Jonathan Sierra

Carrier Gets Carried Away and Pacheco Gets Carted Off, Leaving Remaining Cubs in the Dark

Chris Carrier drove-in two runs with a solo HR and two singles and scored twice, Fernando Kelli tripled, singled, walked, and scored a run. and Jonathan Sierra and Reivaj Garcia each drilled an RBI double and a single and scored a run, in an eight-inning Cubs Extended Spring Training intrasquad game played Saturday night on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Carrier hit his HR in the bottom of the 6th right after being informed that he was being called-up to one of the Cubs full-season affiliates (presumably South Bend, but it could have been one of the others), so after blasting the bomb far over the LF fence, Carrier gathered his gear, hugged his teammates, and made a bee-line for the UAPC (slip-sliding on the concrete in the process) and then to Sky Harbor Airport. (It's always a trip when a player at Extended Spring Training gets called-up during a game). 

On a more somber note, Carlos Pacheco was carried off the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury in the top of the 7th after tripping over 1st base while attempting to beat-out an infield hit. 

The game was called with a score of 8-6 prior to the start of the 9th inning after the lights suddenly switched themselves off. (Unbeknownst to Carmelo Martinez and the rest of the EXST Cubs, the lights were pre-set to turn off automatically at 10 PM so that the Riverview Park ground crew and City of Mesa personnel could go home without having to wait around for the game to end, but none of the Cubs knew how to over-ride the timer and turn them back on). Dalton Geekie and Yan de la Cruz were warmed-up and ready to throw one inning each, but obviously they were unable to get their scheduled game-work. (The Field #1 sprinklers also turned themselves on automatically a few minutes prior to start of the game).  

The Cubs will be playing AZL home games at both Sloan Park (the Cubs Spring Training stadium) and across the street at Riverview Park Field #1 (the only Riverview back-field with lights) on nights when both AZL Cubs #1 and AZL Cubs #2 are scheduled to play home games, so it's probably good to be aware of potential problems and get the glitches worked-out now rather than after the AZL season starts.  

Here is the box score from the game: 

Cubs Repel Snakes at Riverview

Yovanny Cuevas (RBI triple), Cam Balego (two-run single), Jonathan Sierra (RBI single), and Fernando Kelli (RBI single) contributed run-scoring hits and LHSP Brailyn Marquez and four relievers combined to hurl a five-hitter, as the Cubs cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Tuesday morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.  

The defensive gem of the game was turned-in by Cubs SS Luis Vazquez, who made a spectacular back-handed diving catch (at full-speed and with full extension) in short LF at the foul line, quickly righted himself, and then threw a laser-strike to 1st base to double-off the shocked/amazed D'backs baserunner to end the top of the 7th inning. (To prove he isn't ready for MLB just yet, Vazquez made a fielding error on an easy grounder to short in the top of the 9th).   
 
Recently-signed OF served as a DH in the game for the Cubs and got three AB, walking and scoring in the 1st, flying out to the warning track in CF in the 2nd, and striking out (swinging) on a 3-2 breaking ball in the 4th. Adams elected free-agency after being sent outright to AAA Gwinnett by the Atlanta Braves on April 25th,.and he officially signed with the Cubs today. He is at Extended Spring Training partly because he hadn't played in a game in about three weeks, and partly because there is not (at present) room for him at AAA Iowa.

The 28-year old Adams was one of the better "4th outfielders" in MLB last year, hitting 275/339/468 in 85 games with the Braves. But his best attribute is base-stealing. He swiped 25 bags last year, ten with Atlanta (no CS) and 15 for AAA Gwinnett prior to getting called up, after stealing 38 in AA in both 2013 and 2014, 31 in AA/AAA in 2015, and 44 in AA/AAA in 2016. 

Adams played in the Cubs organization in 2016 (first at AA Tennessee and then at AAA Iowa) after being released by the Yankees (he was released from AA Trenton to make room for OF Billy McKinney after the Yanks acquired McKinney as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade, so in a way Adams signing with the Cubs in 2016 was indirectly a result of the Chapman deal), and he was actually "on the bubble" for a potential September call-up to Chicago that season as a "5th outfielder" (late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement), but he never got the call.

In EXST Cubs roster news, Cubs 2017 5th round draft pick OF Nelson Velazquez (P. J. Education School - Carolina, PR) has been promoted to South Bend.  

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

Bond Bullet Snatches Tie from Jaws of Victory at Riverview

Alexander Guerra drilled a two-run HR and a single and Jonathan Sierra doubled, walked twice, and scored a run for the Cubs, and Francisco Medina belted a solo HR for the Giants black squad, as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.   

With two outs and the scored tied in the bottom of the 9th inning, Jonathan Sierra sliced an opposite-field double into the LF corner, but then was thrown out at the plate by Giants LF Aaron Bond a batter later to end the game while attempting score on an Alexander Guerra ground single to left.   

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

Cubs Top Giant Black at Riverview

Carlos Pacheco singled twice, doubled, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in another, Jonathan Sierra singled, walked, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored three runs, Brailyn Marquez and Jeremiah Estrada combined to strike out seven of the first 11 men they faced, and seven pitchers combined to toss a five-hitter, as the Cubs cruised past the Giants black squad 7-3 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training game action Monday morning on Field #5 on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

The game was called after eight innings of play.

The 19-year old Pacheco was signed by the Cubs out of Mexico in 2016, he tied for 2nd in the DSL in HR in 2017, and he is expected to provide power for one the two Cubs AZL teams this summer.

RHPs Fernando Calderon, Benjamin Rodriguez, and Jose M. Gonzalez made their U. S. debut in today's game, working one inning a piece. All three pitched in the DSL last year.

Not counting pitchers who are rehabbing at Extended Spring Training, Marquez and Estrada are clearly the Cubs top two pitching prospects at EXST, and the duo will likely be at the top of the Eugene starting rotation when the NWL begins play in June.

Here is the abridged box score from the game (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:

Sierra and Paniagua Long-Balls Help Cubs Gain Split with Giants

Jonathan Sierra (two-run home run), Alberto Mineo (RBI triple), Kwang-Min Kwon (RBI single), and Roberto Caro (RBI triple) contributed run-scoring hits to highlight a five-run 2nd, Jose Paniagua clubbed his team-leading 4th HR in the 6th, Edgar Rondon drilled two doubles, walked, and scored a run, and Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled, singled , and scored a run, leading the Cubs to a 7-3 win over the Giants on Field #2, and Chase Compton belted a solo HR and an RBI single, Richard Amion Jr rifled an RBI single and walked twice, and RHP Hengerber Medina and four relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout, as the Giants blanked the Cubs 3-0 on Field #1, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader action this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.  

Both games were called by mutual-consent after 7-1/2 innings of play. 

Now 17, Jonathan Sierra (2015 IFA - Dominican Republic- $2.5M bonus) was invited to AZ Instructs as a 16-year old last September, and he made a favorable impression, even drawing comparisons to a (very) young Darryl Strawberry (lanky teenaged LH hitting & throwing corner OF with potential to mash). But Sierra has struggled at Extended Spring Training so far, hitting just 152/243/303 (16% K-rate - 11% walk-rate) in 13 Cactus League EXST games (37 PA), and his second-inning home run today (which was his 1st Cactus League EXST HR) broke an 0-13 skid that goes back ten days. So while his future is bright, he will likely be assigned to one of the Cubs DSL squads (DSL Cubs #1 or DSL Cubs #2) in the coming days.     

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