Cubs in the Off-Season Leagues - Week 5

Good morning, and Happy Veteran's Day! A special thanks to Staff Sergeant Robert Usiak, United States Air Force, 5th Communications Group, Panama Radio Relay Station, Korea. 

Week 5 for Cubs in the off-season leagues saw some dominant performances out of Erick Leal, Trent Giambrone, and Casey Coleman as well as others. For more, take a look at what follows.

Arizona Fall League

Mesa Solar Sox

The week began with a mixed bag for Cubs prospect on Monday, as Mesa lost to Scottsdale 5-4. Justin Steele had the start for the Solar Sox and was hammered for the second straight outing, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks. Steele struck out five but yielded two home runs. Battery mate PJ Higgins was 1-for-4 with an RBI, and shortstop Nico Hoerner was 2-for-4. Scottsdale 5 - Mesa 4

Erick Leal

Erick Leal

Tuesday saw a something becoming a trend for the Solar Sox, as they defeated Peoria 7-5. Erick Leal started for Mesa and was once again outstanding, striking out five while walking two and allowing a hit in four scoreless innings. Working in Leal’s favor was a familiar catcher in Jhonny Pereda, who went 1-for-4 with a double. Left fielder DJ Wilson was 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and two runs scored. Mesa 7 - Peoria 5

Mesa made it two in a row on Wednesday by scoring three in the first and building to a 6-4 win over Glendale. However, it was unfortunate that Cubs prospects did not contribute to the victory. Both shortstop Nico Hoerner and right fielder Trent Giambrone went 0-for-4 in the game, while Bailey Clark and Manuel Rondon served up solo home runs as each pitched an inning. Mesa 6 - Glendale 4

After an off day on Thursday, the Solar Sox were back in action on Friday and beat first place Salt River 5-4. Left fielder DJ Wilson contributed to the cause by going 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win. Mesa 5 - Salt River 4

Trent Giambrone

Trent Giambrone

Mesa ended the week on a positive note in Saturday’s spotlight game, capitalizing on 12 hits to beat Salt River 7-2. Third baseman Trent Giambrone shone the brightest in going 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. Shortstop Nico Hoerner went 1-for-5 with a triple and a run scored, while catcher PJ Higgins was 0-for-4. Bailey Clark came on to pitch in the fourth and scattered four hits and a walk as he had a strikeout in two scoreless innings. Mesa 7 - Salt River 2

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas

On Thursday, the Aguilas were not able to squeeze out enough offense as Cibaenas lost to Escogido 3-2. Daury Torrez came on in the seventh inning and set down the side in order. Escogido 3 - Cibaenas 2

It was marathon baseball on Friday as the Eagles were not able to take advantage of nine hits in losing 2-1 to Cibao in fourteen innings. Daury Torrez was called on again and delivered, as he entered with one out in the ninth and tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out a batter in the loss. Cibao 2 - Cibaenas 1, 14 innings

Estrellas de Oriente

Saturday saw Oriente use it’s pitching depth to limit nine hits to only two runs as the Stars defeated Escogido 5-2. Oscar De La Cruz entered the game in the fifth and scattered two hits as he tossed a scoreless inning. Oriente 5 - Escogido 2

Mexican Pacific League

Tomateros de Culiacan

It wasn’t the way that Culiacan wanted to draw it up, but the Tomateros escaped a late inning meltdown to defeat Jalisco 9-8 in eleven innings. Casey Coleman entered with one out in the eighth and served up a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth to tie the game. For the evening, Coleman allowed two earned runs on three hits and had a strikeout. Culiacan 9 - Jalisco 8

On Tuesday, the Tomato-men capitalized on thirteen hits to beat Hermosillo 6-3. Casey Coleman made the ninth interesting by issuing two walks and a hit to the first three batters before getting a double play on a challenge of a runner tagging up. Coleman then struck out the last batter to collect his seventh save. Culiacan 6 - Hermosillo 3

After scoring in the first inning, it took ten more before the Tomateros to score again as they squeezed past Hermosillo 3-1 in eleven innings on Wednesday. Casey Coleman was once again called on to seal the victory as he worked around a single and struck out the final batter for his eighth save. Culiacan 3 - Hermosillo 1, 10 innings

Casey Coleman has earned one of the Cubs bullpen spots

Casey Coleman

Culiacan was efficient on Friday, limiting Obregon to three hits and scoring three times on eight hits to win 3-0. Slamming the door was Casey Coleman, as he fanned the final two batters in going 1-2-3 in the ninth inning for his ninth save. Culiacan 3 - Obregon 0

Yaquis de Obregon

Obregon suffered a bullpen meltdown on Thursday as they lost to Mexicali 8-3. Pinch-hitter Carlos Sepulveda drove in the first run for the Yaquis on a groundout. Mexicali 8 - Obregon 3

The Tomateros finished out the week in splendid form, chalking up four runs in the early innings on Saturday and coasting to a 4-1 win over Obregon. Closer Casey Coleman is almost becoming automatic, as he picked up his tenth save in beginning and ending the ninth inning with strikeouts. Culiacan 4 - Obregon 1

Venzuelan Winter League

Cardenales de Lara

Nothing seemed to go right for Lara in Friday as they dropped a 9-1 decision to Magallanes. Yapson Gomez was not immune as he pitched to two batters in the seventh inning and allowed two earned runs while not recording an out. Magallanes 9 - Lara 1

Leones del Caracas

Caracas allowed a victory to escape from them on Thursday as they lost to Margarita 7-2. The damage had been already done when Enrique De Los Rios took the mound in the ninth and gave up a run on four hits. Margarita 7 - Caracas 2



Chesny Young by Tim Sheridan, Boys of Spring

Chesny Young by Tim Sheridan, Boys of Spring

Iowa Cubs infielder Chesny Young has joined Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League.


