Cubs in the Off-Season Leagues – Week 7

Good Morning! With the end of the Arizona Fall League, the off-season leagues are reduced to two. The Dominican Winter League and the Mexican Pacific League remain the only leagues in play until the Roberto Clemente League and the Australian Baseball League open later this month. For now, enjoy some of the fine hitting performances from this past week.

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas

It was “swing from the heels” night on Sunday as Cibaenas and Cibao combined for 33 hits, with the Aguilas winning 14-13. Second baseman Robel Garcia went deep for the second straight game with a solo home run in the ninth as he was 2-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored. Cibaenas 14 - Cibao 13

The Aguilas lost some ground in the standings on Thursday as they dropped a 7-4 decision to Este. Robel Garcia began the game in left field, moving to second base in the late innings. Garcia went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the loss. Este 7 - Cibaenas 4

On Friday, the Eagles could not avoid the big inning from Este as 3 runs in the fifth and eighth sunk Cibaenas 6-5. Robel Garcia was back at second base and batting third, going 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Este 6 - Cibaenas 5

Cibaenas finished out the week on Saturday by not being able to make the best use of 6 hits as the bowed to Cibao 6-1. Collecting one of those hits was second baseman Robel Garcia, who went 1-for-4 in the loss. Cibao 6 - Cibaenas 1

Gigantes del Cibao

Dewees 4

Cibao had three big innings on Sunday including a 4-run ninth, but it wasn’t enough as they bowed to Cibaenas 14-13. Donnie Dewees remained at lead-off and the centerfielder was 2-for-5 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored. Roberto Caro entered the game in the seventh as a DH and was 0-0, drawing a walk and scoring a run. Cibao 13 - Cibaenas 14

The Gigantes bullpen was unable to hold up on Tuesday as Cibao challenged in the middle innings, losing to Orientales 9-4. Donnie Dewees continued to be the table-setter as he went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored leading off and playing centerfield. Orientales 9 - Cibao 4

On Wednesday, the Giants bullpen was once again not up to the task as they allowed a 5-run seventh in an 8-2 loss to Licey. Solidifying his spot at the top of the order, centerfielder Donnie Dewees gave his team opportunities by going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, and a run scored. Licey 8 - Cibao 2

Cibao pulled out all the stops in the bottom of the eighth on Friday and then hung on in the ninth for a 5-4 victory over Licey. Pinch-hitter Roberto Caro drew a walk and scored the go-ahead run. Donnie Dewees was moved to DH and went 0-for-3 in the win. Cibao 5 - Licey 4

Mexican Pacific League

Yaquis de Obregon

Obregon made the most out of their 6 hits on Sunday as they were one better that Mazatlan, winning 3-2. Second baseman Carlos Sepulveda contributed as his lead-off single in the seventh sparked a 2-run inning as he was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Obregon 3 - Mazatlan 2

The Yaquis and Mexicali brought their bats to work on Tuesday as the two combined for 25 hits in 12 innings as Obregon finally came up short 5-4. Carlos Sepulveda contributed as he was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored as the second baseman shifted over to shortstop in the ninth inning. Mexicali 5 - Obregon 4, 12 innings

On Wednesday, it was all-Yaquis as the Tribe took advantage of 4 Mexicali errors and 11 hits to pound the Aguilas 11-0. Second baseman Carlos Sepulveda got in on the fun as he was 1-for-4 with a run scored in the victory. Obregon 11 - Mexicali 0

A tense affair on Friday had Obregon breaking a scoreless tie open with 2 runs in the seventh and adding 2 more in the ninth to defeat Monterrey 4-1. Carlos Sepulveda got things done on both sides of the ball, as the second baseman was 1-for-4 with a walk and was part of 2 double plays defensively. Obregon 4 - Monterrey 1

The Yaquis closed things out this week with another offensive explosion on Saturday as they pounded out 14 hits in an 11-2 whitewash of Monterrey. Second baseman Carlos Sepulveda was once again in the middle of things as the number two hitter was 1-for-5 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Obregon 11 - Monterrey 2

Notes

Miguel Amaya (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Miguel Amaya (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Cubs catching prospect Miguel Amaya rated the number 17 prospect in the Arizona Fall League by MLB Pipeline.

