Jeffrey Baez

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:

Vogelbach Walk-Off Sac-Fly Lifts Angels/Cubs over Rangers at Riverview

Dan Vogelbach (Cubs) lifted a fly ball to the warning track in LF with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the 9th to score Shawon Dunston Jr (Cubs) from 3rd base with the game-winning run, as the Angels/Cubs co-op squad edged the Rangers 2-1 in AZ Advanced Instructional League action this afternoon on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Vogelbach, Baez, and de la Rosa Help Angels/Cubs Top D'backs at Diablo

Dan Vogelbach (RBI double) and Jeffrey Baez (RBI single) drilled two-out run-scoring hits to highlight a three-run 5th, Frandy de la Rosa (Cubs) belted an RBI double off the RF fence and scored in a three-run 6th and doubled and scored in the 8th, and RHP Garrett Nuss (Angels) hurled three innings of one-hit shutout ball, as the Angels/Cubs co-op squad cruised past the Diamondbacks 8-1 in AZ Advanced Instructional League action this afternoon on Field #7 at the Diablo Stadium Complex in Tempe, AZ.  

Zastryzny Sharp at Riverview

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.

Angels/Cubs Cooperative Effort Can't Stop Calixte

Orlando Calixte collected four hits (three singles and a double), stole two bases, scored a run, drove-in another, and gunned-down a baserunner 9-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to RF, Andrew Miller drilled an RBI double and a single and scored two runs, and RHRP Torey Deshazier retired all six men he faced to record the save, as the Royals rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat the Angels/Cubs co-op squad 8-6 in AZ Advanced Instructional League action this morning on Field #1 at the Riverview Baseball Complex in Mesa, AZ. 

Andrew Daniel (Angels) ripped a two-run double and a single and scored a run and Jeffrey Baez (Cubs) singled twice, stole a base, scored a run, knocked-in another, and nailed a baserunner 9-5 attempting to advance from 1st to 3rd on a single to RF for the Angels/Cubs squad in a losing cause. 

Cubs #1 pitching prospect RHP Duane Underwood got the start for the Angels/Cubs and worked five innings (68 pitches - 74% strikes), allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits (four singles and a double), with no walks, three strikeouts, and an 8/2 GO/AO. In his first advanced instructs start last Monday (also versus the Royals), Underwood threw four innings of no run/no hit ball, with two walks and five strikeouts. 

Deep-Fried Snakes on Cubs Brunch Menu at Riverview Park

Alberto Mineo (a double and a run scored), Oliver Zapata (an RBI triple and a run scored), Jesse Hodges (an RBI double and a run scored), Kevin Brown (an RBI single and a run scored), and Rashad Crawford (RBI triple) sparked the Cubs to a four-run 2nd inning, Jeffrey Baez belted an RBI triple and a double and scored two runs, and Erick Leal threw five innings of one-run ball, as the Cubs hammered the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Field #5, and Trey Masek and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Gleyber Torres singled twice, walked, and drove-in the game's only run, as the Cubs whitewashed the D'backs 1-0 on Field #6, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split-squad doubleheader played this morning at the Under Armour Performance Center at Riverview Park in Mesa, AZ.     

In EXST Cubs roster news, RF Eloy Jimenez has been assigned to the DSL Cubs. 

The 17-year old Jimenez (last year's top-rated July 2 international free-agent) hit 238/270/357 in 24 Cactus League Extended Spring Training games (89 PA), with 4/22 BB/K. one HR, five doubles, a triple, and a team-leading 16 RBI. He had a sore arm in Minor League Camp that limited him to DH duty-only until mid-April, and even then he only started eight EXST games in RF. No question his defense needs a lot of work.

But Jimenez caught fire at the plate on May 14th, hitting 360/385/640 over his final seven games (26 PA). He hit his only Cactus League EXST home run in what turned out to be his last EXST game (versus the Angels in Tempe this past Tuesday), when he drove-in four runs with a three-run HR and an RBI single.   

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

Eloy Goes Deep and Strop Continues Rehab at Diablo Park

Raul Linares ripped a game-winning walk-off RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the 9th, as the Angels rallied from a four-run deficit to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #7 in Tempe, AZ.

Eloy Jimenez belted a three-run home run and an RBI single, Jeffrey Baez singled twice, walked, stole a base, and scored three runs, and Kevin Brown singled twice, walked, and scored two runs to help the Cubs take an early 4-0 lead, and Nataniel Delgado doubled twice and scored and Trevor Gretzky laced a two-run triple to aid the Angel comeback.  

The Angels collected six doubles and one triple among their nine hits.

RHRP Pedro Strop (on Cubs MLB 15-day DL - groin) continued his EXST rehab with a shutout inning (18 pitches - 10 strikes). Strop was not as sharp this morning in Tempe as he was on Saturday in Scottsdale, as he walked one and was behind in the count on just about every hitter, but he did not allow a hit, he struck out two, and he got the third out on a broken bat 5-3 GO. 

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

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