Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/14/11

It’s been an interesting week for the Iowa Smokies, er, the Tennessee Cubs. Wait, maybe it was the Daytona Hawks, or the Peoria Cubs, or perhaps the Boise Chiefs? Anyway, there has been a lot of movement. Along with News and Notes, a weekly recap of action in the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League.

The Cubs announced the signing of Zeke DeVoss late Wednesday night. The Cubs selected DeVoss in the third round of this year’s draft. DeVoss has been assigned to the Arizona Rookie League.

Time for the update and to straighten this out, welcome to Thursday’s edition of the Down on the Farm Report …

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (14-11)
Willengton Cruz was the story, as the right-hander seemed to blow through the line-up again, allowing an earned run while striking out five in five innings, as Boise defeated Everett on Sunday 3-1. This time, the bullpen held up as Joe Zeller, Dustin Fitzgerald, and Bryce Shafer slammed the door on the AquaSox.

Paul Hoilman provided all the scoring the Hawks would need, driving in Blair Springfield with his fifth homer of the season. Kenny Socorro’s sacrifice fly in the fifth drove in Yaniel Cabeza (2-for-3) with an insurance run.

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Luis Liria’s performance on Monday didn’t seem to affect his status, as he was promoted to Peoria, as the Hawks lost to Everett 4-0. Liria allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out four in five innings. Kyler Burke threw four scoreless innings. Wilson Contreras was 3-for-4.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (41-48)
The “big opossum walks late” again on Sunday, as Peoria exploded for five runs in the sixth inning, then cruised to a 7-1 victory over Cedar Rapids. Ben Klafczynski had a great debut, slamming a two-run home run while going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Greg Rohan was 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI, while Richard Jones was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Rubi Silva also had a multi-hit game.

Starling Peralta built on a great debut performance, allowing an earned run and striking out three in 5.2 innings. Robinson Lopez came off the disabled list and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings. Dan Berlind mopped up by not allowing a run in his two innings of work.

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Peoria’s young pitchers spoiled a great effort by Eric Jokisch on Monday, as the Chiefs lost to Cedar Rapids 2-1. Jokisch threw seven innings of shutout ball, striking out five batters. Pete Levitt allowed an unearned run in two innings, while P.J. Francescon gave up the game winner in the tenth. Elliot Soto was 2-for-4 with the Chiefs only RBI.

In his second start, Frank Del Valle showed the promise that had him promoted straight from rookie league, as the Chiefs defeated the Lake County Captains 4-2 on Wednesday. Del Valle pitched four scoreless innings, striking out five batters. Alvaro Sosa then came on and allowed two unearned runs in two innings. Yohan Gonzalez pitched two scoreless innings, while Brent Ebinger picked up his second save.

Ryan Cuneo was the big stick, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Rubi Silva was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (56-33)
With yet another rainout on Sunday, the D-Cubs were forced to play a double-header on Monday. In game one, Dae-Eun Rhee turned in another complete game as Daytona defeated Charlotte 5-2. Rhee allowed two earned runs while striking out seven batters. Logan Watkins was smoking, as he went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Evan Crawford was 2-for-4.

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Game two saw surprise starter Casey Harman throw five scoreless innings, striking out four, as Daytona won 2-1. Juan Serrano allowed the only run in his inning of work, while Frank Batista picked up his 17th save. Once again, Evan Crawford and Logan Watkins lead the offense. Crawford was 2-for-3 with two doubles, while Watkins was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Dustin Harrington joined them by going 2-for-2.

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Wednesday saw Angel Guzman start again, but he couldn’t hold down Fort Myers as Daytona lost 4-3. Guzman was unable to make it out of the second inning, allowing two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Jeffry Antigua tried to hold the Miracle in check, but was tagged for two unearned runs in 4.2 innings while striking out six batters. Aaron Kurcz cleaned up with 1.2 scoreless innings. Matt Szczur was 1-for-3 in his D-Cubs debut, while Logan Watkins and Justin Bour stayed hot with a 2-for-4 night each.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (52-37)
Tennessee allowed a three run lead to slip away on Sunday, as the Smokies lost to Chattanooga 6-4. Ryan Searle was outstanding, striking out eight and allowing only one hit in 5.2 scoreless innings. A usually reliable bullpen then let him down, as Kevin Rhoderick gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings, while Jeffrey Beliveau served up three solo homers in an inning of work. Rafael Dolis allowed an insurance run to close out the eighth inning. The Smokies managed only four hits for the afternoon.

The Smokies returned to their old form on Monday, as Dallas Beeler kept them close by allowing two earned runs in six innings, as Tennessee beat Chattanooga 5-4. Beeler struck out three batters, while Marcus Hatley blanked the Lookouts for another two innings. Tennessee then survived a scare, as Rafael Dolis allowed two earned runs without recording an out in the ninth. Recently recalled Oswaldo Martinez bailed out Dolis by going 1-2-3 for his first save.

With the score tied 2-2, Tennessee rallied for three runs in the eighth inning. Leading the way was Nelson Perez, who was 2-for-2 with a two-run homer. Ryan Flaherty was 2-for-3, and Josh Vitters was 2-for-5, while Steve Clevenger drove in two with a double.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (41-50)
Alberto Cabrera pitched his finest game at Triple-A on Sunday, but it seems that his teammates took an early All-Star break as Iowa lost to New Orleans 2-1. Cabrera went five scoreless innings, striking out three batters. Austin Bibens-Dirkx allowed an earned run in an inning of work, while Justin Berg threw two scoreless innings. Scott Maine allowed the winning run in the ninth without recording an out. Tyler Colvin provided all of the I-Cubs’ scoring with a seventh inning solo blast.

Rookie – AZL Cubs (11-7)
The AZL Cubs are currently second in the East Division, 2.5 games behind the AZL Giants. Infielder Gioskar Amaya continues to sizzle, hitting .393 with 12 RBI. Shortstop Marco Hernandez is right behind him, going at a .391, 17 RBI clip. Third baseman Dustin Geiger has “slipped” to .386 with two homers and 20 RBI. Outfielder Oliver Zapata is at .315, while 1B Ryan Durrence is batting .306 with a homer and 11 RBI.

Hunter Ackerman continues to be the strikeout leader, with twenty-five against a 3.72 ERA. Brian Smith has a 4.40 ERA after previously being the starter with the best ERA. Reliever Felix Peña has posted a 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings over eight appearances.

Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, the Cubs 1 team has a record of 15-21 and the Cubs 2 team is currently 20-16.

It may be sounding like a broken record, but OFs Mayke Reyes and Jeffrey Baez, along with OF-1B Xavier Batista continue to be the offensive leaders on C-1, however, time has affected each one of them. Reyes is now the only player on D-1hitting .300, with his.313 average and three home runs, along with 16 RBI. Baez saw his average go to .281. But along with two home runs and 19 RBI, he has 23 stolen bases. Batista continues to be the power and RBI man, hitting six homers and driving in 21, while hitting .273.

Right-handed pitcher Alexander Santana remains the top arm, sporting a 3-0 record with a 1.54 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 17 strikeouts. Reliever Roderik Pichardo has been promoted to the AZL Cubs, while Augusto Colinas has an ERA of 2.31 with two saves.

On C-2, 3B Jeimer Candelario continues to be the team leader, hitting .341 with 28 RBI and 28 walks. Candelario has been aided recently by OF Elieser Bonne, who has hit 3.42 with five RBI in nine games. Shortstop Carlos Penalver continues to be in the offensive mix with a .287 average, nine stolen bases and 22 RBI. Twenty year-old right-handed reliever Loiger Padron has risen to the top with a 4-1 record and a 1.76 ERA, along with twenty strikeouts and 0.98 WHIP, in 30.2 innings.

News and Notes
Outfielder Brett Jackson and IF-OF Ryan Flaherty were assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Outfielder Ty Wright was assigned to Tennessee from Iowa. Tennessee placed SS Junior Lake on and activated RHP Rafael Dolis from the 7-Day disabled list. Tennessee activated SS Matt Camp.

Right-handed pitcher Oswaldo Martinez and OF Jae-Hoon Ha were assigned to Tennessee from Daytona. Left-handed pitcher Brent Ebinger was assigned to Peoria from Tennessee. Right-handed pitcher Luis Liria was assigned to Peoria from Boise. Third baseman Travis Garcia and C Yaniel Cabeza were assigned to the AZL Cubs from Boise.

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Vivid_Reality

    Nice to finally see some movement.

  • jw

    Great report!!!

    • Agustinrexach

      Agreed, Incredible work!

  • Redlarczykg

    Nice work Tom.  However, Wellinton Cruz is a lefty not a righthander.   His stats for the last 2 years makes him someone to watch.  As for the building the Farm up, the Cubs show just one new draftee signed out of the top 15.   The Sox have already signed 9 of their top15.  The Cubs 2010 draft had 10 of the top 15 signed in June.  How are you going to delevlop them if you waste the first short summer?

    • Tom U

      Thank you for pointing that out, and sorry for  the mistake. The Cubs do have some exciting lefties in the lower minors. Now, if they  can only get Cameron Greathouse untracked.

      You are right about the short summer, as we can see how it affected Hayden Simpson. However, position players seem to be less affected than pitchers, which would make signing them a priority.

      • Aaron

        It’s not that position players don’t need stamina to get through a longer season at the pro ranks than a HS or college player…’s just that pitchers require an awful lot more stamina to be able to throw 80-100 pitches as a starter, and throw back-to-back days at times as a reliever…and all at max effort, top velocity (if you can).

