Pierce Johnson provided another strong effort in his final AFL start of the season as Mesa toppled Salt River 5-1 on Wednesday. A few Cubs players got into the act offensively as well. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action:
- RHP Pierce Johnson (5.47) pitched four strong innings, giving up one earned run and striking out six to pick up the win. He surrendered four hits and a walk in the outing.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.346) went 1-for-3, recording an RBI single in the sixth. He added a pair of walks and a run scored.
- C Cael Brockmeyer (.214) singled to lead off the third. He also walked and recorded a run scored in the win.
Mesa wraps up its season Thursday with a home matchup against Glendale. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 local time.
The Cubs and right-handed pitcher Andury Acevedo have agreed to terms on a 2016 contract. The club’s 40-man roster now stands at 31 players.
Acevedo, 25, spent the last four seasons pitching in the Yankees organization, reaching the Triple-A level for the first time last year, going 1-2 with one save and a 2.31 ERA (3 ER/11.2 IP) in 10 relief outings with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. After starting 2015 with Single-A Tampa, Acevedo pitched at three levels in the Yankees, combining to go 3-4 with three saves and a 2.59 ERA (17 ER/59.0 IP) in 41 relief appearances. Acevedo earned Florida State League mid-season All-Star honors, posting a 1.40 ERA (3 ER/19.1 IP) in 13 relief appearances with Tampa.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Acevedo was originally signed by Pittsburgh as an infielder in 2007 before he converted to a relief pitcher upon signing with the Yankees in 2012. Overall, Acevedo is 8-8 with four saves and a 4.00 ERA (55 ER/123.2 IP) in 95 professional relief outings.
Acevedo is a native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
After getting rained out on Monday, Mesa returned to action Tuesday, falling 4-2 to Salt River. A few Cubs prospects got into the game with mixed results:
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.347) got Mesa on the board early with an RBI single in the first inning, scoring Chad Hinshaw (Angels). He finished 1-for-4.
- RF Mark Zagunis (.234) was 0-for-3.
- LHP Rob Zastryzny (5.19) got the start, but gave up three earned runs in 3.0 innings for his second loss of the fall. He struck out three and walked one, giving up three hits.
Mesa hosts Salt River Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
Mesa powered its way to a 5-1 win versus Scottsdale Saturday, with a few Cubs getting into the action. Here are some notes from the weekend’s result:
- DH Jeimer Candelario (.352) recorded two hits, including a fifth-inning double, to finish 2-for-4. He added a run scored.
- RHP David Garner (3.48) pitched a scoreless eighth inning, giving up no hits and walking one.
- C Cael Brockmeyer (.200) went 0-for-4.
A year ago at this time, many were debating who should be the higher-ranked prospect in the Cubs system: Kris Bryant or Addison Russell. After stellar 2015 campaigns, a similar argument is being made, but in regards to who should be the NL Rookie of the Year winner.
Now that those two, as well as catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber, have officially graduated from prospect rankings, a new wave of talent officially takes over in the Cubs system. On Friday, Baseball America published its Chicago Cubs Top 10 Prospects list, with hotshot shortstop Gleyber Torres coming in at No. 1.
Signed in early 2013 from Venezuela, the 18-year-old spent much of 2015 in the Low-A Midwest League, where he hit .290/.350/.383 with 24 doubles and 22 stolen bases. He then wrapped up the season in High-A Myrtle Beach as the Pelicans claimed a league title. Here is a portion of Baseball America‘s scouting report on Torres:
Torres has four above-average to plus tools, with only power lagging behind—but give him time. Torres had good strength when he signed and has improved his body significantly working with the Cubs’ strength and conditioning crew, with a trimmer shape. He combines those tools with a gamer’s mentality and a feel for the game on both sides of the ball. Torres’ bat-to-ball skills are only mitigated by youthful aggressiveness, and as he gains experience, he should learn which pitches to selectively zone in on and drive more consistently, giving him at least average future power potential. Some club officials give Torres plus future power, particularly to his pull side. He has a knack for the barrel, uses the entire field and has a solid approach, showing a good two-strike approach for his age.
The rest of the top 10 prospects are as follows:
2. Willson Contreras, C/3B
3. Ian Happ, OF/2B
4. Duane Underwood, RHP
5. Dylan Cease, RHP
6. Albert Almora, OF
7. Billy McKinney, OF
8. Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
9. Eloy Jimenez, OF
10. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
With only two Cubs farmhands in action, it was a quiet day for prospects Wednesday. Both were able to drive in runs, but Mesa was on the wrong end of a 12-6 loss to Salt River. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action:
- C Cael Brockmeyer was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning and scored on a sacrifice fly three batters later. The taxi squad player added an RBI groundout in the ninth. He was 0-for-3 in his other plate appearances.
- RF Mark Zagunis drove in a run on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh but was also 0-for-3.
Cubs third base prospect Jeimer Candelario was added to Saturday’s Fall Stars Game via the AFL’s Final Two Vote. He received 27.8 percent of the votes to earn the final roster spot on the East Division team.
Mesa again failed to get the bats going in a 6-3 loss to Peoria Monday. Only one Cub was in action as the Solar Sox slipped to 4-13. Here are some notes from yesterday’s action:
- C Willson Contreras (.298) stepped up with a man on first and one out and ripped a single to left field in the eighth inning. Both runners would eventually be stranded.
On Monday, the fall league announced Contreras, as well as right-handed pitcher Corey Black, will participate in the AFL All-Star Game on Saturday. Also, infielder Jeimer Candelario is one of the final vote candidates. Fans have until Wednesday at 1 p.m. CST, to vote for the team’s final roster spot.
A few Cubs second base prospects and relievers had solid days in the Caribbean on Sunday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s winter league action:
- 2B Arismendy Alcantara drew a pair of walks and drove in two in the Tigres del Licey’s loss to Cibaenas. One of his bases on balls came with the bases loaded in the fourth and the other RBI came on a bases-loaded groundout in the third. He was hitless in three official at-bats.
- RHP Juan Paniagua recorded the final out in the Estrellas’ shutout victory. He forced the only batter he saw to fly out to right.
- LHP Ryan Buchter struck out the side in the final inning of a shortened seven-inning game to claim his fifth save of the year for Culican. Buchter signed a minor league deal with the Cubs in late July and pitched 18.0 innings for Iowa this season.
- RHP Fernando Cruz pitched two scoreless innings for Santurce, walking one and striking out two in a losing effort. Cruz split the 2015 season in High-A and Double-A, and made one appearance in Iowa.
- CF Adron Chambers drove in a run in his first at-bat as Magalianes secured a win over Lara. He added a walk and a run scored in his 1-for-3 day.
- RHP Yoervis Medina surrendered two earned runs on a walk and three hits for Lara.
- 2B Bryant Flete had a pair of hits and drove in a run, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, as Zulia claimed a victory over Margarita.
It wasn’t the best of days for Cubs prospects or the Soler Sox, as Mesa fell 6-2 to Scottsdale on Saturday. The team combined for just three hits and committed three errors. Here are some notes from the action over the weekend:
- RHP Pierce Johnson (6.00) got the start and allowed two earned runs in 4.0 innings to take the loss. He surrendered five hits and three walks, but struck out four in the effort.
- RF Mark Zagunis (.208) was 0-for-2 with two bases on balls.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.350) drew a walk but finished 0-for-3, leaving four runners on base.
- RHP Corey Black (7.11) gave up two hits and an earned run in an inning of work. He struck out one batter.
Mesa will host Peoria Monday, with the first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
The Solar Sox got off to a fast start behind Cubs prospect Willson Contreras and defeated Surprise 5-3 Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- C Willson Contreras (.308) ripped a two-run homer to left-center field to put Mesa on the board in the first inning. He also singled to left in the sixth and scored on an Eric Aguilera (Angels) groundout. Contreras was 2-for-4.
- 2B Elliot Soto (.243) singled to right in the bottom of the first for his only hit of the game. He was driven in on the Contreras homer. The infielder finished 1-for-4.
- RF Mark Zagunis (.227) reached base on a walk but was 0-for-3 on the day.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.378) had his hot bat cooled. He went 0-for-4 on the day.
Mesa heads to Scottsdale Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time. Cubs lefty Rob Zastryzny is the scheduled starter.