Giants Pitchers Throttle Cubs with Smoke

P. J. Hilson belted an RBI double and a solo HR, Juan Perez laced a two-run single, Anthony Rodriguez walked four times and scored two runs, and SP Mikell Manzano tossed three innings of one-run ball and combined with three relievers to strike out 14 (including the last six outs by gas throwin' closer William Suarez), as the Giants edged the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Andrelton Simmons served as a DH and singled twice, tripled, and scored a run, Carlos Sepulveda drove-in two runs with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single and scored a run, and Dilan Granadillo drilled a two-run single, to account for the four Cub runs.  

The game was called after eight innings of play. 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

X. Andrelton Simmons, DH #1: 3-4 (1B, 5-4 FC, 3B, 1B, R) 
NOTE: Simmons batted second in the 1st & 2nd innngs, and led off the 3rd & 4th innings
1. Felix Stevens, 1B: 0-4 (K, K, K, K) 
2. Rafael Morel, 3B: 1-2 (K, 1B, BB, CS)
3. Cristian Hernandez, SS: 0-3 (4-3, L-8, K)
4. Moises Ballesteros, DH #2: 0-2 (BB, F-9, 6-3)
5. Christian Olivo, CF: 0-3 (K, K, K) 
6. Frank Hernandez, DH #3: 1-3 (5-3, 3B, K, R) 
7a. Carlos Sepulveda, 2B: 1-1 (F-8 SF, 1B, R, RBI)
7b. Reivaj Garcia, 2B: 0-0 (BB)
8. Brayan Altuve, LF: 1-3 (K, 1B, K, R)
9a. Dilan Granadillo, C: 1-2 (3-1, 1B, 2 RBI)
9b. Ronnier Quintero, C: 0-1 (K) 
10. Carlos Morfa, RF: 0-2 (3-U, BB, K) 

1. Kenyi Perez: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER), 5 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 2/1 GO/AO, 60 pitches (26 strikes) 
2. Alfredo Zarraga: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R (3 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1/2 GO/AO, 35 pitches (18 strikes) 
3. Jose Romero: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 1 BALK, 0/1 GO/AO, 31 pitches (17 strikes)
4. Wyatt Short: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GO/AO, 13 pitches (12 strikes) 
5. Starlyn Pichardo: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 1/1 GO/AO, 23 pitches (13 strikes) 

1. SS Cristian Hernandez: E-6 (fielding error allowed batter to reach base safely) 
2. C Ronnier Quintero: E-2 (errant throw to 2nd base on SB attempt allowed runner to advance to 3rd)

1. Dilan Granadillo: 0-2 CS 
2. Ronnier Quintero: 0-1 CS, 1 E (see above) 


WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 


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


Arizona Phil - I'm wondering about Kenyi Perez as a starter - he has what appears to be VERY POOR control. When you've watched him pitch, are you seeing something that I'm not understanding? Wouldn't he be better served pitching 1-2 innings every few days to see if he can improve his control/command over time, rather than start once a week and have 5 walks in 2.1 innings? I honestly want to know what you would do, because maybe the fact that he has such good movement on his pitches or something is worth putting up with the walks while he tries to figure it all out! And thanks for these daily posts - I enjoy reading them even more than watching the Cubs play (that might not exactly be the compliment I'm intending it to be). :)

W-RAT: Along with Michael Arias, Marino Santy, and Joel Sierra, Kenyi Perez was one of four 2021 DSL Cubs pitchers who were brought up to Minor League Camp in March.

Eleven other 2021 DSL Cubs pitchers (Jose Alcila, Yohan Crispin, Anthony Martinez, Anthony Mendez, Gleiber Morales, Starlyn Pichardo, Cristian Rojas, Jose Romero, Oliver Roque, Tomy Sanchez, and Alfredo Zarraga) came up at the start of EXST in April, and none of them appear to project as a SP at this point, because none of them throw as hard as Arias, K. Perez, Santy, and Sierra and/or have a third pitch.

Alfredo Zarraga is the smallest in stature of this second group and he is strictly a two-pitch pitcher with probably a two-inning max load per outing before he runs out of gas (like he did on Thursday), but he has the highest FB velo (95) among the pitchers in this second group, combining the mid-90's FB with an 81-84 MPH SL.  

