Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/20/11

New beginnings as the Boise Hawks opened play, with the rookie league ready to start today. Losing streaks appeared in Peoria and Iowa. Justin Bour shines during All-Star weekend, while Tennessee and Peoria are set to start their breaks this week.

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

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (1-1)
The Boise Hawks opened their 2011 season with a 5-4 loss to Eugene. Boise took advantage of the wildness of Eugene pitching to score four runs on only three hits. Highly regarded prospects Yaniel Cabeza, Reggie Golden, and Wes Darvill supplied the hits. Starter Ben Wells was solid in his debut, allowing two earned runs and striking out four in five innings. Piggyback starter Jose Rosario didn’t fare as well, giving up three runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings.

Pitching was the story on Saturday, as Yao-Lin Wang made his debut in strong fashion, defeating Eugene 10-2. Wang cruised through the Emeralds’ line-up, allowing only two hits and walking two while striking out six in five scoreless innings. Charles Thomas was equally impressive for Boise, striking out three as he blanked Eugene for two innings. Yilver Sanchez mopped up, allowing two earned runs and striking out two in two innings of work.

The Hawks’ offense broke up a pitcher’s duel by exploding for eight runs in the top of the fifth inning. Ben Klafczynski (2-for-5) singled in Reggie Golden (2-for-4, RBI, stolen base) after Chad Noble (1-for-4, two RBI) had walked. Noble then scored on a Brad Zapenas sacrifice. Zapenas would wind up on second after a throwing error. With one out, Wes Darvill ripped a two-run ground rule double. A wild pitch on a third strike and a walk loaded the bases for Yaniel Cabeza, who delivered a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-0. Golden then stroked his second hit of the inning, driving in a run. Noble followed with a two-run double to complete the scoring for the inning.

Boise would tack on two more runs, as Pin-Cheih Chen joined Golden and Klafczynski with a multi-hit game, and his first stolen base.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (33-36)
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers completed a four game sweep of Peoria with a 2-0 win on Thursday. This was despite a fine pitching performance by Eric Jokisch. Jokisch allowed only an unearned run in his seven innings of work, but Peoria’s bats could only produce four hits.

Peoria continued to scuffle offensively, managing only four hits in a 4-1 loss to Quad Cities on Friday. Hayden Simpson allowed three runs (two earned) in 4.2 innings, while Su-Min Jung allowed an earned run in 3.1 innings.

The Chiefs’ losing streak extended to six games, going down to Quad Cities 6-1 on Saturday. Once again, Peoria had only four hits as the usually reliable Austin Kirk allowed six earned runs in five innings.

High Class-A Daytona Cubs (46-21)
It’s understandable that after clinching the first half title and starting the All-star break the next day, that Daytona would be a little flat on Thursday in their 2-0 loss to Brevard County. Jae-Hoon Ha and Jake Opitz each had two hits, while Jeffrey Lorick allowed only one earned run in five innings. The D-Cubs will resume play on Monday against Lakeland.

In pre-All-Star game activities, Justin Bour won the Florida State League home run derby. Bour hit nine homers in the opening round, then blasted another nine to take the crown.

Justin Bour went on to hit 1-for-4 with a double in the game, as he helped lead the North squad to a 5-3 victory. Matt Cerda stroked a double, while late addition Michael Brenly was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Starter Evan Crawford was hitless.

Aaron Kurcz allowed two earned runs in his inning of work, while Frank Batista gave up an earned run in his 0.2 innings.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (43-26)
In the first game of a 7-inning double-header on Thursday, the Tennessee Smokies clinched the first half title for the Southern League’s North Division. The Smokies won in dramatic fashion on Rebel Ridling’s walk-off solo homer in the eighth inning. The Smokies defeated Chattanooga 4-3 … and Brian Harper broke out the cigars for the celebration. Ridling finished 2-for-3 with a stolen base and two RBI, as hits were hard to come by on Thursday.

Brooks Raley had a solid performance, allowing two earned runs in five innings, striking out five batters. Jeffrey Beliveau was scoreless in his inning of work, while Rafael Dolis allowed an earned run in two innings to pick up his fourth victory.

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After the celebration, the Smokies may have forgotten they had a second game to play, as they lost to the Lookouts 6-5 in the second game. Four Tennessee errors led to five runs, spoiling a fine pitching performance by Nick Struck. Struck allowed only one earned run in 5.1 innings, striking out five batters. Matt Spencer blasted his eleventh home run, while Junior Lake and Ryan Flaherty were each 2-for-4. Lake also made his first appearance at third base.

