Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/25/11

As the season begins to wind down in the minors, player movement again seems to be the norm. Arizona, Boise, Peoria and Daytona have all struggled as they have tried to integrate new players. But Peoria’s Richard Jones is still in play for the Midwest League Triple Crown, while Bryan LaHair is also in the hunt for the same honor in the Pacific Coast League. Meanwhile, Tennessee is trying to take the second half title in the Southern League and secure a playoff bye.

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 (29-37)
Despite a great effort from Wes Darvill on Sunday, Boise could only push across one run as they lost to Yakima 4-1. Darvill torched the Bears pitching, going 3-for-3 with three doubles. Northwest League Player-of-the-Week, Ryan Cuneo drove in Pin-Chieh Chen for the Hawks’ only run. Austin Reed didn’t pitch badly. Reed allowed four runs (three earned) in four innings. Colin Richardson and Su-Min Jung held Yakima in check the rest of the way; Richardson had three strikeouts in his three innings of work.

Starting pitcher Willengton Cruz put Boise behind the eight ball on Monday, as the Hawks dropped a 9-8 loss to Yakima. Cruz couldn’t get past the first out, allowing three earned runs. Juan Sandoval came to the rescue, sort of, by going 5.2 innings, allowing an earned run while striking out seven batters. Dustin Fitzgerald and Bryce Shafer combined for three scoreless innings; Fitzgerald striking out four while Shafer dusted three batters.

Making his Boise debut, Andrew McKirahan pitched to four batters and allowed the winning run. The Hawks pounded out 14 hits, as Zeke DeVoss led the way by going 4-for-6 with a double, stolen base, and two RBI. Ryan Cuneo, Rafael Lopez, Wes Darvill, Brad Zapenas, and Oliver Zapata each had multi-hit games, Cuneo launching his fifth home run.

Boise had their chances to put Yakima away on Tuesday, but gave away a 7-6 game in 10 innings. Ben Wells continues to be a work in progress, and he allowed three earned runs and struck out two in five innings. Kyler Burke was victimized by shoddy defense, as he gave up three run, but only one earned, while striking out four in three innings. Charles Thomas then struggled. After getting out of the ninth, he only faced two batters in the 10th and put the winning run on second. Hector Mayora gave up a single that scored the winning run. Zeke DeVoss was 4-for-4, but his fielding error led to two runs. Wilson Contreras, Paul Hoilman, and Rafael Lopez each had multi-hit games, with Hoilman hitting his 14th home run.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (55-72)
Austin Kirk continued to struggle for Peoria, as the Chiefs lost to Cedar Rapids on Sunday 6-2. Since his no-hitter in July, Kirk has posted a 0-4 record with a 6.15 ERA. His numbers reflected those on Sunday, as he allowed six runs (five earned) in 4.2 innings. Ramon Garcia kept his un-scored upon streak going with 2.1 scoreless innings while striking out four batters. Roderik Pichardo struck out two in the final inning. Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-4, while Richard Jones drove in Anthony Giansanti for the Chiefs’ only run.

Cedar Rapids continued to have Peoria’s number on Monday, as they again beat the Chiefs 6-2. Starling Peralta was a hard-luck pitcher for Peoria, as he allowed six runs in four innings, but only three were earned. Alvaro Sosa and Robinson Lopez held the Kernels scoreless the rest of the way. The Chiefs failed to mount any attack, with Richard Jones and Rafael Valdes having identical 2-for-4 with an RBI nights. Rubi Silva was also 2-for-4.

The bullpen spoiled a good outing by Luis Liria, as the Chiefs lost on Tuesday to Cedar Rapids 4-3. Liria was in command, striking out four while giving up only one earned run on two hits in 6.1 innings. Yohan Gonzalez was called upon to hold the lead, and let in three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings. Peoria jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to Richard Jones’ two-run smash, his 22nd home run and 90th RBI of the year. Rubi Silva was 3-for-4, while Dustin Geiger drove in the Chiefs’ other run.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (72-54)
Daytona pitchers seemed like they couldn’t get anyone out on Sunday, as they lost to Dunedin 7-5. Normally reliable Jeffry Antigua let in three earned runs in six innings, striking out five batters. Aaron Kurcz didn’t fare much better, giving up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Daytona still had a chance to win with All-Star closer Frank Batista on the mound, but he allowed two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Greg Rohan continues to make a meal out of Florida State League pitching, going 3-for-5. Matt Szczur belted two solo home runs, while Matt Cerda was 2-for-4.

