Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/29/11

As the regular season enters its final week, Daytona struggles to find consistency before the playoffs as Logan Watkins continues to lead the way. Tennessee is only a game out of the second half championship thanks to the hot hitting of Jae-Hoon Ha.

While Boise, Peoria, and Iowa are playing out the string, there continues to be excellent performances for each club. Ryan Cuneo and Wes Darvill were red hot for Boise, while Taiwan Easterling and Ben Klafczynski have been demonstrating good progress in Peoria. And in Iowa, Brett Jackson’s future looks so bright … he needs to wear shades.

All of that and more in this edition of the CCO’s Down on the Farm Report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (31-39)
Boise entered Wednesday night’s game with Salem-Keizer on a three-game losing streak, and left with a 7-4 victory. Yao-Lin Wang started the game and improved his ERA to 3.22, good for fifth in the Northwest League, by allowing one earned run in six innings. He also improved to a league best 77 strikeouts by whiffing eight batters. Sheldon McDonald followed and gave up two earned runs in two innings, while Hector Mayora let in an earned run as he finished up the game.

The Hawks’ offense was led by two of their hottest hitters. Ryan Cuneo clubbed his sixth home run, along with a double and four runs driven in as he went 2-for-4 on the evening. Wilson Contreras was also 2-for-4. Wes Darvill extended his hitting streak to five games with a double, and Zeke DeVoss stole his 14th base.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Make it two in a row for Boise, as they defeated Salem-Keizer on Thursday by the score of 7-4. Juan Rosario was on the bump and allowed four earned runs over six innings while striking out six batters. The bullpen shut down the Volcanoes the rest of the way, with Joe Zeller and Andrew McKirahan each tossing a scoreless inning. Bryce Shafer picked up his 11th save with a shut out ninth.

Wes Darvill continued to swing a hot bat, as he was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Zeke DeVoss was 3-for-5 with two RBI, while Ryan Cuneo and Oliver Zapata each drove in two runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Pitching put the Hawks in a difficult position on Friday, as their offense couldn’t out-slug their mistakes in a 7-3 loss to Salem-Keizer. Austin Reed continued his struggles, giving up four runs (three earned) in four innings. Colin Richardson likewise struggled, allowing three runs (two earned) in two innings. Recast as a reliever, Su-Min Jung seems to have turned his season around, as he extended his scoreless streak to five innings over his past three appearances. Mario Mercedes led Boise by going 3-for-3 with a double and a run driven in, while Ryan Cuneo continues to be an RBI machine with two more on Friday. Wes Darvill’s hitting streak is now at seven with a 2-for-4 performance.

Pitching and offensive woes continued to plague Boise, as they lost on Saturday to Salem-Keizer 6-1. Juan Sandoval started the Hawks off well enough, striking out six and letting in an unearned run in three innings. However, Hector Mayora opened the floodgates by giving up two earned runs in three innings. Dustin Fitzgerald then allowed three earned runs in an inning of work. He gave way to Charles Thomas, who finished out the game scoreless. Dustin Harrington was the entire offense for Boise, as he was 3-for-4 with a double and scored their only run on a passed ball. Brad Zapenas and Yaniel Cabeza each collected two hits.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (56-75)
Peoria manager Casey Kopitzke did some thinking outside of the box on Wednesday, and it nearly paid off in a 4-2 loss to Quad Cities. Kopitzke started reliever P.J. Francescon, who delivered three innings and allowed an earned run while striking out three batters. Pete Levitt also struck out three and gave up an earned run in 2.2 innings. Yoannis Negrin made his first appearance for the Chiefs and blew away five batters, but let in two earned runs in two innings. Roderik Pichardo pitched a scoreless ninth. Richard Jones continued his quest for a batting championship by going 2-for-4 with a double. Ben Klafczynski was 2-for-3, while Rubi Silva drove in both runs.

On Thursday, Peoria just couldn’t get their bats going, as they fell to Quad Cities 6-1. Dallas Beeler took the hill in his return to the Chiefs, and tossed two scoreless innings. Brett Wallach followed and, unfortunately, gave what can be deemed a typical performance. Wallach surrendered six earned runs, but struck out five, in 4.2 innings. Ramon Garcia mopped up and kept his un-scored upon streak intact. Taiwan Easterling provided the only offense from the Chiefs, doubling and scoring their only run. Richard Jones collected his 91st RBI.

The season is starting to take an ugly turn for Peoria, as they lost to Quad Cities on Friday 9-1. Austin Kirk continued his downward spiral, serving up three home runs as part of a seven earned run over four innings performance. Robinson Lopez added another earned run, as did Alvaro Sosa. Kenny Socorro shined offensively, going 3-for-4, while Taiwan Easterling was 2-for-5.

