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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  • Charlie 1 min 26 sec 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 8 hours 4 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 8 hours 47 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 17 hours 32 min ago (view)

    really appreciate the years and years of your updates

     

  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 27 min 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 20 hours 11 min 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 20 hours 46 min 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 21 hours 48 min ago (view)

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

     

  • bradsbeard 21 hours 53 min 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 21 hours 54 min 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 22 hours 5 min 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. 

     

  • crunch 22 hours 11 min ago (view)

    i am rooting for the cubs to retain schwarber.

    even though he's average on the best of days in LF (except his above average arm), i would like to see him and his work ethic remain in the cubs system...the homers from the left side of the plate are nice, too.

     

  • Arizona Phil 22 hours 33 min ago (view)

    At least as things stand right now, Kris Bryant is your Cubs de facto 2021 Opening Day LF! (Of course we know he will be traded before then...). 

    Otherwise, minor league NRI outfielders Ian Miller, Michael Hermosillo, and Rafael Ortega will be competing for Opening Day OF slots, with a legit shot to win a job.

    Even Alfonso Rivas (who was hitting rockets from foul line to foul line at AZ Instructs) and/or Eddy Julio Martinez (who has had a very good winter in the Mexican Pacific League) might have a shot.  

     

  • Arizona Phil 22 hours 36 min ago (view)

    I would think that both Colin Rea and Kyle Ryan must have signed contracts with minor league split salaries, otherwise I doubt very much that they would have been tendered. 

     

  • Arizona Phil 22 hours 47 min ago (view)

    With Tepera non-tendered and Winkler, Ryan, and Rea signed, the Cubs 2021 Opening Day bullpen (right now) would appear to be Kimbrel (clearly not tradeable), Wick (virtual lock), Winkler (can't be optioned without his consent), Underwood (out of minor league options), and Maples (out of minor league options), and then three from amongst Adam, Norwood, Rea, Ryan, Stock, and Wieck (each of whom can be optioned back & forth to AAA as needed).

     

  • Arizona Phil 23 hours 7 min ago (view)

    The Cubs have signed RHSP Colin Rea, LHRP Kyle Ryan, and RHRP Dan Winkler to 2021 MLB contracts (terms TBD) and tendered 2021 MLB contracts to all other unsigned players on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) except OF Albert Almora, OF-1B Jose Martinez, OF Kyle Schwarber, and RHRP Ryan Tepera.

    So Almora, J. Martinez, Schwarber, and Tepera are now unrestricted free-agents, free to sign an MLB or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs) without any salary restrictions.   

    The Cubs MLB Reserve List now stands at 34 (six slots are open).