After a day off on Monday, the game between Daytona and Tampa on Tuesday was postponed due to weather. Wednesday’s double-header saw Angel Guzman toss a scoreless first inning in game one, but seeing the D-Cubs lose 4-3. Casey Harman followed Guzman and gave up three runs (two earned) in three innings. Jordan Latham pitched the final two and allowed an earned run. Daytona tried to stage a comeback with two outs in the seventh, as Michael Burgess hit a two-run bomb while Jake Opitz made it back-to-back jacks.

Daytona then dropped game two to Tampa 8-2, as Matt Loosen failed to hold a lead. Loosen was cruising along until the fifth inning, when he allowed five runs (three earned) in 4.1 innings. Eduardo Figueroa then came on and let in an earned run in 1.2 innings. Moved up to the second spot in the order, Elliot Soto was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (76-52)
Brooks Raley pitched well enough to win on Sunday, but once again, the run support wasn’t there as Tennessee lost to Chattanooga 3-2 in 11 innings. Raley allowed two earned runs in 6.1 innings while striking out three batters. Marcus Hatley completed the seventh inning scoreless, and Rafael Dolis tossed two perfect innings trying to get the long save. Marco Carrillo wound up giving up the game winner in the 11th. Two of Tennessee’s youngest players were the offensive leaders. Junior Lake was 2-for-4 with a double, while Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-5 with a stolen base.

Lefty Eric Jokisch was story on Monday night, as Tennessee thumped Chattanooga 9-2. Jokisch, in his second Double-A start, struck out 10 and allowed only an earned run in his six innings of work. Oswaldo Martinez gave up the only other run, as he pitched two innings, while Kevin Rhoderick pitched a perfect ninth.

Rebel Ridling is putting on a good finishing kick, as he swatted his 20th home run and was 3-for-4 with four RBI. Josh Vitters was 3-for-3 with a double, while James Adduci was 4-for-5. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-5 with an RBI.

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Tennessee welcomed back Andrew Cashner on Tuesday, on a rehab assignment from the parent club. However, the runs he gave up proved to be the winning margin as the Smokies lost to Chattanooga 6-4. Scheduled to pitch only the first inning, Cashner left after allowing two runs on three hits. Ryan Searle took what would have been his regular start and gave up three earned runs in 3.1 innings. Jeff Stevens, Marcus Hatley and Jeffrey Beliveau attempted to keep Tennessee in the game the rest of the way, with Hatley suffering an unearned run. Rebel Ridling continued to be hot, driving in three runs while going 2-for-4. Steve Clevenger was 2-for-3 with a double, while Blake Lalli was 2-for-5.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (61-70)
Iowa faced former major leaguer J.A. Happ on Sunday, and only managed one hit as Oklahoma City 4-0 shut them out. Jay Jackson pitched well enough to win, just not on Sunday as he allowed two earned runs and struck out five in six innings. Justin Berg then came in and let in the Red Hawks other two runs. Hung-Wen Chen and Robert Coello went scoreless the rest of the way. Luis Montanez got the I-Cubs’ only hit.

Iowa got a performance out of Austin Bibens-Dirkx on Monday that some expected to see more of this season, as the I-Cubs returned the favor and blanked Oklahoma City 4-0. Bibens-Dirkx struck out four and allowed only four hits over seven innings. Blake Parker struck out two in a perfect eighth inning, while John Gaub walked the bases loaded, but was able to put the game away in the ninth.

