Always fun when the Cubs and the White Sox play, even better when former manager Ricky Renteria gets his first shot at the guys that fired him over two years ago. Joe Maddon penciled in most of the Cubs regulars including Schwarber-Bryant-Rizzo at the top of the order.
RF Mark Zagunis was the only prospect to crack the starting line-up on Monday. The Cubs third-round pick in 2014, the 24-year-old is an on-base machine (.401 career mark in 273 minor league games) and made a quick rise through the system. Zagunis was 0-for-1 with a walk. Young delivered a two-run single for a 4-3 Cubs lead in the 7th while LF John Andreoli walked and scored.
In a battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, Brett Anderson made his Cubs debut on Monday against White Sox. The 30-year-old left-hander tossed a scoreless first, allowing a hit and recording one strikeout and a pair of groundouts, his trademark. Former A’s farmhand Seth Frankoff tossed a pair of shutout frames despite allowing two hits and a walk. Pierce Johnson had his fastball up to 95 and a good breaking ball as the right-hander retired the side on order, including a strikeout of Joan Moncado. Brad Markey got tagged for three runs in the fifth, including a two-run homer. Daury Torrez allowed a run in the eighth. Dylan Floro, Jhondaniel Medina and Juan Paniagua all threw a scoreless frame.
Mills and Butler get starts
New right-handers Alec Mills and Eddie Butler will make their Cubs debuts the next two days as Mills gets the start against the Angels at Sloan Park on Tuesday and Butler takes the hill in Surprise on Wednesday against the Royals.
While neither pitcher is expected to crack the Cubs rotation to start the year, they were acquired with an eye on the future.
After Mills was designated for assignment by the Royals on Feb. 8, the Cubs sent outfielder Donnie Dewees to for the former 22nd round 2012 pick by Kansas City out of Tennessee-Martin, Mills has spent most of his five-year career as a starter in the Royals system, earning all-star honors in the South Atlantic League (2013), Carolina League (2015) and Texas League (2016). Last season he split the year between AA and AAA, and made his pro debut, despite not having pitched above High A heading into the year. In 23 starts between the two levels, the 25-year-old logged 125.2 innings, striking out 122 while holding hitters to a .252 BAA. The 6-foot-4 right-hander throws a sinking fastball in the low to mid-90s and also features a change-up and breaking ball.
Considered a potential front-line starter after getting drafted in the first-round in 2012 out of Radford, Butler shot up the minor league ranks with the Rockies and was one of the top pitching prospects in 2014. But the success he found in the minors has not translated to the big league ranks. Despite his plus stuff, Butler hasn’t missed many bats at the big league level, sporting a 1.77 WHIP and surrendering 28 homers in 159.1 innings. Despite his plus stuff, Butler’s K/9 is just 5.3 in the bigs while issuing four walks per nine. The 25-year-old features a sinking fastball in the mid-90s, an above average slider as well as a curve and change-up.