Cubs in the Off-Season Leagues - Week 3

Good Morning! The off-season has given Cubs followers plenty to smile about, as first round pick Nico Hoerner continues to dominate the Arizona Fall League. Meanwhile, catcher Erick Castillo is making some noise down in Venezuela. For more, come inside today's report.

Arizona Fall League

Mesa Solar Sox

Mesa scored all the runs they would need in the first inning on Monday, as they defeated Scottsdale 2-1. Nico Hoerner began the week as the DH for the Solar Sox and was 1-for-4 with a double in the contest. Mesa 2 - Scottsdale 1

Manuel Rondon

Manuel Rondon

On Tuesday, Scottsdale turned the tables on the Solar Sox as they lost 2-1 in ten innings. Manuel Rondon started for the Solar Sox and struck out two while giving up only one hit in two scoreless innings. Catcher Jhonny Pereda was 1-for-3 with a walk, while DJ Wilson also had a walk while going 0-for-3. Trent Giambrone was at DH and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Scottsdale 2 - Mesa 1

It was another great pitching performance for Mesa on Wednesday as they hung on for a 4-3 victory over Peoria. Justin Steele gave up an earned run in the first but then settled down to strikeout four as he surrendered four hits and a walk in four innings. Steele benefited from throwing to a familiar battery mate in PJ Higgins, who was 0-for-4 in the game. Bailey Clark worked around two walks in the ninth as he earned his first save. Shortstop Nico Hoerner continued his tear through the AFL, as he was 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Mesa 4 - Peoria 3

Thursday saw another case of fall league reciprocity as the Solar Sox fell to Peoria 4-3. For the third game in a row, a Cubs prospect started for Mesa as Erick Leal fanned three and gave up a walk and two hits in four scoreless innings. Nico Hoerner was the only other player from the Cubs system to get into the game, as he was 2-for-4 while lining up at shortstop. Peoria 4 - Mesa 3

Nico Hoerner / photo Rebecca Snyder

Nico Hoerner / photo Rebecca Snyder

There was an old-fashioned wild west shoot-out in Arizona on Friday, as Mesa fell to Glendale 9-8 in eleven innings. Shortstop Nico Hoerner remained white-hot at the plate as he went 4-for-5 and was hit by a pitch while scoring two runs. Double-play partner Trent Giambrone launched his second home run of the fall, a two-run shot in the third inning. Giambrone was also 3-for-6 with a double and three RBI. Catcher Jhonny Pereda also got in on the fun as he was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI. PJ Higgins moved to third base and went 0-for-5 with a walk and a run scored, and left fielder DJ Wilson was 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. Glendale 9- Mesa 8 (11 innings)

Mesa ended the week with a 7-6 loss to Glendale on Saturday. After the Solar Sox built a 2-1 lead going in the fifth, Glendale put runners on second and third with two outs. Bailey Clark was summoned from the bullpen, and gave up two singles sandwiched around a balk. Clark would be bailed out by a double play in the sixth, with his line ending up as 1.1 innings pitched, two hits, a walk, and earned run, and a strikeout. Glendale 7 - Mesa 6

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas

Daury Torrez

Daury Torrez

A four run seventh for Cibaenas on Saturday was enough to crush any hopes of a comeback by Oriente as the Aguilas defeated Estrellas 8-2. Daury Torrez entered the game with two outs in the sixth with a runner on first and was able to induce a force out. Cibaenas 8 - Oriente 2

Estrellas de Oriente

In a make-up game from October 16 on Monday, Estrellas was taken to the woodshed by Cibao 12-1. Oscar De La Cruz got the call in the fifth and was roughed up for three runs (two earned) on three hits as he worked 0.2 innings.  Cibao 12 - Oriente 1

Mexican Pacific League

Tomateros de Culiacan

On Wednesday, Culiacan scored three runs in the fourth inning and then turned things over to their bullpen in a 3-1 victory over Hermosillo. The ninth inning once again belonged to Casey Coleman, as he set down the side in order, including a strikeout, for his third save. Culiacan 3 - Hermosillo 1

The Tomateros spotted Navojoa a run in the first on Friday and then exploded for ten themselves over the next four innings to coast to a 10-7 win. Casey Coleman got the final four outs, which included a strikeout to start the ninth, and picked up his fourth save. Culiacan 10 - Navojoa 7

