Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/01/11

It was a rough end of the week for a majority of the system as player moves continued down on the farm. The Cubs added two players in the Kosuke Fukudome deal and both Abner Abreu and Carlton Smith made their organizational debuts.

Tyler Colvin was promoted back to the show while one of the Cubs top prospects showed off his power and another was placed on the DL. Brett Jackson had a big weekend with homers in back-to-back games but Welington Castillo strained his right hamstring and had to be placed on the disabled list.

All of this and more in the first look of the week at the Cubs’ farm system …

Tom is on assignment this week and will return next Monday with the minor league reports …

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (19-25)
The Hawks lost to the Everett Aquasox on Thursday night 5-4 in 10 innings. Pin-Chieh Chen collected another multi-hit effort in the loss and scored a pair of runs. Chen finished the game 2-for-5 with his first homer of the season … and he swiped his ninth base of the year. Mark Holiman drove in a run with a 2-for-4 performance.

Kyler Burke gave up a run with a pair of walks on one hit in his 3 2/3 innings of work and picked up his first blown save of the year. Ben Wells put together a decent outing (three runs on five hit with a walk and six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings) and received a no decision. Dustin Fitzgerald (1-1) walked a pair, which led to the Hawks losing the game. Fitzgerald gave up the losing run in the 10th on a single (only hit of the inning) by Mario Yepez.

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For the second game in a row, the Hawks came up short against the Aquasox. Boise was shutout and managed only three hits in the 2-0 loss on Friday. Zeke DeVoss was 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot and committed a throwing error but Pin-Chieh Chen picked up two more hits and stole a pair of bases (11 on the season).

Yao-Lin Wang allowed the two runs on seven hits in five innings of work. Wang walked a pair and struck out four and struggled with keeping the ball down in the zone. Jose Rosario pitched the final three innings and allowed just one hit while striking out three … but more importantly no walks.

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The Chiefs lost to Everett for the third time in as many days on Saturday night. Cameron Greathouse took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. Greathouse walked five batters and struck out six. Joseph Zeller pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Greathouse that ended up giving the Chiefs a chance at a comeback … Boise out hit the Aquasox in 10-9 but came up short on the scoreboard (8-7) in a sloopy game in which each team committed four errors.

Mark Holiman (2-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI) and Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with a run scored) had multi-hit games. Reggie Golden hit his second homer of the year as a part of a 2-for-4 night at the plate that included two RBI and two runs scored.

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The Hawks lost their fourth in a row to the Aquasox on Sunday afternoon 9-4. Everett pounded out 16 hits and scored in five of the eight at bats. Austin Reed had a bad start and was knocked around for five innings. Reed allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Jin-Young Kim gave up four runs on four hits in two innings of work.

Zeke DeVoss had a pair of hits and drove in a run in the loss (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) and Jesus Morelli hit his first double of the season (2-for-4).

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Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (44-61)
The Chiefs dropped Thursday’s game to Quad Cities 3-1 after Yohan Gonzalez gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth and blew his six save of the season. Eric Jokisch pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed just four hits. Jokisch struck out seven and issued just one free pass and was inline for the win.

Taiwan Easterling drove in the Chiefs only run and finished the night 2-for-3 with his second double of the season. Rubi Silva was a perfect 4-for-4 but in the end it was the Chiefs inability to hit with runners on base. The Chiefs pounded out 12 hits but were 2-for-9 with RISP and left eight on base.

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Peoria lost their fifth game in a row Friday night … and was shelled by Quad Cities 11-3. Luis Liria and Frank Del Valle had horrible nights but was not helped by the Chiefs defense and two errors that led to three unearned runs.

Liria lasted only two innings and was tagged with his second loss of the season (1-2). Liria walked two, surrendered six hits and gave up six runs, three earned. Frank Del Valle did not fare any better but at least he ate up some inning. Del Valle gave up five runs, all earned, on eight hits with three walks and no strikeouts. Pete Levitt tossed 1 2/3 innings of perfect ball with two strikeouts.

Rubi Silva reached base three times in four trips (2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored) and drove in one of the Chiefs three runs. Richard Jones also reached base in three of his four at bats (2-for-3 with a walk and a RBI).

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The Chiefs snapped their five-game slide with a 3-1 victory over the Clinton LumberKings on Saturday. Taiwan Easterling drove in a run with a 1-for-3 day at the plate and Rubi Silva (1-for-4 with a double) notched one of the Chiefs’ two extra basehits of the game. Anthony Giansanti tripled in a run and scored another (1-for-4 with a triple, RBI and run scored).

Matt Loosen started the game and put together a very good outing. Loosen gave up a run on three hits in five innings. Loosen struck out four and walked two. P.J. Francescon picked up his first win (1-3) with three scoreless innings in relief of Loosen. Dan Berlind notched his first save with a perfect ninth inning.

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Peoria and Clinton played free baseball on Sunday but in the end the Chiefs came up a run short and lost in 11, 2-1. Both teams waited until the 11th inning before doing all of the scoring. Elliot Soto drove in the Chiefs first run with a two-out single but Dan Berlind could not hold the one-run lead and gave up two in the 11th on three hits.

Austin Kirk rebounded from a bad outing and pitched another gem against Clinton (Kirk’s no-hitter came against Clinton). Kirk allowed just two hits in six shutout innings. Kirk did not walk a batter and struck out four.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (65-42)
Daytona dropped Thursday’s game against the St. Lucie Mets by a familiar score of 3-1. Jeffry Antigua took the loss after pitching a solid seven innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts. Antigua did not walk a batter but was facing Johan Santana in his minor league rehab start. Santana tossed three innings of shutout ball and set the tone for the Mets.

Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with a double) and Evan Crawford (1-for-4) stayed hot and Rafael Valdes tallied three hits in four trips to the dish with a double. Daytona out hit Port St. Lucie but Greg Rohan (1-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) drove in the D-Cubs only run in the sixth inning.

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The D-Cubs gave Friday’s game to the Jupiter Hammerheads. Daytona’s defense was charged with five errors (from two players) that led to four unearned runs in an 8-4 loss. Greg Rohan committed two of the miscues with a fielding and throwing error and shortstop Rafael Valdes committed the other three (fielding, throwing and a missed catch) on Starlin Castro bobblehead night.

Angel Guzman started the game and gave up a run on two hits in two innings of work. Guzman struck out a batter without any walks. Jeffrey Lorick took the loss (8-4) after allowing seven runs, three earned, on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings (a walk and three strikeouts).

Evan Crawford (2-for-4 with two runs and three stolen bases), Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with his 11th triple of the season, a run scored and a RBI) and Greg Rohan 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) had big nights at the plate.

Abner Abreu was 1-for-4 in his organizational debut.

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The D-Cubs got back in the win column Saturday and snapped their three-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Jupiter Hammerheads.

The D-Cubs rallied with one in the seventh and two in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off victory. David Macias drove in Logan Watkins and pinch runner Matt Szczur with a two-out single to right.

Brett Wallach started the game and gave up two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Aaron Kurcz pitched a perfect 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts and Larry Suarez picked up his first win with two perfect innings.

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Daytona shutout the Jupiter Hammerheads 3-0 on Sunday afternoon … and the D-Cubs posted their 65th victory of the season. Casey Harman threw seven innings of shutout ball, walked one and allowed six hits. Harman struck out four and picked up his third victory of the season. Frank Batista picked up his 21st save of the year.

Matt Szczur returned to the lineup but was 0-for-4. Logan Watkins had another big game (3-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI) and notched his 11th double of the season. Evan Crawford (2-for-3 with a run scored and a sacrifice) and Greg Rohan (2-for-4 with a RBI) stayed hot at the plate.

Abner Abreu walked twice in four trips to the plate and drove in one of the D-Cubs three runs

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (60-46)
Trey McNutt had another rough outing in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Montgomery Biscuits. McNutt fell to 1-4 on the season with a 4.82 ERA. McNutt has not been the same since injuring his ribs back in May.

Like the entire organization on Thursday, the Smokies out hit the Biscuits (9-8) but not with runners on base (1-for-8 with RISP, seven left on base). Jae-Hoon Ha managed one hit in four trips to the plate with the Smokies only RBI hitting at the top of Brian Harper’s lineup. Josh Vitters received the night off but Luis Flores finished the game 2-for-4 with the Smokies only run of the game. With the promotion of Steve Clevenger, Flores figures to get a bulk of the playing time behind the plate.

Kevin Rhoderick, Jeff Beliveau and Rafael Dolis did not allow any runs over the last four innings of the game.

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The Smokies lost to Montgomery 7-4 on Friday night despite a big night from Josh Vitters. Vitters, serving as the team’s DH, recorded three hits including his 11th homer of the season. Vitters finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a home run. Rebel Ridling doubled and walked twice in four trips to the plate.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx was hit pretty hard again Friday night and really should be released at this point. Bibens-Dirkx started the year in the I-Cubs rotation and since his demotion to Smokies has not pitched any better. The Biscuits scored six times in 5 1/3 innings against Bibens-Dirkx on just six hits and a walk.

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The Smokies finally beat the Biscuits and ended a three-game slide with an 8-2 victory on Saturday night. The Smokies scored six of their eight runs in the sixth and took advantage of three errors by Montgomery.

Brooks Raley started the game and surrendered two runs on six hits in four innings. Oswaldo Martinez picked up the win with two scoreless frames and both Jeff Stevens and Rafael Dolis kept the Biscuits off the board for the final three innings.

Offensively, Ty Wright (2-for-3 with two walks and a run scored), Nate Samson (1-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored) and Blake Lalli (2-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI) led the way. Josh Vitters returned to third base. Vitters was 1-for-5 and was caught trying to steal second base.

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Tennessee beat the Birmingham Barons 2-1 on Sunday afternoon behind a gem by Ryan Searle. Searle picked up his second win after allowing a run on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. Searle struck out seven and the key to his success, no walks. Rafael Dolis earned his 10th save with a scoreless ninth.

Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4) scored one of the Smokies two runs and Rebel Ridling (1-for-3) doubled in the other.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (47-61)
The I-Cubs received a new catcher on Thursday as they put one on the DL. Steve Clevenger rejoined the I-Cubs due to a right hamstring injury to Welington Castillo. The I-Cubs said goodbye to Tyler Colvin and hello to Carlton Smith, the right-handed pitcher acquired in the Kosuke Fukudome deal.

Thursday’s game against New Orleans was rained out and was scheduled to be made up as part of doubleheader on Friday.

The I-Cubs and New Orleans Zephyrs split the seven-inning double-header on Friday.

Iowa was shutout in game one and lost 1-0. Iowa managed only four hits, all singles by Bryan LaHair, Luis Montanez, Brad Snyder and Ryan Flaherty. Flaherty and Brett Jackson each worked a walk with Flaherty manning second base and D.J. LeMahieu started at the hot corner.

Chris Rusin took the loss after pitching a solid 5 2/3 innings. Rusin allowed a run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Justin Berg recorded the final out in the sixth inning.

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Brett Jackson led the way in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader. Jackson hit his second Triple-A homer leading off the first and Iowa never looked back. Jackson finished the game 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Iowa’s other three hits, all singles, came from Scott Moore, Luis Montanez and Alberto Cabrera.

Alberto Cabrera put together one of his best starts of the season but was not around long enough to pick up the win. Cabrera allowed only one hit in four shutout innings with a walk and three strikeouts. John Gaub picked up the victory (4-2) with two decent innings. Gaub allowed a run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout.

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Like the big league club, the I-Cubs lost to the Redbirds on Saturday night. Brett Jackson led off the sixth inning with his second homer in as many games and finished 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk.

Steve Clevenger had a huge night. Clevenger hit two doubles and drove in a run as part of a 3-for-4 night. Marwin Gonzalez hit his second Triple-A homer in the loss.

Nick Struck struggled through his five-inning start. Struck gave up three runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Struck left the game tied at three.

Carlton Smith made his I-Cubs debut and tossed a perfect inning in relief of Struck.

Chris Carpenter (2-3) took the loss as he’s continued to struggle since his last demotion. Carpenter was charged three runs (Scott Maine allowed an inherited run to score) on three hits with two walks and a strikeout in 1 1/3 innings.

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News and Transactions
The Cubs signed OF Arnaldo Calero and assigned him to DSL Cubs1. Signed free agent IF Carlos Figueroa and assigned him to the Tennessee Smokies. Cubs signed 13th round pick Darien Martin.

Cubs acquired Abner Abreu and RHP Carlton Smith from the Cleveland Indians for Kosuke Fukudome and cash considerations ($3.9 million) Abreu was assigned to the Daytona Cubs and Smith was assigned to the Iowa Cubs.

Welington Castillo placed on 7-Day DL with right hamstring strain. Steve Clevenger assigned to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies. Tyler Colvin was recalled from the Iowa Cubs.

Dallas Beeler, Arturo Maltos-Garcia and Matt Cerda placed on the 7-Day DL. Junior Lake and Jesus Morelli activated from the DL. Pierre LePage reported to Mesa to begin rehab assignment.

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Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Redlarczykg

    Why is Evan Crawford stuck, all season, at high A Daytona batting .330 with 27 SB and 5 CS.

    The Farm system is being mismanaged. Hendry and his crew make me sick to my stomach.  JH and his scouts poor talent evaluation is depressing.  JH couldn’t find buyers, for the crap he put on this Cub team.

    Congress is depressing. I can’t take it anymore!  I plan to discontect from all this to survive.

    • Aaron

      well…..that’s the thing, right? They don’t have a clue with player development.

      Ha has been overmatched in AA, yet they continue to run him out there, while Szczur and Crawford must split time in CF in Daytona…It makes ZERO sense. 

      It’s possible they just want to have Crawford have an entire year of success before promoting him, but the talent evaluation is indeed very depressing.

      With Ricketts stating that player development would be a HUGE emphasis, and they’d invest big time in it, then almost immediately after his statement, Hendry goes and trades for Garza, using several Top 15 prospects… just hope it’s a bad dream, and you’ll wake up and it’ll be alright. 

      This year’s draft is a classic example of how they have NO clue with player development. If you look at ALL of their minor league teams in the second half….they’ve struggles big time with promotions, injuries, etc., and yet the Cubs have been slow to sign most of their draft picks, thus retarding their growth.

      If they sign any further picks (not a given at this point), they’ll be signed right near the deadline of August 15th, which means that they will all be candidates for Instructs in September and October. I’d be shocked if any of  them actually had even a week in pro ball this year.

    • Peabodydg

      I haven’t heard any evaluations of Crawford’s game but he has really emerged in a pitcher friendly league.  Remember this is the dude we got for Fontenot.  Could he be a Michael Bourne type?  Possibly a great JH move which we need lots more of.

      • Aaron

        Here’s the deal with Crawford…At 22 years old, he’s on the older side of high-A ball. I am NOT saying he’s “too old for his league” though…just stating the obvious. It’s the same thing with Bour, which might explain why the Cubs aren’t advancing him to AA as I’d hoped.

        The problem with Crawford, is he has ZERO power, and K’s a TON (124 times in 486 AB’s last year with just 36 walks). This year, he’s walked 21 times vs 75 K’s…so he’s close to his pace from last year. With fast guys like that, you want to see them make a LOT more contact than he’s making (though that didn’t stop them from promoting Ha to AA, so who knows what they really think of that.

        Bottom line is, while Crawford has good stats, he doesn’t make enough contact and K’s entirely too much for a sterotypical lead-off hitter. This is precisely why the Cubs seem to be higher on Szczur than Crawford, even though Crawford has better overall stats. Szczur simply doesn’t K that much, and he also walks a good amount as well, plus he’s got great raw power that is still developing, AND the speed. A lot of teams are bucking the trend of having a low OBP, but speed burner in CF. They’re also bucking the trend of having a light-hitting shortstop with a good glove.

        That’s why guys like Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur will be on the top of the Cubs prospect lists come next year…it’s because they have the whole package with 5 tools. 

        If Jackson can stay off the DL and get his hand healed during the offseason, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be starting in CF next year in Chicago. Szczur will probably start at AA, giving Colvin a little more time to get things figured out in his head, and if he fails, then I could see Szczur getting promoted from AA to Chicago early next year as well. 

        If I had to rank the prospects (at this point), it’d probably go something like this:

        TOP 10


        I’d put Whitenack on the list at #2, but he had TJ surgery this year

        • JW

          I just don’t know what to make of Bour, his splits against left handers are awful

        • Richard Hood

          I like your top 10 but wish you would have put some more of the kids that are already signed in it. Maybe a DeVoss or Easterling somewhere. Don’t know yet until we get closer to the deadline. I can tell already you are not a Silva guy.

        • T_Leise

          I would think Marwin Gonzalez has to be in the top 10 somewhere, doesn’t he?

          • Richard Hood

            Players like Marwin G are not really top 10 prospects types. He is not toolzy as much as solid. He is like Darwin Barney or maybe a Rex Hudler if you want to go back a little bit. His ceiling is probably as a super utility type with a decent glove everywhere but not a plus glove anywhere.