Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/07/11

Pitching has been the key, as injuries and promotions created movement all throughout the system. Brett Jackson powered Tennessee to an extra innings victory, while the speedy Hawks stole a couple of wins in Boise … and more on Austin Kirk’s very special Fourth of July.

Along with News and Notes, as well as a weekly recap of action in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League… welcome to Thursday’s edition of the Down on the Farm Report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (11-8)
Boise spotted Yakima two runs on Monday, and then rallied to defeat the Bears 5-4 in ten innings. Getting his first start, Austin Reed gave up two earned runs in his five innings. Jin-Yeong Kim took a turn as the piggyback starter and let in two earned runs in his three innings. Hector Mayora and Charles Thomas blanked Yakima the rest of the way.

Pin-Chieh Chen was a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening, with a double and an RBI. Wes Darvill was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Paul Hoilman hit his third dinger of the season. Yaniel Cabeza also had a multi-hit night.

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The Hawks looked like they were going to pull in with an easy victory over Yakima on Tuesday, until Bryce Shafer fell apart. The usually reliable closer allowed three runs in the ninth, and needed to be bailed out by Dustin Fitzgerald and the Hawks’ offense as Boise won 5-4 in ten innings. Willengton Cruz breezed through his four innings of work, allowing three hits and no runs while striking out four batters. Joe Zeller followed with two strikeouts and an earned run in four innings.

The Speed of the Hawks was their savior again as Wes Darvill beat out an error, and then advanced with a throwing error with two outs in the tenth. Darvill then came home for the game winner on a single by Kenny Socorro (2-for-5, RBI). Paul Hoilman led the way for Boise, going 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI, Ben Klafczynski and Brad Zapenas also had multi-hit games.

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (38-45)
While Daytona may have had the fireworks, Austin Kirk provided the oohs-and-aahs on the Fourth of July as he no-hit the Clinton Lumber Kings for a 2-0 Peoria victory. Kirk struck out a career-high 10 hitters, walked two and faced just one over the minimum on 101 pitches. The previous no-hitter for the Chiefs was last season, when Nick Struck no-hit Clinton in a rain-shortened five-inning game. But the last time a Chief threw a nine-inning no hitter was back in 1988.

Peoria was actually getting no-hit themselves through five innings. Matt Szczur broke up the no-no in the sixth, while Brandon May was 3-for-4. Richard Jones and Ryan Cuneo drove in Peoria’s only runs.

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Click Here for a Video Highlight of Kirk’s No Hitter

Maybe it was hangover from the previous evening, but Peoria looked flat as they allowed Clinton five runs, and then watched their comeback fall short as the Chiefs lost to the Lumber Kings 5-3. Tuesday marked the debut of two pitchers. Starling Peralta opened the game with six strikeouts in five innings, allowing only an earned run. Pete Levitt wasn’t so lucky, letting in four earned runs in an inning of work. Veteran Alvaro Sosa, along with P.J. Francescon shut out Clinton the rest of the way. Matt Szczur was 3-for-4, while Ryan Cuneo was 2-for-3 with a double. Brandon May had his second consecutive multi-hit night.

The Chiefs relied on the strong pitching of Eric Jokisch, as the Chiefs outlasted the Beloit Snappers 3-2 on Wednesday. Jokisch went six scoreless innings, striking out four batters. Yohan Gonzalez allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings. Brent Ebinger picked up his first save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Arismendy Alcantara provided the highlights for the Chiefs, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base. Ryan Cuneo was 3-for-4, while Anthony Giansanti and Matt Szczur drove in Peoria’s other two runs.

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High Class-A Daytona Cubs – (54-30)
Daytona provided their home fans with fireworks, as they defeated the Tampa Yankees in a 12-5 laugher on Monday. The surprising hero was Rafael Valdes, who was 3-for-3 with a double, home run, and four RBI. Michael Brenly had a pair of doubles and two RBI in his 2-for-4 afternoon. Evan Crawford also had a multi-hit game.

Brett Wallach had a fine outing, allowing two earned runs while striking out three in five innings. Jeffry Antigua allowed an earned run in his three innings, while Larry Suarez let in his first two runs of the season.

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Turnabout may be fair play, as Tampa jumped out to a 7-0 lead to cruise to an 8-5 victory over Daytona on Tuesday. Angel Guzman started off the D-Cubs well, striking out two in two scoreless innings. However, Casey Harman was rocked for seven earned runs in two innings. Aaron Kurcz and Frank Batista tried to keep Daytona close, Kurcz allowing an earned run. Matt Cerda had two doubles in his 2-for-4 evening, while Michael Burgess crept over the “Mendoza line” with a double and his tenth home run in his 2-for-4 performance.

Tampa may have the D-Cubs’ number, as the Yankees again mounted a 7-0 lead, winning 7-1 on Wednesday. Dae-Eun Rhee took the loss, and he allowed six runs (five earned) while striking out six in five innings. Eduardo Figueroa was tagged for an unearned run in two innings, while Larry Suarez third baseman Dustin Harrington mopped up with two scoreless innings. Justin Bour and Rafael Valdes had Daytona’s only hits.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (51-33)
Tennessee saw “badBrooks Raley on Monday, with the Jekyll-and-Hyde left hander allowing four earned runs in two innings as the Smokies got smoked by Montgomery 10-1. Esmailin Caridad then came on and allowed five runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings. Caridad was placed on the disabled list following the game. Marcus Hatley allowed the final run, while Kyle Smit threw two scoreless innings. Nate Samson was 2-for-4 with a double and home run, his second in three games.

It was all Brett Jackson, as the centerfielder belted two solo homers to provide Tennessee’s only scoring as they defeated Montgomery 2-1 in ten innings on Tuesday.

Ryan Searle was given his first start, and only allowed a run in four innings, striking out four batters. Oswaldo Martinez, making his Double-A debut, struck out two as he blanked the Biscuits for two innings. Tennessee then relied on their “veterans”, as Kevin Rhoderick, Jeffrey Beliveau, and Jeff Stevens shutout Montgomery to end the game.

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The Smokies ran into a buzz saw on Wednesday, as they were two-hit in a 3-1 loss to Montgomery. Dallas Beeler had a fine effort, keeping Tennessee in the game by allowing three earned run and striking out four over seven innings. Rebel Ridling provided the only scoring for the Smokies by belting his thirteenth home run.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (41-45)
While the I-Cubs managed seven hits, they couldn’t push across enough runs as they lost to Oklahoma City 3-2 on Monday. Both D.J. LeMahieu and Brad Snyder were 2-for-4 with a double, Snyder plating both runs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx kept on serving up the gopher ball, allowing two solo homers as part of his three earned runs in six innings. Blake Parker had two scoreless innings.

Wasting a six-run, twelve-hit output, Iowa ended up giving away the game to Oklahoma City 7-6 on Tuesday. With the game tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth, Justin Berg imploded, allowing a double, hit-batter, wild pitch, and a single to bring in the winning run. Alberto Cabrera allowed four runs (three earned) in 5.2 innings, striking out three batters. John Gaub gave up an earned run in 1.1 innings of work. Marwin Gonzalez continued his blistering pace, going 3-for-5 with a double and a triple. Welington Castillo was 2-for-4, while Scott Moore was also 2-for-4 with a home run.

Rookie – AZL Cubs (9-4)
Your first place AZL Cubs is currently leading the East Division by a half a game over the AZL Giants. Third baseman Dustin Geiger continues to “rake it”, batting .420 with two homers and twelve RBI. IF Gioskar Amaya is currently at .395 with nine RBI. Outfielders Eduardo Gonzalez and Oliver Zapata are at .343 and .324 respectively. Outfielder Blair Springfield has come on recently, batting .333 with a homer and seven RBI.

Pitching has been impacted recently, as several members of the staff have been promoted. In their place, the organization brought down Yilver Sanchez, Santo Rodriguez, and Hayden Simpson. Brian Smith and James Pugliese are the ERA leaders; Smith with a 1.46 and Pugliese with a 0.00. Hunter Ackerman assumes being the strikeout leader with fifteen against a 3.86 ERA.

Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, the Cubs 1 team has a record of 14-16 and the Cubs 2 team is currently 16-14.

Outfielders Mayke Reyes and Jeffrey Baez, along with OF-1B Xavier Batista continue to be the offensive leaders on C-1. Reyes is hitting .338 with three home runs, fifteen RBI, and seventeen stolen bases. Baez has raised his average to .308 with two home runs, sixteen RBI, and nineteen stolen bases. Batista remains the power and RBI man, hitting five long flies and plating seventeen, along with a .278 average. Right-handed pitcher Alexander Santana continues to do the heavy lifting in the rotation, sporting a 3-0 record with a 1.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and fifteen strikeouts. Relievers Augusto Colinas and Roderik Pichardo have lowered their ERA’s to 2.21 and 2.12 respectively.

On C-2, the big three of 3B Jeimer Candelario, OF Delbis Arcila, and SS Carlos Penalver continue to shine. Candelario is hitting .353 with twenty-four RBI and twenty-four walks. Arcila has four home runs and twenty-eight RBI to go along with a .291 average. Penalver sparks the top of the order with a .292 average, eight stolen bases and nineteen RBI. Left-handed reliever Richard Leyba has emerged recently, with a 3-0 record and a 1.26 ERA in 14.1 innings.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up RHP Ramon Ortiz and RHP Chris Carpenter from Iowa; optioned RHP Casey Coleman to Iowa. Left-handed pitcher Christopher Rusin and RHP Nick Struck were assigned to Iowa from Tennessee.

