Results tagged ‘ Armando Rivero ’
As evidenced by the additions of players like Jon Lester and Miguel Montero, the Cubs front office is transitioning from a period in which it focused primarily on bringing in assets to help improve the future of the franchise to an extended period in which they expect to compete every year at the big league level. However, if you were to suggest to baseball president Theo Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer that this transition means they are now less inclined to build through their farm system, they would be quick to correct you.
Just because Cubs fans may finally start seeing wins accumulate at Wrigley Field doesn’t mean the minor league pipeline is suddenly going to go overlooked. In fact, for the second year in a row, the North Siders will have arguably the best system in all of baseball. Boasting the top prospect in the game, an overabundance of high-profile shortstops and a suddenly large group of interesting arms at the lower levels, the Cubs have built the scouting and player development monster they promised to deliver more than three years ago.
In our annual minor league prospectus, Baseball Prospectus’ Sahadev Sharma helps us break down the names to know at all levels of the system. As the month progresses, we’ll unveil player bios on a section-by-section basis. Here is Part 3 of the Cubs minor league prospectus:
A Phone Call Away
While prospects are always fun to follow, no player dreams of a long career in the minor leagues. The ultimate goal for each is to help out at the big league level. Most everyone is aware that guys like Bryant and Russell will be making an impact at Wrigley Field in the near future, but there are other, less-heralded players who could contribute this year as well in a variety of roles.
Dallas Beeler – RHP
Beeler isn’t the kind of prospect who wows you with his stuff, but he still made his major league debut last season after missing much of 2013 with a finger injury. His ability to work down in the zone, primarily with his sinker and splitter, means he has a chance to induce a significant number of ground balls, which could offset the fact that he’ll likely never be a big strikeout guy. And that’s where Beeler must live—down in the zone—if he’s going to carve out a career in the back end of a major league rotation. His modus operandi is relying on his defense while coaxing weak contact from hitters. The big righty is well aware of this fact and does his best to always work to his strengths. He’ll likely enter Spring Training contending for a spot in the big league bullpen.
Eric Jokisch – LHP
Jokisch is often called a left-handed version of Kyle Hendricks, and the comparison works for multiple reasons. Both pitchers are highly intelligent and attended acclaimed colleges (Jokisch went to Northwestern, Hendricks to Dartmouth), both rely more on command than stuff, and both soak up knowledge, using every bit of information they can get their hands on to try and make themselves better at their craft. Jokisch works hard on scouting the opposition, learning hitters’ tendencies and working to expose their weaknesses. While he could find success at the back of the rotation, he has the advantage of being a southpaw, which many believe will allow him to be most effective out of the bullpen. The Cubs, like most teams, could certainly use more left-handed help in the late innings.
Armando Rivero – RHP
Rivero has a solid chance to join a big league bullpen that rapidly improved throughout the 2014 season. He has an explosive fastball that hitters have difficulty picking up, especially when it’s down in the zone. It’s a special pitch with late cutting life, and he combines it with a power slider that’s one of the best breaking balls in the organization. No matter where he ends up, Rivero will likely rack up strikeouts (as evidenced by his 38 percent K rate last season). He also has a change-up that grades out as average or better, leading some to believe he could be a starter. However, he rarely uses it out of the bullpen, and the Cubs have determined that his best role right now is as a reliever. After missing some time following his defection from Cuba, Rivero has moved quickly through the Cubs system. It’s not unreasonable to think he could have a significant impact at the major league level this summer.
Christian Villanueva – 3B
After Villanueva enjoyed an impressive 2013 campaign that had many projecting a bright future, the 23-year-old struggled in his first taste of Triple-A action in 2014 and was eventually sent back to Tennessee when Bryant earned his promotion to Iowa. One thing that will never be in doubt is his glove. He offers plus defense at the hot corner—the type that could garner a Gold Glove or two if the bat ever comes around to the point where he’s getting regular playing time.
However, the bat does leave major question marks, as Villanueva struggled even when sent back to Double-A. He needs to stop giving away at-bats if he’s ever going to live up to the potential some saw after his breakout 2013 season. Either way, his glove makes him a valuable piece, and he could provide some versatility, as he did see time at second base last season and in the outfield in the Mexican Winter League.
Mesa scored three runs in the first inning, and that proved to be enough in a 3-1 win over Salt River Tuesday. Both offensively and on the mound, Cubs prospects played a big role in the victory. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- RHP Armando Rivero gave up one earned run on one hit and a walk over five innings to pick up the win. He struck out four and improved to 2-4 on the season.
- DH Dan Vogelbach drove in all three Solar Sox runs on a bases-loaded single to center, scoring Tony Renda (Nationals), Cal Towey (Angels) and Daniel Robertson (Rangers). He added a fifth-inning double, going 2-for-4 on the day.
- RHP Ivan Pineyro pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two against one hit.