Earlier in the month, Peoria was blown away by Kane County super-prospect Greg Billo. On Saturday, the Chiefs took it to Billo and the Cougars in a 4-3 victory. After one out in the second, Ben Klafczynski (2-for-4, double) and Jesus Morelli (2-for-4) singled, followed by a walk by Kenny Socorro (1-for-3). Taiwan Easterling (2-for-5) then delivered a bases-clearing triple, and then came home on a Rubi Silva (2-for-4) sacrifice fly to complete the scoring.

Starling Peralta was on top of his game, as he struck out four in six scoreless innings. Yohan Gonzalez let Kane County back into the game, allowing three earned runs in 2.1 innings. Roderik Pichardo than got the final two outs for his first save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (74-55)
It took ten innings on Thursday, but Daytona outlasted Tampa 3-2. Dae-Eun Rhee was sizzling for the D-Cubs, scattering six hits over 6.1 innings while striking out eight and only allowing an earned run. Juan Serrano followed and gave up the tying run. After Jeffrey Lorick walked a batter, Frank Batista threw 2.2 scoreless innings to improve his record to 5-2.

Logan Watkins and Justin Bour were the entire offense for the D-Cubs. Watkins was 2-for-5 with a run driven in. Bour was 2-for -3 with two RBI and a stolen base, including his 23rd home run.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. It was that kind of Friday for Frank Del Valle, as Daytona was spanked by Dunedin 16-3. Del Valle surrendered nine earned runs on nine hits in 2.1 innings. Brent Ebinger didn’t fare much better, allowing five earned runs on seven hits in 1.2 innings. It even carried over to Aaron Kurcz, who gave up two earned runs in two innings. Eduardo Figueroa stopped the bleeding, pitching two scoreless innings. Justin Bour continues to shine offensively, as he was 2-for-3 with a double. Michael Burgess blasted his 18th home run.

Daytona had a good finish to Saturday’s game, scoring five runs in the top of the ninth to defeat Dunedin 7-4. Abner Abreu’s pinch-hit single drove in two to tie the game up, and a Matt Szczur sacrifice fly put the D-Cubs ahead. Logan Watkins (2-for-3, two RBI) then swatted a two-run home run to complete the scoring. Evan Crawford was 3-for-5 with a double, while Elliot Soto and Jake Opitz were each 2-for-4.

Jeffry Antigua had a decent outing, allowing three earned runs and striking out four over five innings. In a role-reversal, Angel Guzman then came on and pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Jordan Latham gave up an earned run in two innings, and was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst, picking up his sixth win. Frank Batista pitched a perfect ninth for his 25th save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (79-53)
Tennessee returned to a tried and true formula on Wednesday, decent starting pitching, explosive offense and a shut down bullpen to defeat Chattanooga 8-3. The win put them within a game and a half of the second half leader. Rebel Ridling again was the star, driving in two as part of a 2-for-3 game. Jae-Hoon Ha was 3-for-3 with his sixth stolen base, while Steve Clevenger slammed his fifth home run in a 2-for-4, two RBI night. Jonathan Mota also added a solo home run.

Trey McNutt continues to try to shake off the injuries that have been nagging him, as he tossed six innings and gave up three earned runs. Kevin Rhoderick and Rafael Dolis slammed the door the rest of the way, allowing no runs in three innings.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Some days, it’s just not your day; and Thursday was one of those days for Tennessee, as they lost to Chattanooga 10-4. Larry Suarez started and couldn’t find the plate, giving up five hits and three walks in route to allowing five runs (four earned) in 2.2 innings. Marco Carrillo, usually reliable, added another three earned runs in 3.1 innings. Oswaldo Martinez gave up and earned run in two innings, while Jeff Stevens let in the final run. Jae-Hoon Ha continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and his third home run. Rebel Ridling was also 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run driven in, while Junior Lake was 2-for-5.

Friday saw another appearance by Andrew Cashner, as the Smokes jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Jacksonville, then held on for a 7-5 victory. Cashner was perfect in his inning, going 1-2-3 with a strikeout. Brooks Raley followed with five strikeouts in five innings, giving up only one earned run. Jeffrey Beliveau was tagged with two unearned runs, while Marcus Hatley allowed two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Rafael Dolis got the final out for his 15th save.

