Iapoce hired as Rangers hitting coach
Cubs Minor League hitting coordinator Anthony Iapoce has been hired by the Texas Rangers as their major league hitting coach. Iapoce just finished his third season with the organization, overseeing the Cubs minor league hitting program. The 42-year-old joined the Cubs after serving as the Blue Jays roving hitting instructor for three seasons. The Cubs minor league system already lost Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson, who was hired as by the Brewers as their team’s pitching coach.
Arizona Fall League
Rob Zastryzny took the hill for his fifth AFL appearance and had his best outing, allowing a hit and a walk with three punchouts over five innings. With a fastball working 89-94, the lefty threw 64 pitches, 39 for strikes, and coaxed five groundouts for a game score of 67......Not all the news was good from Thursday night’s win over Salt River. C Willson Contreras (.283) left the game with an apparent hamstring injury after trying to beat out a double play grounder with the bases loaded. He walked in his first at-bat. Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said the strained hamstring injury was not serious but Contreras will not play the rest of the AFL season as a precautionary measure.....3B Jeimer Candelario (.333) went 1-for-4.
Venezuelan Winter League
Armando Rivero recorded his first save, working a 1-2-3 ninth in Aragua’s 2-0 win over Zulia. The right-hander fanned two and only needed 13 pitches to get through the frame.....CF Adron Chambers (.600) stayed red-hot, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored in Magallanes 15-6 win over Margarita....Yoanner Negrin surrendered a pair of solo homers, the only runs he allowed in six innings of work. He gave up four hits, walked one and recorded a strikeout for a game score of 56 in Lara’s 3-2 loss to Caribes.
Dominican Winter League
No Cubs prospects saw action. C/1B Taylor Davis (Toros) and 2B Arismendy Alcantara (Licey) are the only position players to suit up in the DWL. Davis hasn’t played since Oct. 20 (1-for-13, 4 G). Alcantara is batting .192/.271/.288 with 8 RBI in 14 games. Pitchers Jeffry Antigua (Toros—2G, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K), Frank Batista (Aguilas— 3 G, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K), Juan Paniagua (Estrellas—3 G, 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K), Starling Peralta (Estrellas—1 G, .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K), Carlos Pimentel (Escogido—1 G, 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K).
Mexican Pacific Winter League
No Cubs prospects saw action.
Puerto Rican Winter League
No games scheduled and only two Cubs prospects have seen action—minor league pitchers Fernando Cruz and Andres Santiago, both signed last year to free agent deals. Cruz, 25, spent 2015 between Myrtle Beach and Tennessee and made one appearance in AAA, posting a 5.64 ERA in 68.2 IP with 58 K, 34 BB, and a 1.54 WHIP. In three relief appearances for Santurce, the right-hander has allowed one hits in five shutout innings with three walks and four punchouts. Santiago, who spent most of 2015 in Tennessee and also pitched for Puerto Rico at the Pan-Am Games in Canada, went 4-5 with a 4.17 ERA in 24 games, seven starts, He fanned 51 in 73.1 innings with 51 K and 33 BB. The 26-year-old has made one start for Caguas, surrendering four runs on seven hits and two walks in 3.2 innings.
2015 Draft Pick Profiles
Ian Rice, C, 29th Round, University of Houston
After signing his pro deal June 25, Ian Rice made his pro debut three days later in the Northwest League, batting clean-up and getting the start behind the plate. The 22-year-old singled and walked in four plate appearances in the first of 47 games. Rice hit .252/.375/.340 and slugged his first pro homer Aug. 11 against Boise—a three-hit, four RBI game, both career highs. Drafted in 2014 by the Red Sox in the 21st round, Rice spent his first two years of college at Chipola Junior College, where he hit .330 with 11 homers and 51 RBI as a sophomore. Rice started 51 games behind the plate for the Cougars, batting .255/.427/.364 with three homers, nine doubles, 48 walks and 34 strikeouts. He helped Houston to a conference title and a # 1 seed in the NCAA Regionals. Rice should be in the mix for a job at South Bend and had a solid season at Eugene with the bat but only threw out two of 30 base stealers. Rice attended fall instructs.