Cubs in the Off-Season Leagues – Week 4

Good Morning! Week 4 this off-season brought us the opening of two leagues, in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, as well as the annual Fall Stars game in Arizona. For more, take a look inside.

Note: Coverage runs from Sunday to Saturday

Arizona Fall League

Mesa Solar Sox

The week began with Mesa roaring back from a 2-0 deficit to double-up Peoria 4-2 on Sunday. Although Cubs’ prospects did not figure into the scoring, they still had good games. Catcher Miguel Amaya went 2-for-4, while DH Zack Short was 1-for-4 and first baseman Jared Young 1-for-2 with two walks. Erich Uelmen came on in the fourth and had 2 strikeouts while giving up only one hit in 2 scoreless innings. Jordan Minch picked up a hold as he surrendered a hit but struck out a batter in a scoreless eighth inning. Mesa 4 - Peoria 2

Tuesday saw more frustration for the Solar Sox offense as they managed only 4 hits in a 6-1 loss to Surprise. Both shortstop Zack Short and first baseman Jared Young were part of the misery, as both went 0-for-3 in the game. Surprise 6 - Mesa 1

Zack Short (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Zack Short (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Mesa was on the wrong end of a see-saw affair on Wednesday as they lost to Surprise 12-10 in 10 innings. Keegan Thompson was once again touched up in a start, as he gave up 2 earned runs on a walk and 3 hits (including a solo home run) while striking out 3 in 4 innings. Scott Effross relieved and was ineffective, allowing 2 earned runs on 3 hits as he pitched an inning. Jordan Minch entered with 2 out in the seventh and had 3 strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. It was a big day at the plate for shortstop Zack Short, going 2-for-3 with 3 walks, 2 RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Catcher Miguel Amaya was 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Surprise 12 - Mesa 10, 10 innings

Jared Young (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Jared Young (photo by Rikk Carlson)

It was all Solar Sox on Thursday as Mesa thumped Salt River 9-3. First baseman Jared Young broke out at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Shortstop Zack Short was 0-for-5 but showed off his arm strength by turning a nifty 6-3 double play on a line drive in the first inning. Mesa 9 - Salt River 3

In preparation for the Fall Stars game on Saturday, all AFL teams played 7 inning contests on Friday. Facing the Salt River Rafters, Mesa was able to prevail 3-2. Erich Uelmen came on for the Solar Sox in the sixth, holding Salt River to a hit and striking out 2 in a scoreless inning to gain the victory. Mesa 3 - Salt River 2, 7 innings

The annual Fall Stars game in the Arizona Fall League was held on Saturday. As expected, the Eastern squad relied on their star power to best the West squad 4-2. It was a quiet night for Cubs prospects, as Miguel Amaya started at catcher and was 0-for-2 before leaving in the game in the sixth. Jordan Minch came on to pitch with 2 outs in the third and walked 2 batters before recording the final out in his 0.1 innings. East 4 - West 2

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas

On opening night, both teams looked tight until the offense broke out in the sixth, as Cibaenas was unable to match Cibao in losing 4-3 on Saturday. Robel Garcia started at second base and went 0-for-4 in the loss.  Cibaenas 3 - Cibao 4

Gigantes del Cibao

Donnie Dewees

Donnie Dewees

Opening night Saturday saw Cibao put up a 4-spot on Cibaenas in the sixth and then hang on for a 4-3 victory. Iowa outfielder Donnie Dewees batted third and played center, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored on the night. Tennessee outfielder Roberto Caro was in left and went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Cibao 4 - Cibaenas 3

Mexican Pacific League

Aguilas de Mexicali

The LMP opened on Friday night and Mexicali could not overcome a 3 run first by newcomer Sultanes de Monterrey in losing 4-3. Phillip Evans got the start at third base but moved across the diamond to first in the eighth inning, going 1-for-5 at the plate. Monterrey 4 - Mexicali 3

Yaquis de Obregon

Carlos Sepulveda (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Carlos Sepulveda (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

In their opening game on Saturday, Obregon let Jalisco back in the game with a 6 run fifth before putting up 6 of their own in the ninth to win 13-8. Carlos Sepulveda batted second and played second base, going 1-for-4 with 2 walks, an RBI, and a 2 runs scored in the victory. Obregon 13 - Jalisco 8

Notes

As of this time, there has been no resolution to the standoff between MLB and the Venezuelan Winter League, which begins play on October 18. Currently, all MLB and affiliate players are banned from playing in the LVBP due to sanctions on Venezuela be the current Unites States government.

More Cubs prospects have surfaced in the off-season leagues, as Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League have added LHP Saul Vazquez, who played in the Dominican Summer League in 2018.

The opening of the Dominican Winter league has seen the additions of INF/OF Robel Garcia to Aguilas Cibaenas and OF's Roberto Caro and Donnie Dewees to Gigantes del Cibao.

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  • Just as a reminder to all, here are some of the ground rules for these posts:

    Any player a part of the Cubs major or minor league roster(s) at the end of the 2019 season will be a part of the report. If that player is unsigned, he will remain a part of the report until he signs with another affiliation.

    Position players who go "0-for" and pitchers that fail to record an out will generally not be reported on. There will be exceptions. For the most part, the exception will be if there is another prospect on the same team that meets the parameters.

