Cubs AZ Instructional League game report

Espinoza Sharp at Sloan

After hurling three perfect innings in his previous start, Manuel Espinoza fired three innings of one-hit shutout ball (and threw 75% strikes), and Pablo Aliendo singled twice and drove-in a run and Cam Balego tripled and scored, in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Wednesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.   

The Giants at Cubs AZIL game was canceled, so the Cubs played an intrasquad game instead.   

The five pitchers who were scheduled to pitch in the AZIL game threw in the intrasquad game, and the game was called after 3-1/2 innings of play after all of the pitchers got their scheduled work. 

It wasn't possible to field two full teams because only the players who were set to play in the AZIL game played in the intrasquad game (the other position players retired to the clubhouse after early BP), so there was no DH used in the game and Alfonso Rivas (who is already an accomplished hitter and really doesn't need any more game ABs) played LF for both squads and did not take an AB (he stood out in LF for the entire game -- that's 90 minutes straight defense in 90-degree heat without a break, folks).  

Also, Ethan Hearn played 1B and Yonathan Perlaza (ex-infielder now playing outfield) temporarily moved back to the infield and played 2B. 

Fireballin' RHP Danis Correa labored through one inning of work while throwing almost all secondary stuff (only a couple of high velo FB) after throwing almost all FB in his previous outing, while RHRP Eduarniel Nunez threw almost 100% FB (only two off-speed pitches) and was sitting 95-96 (T-97). Both Corraa and E. Nunez are 21-year old Dominican power bullpen arms who could advance quickly if they can improve their secondaries and FB command (easier said than done, obviously).    

Here is the box score from the game: 

Strumpf Keeps Cookin' Arizona Taters

Chase Strumpf blasted a solo HR over the LF fence to account for the only run of what was a very brief Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game played Monday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The Cubs AZIL game at Rockies was canceled, and only two of the Cubs pitchers scheduled to throw in the AZIL game ended up pitching in the intrasquad game.

The game was called with two outs in the top of the third inning after both pitchers completed their scheduled work.  

Mervis Clout and Rivas Line Drives Rule the Day in Mesa

Matt Mervis crushed a solo HR over the RF fence & 30-foot high screen and off the outside west wall of the stadium across the street, Alfonso Rivas rifled an RBI double and a single and scored run, and Nelson Velazquez walked, stole a base, scored a run, and collected an outfield assist, in Cubs AZ Instructional League intrasquad game action Saturday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Giants Put the Slug on the Cubs at Sloan

Hunter Bishop drilled an RBI triple and an RBI single, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, Will Wilson doubled twice, singled, walked, scored two runs, and drove-in another, Luis Matos doubled twice and knocked-in a run, Brett Auerbach cracked a two-run triple, and Logan Wyatt blasted a solo HR, as the Giants thrashed the Cubs 11-4 in AZIL game action Friday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Eight of the Giants' twelve hits were for extra-bases (including five doubles, two triples, and one HR). 

Yonathan Perlaza hammered a solo HR and a triple and racked-up an outfield assist, Chase Strumpf collected two RBI singles, Jordan Nwogu singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, and Nelson Velazquez laced an RBI single for the Cubs in a losing cause.    

The 21-year old switch-hitting Perlaza is being converted from an infielder (3B-2B) to an outfielder at Instructs, in large part to let him concentrate on his hitting. (His infield defense was pretty bad, and he would sometimes seem to take an error with him to the plate). But there is no doubting his offensive tools (hard contact with a slightly upper-cut swing path from both sides of the plate and above-average speed on the bases). He has played all three OF positions so far at Instructs, but looks most comfortable in LF (he played ten games in LF for South Bend in 2019). He will likely be added to the 38-man AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 so that he can be selected in the Major League Phase only ($100,000 draft price with the potential to re-claim in the Major League Phase, versus $24,000 draft price with no right to reclaim if he were to be placed on the AA Tennessee reserve list and be selected in the AAA Phase).    

Cubs RHP Danis Correa pitched the 9th inning for the Cubs, throwing mostly all fastballs and consistently hitting 97-98. Like Perlaza, the 21-year old Correa is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, and while his secondaries need a lot of work and his command comes and goes, some club might want to take a gamble on him, if for no other reason than the high-velo FB. Because of his size (he is only 5'11 155), he likely profiiles as a one-inning high-octane bullpen arm. Like Perlaza, Correa is a virtual lock to be placed on the AAA Iowa reserve list on 11/20 so that he will be eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft's Major League Phase only.      

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

Nwolverine Nwogu Nwonderful at Talking Stick

Jordan Nwogu, singled, doubled, tripled, scored two runs, drove-in another, and made a diving catch in LF, Yonathan Perlaza singled twice and scored a run, and Manuel Espinoza hurled three innings of perfect baseball, as the Cubs cruised past the Diamondbacks 6-2 in AZ Instructional League game action Wednesday afternoon on Whirlwind Field at Salt Rivers Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale, AZ.   

Kristian Robinson drilled an RBI double for the D'backs in a losing cause. 

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

Mervis and Roederer Supply Cub Power at Sloan Park

Matt Mervis blasted a three-run home run, Cole Roederer belted a solo HR, and Andy Weber stroked a single and an RBI double, helping to lead the Cubs to a 6-4 victory over the Brewers in AZ Instructional League game action Tuesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Carlos Rodriguez drilled an RBI triple and scored on a sacrifice fly to put the Brew Crew up 2-0 in the top of the 1st inning and Brice Turang laced an RBI single in the top of the 7th in a losing cause.   

Timely Hitting the Rx for Cubs at Sloan

Cole Roederer drilled a line-drive two-out two-run single to CF to put the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 1st, Alfonso Rivas doubled, singled, and scored, Luis Verdugo doubled, singled, and scored, Nelson Velazquez singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, Ethan Hearn singled twice and knocked-in a run, Cam Balego singled twice and scored twice, and Matt Mervis doubled and singled, as the Cubs collected 13 hits and edged the Athletics 5-4 in AZ Instructional League game action Monday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Jonah Bride (two-run HR) and Tyler Soderstrom (solo shot) belted four-baggers for the A's in a losing cause.

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