Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

It's a One-Run Win/Loss Two-Game Split for I-Cubs & Smokies at Fitch Park

Todd Glaesmann cracked a two-run triple and a single and scored a run, Stephen Bruno tripled, singled, and scored a run, Jason Vosler belted a solo home run ovr the RF fence, and Jeffrey Baez singled, walked, stole two bases, and scored a run, as the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) edged the Nashville Sounds (AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 5-4 on Field #4, and Trevor Clifton tossed 3.2 IP of one-run ball with four strikeouts and Trey Martin doubled, singled, stole a base, and scored a run, but a 9th inning rally fell one run short as the Midland RockHounds (A's AA affiliate) hung-on to edge the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 4-3 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Wednesday afternoon at the Lew Wolff Training Complex at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

The Cubs temporarily moved-up about a dozen players from lower levels for the two games.

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

Eddie Butler Gets a Start at Minor League Camp

Isaac Paredes drilled an RBI double and two singles and scored a run, Rafael Mejia blasted a three-run home run, and SP Duncan Robinson hurled three innings of one-hit ball and combined with four relievers to toss a six-hitter with 13 strikeouts, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 6-1 victory over the Kane County Cougars (Lo-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks) on Field #5, and Luis Alejandro Basabe belted a three-run HR, Ramon Hernandez singled and doubled and scored two runs, Kyle Smith stroked an RBI double and a single and scored a run, and SP Mack Lemieux threw four innings of one-hit shutout ball (albeit allowing four walks, an HBP, and two WP along the way), as the Visalia Rawhide (D'backs Hi-A affiliate) defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 7-3 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Tuesday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.     

The MLB squad had the day off, so recently acquired RHSP Eddie Butler was sent to Minor League Camp to get his scheduled game work versus the Diamondbacks Hi-A affiiate (Visalia) on Field #6. Butler allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits (three singles, two doubles, and a triple) in 4.2 IP (69 pitches - 65% strikes), allowing no walks while striking out five with a 3/5 GO/AO. He retired the last five hitters he faced (K, F-9, K, 4-3, L-8). Butler's FB sat at 93-94 and he was able to throw his secondary pitches for strikes, but D'backs (Rawhide) hitters consistently squared-up his pitches and made hard contact up until the last five outs. 
   
Cubs 2016 3rd round draft pick RHSP Thomas Hatch (Oklahoma State) followed Butler to the mound on Field #6 and worked 3.2 IP, allowing the Basabe three-run homer, but he got stronger as he got deeper into the outing, eventually retiring the last eight men he faced in a row (four of the last five by strikeout). Hatch had all of his pitches working (92-93 MPH two-seam FB, slider, and CH) over the last eight outs. 

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

Cubs Extinguish Blaze at Riverview

Catcher Michael Cruz belted a two-run home run and singled, drove-in another run with a sacrifice fly, picked two runners off base (one at 2nd and one at 3rd), and threw out another baserunner attempting to steal, speedy lead-off man Zach Davis (learning to switch-hit after being a RH hitter-only previously) singled, walked, stole three bases, and scored three runs, DH Ruben Reyes tripled and singled and scored two runs, CF Jose Gonzalez belted an inside-the-park HR (thanks to an ill-advised attempted diving catch by the left-fielder), and six pitchers combined to toss a four-hitter, helping the Eugene/Mesa Cubs to a 10-3 victory over the Langley Blaze in Minor League Camp game action Monday morning on Field #4 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ, and then Monday afternoon, Aramis Ademan tripled and singled and scored a run and LHSP Manny Rondon hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) and the Beloit Snappers (Lo-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) played to a 3-3 tie on Field #3, and Sandber Pimentel drilled an RBI single, doubled, reached base on an HBP, and scored two runs, and RHSP Evan Manarino fired four innings of two-hit shutout ball with four strikeouts, leading the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) to a 6-2 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate), in a Cactus League Minor League doubleheader played at the Lew Wolff Training Center at Fitch Park 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 are the abridged box scores from the three games (Cubs players only):

Cubs Unleash Six-Run 2nd & Coast to Victory at Riverview

Roberto Caro (RBI single), Yeiler Peguero (RBI double), Jhonny Pereda (RBI single), Zack Short (two-run double), and Jose Paniagua (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a six-run second inning and SP Erling Moreno (back from the WBC) threw three strong innings (76% strikes, two infield singles, one unearned run), as the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) defeated the Asheville Tourists (Lo-A Affiliate of the Colorado Rockies) 10-6 on Field #5, and Mylz Jones drilled four hits (two singles, a double, and an RBI triple) and scored two runs, leading the Modesto Nuts (Rockies Hi-A affiliate) to a 7-4 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League game action Sunday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.    

South Bend RHRP M. T. Minacci grabbed his right arm after his final pitch (an F-8 FO) in the top of the 8th inning and went directly to the Cubs UAPC clubhouse (no usual post-outing stretching). 

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

Cease, Steele, and Morrison Get Their Work in Intrasquad Games

The Cubs played two three-inning Minor League Camp intrasquad games Saturday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ, with RHSP Dylan Cease (South Bend), LHSP Justin Steele (Myrtle Beach), and RHSP Preston Morrison (Tennessee) making their scheduled starts on a day when the Cubs had no Cactus League Minor League games scheduled against other MLB organizations. 