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  • Thanks, Tom. I hope all this experience will help some of these prospects earn their way to the MLB club. Casey Coleman looks interesting. If he can harness his control consistently it would help.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    You're welcome. I feel that Casey Coleman has a lot more going for him than some of the pitchers frequently mentioned as middle relief candidates.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    I can't believe Casy Coleman still plays baseball.

  • Thanks, Tom.

    Just got to wondering the other day & I’d like to see your thoughts... Do you think it’s easier on young pitchers to have success if they make the team out of spring training or does it not matter when they’re called up? (Guys like Maples, Norwood, etc...) It just seems we always spin the wheel on these guys mid season out of “need” & they have a bad outing & they’re back down. I know they’re trying to win now but seems like patience is really thin. I believe the FA pitchers & trade acquisitions had to begin somewhere. So if they committed to one or 2 at the beginning of the year would they have a better chance at being groomed...?

    I do know sometimes it depends on the pen usages during certain periods. Needing a fresh arm so the guy w/options is the yo-yo. Just seems like Edwards is the lone guy to have a sustained stay w/the club so far from the system.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    The best way to handle any prospect, pitcher or otherwise, is to make a commitment to them and place them in the best circumstances in which they can succeed. This matters more than exactly when a player is brought to the majors.

    There's an old saying in in baseball: If you are going to blame your team's lack of success on the lack of success of the 24th or 25th player on your roster, you probably did not have a good enough team anyway.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Yeah, I get what you’re saying with your 1st paragraph. And that’s my point. Isn’t that easier to try & do from the beginning of the year when starters aren’t going as far into games as they do mid season? I know it shouldn’t matter to a player when he gets his opportunity but I was thinking there’s more self induced & team pressure when being called up in the middle of pennant/divisional race. Thanks.

    Not sure where that came from & where you are going w/2nd paragraph... But good teams, especially the Cubs, have shown they need the entire pen (sometimes roster). Due to Injuries, starters not going deep, short term over use out of necessity, etc...

    The basis for my question was because it seems the Cubs seem to always throw darts at the pen mid season & none really seem to stick. Rhetorical but, How many relievers did they use, acquire, etc.. this past season because they didn’t commit to/develop 1 or 2 of their own...

    Anyway, thanks for the response. You guys do a great job here.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    While in general, major league depth has improved, teams still get the most consistent production out of the top 14-16 players on their roster, with the other 9-11 players being less productive. That means that a rookie is just as liable to be inconsistent as a player with some (usually bad) major league experience.

    It has been an accepted perspective that teams which are considered to be good at developing talent will always reserve 2-3 major league roster spots for developing prospects.

  • I will try to do my best to answer questions today, but I just received a cortisone shot in my forearm/wrist, and my arm doesn't feel so good right now.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    No problem, Tom. Get well.

    I was mainly just generating some discussion, or just rhetorically wondering aloud why the Cubs have to constantly go outside the organization year in, year out when they seemingly have some “depth” guys already in the .org, but for whatever reason, aren’t ever “ready/successful” and for most part force fed only when they are needed to get off the bus mlb caliber. It doesn’t seem to be working. Thus the carousel of relief acquisitions.

    I think they need to identify in spring, at least 1 guy (your 24th/25th man) that they can groom in low leverage situations early on to be ready so he’s not thrust unexpectedly into high pressure situations.

    Looking forward to the “stove” heating up to see what the Cubs have in store this off season.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Milk Stout, you have legitimate questions. As far as my answers, I feel that they are best left unsaid.

    I know this sounds cryptic, but you're not far off about what has been readily discussed by many in places where the public does not have access.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    And thanks for the well wishes!

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Your cryptic response makes me go hmmmmm.....

    It seems everyone has that problem and that is why you see trades at the deadline. Appears that David Bote was an org guy and he did very well.

    Now RPs are a bit of a different matter, but were the Cubs exposed a bit due to injuries to Strop/Morrow and ineffectiveness of C.J.?

    Maybe I’m missing the point, but the goal shouldn’t be to have org guys, they just kind of happen and that is often due to their work ethic and desire to stick around.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    The Cubs have been going out of the organization for RP's since they have been trading away some of their better pitchers for other needs. It is a long standing practice that has had some success lately but has backfired in the not to distant past.

  • Does anyone know why the Cubs seventh round draft pick, D.J.Artis is still listed as unsigned ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Wherever that is says that, it is an error. Artis played 26 games for the Cubs system. Can't do that without a contract.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Tom, its listed on the MLB websight !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    MLB is not always the swiftest in updating the information on their site, particularly information they do not feel that the average fan is looking for.

    Just as an example, the Roberto Clemente League, which begins in three days, has probably had their rosters set for at least two weeks. However, MLB has not posted any of the rosters on their site yet.

  • Just to let everyone know, both the Roberto Clemente League and the Australian Baseball League will open on Thursday (Wednesday in the western hemisphere for the ABL). From Thursday to the end of the AFL Championship on Saturday, it will be the only time all six off-season leagues will be in play at the same time.

  • For general information, I heard Chesny Young is joining the DR winter league team. Who knows, maybe an injury or trade of others opens him to being backup, sub or role dude...

  • Daury Torrez has pitched well in the DR. He is a six year FA that I hope the Cubs re-sign.

  • Hey Tom,

    Thanks for giving a shout out to Dad on Veterans Day also known as Armistice Day. I hate when the players say they are going to war. War is nothing to take so lightly.

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