Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/18/11

All the teams in the system suffered their ups-and-downs to begin the week. The Iowa offense let down a couple of their young pitchers, but came through for Jay Jackson. Tennessee still has some struggles on offense as well, but Brooks Raley was the beneficiary of an outburst. Daytona battled weather problems; bullpen collapses plagued Peoria; while Boise actually split with archenemy Tri-City.

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 (27-32)
Down 9-4 after four innings on Sunday, Boise made a game of it but still ended up losing to Eugene 14-10. Pin-Chieh Chen was a big part of the comeback attempt, going 3-for-3 with a triple, a home run, two stolen bases, five RBI and an outfield assist. Reggie Golden also provided his third home run and drove in three while having a 2-for-4 night. Wilson Contreras has also been settling in, as he went 2-for-4. Yao-Lin Wang had truly one of his worst starts, allowing five earned runs in 2.2 innings. However, Wang did strike out six batters. Sheldon McDonald didn’t fare much better, giving up four earned runs in 3.1 innings. Charles Thomas let in four runs (two earned), while infielder Dustin Harrington mopped up with a scoreless- ninth.

Well, it took a while on Monday, but Boise put up five runs in the bottom of the fourth to crack a scoreless tie and advance to a 6-1 win over Tri-City. Juan Rosario was the key to the victory, pitching a two-hit shutout while striking out four over six innings, Joe Zeller went the rest of the way, allowing an earned run in three innings and striking out three batters.

Ryan Cuneo provided a lift, as he was 2-for-3 with a double and his first Boise home run. Yaniel Cabeza was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Boise managed to get nine hits on Tuesday, but could only get one runner to cross the plate as they lost to Tri-City 4-1. Austin Reed had one of his better outings, allowing two earned runs in four innings. Colin Richardson also gave up two earned runs and struck out four in three innings. Su-Min Jung did well, no-hitting the Dust Devils over two innings with striking out two batters. Pin-Chieh Chen remains the Hawks’ offensive leader, going 2-for-4 with his 18th stolen base. Wes Darvill posted a 2-for-4 night.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (53-67)
Peoria started off the week on the wrong foot, as a late innings collapse led to an 8-2 loss to Clinton on Sunday. Brett Wallach kept the Chiefs in the game for the first four innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five batters. Alvaro Sosa started letting the game get away, as he surrendered three earned runs in the sixth inning. The wheels came totally off when Pete Levitt let in four earned runs in the ninth. Rubi Silva was practically the Chiefs’ offense, going 2-for-4 with a triple. Richard Jones and Dustin Geiger drove in the runs.

On Monday, the bullpen failed to deliver as a late rally was offset in a 9-5 loss to Clinton. Austin Kirk had his second consecutive mediocre outing, as he allowed four earned runs while striking out five in 6.1 innings. Yohan Gonzalez then gave up four runs (three earned) in 2.2 innings, and Dan Berlind let in the last run. Veterans Rafael Valdes and Smaily Borges tried to lead the comeback; Valdes going 2-for-4 with a double and RBI, and Borges 2-for-3 with a double and two runs driven in. Jesus Morelli was also 2-for-4.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (71-49)
Daytona’s game against Clearwater on Sunday was cancelled due to unplayable field conditions, and the D-Cubs had a scheduled off day on Monday.

Daytona got back into action on Tuesday, and is now 3-4 in games started by Angel Guzman in August … Daytona lost 6-3 to Brevard County. Guzman put the D-Cubs in a hole by allowing two runs in his customary two innings of work. Jeffry Antigua was next to be bitten by the curse, and he let in two earned runs in his five innings. Juan Serrano worked the last inning and gave up two runs (one earned). Matt Szczur broke out of a slump by going 3-for-5 with a double, while Michael Burgess was 2-for-4 with two RBI and his first stolen base.

