Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/02/11

The D-Cubs continue winning games down in the Florida State League and the Sluggin’ Smokies did what they do best … hit the baseball. But this week it was Ryan Flaherty and Rebel Ridling that stole the headlines from Brett Jackson. At Iowa, Jay Jackson made another start.

Doug Davis and Todd Wellemeyer will make their 2011 debuts this week … Davis for one of the A-ball affiliates Thursday and Wellemeyer in Triple-A.

All of that and more in this week’s Down on the Farm Report.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (12-11)
After a day off, the Peoria Chiefs took the field against the Clinton Lumber Kings last Monday. The game was over almost before it started as Peoria put up eight runs in the second and cruised to a 14-2 whitewash. Matt Szczur, Pierre LePage, Greg Rohan, Micah Gibbs, Anthony Giansanti, and Arismendy Alcantara each had a two-hit game. Hayden Simpson pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs. Eric Jokisch finished the game for the victory.

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On Tuesday, Austin Kirk was mesmerizing for Peoria, as he went six innings against Clinton. The LumberKings managed only one earned run as “Kid K” punched out six in a 10-1 laugher. Bryce Shafer, Jeffry Antigua, and Yohan Gonzalez held Clinton scoreless the rest of the way.

The Chiefs’ three hottest hitters made significant contributions. Greg Rohan (3-for-5) and Micah Gibbs (2-for-3) each hammered a double, while Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5) drove in four runs. Anthony Giansanti also had four RBI, including his first home run, a two-run shot.

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Greg Rohan (2-for-4) continued his hot streak Wednesday, blitzing the LumberKings with two homers and three RBI, as Peoria won 7-2. Matt Szczur has recently come alive, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Dallas Beeler continued to impress, tossing three scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 1.29. Robinson Lopez let in one earned run in four innings of work for the victory.

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With a two game losing streak behind them, Hayden Simpson took the mound for the Chiefs on Saturday. Simpson had a rough start, allowing three earned runs in the first inning. However, he settled down to hold Beloit to one earned run while striking out five over the next 3.2 innings. Eric Jokisch didn’t fare much better, with four earned runs in 3.1 innings.

Luckily for the Peoria, they brought their bats. An 18-hit attack clubbed the Snappers in submission. Micah Gibbs (2-for-5) hit a two-run homer (his first of the season) while Smaily Borges (3-for-6) cranked two solo shots. Richard Jones, who has recently been swinging the bat well, was 3-for-6 with a double and three RBI. Marcus Hatley would later come in and slam the door, as Peoria defeated Beloit 13-8.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (16-8)
After two days off, the D-Cubs took the field against the Tampa Yankees on Wednesday. Brent Ebinger struggled, allowing six earned runs in an 8-6 loss. Ryan Searle was the hard-luck loser, a victim of two unearned runs in the ninth.

The D-Cubs staged a late rally to defeat the Yankees on Thursday, coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 9-5. Jake Opitz and David Macias helped keep Daytona close by each going 2-for-4 with a home run. Justin Bour (1-for-3) added a two-run shot in the fifth inning. Junior Lake, Nelson Perez, and Jae-Hoon Ha each had multi-hit nights, with Ha now hitting safely in 13 of his last 14 games.

Brett Wallach allowed three runs (one earned) while striking out five in five innings to record his first victory. Eduardo Figueroa and Kevin Rhoderick each picked up a hold.

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On Friday, before the fans could get settled in their seats, the D-Cubs went up 4-0. Daytona would add four more runs and walk away with an 8-2 victory over Tampa. Justin Bour is making a comeback, going 2-for-3 with a three-run dinger. Nelson Perez and Michael Burgess also had multi-hit games.

Zachary Rosscup pitched his best game for the organization, hurling six innings of one run baseball. The left-hander struck out eight while walking four. Ryan Searle and Jordan Latham mopped up, with Searle allowing his first earned run of the year.

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Daytona managed only three hits on Saturday, but made them all count as they defeated the Dunedin Blue Jays 4-2. Jae-Hoon Ha started the scoring in the fourth inning with a two run bomb. Justin Bour followed with a homer of his own … back-to-back jacks. The D-Cubs added an unearned run in the seventh.