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    Thanks for all the work Tom. You might need a break for a few days at least.
    How do you see Donny Dewees? Is he a viable candidate for CF with the Cubs or just a bench player? Is there anyone in the minors who you see coming up and helping the Cubs?
    Thanks again.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thank you Jonathan.

    From my point of view, Dewees would be a good choice for new hitting director Justin Stone to work with.

    When Dewees was drafted by the Cubs in the second round in 2015, he was seen as a potential lead-off/number 2 hitter. However, for most of his time with both the Cubs and Royals organizations, Dewees was one of the best hitters on his team. Therefore, the managers Dewees played for chose to utilize him elsewhere in the line-up. By the time Dewees reached the upper levels of the minors, his approach was unsuited for both the top of the order and the middle of the order. Stuck at the bottom of the order, Dewees floundered a bit.

    If Dewees can return to the offensive approach he had coming into the 2015 draft, he can perhaps help at the major league level. It remains to be seen whether any help may be too little-too late.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Tom U, how come more MLB teams don't use the Australian league?

    Wouldn't it be a fun, and good league for hitters? Especially older college prospects. Guys like N. Maldonado, R. Reynolds, D. Hill, Z Taylor, T. Durna, J. Slaughter, L. Jordan, & D. Clayton.

    Being a weekend league, it would give players plenty of downtime to work on strength/speed/skills, and have some fun experiencing Australia.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Hopefully, the recent announcement of the Canberra Cavalry becoming and affiliate of the San Diego Padres, other teams will follow.

    Up until last season, the ABL was on shaky financial ground. However, they were able to sign a limited TV deal and attract some corporate sponsorship. As a result, the ABL was able to expand by 2 teams last season.

    While the Aukland franchise in New Zeeland had the lowest attendance in the league, they are hoping to build momentum in their fan base. The most intriguing franchise is Geelong. They have and agreement with the KBO to field a team entirely of Korean players.

    The Cubs have had some players participate in Australia in the past. Former Cubs prospect Ryan Searle in one of the top closers in league history. Currently, rosters are not available, but hopefully, we will see some Cubs prospects "Down Under".

  • The brass appears to be hopeful Dewees can answer the question: who can hit lead off and play CF/2nd? The winter leagues may provide evidence one way or another.

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    Dewees wasn't even able to solidify the leadoff spot in Iowa.
    He is not any kind of answer at the MLB level.
    His arm is also not playable in CF in the Majors.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Hi Michael,
    When Theo & Co. took over, Theo maintained drafting players would be their strong suit. When the Cubs were drafting out of the top 10, they missed on many players, mainly pitchers. I've said there drafting was below average at best , however some bloggers said I'm wrong in my assessment. So, where are some of these players ? Is there anything to look forward to ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I know it seems bleak, but its not like the Cubs haven't developed anyone of late. Besides Hoerner being the first player from the 2018 draft class to debut in the Majors, you have to give them some credit for molding Bote from a low round pick into a viable MLB contributor as well as trading for an unsung Braves 3B prospect and turning him into a legitimate MLB catcher (Caratini). But you are right in that outside of the 1st rounders there just hasn't been enough contributions. Part of that was focusing too much on floor and not on ceiling in the draft, and part of that is a developmental failing as well.

    The Iowa and Tennesee pitching staffs should be fairly deep and have several potential 2020 contributors in both the rotation and the pen. And the Cubs first potential impact arm in a while (Marquez) likely a year or maybe two away. Don't be shocked if he opens in AA and I think the Cubs will show more aggressiveness in promoting guys moving forward.

    Outside of Hoerner, and catcher (Higgins, Pereda, Amaya) the upper levels are still lacking position player prospects, but that is because they spent so many resources on college pitchers for a couple of drafts in 2016-17 and it is those classes making their way to AA/AAA right now.

