Cubs Hitters Go Old School Clutch All Day Long at Instructs

Jared Young singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, and drove-in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Alfonso Rivas (RBI single), Matt Mervis (two-out RBI double), Cam Balego (RBI double), Christopher Morel (RBI triple), and Rafael Morel (game-tying two-out two-run single) collected run-scoring hits for the Cubs, and Armani Smith belted a booming three-run home run and Tyler Fitzgerald drilled a line-drive solo shot for the Giants, as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie in AZ Instructional League game action Saturday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

RHP Manuel Rodriguez (on Cubs MLB 60-day IL) made his first game appearance since leaving a Cactus League Spring Training game last March with a right biceps strain, throwing one inning (10 pitches) and allowing one hit and one run (Fitzgerald's solo HR). He struck out one (swinging) and retired the other two batters on a 4-3 GO and F-8 FO.    

INF Kevin Made (July 2019 IFA - Dominican Republic - $1.5M signing bonus) made his pro game debut and got a hit in his first pro AB, reaching base on a two-out bloop single that fell in front of a diving Giants RF in the bottom of the 7th inning. Made would later score one of the two runs driven-in by Rafael Morel.  

You may have noticed that the Cubs have been playing their infielders all around the infield in AZIL games (and in instructs pre-game and Camp Day infield practice as well), and that's because with the extensive use of shifting today in MLB, infielders need to know the mechanics of all three positions (2B, 3B, and SS) as they move forward, even if the player might profile primarily at one infield position in particular.     

Ed Howard Stars as Cubs Rally to Tie Giants at Instructs

Cubs 2020 1st round draft pick Ed Howard IV (Mt. Carmel HS - Chicago, IL) drilled a pinch-hit RBI double in his pro game debut and Jacob Wetzel (2020 NDFA - Frederick CC) laced an RBI triple and scored on a Fabian Pertuz RBI single in his pro game debut, as the Cubs rallied to tie the Giants 5-5 in AZ Instructional League Opening Day game action Wednesday afternoon at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ. 

Rob Emery belted a three-run HR and Marco Luciano followed with a monster solo shot (both off Cubs SP Cory Abbott) to give the Giants an early 4-0 lead, before the Cubs came roaring back in the late innings.  

Besides Howard and Wetzel, three other Cubs made their pro game debut on Wednesday. LF Jordan Nwogu (2020 3rd round pick - U. of Michigan) reached base on an HBP in his first pro AB and later scored from 1st base on the Wetzel triple, 1B Matt Mervis (2020 NDFA - Duke) drew a walk in his first pro AB and later scored on the Howard RBI double, and RHRP Ben Leeper (2020 NDFA - Oklahoma State) threw one inning in relief. 

Projected Post-2020 MLB "Super Two" Players

An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration.

Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time during the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group (rounded to the nearest whole number). And if  two or more players are tied with the same MLB Service Time just above the "Super Two" threshold, all of the players with that accrued MLB ST would get "Super Two" status even if that means the number of players with "Super Two" status exceeds 22%.   

Cubs vs. Marlins (Wild Card Round, Game 2)

The Cubs dropped the first game, scoring their lone run on an Ian Happ homer and letting six shutout innings from Hendricks turn into a 5-1 loss when things fell apart in the 7th. Now, they face elimination in this best of 3 Wild Card Round. They'll send their best starting pitcher and NL Cy Young contender Yu Darvish to keep the Cubs' season alive.

Cubs vs. Marlins (Wild Card Round, Game 1)

The bizarre 2020 regular season has come to an end with the Cubs in first place in the central and four (!) NL Central teams making the sweet-sixteen style postseason. As the three-seed, the Cubs get to take on Marlins. A 3-game series unfolding without a day off will decide which team advances to the next round. Get ready for yet more strangeness from baseball in 2020!

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