Nick Struck earned his third victory of the season, striking out six and allowing two earned runs in five innings of work. Jeffrey Beliveau and Frank Bautista each pitched scoreless innings. Beliveau earned his third hold while Bautista picked up his fifth save.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (15-9)
After dropping a game to the Jackosnville Suns 8-4 on Monday, Trey McNutt took the hill for the Smokies on Tuesday. McNutt evened his record coming back from the DL, downing the Suns 6-1; he allowed an earned run and struck out four in five innings. Luke Sommer, Kyle Smit, and David Cales blanked Jacksonville the rest of the way.

The star of the night was Matt Spencer. Spencer was 4-for-5 with a double, triple, and two RBI. Ryan Flaherty (3-for-5, double) continued his hot hitting, while D.J. LeMahieu and Blake Lalli each had multi-hit games.

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The Double-A debut of Rob Whitenack ended up being spoiled, as Tennessee lost to Jacksonville 2-1 on Wednesday. The usually reliable David Cales gave up two earned runs in the ninth. Whitenack pitched six innings, striking out three and walking none.

In a see-saw affair on Thursday, the Smokies strong bullpen shut down Carolina for an 8-5 victory. Starter Alberto Cabrera gave up five runs (two earned) while striking out seven in five innings of work. Hung-Wen Chen and Marco Carrillo then slammed the door. Chen pitched three innings for his second hold. Carrillo, demonstrating his versatility and giving closer David Cales a break, picked up his first save.

Rebel Ridling (3-for-4, double) continued his torrid pace, raising his season average to .418. However, Steve Clevenger was the hitting star, pacing the attack with a 4-for-4 night and three RBI. Ryan Flaherty also continued to stay hot, chipping in two hits and an RBI.

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Once again, it was the bullpen to the rescue on Friday, as Tennessee came from behind to win 10-6. Brooks Raley struggled again, with five earned runs in 4.2 innings. Ty’Relle Harris, Ryan Buchter, Kyle Smit, and Blake Parker held Carolina to one run the rest of the way, Buchter earning the victory.

With an 18-hit attack, it would take too much room listing the offensive standouts. Blake Lalli (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Ryan Flaherty (2-for-5, 2 RBI) each launched home runs. Steve Clevenger and James Adduci each had 3-for-5 nights. Clevenger added a triple to his résumé while Adduci stole his sixth base.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (12-11)
As Iowa took the Field against Memphis on Monday, it seems as if someone forgot to tell the pitchers. In a good old-fashioned slugfest, Iowa defeated the Redbirds 12-8. Luis Montanez was absolutely unstoppable, 4-for-5 with three doubles, a home run, and four RBI. Brad Snyder, Welington Castillo, Scott Moore, and Marquez Smith each had two hits. What can you say about pitching that gave up eight earned runs and eleven hits?

Robert Coello got the win, Polin Trinidad a hold, and Esmailin Caridad his first save.

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The I-Cubs halted a two game skid by defeating the Omaha Storm Chasers 4-3 on Friday. Marquez Smith was responsible for putting Iowa ahead with a three-run blast in the top of the ninth. Ramon Ortiz went six innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out five. Scott Maine pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the victory.

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Iowa ended the week on a high note, outlasting Omaha 7-5 on Sunday. Jay Jackson, getting his third start, was staked to a 6-0 lead in the second inning. The scoring was capped by Brad Snyder’s (2-for-4) three-run blast. However, Jackson allowed four earned runs while getting only one out in the fifth inning. Austin Bibens-Dirkx shut out the Storm Chasers for 1.2 innings for the victory. John Gaub and Chris Carpenter earned holds, while Scott Maine recorded his fourth save.

Luis Montanez continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Scott Moore and Max Ramirez joined Montanez and Snyder with multi-hit games.

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News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs released RHP Jake Muyco. Right Handed pitcher Robert Whitenack was assigned to Tennessee from the Daytona Cubs. The Tennessee Smokies released LHP Luke Sommer.

Tennessee placed RHP David Cales on the 7-Day disabled list. Right Handed pitcher Kevin Rhoderick was assigned to Tennessee from Daytona Cubs. RHP Eduardo Figueroa and RHP Juan Serrano were assigned to the Daytona Cubs from the Peoria Chiefs.

