The Cubs need a leadoff hitter, this is undisputed. I submit Ian Happ may be the best candidate. In 2017 Cub leadoff hitters slashed .246/.324/.422, the middle number being most concerning. The Cubs desperately need a leadoff hitter who will get on base at a greater than .350 clip. I think Happ can easily surpass that mark. While most Cubs fans’ first impression of Ian Happ was his power, his 2017 homerun numbers were actual an aberration.
Eloy Jimenez belted a two-run 1st inning home run, P. J. Higgins collected four hits (three singles and a triple), scored a run, and drove-in another, and SP Preston Morrison tossed five innings of shutout ball, leading the South Bend Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Field #4, and David Freitas clubbed a two-run 1st inning HR (his second round-tripper in two days) and Billy McKinney drilled a tie-breaking RBI single in the 6th, as the Tennessee Smokies edged the Iowa Cubs 3-2 on Field #6, in Minor League Camp game action Friday morning at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Ian Happ smacked a solo HR for Myrtle Beach in a losing cause on Field #4, and Ben Carhart hammered a solo home run in a losing cause for Iowa on Field #6. (Carhart was temporarily moved-up to the Iowa squad from Tennessee because the three catchers assigned to Iowa are in Las Vegas with the parent club).
The game on Field #6 was called after seven innings of play.
There were a number of roster moves made at Minor League Camp prior to the two games, with the Opening Day rosters of the four full-season clubs (particularly regarding position players and starting pitchers) becoming a bit more clear. There are still a few more moves/cuts to be made, however, especially involving the AAA Iowa and Hi-A Myrtle Beach bullpens and the Iowa outfield, and it's always possible that some of the assignments could be changed at the last minute due to injuries or other factors.
Cubs Minor League Camp Rosters
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart (both updated daily)
Also, 18 players who are assigned to the Cubs Dominican Acdemy but who were not invited to Minor League Camp will be attending Extended Spring Training and will be arriving over the next several days. The first three (LHP Pablo Ochoa, LHP Eugenio Palma, and RHP Andri Rondon) arrived today. Ochoa and A. Rondon attended Instructs in Mesa last Fall, but Palma is making his U. S. debut.
Here are the box scores from the two games:
P. J. Higgins grounded an RBI single through the 3.5 hole to plate the first run of the inning and Ho-Young Son followed with a bases-loaded triple into the left-centerfield gap to score three more, as the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) rallied for four runs in the 7th and defeated the Burlington Bees (Los Angeles Angels Lo-A affiliate) 7-4 on Field #4, and Brendan Sanger and Hutton Moyer belted back-to-back RBI triples to highlight a three-run 3rd and RHSP Tyler Carpenter hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) 5-3 on Field #7, in Cactus League Minor League game action Friday afternoon at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.
Besides the four-run rally in the 7th, Carlos Sepulveda doubled twice and scored a run and Kevonte Mitchell belted an RBI triple, walked, and cut-down a baserunner 9-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to right for the SB-Cubs.
RHSP Jake Stinnett had a rough outing for Myrtle Beach, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits (including the back-to-back RBI triples), a walk, and a WP in 4.0 IP (61 pitches).
Among the more-notable Cub position player prospects playing in the two games, Ian Happ played 2B and went 0-2 with two walks, a strikeout (swinging), and a 1-3 bounce-out (slamming his bat into the ground in frustration before starting for 1st) and an E-4 fielding miscue (which led to an unearned run scoring), Donnie Dewees served as a DH and reached base three times (two singles and a walk), Eddy Julio Martinez also served as a DH and drilled a ringing RBI double (near HR) off the LF wall, and Eloy Jimenez played LF and went 1-3 (double into to the LF corner, walk, and a run scored).
Angelo Amendolare, Vimael Machin, Alberto Mineo, Andruw Monasterio, and Ho-Young Son were moved-up from the Eugene/Mesa group for the day to augment the South Bend and Myrtle Beach rosters.
Cubs Spring Training Depth Chart
Minor League Camp Rosters (updated daily)
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only):