Cubs Hitters Go Old School Clutch All Day Long at Instructs

Jared Young singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Alfonso Rivas (RBI single), Matt Mervis (two-out RBI double), Cam Balego (RBI double), Christopher Morel (RBI triple), and Rafael Morel (game-tying two-out two-run single) collected run-scoring hits for the Cubs, and Armani Smith belted a booming three-run home run and Tyler Fitzgerald drilled a line-drive solo shot for the Giants, as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

RHP Manuel Rodriguez (on Cubs MLB 60-day IL) made his first game appearance since leaving a Cactus League Spring Training game last March with a right biceps strain, throwing one inning (10 pitches) and allowing one hit and one run (Fitzgerald's solo HR). He struck out one (swinging) and retired the other two batters on a 4-3 GO and F-8 FO.    

INF Kevin Made (July 2019 IFA - Dominican Republic - $1.5M signing bonus) made his pro game debut and got a hit in his first pro AB, reaching base on a two-out bloop single that fell in front of a diving Giants RF in the bottom of the 7th inning. Made would later score one of the two runs driven-in by Rafael Morel.  

You may have noticed that the Cubs have been playing their infielders all around the infield in AZIL games (and in instructs pre-game and Camp Day infield practice as well), and that's because with the extensive use of shifting today in MLB, infielders need to know the mechanics of all three positions (2B, 3B, and SS) as they move forward, even if the player might profile primarily at one infield position in particular.     

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

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

CUBS LINEUP
1a. Alfonso Rivas, DH: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K, RBI)
1b. Fabian Pertuz, PH-DH: 0-2 (3-U, K) 
2a. Ed Howard IV, SS: 1-3 (1-3, 6-3, 1B, R)
2b. Andy Weber, SS: 0-2 (L-7, 6-3)
3a. Bryce Windham, C: 0-2 (4-3, 3-1)
3b. Cam Balego, C: 1-2 (2B, F-8, BB, R, RBI)
4a. Christopher Morel, 2B: 1-3 (K, F-8, 3B, R, RBI)
4b. Kevin Made, 2B: 1-1 (1B, R) 
4c. Luis Vazquez, PH: 0-1 (FC) 
5a. Jared Young, LF: 2-2 (1B, 1B, F-8 SF, R, RBI, SB)
5b. Jacob Wetzel, LF: 0-1 (K+WP, BB, R)
6a. Chase Strumpf, 3B: 0-3 (6-3, P-3, K)
6b. Rafael Morel, 3B: 1-2 (1B, 6-4 FC, 2 RBI)
7a. Nelson Velazquez, CF: 0-2 (5-3, K)
7b. Edmond Americaan, CF: 0-1 (K, BB) 
8. Matt Mervis, 1B: 1-3 (3-1, 2B, L-3, BB, RBI)
9a. Yohendrick Pinango, RF: 0-2 (E-6, 6-3, R)
9b. Jordan Nwogu, RF: 0-1 (BB, K)

CUBS PITCHERS:
1. Manuel Rodriguez: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/1 GO/AO, 10 pitches (8 strikes) 
2. Manuel Espinoza: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 2/2 GO/AO, 46 pitches (30 strikes)   
3. Jose Miguel Gonzalez: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 5 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 1 GIDP, 1/0 GO/AO, 50 pitches (19 strikes) 
4. Eduarniel Nunez: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/0 GO/AO, 21 pitches (12 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: NONE 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Bryce Windham: 1-2 CS 

ATTENDANCE: 0 

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 

Arizona 
Scoring
Service 

"Just because it isn't official doesn't mean it didn't happen

Comments

Phil, do you think Chris Morel is the real deal?

not phil, but i think everyone is holding off on his potential ceiling until he gains enough weight to not look like someone you want to buy a sandwich every time you see him.

big upside if his skills can strengthen as he builds his body.

too early for a solid comp, but i wouldn't feel uncomfortable throwing ian happ's name around (bit better arm than happ, though).

I am very, very intrigued by Rivas. If the DH is unfortunately here to stay, he's a prime candidate for that and give Rizzo a day off 1B here and there. If no DH, hopefully he is a passable OF. Big believer in his hitting ability

Me too. Thought it was weird he wasn't in South Bend at all. 

Only 60 spots in SB. Others benefited more from the time.

Several non-prospects ate up spots as well. Ultimately wish they had given a few more Rivas types a shot there. 

jim hickey new nats pitching coach.

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  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 hour 34 min ago (view)

    I believe this is the correct take. It's surprising that Len is leaving. He's good, but he had gotten a little too rationalizey over the past few years for me.

    However, it seemed he was heavily invested in the Cubs. His departure feels like there is some Ricketts-ish bullshit going on behind the scenes at Marquee that Len wants no part of. Anyway, I wish him well with the other Chicago team

     

  • crunch 2 hours 10 min ago (view)

    wtf...

    is everything the ricketts touch just falling to shit in 2021?  ....well, except their heavy investments in taking over the state of Nebraska politically with one of the sons and heavy investment in supportive state legislators...

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 hours 41 min ago (view)

    This makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks Phil!

    (And that HR off Hader was unforgettable)

     

  • Hagsag 6 hours 4 min ago (view)

    Shocker!

     

  • Wrigley Rat 11 hours 32 min ago (view)

    Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs for the White Sox radio booth.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&so...

     

  • Charlie 15 hours 49 min ago (view)

    I would be happy to see the Cubs no longer spend DH time on Victor Caratini. Provided there's a Kyle Schwarber or better alternative, of course.

     

  • Arizona Phil 23 hours 52 min ago (view)

    DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?). 

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 35 min ago (view)

    I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point

     

  • waveland 1 day 9 hours ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS. 

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 11 hours ago (view)

    Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 12 hours ago (view)

    Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).   

    Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.   

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option

     

  • bradsbeard 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    CRUNCH: I got the impression that Ross had seen enough of Schwarber in LF, so implementing the universal DH may be necessary before Schwarber returns to the Cubs in 2021. I think the Cubs would be fine with Schwarber as their main DH going forward. 

    BTW, I strongly suspect that the universal DH will be included in the next CBA, but whether there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 is still TBA (which is really stupid, since clubs need to know right now for sure one way or the other whether or not there will be a DH in the N. L. in 2021). 

     

  • Arizona Phil 1 day 13 hours ago (view)

    Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft). 

    Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could.