The Daytona Cubs activated OF Nelson Perez and RHP Dae-Eun Rhee from the 7-Day disabled list. Daytona placed C Mario Mercedes on the 7-Day disabled list. Peoria Chiefs activated RHP Marcus Hatley from the 7-Day disabled list. LHP Casey Harman was assigned to the Peoria Chiefs from Cubs Extended Spring Training. Catcher Chad Noble was assigned to AZL Cubs from Peoria Chiefs.

Matt Szczur, a former wide receiver at Villanova, was not drafted in this week’s NFL Draft.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .200, .247 OBP, .735 OPS, 5 Doubles, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 2 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 12.0 IP, 4 ER, 13 K, 8 BB, Hold, Save 1.42 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .375, .500 OBP, 1.000 OPS, 3 Doubles, HR, 6 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .347, .358 OBP, .903 OPS, 7 Doubles, Triple, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases, 4 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .302, .408 OBP, .919 OPS, 5 Doubles, 2 Triples, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 8 Stolen Bases, Outfield Assist (Tennessee Smokies)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .302, .340 OBP, .747 OPS, 6 Doubles, HR, 11 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP, 5 ER, 14 K, 5 BB, 1.36 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 0-1, 5.06 ERA, 21.1 IP, 12 ER, 20 K, 6 BB 1.64 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .319, .405 OBP, .796 OPS, 5 Doubles, 4 RBI, 2 Stolen Bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.228, .282 OBP, .700 OPS, 6 Doubles, 3 HR, 14 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)

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  • John

    Does anybody know what Cales injury is?

    • Tom U

      No word on the Smokies’ website

  • Keith Moreland

    Thank you for the regular updates. I’m afraid this year we will only have farm progress to look forward to; that, and burning-off dead payroll at the ML level.

    I have to think Chris Carpenter and Jay Jackson will be at Wrigley very soon; they could probably help the club now. I am fuzzy on them, what are the rules around arbitration years and initial callup? IIRC, if a team waits past a certain date in May, it sets the first arbitration year, and therefore first year of FA, back one year. The Orioles did this with Matt Wieters a couple years ago, pushing back a prospect who was tearing up AAA and appeared to be completely ready. Anyone know what those rules are? At this point, I would rather wait a couple more weeks on these guys, and enjoy another year of service on the back-end, because IMO, this year is lost.

    Brett Jackson has cooled, but looks like he’ll be up September at the latest.

    • Tony_Hall

      Keith – It is an unknown date, that is dependant on other teams call ups, which allows, I believe the top 20% of players, with under 3 years of Major league service time, to become Super 2’s and eligible for arbitration for an extra 4th year.

      Castro will be one with his early May call up, which means that after 2012, he will be arbitratio eligible. He still won’t be a free agent, until he has 6 full years of service time.

      Waiting until end of May or early June is the safe way to stay away from Super 2’s (if that is your goal).

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, that is my problem,the Super two’s. I really don’t understand why teams use that as a reason not to brings players up. I wonder what the effect is on the players. There is always factors that could mess up a chance to come up,injury,go cold etc. Meanwhile the major league team would continue to struggle with ageing vets that are not producing. It’s really a catch 22 with all of it and confusing for me for progress to be made. What I get out of it is that the big club is protecting it’s investment for an extra year and not trying to go forward as soon as possible. I just don’t know enough about it except it’s frustrating not to see kids come up to help.

    • Tony_Hall

      Here is the info on arbitration – Top 17%

      F. Salary Arbitration
      The following salary arbitration procedure shall be applicable:
      (1) Eligibility. The issue of a Player’s salary may be submitted
      to final and binding arbitration by any Player or his Club, provided
      the other party to the arbitration consents thereto. Any Club, or any
      Player with a total of three or more years of Major League service,
      however accumulated, but with less than six years of Major League
      service, may submit the issue of the Player’s salary to final and
      binding arbitration without the consent of the other party, subject to
      the provisions of paragraph (4) below.
      In addition, a Player with at least two but less than three years of
      Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if: (a)
      he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately
      preceding season; and (b) he ranks in the top seventeen percent
      (17%) (rounded to the nearest whole number) in total service in the
      class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of
      Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86
      14
      18485 • MLB: Coll. Barg. (TEXT) • Major League Baseball • PU 6640 + email •
      le 2/7/07 11:34, aaxs le 2/15/07 11:56, aaxs le 3/1/07, crx le 3/2/07 11:24, aaxs le 3/16/07 3:19
      aaxs le 3/21/07 10:15, aaxs le 4/24/07 5:16, AAXS LE 4/25/07 11:56, aaxs le 5/20/07 10:16 + 3:25
      days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.
      If two or more Players are tied in ranking, ties shall be broken
      consecutively based on the number of days of service accumulated
      in each of the immediately preceding seasons. If the Players remain
      tied, the final tiebreaker will be by lot.