Brett Jackson was nearly the entire offense for the I-Cubs, as he was 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored. Scott Moore drove in a run, while Luis Montanez had a pinch-hit triple.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

A Tuesday matinee saw the I-Cubs enter a slugfest with Oklahoma City, and coming out on top of a 14-7 game. When you talk Iowa offense, you start with Bryan LaHair. The big first baseman went 4-for-5 with four doubles and five RBI. Brad Snyder was 3-for-4 including a double and two runs driven in. Luis Montanez set the table from the leadoff spot by going 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Chris Robinson drove in two runs as he was 2-for-5 and D.J. LeMahieu also plated two runs.

Iowa starter Alberto Cabrera surrendered five runs (four earned) in his 6.1 innings while striking out six batters. Dan Berlind and Kyle Smit made their season debut at Triple-A, each allowing an earned run.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Rookie – AZL Cubs (27-25)
As the AZL Cubs try to integrate new players into the team, their playoff chances seem to be slipping away. The Cubs will have to win all four of their remaining games while the AZL Reds need to lose all five of their games in order to secure the Wild Card. The Cubs saw the professional debuts of Dan Vogelbach, Rock Shoulders, Gary Schlecht, Dan Lockhart, and Tony Zych. Newcomer Trey Martin has been struggling recently, but Neftali Rosario keeps on hitting at a .315 with three homers and 15 RBI clip. Infielder Gioskar Amaya and Shortstop Marco Hernandez continue to be the team’s hitting leaders, at .362 and .333 respectively. Hernandez has taken over as the RBI leader with 42, while Amaya took over the stolen base lead with 12. Utility player Gregori Gonzalez is also hitting .333 with two home runs and 22 RBI.

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 3.40 ERA and 41 strikeouts to go along with a 3-3 record. Hayden Simpson has been getting incrementally better, lowering his ERA to 7.56 and WHIP to 1.98. Relief pitching seems to be a weak spot, as Rafael Diplan has an ERA of 7.62 in 13 innings.

Dominican Summer League
The regular season ended for the Dominican Summer League, and now the playoffs begin. Cubs 2 will face the DSL Mariners in the first round. The first game was scheduled for Monday, but was suspended due to rain. Cubs 1 ended the season with a record of 25-42.

The offensive leader for C-1 was OF Kelvin Encarnacion, who hit .296 with four doubles, 11 triples, a home run, 27 RBI, and 28 stolen bases. Shortstop Francisco Sanchez led the team with six home runs and 29 RBI. Right-handed pitcher Pedro Araujo was the team leader in wins with a 4-1 record, innings pitched with 56.2, and strikeouts with 51. Lefty Angel Mejias led with 2.59 ERA.

C-2 lost their first playoff game on Wednesday to the DSL Mariners 8-1. Jose Arias got the start for C-2 and allowed only one earned run while striking out five in four innings. Alexander Santana followed and gave up four runs (three earned) in three innings. Reliever Daniel Adrian was brought in and surrendered three runs (two earned) and struck out five in two innings. Jeimer Candelario was held in check, going 1-for-4. Second baseman Jesus Rodriguez and C Wilfredo Petit were each 2-for-4. Game two of the series is Thursday.

News and Notes
Iowa placed RHP Justin Berg and LHP Scott Maine on the 7-Day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Kyle Smit assigned to Iowa from Daytona. Right-handed pitcher Daniel Berlind assigned to Iowa from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner was assigned to Tennessee from Chicago. Left-handed pitcher Frank Del Valle was assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Right-handed pitcher Dallas Beeler assigned to Peoria from Tennessee. Right-handed pitcher Yoanner Negrin was assigned to Boise from the AZL Cubs; Boise assigned Yoanner Negrin to Peoria. Peoria placed IF Arismendy Alcantara on the 7-Day disabled list. Shortstop Kenny Socorro was assigned to Peoria from Boise. Boise placed OF Blair Springfield on the 7-Day disabled list. Left-handed pitcher Andrew McKirahan was assigned to Boise from the AZL Cubs. Second baseman Pierre LePage, 1B Dan Vogelbach, and RHP Tony Zych were assigned to the AZL Cubs.

