Daily Minors Recap: Zastryzny, Williams solid, Rose gets walk off RBI for South Bend

Iowa 4, New Orleans 1 – Completion of suspended game from 4/21 (Michael E)

  • Rains forced the game to be suspended after the I-Cubs had taken a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning on a Tim Federowicz double that knocked home Ryan Kalish (3-4, R, SB). The game resumed with two outs and Federowicz on second. A walk to Munenori Kawasaki was followed by a two run double by pinch hitter Matt Murton to extend the lead to three runs.
  • Pierce Johnson returned to action after missing a start due to be struck by a comebacker on April 11th. He did not miss a beat. He struck out 6 batters over 5 innings, giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and 1 walk. No offensive support came until after his departure however. An RBI groundout by Arismendy Alcantara in the sixth knotted the score at 1.
  • Giovanni Soto got the win by pitching a scoreless bottom of the sixth, his second scoreless outing since joining the organization.
  • Miguel Mejia and Spencer Patton slammed the door on any attempted comeback by New Orleans in today’s action by combining for three no hit innings. The perfect ninth by Patton earned him his second save on the season.

Iowa 5, New Orleans 0 (Michael E)

  • It wasn’t as clean and efficient as the starts we got used to seeing from him last season, but Ryan Williams took a step toward righting his season with 5 shutout innings to earn his first win and lower his ERA to 4.85. Last season Williams showed command of his pitches as refined as any pitcher in the system but so far he has been unable to replicate it this season as even tonight he walked four batters. Thankfully he was able to limit the Zephyrs to three hits and keep them off the board.
  • While the Iowa rotation has suffered a number of injuries and slow starts to the season, the I-Cubs bullpen has been with few exceptions exceptional. Tonight it was Armando RiveroCarl Edwards Jr. and Jean Machi combining to allow only 4 base runners over the final 4 innings to complete the shutout. This coming after the trio of relievers (Soto, Mejia, Patton) had completed 4 shutout innings in the previous contest.
  • Iowa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when John Andreoli (2-4, 2 R, K, SB) singled, stole second, then scored on an opposite field single by Willson Contreras (2-4, 2 RBI, K, SB). The run proved to be the game winner. Contreras would knock home Andreoli one more time in the third to extend the lead. The pair of singles raised Contreras’s average to an even .400.
  • Kristopher Negron added a pair of doubles and two runs scored.

Tennessee 5, Mobile 4 (Michael E)

  • It was not an auspicious beginning for starter Rob Zastryzny. Mobile leadoff man Ildemaro Vargas greeted greeted him with a leadoff homer, Zastryzny then proceeded to walk the next two batters in the bottom of the first. He would manage to wriggle off the hook without allowing either runner to score. Two more hitters would reach with no outs in the bottom of the third but once again Zastryzny would work out of the jam with no runs allowed. Overall he gave up 4 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings while striking out 6 with the solo home run the only blemish against him.
  • The Smokies roughed up former Cubs farmhand Zack Godley for five runs on 10 hits (2 HRs) and three walks. Godley failed to strike out a single batter in six innings. The first of the two homers came in the sixth  as Jeimer Candelario (1-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB) broke a 1-1 tie with a solo shot. The game winner came the following inning when Jacob Hannemann (2-5, HR, R, 2 RBI) drove one out to right center.
  • Chesny Young stayed hot with a single, double and walk in five trips.
  • A pinch hit double in the seventh by Bijan Rademacher kept his string of reaching base in all 15 game he has played this season alive. That in itself is impressive. When you add the caveat that now three of those appearances have come as a pinch hitter it becomes even more so. He is now 3-3 with a double and home run off the bench. He still leads the league in average, OBP and SLG. Not only has he walked (10) more frequently than he has struck out (6), but tonight’s double means that he now also has more extra base hits (7) than Ks. Let that sink in.

Carolina 6 – Myrtle Beach 3

  • This was not a good start  for Erick Leal.  After  a strong start last time out, Leal had all sorts of control problems, walking 4 batters in just 1.2 innings, leading to 4 earned runs.  Leal also gave up 4 hits with 3 of them going for extra bases.
  • LHP Tyler Ihrig stopped the bleeding with 4.2 scoreless innings.  The versatile pitcher with the big slow curve walked 2 and struck out 2.  Unfortunately, the Pelicans would not come all the way back.
  • If there is a good sign, it is that Gleyber Torres seems to be coming around.  Torres went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, but he is still hitting just .140.  Baby steps.  And maybe a little adversity for Torres after having yet to fail in his professional (and probably amateur) career so far.  We’ll see how he fights out of this.
  • Ian Happ got hot and has stayed that way.   He singled and eventually scored in the first and then doubled home Torres in the third.  He went 2 for 3 overall with a walk.
  • Yasiel Balaguert drove in the first run of the game in the 1st, driving in Torres.  He went 1 for 4 overall.
  • Jeffery Baez drove in the 2nd run in the first inning, scoring Happ with a single.  Baez went 2 for 4 overall.