In Wednesday’s action against Brevard County, Daytona managed only two late runs as the Manatees won 5-2. Matt Loosen started for the D-Cubs and surrendered all five runs (three earned). Jordan Latham, Brent Ebinger, and Eduardo Figueroa all put together a scoreless relief effort. Logan Watkins was the only Daytona player to get two hits, while Evan Crawford and Matt Cerda drove in runs.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (71-50)
Run support continues to be a problem in Tennessee, as the Smokies managed only one run on five hits in 4-1 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. Josh Vitters continues to be the rock in this line-up, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. James Adduci joined Vitters in having a 2-for-4 day. Larry Suarez pitched well enough to win, allowing three earned runs in four innings, as he is being stretched out into a starter’s role. Jeff Stevens held the Suns scoreless for two innings, while Marcus Hatley gave up an earned run in his two innings. Jeffrey Beliveau mopped up by striking out two in the ninth.

Ho-hum, another Brooks Raley start, another seesaw game as Tennessee came out on top of a 11-6 victory over Jackson on Tuesday. Raley gave up four runs (three earned) and struck out five in his five innings. Marco Carrillo, back in a familiar role, held the Generals in check by striking out two in two scoreless innings. Kevin Rhoderick must have passed of kryptonite on his way to the mound, as he gave up a very uncharacteristic two earned runs in 0.2 innings. Rafael Dolis had an uneventful 1.1 innings for his 14th save.

Junior Lake helped stake the Smokies to an early lead by belting his fourth home runs as part of a 2-for-5 evening. Steve Clevenger helped Tennessee rally for three runs in the ninth to seal the victory, as he was 2-for-4 with two doubles while plating three runners. Josh Vitters continued his clutch hitting, going 2-for-3 and two runs driven in. Ty Wright also had a double and two RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (56-68)
After recording a career-high 11 strikeouts in his last performance, Chris Rusin fell back to earth as Tacoma crushed Iowa on Sunday 9-1. Rusin did strike out seven, but allowed six runs (five earned) in six innings. Justin Berg has also hit a rough spell, giving up three earned runs in two innings. Bryan LaHair continues to be a hit machine, going 3-for-4, including his 32nd home run.

Once again, Nick Struck pitched well enough to win, but relief pitching and defense let him down as Iowa lost to Tacoma on Monday, 3-2. Struck allowed only an earned run on five hits over six innings, striking out three batters. Robert Coello let in the tying run in his two innings of work, while one of two errors by Ryan Flaherty brought in the game winner, and tagged John Gaub for the loss. The I-Cubs produced only three hits, one apiece by Luis Montanez and Welington Castillo, while D.J. LeMahieu stroked his second home run.

Bryan LaHair staked the I-Cubs to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on Tuesday and they never looked back, swatting the Salt Lake Bees 7-3. LaHair belted his 33rd homer as part of a 2-for-4, two RBI evening. Many of the “new kids” also had good games, with Brett Jackson 2-for-5 with two runs driven in, Ryan Flaherty 2-for-4 and two runs scored, and Marwin Gonzalez 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Jay Jackson had one of his better outings of late. Jackson was able to keep Salt Lake to three earned runs over 6.2 innings with a strikeout and only one walk. Blake Parker got the “long” save by going 2.1 innings and striking out three batters.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Rookie – AZL Cubs (23-17)
The AZL Cubs lost to the AZL Reds on Tuesday, and are now a game behind them in the Wild Card standings with 10 games left to play. A promotions and the signing of draft picks has played havoc with the roster, the effects are being felt in the field. Outfielder Kyung-Min Na has now grabbed the leadoff role, hitting .366 with 12 RBI and six stolen bases in 19 games. Infielder Gioskar Amaya and Shortstop Marco Hernandez continue to be the team’s hitting leaders, at .355 and .354 respectively. Amaya remains the RBI leader with 32. First Baseman Ryan Durrence slugged his third home run to lead the Cubs; while Dong-Yub Kim still has the team lead in steals with 10. Outfielder John Andreoli was 2-for-3 with a stolen base in his debut.