Mesa is in action Wednesday afternoon, hosting Glendale. C.J. Edwards will make the start for the Solar Sox.
Jacob Hannemann had another nice day at the plate, but a pair of Cubs struggled on the bump in a 7-5 loss to Scottsdale Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s Arizona Fall League action:
- LF Jacob Hannemann had a pair of doubles, finishing 2-for-4. He drove in two with two outs in the fourth inning, scoring Tony Renda (Nationals) and Spencer Kieboom (Nationals). His second double came in the ninth, scoring Renda again. He also recorded an outfield assist.
- RHP Armando Rivero got roughed up in 0.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits and two walks and picking up the loss.
- RHP Zach Cates gave up four runs on four hits and a walk in one inning of relief.
Mesa takes on Glendale on the road Friday, with first pitch scheduled at 12:35.
Infielder Arismendy Alcantara could see time at Wrigley Field this year.
(Photo by Rodger Wood)
For many Chicagoans, February means cold weather. At Vine Line, it’s all about the Cubs minor league prospectus. In the February issue, fans can check out frequent contributor Sahadev Sharma’s player breakdowns for more than 45 of the organization’s top prospects, from teenagers like Eloy Jimenez to elite talents like Javier Baez. We’ll post some of the profiles here on the blog in the coming weeks so you can keep track of all the names to know in the Cubs highly ranked system.
Also From the Series
2014 Minor League Prospectus- The Elite
Close to the Big Leagues
“The most important currency in the game right now, from a baseball standpoint, is either massive amounts of payroll flexibility or a real surplus of above-average young players who are major league ready or already making an impact in the big leagues,” said baseball president Theo Epstein at last December’s Winter Meetings.
Epstein admitted the Cubs aren’t where they want to be in either area, but said when it comes to the latter, they’ve taken the appropriate steps to get there soon. The front office has drafted well and made smart trades. As these prospects continue to develop and get closer to the majors, Epstein said, “They’re infinitely more valuable, to us and potentially in a trade, than they are while they’re working away in the farm system.”
Though none of the organization’s upper-tier players will be ready to start next season in the majors, there are several others who could make an appearance at Wrigley Field at some point in 2014. The Cubs may not compete for a division title this summer, but some prized young talent will likely provide a glimpse of just how good this team could be in the near future.
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: TENNESSEE
2013 STATS: .271/.352/.451 (133 GAMES)
After spending much of his career at shortstop, Alcantara shifted to second base when Baez was moved up to Tennessee. He is solid with the glove, but his real value comes on offense. The switch-hitting leadoff man is one of the more dynamic players in the organization, with a rare speed-and-power combination to go along with on-base skills and the ability to play in the middle of the field.
A hot start to the season earned him a spot in the Futures Game, but the Dominican tapered off a bit in the second half. With a tremendous amount of ability and strong makeup, Alcantara has what it takes to excel in the majors, but the Cubs brass want to be sure he can perform consistently throughout the season before he gets the call to Wrigley.
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: TENNESSEE
2013 STATS: 54.2 IP, 3.13 ERA, 35 K, 17 BB (9 STARTS)
A finger injury cut short Beeler’s 2013 season, but he looked good when he was on the mound and built on that success in the AFL. With his velocity ticking up to 94 mph and a newly developed cutter—which helped him fend off lefties, previously his bugaboo—Beeler looked like a new man. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but rather relies on his defense, inducing ground balls by staying low in the zone with impressive sinking action on his pitches.
Beeler was added to the 40-man roster to keep from losing him in the Rule 5 draft, something that was a legitimate concern after his impressive AFL performance. As a big, physical strike thrower who knows how to pitch, he fits the bill for what the Cubs are looking for in an arm.
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: IOWA
2013 STATS: .210/.296/.330 (95 GAMES)
It was just a few years ago that Jackson was supposed to join Starlin Castro on the big league roster and light up the North Side with his immense talents. The Cal-Berkeley product didn’t get his chance until the summer of 2012 and struggled mightily with his strikeout rate. After the season, Jackson worked hard on his swing in an effort to reduce the whiffs, but early on, nothing changed.
“He came into Spring Training, and I think when the results weren’t there right away, he probably started pressing a little bit,” McLeod said. “When he went to Iowa, he got off to a slow start. The strikeouts started piling up again, and then unfortunately he got nicked up and missed quite a bit of time before he came back.”
When he returned to action, the Cubs sent him to Double-A, where his struggles continued. But the organization hasn’t given up on Jackson, who, from a physical standpoint, can do a lot of things not many others can do on a baseball field. Given a fresh start, the team hopes he can put a horrendous 2013 season behind him and somehow reduce his swing-and-miss tendencies. His combination of power, speed and defense could definitely come in handy for a major league club searching for high-end talent in the outfield.
