Moreno & Cease Piggy-Back Their Way to Fitch Park

Trace Loehr singled twice, walked, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Jean Carlo Rodriguez drilled a bases-loaded three-run double, Vicmal de la Cruz belted a solo home run, walked, and drove-in another run with a GO, Andy Paz slugged a two-run HR, and RHSP Jon Massad tossed four innings of no run/no hit ball, leading the Athletics to an 11-5 victory over the Cubs in Memorial Day Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action on Field #4 at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

Kevin Encarnacion hammered a solo home run and an RBI single, Kevonte Mitchell drilled an RBI single, a double, drew a walk, stole a base, and scored a run, and Ricardo Marcano roped an RBI triple, walked, and scored a run for the Cubs in a losing cause.

In 22 Cactus League EXST games, Kevonte Mitchell leads the EXST Cubs in stolen bases with 12 (one CS and one PO). Also, he is hitting 239/345/310, with three doubles and a triple, eleven walks, 15 K, and one HBP, ten runs scored, and seven RBI, in the 22 games (84 PA). The 19-year old 6'4 185 Mitchell (Cubs 2014 13th round draft pick - Kennett HS - Kennett, Mo) is a virtual lock to play CF and hit lead-off for the Eugene Emeralds, once the Northwest League (NWL) commences play next month. 

RHP Erling Moreno (2013 IFA - Colombia) got the start for the Cubs today and retired six of the seven men he faced (1B, 5-3, 4-3, K, F-8, K, 4-3). He allowed one run on one hit (a single leading off the bottom of the 1st inning that came around to score on a couple of ground outs and a WP) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both swinging). Moreno rolled easily through his two innings, throwing a good percentage of strikes (27 pitches - 18 strikes - 67% K), and mixing his 91-92 MPH fastball, plus-curve, and change-up to keep the A's hitters mostly off-balance.

The 18-year old 6'3 200 Moreno was signed by the Cubs ($650K bonus) out of the same 2013-14 International Signing Period class that produced OF Eloy Jimenez, SS Gleyber Torres, RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, 3B-1B Wladmir Galindo, C Yohan Matos, and RHP Jeferson Mejia (since traded to AZ in the Miguel Montero deal), but he underwent an elbow UCL transplant (Tommy John Surgery) midway through the 2014 season that has slowed his development, and so this was his first game action in almost a year.

Moreno will likely join RHP Dylan Cease, ex-Mexico City Red Devils RHP Jesus Camargo, RHP (ex-C) Mark Malave, and probably either Adbert Alzolay or Santiago Rodriguez in the AZL Cubs starting rotation (at least at the outset of the AZL season, until the 2015 draft picks begin to arrive).     

Speaking of Dylan Cease, he also saw action in today's game, "piggy-backing" with Moreno. Although he threw just 1.0 IP, Cease actually pitched in parts of two different innings (facing eight hitters total), hence the high pitch count (37 pitches) in just one inning (three outs). 

Cease was working his fastball at 95-97 MPH to the first four batters he faced, but then elevated the FB velocity up to 98-99 when facing the next four. He continues to struggle with command, however, walking two and going to three-ball counts on two other hitters, bouncing his breaking ball (which is a really a plus-pitch when he throws it over the plate instead of bouncing it in front of the plate), and throwing only 56% strikes.

After throwing an amazing six wild pitches in just one inning of work last Friday versus the Diamondbacks at Talking Stick, RHRP Daniel Bard had another nightmare inning (actually just one-third of an inning), allowing four runs on one hit (the Rodriguez bases-loaded double) after walking three and hitting a batter. And he threw three more WP today, too, for a total of nine in his last 1.1 IP.       

Here is the abridged box score from today's games (Cubs players only) :

CUBS LINEUP:
1. Kevonte Mitchell, CF 2-4 (BB, E-6, L-7, 2B, 1B, R, RBI, SB)
2. Carlos Sepulveda, SS: 0-3 (F-8, 5-3, BB, BB, F-7)
3. Frandy de la Rosa, 2B: 0-4 (P-6, 3-U, F-9, 6-3)
4. Tyler Alamo, C: 1-3 (5-3, P-5, 2B, F-7 SF, R, RBI)
5. Alberto Mineo, 1B-DH: 1-3 (K, BB, 1B, K)
6. Kevin Encarnacion, DH #1: 2-3 (BB, P-4, 1B, HR, R, 2 RBI)
7. Joey Martarano, DH-1B: 1-3 (BB, 4-3, 1B, F-8)
8. Adonis Paula, 3B: 1-4 (L-4, F-9, F-8, 2B, R)
9. Ricardo Marcano, LF: 1-3 (K, BB, P-5, 3B, R, RBI)
10. Robert Garcia, RF: 0-3 (4-3, HBP, K, K)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Erling Moreno: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3/1 GO/FO, 27 pitches (18 strikes) 
2. Dylan Cease: 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 2/1 GO/FO, 37 pitches (21 strikes) 
3. Daniel Bard: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 4 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 3 WP, 21 pitches (6 strikes) 
4. Santiago Rodriguez: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 3/2 GO/FO, 56 pitches (37 strikes)
5. John Michael Knighton: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/FO, 12 pitches (11 strikes)

CUBS ERRORS: 1
1B Alberto Mineo: E-3 (missed catch at 1st base allowed batter to reach base safely)

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE;
Tyler Alamo: 1-3 CS, 1 PB

WEATHER: Sunny and a bit breezy with temperatures in the 90's

ATTENDANCE: 9

 

Comments

what else does k.mitchell have to do to get promoted? seems like he should have made it out of ARZ by this point in his career going by performance stats alone. holes in his game or blocked at upper levels?

