By Todd Johnson
The Mesa Cubs now have two weeks under their belt. A few things are starting to emerge and the extremely young team is trying to adapt, Many of them are new to the United States. Currently, the club has a record of 5-6. At times, they struggle with hitting and, at other times, they struggle with pitching. Today’s six pack will examine a few things happening out in the Arizona Rookie League.
1. Yonathan Perlaza – Most days, the 18-year-old switch hitter seems to be hitting well. There are other days where is bat does not show up. Signed as part of the 2015 international free agent class, this is his first year playing in the States and it will continue to be an adjustment for him. He’s mainly been playing second, but I expect him to get his time at third. Currently, he is hitting .268 with on base percentage of .348.
2. Carson Sands – At South Bend last year, he was one of their best pitchers in the rotation in the first half. Then things fell apart in the second half. Part of that could’ve been due to elbow splints that he had removed over the winter. As a result, his full season has been delayed. However, in three inning rehab starts at Mesa, he has been excellent. He’s struck out 5 but he has handed out 8 walks – this is, basically, his spring training. Right now, it’s more about the process and strengthening the arm. I hope that he can return to a full season team by the end of July.
3. Delvin Zinn – This is my guy. I love his athleticism! Although, I am not entirely sold on him sticking at short or even second. I think he could play the outfield and do an excellent job. His bat, meanwhile, has been outstanding and consistent. If not for an injury in spring training, he would’ve started the season at Eugene. He should be there shortly as he is hitting .281 with an on-base percentage of .324.
4. Marco Mastrobuoni – This is his second go around in the Arizona Rookie League and his bat has been doing marvelous things. Not only is he heading for high average (.333) but he is also hitting for power. As of today, he has 3 HRs and 8 RBI in 9 games as a catcher and DH.
5. Cam Balego – I have been really surprised by the 31st round pick out of Mercyhurst. He’s played mostly second and third and is showing the ability to handle the stick as he is hitting .333, At that pace, I don’t know how much longer he’s going to be in Mesa. Then again there’s not really a place for him to move in Eugene.
6. Jed Carter -. Relievers in rookie league don’t get much pub. It’s not a glorified position at that level, but Carter is making it his. The 2016 draft pick seems to have found his groove in his first full season is a Cub. To date he’s pitched 5 innings, He has not allowed in earned run, and he has struck out 6 while only walking 2. I hope he gets to go to Eugene very soon.
7. Jonathan Sierra – Like Perlaza, this 18-year-old has been up and down. Batting cleanup most every day, he has shown the ability for timely hits but then not get one for three days. He is batting .250 with 5 RBIs and an OBP of .302. The tall lefty has yet to hit a homer.
The starting pitching has been pretty volatile. Jose Albertos is now in Eugene and more draft picks should be getting some action in over the weekend. One always has to keep their eyes on the Arizona roster as it is in flux daily. Between players making rehab appearances, draft picks coming and going, and later in the year, players from the Dominican coming north, it is always a test to report on. DJ Wilson of South Bend has played in 3 rehab games and is 4/8 with 3 HRs.
Only three draft picks saw action so far in Mesa. Two have moved on to Eugene. I will be back with a post on all where the draft picks are at and how they are doing early next week.