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: IOWA
2013 STATS: .201/.303/.381 (107 GAMES)
Olt is another third baseman who may end up at Triple-A. Once deemed untouchable in the Texas organization, he found himself battling eye issues last season as his prospect status tumbled. He was ultimately swapped with other players for Matt Garza. The two keys for Olt will be putting his poor season in the rearview mirror and finding whatever it is he needs to take care of his vision problems.
Like Vitters, Olt will be moved around the field to increase his value, playing his normal third base, along with some first base and corner outfield. He strikes out a lot, but when he’s right, the whiffs are mitigated by his plus power and ability to take a walk. He is also an excellent defender at third. The Cubs would love nothing more than for Olt to come into camp healthy and hitting, and stake a claim to the big league third-base job early on.
HIGHEST 2013 LEVEL: IOWA
2013 STATS: .267/.368/.465 (33 GAMES)
When Vitters plays, he usually hits. Unfortunately, he was waylaid by injuries for much of 2013. Add in the Cubs’ newfound system depth at the hot corner, and suddenly Vitters is a player without a position. Though he’s been in the organization for seven years and already has had a taste of major league action, Vitters is still only 24.
Now that Triple-A first baseman Justin Bour was selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, Vitters will get some time at first base as well as in the outfield at Iowa to increase his versatility and value going forward.
The California native doesn’t take many walks and only flashes average power, but if he can find a spot defensively, he has a chance to be a solid contributor. His ability to hit could help him become a serviceable asset in the majors. Because his hand-eye coordination is good enough that he makes contact with almost everything, pitch selection will be key.
Others to Watch
ALBERTO CABRERA (RHP) – After being used as a starter in 2013, Cabrera will likely contend for a bullpen spot next spring. He has a big fastball and a wipeout slider, which could make him a very valuable weapon in a late-inning role.
ERIC JOKISCH (LHP) – The Northwestern alum doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he is a big, durable, left-handed starter. Though Jokisch eats a lot of innings and throws strikes with an 87-90 mph fastball and a strong change-up, he needs to tighten up his breaking ball. He doesn’t have plus stuff to wow scouts, but he could be a more physical version of Chris Rusin.
ARMANDO RIVERO (RHP) – A hard thrower from Cuba, Rivero hits the mid-90s and has a diagonal-slanting slider. He looked strong in the minors and though the results weren’t great in the AFL, the experience gave him much-needed innings against a higher level of competition. He could be a factor in the bullpen in the near future.
MATT SZCZUR (OF) – Szczur, a steady performer throughout his minor league career, improved in numerous offensive categories in 2013 and took a step forward defensively. The hard-nosed, athletic outfielder will likely start the season in Triple-A and has a chance to contribute at the big league level as a fourth outfielder in the Reed Johnson mold.
TONY ZYCH (RHP) – Zych has top-notch velocity in the 95-98 mph range, but he sometimes struggles to miss bats. He throws a lot of strikes, but the quality can waver night to night due to an inconsistent delivery that requires some effort and energy. When it’s working, the velocity is elite, and he has a hard, sweeping slider that could be effective in high-leverage situations out of the bullpen.
Mesa inched one game closer to wrapping up the division title with a 3-2 win Wednesday. Cubs prospect Matt Loosen started and picked up the win for the Solar Sox, and top prospects Albert Almora and Jorge Soler both recorded hits. Elsewhere, Junior Lake had a three-hit game in the Dominican. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.
Arizona Fall League
Albert Almora, CF – Almora led off the fourth inning with a single, but was thrown out stealing second. He went 1-for-4.
Wes Darvill, LF – Darvill went 0-for-3 at the plate Wednesday.
Matt Loosen, RHSP – It wasn’t the most efficient two innings, as Loosen gave up two hits and walked three. But he didn’t allow a runner to score and struck out one batter to earn his second win of the season (2-1). Loosen’s ERA is currently at 3.29.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero entered in the sixth and gave up no hits and one walk in a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 4.91.
Jorge Soler, DH – Soler drew a walk in his second at-bat and added a double, finishing 1-for-3 on the afternoon.
Junior Lake, CF – Lake had a big day, going 3-for-5 with a solo home run and a pair of singles as Oriente picked up a 3-2 win.
Edwin Maysonet, SS – Maysonet was hitless in five at-bats, while batting second for Santurce Wednesday.
Jonathan Mota, 3B/1B – Mota went 0-for-3, but drew a pair of walks for Ponce.
Hector Rondon, RHP – Rondon gave up two earned runs on three hits in the ninth inning, but still recorded the win for Caracas.
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 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.
Mesa got back to its winning ways, taking down Surprise 9-6 Monday afternoon. Cubs prospect Kris Bryant fared well at the bat, though Armando Rivero didn’t have the same level of success. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s action.