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  • studio179

    Good report. I was just wondering how Hayden Simpson was doing a couple days ago. 

  • Aaron

    this business with Pena on waivers proves that the Cubs are indeed STILL CLUELESS, and Ricketts is STILL not very smart.

    If he was smart, he’d order just about everyone in the final year of their deal to be dealt (ie.-Baker, Johnson, Pena, etc.), especially guys that aren’t valued much around the league, and if interest isn’t there, then you release them, because the bottom line is, they need to get deserving players like LaHair, Jackson, etc. a shot to play everyday and see what they have.

    When you’re at the bottom of the division, and you leave a mess like that for a new GM without an idea if your minor league guys can play at the MLB level or not, then you’re doing the new guy a disservice. It’s frustrating that Ricketts doesn’t realize this.

    • cubtex

      But if the Cubs get a high draft pick for Pena IF he signs somewhere else next year…like Richard mentioned yesterday…and the Yanks weren’t offering much, then as a business decision…it was a good move.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      Aaron I think I have finally figured out what the problem is with your analysis at the major league level. You think of the Cubs like a fantasy team spending someone elses money.  I love your opinions on the kids but you seem to loose side of the business side of baseball.

      There are a number of ways to make room and start to get some value for guys. Not every trade is the right trade and not every player is as good or as bad as last nights game.

      I imagine that the Cubs have a deal in place with Pena to get him to waive his arbitration rights after the offer is made a lot like the Yankees did with Vasquez last year. It is how you get a guy that could make out right 8 million to take half deferred money. You bump it up to 10 million and make hand shake agreements to either not offer arbitration (thinking that you are going to make a huge impact) or to make sure an arbitration is not accepted to get compensation and the guy still gets paid. It is a creative way to have wiggle room on payroll and get a bounce back player.

      Now Pena may be looking for a multiyear deal. If he can get it on the open market you still get a high draft pick as compensation. If you decide to trade him you need to get that value. If you decide to sign him then both guys are happy with the arrangement you can send that extra 5 million down the road like what the Yankees did with the AROD money they still owed from the last contract. It is a creative way to tie up a balance sheet on the business side that very seldom is actually ever talked about on the baseball side.

      Think of it like this to keep the balance sheet right with McGwire the Cardinals are not paying off the majority of his contract until he has been retired 10 years.Then it is paid in installments with interest.  There was no date attached to it because they did not know long Big Mac would play on his last contract. They just put public appearance clauses and Life After Baseball (LAB) language in the contract to keep Mac as part of the organization for the long haul. If it would not have been for the steriods issue the Cards would have made out like a Bandit.

      I am not comparing Big Mac to Pena I am just using a contract that has been talked about publicly to show how the business side of baseball is in every negotiation. Some good some bad.

      • Aaron

        I think you’re missing my point entirely….and contrary to your opinion, I DO get the business side of things.

        When I state that the Cubs would be better off without the veterans, it is, in fact, to SAVE MONEY long-term. You have to find out what these guys can do, otherwise, every damn year, you’re panhandling at the mercy of the agents who are trying to maximize their client’s worth on the open market. The problem is, EVERY AGENT KNOWS WHAT THE CUBS ARE GOING TO DO, BECAUSE THEY TELEGRAPH THEIR MOVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        For instance, in November of 2008, Hendry tells the world he’s not re-signing his closer, Kerry Wood, and he deals DeRosa, after having already lost his only back-up 3B in the minors, McGehee to the Brewers immediately after the season was over when he DFA’d him. Therefore, the Marlins were able to ask for a large return for Gregg, even though they were planning to non-tender him, and the agent for Miles was able to ask for a multi-year deal even though NO other team was willing to go more than 1 year.

        What SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED….was Hendry should’ve hung onto McGehee if he was planning to trade DeRosa, because he could tell agents that he already had a decent back-up in place and didn’t need their client, but wanted their client on the right terms. Similarly, if he kept the Wood situation close to the vest, and told him privately he was going in a different direction, then he could’ve had Gregg for nothing when the Marlins non-tendered him, but he was in scramble-mode, and had to get a closer immediately to replace Wood after he told the world.

