Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

Little and Lange Dominate at Riverview

LLHP Brendon Little (Cubs 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-hit ball (a solo HR by Austin Beck with two outs in the 4th), retired fifteen of the sixteen men he faced (including six via strikeout), and threw 76% strikes, Jared Young belted a solo HR and an RBI double, and Jhonny Bethencourt knocked-in three runs with two RBI doubles, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 10-3 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Oakland Athletics Lo-A affiliate) on Field #5, and RHSP Alex Lange (the Cubs other 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-run two-hit ball and retired the last eleven batters he faced, Chesny Young, Ryan Court, and Tyler Alamo clubbed back-to-back-to-back home runs to highlight a four-run 2nd inning, and Aramis Ademan capped the scoring with a solo HR in the 8th, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) 9-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.      

Brendon Little was absolutely mesmerizing, working very fast and throwing strikes, and effectively mixing his FB, CV, and CH to maximum degree (F-7, K, K, 5-3, 4-3, F-9, K, 5-3, F-7, F-7, K, HR, F-8, P-4, K, K).

Alex Lange was almost as good as Little over his five innings, flashing both his plus-CV and a CH in addition to his solid FB (BB, P-4, 3B, K, F-7, K, 1B, K, F-8, 6-3, K, 4-3, F-8, F-7, 4-3, 6-3, F-8, 3-U).

So it was a really good day for two of the Cubs top pitching prospects.

Not to be outdone, RHP Bailey Clark (Cubs 2016 5th round draft pick) "piggy-backed" with Little and brought 97 MPH FB gas and a hard slider to Field #5, racking up three innings of one-hit one-run ball. Clark retired the side easily 1-2-3 in his first two innings of work (K, 3-U, K, 4-3, 5-3, P-3), before losing his command a bit in his 3rd inning. The A's loaded the bases on a single and two walks with no outs, but then Clark induced a 4-6-3 DP on a 1-2 pitch and struck out the next hitter to get out of the jam. Clark opted to return to college (Duke) to get his degree after being drafted and signed by the Cubs in 2016, and he lost some valuable developmental time as a result, but the 6'4 220 righthander has all the earmarks of a stud power-pitcher.  

RHRP Shae Simmons got an inning of work, producing a 1-2-3 inning (K, K, 4-3). He was pounding the lower part of the strike zone with a 95 MPH FB mixed-with an occasional hard SL. (Simmons missed much of Spring Training with a sore shoulder, and was optioned to AAA Iowa just prior to the games at Riverview).

Just back from Fort  Myers, FL, where they traveled with the big club for a two-game pre-season set with the Red Sox, Iowa Cubs infielders Ryan Court and Chesny Young served as "roving designated hitters" in the two games, moving back & forth between the two fields in order to get maximum AB in as short a time as possible. Iowa C-1B Taylor Davis got somewhat less-intense DH work in with South Bend, taking all of his AB on Field #5.

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

Rockie Road for Cubs at Riverview

RHSP Ryan Castellani tossed four innings of one-run ball and Roberto Ramos and Scott Burcham hammered back-to-back RBI doubles to highlight a four-run 6th, as the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #5, and Vince Fernandez drilled an RBI double and a two-run single and Todd Czinege belted a solo HR to help the Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies AAA affiliate) defeat the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 8-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Tuesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.    

In two starts versus Tennessee in the last week, Ryan Castellani has thrown eight innings and allowed just one run on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. (Castellani is ranked by Baseball America as the Rockies #6 prospect).
 
RHSP Duncan Robinson hurled five innings of shutout ball, Jesse Hodges drove-in two runs with an RBI single and an RBI double, and Chris Pieters singled & doubled and scored a run for Tennessee, and the Smokies had the potential tying and winning runs on base with no outs in the bottom of the 9th but were unable to plate even one of the runners. 

Stephen Bruno (RBI double) and Bijan Rademacher (RBI single) drilled consecutive two-out RBI hits in the bottom of the 3rd to provide Iowa's two runs on Field #6. 

As was mentioned here yeaterday, several Iowa Cubs players traveled to Florida with the MLB squad for the two-game pre-season set versus the Red Sox in Ft. Myers, so a number of players on the Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend squads have been temporarily promoted to higher levels for a few days (until the I-Cubs return from Florida).
 
Iowa Cubs RHRP David Garner saw his first game action since being suspended for 50 (official) games after testing positive for a "Drug of Abuse," and he had a very poor outing, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in 2/3 of an inning while throwing only 38% strikes. (With the approval of the MLB Commissioner and with the consent of the player's MLB organization, a player who is on the Restricted List as the result of a prohibited substance suspension can attend Minor League Camp and Extended Spring Training - without pay - and participate in Minor League Camp and EXST games while serving the suspension, although the player is not required to do so). Barring rain-outs or other postponements, Garner's suspension is scheduled to end on May 27th.   
 
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

D'backs Flurry of Extra-Base Hits Sink Cubs at Riverview

Jazz Chisholm and Endy Ramos belted back-to-back doubles and Joey Rose followed with a two-run HR to fuel a four-run 8th, as the Kane County Cougars (Arizona Diamondbacks Lo-A affiliate) rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to ambush the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate 7-4 on Field #5, and Ramon Hernandez doubled twice, singled twice, and drove-in six runs, Daulton Varsho reached base four times (two singles and two walks), stole a base, and scored three runs, Raymel Flores ripped a single, a double and an RBI triple, Drew Ellis collected three hits, stole a base, and scored twice, and RHSP Connor Grey hurled five innings of two-hit shutout ball, as the Visalia Rawhide (D'backs Hi-A affiliate) whitewashed the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 8-0 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Monday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Austin Filiere (RBI triple), Luis Diaz (RBI double), and Delvin Zinn (RBI double) each collected a two-out run-scoring extra-base hit to highlight a three-run 1st inning and RHSP Erich Uelmen tossed five innings of one-run ball for South Bend on Field #5.  

