Felix Stevens

Bote Is Back at Diamondbacks Black

Miguel Pabon and Brayan Altuve laced run-scoring singles, Felix Stevens and Reivaj Garcia singled, walked, and scored one run a piece, Raino Coran reached base three times on two singles and a walk and gunned down a runner trying to score from 2nd base on a line-drive single to RF, fireballin' RP Alfredo Zarraga struck out three of the last four men he faced (all three swinging) to protect the lead and record the win, and catcher Moises Ballesteros threw out a runner attempting to steal second base to end the game after earlier picking a runner off 2nd base to blunt a potential 4th inning rally, as the Cubs scored a late tie-breaking run and edged the Diamondbacks Black squad 3-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning on Whilrlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ.  

Danyer Sanabria drilled an RBI single and tripled and scored for the D'backs. 

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

David Bote saw his first game action of 2022 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder last October. He served as a DH in the game and went 1-3, grounding out in his first two ABs and then reaching base on an infield hit his final time up. Barring a medical setback, Bote will be playing in EXST games through next week, and then he will report to AAA Iowa on 5/23 and begin an official Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab Assignment. Because he was placed on the Cubs MLB 60-day IL during Spring Training, he must spend at least the first 60 days of the MLB regular season on the IL, which means June 6th is the earliest he can be reinstated.  

In EXST Cubs roster news, RHP Dakota Mekkes has completed his EXST rehab and he has moved-up to AAA Iowa (he pitched in just one Cactus League EXST game, and that was two days ago). Also, INF Carlos Sepulveda has been assigned to Iowa (he played in the EXST intrasquad game yesterday, so the move was sudden), and 1B Grayson Byrd has been moved up to South Bend. Like Jake Slaughter and Wyatt Short, Sepulveda and Byrd were left behind at EXST when the four Cubs full-season minor league affiliates left town last month. 

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

Rockies Roll But Little Shows Off Big Arm at Talking Stick

Colorado Rockies 2021 15th round draft pick Benjamin Sems doubled, singled, walked, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored a run, Rockies 2021 6th round draft pick Braxton Fulford drilled an RBI single, walked, reached base twice on an HBP, and scored a run, Rockies 2021 10th round pick Zach Kokoska singled twice, scored a run, and drove-in another, and RHSP Case Williams (Rockies 2020 4th round pick) fired five innings of one-hit shutout ball, leading the Rockies to a 6-1 victory over the Cubs in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

All told, the Rockies collected nine hits (eight singles and a double) and stole four bases, but they also took advantage of nine walks, six HBP, amd nine WP to claim the victory.

Felix Stevens tripled to lead-off the top of the eighth inning and scored on a 6-3 GO to account for the lone Cub run. 

SP Case Williams has had an unusual ride since being drafted by the Rockies out of a Colorado HS in 2020. He was one of two pitchers sent to the Reds last November in the deal that sent RHRP Robert Stephenson from Cincinnati to Colorado, and then he was reacquired by the Rockies from the Reds in exchange for RHRP Mychal Givens in a 2021 MLB Trade Deadline deal. Obviously the Rockies like Williams, and were probably thrilled to be given a chance to get him back. I can see why. 

LHP Luke Little (2020 4th round draft pick out of San Jacinto JC in Texas) got the start for the Cubs and was virtually unhittable, hurling 2.2 IP with eight strikeouts (all eight outs he recorded were by punch-out), as the Rockies were able to put only one ball into play (a ground single through the 5.5 hole by the second batter he faced). But the 21-year old 6'8 230+ lefty also struggled to throw strikes, issuing three walks, hitting two batters, and uncorking three WP during the course of his outing.

Despite the command issues, Little's stuff was electric, as he mixed a 95-98 MPH FB, a 90-92 CH, an 88-91 SL/CT, and a slow CV, all thrown with a release point closer to home than is the case with the average pitcher because of his long arms. Count him as another success story from the Cubs Mesa Pitch Lab, where he has spent most of the past 16 months since signing in June 2020.

Given his pitch mix, velo, and size, I would think Luke Little -- not be confused with another Cubs minor league LHP, 2018 1st round pick Brendon Little -- is probably among the Cubs' Top 10 pitching prospects right now, with a 2022 Opening Day starting pitcher assignment at Myrtle Beach (if not at South Bend) a distinct possibility.     

The 2021 AZIL Cubs finished their schedule with a 5-11-1 record. 19 games were originally scheduled, but one game was rained-out when a severe thunderstorm hit Mesa just as the game was about to start, and another was canceled because the opponent (the Rockies) didn't have enough pitchers available to play the game.

Of course the final AZIL W-L record isn't important, but it is what it is. Fact is, the 2021 AZIL Cubs were not exactly the 1927 Yankees in terms of game performance. They were shut out four times. That said, individual player development and team building is why the players were down here, and in that respect, Instructs was a definite success.

Many of the players who were at Instructs will return on November 1st for a four-month long conditioning & development program (with time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas) that will lead-up to the start of Minor League Camp in March.        

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

Rockies' Rock Too Heavy for Cubs to Lift

Rockies 2021 2nd round draft pick LHSP Joe Rock hurled four innings of no-run / one-hit ball, Rockies 2021 10th round pick Zach Kokoska belted an RBI triple and an RBI single and scored a run, and Rockies 2021 6th round pick Braxton Fulford laced a single and and an RBI double and scored a run, helping the Rockies defeat the Cubs 7-3 in AZ Instructional League game action Wednesday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Felix Stevens clubbed a moonshot HR high over the LF fence and Luis Verdugo drilled a two-run single to account for the three Cub runs.