Tennessee placed RHP Rafael Dolis and RHP Esmailin Caridad on the 7-Day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Oswaldo Martinez and RHP Marcus Hatley were assigned to Tennessee from Daytona. Right-handed pitcher Matt Loosen assigned to Tennessee from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Larry Suarez assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Left-handed pitcher Frank Del Valle and RHP Pete Levitt were assigned to Peoria from the AZL Cubs.

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Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • Richard Hood

    A good update as always Tom. Glad to see Blair Springfield hitting. I love it when local kids do well. He is so going to help when I am trying to get some of the kids attention this fall.

  • Redlarczykg

    Ricketts building the Cubs future?
    2011 Draft

    Javier Baez SSR / R6′ 0″18012/01/199219Unsigned Daniel Vogelbach 1BL / R6′ 0″25012/17/1992268Unsigned Ezekiel DeVoss OFS / R5′ 10″17507/17/1990398Unsigned Anthony Zych RHPR / R6′ 3″19008/07/19904129Unsigned Tayler Scott RHPR / R6′ 3″16506/01/19925159Unsigned Neftali Rosario CR / R5′ 11″19307/22/19936189Unsigned Trevor Gretzky 1BL / L6′ 4″19009/14/19927219Unsigned Taylor Dugas OFL / L5′ 8″17012/15/19898249Unsigned Garrett Schlecht OFL / L6′ 2″19002/15/19939279Unsigned Daniel Lockhart SSL / R5′ 11″16511/04/199210309Unsigned Shawon Dunston OFL / R6′ 2″17002/05/199311339Unsigned Jacob Lindgren LHPL / L5′ 11″18003/12/199312369Unsigned Darien Martin OFR / R6′ 2″18812/11/199213399Unsigned Dillon Maples RHPR / R6′ 2″19505/09/199214429Unsigned Tampa Bay   Has signed half of their top 20.   The same team Hendry gave 5 top kids to get Garza (an average pitcher at best)

    Cubs Number 1 pick from 2010

    Hayden Simpson demoted to ARZ Cubs

    PEO W-L 1 – 6  ERA  5.72  IP 61  HITS  76
    AZL  W-L  0 -1  ERA  19.29 IP 2.1 HITS 5

    A bleak future awaits us!

    • Tom U

      Not so fast with Hayden Simpson. Despite some of the numbers you put up, Simpson has a fairly good strikeout to walk ratio of 1.59. It shows that he is around the plate with his pitches, he just needs to learn how to pitch rather than relying on his “stuff”. 

      If you compare Simpson to other pitchers in the system with the same body type, he stacks up pretty well. At this point in his development, his strikeout ratio is similar to Nick Struck, Aaron Kurcz, and Frank Batista, and none of them have had to deal with the physical problems of Simpson.

      • Aaron


        I agree with you in theory, but the fact is, he was a reach to begin with that high in the draft, AND you have to admit that he not only would have been demoted far earlier to AZL Cubs if he was a lower round selection (predicted 3rd round at best), and we might even be hearing whispers at this point that he’d be a candidate to be released if he doesn’t show anything the rest of the year and/or in winter ball or next Spring Training.

        Typically, top 10 picks get much more leeway when it comes to proving themselves, based purely on signing bonuses. So, I am NOT saying Simpson should be or would be released under normal circumstances (meaning, he’s drafted where he should have been all along 3rd round or later), but that we wouldn’t even be having a conversation at all about him right now.

        I don’t know who made the call to draft him that high, but I’d keep an eye on guys like Kaleb Cowart, Kolbrin Vitek, Zack Cox, etc. Those were all guys the Cubs were linked to in that draft, and they passed them up. 

        Who knows what the future holds for Simpson. He could wind up being a vital cog in the Cubs’ rotation for years to come. But I HIGHLY doubt it.

        First of all, the Cubs were the only team that was saying he could push his velocity upwards of 96-97 mph. Almost every report I saw, had him pegged around 92 mph and under, and not a single one of the reports was glowing. Someone in the scouting department should be fired for this one, because they drafted him almost exclusively on fear that someone would take him in the 2nd round before they picked. He wasn’t even a 1st round talent, and even Simpson seemed surprised to land that high.

        At any rate, the Cubs continue to be clueless in the 1st round of the draft. I hope they figure it out soon, as I had high hopes for Wilken. Thus far, Colvin, Vitters, and Simpson appear to be closer to busts than productive MLB players, while Cashner is on the DL (not Wilken’s fault, obviously) and Jackson is trying to recover from a host of injuries, but has shown glimpses of dominance.

        There’s a good chance that Cashner, Jackson, and the recently drafted Baez (assuming he signs) could be the only solid MLB players selected by Wilken. A 50% success rate is not very good in the first round, especially when they’ve missed as bad as they have with overdrafts of Colvin and Simpson in particular. 

        I’m still waiting for all these picks to sign that Ricketts has promised, but I don’t see anything happening. As I said last night, most of the top 10 picks don’t even figure to sign, such as Vogelbach, Zych, Gretzky, etc.

        • Richard Hood

          Wait a 50% success rate is not good? Yet the franchise that everyone points to as “building from within” Tampa  bay has just below %50 success rate in the last 10 years. I do agree with you that there has been some serious stretches but not every first round pick is destine to be a hall of famer or even an everyday player.

          Colvin if he does not figure out one more thing will be a quality extra outfielder at the Major league level.He just needs to get consistent. Cashner has already proven he will be a legit man in the pen at least. There is a wait and see on Jackson but he will could be very good.Vitters will be a big league player when he gets it. I have not seen one scout that says he is bust. He just needs to get a position and get consistent in his approach at some point the question is will he be an everyday player.You already think that Flaherty is a bust? He will be up for atleast a cup of coffee this year. Josh Donaldson got us Rich Harden I think that makes it a good pick.  If Baez signs (most people think he is just posturing at this point) he has the potential to be special.

          That is just a quick run through of the 1st rounders between 2006 and today. If the guys continue on the path they have been on I think we did ok. If only 1 player out of the last 6 years ends up being a bust I consider that good and a lot better than the %50 number that you pulled out of the air. The reason I pick 2006 to start at was because Wilken came on board in December of 2005 and has been accountable for all picks that have been made. I think his first round record while not stellar in finding that superstar young player that everyone wishes we had is actually pretty good and is going to look a lot better by 2013 when all the guys I have mentioned should be at least on the big club.

           So lets wait and see before you start taking shots at Wilken for the job he has done here.

    • Brp921

      Let’s give Simpson a little more time before being down on him. He was just getting his feet wet this year and I understand he is just kind of worn out. If he doesn’t progress more next year then maybe there will be reason for concern.

      • Anthony

        I like how Boise is winning despite average hitting with minimal power and currently “middle of the road” pitching. If and when some of the hitters start heating up, more wins may follow in less dramatic fashion. Three xtra inning wins by three different players. 

        I am sure the college guys have been getting tinkered with at the plate upon arrival. The young guys already have gone through organizational hitting wants in AZL and the rovers have been in Boise lately.

        Even though it is all about development and repetition and in-house competition, Boise appears to gel pretty good as a team which breeds winning in an organization. It is way too early to gauge any one player in a 19 game span with 60-80 at bats, especially when hitters are working on things, changes that the organization warrants.

        They may ask a power hitters to expand their hitting field while asking others to work on power only.

        Soto and Alcantara are holding their own in Peoria but Darvill would be my 1st guess to head to Peoria from Boise. If and when Szczur and/or Rohan gets moved, an OF from Boise may get to Peoria. Maybe Darvill gets sent right to Daytona. Nice article about him and Camp Colvin.

        In other words, I wouldn’t panic about the lack of signings of the early round picks. Baez is playing the waiting game, as is Prince Vogelbach. Zych really doesn’t want to go back to an average Louisville team, and maybe the rest of the high schoolers need college first.

  • Tom U

    Got to go, so thank you to everyone in advance for your comments.

  • Tom U

    A bit premature, but here are today’s minor league starters:

    Iowa –  Chris Rusin (0-0, 0.00)
    Tennessee – Matt Loosen (0-0, 0.00) projected
    Daytona – Jeffrey Lorick (7-2, 3.96)
    Peoria – Frank Del Valle (0-0, 0.00)
    Boise – Jose Rosario (1-1, 3.29)

    • Neil

      The Smokies will see a familiar face in Chris Archer

      Thanks Tom

    • Boots

      Im seeing the Iowa game tonight in New Orleans. What is the word on Rusin? I checked his stats from Tennessee, which were pretty good especially his last couple starts.

      Was his call up based on the other moves being made, or is he a guy that could be a late season call up? Because of the lack of organizational and strategic planning, I would suspect the former, but I am still interested if anyone knows anything about him. 


      • Tom U

        Sorry to reply so late Boots, but I was at work.

        I believe Rusin’s call-up was a little of both. Iowa hasn’t had a left-hander in the rotation since JR Mathes was released over a month ago. Rusin was inconsistent at Tennessee, but had been better in his last few outings. I feel he is a more appropriate call-up than Alberto Cabrera. 

        Hope you have a great time at the game tonight and bring home an Iowa win (PS. – have a Hurricane for me).