        Do you understand leveraging?!?! That’s my business acumen kicking in right there, as I have my own business.

        To further drive this point home…..Do you understand that only a handful of teams are even looking at Pujols and Fielder? It’s because large market teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and even the White Sox are already set at 1B. And small market teams can’t afford them either, as they’d take up 1/4 to 1/2 their entire payroll in some cases.

        Therefore, if you bring up a guy like LaHair, and he hits, say, 5 hr, 15 RBI during a September call-up, the Cubs could then approach Boras, and offer their own terms. They could tell Boras and Pena to take a $5 million one year contract or leave it.

        They could’ve done the same with Johnson by trading him in July when teams wanted him….or even now.

        But now the Cubs have backed themselves into a corner, where they’ll have to overpay to keep the same marginal talent on their roster of misfits that happens to be in 5th place in a very winnable division.

        The definition of insanity, Richard, is doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result.

        The Cubs have used this same strategy of letting veterans play out the string of games in losing seasons in hopes they’d give a “loyalty discount” to the team in the offseason, only to have to overpay to retain their services.

        Really?!?!? Do you really want to go down the same road again?

        I think you’re being very close-minded if you think LaHair would do worse than Pena next year. In 136 AB’s with Seattle 3 years ago, LaHair had 4 doubles, 3 hr, 10 RBI in his first taste of the big leagues. It’s not great numbers, but they’re decent for a first timer.

        Pena didn’t even break out until he was 28 years old, and LaHair is 28. It’s about time the Cubs give a deserving guy a chance like this.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          OK lets be very open about Lahair. He was a minor league FA 3 years ago after being DFA’d by the Mariners and NO ONE OFFERED A MAJOR LEAGUE CONTRACT. NO ONE. He ended up signing a Minor league contract with the Cubs. So now 3 years later he is the next coming of Roy Hobbs? Come on be realistic. I do not think LaHair is the answer. I think he his part of the problem. When you have a guy that is 28 years old finally getting it at AAA it is a problem. He is an emergency guy that is it.

          I think that you have seen a number of these guys for the Cubs over the years. You are looking at Jake Fox all over again. The problem is that guys look at his stats and see a translation to the major leagues. I don’t get why every time one of these guys comes along half of the guys start jumping up and down saying PLAY HIM NOW. That is not realistic that is very short sided. IF you were talking about Ridling it would be a very different conversation even though he is in the same boat at dbl A (ie old for the league, streaky hitter, do the numbers translate?).  I am not against LaHair getting a shot when the rosters expand. I am against fielding a Triple A team at Wrigley more than we do already.

          I do agree with you on some of Hendry’s telegraphing of moves and such. That is one of the multiple reasons I am glad he is gone. But that is a long way from saying that you understand the business side by showing some of the short comings of the last guy. Do I think the Cubs should have been more proactive before the deadline? Of course but I can understand the push the ball down the field mind set that Hendry or Ricketts had.

          This conversation started about my reasoning on thinking it is smarter to keep Pena than ship him right now. You seemed to like to expand it by going off on tangents so I will clarify again.

          GRADE B FA- compensation = to 40-60 in 2012 draft. IF offered arbitration

          meaning if we can not get atleast that value in a trade then why are we trading him? You can’t just save money today without thinking about tomorrow.

          Fukudome I understood because he did not translate into any compensation in the CBA. Johnson I would have understood because he is also going to be a free agent and no compensation for him leaving either. Baker is still under arbitration and the decision on him should be the next GM’s. Byrd is an interesting case but I think the Cubs had to be blown away to get rid of him. I see him being moved in the offseason when you can get a better deal for him.

        • Brett

          I agree with you Richard that LaHair is in his situation for a reason. If you take his MLB numbers over 544 ab’s it comes to 16 dbls 12 hr 40 rbi at that pace as a .250 hitter. The cubs could’ve put Zambrano at 1st on days he didn’t pitch & get those numbers. I would rather take the comp pick next yr.

