LLHP Brendon Little (Cubs 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-hit ball (a solo HR by Austin Beck with two outs in the 4th), retired fifteen of the sixteen men he faced (including six via strikeout), and threw 76% strikes, Jared Young belted a solo HR and an RBI double, and Jhonny Bethencourt knocked-in three runs with two RBI doubles, leading the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) to a 10-3 victory over the Beloit Snappers (Oakland Athletics Lo-A affiliate) on Field #5, and RHSP Alex Lange (the Cubs other 2017 1st round draft pick) hurled five innings of one-run two-hit ball and retired the last eleven batters he faced, Chesny Young, Ryan Court, and Tyler Alamo clubbed back-to-back-to-back home runs to highlight a four-run 2nd inning, and Aramis Ademan capped the scoring with a solo HR in the 8th, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) drubbed the Stockton Ports (A's Hi-A affiliate) 9-2 on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League Camp doubleheader game action Wednesday afternoon on John Arguello Way at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Brendon Little was absolutely mesmerizing, working very fast and throwing strikes, and effectively mixing his FB, CV, and CH to maximum degree (F-7, K, K, 5-3, 4-3, F-9, K, 5-3, F-7, F-7, K, HR, F-8, P-4, K, K).
Alex Lange was almost as good as Little over his five innings, flashing both his plus-CV and a CH in addition to his solid FB (BB, P-4, 3B, K, F-7, K, 1B, K, F-8, 6-3, K, 4-3, F-8, F-7, 4-3, 6-3, F-8, 3-U).
So it was a really good day for two of the Cubs top pitching prospects.
Not to be outdone, RHP Bailey Clark (Cubs 2016 5th round draft pick) "piggy-backed" with Little and brought 97 MPH FB gas and a hard slider to Field #5, racking up three innings of one-hit one-run ball. Clark retired the side easily 1-2-3 in his first two innings of work (K, 3-U, K, 4-3, 5-3, P-3), before losing his command a bit in his 3rd inning. The A's loaded the bases on a single and two walks with no outs, but then Clark induced a 4-6-3 DP on a 1-2 pitch and struck out the next hitter to get out of the jam. Clark opted to return to college (Duke) to get his degree after being drafted and signed by the Cubs in 2016, and he lost some valuable developmental time as a result, but the 6'4 220 righthander has all the earmarks of a stud power-pitcher.
RHRP Shae Simmons got an inning of work, producing a 1-2-3 inning (K, K, 4-3). He was pounding the lower part of the strike zone with a 95 MPH FB mixed-with an occasional hard SL. (Simmons missed much of Spring Training with a sore shoulder, and was optioned to AAA Iowa just prior to the games at Riverview).
Just back from Fort Myers, FL, where they traveled with the big club for a two-game pre-season set with the Red Sox, Iowa Cubs infielders Ryan Court and Chesny Young served as "roving designated hitters" in the two games, moving back & forth between the two fields in order to get maximum AB in as short a time as possible. Iowa C-1B Taylor Davis got somewhat less-intense DH work in with South Bend, taking all of his AB on Field #5.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games (Cubs players only)
Jake Hannemann crushed a three-run homer, Juan Paniagua and Matt Rose each smacked a two-run HR, Victor Caratini drilled an RBI single, doubled, walked, and scored a run, Ryan Dent singled twice, walked, scored twice, and collected an RBI, Chesny Young drove-in three runs with a FC and a two-run single, and SP Preston Morrison hurled four innings of shutout ball, as the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) crushed the Modesto Nuts (Colorado Rockies Hi-A affiliate) 13-5 on Field #6, and Sam Hilliard tripled, singled twice, and scored two runs, Brian Mundell slugged a solo HR and singled and scored, and Jonathan Piron belted an RBI triple, singled, walked, and stole a base, helping the Asheville Tourists (Rockies low-A affiliate) edge the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 9-8 on Field #3, in Cactus League Minor League doubleheader action Sunday afternoon at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
P. J. Higgins blasted a two-run HR for South Bend in a losing cause on Field #3, and Ryan Stephens contributed a solo HR and a two-run single in a losing cause for Modesto on Field #6.
LHSP Justin Steele had a rough outing for South Bend, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits (including two doubles, a triple, and a home run) and a walk in five innings of work.
As usual, several players were temporarily moved-up from a lower level just for the day.
The game on Field #6 was unusual in that the Cubs AA squad played the Rockies Hi-A squad. Normally AAA plays AAA, AA plays AA, etc, but the members of last season's Myrtle Beach Pelicans received their 2015 Carolina League Champion rings in a ceremony prior to the games, and because most of the 2015 Pelicans are presently assigned to the AA Tennessee squad at Minor League Camp, the Cubs Hi-A group was dispatched to Salt River Fields to play the Rockies AA squad in place of the Smokies, leaving the Cubs AA group behind at Riverview to collect their rings and destroy the Rockies Hi-A group.
John Arguello at Cubs Den has some great pictures and game reports from Saturday's games at Riveview Park.