Pitcher Jin-Young Kim seems to be getting his act together, as he has been 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA and nine strikeouts in 11.1 innings. Hunter Ackerman remains the strikeout leader with 47, and is 0-3 with a 3.35 ERA. Brian Smith, the team leader in starts, has a 3.66 ERA and 37 strikeouts to go along with a 3-3 record. Hayden Simpson recently had a good outing, allowing an earned run over two innings, while Cameron Greathouse continues to struggle with his control. The team has been turning to Rafael Diplan more recently in the late innings, but he has an ERA of 7.15 in 11.1 innings.

Dominican Summer League
With the regular season ending in the Dominican Summer League this week, Cubs 2 has the league’s second best record at 46-23, as they have clinched first place in their division. Cubs 1 now has a record of 24-40.

Offense remains the problem for C-1, as OF Kelvin Encarnacion has taken over the team lead in all categories except home runs, with a .288 average, 26 RBI, and 28 stolen bases. Right-handed pitcher Yomar Morel remains the team leader with a 3-3 record, 2.61 ERA and 31 strikeouts.

C-2 has now established a good line-up, with OF Jeffrey Baez in the leadoff role, hitting .268 with five home runs, 35 RBI and 28 stolen bases. Shortstop Carlos Penalver moved back to the second spot, with a .276 average with 38 RBI and 19 stolen bases. At 3B and hitting third is Jeimer Candelario. He’s the third leading hitter in the DSL, going .350 with five home runs, 51 RBI (also good for third in the DSL), and 47 walks. Clean-up hitter Delbis Arcilia is only hitting .255, but is fifth in the DSL with 45 RBI, and he has five home runs. Utility player Xavier Batitsta bats fifth and is third in the DSL with 10 home runs, and has a .256 average.

The pitching staff sets up well, with RHP Loiger Padron leading the team with a 6-2 record, 2.21 ERA, 44 strikeouts and his 0.91 WHIP is good for seventh in the DSL. Fellow RHP Alexander Santana is 4-1 record, with an ERA of 2.76 and WHIP of 1.19, while striking out 35 batters. Lefty Victor Garcia is 3-2 and a 2.77 ERA, along with 61 strikeouts to lead the team. Closer Francisco Turbi is seventh in the DSL with 10 saves, and has a 4-1 record with a 3.30 ERA.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs recalled LHP Scott Maine and RHP Casey Coleman from Iowa; Chicago optioned LHP Scott Maine to Iowa. Right-handed pitcher Hung-Wen Chen was returned to Iowa from Piratas de Campeche. Right-handed pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx was assigned to Iowa from Tennessee. Left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch was assigned to Tennessee from Peoria. Peoria activated RHP Robinson Lopez from the 7-Day disabled list. Catcher Mario Mercedes was assigned to Boise from Daytona. Outfielder Garrett Schlecht, RHP Yoanner Negrin, and LHP Luis Villalba were assigned to the AZL Cubs from Chicago Cubs. The AZL Cubs signed OF John Andreoli.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Richard Hood

    Over the last week I have been reading a lot about Jeimer Candelario a 3rd base prospect that is only 17 years old and tearing up the Dominican Leagues. You give a mention today Tom. It is still early to give him much credence of as a prospect because of level of competition but the kids looks great for his age.

    All of a sudden with the influx of guys from the draft and the kids at the lower levels that are beginning to get it we have went from having a lack of prospects at “power positions” (ie1st/3rd/LF/RF) to getting some good depth there. Now if we can just get them through the system and helping the big club sooner rather than later.

    As always a great update Tom.

  • Redlarczykg

    The best signning this summer may be 17 yr old Jeimer Candelario from NY City for $500,000.  While the kid is in the lowly Dominican Summer League, he was hitting .351 in 228 AB with 16 2B –  2 3B – 5 HR and 50 RBI.  The outstanding part is his .455 OBP with 47 BB and only 35 SO.

    The Cubs may have tripped over a gem.  Only time will tell, but he’s a switch hitter and will continue fill out his 6″1″ 180 lb body.  

    • Tom U

      One benefit is by being a US citizen, Candelario would have the typical “visa” problems that tend to surface with international players.