Jonathan Mota came up bug again for Tennessee, stroking a two-run homer and a double in a 2-for-4 evening. Junior Lake was also 2-for-4 with a stolen base. James Adduci also stole a base and drove in two runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Tennessee kept its winning ways going on Saturday, as they outlasted Jacksonville 5-4 in a seesaw affair. Eric Jokisch, in his third start for the Smokies, had his second consecutive good outing, allowing two earned runs and striking out three in 5.1 innings. Kevin Rhoderick, regaining his form, got Tennessee out of the sixth inning and was credited with the victory. Jeff Stevens allowed the Suns to get back into the game by giving up two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Rafael Dolis got the final four outs for his 16th save.

Tennessee started their scoring in the first when Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4) delivered an RBI single. After Jacksonville tied the score 2-2 in the top of the sixth, pinch hitter Ty Wright came through with a two-run double to out the Smokies up for good. Jonathan Mota later drove in what proved to be the winning run. Blake Lalli was 2-for-3, while Nate Samson was 2-for-4 with a double.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (62-72)
Iowa brought out the lumber on Wednesday, with seven players, including starting pitcher Chris Rusin, collected two hits as the I-Cubs downed Oklahoma City 12-7. Rusin had been sailing along, allowing two earned runs in his first six innings, until the seventh when he ended up surrendering five more earned runs. After Carlton Smith walked a batter, Robert Coello bailed Rusin out by striking out five over 2.1 scoreless innings.

Bryan LaHair is making a strong bid for a September call-up, as he launched two home runs and drove in five in 2-for-5 performance. Marquez Smith also got back into the swing of things, launching a two-run shot and going 2-for-4. Luis Montanez was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

After staging a furious comeback in the top of the ninth, Iowa came up short on Thursday to Oklahoma City, 7-6 in 10 innings. Nick Struck had a bad time out, giving up six earned runs in five innings. Hung-Wen Chen kept the I-Cubs in the game, as he tossed two scoreless innings. Kyle Smit followed with a perfect inning. Blake Parker set the RedHawks down in order in the ninth, but allowed the winning run on a walk and two singles. Scott Moore paced the attack by going 3-for-5. Brad Snyder and D.J. LeMahieu were each 2-for-5 with a home run and an RBI. Ryan Flaherty’s two-RBI single tied up the game in the ninth.

Iowa’s 10-5 loss to Oklahoma City on Friday night was the team’s 71st defeat of the season, assuring a non-winning campaign for 2011. The bullpen can take responsibility for the game, as starter Jay Jackson breezed through seven innings, giving up only one earned run while striking out five batters. The I-Cubs then imploded in the eighth inning, as John Gaub allowed five runs (four earned) while recording only one out. Kyle Smit suffered from poor defense, as four more runs came in (one earned) before he could get the second out. Dan Berlind gave up a hit before finally getting Iowa out if the inning. The offense did what they could, as Brett Jackson (3-for-5) cracked his fourth lead-off home run. Ryan Flaherty (2-for-4) drove in two and added a solo shot. Luis Montanez, Bryan LaHair, and D.J. LeMahieu each had multi-hit games.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched well enough to win on Saturday, but got no run support as Iowa fell to Oklahoma City 2-1. Bibens-Dirkx tossed six innings with only an unearned run while striking out four batters. Carlton Smith gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning. Marwin Gonzalez doubled and scored the I-Cubs’ only run when D.J. LeMahieu’s grounder forced a throwing error.

News and Notes
Right-handed pitchers Taylor Scott and Michael Jensen, and SS Javier Baez were assigned to AZL Cubs.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Michael Burgess (OF) – .224, .318 OBP, .744 OPS, 23 Doubles, Triple, 19 HR, 67 RBI, Stolen Base, 10 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 2-3, 6.28 ERA, 28.2 IP, 20 ER, 28 K, 22 BB, 1.85 WHIP 3 Holds, Save (Iowa Cubs)
  • Micah Gibbs (C) – .245, .355 OBP, .666 OPS, 11 Doubles, Triple, 2 HR, 24 RBI, Stolen Base, 26% Caught Stealing (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) – .226, .321 OBP, .681 OPS, 9 Doubles, 5 Triples, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases, 5 Outfield Assists (Boise Hawks)
  • Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .286, .324 OBP, .746 OPS, 16 Doubles, Triple, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Brett Jackson (OF) – .315, .391 OBP, .972 OPS, 12 Doubles, 2 Triples, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 8 Outfield Assists (Iowa Cubs)
  • D.J. LeMahieu (IF) -.284, .324 OBP, .687 OPS, 7 Doubles, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Trey McNutt (RHP) – 4-5, 4.55 ERA, 85.0 IP, 43 ER, 58 K, 31 BB, 1.64 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 0-4, 8.15 ERA, 17.2 IP, 16 ER, 11 K, 11 BB 2.09 WHIP (AZL Cubs)
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .240, .267 OBP, .657 OPS, 7 Doubles, 2 Triples, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 7 Stolen Bases, 3 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) -.283, .322 OBP, .759 OPS, 25 Doubles, 2 Triples, 12 HR, 69 RBI, 4 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)

