Cubs Minor League Spring Training Game Recap

Bolt from the Skye Turns I-Cubs Blue at Riverview

Aramis Ademan and Nelson Velazquez each ripped an RBI triple, singled, walked, and scored two runs, Miguel Amaya drilled a two-run double and a single and scored a run, and Fidel Mejia slugged a three-run HR, helping the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) trounce the Midland Rockhounds (AA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) 10-3 on Field #5, and Luke Persico and Collin Theroux roped RBI doubles, Luis Barrera hammered an RBI triple, Skye Bolt clubbed a solo HR, and RHSP Ben Bracewell tossed 2-1/3 innings of one-hit ball, helping the Nashville Sounds (A's AAA affiliate) defeat the Cubs AAA Iowa affiliate 6-4 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.

Both games were eight-inning affairs.  

Because the Cubs MLB squad was playing a split-squad doubleheader, most of the Iowa position players were called-up for those games, and as a result the Iowa game featured a number of position-players from the Tennessee squad, and the Tennessee game featured a number of players from the Myrtle Beach and South Bend squads (and in fact it was some of the Cubs top prospects from the lower levels -- Ademan, Velazquez, and M. Amaya -- who had the best performances).   

Iowa Cubs reliever Corey Black (February 2017 TJS) saw his first game action since 2016 in the contest on Field #6, but it did not go too well for the righthander. Black faced three batters and threw 14 pitches (but only three strikes) and left the game with what appeared to be a right arm injury (unknown if it's related to the TJS). 

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

Cubs Don't Show Brothers Much Hospitality at Riverview

D. J. Wilson smacked a two-run triple and a single, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, Zack Short doubled twice and scored twice, Austin Upshaw hammered a two-run home run, Chris Pieters knocked-in three runs with a two-run single and a FC, stole a base, and scored twice, and Stephen Bruno, Kevonte Mitchell, and Miguel Amaya each drilled an RBI double, as the Cubs drubbed the Chinatrust Brothers 13-5 in Minor League Camp game action Thursday morning on Field #6 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Tung-Jung Wu belted a two-run HR for the Brothers in a losing cause.

The game was called after eight innings of play.

Duncan Robinson got the start for the Cubs, working two innings and allowing a run on four hits (all four hits were singles) and no walks, with four strikeouts (all swinging). Trevor Clifton followed Robinson to the hill and worked two shutout innings, allowing two hits (both doubles) and no walks, with two strikeouts (both looking). Michael Rucker also threw two innings, surrendering a two-run HR along the way while throwing 82% strikes. As things stand right now, Robinson, Clifton, and Rucker would appear to be 3/5 of the AA Tennessee Smokies projected Opening Day starting rotation.

The Brothers (AKA "Brother Elephants") are one of the four clubs in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), and they have been having their Spring Training at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson (former Spring Training home of the White Sox and the Diamondbacks) for the past few weeks, sharing the facility with los Toros de Tijuana (Mexican League).

Cory Snyder is the Brothers manager, Jim Presley is the hitting coach, and Scott Budner is the pitching coach, so there is a distinct MLB feel to the operation. Ex-MLB or minor league pitchers Casey Coleman, Zack Segovia, Nick Additon, and Mitch Lively are on the Brothers roster, although none of them pitched in the game. Several of the Brothers played for Team Chinese Taipei in the most-recent World Baseball Classic, so they have some experience playing with and against MLB and minor league players.  

Here is the box score from the game (English translation only):

Cub Pitchers Shine in the Arizona Sun at Riverview Park

Ryan Williams hurled 6-2/3 innings of one-hit ball (no walks) and combined with Rob Zastryzny to toss a two-hit shutout, as the Iowa Cubs blanked the Tennessee Smokies 1-0 on Field #6, and Yeiler Peguero slugged a solo HR and Dylan Cease tossed 4-2/3 innings of three-hit one-run ball with six strikeouts (81 pitches), as the South Bend Cubs edged the Eugene Emeralds 3-2 on Field #5, in Cubs Minor League Camp doubleheader intrasquad action Sunday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Baez, Clifton, and Hodges Star at Riverview Park

Jeffrey Baez belted a solo home run, an RBI triple, and a single, and stole a base, and RHSP Trevor Clifton hurled six innings of three-hit shutout ball, as the Tennessee Smokies blanked the Iowa Cubs 3-0 on Field #6, and Jesse Hodges ripped a two-run double and a single and stole a base, Carlos Sepulverda singled twice, walked, scored a run, and drove-in another, and Robert Garcia laced an RBI double and a single, stole a base, and scored a run, leading the Myrtle Beach Pelicans to a 6-4 victory over the South Bend Cubs on Field #5, in Cubs Minor League Camp intrasquad doubleheader action Saturday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

Trainer Olympics & Good Pitching Featured at Riverview Park

Zack Short collected three hits (two singles and a triple) and scored two runs, Chris Pieters singled twice and walked and drove-in a run, and RHSP Duncan Robinson (Cubs 2016 9th round draft pick - Dartmouth) hurled four innings of shutout ball (groundball machine with a 7/1 GO/AO) and RHP Matt Swarmer (Cubs 2016 19th round draft pick - Kutztown U.) followed with four innings of one-run ball (with six strikeouts), leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 4-2 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Lo-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics) on Field #5, and RHSP Casey Meisner tossed four innings of one-run ball as the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) edged the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-affiliate) 3-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader action Friday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.