    Thank you all, and I look forward to continuing to provide you with the most comprehensive coverage of Cubs prospects in the winter leagues.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Thanks for all the information, and work.

  • Thanks for keeping us up-to-date, Tom.

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    Thanks for all the work. I just saw on Bleacher Nation that Jhonny Pereda was named Defensive catcher of the year in the minors--all of the minors. He was left off the roster last year so anyone could have picked him up as a rule 5 player and now the Cubs have to decide what to do with him. Suddenly we have a number of promising catchers in the minors, not the least of whom is Miguel Amaya, our #2 prospect. At least we have depth at C in the minors.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I know some people out their have strong opinions about a veteran back-up catcher, but I feel the Cubs have moved beyond that point.

    Whatever your feelings are about their defensive abilities, Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini have established themselves as bona fide major league catchers. The Cubs have defensive back-ups in PJ Higgins and Jhonny Pereda that are as good as any no-hit veteran that can be found on the open market.

    I truly hope the Cubs front office takes a pass, and decides "no, we're good at catcher now".

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    I know I will be in the minority here, but I feel with Bryant two years from free agency we have to move him this year, I know it would be hard to replace him other than a move to sign Rendon, which conceivably be doable if you consider Bryant could cost us up to $20M , Rendon I think could be had for maybe 25-28M for seven to eight years, which would run roughly 8M more than Bryant.
    The other alternative to Rendon would be to move Baez to 3rd and sign maybe Gregorius for ss , we could use a second basemen if we don't feel Hoerner is ready in the spring.
    I also wouldn't mind Schwarber being moved,I am just not sold on him after just the second half of the season, if he is ever going to fetch us some help in the pitching this is the year, plus we could sign Castelanos and move him to left field, I mean who do you trust more, Nicky or Schwarbs, take your pick.
    The biggest offseason move would be sign Baez to a long term contract, If not I would be agreeable to move him, I think if the cubs hold either Baez or Bryant until one year on their contract they probably lose about 30-40 per cent of their worth. I know it would be a lot to lose in one year, but it would free up an additional 20- 30 M to go with the projected 60M coming off already, making it possible to sign Castelanos, Rendon and possibly Cole, and this doesn't even count Quitana 's 11.5M if we trade him,

  • In reply to tater:

    I'm a fan of trading two from the core this offseason. I would start with Bryant, my second choice would be Rizzo. I know that will not be popular, I just think 1B is easier to fill.

  • In reply to tater:

    Hard to disagree with your post, Tater. I wrote something similar as I’ve come around to moving KB, Baez, Contreras or Schwarber.

    The only negative is the “ifs” and the ifs are predicated upon free agent signings so it looks good on paper to say you re-tool with Castellanos, Rendon, and Cole. You trade your stars and then don’t sign the FA’s then you morph into a 5th place team for a couple of seasons.

    The only “hard no” for me is Gregoriius. He is a bad offensive player. He’s no better than Russell. No average, no OBP skills, middling power, good glove. Can’t afford to spend money on these types.

  • rendon>Bryant

  • First, it would take a better shortstop than Gregorius to move Javy. As far as Rendon goes, there will be stiff competition for him, and Castellous as well. Schwarber is left side power and Is nearly impossible to replace. When balancing a lineup right-hand power is much more replaceable. Bryant is unlikely to sign an extension, but a trade will depend on the return.

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    I have said before that I would be willing to move Schwarber. He had a very good second half but has had an up and down career and now is the best time to trade him. I could even see trading KB. Even when he has a down year he's pretty darn good and we could get a good return for him. We need to retool, and not think of the "oh no, we can't trade him" but who gives us the best chance of getting the best players/prospects back. Then maybe at this time next year I won't be sitting here writing about who to trade but how the NLCS is going with the Cubs.

  • KB should be the #1 trade candidate. If you go back to the MIL and St Louis home and home series in late Aug/Sept Bryant was almost 0 for the series. He did absolutely nothing when needed the most. IMO he is the biggest gag in baseball. He did hit 3 key HRs to win games but beyond that he was useless as far as clutch.
    As to Theo/Hoyer, if Ricketts doesn't replace them he deserves what gets as manager. Why on earth would you interview Kapler from Philly? Ross or Girardi guys. Pick one.

  • In reply to veteran:

    Interview = information. Interview = due diligence. Could be other positions Cubs might like him for if he doesn’t get a manager gig. Myriad of reasons to do interviews.

    I agree on exploring trades for KB. Kris Bryant has a OA career ops of .901. His career ops against the cards & brewers are both in the .700s. Last year was even worse than that, in .600s. So you’re right, he doesn’t show up against their top rivals in the division.

    Disagree with you on Theo n Jed. They earned their contracts, let them try to fix these last 2 yrs on it.

  • 100% Agree. Lets start with the big picture, with MLB attendance down, concerns with the upcoming CBA and revenues along with the Cubs farm in the bottom five and the MLB roster payroll in the top five of the league in 19. KB at 30m Javy at approximately 20M (Arb years) Rizzo at 25M, FA Nick at 25M a year Cole at 20m? and no impact minor league players that would provide salary relief next year, not a pretty picture. Huge unrealistic trade proposal: Bryant, Almora, Russell, Amaja, Steele, Maples and cash to SD for Paddack, Gore, CJ Abrames, Morejon, Jankowski and Myers (salary relief). SD is in go mode and the Cubs are in retool mode.

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