Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 11/01/10

Jake Muyco has a couple of rough starts in the Arizona Fall League. Craig Muschko and Austin Bibens-Dirkx look to rebound after having tough first weeks with Zulia in Venezuela. The Rising Stars Game will be televised on Saturday on the MLB Network. The Mesa Solar Sox suffer a string of crushing defeats to end the month of October. Jason Dubois is sizzling early on in the VWL with four homers and 12 runs batted in.

All that and more in today’s Down on the Farm Report!

Arizona Fall League
In Arizona, it will be a big week for the Chicago Cubs. An announcement of the full coaching staff for 2011 is expected, the vote to determine whether the club will stay in Mesa for Spring Training will take place, and the organizational meetings are set to begin. Due to all the action in the Valley of the Sun, the Cubs prospects playing for the Mesa Solar Sox will get lots of exposure this week. Media members will flock to Mesa and stop to take in some AFL games. The front office staff always checks out a game at HoHoKam Park. On Saturday, the Arizona Fall League’s best will suit up in the 2010 Rising Stars Game.

The Phoenix Desert Dogs handed Mesa an 8-6 defeat last Monday. The Solar Sox were in command after they scored three in the first and single tallies in both the second and third, but Phoenix came from behind to pull out the W. Brett Jackson went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His base hit was a single and one of his runs knocked in came on a sac fly.

Designated hitter Josh Vitters had a 0-for-2 day but he did draw a walk. Ryan Flaherty started at first base, going 1-for-4 with an RBI. Jake Muyco was hammered for seven earned runs on six hits and one walk in his 2.2 inning start. He served up two gopher balls and was hit with the loss. Click for full box score.

The Mesa Solar Sox crushed the Peoria Saguaros by a jaw-dropping final score of 18-9 on Tuesday. Ryan Flaherty went 1-for-5 and walked twice. He has shown a lot of patience at the plate this fall. Josh Vitters, who played at both corner infield spots during the game, doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in one. The Solar Sox’s biggest frame of the day was an eight-run fourth. Mesa had 22 total team hits and Peoria committed six errors. Click for full box score.

The guys brought the lumber once again on Wednesday as they outslugged Scottsdale 7-6. The Solar Sox were down 6-0 early on but they scored four in the fifth and went ahead with a pair in the seventh. Brett Jackson was the No. 2 hitter in the order and got the start in centerfield. He had a 1-for-5 day that included two RBI and a run scored.

A lot of Cubs pitching prospects saw action in the contest. David Cales worked 1.1 innings and gave up no runs on just one hit. Chris Carpenter put two zeros on the board, allowing only one hit during his two innings. Kyle Smit retired all three men he faced and was the winning pitcher to improve to 2-1. Click for full box score.

The Peoria Javelinas ended Mesa’s brief winning streak on Thursday. Peoria picked up a 6-4 road win at HoHoKam Park. A three-run Mesa rally in the bottom of the ninth was not enough to tie the game. Josh Vitters came up to the plate with the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. He bounced into a fielder’s choice to end the game and cap off his 0-for-4 day. Josh did have one highlight on the day when he picked up his first stolen base of the fall after reaching via a base on balls. He eventually came around to score. Click for full box score.

The Scottsdale Scorpions walloped the Sox 9-1 on Friday night. Ryan Flaherty was the only Cub farmhand to appear in the game. He went 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored. The Scorpions pulled away with four runs in the third and continued to tack on throughout the night. Click for full box score.

Mesa suffered its third straight blowout loss on Saturday when they dropped the final game of October 12-6 at the hands of the Desert Dogs. The middle three innings were the tough ones, as Phoenix scored two in the fourth, four in the fifth, and four more in the sixth. Chris Carpenter was wild, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks in 0.2 innings. Starting pitcher Jake Muyco was hit hard for the second straight start. He gave up seven hits, which led to four runs in four innings. He continued to be haunted by long balls, as he served up two more. Kyle Smit was one of the only hurlers to get the job done, going 1.2 shutout innings. Click for full box score.

Upcoming Games:
*All Times CDT
Today VS Peoria Saguaros 1:35
Tuesday @Peoria Saguaros 1:35
Wednesday @Peoria Javelinas 1:35
Thursday VS Peoria Javelinas 1:35
Friday @Surprise 1:35

AFL Rising Stars Game
On Saturday night at 7:00 CDT, the Arizona Fall League’s best will take the field. The annual AFL All Star game, dubbed the Rising Stars Game, will be hosted in Scottsdale this year. For the second straight year, the game will be televised live on the MLB Network. All Stars from the East (Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix) will battle All-Stars from the West (Peoria, Peoria, and Surprise). The rosters for the game have not yet been announced, but if any Cubs prospects are named to the contest I will post it on the Cubs Farm Updates on twitter.

AFL East Standings
Scottsdale 11-6
Mesa 9-8
Phoenix 6-11

AFL West Standings
Surprise 10-6
Peoria Javelinas 9-6
Peoria Saguaros 4-12

Caribbean Winter Leagues
It was a bounce-back week for many Cubs’ prospects competing in winter ball after their stats suffered from the adjustment to the new country during the first week. For some others, the transition period continues as they look to find their stride.

Tony Campana has rebounded for Zulia of the Venezuelan Winter League. After a slow start, he has his average back over the Mendoza Line at .241. Campana has played in 12 games and has already swiped three bases. Campana’s teammate on both the Tennessee Smokies this summer and Zulia this winter is RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx. Bibens-Dirkx picked up his first VWL win this week, going 5.1 innings and allowing two runs, only one of which was earned. Craig Muschko pitched on Saturday and put together his best outing of the year. Over 4.2 innings, he allowed only two runs, both on solo-homers. Muschko did not get the win but his ERA is now down to 5.59 after his horrific first two games.

Marwin Gonzalez of Caracas has continued his hot start to the VWL season. He is hitting .323 with 14 runs batted in over 15 games. Brandon Guyer has a homer, seven RBI, and 20 hits in 16 games. His batting average is .333. Jason Dubois is also swinging a hot stick. He’s crushed four homers and has 12 RBI to go along with his .320 average in 15 games. Marquez Smith has not had much luck for Aragua. He’s hitting under .200 in the first 11 games of the winter.

Junior Lake, Welington Castillo, and Nelson Perez are all off to slow starts in the Dominican Winter League. Pitcher Marco Carrillo is 1-1 with a 5.65 earned run average in three starts for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League. He went six shutout innings in his most recent outing and allowed only four hits, earning the W. Oswaldo Martinez has a 5.06 ERA in seven relief appearances for Obregon.

Roster Moves
As Neil reported on the site last week, the Cubs have made a few tweaks to their 40-man roster. Robinson Chirinos has been added and Jim Adduci has been outrighted to Triple-A Iowa. Chirinos, a catcher, hit .326 at Tennessee and Iowa this season. Outfielder Jim Adduci hit just .248 in 114 Triple-A games this season.

Down on the Farm Report Notes
Look for the Down on the Farm Report every Monday throughout the offseason! Follow me on twitter at twitter.com/cubsfarmupdates for updates from the Arizona Fall League this week. If you have any questions or comments, email me at cubsblogmailbag@aol.com. Please visit my Chicago Cubs blog at www.everythingcubs.blogspot.com.

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Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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