CRUNCH: Like Eloy Jimenez, Kevonte Mitchell almost made the South Bend Opening Day roster out of Minor League Camp.

I think part of the reason he was left behind at EXST is because he was moved to CF from 3B after he signed last season, while Rashad Crawford and Charcer Burks were drafted a year (Burks) or two (Crawford) ahead of him, are a year or two older,and they both played OF in HS.  

Also, Mitchell does strike out a bit more than the Cubs would probably like, so he is working on trying to make better contact. 

Tommy Birch interviews Jaron Madison, who updates several prospects including Schwarber, Edwards, Baez, Almora, McKinney and Rivero http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/sports...

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 2 hours 4 min ago (view)

    I understand why it feels unsettling. I remember the series well (though I, unlike Theo, actually was in high school). Anyway, I view it as a chance to right previous wrongs in the same way we stomped StL out of the playoffs in 2015, or the way the Nationals got to burn through two teams last year that had dumped them out of October in previous seasons.

    But if we lose, of course that was 17 years ago so it's two extremely different organizations.

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 hours 5 min ago (view)

    DJL: All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, even if the player has not spent at least ten days on Optional Assignment. Players cannot be optioned to the minors again until Spring Training. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 6 hours 26 min ago (view)

    CHAMP: No option year is spent just by calling up a player to MLB. An option year is spent only if a player on an MLB 40-man roster is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days in a given season. 

    Also, Brailyn Marquez is (was) eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft in December, so the Cubs were going to add him to the 40 on 11/20 anyway. They just did it a couple of months early.  

     

  • bradsbeard 9 hours 36 min ago (view)

    Not sure if serious, but Theo became the Red Sox GM in 2002. It's true though, there probably aren't many people in the organization besides Ricketts and Crane Kenney who have any strong feelings about that series. 

     

  • Craig A. 10 hours 34 min ago (view)

    I wonder if anyone on the Cubs cares or even remembers the odd events when the Marlins played the Cubs in 2003. I think Theo was in high school. To this old fart it will be more than a little unsettling to watch this post-season match-up. At least we can be fairly certain there will no fans grabbing for foul balls. 

     

  • bradsbeard 14 hours 2 min ago (view)

    Which is kind of annoying. Nobody really picked the Cubs to win this division pre-season. I guess Mattingly gets some credit for guiding the Marlins through their positives but even just letting them play that one game with half the team sick should knock him out of consideration. Meanwhile Ross kept a tight ship and the Cubs has no positives all year. I'd say Ross or Tingler should get it over Mattingly. 

     

  • crunch 15 hours 20 min ago (view)

    cubs finish 34-26 (1st, division)...they play MIA on wednesday.

    good start for d.ross, but the manager of the year is most likely going to d.mattingley (MIA) or j.tingler(SD).

     

  • crunch 15 hours 56 min ago (view)

    ...or he won't make it out of the 8th

    0.2ip 2h 3bb 1k, 5r/er...2 wild pitches

    there's some great stuff in that arm.  mid/high-80s slider, "changeup" around 90mph, fastball 97-99mph...all effortless.  21 years old and never pitched above A-ball.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 2 min ago (view)

    -deleted-

     

  • crunch 16 hours 6 min ago (view)

    rough debut...doubt we're going to see him in the 9th.

     

  • Charlie 16 hours 13 min ago (view)

    Reminds me a little of Jeff Samardzija's debut. Adrenaline throwing straight gas but all over the place. Samardzija threw a fastball all the way to the backstop in his debut (2008).

     

  • crunch 16 hours 16 min ago (view)

    back to back 3-2 count 6-pitch walks.

    he's not in the zone.  he's throwing almost totally fastballs, too.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 16 min ago (view)

    alzolay's gotta be locked in for a start given what he's done lately.

    i wonder what role j.lester will be given.  if he's starting, hopefully he's the 3rd/4th starter, if at all.  someone will probably give him a 2021 contract if he doesn't retire...hope it's not the cubs giving that contract, though.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 20 min ago (view)

    dude's thrown a 97mph and 98mph fastball to start and both looked like he was barely expending effort.

    unfortunately, neither were near the plate.

     

  • Charlie 16 hours 22 min ago (view)

    So, Alzolay gets at least one October start, right? He'd be a weapon out of the pen if the Cubs had more than two believable starters ready.

     

  • crunch 16 hours 23 min ago (view)

    Q goes 2 effective (2ip 2h 1bb 2k, 0r/er) and here comes b.marquez...