Friday night saw the Smokies behind the eight ball, as starter Chris Rusin allowed four earned runs, and was removed after the first inning. Ryan Searle held Chattanooga in check over the next five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) while whiffing five Lookouts.

The Tennessee offense, which had been sputtering lately, finally came alive, as homers by Josh Vitters (2-for-4) and Nelson Perez (2-for-3) got the Smokies on the board in the fifth inning. Down 6-3, Tennessee had a four-run eighth inning capped by Matt Spencer’s three-run blast. Kyle Smit and Kevin Rhoderick came on and put up zeroes, as Tennessee came from behind for a 7-6 victory.

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Tennessee took the field Saturday knowing that Ty’Relle Harris was seriously injured in an auto accident the previous evening. Harris was a victim of a hit and run accident and reportedly is okay. It may have contributed to their performance, as the Smokies lost to Chattanooga 5-3. Dallas Beeler allowed four earned runs in six innings, while Harris’ replacement, Juan Serrano, gave up an earned run in his Double-A debut. Vets Blake Lalli and Matt Camp had multi-hit games.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (30-39)
Iowa dropped the series finale to Omaha 8-2 on Thursday. Casey Coleman surrendered five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Jonathan Mota led the I-Cubs offense, going 3-for-4 with a double.

The I-Cubs squandered some great performances on Friday, as they lost to Albuquerque 13-10. Jay Jackson was unable to contain the Isotopes, allowing nine earned runs. Marco Carrillo also was unable to shut them down, giving up four earned runs. Iowa tried to mount a comeback, as Brad Snyder was 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Welington Castillo extended his hitting streak to fourteen games by blasting two homers and driving in six runs. Tyler Colvin hit a double, triple, home run, and two RBI, but a scoring change after the game robbed him of hitting for the cycle.

Iowa dropped their second straight 13-10 game to Albuquerque in Saturday, as starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx imploded for eleven (not a typo) earned runs in an inning-plus work. Welington Castillo extended his hit streak to fifteen games by going 3-for-5 with four RBI while clubbing his ninth home run.

News and Notes
Shortstop Matt Camp was assigned to Tennessee from Iowa. Tennessee placed RHP Ty’Relle Harris on the 7-Day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Juan Serrano was assigned to Tennessee from Daytona. Catcher Luis Flores was assigned to Daytona from Tennessee. Peoria Chiefs placed RHP Robinson Lopez on the 7-Day disabled list with an Adductor Strain. Right-handed pitcher Matt Loosen and LHP Brett Ebinger were assigned to Peoria from Daytona.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .190, .296 OBP, .671OPS, 13 Doubles, 9 HR, 38 RBI, 8 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-1, 4.38 ERA, 12.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 K, 4 BB, 2 Holds, Save, 1.14 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 2 BB, 1.71 WHIP (Chicago Cubs)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .279, .420 OBP, .755OPS, 5 Doubles, HR, 10 RBI, Stolen Base, 22% Caught Stealing (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) – .429, .586 OBP, .984 OPS, 2 RBI, Stolen Base (Boise Hawks)
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .303, .336 OBP, .820 OPS, 13 Doubles, 2 Triples, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 8 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .269, .392 OBP, .847OPS, 7 Doubles, 3 Triples, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .358, .386 OBP, .878 OPS, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 2 HR, 27 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies) .294, .294 OBP, .588 OPS, RBI (Chicago Cubs)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.70 ERA, 36.2 IP, 11 ER, 22 K, 9 BB, 1.25 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 1-4, 5.33 ERA, 54.0 IP, 32 ER, 44 K, 24 BB 1.56 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .324, .381 OBP, .843 OPS, 12 Doubles, Triple, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 15 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.288, .325 OBP, .790 OPS, 17 Doubles, 7 HR, 32 RBI, 2 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)

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Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe
  • GrantJones7

    Will be going down to peoria for a game with my dad Sunday, hopefully Gibbs, Sczcur are still there and hopefully Kirk will pitch, already saw Simpson, not impressed.
    Im “worried” Szczur will be moved up (only because i want to see him play again, hes good) but either way, i think he will be a stud

    • Tom U

      Call-ups can never be predicted, and player movement following the All-Star break seems logical. However, as Aaron reported, the Cubs have been slow in signing their draft picks. This hasn’t placed pressure on the organization to make personnel decisions elsewhere. 

      As of right now, there is a better then 50-50 chance that Szczur will be there. Kirk last pitched on Saturday, so it will depend on how much he pitches in the All-Star game.

      • Richard Hood

        I have seen Peoria play 4 games this year and am really impressed by some of the talent there. Hopefully after we get the promotions done we can get some more of the up and comers into town.

