Ballesteros Goes Deep for Second Day in A Row, Whilst Coran Moonshot Bringeth Raino

Moises Ballesteros blasted an opposite-field solo HR over the LF fence leading off the bottom of the second inning (his second HR in two days), Raino Coran crushed a mammoth solo HR just to the left of the CF Batter's Eye leading off the bottom of the third and walked and scored in the fifth, Christian Olivo singled twice, stole three bases, scored a run, and drove-in another, Anderson Suriel blooped an RBI double in the second and singled, stole a base, and scored a run in the fifth, SP Marino Santy hurled three innings of one-hit / one-run ball, and Alfredo Zarraga struck out the side 1-2-3 to pick-up the save, as the Cubs cruised past the Athletics 6-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Friday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Cristian Hernandez belted a double into the right-centerfield alley his first time up, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. He struck out (swinging) in his other two PA. 

The game was pre-planned as an eight-inning contest. 

The Cubs are now 10-8-2 through their first twenty Cactus League EXST games, and contrary to what you may read elsewhere on the internet, EXST games - ARE - real (they're just not official and there are some goofy rules variances), the games - ARE - televised (albeit closed circuit to the Cubs Player Development Department), the Cubs - DO - keep game stats internally just like they do at Myrtle Beach, South Bend, Tennessee, and Iowa (they just don't release them to the media), and the players really - ARE - trying to win (just listen to the players on the bench howling back & forth throughout the game... so much so that the Giants players who were not in the game last Tuesday at Papago Park were kicked out of the ballpark by the home plate umpire for arguing every single ball / strike call!).   

In EXST roster news, LHRP C. D. Pelham has completed his EXST rehab and has rejoined AA Tennessee. 

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

CUBS LINEUP:
1. Christian Olivo,2B-DH: 2-3 (5-3, 1B, 1B, R, RBI, 3 SB, CS) 
2. Cristian Hernandez, SS: 1-3 (2B, K, K) 
3a. Donnie Dewees, CF: 0-1 (1-3)
3b. Cristian More, PH-CF: 0-2 (K, F-9)
4. Moises Ballesteros, C-DH: 1-3 (HR, K, F-7, R, RBI)
5a. Frank Hernandez, RF: 0-2 (P-4, 4-3)
5b. Joanfran Rojas, PH-2B: 0-1 (6-3)
6a. Reivaj Garcia, 3B: 1-2 (1B, K, R) 
6b. Alejandro Rivero, 3B: 0-0 (BB, CS) 
7a. Carlos Morfa, DH #1: 0-2 (F-8, K) 
7b. Wally Soto, C: 0-1 (K) 
7c. Ronnier Quintero, C: NO AB  
8. Anderson Suriel, 1B: 2-2 (2B, 1B, R, RBI, SB) 
9. Brayan Altuve, LF: 0-2 (K, F-9)
10. Raino Coran, DH-RF: 1-1 (HR, BB, 2 R, RBI)

CUBS PITCHERS
1. Marino Santy: 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 GIDP, 4/1 GO/AO, 40 pitches (19 strikes) 
2. Gleiber Morales: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 3/2 GO/AO, 30 pitches (18 strikes) 
3. Jose Alcila: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 2 WP, 0/2 GO/AO, 21 pitches (11 strikes) 
4. Angel Hernandez: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GO/AO, 15 pitches (12 strikes) 
5. Alfredo Zarraga: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 19 pitches (13 strikes) 

CUBS ERRORS: 1 
1B Anderson Surriel: E-3 (errant throw to 1st base after infield single allowed runner to score from 3rd) 

CUBS CATCHERS DEFENSE
Moises Ballesteros: 0-1 CS  

WEATHER: Sunny with temperatures in the 90's 

ATTENDANCE: 15 

Arizona 
Scoring 
Service 

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

Comments

Although FB velo certanly isn't the be all / end all for a pitcher, the fact is the four 2021 DSL pitchers the Cubs brought up from the Dominican Academy to Minor League Camp in March (Michael Arias, Kenyi Perez, Marino Santy, and Joel Sierra) are the four pitchers with the highest FB velo from amongst the 15 2021 DSL Cubs pitchers who are presently at Extended Spring Training and who will be pitching in the ACL this year.

Here are the top-out FB game velo from Cubs pitchers presently active at 2022 EXST:  