South Bend 7 – Fort Wayne 6

  • LHP Kyle Twomey had his second shaky start in a row, allowing 10 hits in 5 innings.  One of those hits was a 3 run HR, which accounted for half the runs he gave up in this outing.  On the bright side, he did not walk anyone and struck out  6.
  • The bullpen loomed large in this game as they shut down a powerful Fort Wayne offense the rest of the way and gave their own good offense a chance to come back.   Casey Bloomquist was absolutely brilliant, pitching 4 perfect innings and striking out 3.  Like Twomey, Bloomquist is your mix and match type that needs to locate and he did that very well today.
  • After a couple of finesse guys, the Cubs brought in the mid 90s FB, high 80s cutter/slider throwing James Norwood, who struck out 2 in one inning to get the win.
  • It’s been a struggle for young Carlos Sepulveda.  The 19 year old lefty hitting 2B is young for his league, skipping Eugene  after nearly making that squad out of spring last year.  He moved in the right direction today with a 2 hit day.  He also scored a run.
  • The Cubs tied the game at 1 in the 4th when Daniel Spingola started the rally with a walk and went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored overall.  He also walked.
  •  Donnie Dewees (2 for 5, 3 runs, 2 RBI, and his 6th SB) filled up the box once again.  He singled in that 4th inning and eventually scored on a sac fly by Matt Rose.
  • Fort Wayne answered with 5 runs in the 4th but South Bend would roar back.  3B Adonis Paula (1 for 4, run) started the rally with a single and then a walk by Tyler Alamo and a single by Sepulveda loaded the bases for Spingola, who singled in Paula to cut the lead to 6-2.  Dewees then singled in Alamo and Sepulveda to bring South Bend within 2.
  • After Dewees stole 2nd, Eloy Jimenez kept the rally going with a sac fly to score Spingola and send Dewees to 3rd.  Jimenez went 1 for 3 with a walk.
  • Eddy Julio Martinez capped that rally with a single to score Dewees and tie the game at 6.
  • It would be yet another walk-off win as Matt Rose hit a groundball that was ruled a  fielders choice to score (who else?) Donnie Dewees with the game winner.

Extended Spring Training (Box Score from AZ Phil )

Cubs 10 – Angels 8

  • This was not a great start for Bryan Hudson.  His fastball was down a couple of ticks, the  command was off, and his curve was a little flat.  More importantly, this was a start more with an eye toward his development as this was as many change-up as I had seen him throw all spring — maybe more than I have seen in live action of all the previous games combined.  He ended up giving up 4 runs in 3 innings in what was his worst start of the year — but like I said, don’t take too much stock in that.   It seems Hudson was trying a few things because he has been dominating with a simple approach — get ahead with the two seam FB and put them away with his curveball.  He worked backwards at times (change ups  and curves early in the count).  It’s all good because it’s designed to make Hudson better in the long run.
  • Jose Albertos came in and was dealing 95 mph FBs from the get go.   He also flashed an occasionally good curve at about 77-78 mph — but once again, the young IFA signing was plagued with inconsistency, particularly with his command.  Albertos started off extremely well but couldn’t maintain his mechanics and he started pulling off toward his glove side, causing him to drive the fastball low and outside on RH hitters — but not in a good way.  It was an obvious ball from the time it left his hand.
  • Tommy Nance had another good outing, this time coming in as the closer.  He showed a 92-94 mph FB, topping at 95 the last time I saw him.  He also adds an 82-83 mph slurve that he locates well.  Nance is an indy league signing and is already 24, so perhaps the Cubs are grooming him as a reliever so that he can move quickly.  I’d like to see him challenged at South Bend or Myrtle Beach.
  • Wladimir Galindo made three outstanding defensive plays but looked a little lost at the plate, often getting fooled by offspeed/breaking stuff.  The defense, however, has come a long way.  One concern is that he left the game early and one has to wonder if he is still having trouble with that wrist he injured last summer.
  • Not going to say much about the offense other than there were big 2-run doubles by Kelly Dugan and C Marcus Mastrobuoni.  Dugan tied the game with a double over the CFers head and then Mastrubouni completed the 8 run rally with a line  drive double in the LF corner.  You can check out AZ Phil’s box score above to get more info.