Kris Bryant, 3B – Batting fourth in the order and leading off the second inning, Bryant drew a four-pitch walk to head the frame. A single put him on second and a groundout moved Bryant to third before Devon Travis (Tigers) drove him in on a single to the left side of the infield. Again in the fifth, the 21-year-old drew a four-pitch walk. He got to second when Tyler Collins (Tigers) reached on an error and got to third on a walk before being driven in by Travis on a sacrifice fly. With one out in the sixth, Bryant recorded his third double of the season, this one to left field, moving Taylor Lindsey (Angels) from first to third. He finished 1-for-2 with two walks.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero came into the game in the seventh and surrendered back-to-back singled to start off the inning. He got Joe Wendle (Indians) to strike out before inducing another walk to load the bases. A Garin Cecchini (Red Sox) single scored two and another single subsequently loaded the bases. But Rivero forced Henry Urrutia (Orioles) into an unassisted double play to end the inning. His final line read: IP, 4 H, 2 ER, BB, K.
Tommy Collier (Tigers) takes the ball for the Solar Sox Tuesday, as they take on southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles, No. 84 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com) and Surprise. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 CST.
As a team, Mesa struggled this weekend, falling 11-9 on Friday and 8-2 on Saturday. Despite not getting the best results, a few Cubs had some stellar games. Albert Almora and Kris Bryant are at or near the top of nearly every offensive category. Here are the highlights from this weekend’s action.
Friday, Oct. 18
Albert Almora, CF – In the bottom of the seventh inning, Mesa’s leadoff hitter ripped his fourth double of the fall, though Adrian Nieto (Nationals) was thrown out at home on the play. Almora went 1-for-6 Friday night.
Dallas Beeler, RHSP – Beeler had a rough second AFL start, going three innings and giving up three earned runs. His only strikeout was against Tyler Naquin (Indians), who led off the game. He faced four batters in the second inning, and got Garin Cecchini (Red Sox) to ground into a double play to end the frame. But Beeler just couldn’t stay out of trouble in the first and the third. His final line read: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. He owns a 6.00 ERA through two starts.
Kris Bryant, 3B – With men on first and second and one out in bottom of the third, Bryant ripped a ground-rule double to left-center field, scoring Taylor Lindsey (Angels). Jorge Soler drove him in two batters later. With Lindsey on second in his next at-bat, Bryant ripped a homer to left field. But the 2013 first-round pick wasn’t done there. In the fifth inning, he hit a solo shot to right-center field for his fourth homer of the fall. Bryant was 3-for-5.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero came on in the ninth and gave up one earned run on two hits and a walk. He was credited for the loss.
Jorge Soler, RF – Soler singled in the bottom of the third to left field, scoring Bryant and moving Matt Skole (Nationals) to second. He singled again in the fourth, finishing the night 2-for-5.
Saturday, Oct. 19
Lendy Castillo, RHP – Castillo surrendered one hit in a scoreless sixth inning.
Wes Darvill, 3B – Darvill went hitless in four at-bats.
Matt Loosen RHP – Loosen fanned James Ramsey (Cardinals) and Mike Freeman (Diamondbacks), pitching a 1-2-3 fifth inning for Mesa.
Jorge Soler, RF – Soler recorded one of Mesa’s three hits in Saturday’s loss. He led off the seventh with a single, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on a Jett Bandy (Angels) double. He was 1-for-4 at the plate.
Mesa hosts Surprise Monday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Sammy Solis (Nationals) takes the mound for the Sox, opposite Miguel Pena (Red Sox). Bryant is expected to hit fourth and play third base for Mesa.
Mesa is still unbeaten, after taking down Scottsdale 7-4 Tuesday. Albert Almora continued his successful fall season, while Jorge Soler and Armando Rivero got into the action as well. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s game.
Albert Almora, CF – After a few days of rest, Almora led off for the Solar Sox. The 2012 first-round pick drew a walk to start the bottom of the third and scored two batters later on a C.J. Cron (Angels) homer. The team batted around in the third. With men on second and third and two outs, Almora hit a ground-rule double to left-center field, scoring David Freitas (Athletics) and Dixon Machado (Tigers). Then in the bottom of the fifth with nobody on base, he recorded another double to right to finish the game 2-for-4 with a walk.
Armando Rivero, RHP – Rivero entered the game in the eighth inning and gave up a bloop double and a single to the first two batters he faced. Jarrett Parker (Giants) followed with a sacrifice fly. That was all the damage Scottsdale could do, however. RIvero’s final line read: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER.
Jorge Soler, DH – Soler singled in the bottom of the fourth and finished the day 1-for-5.
Mesa heads out to Peoria Wednesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35 CST. Tommy Collier (Tigers) will take the mound for the Solar Sox while right-hander Matt Heidenreich (Astros) goes for the Javelinas. Kris Bryant will be batting fourth and playing third, and Wes Darvill will bat ninth and play second base for Mesa.