        • Tno13

          You can’t really believe that a 28 year old September callup with 5 homeruns is a bargaining chip. “We don’t need Fielder Mr. Boras, we’ve got this guy that tore up the PCL and September pitching staffs. You’d better scale your demands back a bit, and you may want to add La Hair to your client list ASAP”
          I can see the root beer shooting out of his nose from here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

    Good update as always Tom.

    It is almost time to start thinking of AFL (even though call ups are first I just do not see the Cubs calling up very many future guys on Sept 1st that are not on the 40 man to keep it fluid).

    • Aaron

      I know you didn’t ask anything, but with regards to 40-man and AZFL nominees, here’s how I think it might shape up:

      40-MAN DFA’s (or FA contracts coming off):
      Johnson
      Baker (arbitration eligible)
      Hill (arbitration eligible, but likely won’t be back with new GM)
      Pena
      Grabow
      DeWitt (arbitration eligible, but likely won’t be back with new GM)
      Ortiz
      Lopez
      Berg
      Caridad
      Smit
      Schlitter
      Montanez
      *Wood (wants back, and at the right price, will probably be back, even with new GM)
      =potentially 14 available spots on the 40-man with Wood, 13 without, and 9 are open spots on the 25-man roster

      GUYS THAT NEED RULE 5 PROTECTION (b/c they will likely be selected IMO):
      LaHair (hedges against not signing FA 1B and/or keeping Pena) *he’s a 6-yr minor league FA, but I included him anyway, .336/.410/.671, 36 hr, 105 RBI; lefty, throws right, 28 yrs old, plays 1B and corner OF

      Antigua 3-3, 3.68 ERA (low-A, high-A), 30 games, 6 starts, 85 IP, 85 hits, 22 walks, 81 K’s, 1.249 WHIP; lefty, 21 yrs old, throws low-to-mid 90’s

      Beliveau 5-2, 1.31 ERA (high-A, AA), 49 games, 68 IP, 43 hits, 19 walks, 86 K’s, 0.903 WHIP; lefty reliever, 24 yrs old, throws low-90’s

      Clevenger .316/.381/.477 (AA, AAA), 116 hits, 27 doubles, 4 triples, 8 hr, 51 RBI, and an excellent 41 walks vs 40 K’s

      Flaherty .281/.350/.481 (AA, AAA), 123 hits, 30 doubles, 3 triples, 17 hr, 82 RBI, 48 walks, 89 K’s; lefty, throw right, 24 yrs old, plays all IF and corner OF

      M. Gonzalez .294/.347/.412 (AA, AAA), 109 hits, 28 doubles, 2 triples, 4 hr, 38 RBI, 30 walks, 46 K’s; bats both, throws right, 22 yrs old, plays middle IF, 3B, and all OF

      Jay Jackson 7-13, 5.81 ERA (AAA), 23 starts, 128 IP, 162 hits, 43 walks, 78 K’s, 1.593 WHIP; righty, 23 yrs old, throws low 90’s (used to be mid 90’s consistently, had shoulder issues to start season)

      Lake .280/.318/.441 (high-A, AA), 115 hits, 20 doubles, 5 triples, 12 hr, 51 RBI, 35 SB, 17 walks, 100 K’s; righty, 21 yrs old, middle IF, 3B, and CF

      Ridling .307/.372/.516, (AA), 122 hits, 23 doubles, 20 hr, 76 RBI, 40 walks, 80 K’s; righty, 25 yrs old, 1B, corner OF

      Suarez 1-2, 2.41 ERA (low-A, high-A, AA), 22 games, 3 starts, 41 IP, 41 hits, 10 walks, 45 K’s, 1.244 WHIP; righty, 21 yrs old, throws mid-to-upper 90’s ***there is a DISTINCT reason he’s been moved up rapidly this year. It’s because he’s literally like a young Zambrano both physically and with his velocity and movement. I read a report that the Cubs want to see what they have with him, as he’s stalled in previous levels, and they know some team might take a risk in the Rule 5 with him because of his potential

