Daily Minors Recap: Cease hits 99, pitches 3 scoreless; Vogelbach HRs

A little bonus coverage as the extended spring training group had their Opening Day.  Dylan Cease pitched 3 innings and impressed once again.  We have a recap, analysis, and phots on that game as well as a link to AZ Phil’s boxscore.

Round Rock 8 – Iowa 6

  • A real tough outing for Drew Rucinski (4.1 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 4 K) dug the I-Cubs a hole from which they could not climb out.  Rucinski generally pitches in the low 90s, getting leverage by dipping his right shoulder way back.  He does struggle with control at times and that was the case again today.  He walked 4 batters and left some hittable pitches.
  • Armando Rivero recorded his fourth straight scoreless appearance.
  • After striking out in his first three at bats, Dan Vogelbach (1-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, 3 K) drew the I-Cubs within striking distance in the eighth with a three run home run.  The slugging 1B is off to a good start at .387, though this was his first HR of the season.
  • Ryan Kalish singled, doubled and walked twice in four trips to the plate to raise his season totals to .273/.429/.455.
  • Munenori Kawasaki doubled home two runs and knocked in another on a fielder’s choice.

Tennessee 4 – Birmingham 2

  • Tyler Skulina (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 6 SO) cruised through five innings.  Skulina will generally throw between 88-92 mph and use his slider as his primary secondary, a pitch he likes to bury low and away from RH hitters and get them to chase.  When he is commanding the strike zone early, that strategy works well for him.  He picked up the win in this outing
  • Both  Juan Paniagua (2.0 IP, SO) and Starling Peralta (2.0 IP, 2 SO) can throw in the mid 90s to go along with solid average sliders.  Paniagua adds a good circle change as well.  Each turned in two perfect innings as Peralta picked up the save.
  • Bijan Rademacher (1-1, 3 BB, R, RBI) stayed scorching hot at the plate. He reached safely in all four plate appearances and drove in an insurance run with a single in the ninth to raise his line to a preposterous .524/.600/.857.
  • Leadoff man Jacob Hannemann (2-4, 2B, R, RBI) napped a 1-24 skid.

Carolina 2 – Myrtle Beach 0

  • This was a better start from Trevor Clifton but he’s not yet where he wants to be in terms of his command.  Clifton walked 3 batters, threw 3 wild pitches, and just threw a lot of pitches in general. Despite giving up just 2 runs and striking out 6, he was not able to finish the 5th  inning. 
  • LHP Jordan Minch (2.1 IP) and James Farris (1 IP, 1K) came on in relief to shut down the Mudcats the rest of the way.
  • The Pelicans offense managed just two hits: a double by Jason Vosler and a single by Gioskar Amaya.

Fort Wayne 10 – South Bend 3

  • After a strong first start, Ryan Kellogg struggled a bit in his second one.  He allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 4.1 innings.  He gave up 6 runs in all.
  • It was an uneven performance by the offense as well.  Sutton Whiting (1 for 4) and Donnie Dewees (0 for 4) drove in one run apiece, but they didn’t ignite the offense as they usually do at the top of the order.
  • PJ Higgins doubled, walked, and scored a run when Eddy Julio Martinez (1 for 4) Idoubled him home in the 6th.
  • Ian Rice (2 fo 3) factored in 2 of the runs, doubling and eventually scoring on a Whiting sac fly and then walking in the 7th and eventually scoring on a Dewees sac fly.
  • Daniel Spingola doubled and singled in 4 ABs.

Extended Spring Training: Angels 3 – Cubs 1 (Box Score link AZ Phil)

  • Aaron Crow pitched the first inning as part of his rehab and was about 90-92 without much command.  It certainly didn’t go as well as he’d hoped as you could see Crow was not happy with himself – Crow left the ball up and over the plate and was hit hard, including  a 2 run bomb that landed high up on the LF-CF berm.
  • Dylan Cease was his nasty self today.  He started out 95-96 and then got warmed up, throwing 97-98 mph in his second inning of work and 98-99 in his third.  The curve flashed at times and was in the 78-81 range.  The change-up was probably the best I’d seen from him.  It didn’t have a lot of movement and I would still call it fringe average, but he had good arm speed and better movement when he kept it down. It looks like it has the makings of a solid average pitch.   Cease threw a handful of change-ups and got at least two weak outs using it.  He pitched 3 scoreless innings in all with 2 walks and 2 Ks.   His command is improving.  When he  did miss, he didn’t miss by much.
  • LHP Jose Paulino generally pitches 92-94 mph with a hard slider and a circle change.  He struggles most with command but he does have good stuff.  The Cubs are going to keep trying him at starter but he will have to be more efficient if he is going to stick there long term.  He pitched 3 solid innings, walking 2 and striking out 3.
  • An encouraging outing from Alexander Santana, who has always had some control issues but he was really struggling this spring.  He throws in the mid 90s but lack of command keeps it from being as effective as it should be.  He did a good job keeping his shoulder closed and in line toward the plate, resulting in a scoreless inning  with no walks.
  • LHP Yapson Gomez finished with a scoreless inning.  Gomez throws a high 80s to low 90s FB.
  • Not much offense in this one.  The rehabbing Shane Victorino hit a pair of singles, walked, and scored a run on Kelly Dugan’s sac fly.
  • The hardest hit of the day came off the bat of SS Isaac Paredes who scorched a double into the gap.  Paredes also made a great defensive play ranging to his right.
  • 2B Vimael Machine also made a nice play going behind the 2B bag on a groundball and then doubled over the LFers head in his last AB.
  • Trey Martin looks pretty close to returning to Myrtle Beach.