Several Iowa Cubs position-players traveled to Florida with the MLB squad for the two-game pre-season set versus the Red Sox in Ft. Myers, so a number of position-players on the Tennessee, Myrtle Beach, and South Bend squads have been temporarily promoted to higher levels for a few days (until the I-Cubs return from Florida).  

Here are the abdriged box scores from the two games played on Monday at Riverview Park:

D. J. Leads Pelicans past 66ers at Diablo

D. J. Wilson singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove one in, Fidel Mejia singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, and catcher Johnny Pereda drilled two RBI singles and threw out all four baserunners who tried to steal against him, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) to a 5-3 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Los Angeles Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #3, and RHSP Luis Madero hurled four innings of one-run ball and Brandon Marsh roped a two-out two-run single to cap a three-run 3rd inning, helping the Burlington Bees (Angels Lo-A affiliate) defeat the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate 6-1 on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Sunday afternoon at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.    

Myrtle Beach relievers retired the last eleven men they faced on Field #3.  

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Pelicans Fit to Be Tied with Giants at Riverview

Jhonny Bethencourt went 3-3 (two singles and a double), stole two bases, and scored two runs, and RHP Keegan Thompson (Cubs 2017 3rd round pick - Auburn) hurled four innings of shutout ball for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affliliate), and Wander Franco drilled an RBI double and Ryan Kirby followed with a two-run HR to spark a three-run 4th for the Giants San Jose Hi-A affiliate, as the two teams battled to a 3-3 tie on Field #6, and RHSP Jose Marte hurled three innings of shutout ball to lead the Augusta Greenjackets (Giants Lo-A affiliate) to a 4-2 victory over the Cubs Lo-A South Bend affiliate on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Friday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.     

Kwangmin Kwon belted a solo HR and Austin Filiere collected three hits (two singles and an RBI double) for the South Bend Cubs in a losing cause.

RHP Tyson Miler (Cubs 2016 4th round draft pick - California Baptist) got the start for Myrtle Beach and retired nine of the first ten men he faced (including five on strikeouts) before allowing back-to-back doubles and a two-run HR to the first three batters he faced in the top of the 4th (he then retired the side in order).  

RHP Bailey Clark (Cubs 2016 5th round draft pick - Duke) piggy-backed with South Bend SP Rollie Lacy (Cubs 2017 11th round draft pick - Creighton), and while Clark's FB velo was an impressive 96-97 and his SL had good break, he had terrible command (he needed 57 pitches to get eight outs, he couldn't finish his third inning, he committed a throwing error on a pick-off attempt at 2nd base, and he threw only 47% strikes).

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Send Bullpen to Riverview to Stabilize Isotopes

Cubs MLB bullpen members Brandon Morrow, Justin Wilson, and Brian Duensing combined to hurl 3.1 IP of shutout ball to get things started, Charcer Burks (RBI single) and David Bote (RBI double) drove-in what proved to be the winning runs in the bottom of the 1st, and Dillon Maples earned an easy save with a 1-2-3 14-pitch 9th, as the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate edged the Albuquerque Isotopes (Colorado Rockies AAA affiliate) 2-1 on Field #6, and RHSP Ryan Castellani hurled four innings of shutout ball and the Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies AA affiliate) banged-out 15 hits en route to an 8-1 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader action Thursday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The game on Field #5 was called after eight innings of play.

Morrow (4-3, K, 3B, BB), Wilson (5-4 FC, F-8, 1B, L-4 DP, K), and Duensing (F-7, F-8, 2B, K) were sent to the Cubs backfields to get work in the AAA game, and Chris Gimenez was their catcher, going 1-5 at the plate (F-8, 2B, K, 6-3, K) while hitting once in each of the first five innings.
 
Luis Hidalgo was hit in the helmet with a pitch in the bottom of the 8th inning on Field #5 and had to leave the game (although he left the field under his own power).   

As usual several position-players were moved-up to the Tennessee and Iowa squads to get some playing time with the more-advanced players. 

A number of Cubs minor leaguers have been (or currently are) sick, apparently with the same bug that sidelined Kyle Hendricks this week.

Here are the box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):

Shark Visits Riverview

RHSP Tyler Beede hurled three innings of shutout ball and combined with four relievers to toss a four-hitter and Dillon Dobson drove-in five runs with a three-run HR and a two-run double, leading the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants AA affiliate) to an 8-1 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) on Field #5, and Chris Shaw ripped a two-run triple and Mac Williamson drilled a two-run single to highlight a seven-run 4th inning as the Sacramento River Cats (Giants AAA affiliate) cruised past the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 9-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

Bijan Rademacher (two-run blast) and P. J. Higgins (solo shot) clubbed back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning for Iowa, but that was the extent of the I-Cubs offense. 

As usual several players were moved up to the Iowa and Tennessee squads for the day to get some playing time in the late innings.  

Ex-Cub RHSP Jeff Samardzija was sent to Riverview from the Giants MLB camp to get some work with the AAA Sacramento squad, and he allowed three runs on seven hits (two HR, a triple, and four singles), a walk, and an HBP, plus six strikeouts, in 3.1 IP.

Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):   

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