The sixth and final Cubs minor league team joins the Daily today as the season for the AZL Cubs gets underway. The Rookie League Cubs can carry a larger roster than your typical minor league team, and since this team is also a place for injuries to be rehabbed as well as for new professionals to get their first few games in before moving up the ladder, we are going to see a lot of roster turnover.
For many of these players, I do not have a whole lot of information to offer. The new wave of recent International Free Agent signees are usually somewhat anonymous, and the same can be said of many 2017 draftees who show up on the roster. To some degree, the prospects themselves will be telling us who we should be watching.
But there are a couple of names that any Cubs’ fan should know right off the bat. The big one is right handed pitcher Jose Albertos. Albertos is one of the most talked about teenagers to only have thrown four career innings. The scouting reports on his mid to high nineties fastball and two supporting pitches are glowing; now we’ll finally get to see how he looks on the mound over a sustained stretch.
In the outfield, keep an eye on 18-year-old Jonathan Sierra, who was one of the Cubs biggest signings in their IFA class two years ago. In the pre-season, Baseball America had him second only to Eloy Jimenez among Cubs’ right field prospects. He posted a good line in the DSL last year (.264/.384/.341), but this left-handed hitter did struggle with strikeouts. He has not shown a ton of game power yet, but at 6’3″ 190 lbs, I suspect that power will appear as he adds muscle. I had hoped that Sierra would open the season in Eugene; with any luck he’ll finish there.
Those are not the only two prospects worth noting on the roster, but we will have plenty of time to break down some of the other notables as the season develops and some of these players begin to place themselves into the prospect spotlight.
- Casey Kelly: 3 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Miguel Mejia: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Fernando Rodriguez: 2 IP, 2 K
- Jacob Hannemann: 2 for 5, 2B, BB, SB
- Jemile Weeks: 2 for 5, 2B, BB
- Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 4, 2B, BB
- Chesny Young: 2 for 5
- Chris Dominguez: 2 for 5
- Stephen Bruno: 2 for 5, HR
- John Andreoli: 2 for 5, SB
- Trevor Clifton: 4 IP, 8 R, 8 H, 3 BB, 3 K
- Brad Markey: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Charcer Burks: 1 for 4, BB, SB
- Trey Martin: 1 for 5, 2B
- Ian Rice: 2 for 4, HR
- Carlos Penalver: 3 for 4
- Michael Rucker: 5 IP, 2 H, 4 K
- James Norwood: 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 K
- Bryant Flete: 2 for 4
- Trent Giambrone: 2 for 4, HR
- Connor Myers: 1 for 3, 2B
- Bryan Hudson: 5 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K
- Jose Paulino: 2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Wyatt Short: 2 IP, 3 K
- Yeiler Peguero: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Chris Pieters: 1 for 4, 2 SB
- Enrique De Los Rios: 6 IP, 5 R (3 ER), 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Manuel Rodriquez: 1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K
- Michael Knighton: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K
- Rafael Narea: 3 for 4, 2 BB
- Aramis Ademan: 2 for 6
- Kwang-Min Kwon: 2 for 5, 2B, BB
- Jose Gonzalez: 2 for 6, SB
- Jhonny Bethencourt: 1 for 1, 3B
- Tyler Payne: 2 for 5, 2B
- Zach Davis: 3 for 5, SB
- Carson Sands: 3 IP, 2 BB, 1 K
- Jose Rosario: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Jose Leidenz: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Jose Gutierrez: 2 for 4, 2B, 3B, BB
- Marcus Mastrobuoni: 2 for 4, 2B, HR, BB
- Rafael Mejia: 3 for 4, HR, BB
- Carlos Diaz: 2 for 5, 2B
- Delvin Zinn: 2 for 5, 2B, 3B
- It is very nice to see Carson Sands already on the mound in Arizona. He had (non-Tommy-John) arm surgery over the winter, and for him to be back into game action this fast things must have gone pretty well. Sands is one of the better lefty pitching prospects in the farm system, but we may not see much from him this year outside of Arizona as his focus will be on rehab.
- Chris Pieters stole two bases for South Bend, and one of them was home. Watching the game video, this was more of an opportunistic delayed double steal than a straight steal. With two outs in the inning, Roberto Caro broke from first on your standard two out steal of second. On the throw to second, Pieters came home from third and beat the throw easily. Caro advanced to third as the ball got away from the catcher. The play came about the 1:08 mark if you want to take a look for yourself on MiLB.tv.