      Szczur .293/.339/.425 (low-A, high-A), 122 hits, 22 doubles, 3 triples, 9 hr, 39 RBI, 23 SB, 26 walks, 47 K’s; righty, 21 yrs old, OF ***another botched Hendry move. It’s his first full season in the minors, but since Hendry re-worked his signing bonus, he’s now eligible for Rule 5 selection

      Vitters .284/.321/.441 (AA), 118 hits, 25 doubles, 2 triples, 12 hr, 68 RBI, 18 walks, 51 K’s; righty, 21 yrs old, 3B, 1B….still the best pure hitter in the Cubs’ system. Amazing that this is his 5th year in the system, and he’s still just 21 yrs old and at AA. I still have high hopes for him

      ***borderline guys are: M. Smith, Wright, Spencer, and Parker
      =about 12 guys that need protection

      There are other guys that might be added this fall that aren’t eligible for Rule 5 like Brett Jackson, Struck, Rusin, and possibly even Jokisch

       

      • Tom U

        I agree with most of what Aaron says, except I’ve soured a bit on Jay Jackson. He was a player that had things in the palm of his hand, but just failed to grasp it.

        As far as the Arizona Fall League, it depends on how many players the Cubs are able to place there. As far as hitters go, here’s who I’d like to see considered:

        Rebel Ridling – he did everything that was asked of him this season, and delivered. A good showing in the AFL can go a long way to determining the future at first base.

        Marwin Gonzalez – has proved himself incrementally at every step: Winter League, Double-A, and Triple-A. Now, against the best of the best will give a final reading on his ability.

        Steve Clevenger – most people believe that he is, at best, a platoon player. Here would be an opportunity to prove them wrong.

        Jae-Hoon Ha – has steadily improved with Tennessee. Young, and the experience can go a long way in aiding his development.

        For pitchers:

        Nick Struck and Chris Rusin – have risen through the ranks rapidly. Like Ridling, a good showing can help the parent club make some decisions.

        Ryan Searle – has made a good transition to starting. Could use  the experience.

        Frank Batista – could be this year’s Chris Carpenter

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          You do not think that Szczur will be a AFL invite? I kind of thought he was a given.

      • John_CC

        Richard – I am not going to speak for Aaron (I couldn’t even if I wanted to!) but I do not believe he said that LaHair was “the second coming of Roy Hobbs”.  All he said was that he had earned a chance and would probably be as productive as Pena.  I completely agree and why I am jumping in.

        LaHair is clearly hitting his peak. I do no doubt at all that given a full season he could hit .225 and 25-30 HR at the big league level.  NOW – mind you – I am NOT calling for LaHair to be the starting 1B for next year, not right now. I am just pointing out that replacing Pena’s offensive production is not very hard when you actually look at Pena’s offensive production.  Look at what LaHair has done this year at AAA.  It is very impressive.   But you are writing it off because a couple years ago the M’s DFA’d him!! So what!

        Now this will be taken the wrong way too, but I’ll say it anyway…Jose Bautista was let go by Baltimore, KC and Tampa Bay …in the same year! Then the Pirates sent him up and down for a three years until finally giving him playing time in 2006, in his age 26 season. He hit all of .250 with 15 HR in 142 games.  He did not figure it all out until his age 29 season!

        My point, LaHair is not too old to bring up and let him play.  I am not saying, what if he’s the next Bautista.  But at this rate no one will ever know.  He isn’t even trade-able is no one knows what he can do! And that is the complete waste of a guy that is having a AAA MVP season.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

          .225 25/30 HR’s is actually what I think he would do. What I do not know is that he is anything other than a DH. He is brutal in the field at 1st or the corner OF. That is why I compared him to Fox. Lahair is at best an option off the bench or an emergency guy because of it.

           I am not saying that he does not deserve a shot to showcase his value for next year. I am saying that there has to be a realistic point to what his value is. Adam Dunn can play 1st and corner OF spots as well but not good enough to make up for his lack of contact right now. That is my point with LaHair.  He is a liabilty in the field.