashing .447/.500/.1000. That’s AVG/OBP/SLG, if you are wondering. He’s already collected 6 homeruns in only 12 games and pitchers are having a heck of a time trying to miss his bat in the early going. Pablo Sandoval (yes--that one) is also enjoying a hot start.

April 14th

Ramos Heat Damages Emeralds at Sloan Park

Fidel Mejia singled, doubled, walked, and scored two runs, Gustavo Polanco singled twice, drove-in a run, and scored a run, Ed Howard IV drilled an RBI double, and Eury Ramos threw two innings of perfect baseball with five strikeouts, leading the South Bend Cubs (now the Hi-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 6-4 victory over the Eugene Emeralds (the San Francisco Giants' new Hi-A affiliate in the Northwest League) in Cactus League Minor League Camp game action Wednesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Jacob Gonzalez (son of former major leaguer Luis Gonzalez) clubbed a solo HR for the Ems off converted position player Jerrick Suiter, and then Suiter promptly left the game with an injury (not clear what it was) one pitch into the next batter.     

The Eury Ramos 97-99 MPH FB is both electric and dominating, especially when combined with his filthy 88-91 MPH wipe-out SL. The 23-year old Ramos is scheduled to be a minor league 6YFA post-2021 but he has yet to pitch above Lo-A, so look for him to move very quickly in 2021 if he can remain healthy.    

Here is the abridged box score (Cubs players only)

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