In addition, two pitchers who arrived late to Minor League Camp (LHP Yapson Gomez and RHP Alexander Santana) and recently-signed 28-year old "rookie" RHP Zach Rafferty saw their first game action of 2017.

OF Jose Gutierrez left the gane on Field #3 after being hit on the right ankle by a pitch. He was driven to the UAPC on a cart.

No players from the Iowa group played in either game (Iowa players were assigned as extra men in the two Cubs MLB split squad games), and eight position players from the Tennessee group were assigned to the four squads (two Smokies position players assigned to each of the four squads).   

Here are the box scores from the two abbreviated games:

D. J. Helps Pelicans Cruz to Miller Time Music at Diablo

Zack Short singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run, and Jose Gutierrez singled, walked, stole a base and scored two runs, helping the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) defeat the Burlington Bees (Lo-A affilate of the Los Angeles Angels) 7-4 on Field #3, and Trent Giambrone belted a two-run double, stole 3rd base, and then scored on a FC to highlight a three-run 2nd, D. J. Wilson smashed a tape-measure solo home run off the Angels clubhouse in the 3rd, Michael Cruz blasted a two-run HR down the RF line in the 4th, and Kyle Miller hurled three innings of shutout ball, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) to an 11-7 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #4, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Saturday afternoon at the Diablo Stadium Complex n Tempe, AZ.

Myrtle Beach 1B Matt Rose left the game on Field #4 in the top of the 2nd inning after being hit by a pitch, and he was driven back to the UAPC in Mesa by Cubs training staff. Also, South Bend catcher Tyler Payne suffered what appeared to be a lower-body injury while sliding into 2nd base (RBI double) in the top of the 6th on Field #3.   

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

Baez Owns Lester, Apparently

Jeffrey Baez belted a solo home run leading off the game and contributed two RBI doubles later in the contest (all three run-scoring hits coming off Jon Lester), but it wasn't enough as Carlos Penalver drilled a solo HR leading off the bottom of the 1st inning, Wladmir Galindo smacked a solo shot onto the freeway berm beyond the left field fence in the bottom of the 6th, and Jonathan Sierra belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the 7th, helping the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) rally to tie the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) 7-7 on Field #6, and Carlos Sepulveda singled, doubled, and tripled, scored two runs, and drove-in two more, Trent Giambrone belted a three-run HR, walked, stole a base, and scored two runs, Connor Myers doubled, walked, stole two bases, and scored a run, and RHSP Thomas Hatch (Cubs 2016 3rd round draft pick - Oklahoma State) hurled three innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) to a 9-1 victory over the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) on Field #5, in Minor League Camp intrasquad doubleheader game action this morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

Chicago Cubs ace LHSP Jon Lester came over to Minor League Camp to get his scheduled game work, but the Tennessee Smokies were ready for him, hammering him to the tune of six runs on nine hits (including three doubles, two triples, and a home run). Lester eventually recorded 12 outs (including three strikeouts) and did not issue any walks, but he left the game with his team trailing 6-3.  

Willson Conteras was Lester's catcher, and he batted five times in six innings, going 1-4 with a single and a walk, and two strikeouts. He also was thrown out attempting to steal a base. Defensively he was 0-1 CS.

Sometimes called the "Other Baez" by those who follow the Cubs farm system, Jeffey Baez was signed by the Cubs previous regime as a 16-year old International Free-Agent out of Venezuela in July 2010. Now 23, the "other Baez" has moved somewhat slowly (fits & starts) through the Cubs system over the past six years, only occasionally showing the five-tool package the Cubs thought they had when they signed him. But he does have skills (plus-arm, plus-power, plus-speed), and he was MVP of Cubs Extended Spring Training in both 2013 and 2014 (he led the EXST Cubs in home runs both seasons), and he tied for the league lead in stolen bases in the Carolina League in 2016 (built like an NFL running back, Baez is an excellent base stealer). But 2017 is a make-or-break year for the Jeffrey Baez Cub connection, because he is eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 six-year minor league free-agent post-2017, and so the Cubs must decide by 5 PM (Eastern) five days after the final game of the World Series whether to add him to their MLB 40-man roster, or let him walk away as a minor league free-agent (or possibly trade him before he hits free-agency). He is projected to be the starting RF at AA Tennessee in 2017 (although he can play all three outfield positions), so we will just have to wait and see how Baez performs at the AA level, and what the Cubs will choose to do with him post-2017. I'm not sure the Cubs will want to let a talent like Jeffrey Baez just walk away after investing so much time and effort in his development.

It was a "bullpen day" for both the South Bend Cubs and Tennessee Smokies, with a number of pitchers battling for pen jobs getting an inning of work. The best performance of the day among the relievers who threw in the two games was turned-in by Iowa Cubs RHRP Daniel Corcino, who threw high-octane gas past three Smokies hitters while striking out the side1-2-3  in the 7th. Tennessee RHRP Scott Effross also struck out the side 1-2-3 in his one inning of work.

Here are the box scores from the two games:

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