      • Aaron

        It’s tough to tell with Candelario. What I’ve heard about him is he’s far too advanced to be in that league, and he’d flop in the US….Time will tell, but I wouldn’t get too excited about him. A lot of players have torched that league, only to flop in the US….and vice-versa…there have been guys like Castro, who didn’t exactly “torch” the league like Candelario is, then went onto great success at the big league level.

        I actually compare it to AZL Cubs vs Boise….How many times have we seen guys obliterate AZL pitching, then go to Boise and crap themselves?

        I wouldn’t put much stock in the Dominican Summer League, but it is nice to see guys like Candelario do well

        • Richard Hood

          Good analysis Aaron. I have said that I am not very knowledgeable about CSL or winter leagues as far as judging what level of competition it actually compares too. That being said it is still good to see someone at the top of that league at such a young age. It is also good to see if he can adjust to playing back in the States this fall/winter.

  • Demitri

    Great job as always Tom! Bryan LaHair really deserves a shot in my opinion. You never know sometimes

    • Aaron

      That’s what I’ve always said about him. He seems to be pigeon-holed as a AAAA type of player (too good for AAA, not good enough for MLB), but he actually had decent success at the MLB level with the Mariners.

      Perhaps he’s viewed as “un-coachable” or pissed someone off with the Mariners (that type of thing happens more often than and most people don’t know that….baseball is HIGHLY political in nature)


      • paulcatanese

        Agree with you about political and to point that out I would read between the lines of the advancement of Gretzky and Dunston.

  • cubtex

    To expand on what Rip was mentioning yesterday on how the Cubs draft was overrated….the truth is….you won’t know for another 3 to 5 years. I will tell you this….if you ask enough scouts you will find some to point out flaws in most every player. Lincecum is too small, Prince Fielder is too heavy, Jered Weavers mechanics are too hard to repeat consistently. And then we have the flip side on how Mark Prior has PERFECT mechanics which will lead to a long mlb career. The point is that it is a crap shoot and you never know for sure. But, I think this is the best draft the Cubs have had in my recent memory. I caution people that if you see a video of a player doing soft toss or fielding ground balls….you cannot make an accurate assesment! I have seen plenty of players look good in drills and can’t play a lick and I have seen the flip side. Let’s see how this draft plays out but I for one am pretty optimistic that they are building in the right direction.

    • paulcatanese

      I can go along with that, and have mentioned the viewing of one tape. That being said, It was just a quick observation of these kids and should wait until it plays out a little. You and I have discussed Baez a little and would say he does not lack for confidence. I feel as once he gets over thinking he is the best player in the world and works, maybe. Volgelbach looks like the real deal, again this is only on one tape and could be way off on the assesment of these kids. I will say, Baez, being a shortstop, should have the ability to play other positions and was probably drafted with that in mind. Out of all drafted I think Vogelbach will make it sooner than most.

      • Richard Hood

        I actually think it will be Zych that is the first up. Explosive stuff and such a bulldog personality that it is a matter of time. You never know though there may be 2 or 3 fast risers.

        • cubtex

          Zych should be. College closers usually rise pretty fast….Huston Street and now Chance Ruffin from Texas moved quickly.

  • cubtex

    For those interested on how teams spent on draft….Pirates and Nats were highest spender at roughly 17 mil. The White Sox spent the least at around 2.7 mil. Reinsdorf must be tired of Kenny throwing money around on Rios,Dunn and Peavy. :)

    • studio179

      The Pirates did spend money overall. Plus, they spent almost half of their draft money on Cole (8MM) alone.

      • cubtex

        And another 5 mil on Josh Bell. 13 Mil on 2 players!

        • studio179

          Exactly. I did not even mention Bell. So while they did spend, it was not quite like it looks. Considering their market, they did shell out dough.

  • Nathan

    Any idea of when the guys signed on the last day will start playing?

