Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

Hudson Dominates South Bend at Riverview

SP Bryan Hudson hurled five innings of shutout ball with seven strikeouts and Josue Huma singled twice, doubled, scored a run, and drove-in another, as the Eugene/Mesa Cubs (soon to be the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad) blanked the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) 4-0 in Minor League Spring Training game action Saturday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The game was pre-planned as a seven-inning contest. 

The majority of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were excused from having to play in the game so that they could prepare for their trip Sunday to South Carolina (the Pelicans open their season Tuesday night in an exhibition game versus Charleston Southern University), but the three MB pitchers who were scheduled to throw on Saturday (Hudson, Peyton, and King) did pitch in the game, albeit with the youngsters from the Eugene/Mesa squad playing behind them (and it turned out to be a winning combination, too!). 

Meanwhile the South Bend Cubs continue to struggle at the plate, striking out nine more times for a total of 29 strikeouts and only one run scored in their last 18 innings over the past two days.  

In South Bend Cubs roster news, RHSP Yovanny Cruz has been moved-down to Eugene/Mesa from the South Bend squad.     

And so this is the South Bend Cubs provisional Opening Day roster (27 players - two players over the 25 man Opening Day roster limit):   

STARTING PITCHERS: Faustino Carrera, Derek Casey, Eury Ramos, Cam Sanders, and Riley Thompson   
PIGGY-BACK STARTER: Brailyn Marquez
BULLPEN: Dalton Geekie, Ryan Lawlor, Riley McCauley, Zach Mort, Eugenio Palma, Jeffrey Passantino, Peyton Remy, and Ethan Roberts 
CATCHERS: Eric Gonzalez, Rafelin Lorenzo, and Gustavo Polanco
INFIELDERS: Tyler Durna, Levi Jordan, Fidel Mejia, Rafael Narea, Andy Weber, and Delvin Zinn 
OUTFIELDERS: D. J. Artis, Cole Roederer, Jonathan Sierra, and Nelson Velazquez 

One pitcher and one position player will need to be taken off the roster prior to Opening Day.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Pelicans Pitchers Turn Up the Heat at Riverview Park

Kevonte Mitchell walloped a two-run HR (off Brailyn Marquez), D. J. Wilson singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and SP Paul Richan hurled six innings of shutout ball with nine stikeouts (also 6/2 GO/AO, all three hits he allowed were singles, he issued no walks, and he threw 80% strikes) and combined with five relievers to fan 20, helping the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) cruise past the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Cubs) 6-1 in Minor League Camp Spring Training game action Friday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was pre-planned as an eleven inning contest so that all of the pitchers who needed to throw could get their work, and while the twenty strikeouts racked up by Myrtle Beach pitchers was certainly aided by playing two additional innings, Pelicans pitchers did punch-out 16 SB-Cubs hitters through nine innings.    

Also, three of the pitchers who threw for Myrtle Beach (Ian Clarkin, Jordan Minch, and Wyatt Short) were actually Tennessee relievers who needed work (the Minch FB was sitting 94-95 and touched 97, BTW), and another (LHP Ryan Lawlor) was recently moved-down to South Bend from Myrtle Beach but (like the Tennessee trio) he needed work and the South Bend bullpen dance card was full.   

As is typical this time of year, several players from the Eugene/Mesa squad (Vicens, K. Moreno, L. Diaz, O. Nunez, Hurd, Zardon, and Daniel) served as late-inning replacements for the MB and SB starters, and the ones who played for South Bend combined to go 1-7 with six strikeouts (which also contributed to the prodigious Pelicans pitchers' strikeout total).     

In Minor League Camp news, OF Brandon Hughes (Cubs 2017 16th round draft pick - Michigan State) is being converted to a LHP. Hughes is the second Cubs outfielder to be converted to pitcher this month (Jamie Galazin was the other one). Like Galazin, Hughes does have some prior experience as a pitcher in college (he appeared in seven games as a reliever in his freshman season at MSU). 

Here is the box score from the game:  

Cubs Are the Real Power at Riverview

Rafelin Lorenzo drilled an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, Fidel Mejia belted an RBI triple and a double and scored one run, Levi Jordan cracked an RBI triple and a single and scored a run, and six pitchers combined on a two-hitter, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 6-1 victory over the West Virginia Power (Seattle Mariners Lo-A affiliate) in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Thursday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Although they were pitching for South Bend, it was actually a Eugene/Mesa "bullpen day" on Field #1, with six relievers from the Eugene/Mesa squad called upon to provide some "two-hit relief" for the SB-Cubs pen.  

Meanwhile, Thursday night's offensive heroes Rafelin Lorenzo and Fidel Mejia have been two of the pleasant surprises at Cubs Minor League Camp.

Lorenzo was selected by the Cubs in the AAA Phase of last December's Rule 5 Draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates in what appeared to be just an organizational depth transaction, but it turns out he is a really good receiver with a plus-arm and he has some XBH power at the plate as well. He showed enough at Minor League Camp that he beat-out Alexander Guerra, Jonathan Soto, and Henderson Perez for the #1 catching job at South Bend, and he actually probably could have been the #1 catcher at Myrtle Beach or maybe even at Tennessee if it wasn't for a guy named Miguel Amaya at Myrtle Beach and P. J. Higgins and Jhonny Pereda at Tennessee. Kudos to the Cubs Pro Scouting Dept. 

Fidel Mejia was leading (and may still be leading, I don't know) Cubs Minor League Camp in HR and XBH and (apparently) has won the starting 3B job at South Bend, even though he spent the last two seasons in the AZL and has yet to see Eugene. The 20-year old switch-hitter obviously put on some muscle during the off-season and now has pop from both sides of the plate (he hit a HR over the CF Batter's Eye on Riverview Field #5 last week), and he has worked hard to make himself into a decent-enough third-baseman that he should be able to stay at the hot corner as he advances through the Cubs system, although he can also play 1B and even a bit of 2B as well. 