      • GrantJones7

        I think there will be a flurry of moves, hopefully, we need to stock up the higher levels

  • Tom U

    Incidentally, a small move that may have gone unnoticed was Matt Camp being demoted to Tennessee. While Camp wasn’t hitting well, his demotion doesn’t make much sense unless the organization were planning to promote players after the All-Star break. 

    It bears watching to see if Ryan Flaherty, Marwin Gonzalez, or Brett Jackson takes his place at Iowa.

  • Neil

    Thanks Tom for another great report.

    It is good to see Vitters hitting and I’m glad Ben Wells had a good first outing, he really intrigues me.

    • Aaron

      I agree Neil….Wells reminded some of a very young Roger Clemens when he was drafted. If he were even half the pitcher Clemens was, I’ll settle for that. 

      Those type of comparisons post-draft are often over-blown, and aside from Vogelbach being compared to Fielder, I really didn’t hear many comparisons this year, which I believe is a very good thing. The league and teams need to stay away from that, as it puts more pressure on the players to meet those lofty expectations.

      I wish I had time to go to more minor league games this year, especially Boise, as I want to see learn more about these guys in particular:
      Burke-P (I want to see how his transition is going)

      If anyone has updated scouting reports on them, (aside from Hoilman and Klafczynski who were just drafted) I’d love to see them. Sometimes guys like Reed, Wells, etc. can add velocity after being at EXST working out a lot.

      Anyway, good report Tom

  • Bryan

    Seems logical that now would be a good time to take-in offers on Soto (who has market value), and just insert Castillo to your starting C role. But maybe too logical for JH.  And then Quade would just play K Hill anyways.

    • cubs1967

      and how do we know if castillo can hit or defend at the MLB level??

      and why does everyone want to trade the ROY so fast??

      better to have castillo here and play 2 or 3 times a week…….he could be a bust and then what w/ soto……..remember when soto hits like in 2008 and 2010; the cubs have a huge advantage over most teams (braves-giants) in the better offensive C which matters in a non-DH league.

      • Richard Hood

        I agree with you on why everyone is wanting to move Soto. It does not make a lot of sense to me other than health and the fact it takes him so long to get going when he comes back from the DL.

        The only reason I can think of moving Soto is you think you can get above market value for him. If that is the case then be prepared for your heavy dose of Koyie Hill with Castillo or Clevenger sitting on the pine.

        • Skeldor

          If you can get a good deal for him you have to move him.  The last 2 years he hasn’t played more than 105 games and that’s the way it’s headed this year.  His ROY was 4 years ago, so how does that mean fast?  He’s always out of shape and I don’t think he has a very good approach to getting himself ready for the season IMO.  He’s not consistent hitting low 200’s 2 out of the last 3 years.  He’s on pace for about 12 hr and 30ish RBIs based on number of games played last 2 years.  He’s overrated and if the Cubs can get something good then ship him off. 

  • cc002600

    I get a kick out of the all reports about how the interest is down in the
    cub-sox games, as if to say no one cares about the rivalry anymore and there’s some underlying reason that they are trying to uncover.  WTF.


    Hello, maybe the interest is down because BOTH TEAMS SUCK ?!?


    If both teams were doing well, there would be a buzz like no other…..

    its like the writers are always looking for some other reason.


    this isn’t rocket science….losing creates apathy. 


    I am going to tonight’s game because I have tickets, but quite frankly, I
    wished I had saved my money.

  • Neil

    Welington Castillo named PCL Batter of the Week after hitting .625 with 3 doubles, 3 HRs and 12 RBIs.

  • Guy

    why the hell does quade have dewitt hitting 3 again… this guy is the worst manager ive ever seen

    • paulcatanese

      I agree he is the worst. Having said that and meaning it, I will explain why he did what he did. He again is by the book (someone ought to take that book and…….) and he is trying to stack the leftys interspacing them with right handers. If you notice Fuko leading off and then Castro (rh) and then DeWitt then Aram(rh) and then Pena. If thats what Quade is doing he believes DeWitt is a better contact hitter than Pena, the next lefty is Campana, ninth in the order. When Campana is in a position to lead an inning off there would be 2 leftys a righty and lefty Aram and then Pena a lefty. This gives Quade 4 out of 6 in that stretch that are leftys. Quade is banking that that stretch will be the means to win this game. Quade could have led off with Campana have Fuko third Pena where he is and DeWitt in the nine spot,that would have been better coverage, but     he didn’t.

  • paulcatanese

    Congratulations to Castillo for the week that was.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.

  • bpot92

    Is there any way that instead of Burgess we could replace him with one of the better/sleeper prospects from this drft like Klafczynski or our first rounder if we sign him?