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    Cease seems like he's coming along nicely John. Is he on a pitch count, and, if so, will that last the whole season? It looks like every level lost today, except the Blackhawks did score late today and the series is even 1-1.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yes, he is on a pitch count. They pretty much all are at this point, but I understand once he has built up innings, they will let him loose to some point.

    Nice win for the Hawks.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Safe to assume Cease will debut for Eugene this year?

  • Tennessee won

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    A pitcher that continues to come to mind for me with Cease is Roy Oswalt- obviously that's high praise and way too early to know if he can command his stuff in a way to be successful in that light- but in terms of a somewhat undersized pitcher who throws heat and can deliver some devistating breaking stuff(albeit slider vs curve)...hopefully Cease can continue to improve that change..but his early work has been very,very exciting

  • In reply to David McKenzie:

    Similar in stature, but Cease is built more solidly --- his Spanish speaking teammates call him "La Piedra" The Rock. Different deliveries. But man, if he can have Oswalt's career I am sure we'd all take that happily.

    The change doesn't have a lot of movement, but if he can consistently locate it low in the zone and spot it, it can work for him, like an old fashioned straight change.

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    Just a question John, what time do the extended games start, just retired and now have some time to watch?

  • In reply to tater:

    About 10:30, but they are not all at Sloan Park. I believe the next one there is on Monday.

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    Glass Half Full: Willson Contreras is proving last year was no fluke so far. Almora had a great catch yesterday. Both these guys I think will help us.

    Glass Half Empty: 3 more Ks for Mendy.....this year is his last option year and probably last chance. Muni is going to beat him out for every call-up. We'll probably carry Arismendy all year to see if he can turn it around, but I'm not holding my breath

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Better than the highlight catch for me (since we expect that from Almora anyway) is he has continued the more mature approach he showed late last year. He has walked 5 times in 29 PAs vs just 4 Ks.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Was just looking at the Iowa stats yesterday. A big smile came to my face when I saw Almora with more walks than strikeouts. BB rate up and K rate down. So far so good!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    17% walk rate is not too shabby.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Contreras and Almora have both started off very strong. Contreras controls the strikezone and Almora, while still aggressive is swinging mostly at strikes. Almora has been very good defensively and Contreras has flashed all of his tools. I could see both contributing if they are needed later in the season.

    Mendy is struggling at the plate despite opening the season with a decent hit streak. Still susceptible to the high fastball and the low, slow stuff. I really thought he was going to develop into a 230/300/450 versatile backup, but time is running short on him doing that with the Cubs. He still has plenty of time to salvage his career though even if it ends up being somewhere else. Still relatively young and middle infielders with his pop and speed will always be given chances.

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    Hey John, can you embed links to the box scores so we can easily see the line on everyone?


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    In reply to Kevin S:

    Wow, disregard. You already do that. I'm an idiot and didn't realize it the past 3 years.

  • Just going off of projected starters it appears Tseng will make his scheduled start today and Johnson may miss his. I had heard that a couple of days after their injuries that Tseng was fine and Johnson was a little sore. If I'm Johnson I will be a little sore until I get out of Round Rock.

    It seems like I'm seeing a lot more passed balls and wild pitches at the AA and Hi A levels. At some point in the season I may have to see if the stat line matches my perceptions. They often don't.

    At AA it appears our opponents are being super aggressive on the base paths. Pitchers have been paying a lot of attention to them and have enjoyed a lot of success picking off runners. I'll have to start paying attention to see if they are picking on one of the three catchers the Smokies have used.

  • I'm going to admit my man-crush on Bijan Rademacher. Hopefully he can keep getting on base and eventually find a way to help the big club down the line.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Must when you think Rademacher is what he is he takes the next step (I hope)

  • How long do you think Cease will be in extended spring training, and what level do you think he'll be sent to?

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