Joel Sierra: 100 (2021 DSL Cubs)
Michael Arias: 99 (ex-SS - 2021 DSL Cubs) 
Angel Gonzalez: 98, also 87-89 SL (2021 ACL Cubs) 
Gregori Montano: 96 (2021 ACL Cubs)
Kenyi Perez::96 (2021 DSL Cubs) 
Marino Santy: 96 (2021 DSL Cubs)
Yovanny Cabrera: 95 (2021 ACL Cubs) 
Alfredo Zarraga: 95 (2021 DSL Cubs)
Wilfri Figuereo: 93 (2021 ACL Cubs) 
Gleiber Morales: 93 (2021 DSL Cubs) 
C. D. Pelham: 93 (Mesa Rehab)   
Jose Romero: 93 (2021 DSL Cubs)
Jose Alcila: 92 (2021 DSL Cubs) 
Yohan Crispin: 92 (2021 DSL Cubs)
Angel Hernandez: 91 (2021 ACL Cubs) 
Jack Patterson: 91 (Mesa Rehab)
Starlyn Pichardo: 91 (2021 DSL Cubs)
Tomy Sanchez: 91 (2021 DSL Cubs) 
Rony Baez: 90 (2021 ACL Cubs) 
Cristian Rojas: 88 (2021 DSL Cubs) 
Anthony Martinez: N/A at this time (2021 DSL Cubs)
Anthony Mendez: N/A at this time (2021 DSL Cubs)
Oliver Roque: N/A at this time (2021 DSL Cubs)

While some of the pitchers with lesser FB game velo listed above do have other plus-pitches, like Angel Hernandez (CV and CH), Tomy Sanchez (CV), Cristian Rojas (CH), Jose Romero (SL), and Oliver Roque (CV), the Cubs clearly targeted the four pitchers with the hottest FB velo (Arias, K. Perez, Santy, and Sierra) for special attention right from the gitgo.

Roger Angell has died at 101.

he wrote a lot, and a lot of it was great.  pick up a few of his books if you haven't read him.

"The Summer Game" ... "Once More Around the Park" ... "Season Ticket" ...all great ones.

Pichardo, who is very young, had me fascinated, last year.

 

Youth plus quality.

Phil:

 

Which Compound league hitters and pitchers would most likely be added if Myrtle Beach needs players to fill in? Thanks, as always.

TIM: Probably college senior signs from the past year or so like Bryan Serra (who can play 1B-2B-3B and catch), Matt Warkentin (although he is pretty much limited to DH at this point), and Alejandro Rivero (1B-3B). Rivero appears to be (finally!) heating up at the plate. 

Also guys who have "failed to launch" like Reivaj Garcia, Josue Huma, Flemin Bautista, Carlos Morfa, and Miguel Pabon. Huma is a versatile utility infielder (3B-SS-2B-1B) with speed and he has actually played pretty well in EXST games and so I could see him moving up to Myrtle Beach or maybe even to South Bend, and Garcia looks good at both 2B and 3B. and still has above-average bat-to-ball skills that should be serviceable at Myrtle Beach. Pabon is in the catcher conversion program so he might stay in Mesa for the summer.   

Rafael Morel (Christopher's little brother) was at ACL Cubs last year, so I suppose he could get moved up just for that reason. 

As for the pitchers (not including the rehabbers), LHRP Angel Hernandez throws strikes and mixes his low 90's FB with a CH and a CV, so he could probably be OK working in relief at Myrtle Beach. He was at ACL Cubs last year and pitched pretty well out of the pen, so I could see him maybe get moved up sooner rather than later.

Angel Gonzalez's FB was up to 99 today when he picked up the save. His high-velo FB combined with an 87-89 SL makes him a possibility to get moved up to Myrtle Beach, but he still has difficulty commanding his stuff. 

As for the 2021 DSL Cubs position players who are at EXST, Moises Ballesteros and Frank Hernandez would  appear to be the most advanced hitters. They are 1-2 in AVG right now, and Ballesteros is an above-average defensive catcher as well. Frank Hernandez is a high-contact hitting corner-outfielder (only) but with an above-average arm, although i haven't seen any HR power. Ballesteros has legit HR power that actually shows up in games, and I would say he is everything the Cubs hoped Ronnier Quintero would be (but isn't).  

Cristian Hernandez is obviously the #1 prospect down here and so I guess he could move up to Myrtle Beach at some point later in the season, but his K-rate is VERY high right now. However, I have not seen teenaged HR power like his at EXST since Javier Baez was down here ten years ago. Also, Hernandez is a very good defensive SS. 

There are a number of 2021 DSL Cubs power arms at EXST like Michael Arias, Joel Sierra, Kenyi Perez, Marino Santy, and Alfredo Zarraga who are possibilities to get moved up to Myrtle Beach at some point in 2022, but command issues are a problem for most of them right now. Zarraga is a little guy with a 95 MPH FB, and because he is a one-inning reliever who does (mostly) throw strikes, he actually could get moved up before the others.

Of the Big Four high octane FB dudes (Arias, K. Perez, Santy, and Sierra), K. Perez and Santy have the best secondaries right now, but all of them have a - LOT - of difficulty commanding their stuff. Sometimes it's hard to watch. Also, Michael Arias sustained a lower-body injury covering home plate after throwing a bases-loaded WP in an EXST game a couple of weeks ago and hasn't thrown in a game since, although he was participating in morning PFPs a couple of days ago.    

Thanks, as always.

jed on brailyn marquez...

“Not sure on games,” Cubs President Jed Hoyer said of when Marquez might finally appear this year. “He’s throwing. We’re trying to get him off the mound and get him to pitching in games. That’s not imminent right now.”