Arizona Phil's Archives

Cubs Busy Beating Bushes for Pitchers

7/5 UPDATE #2

Casey Coleman has indeed been assigned to AAA Iowa and LHP James Buckelew has been assigned to AA Tennessee. 


7-5 UPDATE #1

Although it was reported in transactions, RHP Zach Morton was - NOT - signed by the Cubs and assigned to Eugene. The pitcher assigned to Eugene was Cubs 2018 8th round draft pick Zach Mort. Kudos to TCR's baseballfan67 for this.  


After signing 14 pitchers selected in last month's MLB First-Year Player Draft and a couple of high-profile 2018-19 J-2 IFA pitchers, the Cubs have also added three pitchers with previous professional experience (including some MLB time) to their minor league system in the last 48 hours: 


Manfred Cracks Down on Mexican League

Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports reports that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred advised MLB clubs last Tuesday that as a result of extensive fraud and corruption, MLB clubs are banned from doing business with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (Mexican League) clubs until further notice. 

Your 2018 AZL Cubs #1! (and Your 2018 AZL Cubs #2, too!)

Here are the 2018 Opening Day rosters for AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 as of Monday morning 6/18. Since both teams are based at the same location (the Cubs Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ), moving a player from one AZL Cubs team to the other will be very easy and so it could occur fairly often (including anytime any day prior to game time). 

Five-Run 2nd Sparks AZL Cubs Internecine Rivalry Under the Lights at Riverview

Richard Nunez (RBI single), Herson Perez (bases-clearing bases-loaded triple), and Tolly Filotei (RBI double) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run 2nd inning, Orian Nunez belted a solo HR, singled, and stole a base, Fidel Mejia singled twice, walked, and scored a run, and Luis Verdugo singled, doubled, and stole a base, in AZL Cubs mini-camp intrasquad game action Friday evening on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was planned as a six-inning affair but was extended an extra half-inning so that all of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw could get their work. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

El bate de beisbol de Verdugo habla verdad al Parque de Riverview

Luis Verdugo belted two triples, scored twice, and collected an RBI, Richard Nunez drilled an RBI double and walked twice, and Erling Moreno, Riger Fernandez, and Chi-Feng Lee combined (albeit pitching for opposite squads) to hurl 6.2 IP of two-hit shutout ball, in a six-inning AZL Cubs mini-camp intrasquad game played Thursday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Luis Verdugo is clearly the best prospect left behind in Mesa after the Eugene Emeralds departed town on Tuesday. One of the reasons he was left behind is that Luis Vazquez needs to play SS most every day at Eugene and on days he doesn't Christopher Morel will play there, but the main reason is that Verdugo is only 17 years old and is making his pro debut (although he did attend AZ Instructs as a 16-year old post-2017 and Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training this season). 

The four recently-signed position player draft picks (Artis, Galazin, Wharton, and Daniel) participated in pre-game baserunning drills, fielding practice, and BP, but did not play in the game, while the five pitchers who signed this week (Richan, McCauley, Vega, Whitney, and Patterson) are throwing bullpen side-sessions as a first step toward getting themselves "game ready" for the start of AZL play next week.    

In AZL mini-camp roster news, CF D. J. Wilson has completed his rehab and has rejoined Myrtle Beach. 

Here is the box score from the game: 

Ryan Williams Keeps Rollin' at Riverview as Extended Spring Training Comes to an End

D. J. Wilson singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run, Franklin Tineo belted a solo HR, and SP Ryan Williams (2017 right shoulder surgery) hurled five innings of one-run ball, in a Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played Tuesday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 4-1/2 innings of play (only two pitchers were scheduled to throw in the game, both with a pre-determined 75-pitch limit). 

Tuesday marked the official end of Cubs Extended Spring Training. AZL mini-camp begins on Thursday, and the first AZL games are next Monday.

