Contreras, Candelario among 11 players optioned, plus some notes from the backfield

I am a little late to the party on this.  It was another day at the backfields.   A little on that later.

The Cubs have optioned top catching prospect Willson Contreras to AAA and Jeimer Candelario to AA.  Candelario, you may  remember, did not play a full season at Tennessee.  He’s also just 22 and the Cubs have two star players blocking him, so there is no need to rush him to AAA just yet.

LHRP CJ Riefenhauser, 2B Arismendy Alcantara, RHRP Carl Edwards, Jr., and P Pierce Johnson  were also optioned to AAA.   Johnson had his struggles but Edwards was having a solid spring.  The good health of Neil Ramirez likely factored in as did perhaps the surprising spring of Spencer Patton, who has at times sat at 96 and has touched as high as 98.

Patton was a surprise to me when I saw him in camp, because he was just more athletic than I thought.  And now, after throwing in the low 90s early, he appears to have a chance as a power reliever in the back of the bullpen.  While the struggles of incumbent closer Hector Rondon mean nothing right now, it is a reminder that bullpen performance can sometimes be volatile and teams should be prepared.  The Cubs will need all the power arms they can get for depth.

Also reassigned to camp was Felix Pena, who also showed good velocity at 96 mph but lack of command contributed to a poor spring.  Minor league free agents Stephen Fife, Drew Rucinski, and Edgar Olmos were reassigned to minor league camp, as was veteran minor league  catcher Taylor Davis.

Backfield notes

On the backfields it was Carson Sands on the mound.  The lefty pitched at 89-91 mph with his fastball while mixing in some curves and change-ups.  The velocity isn’t up to it’s usual standards, but Sands pitched well overall.

Eric Leal pitched in the high A game and was also 89-91 and a curve that looked good at times and a bit loopy on others.

DJ Wilson hit the ball well today, including a double and ringing line drive right at the CFer.  He also showed his good speed on the bases again and with a nice running catch in CF.

Blake Headley hit an inside the park HR when the CFer lost the ball in a sunny, cloudless sky.  Headley is another player who has surprised me a bit with his athleticism.  He has made some good plays on infield drills and showed enough speed today to circle the bases.  He is a 3B who will likely be at South Bend.

Miguel Amaya who just turned 17 a little over a week ago got a chance to play with and against older competition and held his own defensively and offensively, where he put together a couple of solid ABs.  I asked if he might start the season by skipping the DSL and was told it was possible, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Alex Bautista hit a HR in the high A game.

Erling Moreno, who has had an injury plagued start to his career was back on the mound and while his velo wasn’t where it was at this point last year, it was better than it was before he was put on the DL.  Moreno was at 90-91 but didn’t quite get the feel for that good curve just yet, though there is some promise there.

 

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  • fb_avatar

    Where did Patton come from? I don't really see many power arms in the Cubs bullpen now. I know that high heat doesn't necessarily mean outs, it's more movement and location, but it is nice to see a 99 mph fly by a hitter.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The Cubs traded IFA 2B Frandy Delarosa to Texas for him this offseason back in November.

    He's 28 so he's no prospect but he's been able to make people miss throughout his career. Broke into the bigs in 2014 with the Rangers. In 268 IP over 5 minor league seasons, he's struck out 364 (12.2 per 9) and just over a K per inning in limited major league time.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.n­e­t­-j­o­b­s­2­5­­.­c­o­­m

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    From TX for Frandy DeLarosa

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I would count Rondon, Strop, Grimm, Ramirez and now Patton as power arms. Do you see them as power arms?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    John, you're right, but I think that Strop's fastball comes and goes, but yes, Rondon has good heat, Ramirez did, but it seems like his fastball is now between 91-93 although John reported an occasional 95 or 96. If he can regain his 2014 form we have an above average bullpen.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Jonathan, Patton is from a small town of about 500 people. It sits about 40 miles south of where I live. It's amazing coming from a town that small in the middle of nowhere, accomplishing what he is. I spoke to classmates of his that live by me, and they said he's a great kid and deserves everything he gets.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Jonathan, Patton is from a small town called Farina, IL. which is about 40 miles south of me. The town has about 500 people. Which makes his story even cooler. I spoke to a couple of classmates who run a church near me, and I asked them about Patton. They say he's a great kid who's earned everything he's got, and they are rooting for him. As am I.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    my friend's step-aunt makes $70 an hour on the computer . She has been without a job for 5 months but last month her pay was $18819 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at here
    ➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨➨ w­­w­­w­.n­e­t­-j­o­b­s­2­5­­.­c­o­­m

  • John, because Cease has only pitched 26.2 IP at Mesa, I've been thinking he likely stays in extended spring training and starts his season in Eugene. The Cubs have a history of taking their time with their young arms and will want/need to limit his innings in his first full season after recovering from TJS.

    But in an article on him in BA the other day the following quote made it seem he'd start in South Bend.

    "Once camp breaks in a couple of weeks, Cease will escape the Cubs’ minor league complex in Mesa, which he has become familiar with since signing. His only significant departure, he said, was a four-month return home to see his family over the holidays.

    Other than that, he’s been stationed just down the road from Sloan Park, the Cubs’ spring home, rehabbing and getting himself ready for his first taste of full-season ball, which is likely to come this year at low Class A South Bend."

    Have you heard anything about whether Cease will break with South Bend or stay on in Mesa for extended spring training and start in Eugene?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    My speculation is similar to yours, Quedub. Read that but that seems rather aggressive.

  • I think they end up grooming Pierce Johnson as a reliever. It seems like he pitches well in spurts, but then has an inning where he loses it. Just the kind of guy who often responds well to short stint assignments out of the bullpen. And frankly, the Cubs could use a quality bridge/setup reliever, Strop doesn't inspire a lot of confidence (Cardinals!) and Ramirez always seems to get hurt.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I think that's doubtful. His stuff isnt really that great to profile as a back of the bullpen guy. Maybe 7th inning so most of his value is tied up to him being a starter. No reason to move him off that when he hasn't failed yet and is showing better control. Theoretically he could be a solid secondary piece in a trade this summer or even a centerpiece for a possible bullpen rental. Speaking of which those tampa bay trade talks might reignite with them needing bullpen help and edwards being optioned. Edwards as a secondary piece that fills a need for them might be tempting.

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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Strop struggled against the Cardinals in 2015 but destroyed them in 2013 and 2014. I wouldn't read too much into his struggles last year. He K's 30% of batters he faces and only walks 10%. For a guy that pitches 1 inning most of the time that is pretty solid. Throw in a solid 0.66 HR/9IP rate and I don't have too man concerns going into the year. Like many relievers he can fall into bad stretches and has awful numbers against one team and then, the next year dominates them. And a team that he dominates will get to him another year. I think small sample sizes have a lot to do with that usually (though Strop rarely did well against STL last year). Strop is not a "top-10 reliever" by any stretch but I am happy he is pitching for us and not against us.

  • John, haven't heard my favorite "not top 20" prospect's name all spring. Anything on Chesny Young?

  • I was wondering who will be on the roster in south bend?

  • Since Candelario is starting at AA and with villanueva injured or after that waivered are the cubs going to use a veteran utility guy like negron to play 3rd in iowa? I would prefer Candelario in Iowa but i agree there is no hurry.

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