Photo of the Sloan Park Arizona Complex by Rich Biesterfeld
It was a short week in the ACL due to the All Star Break, but the Cubs fought to a 2-1 record! It was also a very HOT week in Arizona as Saturday marked the 15th straight day with a high temperature of 110+.
I’ve written before that in the rookie leagues, you will often see pitchers struggle with control, and many players will make both mental and physical errors. Based on the games immediately prior to the All Star Break and these first few games afterwards, I believe manager Nick Lovullo has led the team to turn the corner and they are playing a much ‘cleaner’ game. From the outside, it looks like their is improved focus which is translating to better defense and keeping the team in more games.
With the completion of the final rounds of the MLB draft on Tuesday, I suspected I would begin to see some of the draft picks around Sloan Park soon. But I didn’t expect to see them already on Thursday night watching the ACL game. The Cubs had not announced the signing of any of the picks yet, but I spotted Matt Shaw (1st round), Michael Carico (5th Round), Alfonsin Rosario (6th round), Brett Bateman (8th round), Jonathon Long (9th round) and Luis Martinez-Gomez (10th round).
Some Highlights from the Week:
- Adán Sanchez was 4-10 on the week and in general, has been making better contact at the plate. His throws from behind the dish have looked good all year, but his receiving had been somewhat inconsistent. His behind the scenes work has begun to pay off though as he’s been blocking more balls in the dirt and setting up better targets for his pitchers.
- Wilson Cunningham threw an inning of relief with 2 K’s. During his first few appearances this season, Wilson battled his control but has begun to find his groove and is pounding the zone with more strikes and getting much better results. If you don’t recall, Wilson was drafted by the Cubs in 2021 and they arrived at a unique arrangement where he attends the University of Chicago during the school year and plays for the Cubs during his spring and summer breaks. (See the link to an interview by Greg Zumach for more information on this relationship.)
- Yenrri Rojas went 5 innings giving up 1 run with 3 K’s versus the Dodgers. He looked sharp and only encountered trouble in 1 inning, but pitched around it.
Comings & Goings:
Additions to the roster: Yovanny Cruz began a rehab assignment from South Bend.
Departures from the roster: Bradlee Beesley returned to Tennessee upon completion of his rehab assignment; Christian Franklin was assigned to South Bend; Cristian More was assigned to Myrtle Beach.
A Look Ahead:
The Cubs have home and away series with the Reds and Brewers this next week, along with a home game against the Giants Black Squad.