  • paulcatanese

    Didnt have anything to do today and no game. Decided to look at the Community blog site and went thru all. I was not privy to the site back in 2008 and didnt know all the workings that are here. Some familiar names were there as well as some very similar situations. Same dissatifaction with managers, same speil with Hendry, very same with him in Oct. 08 as he was going to wrap up important trades,Peavy and Randy Johnson. They were the most dominant in my mind as I didnt take notes. But what is for sure Hendry had not changed in his approach from then until now.
    It was obvious that the Cubs were going nowhere and so far they arent now either.
    In a way I’m glad I wasnt around for the site as it would have meant 4 more years of inside frustration and have to hand it to the guys that were and still are, you all must have a lot of iron in youre constitution.

  • cubtex

    Rip…..Here is what Jim Callis from Baseball America said about the Cubs draft.

    Jim Callis: They got the best pure HS hitter in the draft in Baez, and they essentially got an extra pick in the 14th round in Dillon Maples. I’ve heard very good reports on under-the-radar 13th-rounder Trey Martin. Tony Zych was a steal in the fourth round. I could go on, but in a word, yes, they had a good draft.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Thanks for posting. 

  • Aaron

    Bruce Miles not only proved how dumb he is with this article, but also his undying love and affection for Jim Hendry. I believe the two of them need to get a room. It quite obviously was an article written by a friend (Miles) at the behest of an embattled friend (Hendry) in an effort to sway public opinion, and hopefully ownership as well.

    Here it is….you’ll be vomiting by the end of this read…trust me:


    “On top of that, Hendry helped to negotiate some, if not all, of the bigger deals to get these kids to sign with the Cubs.Is Ricketts going to turn around now and say, “Thanks for doing that, Jim. Appreciate you restocking the farm system. Now take a hike”?I have a difficult time believing Ricketts would do that, and if he did, would he be the kind of boss anybody would want to work for?”

    gag me….they need a room

    • Jim_Tinley_Park


      If Hendry and Miles did get a room, who plays the guy?

      • Aaron

        Well….it’s kind of like Koyie Hill, right? They’re kind of butt buddies

        • carmelo

          Real class as always……….

          • Aaron

            left the circle again, I see…..did you get a pass to leave?

    • Jdarby

      The Trib has a similar story …

      You wonder whether Hendry gets the papers to write these kinds of articles, or if Ricketts does in anticipation of announcing that he’s retaining Hendry.

      • The Maven

        It’s like I said before, none of the media wants to to go through all of the work to establish themselves with a new GM, so its in their best interests to support the current one.

      • Tom U

        After reading the article, I have come to the conclusion that Paul Sullivan knows absolutely nothing about the minor leagues.

        If given a complete and unbiased eye, with no hidden agendas, there are at least five position players and possibly two pitchers who would stand a better than even chance of making the club next spring. Those are:

        OF Brett Jackson
        SS Marwin Gonzalez
        IF DJ LeMahieu
        IF Ryan Flaherty
        C Steve Clevenger

        and, with a lot of luck, possibly

        RHP Nick Struck
        LHP Chris Rusin

        The problem is the “Dickie Dunn” Syndrome. Because Paul Sullivan said it in the Tribune, it MUST be true!

  • cubs1967

    from Crain’s Chicago Business:  probably PK McCaskey’s big announcement in a week or so.

    bankrupt state and city; people are tired of gov’t waste, this will never pass.

    where’s the study on economic benefits to wrigley; all the bars-restaurants, etc in wrigleyville.  where’s the leverage if that don’t get it; move to lake county??

    another PR bomb by bean counter president kenny crane and the imcompetent owners………..

    too bad too; wrigley does more for the economy than sox or bears stadiums.

    notice it says 400M; i thought it was 250M……..must be the traingle bldg too. at least they are offering to put in 200M themselves.

  • Tom U

    Sorry to get back to everyone so late. A late day at work and watching my son’s football scrimmage.

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.

  • Tony Spumoni

    I can’t see the City of Chicago or the State of Illinois funding 400 million dollars worth of investment into Wrigley Field without a substantial ownership stake.  Even then, money’s tight.