Felix Stevens and James Triantos are now tied for the AZIL Cubs lead in HR with two a piece. Matt Mervis and Ezequiel Pagan have each hit one (the AZIL Cubs as a team have hit six HR in 15 AZIL games), and Miguel Fabrizio hit a HR in the only "Blue - Red" intrasquad game played so far.  

With two RBI today, Luis Verdugo now leads the AZIL Cubs in RBI with five (Brayan Altuve, Ronnier Quintero, and Reggie Preciado are tied for second in RBI with three a piece). 

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

Felix the Top Cat at Riverview

Felix Stevens belted a solo HR, singled twice, and scored two runs, Pedro Ramirez (Cubs 2021 IFA - U. S. game debut) drilled an RBI double, singled, stole a base, and scored a run, Frank Hernandez (Cubs 2019 IFA - Team Spain 18U - U. S. game debut) singled twice and drove-in a run, Reggie Preciado laced an RBI single and drew a walk, and RHP Luis Devers tossed 3.1 IP of shutout ball anf picked a runner off base (third PO in his last two games), helping the Cubs throttle the Athletics 7-4 in AZ Instructional League game action Thursday afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

A's 2021 2nd round pick Zack Gelof ripped a two-run double in a losing cause. 

Pedro Ramirez and Frank Hernandez were supposed to have made their U. S. game debut on Tuesday versus the Angels, except the contest was rained out just as the Cubs were about to take the field. (Angels 2021 1st round pick RHP Sam Bachman was to be the Halos' SP). Cubs SP Luke Little had finished his warm-up in the pen and the umpires were meeting with the Cubs and Angels managers at home plate, when lightning from an approaching storm drove everybody off the field. Then within ten minutes a gully-washer downpour flooded the field and canceled the game (and the planned U. S. game debut of P. Ramirez and F. Hernandez). The Cubs had an instructional "Camp Day" yesterday (emphasizing situational hitting, baserunning, and relay throws from the outfied), so today's game was the first AZIL game played by the Cubs since Monday. And for Ramirez and F. Hernandez, it was certainly worth the wait! 

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

Cub Offense Shines Under the Lights in ACL Opening Night

Ezequiel Pagan blasted a solo HR to key a four-run third, Reggie Preciado immediately followed with a solo HR and then later walked three times (once with the bases loaded) and stole a base, Rafael Morel singled, walked, and scored a run, Owen Caissie singled twice, walked, and stole a base, Felix Stevens smacked a double and an RBI triple and scored two runs, Malcom Quintero doubled, walked, and scored two runs, Ismael Mena laced two RBI singles and drew a walk, and Shendrik Apostel singled and walked, helping the ACL Cubs defeat the ACL Diamondbacks 7-4 in Arizona Complex League (formerly AZL) Opening Night game action Monday evening on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.     

Juan Corniel belted an RBI triple and scored in the 3rd and drilled a two-run single in the 7th to provide most of the offense for the D'backs. 

The Cubs scored five runs on nine hits (five singles, two doubles, and two HR) off Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Taylor Widener in 2.2 IP. Widener has been on the D'backs MLB 10-day IL for over a month with a groin strain, and was making what he problably thought was a ho-hum Article XIX-C Minor League Rehab start in Mesa. Or as Augie Ojeda once said about doing a rehab stint in the AZL: "This is a really tough league for big leaguers." 

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

Heath Bars Cubs from Victory at Riverview

Nick Heath belted a HR on the first pitch of the game, led-off the inning with a triple and scored in the 4th, and walked, stole 2nd base, and scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the 8th, Junior Franco smacked a two-run triple in the 6th, Ben DeLuzio laced the two-out 8th inning RBI triple that drove-in Heath with the deciding run,.and SP Jean Marcelino hurled 2.2 IP of one-hit ball, helping the Diamondbacks edge the Cubs 6-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Thursday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

The game was called after eight innings of play. 

Heath is on the AAA Reno 7-day IL and is on a rehab assignment at EXST. 

Felix Stevens blasted a game-tying three-run HR over the scoreboard in left-centerfield in the 7th, and SP Tyler Schlaffer tossed four innings of two-hit ball for the Cubs in a losing cause. (The two hits surrendered by Schlaffer were the Nick Heath HR in the top of the 1st and the Nick Heath lead-off triple in the top of the 4th). The Stevens HR was his second dinger in four EXST games, and both were moon shots.  

In 13 PA over the course of the Cubs first four EXST games, Owen Caissie has reached base ten times (four doubles, three singles, and three walks), and there was nothing cheap-o about any of the hits, either.   

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

Padre Pick-Ups Pace Cubs at Salt River Fields

Yeison Santana went 4-4 (solo HR and three singles) and scored three runs, Owen Caissie drilled two doubles and a single, drew a walk, scored a run, and  knocked-in two, Felix Stevens blasted a two-run HR, Jose Lopez belted a two-run triple, and SP Porter Hodge fired 3.1 IP of shutout ball, as the Cubs demolished the Rockies 13-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning on Dust Storm Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ. 

The game was called after 7-1/2 innings of play.  

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