It's fairly obvious that what separates K. Perez, Arias, Santy, and Sierra from the others is that they have a "live" arm and a three pitch mix  - AND - the stamina to throw multiple innings, while the others (as things stand right now) probably project more as one or two inning pitchers at this point. Some even have sub-90 MPH FB velos. For example, Cristian Rojas FB is 86-88, but he has a plus-CH 80-82 that makes up for the low FB velo.  

Whenever possible, clubs prefer pitchers with a SP projection to get as many innings under their belt as possible ASAP in order to get the experience they need to refine their command. Bullpen sessions between outings are also crucial to SP development, which is why the preference is for SP-types like Arias, K. Perez, Santy, and Sierra to throw in games only once every 6-8 days, with two bullpens in between the starts. 

In the case of K. Perez, he features a 94-96 MPH FB, an 84 MPH CH, and a 79-82 MPH CV/SL (SLURVE), none of which he can command. Arias has a 96-99 MPH FB, a mid-80's SL he can't throw for strikes, and a mid-80's CH (in development). Santy is the one LHP in the group and he is only 5'11, but he combines a 93-96 FB, an 84-85 CH, and a 78-80 CV, although he has trouble commanding the pitches. Like Arias, Santy is virtually unhittable.

Because they have "live" arms, a SP repertoire, a high "ceiling," and the ability to throw multiple innings without too much effort, the idea is to keep using Arias, K. Perez, Santy, and Sierra as starters until proven otherwise.  

BTW, the best high-leverage reliever / closer prospect at EXST right now is Gregori Montano. He's no 5'9, either. He's probably at least 6'0 - 6'1. He pitched in the ACL (briefly) last year before getting shut-down, so he is not one of the new guys. He combines a 94-97 MPH FB with a 79-81 CV, and his command is a BIT better than most of what you typically see down here. But if he throws more than one inning, he loses a couple of MPH off his high-octane FB and his CV can hang. Yovanny Cabrera also pitched in the ACL in 2021 and projects as a high-lerverage ACL guy in 2022, too (93-95 MPH FB and an 88-89 SL/CT).   

Also, Yohan Crispin is listed as 5'9, but he actually is one of the taller guys, at least 6'2. Jose Romero is stocky with a mature body type. He looks like he's about 28 (he actually just turned 21) and he might be one of the ACL Cubs closers. Oliver Roque is the "beanpole" (6'3 180).   

You're the best Phil! I've copied and pasted everything you've written into my spreadsheet - thanks as always for the great information!!!

Phil, have you heard the status of the young Cuban lefty the Cubs signed last fall? I see he isn't in camp and it seems like he got a PED suspension. Thanks. I believe his name is Carlos Garcia.

HAGSAG - Not sure of Carlos Garcia's current status, but here's a note I have on him from Brett Taylor (

19-year-old Cubs lefty Carlos Garcia has suspended for 60 games after testing positive for the steroid Stanozolol.

We’ve talked about how the Cubs generally had an underwhelming statistical year in the Dominican Summer League, but Carlos Garcia was one of the few bright spots. His 1.67 ERA was 12th best in the league among pitchers who threw at least 40 innings, and only one of the 11 pitchers ahead of him was younger. His 47 strikeouts (43.0 IP) led his DSL team.

Moreover, he’d only just signed into the Cubs organization out of Cuba before starting in the DSL. I have a feeling the hopes have been high for him among an otherwise thinner group of DSL pitching prospects. When Northside Bound wrote him up earlier this year, a lot of the commentary was about his impressive size and physique at 18/19 years old, and indeed he is a big dude.

So this news really sucks. Garcia was not considered one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects or anything, but this is where the Cubs need to pipeline in lots and lots of developing arms, and it seems pretty clear Garcia was going to come stateside this year, with the opportunity to pitch his way from the complex league to Myrtle Beach.

Now that’s all thrown for a loop.

None of that is to say that Garcia’s performance was entirely about the PEDs, or that he can’t continue to develop from here. He’s still very young (which, by the way, makes it all the more concerning – from a health perspective – to see a young guy even trying this stuff). But it’s certainly not a plus, and will put him far behind the 8-ball both because of the development interruption by missing 60 games, but also because it will raise questions about what he can be going forward as the Cubs make decisions about who comes over stateside and when, and who gets promoted and when.

I didn't write that. I don't know why my name is associated with it. 

Sorry - I thought it sounded like your writing - I've corrected it. 

Cubs-Dodgers game today is postponed by rain. Rescheduled for a game 2, split DH tomorrow.

w.miley 4ip 2h 0bb 3k, 0r/er last night in iowa.