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether Cole Roederer will open the 2019 season at South Bend or at Extended Spring Training. Sometimes he looks great, and other times (like in Thursday night's game) he doesn't. So he is squarely "on the bubble," and it could go either way. (I guess we'll find out shortly). 

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

Smokies Hurlers Cloud Drillers Vision at Riverview

Robel Garcia (RBI single), P. J. Higgins (RBI single), Roberto Caro (two-run single), Nico Hoerner (sacrifice fly), and Connor Myers (solo HR) contributed RBI and Oscar de la Cruz and three relievers combined to hurl a five-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts, as the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) blanked the Tulsa Drillers (Los Angeles Dodgers AA affiliate) 6-0 in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Wednesday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Prior to the game, C-1B Ian Rice and INF Vimael Machin were moved-down to AA Tennessee from AAA Iowa. 

Also, C Rafelin Lorenzo, 1B Tyler Alamo, INF Jhonny Bethencourt, INF Yeiler Peguero, 2B Carlos Sepulveda, OF Luis Ayala, and OF D. J. Wilson were not on the Smokies bench, so they may have been moved-down to Myrtle Beach from Tennessee at the same time that Machin and Rice were moved down to Tennessee from Iowa.  

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

Rucker & Hatch Steal the Yu Show at Riverview

Michael Rucker (five innings) and Tom Hatch (four no hit innings) combined to hurl a three-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts, but neither team could push across a run, and so the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies AA affiliate) and the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) played to a scoreless tie on Field #5, and the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies AAA affiliate) blistered five HR en route to a 13-5 drubbing of the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Cubs) on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Sunday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Zack Short drilled a two-run double for the I-Cubs in a losing cause. 

Yu Darvish came over to the Riverview backfields from MLB Camp and got the start for Iowa, going 4.1 IP (71 pitches - 47 strikes), and allowing three runs on five hits (a HR on the very first pitch of the game, a double, and three singles), no walks, one HBP, two wild pitches, eight strikeouts, and 1/4 GO/AO. Despite allowing the three runs, it actually was a decent outing for Yu.

INF Daniel Descalso, who has been nursing a sore shoulder, also came over to the Minor League side from MLB Camp. Descalso batted second in each of the first six innings, going a combined 0-5 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored, and two strikeouts (one swinging and one looking). He looked a bit rusty at the plate. He played 2B for three innings, then moved to 3B for two innings, and then served as a DH, before retiring to the clubhouse in the 7th.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the game (Cubs players only) 

Cubs Bore-nstein A's to Tears with Grand Slam and One-Hitter at Fitch Park

SP Justin Steele and five relievers combined to hurl a one-hit shutout, Robel Garcia belted a solo HR and an RBI single, Eddy Julio Martinez drilled two RBI singles, walked, and scored, and Jhonny Bethencourt hammered a single and a double, stole a base, and scored two runs, as the Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs AA affiliate) blanked the Midland RockHounds (Oakland Athletics AA afffiliate) 8-0 on Field #3, and Zach Borenstein walloped a monster grand slam HR over the CF batter's eye, Zack Short ripped a solo HR and an RBI single and scored two runs, Fernando Arcia singled twice, walked, stole a base, and drove-in a run, and SP Duncan Robinson hurled 4.2 IP of one-run ball (he gave up his only run on a sac fly on his 71st and final pitch), propelling the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Cubs) to a 7-1 victory over the Las Vegas Aviators (AAA affiliate of the A's) on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training game action Saturday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.   

Of the ten Cubs minor league pitchers who threw in the games at Fitch Park on Saturday, only two (Duncan Robinson and George Kontos) are actually assigned to the AAA Iowa squad at Minor League Camp. The other eight who threw (including two who pitched in the AAA game) are assigned to the AA Tennessee squad.   

Speaking of the AA Tennessee pitching staff, with Bailey Clark throwing three innings for Tennessee in Friday's intrasquad game at Riverview and Ian Clarkin and Tyson Miller working out of the Smokies bullpen Saturday at Fitch Park (each threw only 19 pitches), it would appear that the Cubs may be prepping Clark to be a SP and Clarkin and T. Miller to be bullpen guys at Tennessee (which is the exact opposite of how things looked just a week ago).   

Here are the abridged box scores from Saturday's games (Cubs players only):  

Cubs Pitchers Fan the Blaze at Riverview

Delvin Zinn walloped a solo HR, doubled, reach base on an HBP, and scored three runs, Yonathan Perlaza tripled, walked, stole two bases, and scored two runs, Chris Singleton singled twice, stole two bases, and scored two runs, and seven Cub pitchers combined to toss a one-hitter with 14 strikeouts (including five by SP Yunior Perez in just 1.2 IP), as the Mesa Cubs thrashed the Langley Blaze 7-1 in Minor League Camp game action Friday morning on Field #4 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

A member of the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL), the Langley Blaze are one of the top amateur baseball clubs in Canada. Notable alumni include Brett Lawrie and Scott Mathieson, as well as ex-Cub minor leaguer Wes Darvill. 

The Blaze are on a ten-day Arizona Spring Training Trip, where they are playing minor league teams, and college and high school teams. The Blaze are scheduled to play one or two (and sometimes even three!) games per day, including morning games, afternoon games, night games, doubleheaders, and split squad games, so the Canadian lads (age 15-18) are playing a LOT of baseball in the Valley of the Sun.
 
Here is the abridged box score from the game (Cubs players only): 

Pages