Meanwhile, the Eugene Emeralds (the Cubs short-season "A" affiliate) flew up to Oregon earlier in the afternoon, leaving AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 behind in Mesa to play the final EXST intrasquad game. The first Eugene game will be this coming Friday. 

Based upon who did and did not play in the intrasquad game and who I did not see on the bench (and we will have to wait for the Eugene roster to be released before this can be confirmed), it would appear that a number of the Cubs best EXST prospects have been assigned to Eugene (at least initially, pending the eventual arrival of some of this year's college draft picks), including SS-3B Christopher Morel, C Jonathan Soto, LHSP Brailyn Marquez, CF Fernando Kelli, SS Luis Vazquez, LHSP Faustino Carrera, RF Jonathan Sierra, 2B Luis Diaz, RHSP Eury Ramos, and 3B-2B Orian Nunez. (OF Nelson Velazquez -- who was moved up to South Bend from EXST last month -- has also been assigned to Eugene, so the Emeralds could be a fun team to watch).

Converseely, some of the older and more experienced players who were expecting to go to Eugene (C Alexander Guerra, OF Luis Gutierrez, OF Jose A. Gonzalez, 3B-1B Fidel Mejia, OF Yovanny Cuevas, and INF Yonathan Perlaza) as well as the youngsters making their pro debuts (SS Luis Verdugo, 2B Reivaj Garcia, and OF Kevin Moreno) were left behind to play in the AZL. (As most of you know by now, the Cubs Player Development Department likes to employ aggressive "challenge-promotions" for their best prospects). 

On the EXST medical front, Cubs 2017 6th round draft pick RHSP Jeremiah Estrada (who was a virtual lock for the Eugene starting rotation) was left behind in Mesa after suffering a right elbow injury in a Cactus League EXST game versus Angels at Diablo Park about ten days ago. RHSP Jose M. Gonzalez (who was not in contention for a Eugene SP slot but was expected to be a SP for one of the two Cubs AZL teams) has been shut-down indefinitely with a right elbow/forearm injury that ocurred in a Cactus League EXST game at Giants about two or three weeks ago (but no TJS for either Estrada or Gonzalez... yet). RHSP Danis Correa and RHRP Junior Marte have also been shut-down indefinitely (and I don't know why). And still no confirmation on the exact nature of DSL Cubs #2 LHSP Andres Bonalde's season-ending left elbow surgery (probably was TJS, but I'm not 100% sure). NOTE: Bonalde was called up from the Cubs Dominican Academy and was assigned to Cubs Extended Spring Training only - AFTER - he had the surgery. Myrtle Beach OF Chris Pieters was last seen a couple of weeks ago at the UAPC wearing a TJS-type contraption on his right (non-throwing) arm, but his injury could be any one of a number of different types of elbow/biceps type-injury (although whatever it is, it didn't look good). South Bend catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni had season-ending knee surgery last month. And no update yet on OF Carlos Pacheco, who suffered a leg injury while tripping over 1st base (and had to be carried from the field) in an intrasquad game last weekend (Pacheco -- who was tied for 2nd in the DSL in HR in 2017 -- was expected to play LF and provide a power-bat for one of the two AZL Cubs teams).   

Here is the box score from the game: 

Another Albertos Mystery Ride on the Bump at Riverview

Fernando Kelli reached base four times (three singles and an HBP), stole a base, collected two RBI, and scored a run, Fidel Mejia ripped an RBI triple and two singles, and Jose A. Gonzalez drilled an RBI double, walked twice, and scored a run, in Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game action Monday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

RHSP Jose Albertos continues to struggle with command (mostly by spiking his FB in front of home plate or throwing it over the batter's head), allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits (four singles and a double), four walks, a HBP, and two wild pitches in 3.1 IP (73 pitches), while throwing only 48% strikes. He was, however, also occasionally brilliant, striking out six and getting batters to repeatedly hit his pitches into the ground when he was not recording a punch-out, issuing a walk, hitting a batter, or throwing a WP (4/0 GO/AO).  

Here is the box score from the game: