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

Who are those guys in the blue pinstripes? They certainly don’t look the Iowa team we know, as they ripped off three wins and obliterated league-leading Sacramento. Peoria went on their own winning streak, while Tennessee has gone back to their winning style of playing baseball. However, Boise was still having problems with their nemesis Tri-City, while Daytona split a pair with Clearwater.

Along with News and Notes, and 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 (23-29)
Boise pitchers held Tri-City to only three hits, but those were enough as the Hawks lost on Sunday 2-0. Willengton Cruz one-hit the Dust Devils over his five innings, striking out four of the batters he faced. However, an error by Zeke DeVoss in the seventh inning led to two unearned runs, as Jean Sandoval gave up a triple and a double for the other two hits. Pin-Chieh Chen was the Hawks’ leader with two hits, while Brad Zapenas and Wes Darvill were each 1-for-3 with a double.

The Northwest League leading Tri-City continued to have Boise’s number on Monday, as the Hawks lost 3-2. Ben Wells had a solid effort, allowing three earned runs and striking out three in 5.2 innings. Kyler Burke continues to show improvement, sweeping away three Dust Devils in 2.1 scoreless innings. Rafael Lopez was 2-for-3, while Wes Darvill and Wilson Contreras drove in the Hawks’ only runs.

Tri-City made it a sweep over Boise on Tuesday, as the Hawks took a 3-0 loss. Yao-Lin Wang pitched well enough to win, allowing two earned runs and striking out eight in five innings. The problem was run support, and Boise was only able to scratch out four hits against the Dust Devils. Reggie Golden led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a double. Joe Zeller followed Wang and gave up an earned run in his two innings. Bryce Shafer got in an inning of work, striking out two.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (51-63)
Make it three in a row as Peoria muscled past Cedar Rapids 8-6 on Sunday. The Chiefs’ bats continued to do their talking, as they mashed thirty-seven hits over the streak. Leading the way were Richard Jones and Rubi “The Expensive Cuban” Silva, each went 3-for-4. Dustin Geiger and Rafael Valdes drove in two runs with 2-for-4 afternoons. Jesus Morelli added a two-RBI single.

Staff ace Eric Jokisch came up with a 5.2 inning-five strikeout performance, allowing three earned runs. Pete Levitt continued to struggle with holding leads, giving up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Yohan Gonzalez came to the rescue by popping the Kernels for 1.2 scoreless innings. Big Dan Berlind finished up by blanking Cedar Rapids in the ninth, securing his third save.

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Peoria relied on its “Latin Connection” on Monday to pop the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-2. Cuban Frank Del Valle brought his “A” game, as he three-hit Cedar Rapids over 5.2 innings, giving up only one earned run and striking out two batters. Dominican Luis Liria picked up his second save by going 3.1 innings, again allowing an earned run while striking out two batters
Another Dominican, Arismendy Alcantara, continues to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-3 with two RBI. Taiwan Easterling also continues to impress with a 2-for-4 evening, including a double and an RBI. Richard Jones kept his triple-crown hopes alive by smacking his 20th homer and driving in three runs.

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All good things must come to an end, as Peoria bowed to Cedar Rapids 3-1 on Tuesday to end their four-game winning streak. Brett Wallach had a solid effort, striking out five while allowing two earned runs in his five innings. P.J. Francescon shook off some previous inconsistency by tossing three scoreless innings, striking out four batters. Roderik Pichardo gave up his first earned run as a Chief in the ninth inning. Anthony Giansanti scored Peoria’s only run, as he was 2-for-4. Micah Gibbs was also 2-for-4, as was Rubi Silva, who had a triple as one of his hits.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (68-46)
Daytona manager Buddy Bailey must be saying “Greg Rohan, where have you been all my life?!” as the D-Cubs needed every one of their 13 hits to defeat Clearwater 8-6 in a Sunday matinee. Rohan continued his torrid pace, as he was 2-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI. Logan Watkins also stayed hot, going 3-for-5 with a stolen base, while Chad Noble was 3-for-4. Chipping in were Matt Szczur, who was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a stolen base, and Elliot Soto, 2-for-4 including a double.

Daytona saw their three run lead evaporate as Angel Guzman served up two home runs in a three-run first inning. Dae-Eun Rhee took over and gave up another three earned runs over six innings, but struck out five batters. Frank Batista slammed the door with two scoreless innings for his 22nd save.

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The D-Cubs couldn’t take advantage of their eight hits on Monday, losing to Clearwater 2-1 in 10 innings. Jeffry Antigua scattered four hits over 6.1 innings allowing an earned run while striking out eight batters. Aaron Kurcz kept Daytona close by striking out three and shutting out the Threshers for 2.2 innings. However, Kyle Smit gave up a one out single in the 10th that scored the game winner. Daytona wasted good efforts by Abner Abreu, who was 3-for-4 with a triple, and Matt Cerda, 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (68-47)
After going 13-16 in July, the Smokies must be glad the calendar turned to August, as they are 5-1 following Sunday’s 11-4 whitewash of Huntsville. Jae-Hoon Ha is starting to find his way, as he is hitting .395 over his last ten games. Ha was 3-for-5 against the Stars, with a double and two RBI. Junior Lake also seems to be coming around (.278 in his last ten games), as he went 2-for-4, including a double and two runs driven in. James Adduci joined Ha and Lake by going 2-for-5 with a double and RBI, while Blake Lalli smacked his eighth home run.

Trey McNutt held Huntsville to two earned runs over his four innings while striking out six batters. Jeff Stevens added four more strikeouts as he blanked the Stars for two innings. Brent Ebinger allowed the two other runs in his two innings of work. Oswaldo Martinez cleaned up with a scoreless ninth inning.

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After rain cancelled Monday’s game, Tennessee played two with Huntsville on Tuesday. In game one, Jae-Hoon Ha stayed locked-in, as the Smokies smoked the Stars 8-0. Ha was 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI, while Ty Wright’s game line was identical. Josh Vitters put up almost the same numbers as Ha and Wright, except he had only one double, but two RBI. Rebel Ridling was 2-for-4 while thumping his 15th home run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx gave a pitching performance that showed why many where high on his ability before the season started. Bibens-Dirkx scattered three hits over 5.2 scoreless innings while striking out six batters. Oswaldo Martinez finished off the game with a perfect 1.1 innings.

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In game two, surprise starter Larry Suarez handcuffed the Stars with one hit while striking out three over three scoreless innings as Tennessee won 4-2 for the sweep. The game was then turned over to the “Wrecking Crew” with Kevin Rhoderick earning the victory, giving up two earned runs in two innings. Jeffery Beliveau followed and struck out four over 1.2 innings for his fourth hold. Rafael Dolis got the final out and picked up his 12th save.

Rebel Ridling added to his team lead by belting his 16th home run, as well as hitting a double in a 2-for-3, two RBI game. Jae-Hoon Ha continued his blistering pace, going 2-for-4 while Josh Vitters and Junior Lake had the Smokies’ other RBI.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (54-65)
Iowans need to be on the lookout for Rachel Nichols, as the “Brett Watch” has begun in earnest. Brett Jackson powered the I-Cubs to a 6-1 victory over Sacramento on Sunday. After leading the game off with his sixth home run, Jackson delivered another solo shot en route to a 2-for-3, two RBI afternoon. Scott Moore chipped in his own solo blast, as he also was 2-for-3 with two runs driven in. Steve Clevenger and Matt Spencer were each 2-for-4, while Luis Montanez had an RBI triple.

Veteran Dave Bush overcame an rocky first inning, allowing a solo home run, to go five innings with two strikeouts. Carlton Smith went two scoreless innings for a hold, while Blake Parker rung up four batters in two innings to pick up his first save.

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The I-Cubs had more than Sacramento could handle on Monday, as they embarrassed the Grizzlies 8-0. Starter Chris Rusin had an electrifying performance, shutting out Sacramento over seven innings and striking out 11 batters. In what may be a new role, Alberto Cabrera then came in and blanked the Grizzlies the rest of the way, punching out two batters.

Nearly everyone for Iowa contributed to their fifteen hits. Chris Robinson led the way by going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two driven in. Luis Montanez was also 3-for-4, while newcomer Matt Spencer was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Brett Jackson stayed hot, going 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Bryan LaHair smacked his league-leading 30th home run in a 2-for-4 night.

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Maybe it was because six former Smokies were in the line-up, as Iowa played a Tennessee-type game and trounced Sacramento 14-7 on Tuesday. D.J. LeMahieu broke out of his slump in a big way, going 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base. Bryan LaHair was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI, while Brett Jackson was 3-for-5 with a stolen base. Scott Moore also drove in three, as he was 2-for-4 with a double. Steve Clevenger had a 2-for-3 evening with an RBI, while Ryan Flaherty belted his second home run.

Starter Nick Struck was cruising until the fifth inning, when he gave up six runs to the Grizzlies. He finished the evening by lasting 4.2 innings, yielding seven earned runs while striking out three batters. Robert Coello bailed Struck out, striking out four in 2.1 scoreless innings. John Gaub picked up his 11th hold with a perfect eighth inning, and Scott Maine pitched a perfect ninth.

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The I-Cubs batted around in a six-run fourth inning en route to a 7-6 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday, and a series sweep. Brett Jackson (2-for-4, double, RBI) started things off with a single, followed two batters later by Scott Moore’s walk. Bryan LaHair then doubled home Jackson and Moore. A Steve Clevenger (2-for-4, RBI) single scored LaHair; a D.J. LeMahieu walk and Matt Spencer reaching on a throwing error loaded the bases. Ryan Flaherty’s sacrifice fly drove in Clevenger, and Jonathan Mota’s single brought in LeMahieu.

Jay Jackson had one of his better outings, allowing two earned runs in six innings while striking out five batters. Carlton Smith let in an earned run in an inning of work. The usually reliable Justin Berg made it close by giving up three earned runs in an inning. Blake Parker went 1-2-3 in the ninth for his second save.

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Rookie – AZL Cubs (23-17)
The AZL Cubs remain in second to the AZL Giants, five games behind. However, they lead by a game and a half in the Wild Card standings. The promotion of Oliver Zapata has given the Cubs a new leadoff hitter, recently signed outfielder Trey Martin. Martin is hitting .308 in his first six games. Gioskar Amaya continues to be the team-hitting leader at .366, with 22 RBI. Shortstop Marco Hernandez also continues to be the RBI leader, with a .354 average and 35 RBI. Outfielder Dong-Yub Kim has now taken over the team lead in steals with ten, while hitting .270. Catcher Neftali Rosario has been impressive since signing, batting .340 with two home runs and eight RBI in 12 games.

Pitcher Jean Sandoval was recently promoted, with Jin-Young Kim joining the rotation of Hunter Ackerman, Brian Smith, James Pugliese, and Hayden Simpson. Ackerman’s ERA is 3.32, taking over the ERA lead while he continues to be the strikeout leader with 44. Alvido Jimenez and Yilver Sanchez are now the team’s closers, with two saves apiece. Jimenez is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA and 0.98WHIP in nine games.

Dominican Summer League
This week in the Dominican Summer League, Cubs 2 has moved into first place and taken a 2.5 game lead over the Rangers. C-1 now has a record of 23-33, while C-2 is currently 36-22.

Seventeen-year old switch-hitting IF John Ortega has taken over leadoff duties for C-1, hitting .278 overall with 11 stolen bases. Outfielder Kelvin Encarnacion is among the league leaders in stolen bases with 24, with a .278 average and 23 RBI. Outfielder Mayke Reyes remains the team leader at .299 with three home runs, 18 RBI, and 21 stolen bases. Right-handed pitcher Yomar Morel remains the team leader with a 3-3 record, 2.61 ERA and 31 strikeouts.

Outfielder Jeffrey Baez has moved into the leadoff role for C-2, hitting .263 with three home runs, 29 RBI and 27 stolen bases. Shortstop Carlos Penalver was bumped to the third spot, improving to a .278 average with 30 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Clean-up hitter Jeimer Candelario continues to be the team leader on C-2, hitting .342 with four home runs, 39 RBI, and 41 walks. Utility player Xavier Batitsta still leads the team with seven home runs, and has a .241 average. Right-handed pitcher Loiger Padron has taken over the ERA lead with 2.42 ERA, along with 38 strikeouts and 0.98 WHIP. Alexander Santana leads C-2 with a 4-0 record, while his ERA has risen to 2.58 with a 1.13 WHIP while striking out thirty-two batters. Francisco Turbi has settled into the closer role, and has a 4-1 record with a 3.67 ERA and eight saves.

News and Notes
Infielders Marquez Smith and Ryan Cuneo, along with C Welington Castillo, were assigned to the AZL Cubs.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Bryan

    I couldn’t help but to get a good morning chuckle when reading a posters comment on one of the Tribune articles this morning….he said that Quade would likely prefer to start Santo’s statue in the lineup v. playing Colvin.

    How true (and sad at the same time). 

  • Cloycub13

    Have not posted in a while… always read!!! If theses guys keep it up, and the signings keep rolling in (Baez, Vogelbach, Maples, Jacquez and Dunston) With Shoulders in the mix, Easterling playing really well, Rosario looking like the real deal, Taylor Scott, Devoss and Paul Hoiliman…add in already had prospects in B. Jackson, Jay Jackson, Mcnutt, Dolis, Ridling, Marwin Gonzalez, Golden, Carpenter and the guys here at the MLB level Castro, Colvin, Cashner, Barney ….

    Holy Crap the list goes on and on…

    Point is…. There is SOMETHING to be optimistic about.

    If, in the next 5 days, the above named people sign, We have something here. 
    That Something…A chance with the right people at the top.

    Tom Ricketts, I give you a hell of a lot of credit for living up to your word and paying for these kids. Now get rid of the dolts that are in place to mess up this momentum (Kenney, Hendry and Quade) and you have my faith again.

    The Cubs could have one of the best systems in all of baseball soon, and that to me is very exciting and gives me a reason to say GO CUBS!

    • Niren23

      dont get too excited, only Brett Jackson from this year’s top prospects is having a decent year.  I want to be optimistic, but Hendry and this regime thought Rich Hill was untouchable, saved a spot in CF for Felix Pie, and gave bad contracts to many many major leaguers that they thought could play and fill holes. 

    • ldsteam2011

      I agree.  If all these guys sign like the rumors suggest, the future does look very bright.  Put the money to the draft picks, instead of these aging free agents.

      On a side note, Rachel Nichols in Iowa?  I’ll have to make that trip from Chicago. 

    • cubtex

      Agreed! Ricketts is doing exactly what he said he was going to do!

  • cubtex

    Hendry was on mlb channel this morning and it was interesting to hear how careful he was choosing his words about the Cubs and Ricketts. Definately sounded like a man not too confident in his job. He did mention how there is alot of money coming off the books and if the Cubs spend wisely they can be right back in race again next year. I agree with Hendry here….but I do hope we have a different gm making those decisions.

  • Brp921

    I saw on the Cub’s website that Quade said they probably wouldn’t be bringing Brett Jackson up in September. I am not familiar with how the arbitration rules work. Could this be the reason behind not calling him up, to delay his arbitration eligibility one more year.

    • Richard Hood

      Jackson is not Rule V eligible yet. So there is talk that he is not given a spot on the 40 man until he has to be. It has little to do with Arbitration but a lot to do with roster flexibility.

      This is a link on Cubbies Crib that talks about it.

      My question is who does Quade think he is saying that Jackson isn’t ready? Did he go down and see him play? Did he decide that no one is ready to come up so he has reasons to play the veterans and maybe keep his job? I use to think that the one thing Quade could do is help with the kids in the development side after this season to keep his contract. Now My opinion has changed. He has proven that he needs to get a grip on reality and an unemployment line visit might just do that.

      • paulcatanese

        Richard, the thing that I dont understand is what gives Qua that power? The many things he has done along the same lines are unbelivable. His statement a few minutes ago about Colvin having to “earn it” again rings in the air. How in the world is Colvin going to “earn it “, if he doesent play? The things that Qua makes statements about sounds like the power of a General Manager as I dont think he can say what he is saying without backing, or as in an instruction from someone. Not saying JH is behind all of this, just dont understand how Qua does it.

        • Richard Hood

          Well in a lot of organizations there are partnerships between the GM and field manager or coach that decide things like that together so I understand him thinking he has input. To bad there has been no proof from the word go that he has any say so in his lineup let alone the guys on the big club.

      • Brp921

        Thanks for the link, it does help explain it. I think Quade is just aping JH. I think every thing Quade says or does comes straight from his boss.

      • Neil

        Richard, here are the rules for adding a player to the 40-man roster:

        After 4 or 5 years as a professional, a player must
        be added to his club’s 40-man roster or exposed to the 29 other clubs in
        the Rule 5 draft. (A club has 5 years to evaluate a player who signs
        his first pro contract at 18 years old or younger, but only 4 years to
        decide on a player who signs at age 19.) For purposes of calculating
        years as a pro, the counting begins the day a player signs his first pro
        contract, not the season he begins to play.
        a player is added to the 40-man roster, his club has three “options,”
        or three separate seasons during which the club may to move him to and
        from the minor leagues without exposing him to other clubs. A player on
        the 40-man roster playing in the minors is on optional assignment, and
        within an option season, there is no limit on the number of times a club
        may demote and recall a player. However, a player optioned to the minor
        leagues may not be recalled for at least 10 days, unless the club
        places a Major League player on the disabled list during the 10-day
        window.I have included this information in the 40-man tab located in the nav bar of this site. Scroll past the contract info

    • Tom U

      From what I understand, no. Jackson passed the Super Two date at the beginning of June. I not an expert on this, but from the way I’ve read it, Jackson can be called up any time now and not have it count as  a year towards his arbitration.

      The organization may be playing it extremely close to the vest with Marlon Byrd still under contract and Tyler Colvin available. They may not bring Jackson up until the Super Two date passes NEXT season.

      • Brp921

        Thanks for the explanation Tom.

      • Oosh181

        How soon until Tyler Colvin joins Matt Murton in Japan?
        They say he is improved but I just don’t see it.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.

  • Neil

    Smokies’ catcher Luis Flores suspended 50 games for testing positive for Methylhexaneamine.