Venzuelan Winter League

Bravos de Margarita

After Margarita took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning on Sunday, Caracas unleashed their offense and blew past the Braves to defeat them 8-4. Eugenio Palma came on in the seventh and was charged with an unearned run as he worked an inning. Caracas 8 - Margarita 4

The Bravos had everything in hand on Friday as they built a 4-1 lead and cruised to an 8-2 win over La Guaira. A product of the Cubs’ Dominican Academy, right-hander Keiber Arredondo set down the side in order in the ninth. Margarita 8 - La Guaira 2

Cardenales de Lara

Thursday’s game with Aragua saw the Tigers tie the game at 2-2 in the ninth, only to have Lara walk off with a 3-2 victory in the bottom of the frame. Yapson Gomez pitched to one batter in the eighth after going two innings and was charged with an earned run as he struck out two batters. Lara 3 - Aragua 2

Caribes de Anzoategui

It was a long evening for Anzoategui on Tuesday as they lost to Margarita 11-0. Erick Castillo started a catcher and picked up one of the Caribes six hits, going 1-for-3 in the loss. Margarita 11 - Anzoategui 0

On Wednesday, the Caribes got into hot water again as a six run second inning led to an 8-4 loss to Margarita. Catcher Erick Castillo remained steady as he was 1-for-3 for Anzoategui. Margarita 8 - Anzoategui 4

Anzoategui needed a run in the bottom of the ninth on Friday to secure a 6-5 victory over Caracas. The Caribes catcher Erick Castillo scored in the fourth inning and was 2-for-3 while being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. Anzoategui 6 - Caracas 5

Leones del Caracas

Enrique De Los Rios (photo by Rebecca Snyder)

Enrique De Los Rios (photo by Rebecca Snyder)

It was a seven-pitcher effort on Saturday, but Caracas limited Margarita to just three hits in a 3-0 victory. Enrique De Los Rios was on the hill to start the game for the Leones, and surrendered only a hit and a walk in two scoreless innings. Caracas 3 - Margarita 0


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  • Thanks for the update, Tom. Great job putting it together. I don't know if it's the short season format or my expectations were different, but Nico Hoerner seems to be the only shining star with a few decent performances by others scattered around. I hope they're all learning and continuing to develop.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Thank you Cliff. I like what Bailey Clark has done so far this fall. If he can keep himself in one piece, he could become something special. And aside from one outing, Justin Steele has also dome well.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    What do you think of Leal and Rondon?

  • In reply to John57:

    I feel both have settled into a niche of multi-inning middle relievers.

    Rondon has a lot of value being left-handed and having an above average fastball. He will have to be more consistent, but that is typical of player development.

    I have always liked Leal's pinpoint control, but change-up pitchers have the longest and most difficult road to the majors. If Leal can continue to display his control as he progresses up the chain and get outs, he will have a chance.

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    Thanks too for these updates. Some of the players I don't even recognize so if you didn't mention them as Cubs I wouldn't know.
    Nico is shining, but I am disappointed at the lack of elite talent in our system. Of course, look at he WS MVP--Pearse has been all over but he was one of the difference makers.
    When does the FA period begin?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    5 PM November 3rd.

    I'll have an offseason primer out tonight/tomorrow morning with all the key dates and story lines for the offseason.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Looking forward to it - thanks!

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Jonathan, what I like about reporting on the winter leagues is that you never know when a player is going to turn a corner in their development. Most players you may never hear from again, but some turn out to be Marwin Gonzalez, Arismendy Alcantara, or Willson Contreras.

  • Just an update for everyone. A follow up with the orthopedic specialist did not go well. The next step for my forearm/wrist will be a cortisone shot, once insurance approves.

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    In reply to Tom U:

    I hope the best for you Tom.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thank you Jonathan!

  • Thanks, Tom.

    How does Hoerner look defensively? Does he have the skill set for a potential MLB shortstop, or will he need to be moved to a less demanding position?

  • In reply to wthomson:

    I can only say what one advance scout told me, and that was "he looks like Jeter". I don't know credible that report is, but Michael believe that he can stick at shortstop.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Wow, that’s pretty high praise. When I was watching the draft & seeing who was left on the board & possibly around when the Cubs picked, I watched a clip of him. The way he leaped for a line drive & his hustle. He just looked like a baseball player to me. I said “a poor man’s Javy.”

    I think got a diamond in the rough where the picked him at, as well as the 2 OFers they picked behind him. Especially Roederer. It will be awesome to see Baez & Hoerner in the same infield.

  • Get well Tom.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Thank you!

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