The game on Field #5 was pre-planned as a ten-inning affair. 

RHSP Thomas Hatch (Cubs 2016 3rd round draft pick - Oklahoma State) was the starting pitcher for Myrtle Beach on Field #6, working 4.2 IP (90 pitches) and allowing two runs on five hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts. He also threw a WP, and committed a two-base throwing error on an attempted pick-off at 1st base. Hatch is a very advanced pitcher and could move very quickly through the Cubs system. In fact he could see MLB as early as next season - IF - he can improve his command (he threw only 49% strikes in the game). 

Prior to the games, the Cubs Player Develpment Department held their annual "Trainers Olympics" on Field #6. Cubs minor league trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, equipment managers, clubhouse personnel, and video & IT techs participated. Events included a Home Run Derby (from 2nd base), catching pop-ups at home plate while wearing catchers gear, and throwing BP. 150 or so players gathered around the field to provide encouragement to the contestants as they gamely tried to show-off their baseball skills.    

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

Just Another Cubs & Brew Crew Long-Ball Feud at Riverview Park

Cael Brockmeyer reached base five times (three singles, an RBI double, and a walk), Todd Glaesmann doubled and scored, belted a solo home run, and tripled (leaving him a single short of a "cycle"), Stephen Bruno roped a solo HR and an RBI single, walked, and reached base on an HBP, Jeffrey Baez slugged a solo HR and singled, and Jason Vosler doubled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another for the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs), and Lewis Brinson, Nick Noonan, and Brett Phillips drilled consecutive RBI singles to highlight a four-run 2nd inning and then Brinson (two-run shot), Phillips (solo blast), and Ryan Cordell (solo dinger) belted home runs (all three HR coming off RHRP Miguel Mejia) in a four-run 4th for the Colorado Sky Sox (AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers), as the two teams played to a 9-9 tie on Field #6, and Johnny Davis collected four hits and three RBI (two run-scoring doubles and two singles) and Dustin Houle drilled two RBI singles, walked, and scored two runs, leading the Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers AA affiliate) to an 11-3 drubbing of the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) on Field #5, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Thursday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.    

Ian Rice smacked a solo HR and singled and scored and Jesse Hodges went 3-3 (two singles and a triple) and scored a run for Tennessee in a losing cause.

A number of players were temporarily moved-up to the Iowa and Tennessee squads from lower levels to replace players who traveled with the Cubs MLB squad to Houston.

RHP Miguel Mejia (competing for a bullpen job with Iowa) and RHRP Daury Torrez (competing for a bullpen job with Tennessee) had especially bad outings at a most inopportune time. Mejia surrendered three home runs (plus two more near HR) in one inning and Torrez was belted around like a BP pitcher (allowing four runs on five hits while only recording two outs). 

Ex-Atlanta Braves RHSP Williams Perez (competing for a SP job with Iowa) was hit hard as well, getting the start for the I-Cubs and allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks in just three innings. Unless he is left behind at Extended Spring Training to "find his stuff," there does not appear to be a path to the Iowa roster for Perez.    

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

Cubs Bothered by RiverCats & Flying Squirrels at Indian School Park

Orlando Calixte drilled an RBI single in the third inning and a two-run single in the 7th that turned a one-run deficit into a one-run lead, and the Sacramento RiverCats (AAA affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) held-on to edge the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 4-3 on Field #1, and Miguel Gomez singled and tripled and scored two runs, Hunter Cole doubled twice, drove-in two runs, and scored another, and Chris Shaw ripped an RBI single and an RBI double, leading the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA affiliate) to a 6-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Wednesday afternoon at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.

Eddy Julio Martinez collected three hits (two singles and a double) for the Smokies in a losing cause.

As usual, a number of players were moved-up from lower levels to replace players assigned to the Cubs MLB game at Sloan Park. In fact, no less than 11 players were "called-up" to the AA/AAA games from the Eugene/Mesa (Extended Spring Training) group. 

Iowa and Tenneessee starting pitcher candidates have been practicing their bunting for the past few days on the back-fields at Riverview Park in preparation for the start of the Southern League and PCL seasons next week, and so the Smokies and I-Cubs starting pitchers -- Duane Underwood Jr and Jake Buchanan -- plus Seth Frankoff (who is competing for a SP/RP "swing-man" gig) were sent up to bat to bunt in game situations where there was a man on base and less than two out. (The DH is used in all leagues below AA, and it's used in AA and AAA, too, but only in games where an American League affiliate is the home team).  

The battle continues for bullpen jobs at Iowa and Tennessee, and today's candidates were a mixed-bag. Michael Wagner couldn't find the strike zone, Jonathan Martinez didn't fool anybody and was hit hard, Juan Carlos Paniagua labored through his one inning (although he did pitch out of a runners at 2nd & 3rd and no outs jam), and Daniel Corcino easily retired the side 1-2-3 (F-7, 1-3, K). In fact, Corcino has been nothing short of a revelation so far at Spring Training, combining 96 MPH gas and a plus-breaking ball. The 26-year old Corcino was at one-time the top pitching prospect of the Cincinnati Reds, but he has bounced-around AA the last two or three years in search of his stuff, although he obviously hasn't missed many meals. He has indeed put on a few pounds over the past couple of years (I'd say he is about 5'11 240 right now), and that may have turned off some teams.        

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