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  • fb_avatar

    I'm encouraged by Pierce Johnson. Does he just need to stay healthy to be able to pitch at the next level? It seems like he has all the pitches, and of course, consistency too.
    One other pitcher you mentioned is Jose Albertos. You said he was young, but if he has a FB at 95 and a curve at 77-78 then he at least has the tools and ability to miss a lot of bats. Change of speeds is necessary, and that great a disparity shows that he could be a special pitcher. How young is he, and do you see a high ceiling for him.
    Thanks again--every time I'm about ready to turn in you post the recaps and of course I read them and sometimes comment.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thanks, Jonathan. Albertos definitely has that ability. Just needs consistency right now. He's definitely a potential #3 starter, maybe more.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I can't seem to be able to find any info on Albertos and i was just wondering...does he have the body build to be a starter or is he destined to end up in the bullpen.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    He has a strong frame, maybe a bit thick in fact if he doesn't watch his fitness. The downside is that he doesn't project as much as guys like Hudson in terms of filling out physically

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Alberto's was 17 when he signed so he's 18 tops. Basically he's a high school senior. Throwing up to 95. With a breaker and allegedly a change though John hadn't mentioned it yet which makes me wonder.
    Interesting side note: Mexican teens are almost posted like Asian pros. But instead of a separate posting fee the club team takes three quarters of the bonus so Albertos pockets less than 400k of his 1.5 mil signing bonus.

  • In reply to ericccs:

    He's only pitched one inning at a time so far and he throws about 90% FBs so far. Only other pitch I have seen him throw is his curve, but like I said, it's been pretty small samples.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Command and health are all that has been holding back Johnson. Assuming he stays healthy, if he refines his command this season he will work his way into the discussion as a starter next season, if he doesn't then he would likely be ticketed for the pen. The health is tricky though, he hasn't been durable since before turning pro. Some guys just aren't able to hold up going every five days. His previous missed start was a fluke though so at least so far this year he has avoided the soft tissue injuries, which is a good start.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Are these guys on strict pitch counts? Our starters are not getting to the order a 3rd time. That will separate prospect starter from suspect starter/bullpen arm. Have you heard anything on that?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I know they have a thirty pitch threshold in a single inning where they will not let a pitcher go out the next inning if they surpass it.

    Other than that I am sure it is on a case by case basis. And I'm sure in the crappy weather early in the year they are more closely monitored. There is a fine line between pitch counts and getting a starter used to throwing enough innings over the course of a long season that needs to be straddled.

  • John the IFA classes are so hard to get a handle on because of the longer period of time they spend in Latin America and the instructional league. As the person who probably knows more about the inner workings of the Cub's low minors than anyone not in the organization, have you ever considered doing reviews of IFA classes? I realize you haven't been in AZ that long but maybe in the future as you see more kids graduating from the '13, '14, and '15 classes. That would be incredible one of a kind coverage that really only you could do

  • In the tenth, Matt Rose hit a ground ball to third that the fielder bobbled and everyone was safe for the game winner. It was ruled a fielder's choice.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    Yes, it was very late and I wrote it well after the game ended. Not sure what possessed me to write sac fly. Fixed now. Thanks.

  • I enjoyed the story behind M.T. Minacci getting drafted last year. The other day, I saw his stat line looked pretty good for one inning of work. John, I was wondering if you had seen much of him this spring and how he was progressing?

  • In reply to kliwrd:

    He has been around. Throws low 90s. Occasionally comes in for a late inning but so far not in the games I have attended.

  • I know a lot of folks here are high on Williams. I thought this would be a telling year for him as a guy with fringy stuff and very good command faces more experienced hitters. So far, he is not passing this test. I look forward to watching his adjustments and see how he progresses. I am beginning to think the next starting pitcher for the big league team comes from guys still in AZ or are in A Ball.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Well the entire staff at the big league level is signed through next year, assuming Hammels option is picked up, and why wouldn't it at this point. So any young starter is going to have to pitch so well that the cubs make room for them, or they will have to bide their time and wait for an injury.

    The Cubs are in the business SD of winning championships right now so any young starter they use will have to be pretty exceptional in order to stay in the rotation. Williams, Johnson, Underwood, Zastryzny, etc may be forced to show they can get big league hitters out in the bullpen before they are given a chance in the rotation. The situation may be different once a couple of veteran contracts expire like Lackey and Hammel, and potential big money extension for Arrieta kicks in, then the team may be looking for a cheap alternative and those guys will be given a look, but as you said they may have to compete with a guy like Cease at that point too.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The Cubs have incredibly cheap position players right now so they can afford proven starters. Once they have to start paying Bryant, Russell, Baez, etc as well as the expected increase to Arrieta and Hendricks hitting arb, then inexpensive starting pitching will be at more of a premium.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    He wasn't as sharp on at least one start here against A ballers, so not sure we can completely chalk it up to level. It's possible it is the more experienced hitters taking more of those borderline pitches. We didn't rank him that highly on our list but we have kept him as someone to watch. There are some people in the Cubs org that like him a lot. We'll see. It's early.

  • fb_avatar

    pitch well that Cubs make room for them OR - another team calls
    and asks about them.

    I can see cubs getting bullpen help at the deadline - and using some of these pieces.

  • In reply to deport soriano com:

    The righties seem okay right now, but I can see a late inning lefty being a priority. And of course injuries will play a role too. But the Cubs do have a couple of righties with nasty stuff in Patton and Edwards available for recall there.

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