    • Tom U

      I was looking at the Super 2 rules last night. The current date for the 2012 Super 2’s was set at 2 years, 122 days. While its impossible to know now what the Super 2 date will be in 2014, using this year’s date as the earliest can be a good place to start. That would mean teams calling up players between May 29 and June 30 would be gambling on whether those players will qualify for Super 2. A good to target on the Cubs’ schedule would be Friday, June 3. They’ll be coming in from an off-day, which might give them the opportunity to make some roster moves.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Keith, I listen to the Smokies when I can. Of late Jackson is hitting with a little bit of bad luck. He’s working the count and making solid contact, just hitting right at the fielders.

    • Tom U

      Brett Jackson cooling down a little could be expected. Its hard to hit at a .400 pace as a lead-off hitter.

  • cubtex

    Looks like Vitters is struggling. .228 with a .282 OBP means that he is not being any more patient this year than in the past. I was hoping he would start to become more selective.

    • Keith Moreland

      It’s tough to remain positive on Vitters, but he does only have 6 Ks in 79 ABs, which isn’t bad. I can’t see BABIP numbers for the minors, so he may be having some bad luck. And he’s still only 21, which is young for AA, even though it seems like he’s been in our system forever.

      Neverthelss, he is continuing his drop down prospect list. There is no harm in playing him at this point and hoping he turns it around, but odds are against it.

      • cubtex

        I was hoping Vitters would have a break out year so he could be thought of as the everyday 3rd baseman for next year. The season is still young so we’ll see. I would like to see some changes on the mlb club for next year. New 3B,New 1B. My hopes were to see Vitters,Casto,Barney and Fielder from 3rd to first for next year. One can only hope :)

        • paulcatanese

          Thats a great hope,I think first base will be easier to fill than third will,Fielder with the correct amount of money very well could be here. Hopes for Covin being there are dwindeling daily as he is slow to getting it together. And Vitters of course would be an unknown commodity at the Major League level but may be the only option. I know Aram should not be thought of at all,don’t think he has anything left in the tank,been running on empty for a while now. But think about what I had posted earlier with Castro at third and Barney at short,will second base be easier to fill?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Vitters hit a home run today and is really working counts. He’s not walking to the plate swinging. As for his defense, still needs quite a bit of work.

    • Tom U

      One thing to remember about Vitters, he’s still the youngest player at Double-A. To put this in perspective, there are 22 players at Daytona and 13 at Peoria that are OLDER that Vitters. Cubs fans may have been spoiled by the rapid development of Starlin Castro. Vitters has shown improvement defensively. He is fourth on the team in at bats, and may need a little better pacing by the coaching staff.

  • paulcatanese

    What should be tonights lineup;
    Fukodome RF
    Barney 2B
    Castro SS
    Aram 3B
    Soriono LF
    Soto C
    Byrd CF
    Pena 1B

    And remember 2-1 Hit and run
    Anyone besides Aram,Soriono,Soto be told to bunt.No one else knows how.
    1st to 3rd on a base hit, not impossible.
    Swing only at strikes.(if you can’t reach it, you can’t hit it).
    Pinch hitters;
    1.Johnson (preferably in a bunt situation)
    2.Colvin ( if we need a walk)
    3.Zambrano ( if we need the long ball,or if it’s too hot and we need a breeze from his swing and miss)
    4.I don’t know,just someone to ???
    5.Hill,only if the bat boy is uavailable.

    In other words,lets hope we don’t need a pinch hitter.

  • Tom U

    An update: Robert Whitenack earned his first Double-A victory, as Tennessee defeated Carolina 9-4. The line on Whitenack:

    5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 K’s, 2 BB

    Vitters was 2-for-4, hitting his fourth home run

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.