    Behind them the position player group improves, with guys like Davis, Roederer, Morel, Strumpf, Velazquez, Weber all slated to open 2020 in A+. That group has won back-to-back titles in first the NWL in 2018 and then the MWL last year. There is also a good group of pitchers with good velocity and stuff on those staffs.

    The Cubs were without a doubt in the bottom five of prospect groups at the beginning of 2018, but there has been a lot of talent infused since that point and they are much closer now to the middle of the pack than the bottom.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael,
    Using Tampa Bay as an example, their payroll is about one third of the Cubs payroll, with a better record. Much of this is attributed better drafting and smart trades.
    I'm convinced with better drafting you don't have to lay out a small fortune to sign top free agents, which guarantees
    nothing or making the playoffs.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael,

    What are some of the reasons, the Cubs have done a less than desirable job of developing minor league talent? I assume they are spending much more money on amatuer scouting, and player development departments than most other mlb teams.

    I know it is really tough to develop talent, but this front office I hate to say it seems way below average at it to a casual fan.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    My biggest takeaway is that they were too conservative for a few years there. They were fine their first couple of drafts/IFA, but then once the rebuild was over and the big club a contender, they became maddeningly conservative. The FO was aggressive early in their tenure going after high ceiling power bats, but then almost completely abandoned the approach for several draft/IFA classes. They focused too much on floor rather than ceiling, and removed too many players from their draft board because of injury risks.

    The last two drafts have been much better in that regard, as they have taken far more players with higher ceilings and pitchers with past arm injuries but better stuff. So they had already identified the problem and were beginning to change their approach, but it is still too early for us to see the effect of those classes at the MLB level (although Hoerner already arrived), and I expect the team will continue to draft better athletes even more often moving forward. The last two IFA classes also seem to be improvements, as they zeroed in on speed and athletes in the outfield/middle infield in 2018, then on projectable catchers and middle infielders in 2019. There is also reports that the Cubs are set to sign one of the top three IFA players in the upcoming class, something they haven't done since they landed both Jimenez and Torres in 2013.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    On top of the lower ceiling players, the org also seems to have admitted they fell behind in terms of strength/conditioning, creating a system-wide organizational language/approach and personalized development plans for all of their prospects, and were not fully utilizing all of the new technology available.

    We saw trickles of new blood and approaches happening the last two years, but it wasn't happening fast enough and the complete overhaul and reshuffling of the organizational structure happening over the past couple of weeks reflects the FOs acknowledgement that they needed to make greater strides. We'll see how widespread and how quickly some of those changes will influence results next season.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael,

    To a casual fan it seems like they have pitching depth in the minors. Maybe not stars, but potential back end starters, and relief pitchers, that seems to be the strength of the system.

    I still prefer and like their philosophy of college bats early in the draft.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    This is really disconcerting. This FO told us they were the smartest out there and they fell woefully behind in a couple of different areas. Let’s hope they caught it in time and some of this influx of talent begins to show itself in the upcoming season or two.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Despite what people claim and the standard that some hold others to, no one (or group) can remain ahead of the curve forever.

    They slipped. It happens. The question now is can they get back on their feet and recover? We've seen some positive signs already, but the jury is still out.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    How much of the Cubs draft issues are due to the philosophy of playing the overslot / underslot game in the first round rather than choosing the best player available?

  • Did anyone see the cubs news today? Made me laugh. What a joke we are becoming. Let’s fire our yoga instructor, mental skills director, and massage therapists. These moves will put us over the top? Is there anyone else we can blame?????

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Who said they were to blame? They were Joe's idea and Joe is no longer here. Makes sense. Not sure why it needs to be released, just let them go.

  • Kelli Crull is out at MSNBC. Sure she will be joining the Cubs Network.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    makes sense

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Maybe she applied for yoga instructor?

  • Cubs get rid of Lester Strode. What is going on.

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