Rosey Debut for Cub Draft Pick in Mesa
Making his professional debut, Cubs 2011 6th round draft pick Neftali Rosario (Puerto Rico Baseball Academy) belted an RBI double to drive-in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 5th, but the bullpen could not hold the lead as the AZL Mariners rallied to score six runs over the final four innings, defeating the AZL Cubs 10-6 in Arizona League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this evening.
The 17-year old right-handed hitting Rosario struck out in both of his first two at bats (and looked bad doing it), before delivering a laser-shot liner off the top of the LF fence on a 2-2 slider that drove-in Dong-Yub Kim from second-base, and missed being a two-run HR by inches.
Rosario also looped a single to right-center in the 7th, and lined a rocket (unfortunately) right at the third-baseman for the final out of the game.
Rosario showed-off his arm from behind the plate, too, nabbing two base-stealers, and throwing out another trying to take an extra base on a Wild Pitch.
On the negative side, while he has a strong arm, he has a lot of work to do on his catching mechanics & receiving skills. He was charged with one Passed Ball (could have been two), and was consistently unable to block pitches in the dirt, resulting in four Wild Pitches charged against Cubs pitchers.
Rosario also is a sucker for high fastballs, swinging through most every one he saw. But when he did connect, he displayed outstanding bat-speed and plus-power.
He reminds me a lot of Welington Castillo.
While the Cubs pitchers struggled throughout the game, the offense did not.
Playing 3B tonight (he moves around between 2B-3B-SS, but his best defensive position is 3B), Gioskar Amaya had three more hits, raising his slash line to 400/435/488 (he is now 4th in the AZL in hitting). The 18-year old Venezuelan also scored two runs, stole a base, and laid-down a picture-perfect textbook sacrifice bunt. He is a magician with the bat, an ideal #2 hitter.
With Taiwan Easterling having been promoted to Peoria and Zeke DeVoss having been moved up to Boise, 18-year old Dominican CF Oliver Zapata is back in his accustomed lead-off slot, where he has excelled all year. He reached base three more times tonight on two singles and a walk, and he also stole a base and scored a run. A 5'9, round, bowling ball of a young man with a Kirby Puckett-like physique, the speedy switch-hitting Zapata has taken the lead-off gig very seriously, shortening his swing and following each pitch into the catcher's glove, just like Pete Rose used to do. As a result, he leads the AZL in walks. He also has been running the bases with abandon, having stolen 10 (good for 3rd the AZL) while getting thrown-out just twice.
After missing six weeks with a broken hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch in the final game of Extended Spring Training, OF Jesus Morelli returned to the AZL Cubs lineup Monday night versus the AZL Dodgers, going 0-3 with a walk. But he had a very good game tonight against the Mariners, driving-in a run with an RBI single in the bottom of the 3rd, and clubbing a game-tying 400+ ft solo HR over the left-centerfield fence in the bottom of the 5th. He also threw out a runner trying to score on a fly ball out to LF. (Morelli has a RF arm, so it's almost "no contest" when the opposition tries runs on him when he's playing LF).
Morelli was seemingly destined for a return trip ticket to Boise when he suffered the broken hand (he spent most of last season at Boise, too), so he probably won't be staying in Mesa too much longer. It would just be a matter of clearing a roster slot for him at Boise. (Actually, when he leaves, he really should be going to Peoria).
And after spending most of the season on the AA Tennessee Smokies DL with a broken hand, OF Jim Adduci has finally returned to action over the past few days in Mesa, and he continued his rehab tonight, playing RF and getting five plate appearances for the AZL Cubs. He popped out, flied out, grounded out, singled, and was called out on strikes. While he looks like he is probably ready to return to Tennessee, there may not be room for him there at this time, what with Jae-Hoon Ha, Matt Spencer, Ty Wright, and Nelson Perez all vying for playing time in the crowded Smokies outfield.
crunch 5 min 17 sec ago (view)
i played for decades in various formats. i got crazy busy 3 years ago, took a year off, and never got back into it.
it's a great way to stay engaged with all the players and introduce yourself to emerging talent other people see that may not be on your radar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 7 hours 31 min ago (view)
It feels like you have no time to let players you know are good figure out how to get out of slumps. It's not ideal, and feels very much like it's not baseball.
crunch 17 hours 14 min ago (view)
at least this HOU/OAK game has been great since the DET/PIT game has ended. sigh.
crunch 17 hours 52 min ago (view)
at least this DET/PIT game has been great. no cubs til tuesday at the earliest...boo.
Arizona Phil 18 hours 26 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player being on the Restricted List for a full season makes that season not a qualified season toward minor league free-agency, so will Mark Zagunis (who otherwise would be eligible to be a minor league 6YFA for the first time post-2020) being on the Restricted List as the result of opting-out of the 2020 season (he was assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool in July) keep him from being a minor league 6YFA post-2020? If not, then Zagunis needs to opt back in even if he is no longer assigned to the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool.
jdrnym 19 hours 46 min ago (view)
Baseball America confirms that 2020 will be considered a "qualified season" for the purposes of determining minor league free agency.
crunch 19 hours 47 min ago (view)
"Cardinals' president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced Friday that Ryan Helsley and Austin Dean are the two players that tested positive for COVID-19."
Cubster 20 hours 47 min ago (view)
I presume they come back to Chicago for the weekend and travel to Cleveland on Tuesday.
Saved from an August weekend in Stl. Plus, it might eliminate any road games vs Stl. They might do makeups during the 3 game series at Wrigley Mon 8-17 to Wed 8-19 (Thursday 8-20 is a scheduled off day for the Cubs but StL plays the Reds in StL at night) or the 4 game series against the Cardinals at Wrigley Friday 9-4 through Mon 9-7.
crunch 21 hours 24 min ago (view)
i can't even imagine what it's like playing fantasy baseball this season.
Arizona Phil 22 hours 39 min ago (view)
So the Cubs are off until Tuesday.
Hagsag 23 hours 16 min ago (view)
Make the Deadbirds forfeit all three games.
crunch 1 day 1 hour ago (view)
Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Based upon the way MLB handled the Marlins positive tests and the Phillies only potential exposure, I wouldn't be surprised if all three of the Cubs-Cards games this weekend will ultimately be canceled.
Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Tonight's Cubs-Cardinals game postponed due to an additional Cards positive CoViD-19 test.
The additional STL player who tested positive had apparently been out in public with the others who tested positive earlier this week when they were infected, so while the new positive test is not a surprise, the lag/delay in the player testing positive is probably a bit concerning/disappointing.
crunch 1 day 8 hours ago (view)
...only because ESPN no longer shows australian rules football.
Charlie 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
This is baseball.
This is the sport we like.