AZ Cubs Recap: Catchers Caratini, Amaya, and Matos excel at instructs; Edwards throws heat

Lots of Cubs got into the Fall League action tonight in Mesa.  Meanwhile the Cubs are building a cache of catchers at Riverview Park…

Thank you to reader “Buzz” who supplied the pictures above, the velo readings on CJ Edwards, and some of the specifics on Gerardo Concepcion and Dan Vogelbach.

Instructs (stats from The Cub Reporter)

  • The Cubs had a number of catchers do well with Victor Caratini leading the way with 4 hits, including a double and a HR.  He also walked, drove in 2, and scored 4.
  • Gioskar Amaya started the game at catcher before moving to 3B.  In between it all he went 2 for 5 (both singles).  Amaya did allow a passed ball.
  • Johan Matos just turned 18 a few days ago and he had a belated celebration today with a HR.  Matos played in the DSL and hit 6 HRs in 53 ABs last year while hitting .289/.378/.469 overall.  He was part of that huge IFA class in 2013 that included Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres.
  • Jordan Hankins who has seen time at catcher but played 1B today, went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI.  All hits were singles.
  • Kevonte Mitchell was in LF and went 3 for 4, including a double.
  • Solid pitching performance from Jeremy Null who had that sinker and that big downward plane going, retiring all 6 batters, 5 via groundout.
  • Chesny Young, 2B, went 2 for 4 with a single, triple, and 3 RBI.
  • LHP Tommy Thorpe pitched 2 scoreless innings, walking 1 and striking out 3.
  • Erick Leal pitched 2 scoreless, though he was wilder than usual, walking 2,  hitting a batter, and throwing a wild pitch.
  • David Garner also went 2 innings without allowing a run or walking a batter.  He struck out 1.
  • Nice to see Scott Frazier throw a scoreless inning — and nicer still that he did not walk a batter.  6 of this 12 pitches went for strikes.

Fall League: Mesa Solar Sox

  • The big news was CJ Edwards, who started the game and allowed a run on 3 hits in 2 innings.  He walked one and struck out one.  The most encouraging thing is that Edwards was throwing hard again after an injury shortened season in which he lost some velo late in the season.  He was at 94-97.
  • Zach Cates pitched 2 innings and allowed one run.  He walked one and struck out one.
  • LHP Gerardo Concepcion got hit hard.  He certainly didn’t miss bats, allowing 3 hits and 2 runs and not striking out a batter.  He did walk 2 hitters as well.
  • At the plate, only Dan Vogelbach cracked the Solar Sox lineup today and went 1 for 4, but other than the line drive single it was weak contact all day.


Filed under: Fall/Winter Baseball


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  • Matos, de la Rosa, and Galindo could be a nice trio of players to take their time going through the system. With Torres and Jimenez, that was a pretty strong class to sign in 2013.

    Another thing I don't think the organization gets credit for is taking a weakness in the system and then turning it into a strength. First it was 3B and we now have Bryant, Villanueva, Carhart, Candelario, and Hodges. Catcher, meanwhile, is filled with lots of guys with bats including Schwarber, Zagunis, Remillard, Brockmeyer, and Matos.

    To have built that kind of redundancy is amazing. Now, the pitching is still two years away. It will start producing more major leaguers this year with Rivero, and hopefully Edwards and Johnson. Next year, McKirahan and Perakslis could join the bullpen down the stretch.

    Waves of players are coming.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Not that it changes your point any, but didn't de la Rosa sign in the 2012 class?

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    In reply to historyrat:

    It's nice to have them but it wouldn't surprise me if the majority of that group isn't used to bring in a key piece or two for a playoff push in 2017 and 2018.

  • The String Bean Slinger bringing the heat I love it..could CJ be in the rotation in 2016? Pitchers tend move up faster.
    Lester Arrieta Edwards FA Shark? Hendricks
    Would be Potent

  • In reply to Trey Mcfreakin Nut:

    I think he could be up by 2016, but he would probably be their 5th starter and would have to work his way up. He won't yet be able to provide the innings you want from a 3rd starter, even if he has more than enough raw stuff to be there.

  • Saw this and it relates to John's post a few days ago on the future Cubs line-up, so I thought I would post it here. From Dave Schoenfield's SweetSpot blog post on Game1 of the ALCS (at the very end):

    As Joe Sheehan pointed out in his ALCS preview newsletter, teams with the better regular-season contact rate are 29-10 in playoff series since 2009. It's possible that not striking out is turning into a positive predictive tool.

    To K or not to K, that is the question

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Thanks! I knew it was going to get some resistance when I wrote about it because everything we've learned is that contact isn't that important as long as you hit for power and walk, I think that's true to an extent. But I think it begins to hurt if you strikeout a lot. 29-10 is a pretty big advantage, bigger than I thought.

    One thought I had about it is this: If short series are more of a factor of luck, then the teams who put the ball in play are more likely to benefit from that luck.

    I also felt vindicated yesterday when Epstein said the Cubs would look for players with more contact ability.

  • Ive been big on Vogelbomb ever since he was in the summer league 2 years ago. Anything on how hes looking?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    He still looks pretty lean from that picture. Keeping himself in good shape at least.

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    Some one mention a lineup of starter in 2016 : he is mine Lester,Arrieta,Hendricks,C.j.Wilson,and the return of the Shark. Next year minus the last two and include for 2015 T.Wood4th 5th Piece Johnson who might stay in place of the Shark to save money and he could be great.

  • In reply to Fred Barefield:

    Did you mean C.J. Wilson or C.J. Edwards?

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    Lester, Cueto, Arrieta, Hendricks, CJ Edwards

  • John, didn't we get Cates as part of a trade? Was it part of the Rizzo trade? My memory isn't so great...

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    He was part of the Rizzo deal. The Cubs gave up a pitcher as well but he has already been released, IIRC.

  • Don't get too excited about Edwards hitting 94-97. The scoreboard gun is generous. Thursday night half of the pitchers were 94-97. A few were even 98-100. I'm excited, but cautiously optimistic.

  • In reply to NilesNorth:

    It was a scout's gun.

  • Vogelbach's power has seemed to go away with his weight loss, but I think part of it is him refining his approach to take more pitches and use the whole field. But it's definitely hurt his numbers and the early reports from the AFL are not good.

    Chris Crawford referred to him as a non-prospect last night, which seems a bit rushed to me, but his stock is certainly sinking.

  • CJ Edwards healthy could be a boon to a Cubs roster in a season or two, Would love to see him put together a whole healthy season first in Iowa though.

    Build up his stamina and confidence some,.... and then set the man loose on ML pitching to see how he does.

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