        That takes a good amount of time to build that up again. For instance, one of the reasons pitchers and catchers report earlier to Spring Training is because they want to build up their endurance so they are ready for exhibition games, and don’t hurt themselves straining to deliver the ball at max effort and velocity. 

        For high school pitchers, their competitive season ends in May, while Legion ball begins shortly thereafter. While Legion is still competitive, a lot of players take off for vacation, etc., and it’s different competition with some guys not taking it as seriously as others.

        As for college, the World Series ends in June for regular season Division I, but most other divisions end play by mid-May.

        Therefore, by draft day, some players have already been off for a month, and when I was coaching summer ball, our pitchers were on strict pitch counts to start the season, and we built it up as we went along.

        Unless guys like Baez, Vogelbach, Zych, etc. sign within the next week or so, they’re all looking at Instructs in the fall as their starting point, and that sets the system back even further, because they’ll likely end up at EXST to start next season. Older guys like Zych might be an exception, but the HS guys for sure would be on that path.

        Golden was at AZL Cubs for 4 games last fall, then Instructs, then EXST (mostly because he was fat and completely out of shape), and now Boise.

        By signing high school players late like this, you negate any advantage you otherwise might perceive you had, because you’re essentially losing 1-2 years of true development.

        What I mean by that is this….with the AZL ball, guys that stay there come straight over from the DSL ball, and are 18 years old or so, recent high school draftees, or college draftees that are merely passing through for a few games on their way to Advanced Rookie ball, such as Boise. Therefore, they’re not really gaining any experience they otherwise might’ve had in a high school All-Star game, or even the playoffs, because the competition is all basically high school level. Instructs and EXST are somewhat similar, as you see guys trying new things, bringing them back to basics, such as developing a power stroke (Bour), or learning to pitch making a transition from an everyday player (Burke, Johnston, etc.), so that’s not true competition either with Instructs or EXST.

        By the time your 18 year old high school draftee is playing in A-ball, he’s already 20 years old, and exhausted 2 years on his clock with the Rule 5 in mind, so if he has any hiccups along the way, you basically just wasted your development, and should’ve selected a college player that was more advanced. Am I making any sense here? For instance…Vogelbach vs Shoulders. Vogelbach is a HS senior, while Shoulders was JUCO. Both are young power hitters, but Shoulders has faced advanced competition. If they wanted a more advanced guy, they should’ve signed Shoulders right away, and he’d likely already be at Peoria (assuming he hit well at Boise), while Vogelbach starts off with the AZL Cubs regardless (assuming he even signs)….but again, that’s my point….if they want to remake the system, get more advanced talent in to contribute at the MLB level, they have to go all out, and sign guys like Shoulders, as well as Vogelbach much earlier, so they can start to move through the system.

        ….so you can see how you easily might lose 1-2 years of true development. 

        • Richard Hood

          Interesting take Aaron. I agree totally but it is not a one side argument. The players agents have to willing to exchange numbers and the players have to want to sign. Right now we are seeing if the kids want to play or not.

          Shoulders is one of those guys that seems to be waffling. One report says that it is a matter of time and another says he is going back to school.

          This time of year seems to be like that for some reason. It seems like the Cubs have more than there fair share of guys that are tough signs in this class and we actually went looking for them to get better talent so I understand why. But now  we have to get these kids in the system and see what we got.

    • Brp921

      I have never really tracked the Cubs, or any other teams signings, of draft choices so I am by no means an expert. I think though, that the thing to do since the Cubs say they are changing their philosophy and trying to build the team by being more aggressive in the draft (going after talent that might not be as easy to sign) is to wait and see what happens this year. If their plan isn’t successful then do it differently next year. If they lose the first summer with some of their draft choices then there is always next summer. I just hope if they have to pay some of these players more money to sign them that they are correct in their evaluations of their talent

  • roguesqr09

    Anyone near the space coast in Florida? I’m planning to go to the Brevard vs Daytona game on Aug 16 and 17th. Anyone else going to be there?

  • Aaron

    I just wanted to point out something pretty amazing at the minor league level.

    I believe it was the end of May, two months into the season, and Logan Watkins was hitting around .185 or something close to that.

    We’re now in the middle of July, and in a little over a month, he has raised his average to .291. 

    Here’s his line: .291/.378/.394, 7 doubles, 8 triples, 1 hr, 27 RBI, 11 SB, 32 walks, 57 K’s

    Watkins doesn’t have hardly any extra base power, but he has the speed to accumulate a lot of triples. I wonder if he attended “Camp Colvin” last year or not, as he’d be an excellent candidate to do so this year.

    What’s pretty impressive about Watkins, is he’s still just 21 years old, and he’s moved up one rung at a time, starting off as an 18 year old with the AZL Cubs, then Boise, then Peoria, and this year, he’s in Daytona. 

    Obviously, he needs to show more to be considered a top prospect, but I certainly like his hard work, and the fact that he appears to be tough mentally enough to handle such an awful start to his season.

    • Tom U

      One thing to add is that Watkins has the versatility the organization likes to stress. Watkins has played short, second, and outfield. It’s actually was short stint in the outfield that seemed to clear his head and spark his offensive resurgence. 

  • Brandon

    Great repot Tom!  Both of you guys, Tom & Neil, are doing a great job keeping the site up through this tough season.  I’ve been reading daily, but haven’t had  the chance to comment much since I stopped doing the farm reports.

    • Tom U

      Brandon, all I’ve tried to do is keep the standards as high as you set them.

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters: 

    Iowa – Nick Struck (0-1, 3.38)
    Tennessee – Trey McNutt (1-3, 4.80)
    Daytona – Jeffrey Lorick (7-3, 4.67)
    Peoria – Austin Kirk (5-5, 2.53)
    Boise – Yao-Lin Wang (2-0, 1.44)

    The spotlight game will be Nick Struck and the new-look I-Cubs against Oklahoma City.

    • guest

      Big outings for recent callups over the next few outing because the bettew that they can do the more pressure it can place on upper management to get rid of those that may be blocking…so huge starts tonight across the board!

  • Tom U

    The Roger Clemens case has been declared a mistrial, as the jury was exposed to inadmissible evidence.

    • cubtex

      Figures. I didn’t think anything would happen to Clemens but I was hoping. Maybe he just misremembered taking steroids :)

    • Brp921

      I think anyone who did steroids should be banned from the game and the hall of fame. Unfortunately there is no way to be sure about every player who used. However, I don’t think the federal government should have ever been involved. There is enouph of taxpayer money wasted without spending it to decide if Roger Clemens did steroids. We all have our opinions about that and a trial is not going to change them. In my opinion Clemens wasted what was a fine hall of fame career by using performance enhancing drugs.
       I also feel like Bud Selig should be forced to resign as commissioner and not be involved in baseball for letting the stroid scandal go on, as I beleive he new all about it, but looked the other way because it helped baseball recover fans after the strike.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.

  • Neil

    From Baseball America: Zeke DeVoss signed w/#Cubs for $500,000 highest % above slot (47%) top 5 rds so far this year.

    • cubtex

      As I said…it is too early to panic. They didn’t draft these players with the intention of not signing them.

      • cubtex

        Another reason to think that is use the Red Sox and Yankees as examples. 2 of the highest payrolls in baseball. The Red Sox have only signed 1 of their top 10 picks(8th rounder) and Yanks have signed 1st pick in Bichette but their 2nd thru 7th picks are still unsigned.

  • John_CC

    Nice report, Tom – as usual.

    It’ll be good to get back to some baseball tonight, even if it is the Cubs.

    So, Beltran is back on the market and demanding quite a bit of attention.  It’ll interesting to see who ends up landing him and at what cost for the 3 month rental.  I also find it interesting because like Soriano, Beltran was looking like an $18M bust a season ago.  Another testament to the ridiculousness of contracts beyond 5 year term lengths for anyone over 28 years old. Because Soriano would a coveted rental right now except for the 3 more years under contract!

    It is also interesting to look at what KC got for Beltran 7 years ago…man, remember how fun it was to watch Beltran back then?  When he went to the Astros?  I guess I should say how painful it was to watch him (as Cub fans) but fun because he was such a great baseball player. Anyway, KC did not fare well in that trade…

    • Richard Hood

      This is the reason most times trades for prospects are a crap shoot at best. For every trade like the Betran trade though there is also a trade like the Bell for Sosa trade. Or even better the Colon trade to Montreal that got a ton for Cleveland. You just never know how these kids are going to pan out.

  • Brentcarmona

    ive been checking that bball america site aaron left up like clockwork and saw neftali rosario in bold…ill look at the draft recap here to see what hes all about..another top ten woot!

    • Richard Hood

      When did he sign? I have not heard anything about that one yet?

      • Chriswicker16

        He signed a week ago, quitely. Jim Callis confirms.

      • Neil

         Chris is correct, Jim Callis of Baseball America confirmed the signing earlier today.

        • Chriswicker16

          I saw the article that the Cubs signed their 3rd round pick and in the report it said the Cubs signed their 6th round pick already. With that said, I saw nothing of mention of that. So, I ask Jim Callis if that’s truen and when…


          They did, quietly, a week ago. Puerto Rican HS C Neftali Rosario. @waldo7239117: #Cubs signed their 6th rd pick? Didn’t see that. #mlbdraftI’m waldo7239117

          • Neil

            Good to hear from you Waldo

          • Chriswicker16

            Haha thanks. I’ve already read all articles, just don’t post. So I nevered left.