And here are the abridged box scores from the two games played at Riverview on Sunday (Cubs players only):
Rashad Crawford belted a lead-off triple into the rightfield corner, Andrew Daniel walked, and then Jeffrey Baez and Chesny Young drilled RBI singles to highlight a three-run 3rd and LHSP Rob Zastryzny tossed four innings of one-hit shutout ball for the Angels/Cubs co-op squad, and Samir Duenez doubled in the 7th and drilled an RBI single in the 9th for the Royals, as the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in AZ Advanced Instructional League game action this afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ.
Austin Byler stroked an RBI double and a single and Victor Reyes singled twice, stole a base, and scored a run, as the Diamondbacks rallied to edge the Angels/Cubs co-op squad 6-5 in AZ Advanced Instructional League game action this morning on Ramada Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort east of Scottsdale, AZ.
Chesny Young belted a two-run triple, singled, and walked, Jason Vosler doubled twice, singled, and scored a run, Jesse Hodges ripped an RBI double and a single, Rashad Crawford roped a line-drive RBI single, drew a walk, stole a base, and scored a run, and Jeremy Null threw five innings of two-run ball with an amazing 12/1 GO/FO, as the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) rallied from a 3-0 deficit to edge the Burlington Bees (Lo-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels) 4-3 on Field #5, and Daury Torrez threw six shutout innings with four strikeouts and an 11/2 GO/FO, Kevin Brown belted a two-run triple, singled twice, and scored a run, Varonex Cuevas doubled twice, singled, and scored a run, and Danny Lockhart roped a two-run single, walked, and scored a run, as the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (the Cubs Hi-A affiliate) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, in Cactus League Minor League game action this afternoon at Mesa CubTown at Riverview Park.
The 66ers had just scored four runs in the top of the 9th off Myrtle Beach lefty reliever Gerardo Concepcion to take a 6-2 lead, but the Pelicans came right back with four of their own.
Both Daury Torrez and Jeremy Null had the sinker working to perfection, combining to produce a 23/3 GO/FO ratio over 11 innings of work, one of the most extraordinary groundball heavy minor league doubleheaders I have seen in some time. Torrez will join Duane Underwood, Tyler Skulina, Paul Blackburn, and Jen-Ho Tseng in the Myrtle Beach starting rotation, and Null will be part of a South Bend rotation that will also feature Jake Stinnett, Erick Leal, Trevor Clifton, James Norwood, and/or Zach Hedges (last slot still TBD)
The defensive play of the day was turned-in by South Bend CF Trey Martin, who made a spectacular diving catch in right-centerfield after a long run at full speed. Martin is a "long-strider" who can make long distances seem shorter than they really are, but what was especially impressive about Martin's play was that he dived onto his left (non-throwing) shoulder to complete the catch, the same shoulder that was surgically repaired about a year ago.
With the exception of Travis Wood and Kyle Hendricks, the Chicago Cubs left town after last night's Cactus League game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in anticipation of their MLB Opening Day game tomorrow night at Wrigley Field, leaving minor league players behind to be presented as the "Chicago Cubs" for this afternoon's MLB Cactus League finale. Most of the players assigned to the MLB game at Chase were pulled from the AAA Iowa Cubs roster, but a few came from the Tennessee and Myrtle Beach squads as well. Also, several members of the Myrtle Beach squad were moved up to the Iowa Cubs for this afternoon's Cactus League minor league game in Tempe against the Angels AAA Salt Lake City affiliate, and a number of players from the Cubs Extended Spring Training contingent filled in for the missing Pelicans at Riverview, as well as providing roster depth in the South Bend, Tennessee, and Iowa games.
Here are the abridged box scores from the two games played today at Riverview Park (Cubs players only):
Victor Caratini blasted a two-run home run, doubled, singled twice, walked, and scored four runs, Jordan Hankins knocked-in four runs with three run-scoring singles, Kevonte Mitchell singled twice and doubled, scored twice, and drove-in a run, Chesny Young laced a bases-loaded three-run triple and a single, and Johan Matos belted a solo home run and singled, in an AZ Instructional League Cubs intrasquad game played this morning at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.
The game was played at "Cubs Park" (home to the AZL Cubs and the Mesa Solar Sox of the AFL, and the Chicago Cubs during Spring Training in March).
Collecting 17 hits (including three doubles, a triple, and a home run), Team Gonzalez evened-up the "Cubs World Series" at two games a piece with a 15-5 drubbing of Team Johnson.
Eloy Jimenez left the game after being hit on the left arm by an Erick Leal fastball.
Several of the Cubs young sluggers competed in the annual Cubs Instructs Home Run Derby on Field #2 prior to the game, and Billy McKinney edged out Scott Frazier to take home the title.
Frazier is a pitcher, but the 6'7 fireballer was a two-way player (pitcher/outfielder) in HS, and he showed that he still knows how to swing the lumber, clubbing several prodigious shots onto the street beyond the LF fence ("Cubs Way') during the course of the contest. He then threw a 1-2-3 7th inning in the game that followed.
Here is the box score from today's game: