The Solar Sox picked up a pair of wins this weekend, and many of the Cubs prospects got into the act. Junior Lake had a solid weekend in the Dominican, and Edwin Maysonet picked up a few hits in Puerto Rico. Here are some highlights from this weekend’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, LF/RF – Almora led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left on Friday. He was driven in two batters later from second on a Brian Goodwin (Nationals) single. He finished 1-for-4.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant drew two walks and went 0-for-3 on Friday. On Saturday he had an eighth-inning single and went 1-for-5 on the afternoon.
Lendy Castillo, RHP – Castillo pitched a scoreless ninth inning Friday, giving up one hit. His ERA is now at 1.93.
Wes Darvill, PH/2B – Darvill entered the game as a pinch-hitter on Saturday, grounding out in his only at-bat.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero pitched on Saturday, giving up no runs on one hit and striking out Travis Shaw (Red Sox).
Jorge Soler, RF – On Friday, Soler singled in his first at-bat and scored four batters later when Devon Travis drove him in from third (Tigers). He went 1-for-5. He singled in his first-at-bat again on Saturday, and C.J. Cron (Angels) drove him in with a homer. The Cuba native finished the day 1-for-5.
Arismendy Alcantara, PH/2B – Alcantara was hitless in three at-bats for Licey on Friday and 0-for-2 on Saturday.
Julio Borbon, CF – Borbon drew a walk in his only at-bat on Saturday for the Tigres. He was 0-for-3 on Sunday.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – The reliever pitched two innings, giving up no runs on two hits, two walks and striking out three for Oriente on Friday. He blew the save on Sunday, but earned his third win of the winter (3-0 record), giving up one earned run on one hit, walking one and striking out one.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake had a single and two walks, finishing 1-for-5 on Friday for Oriente. He added another hit on Saturday, going 1-for-4, and went 1-for-3 on Sunday with a walk and two runs scored.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley pitched a scoreless ninth inning, giving up a walk and no hits Sunday.
Edwin Maysonet, 3B – Maysonet had a single and scored a run Friday for Santurce and went 1-for-4 on Saturday with a walk and a run scored.
Jonathan Mota, 3B - Mota struggled this weekend, going hitless in three at-bats Friday and two appearances Sunday for Ponce.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva had a pair of hits and drove in a run for Ponce on Friday and added a double on Saturday.
Frank Del Valle, LHSP – Starting for Margarita Friday, Del Valle gave up two earned runs on one hit and four walks in 3.1 innings to earn a no-decision.
Yoanner Negrin, RHSP – Negrin went five innings, giving up five earned runs and taking the loss for Caracas Sunday. He struck out four.
Lioger Padron, RHP – Padron picked up his first loss of the season Friday for the Leones, giving up a run in the 14th on two hits.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon recorded a hold, pitching a scoreless inning for Caracas Friday.
Mesa scored four runs in the eighth to tie the game, but a lack of offense cost the Solar Sox in a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Glendale Thursday. Albert Almora recorded two of the club’s five hits, and Matt Loosen pitched well despite earning the loss. Elsewhere, Junior Lake tore it up at the plate in the Dominican, and Eduardo Figueroa picked up a win in Venezuelan league play. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, CF – Almora recorded his first hit of the game in the eighth inning, when he ripped a single to right, scoring Max Muncy (Athletics) from third. He scored two batters later on a Devon Travis (Tigers) single to tie the game at four. He singled again in the 10th on a line drive to right.
Matt Loosen, RHP – Loosen got the side out in order in the bottom of the 10th, including a Jared Mitchell (White Sox) strikeout. He gave up a leadoff double in the 11th, and after fanning Marcus Semien (White Sox), Travis Mattair (Reds) singled down the right-field line, scoring Colin Moran (Marlins) from second to end the game. His final line read: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 0 BB.
Mesa will host Surprise Friday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Sammy Solis (Nationals) will pitch for the Solar Sox, while Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) will take the mound for the Saguaros.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake had a huge day, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double in an 8-4 Estrellas loss.
Eduardo Figueroa, RHSP – Starting for the Tiburones, Figueroa earned the win going five scoreless innings, fanning seven and walking one while giving up six hits. He is 2-1 on the season.
Lioger Padron, RHP – Padron pitched one inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk as Caracas lost 13-1.
Mesa couldn’t get back on track, falling 6-4 to Glendale on Wednesday, but Kris Bryant and a few Cubs relievers made solid contributions. Elsewhere, Frank Batista and Marcos Mateo both pitched well in the Dominican. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s fall/winter league action.
Arizona Fall League
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant led off the second inning with a single to center. He scored three batters later on a Steven Souza Jr. (Nationals) double. Bryant reached base again in the third with a walk and in the eighth with a two-out single to right. He finished 2-for-3 on the day.
Lendy Castill0, RHP – Castillo pitched a scoreless fifth inning, walking one and striking out Pratt Maynard (Dodgers) to end the frame.
Wes Darvill, LF – Darvill finished 0-for-4 Wednesday.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero relieved fellow farmhand Castillo and pitched a scoreless sixth inning, giving up one hit, walking one and striking out Marcus Semien (White Sox).
Mesa travels to Glendale Thursday to take on the Desert Dogs. Michael Roth (Angels) will throw for Mesa while Jamie Walczak (Reds) takes mound for Glendale. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 CST.
Frank Batista, RHP – Batista gave up two hits over two innings, striking out one and allowing no runs in an 8-2 Aguilas loss.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – The Estrellas closer racked up his fourth save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning and striking out one in the 5-3 win.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly for the Estrellas.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon pitched 0.1 innings, giving up two hits, walking one and allowing two runs, though neither was earned in a 4-1 Leones loss.
To put it lightly, Cubs prospects didn’t deliver their best performance Tuesday. In AFL action, Mesa amassed just four hits, made five errors and was shut out 8-0 against Salt River. Dallas Beeler gave up seven runs in the contest, but none of them were earned. Also, reliever Daniel Bard struggled mightily in his first appearance in Puerto Rico. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s fall/winter league action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, CF – Almora kicked off the game with a single to center for the visiting Sox. He went 1-for-4 on the day.
Dallas Beeler, RHSP – Beeler had a strange line Tuesday. He escaped the first two innings of work unscathed, retiring the side in order in the second and striking out Nick Ahmed (Diamondbacks). In the third inning, Beeler allowed seven runs, though none were earned, as two of the first three batters he faced reached on errors. His final line read: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 0 ER, 1 K, 2 BB. He was saddled with his first loss of the season, putting his record at 3-1 with a 3.24 ERA.
Jorge Soler, DH – Soler hit third, but went 0-for-3 Tuesday.
Mesa will host Glendale Wednesday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Blaine Hardy (Tigers) will start for the Sox, while the Desert Dogs will send out Michael Lorenzen (Reds). Kris Bryant is expected to bat fourth and play third base, and Wes Darvill will bat eighth and be in right field.
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B – Alcantara went 1-for-4 with a fifth-inning solo home run. He also drew a walk in the Licey win.
Julio Borbon, PH/RF – Borbon ripped an RBI double and went 1-for-4 for Licey in its win over the Toros.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley went 0.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on a home run and striking out one in a 5-4 Culican win.
Daniel Bard, RHP – In his first winter league appearance, Bard didn’t record an out, hitting three batters, surrendering a walk and giving up two earned runs in an 8-4 Caguas win.
Yoanner Negrin, RHSP – Negrin started and went 2.2 innings, giving up five earned runs and a homer in a 9-5 Caracas loss. His record dropped to 3-1.
Lioger Padron, RHP – Padron went 1.0 inning, giving up one hit and no runs and fanning two for the Leones.
Mesa came back to defeat Salt River 5-4 Monday night in a rain-shortened, eight-inning affair. Jorge Soler stepped up in a big way for the Sox, while right-hander Matt Loosen picked up the win despite a shaky inning of relief. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s fall/winter league action.
Arizona Fall League
Kris Bryant, 3B – Batting fourth, Bryant finished 0-for-2 with a walk.
Matt Loosen, RHP – Loosen entered the game in the fifth inning, walked the first two batters and surrendered a single to load the bases with no outs. But then he got Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals) to pop out, and after giving up an RBI single, fanned Tim Wheeler (Rockies) and induced a line out from Richie Shaffer (Rays) to end the inning. Loosen was credited with the win. His final line read: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER 2 BB, 1 K.
Jorge Soler, RF – With men on second and third in the bottom of the fifth, Soler hit a sharp grounder to left, scoring David Freitas (Athletics) and Addison Russell (Athletics). The two-RBI double scored the game-tying and game-winning runs. He finished 1-for-4.
Mesa heads to Salt River Tuesday to take on the Rafters, with first pitch scheduled for 8:08 CST. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network. Tommy Collier (Tigers) will throw for the Sox opposite Sam Gaviglio (Cardinals).
Arismendy Alcantara, 2B – Alcantara went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in a 2-1 win for Licey.
The Arizona Fall League held its midseason Fall Stars game on Saturday, and it featured the Cubs’ big three prospects. All three got in the game for the East, but the West cruised to a 9-2 win. Here are some highlights from the weekend’s fall/winter league action.
Arizona Fall League –
Albert Almora, RF – Almora entered the game in the top of the sixth as a defensive replacement, and went 0-for-2 at the plate.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant led off the top of the eighth with a soft liner to center. Two batters later, Devon Travis (Tigers) tripled, scoring the Cubs 2013 first-round pick. Bryant finished 1-for-4 and committed two errors in the field.
Jorge Soler, RF – Batting seventh for the AFL East, Soler reached on a walk in his first at-bat. In his other at-bat, he led off the fifth with a sharp single to the right side of the infield.
On Friday, the Solar Sox were on the losing end of a 5-4 decision with Peoria. Almora and Wes Darvill both got in the game for Mesa.
Albert Almora, DH – Almora led off for the Sox and got things going in the bottom of the first with a double to right, but he was left stranded at second. He drew a walk in his next at-bat. With Mesa trailing by a run entering the ninth, Almora smacked a one-out triple to center, but Mesa couldn’t drive him in to tie the game. THe Cubs prospect finished 2-for-4 with a walk.
Wes Darvill, 3B – Darvill reached on a two-out walk in the fifth. In the seventh, he reached on an error and scored from second on a Dixon Machado single (Tigers). Darvill finished 1-for-3.
Mesa hosts Salt River Monday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 CST. Matt Purke (Nationals) will take the mound for the Sox, while Grayson Garvin (Rays) will throw for the Rafters.
Caribbean League –
Jeffry Antigua, LHP – Antigua was credited with a hold, striking out his only batter for the Toros as they came away victorious on Saturday.
Junior Lake, LF – Lake went 1-for-4 with the game-winning RBI for Oriente on Sunday. He also added a pair of hits in a loss on Saturday.
Marcos Mateo, RHP – Mateo blew a save on Sunday, but recorded the win, pitching one inning and giving up an earned run on two hits and a walk for the Estrellas de Oriente. He racked up his third save of the Dominican league season with a one-strikeout, hitless ninth inning on Friday.
Marcus Hatley, RHP – Hatley pitched a scoreless ninth inning for Culican in a 7-2 win on Friday.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet had a single and a walk in a 1-0 win for Santurce Saturday.
Jonathan Mota, 3B – Mota recorded a single and scored the Leones’ only run in a 4-1 loss Saturday. He singled, walked and drove in a run in a win on Friday.
Rubi Silva, LF – Silva went 2-for-4 on Friday with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored for Ponce.
Frank Del Valle, LHP – Starting for Margarita on Saturday, Del Valle gave up one run on four hits and three walks, striking out two over three innings. The Bravos won 7-5.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon surrendered two hits but struck out one in a scoreless eighth inning for Caracas Sunday.
Mesa looks to be getting back on track, topping Scottsdale 7-3 Thursday and tallying 12 hits. The Cubs’ big three prospects all took the field, with mixed results. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s action.
Albert Almora, LF – Almora went 0-for-4 Thursday.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Bryant reached base for the first time in the sixth inning, drawing a one-out walk. He’d get to second on a hit-by-pitch and move to third on a fielder’s choice. Then fellow farmhand Jorge Soler drove him in with a single. He reached base again in the seventh with a single to load the bases and eventually scored on a Soler base on balls. Bryant finished 1-for-4.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero entered the game in the seventh inning and struck out the first two batters he faced—Kyle Kubitza (Braves) and Peter O’Brien (Yankees). He then forced Aderlin Rodriguez (Mets) to pop out to earn his second hold of the fall.
Jorge Soler, RF – With two outs and runners on the corners in the sixth, Soler scored Byrant on a single to left field, capping a three-run inning. The Cuban prospect also drove in a run on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, again scoring Bryant. Soler finished 1-for-3.
Sammy Solis (Nationals) will take the mound Friday for Mesa against Peoria, opposite Jason Adams (Royals). Albert Almora is expected to DH and lead off for the Sox, and Wes Darvill will play third and bat eighth. First pitch is scheduled for 2:35 CST.
Caribbean Winter League
Yoanner Negrin, RHSP – Negrin gave up two earned runs on three hits over 6.1 innings Thursday for Caracas. The 29-year-old fanned two and walked none, but got a no-decision in a 6-4 win.
Hector Rondon, RHP – The Cubs 2012 Rule 5 selection pitched one inning for Caracas, giving up one hit and walking none to earn a hold.
As big leaguers begin to report to Mesa, Ariz., for the start of Spring Training, we at Vine Line had our eyes on a new farmhand who took the mound for Venezuela in the Caribbean Series. Signed in December, right-hander Yeiper Castillo is a former Red Sox prospect picked out of free agency. He also marks yet another acquisition of a player who underwent arm surgery—on his shoulder in 2011. It’s a minor move, so to speak, but we were eager to take an extended glimpse of him Tuesday on ESPN Deportes.
Castillo went 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts against Puerto Rico. He threw five pitches from a three-quarters arm slot: a 90-91 mph fastball with natural run, an 87-90 mph sinker, a low-80s change, a mid-80s slider and a 78-81 mph curve. Both his change-up and sinker were able to get swings and misses as they ran low and away from lefties, and his 12-to-6 curve did too when located low on two-strike counts. His slider looked like his weakest pitch, though he did use it throughout the game.
Though Castillo threw a lot of strikes (50 of 75 pitches), his command was inconsistent. He sequenced his pitches and had a game plan to work low and away from hitters. When he did, he successfully kept hitters off balance or hitting the ball on the ground. But he also had a habit of missing up over the plate, with one 3-2 fastball being yanked for a home run and others not being taken advantage of because of his change of speeds.
Castillo stands a fairly thick 6-foot-3, though he doesn’t have power stuff. He threw 137 innings in his first season back from the shoulder injury, and he’s picked up another 45 (with an ERA under 3.00) in winter ball. He’ll be 24 this season, and he could be an interesting depth arm if he can improve his command post-surgery.
Cubs outfielder Dave Sappelt was one of the top performers in the Venezuelan league this winter (Photo by Stephen Green).
Winter league regional play finally came to a conclusion last night as Magallanes fended off Luis Valbuena and his Lara squad to win the Venezuelan title and claim the final spot in the Caribbean Series. The offseason leagues were an opportunity for players to rack up a few more innings of experience while still competing at a high level. Many of the Cubs took advantage of the opportunity, and some excelled in their respective leagues. Below is a list of Cubs representatives who fared well this winter.
Michael Bowden: Pitching for the Aguilas Cibaenas, Bowden posted a 2.76 ERA in 32.2 innings of work. He earned a 3-2 record and struck out 35 batters.
Alberto Cabrera: Playing for the Toros del Este, the Dominican native was used more frequently in the postseason. In 19.2 innings and four starts, Cabrera went 1-1 with a 0.92 ERA, fanning 15 batters and walking just six. He surrendered two earned runs in the playoffs.
Junior Lake: Representing the Estrellas de Oriente, Lake tore apart opposing pitchers, finishing with a line of .312/.382/.474 (AVG/OBP/SLG). The infielder was one of the Cubs’ top performers, hitting five homers, driving in 24 and stealing 11 bases in 154 at-bats.
Nelson Perez: A teammate of Lake’s in the Dominican, Perez was often utilized as a bat off the bench. In 84 at-bats, he compiled a .443 on-base percentage, drawing 29 walks and driving in 21. The Estrellas made the playoffs but were eliminated in the round robin portion.
Esmailin Caridad: The lone Cubs representative who will be participating in the Caribbean Series, Caridad was a solid bullpen arm this winter. In 42.0 innings during the regular season, the righty had a 2.57 ERA, struck out 49 and walked 12.
Jay Jackson: Jackson put up consistent numbers for the Venados de Mazatlan, posting a 3.86 ERA in 49.0 innings of work. The righty went 3-2 and struck out 34 batters over 10 starts.
Yoanner Negrin: In 12 starts for the Leones del Caracas, Negrin was tough to beat. Not a huge strikeout guy (38 K in 58.2 innings), the righty still managed a 2.61 ERA and a 4-1 record.
Dave Sappelt: Sappelt was another elite player this winter. In 116 at-bats, the outfielder put up a .336/.378/.526 line, belting five home runs and five doubles. He also stole five bases and drove in 15.
Luis Valbuena: One of the top performers in all the winter leagues, Valbuena powered his Cardenales de Lara side all the way to the Venezuelan championship. The Cardenales were eliminated last night, losing 11-9 in a back-and-forth Game 7 affair. During the regular season, the Cubs infielder hit .306/.414/.497 with 39 RBI in 183 at-bats. He also drew 34 walks. All of those totals were good enough for top 10 in the league. In the postseason, he hit .341 and drove in 21 in 91 at-bats.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Cubs infielder Luis Valbuena continues to be a factor in the Venezuelan league championship series. Though Magallanes claimed a 7-3 win over Valbeuna’s Cardenales squad, the 27-year-old Cubs infielder managed to rip a solo home run in the top of the second inning to continue his torrid stretch.
In 22 postseason games, Valbuena is hitting .345/.412/.563 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with four home runs and 21 RBI. He posted a .306/.414/.497 line in the Venezuelan regular season.
The series concludes Wednesday night as the Navegantes hosts Lara in a decisive Game 7. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 CST, with the winner representing Venezuela in the Caribbean Series.