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

Share on Fancred
  • diehardcubfan

    Josh Vitters at least is putting together a decent 2011 campaign. He might be on the verge of that break season we have been waiting for.  Let us hope 2012 is his year and we can see him in a ML Cubs uniform at 3B in 2013.

    • Richard Hood

      And he still wouldn’t be 24 years old. We still have plenty of time with Vitters.

      • John_CC

        It is hopeful, isn’t it?  Wow, that feels strange…hopeful and Cubs future together.

        • Richard Hood

          It puts a smile on your face don’t it. Nothing like actually seeing the “plan” on a kid. Whether it pans out or not  is going to be up to Vitters and his ability to work. But man is his future looking good.

    • John_CC

      You know that is what management is hoping for too.  And why Hendry gave Aramis the years he did with the option.  And why Aramis will be back for his option year while we all pray that Vitters turns the corner.

  • paulcatanese

    What is really keeping LaHair from being brought up to the Cubs? His power cannot seem to be ignored but it is, so whats the real story? Has he found it now?
     Jackson, all the rumors around, he will be up, he wont be up, whats the deal?
    One thing the Cubs should be careful about with Jackson, he is doing so well that
    he may be bringing a reputation with him that will be tough to live up to.

    • Tom U

      The amount that I have to say on this subject would take several articles, so I’ll get to the point.

      If you had your choice in your job, would you prefer:

      Being able to wake up whenever you feel like. Have a general time of reporting to work sometime in the late afternoon to early evening. And after you’re done working, are able to stay up as long as you damn well please.


      Having to wake up early in the morning; report to work early; and, even though you finish work early, have to go to bed early in order to get up work work early tomorrow?

      This is the main crux of why players crab about day baseball and the Cubs.

      • Tom U

        Sorry, I missed posting this by one person.

      • paulcatanese

        Good reply Tom, puts it a different perspective, and takes a tremendous amount of self discipline to work that way. I know there is love for the game, the money, etc., but I dont know how they do it day in and day out. The physical drain has to be wild. But what is the alternative? Supposably they are doing what they love and getting well paid to do it so I dont feel too much sympathy for them, The zoning laws are what they are and guess these guys will just have to suffer along the way to the bank.

        • Tom U

          Good observation Paul. It does seem like the players who can be accused of lack of discipline are usually the ones that complain the most about playing day games.

  • paulcatanese

    I dont really understand Rudy J’s comment about the day games at Wrigley taking its toll on players. Seems to me that if God wanted Baseball to be played strictly under the lights, ballplayers would have been born with flashlights on their foreheads.

    • Richard Hood

      I think it is the added stress of switching times to get ready and not being able to be in a standard work schedule that he is talking about. But still seems like he is jumping on the excuse band wagon.

      • paulcatanese

        Actualy Richard, I was making a bit of a joke about Rudy’s statement. During my playing days (100 years ago) I would have to agree with him. The days after a nite game were sluggish and for a better word “bright” by that I mean the glare of the sun and daytime made it more difficult to see the ball. The days of dirt openings between the pitchers rubber and home plate( now mostly gone) would create a glare from the ground up and contribute to problems seeing the ball as one would in a night game.. I always prefered a night game over day, as the lighting was consistant and easier to see the ball.
        We were not privy to wearing sunglasses as they do now, it just wasnt the style. And I can see where older players would have the added burden of dragging their bodys out there the next morning to play. Their are plenty of other reasons the Cubs have a rough time and I wouldnt blame it on day games at all, but would say its an added feature they have to deal with. But again its all around the league and other teams seem to do well.

        • Richard Hood

          I keep thinking back to the Tourney’s of my youth and remembering as a young man how hard it was to keep motivated in a 10 game week. I totally understand where fatigue could set in and be pretty hard to shake.

      • Brp921

        I think that playing in the added heat and humidity along with the switching back and forth creates an extra burden for the players. Put that together with the terrible mishandling of the ownership/management of the team down through the years and you end up with no championships for 103 years.

        • Dorasaga

          Just get the Hell out of Wrigley. I believe Aaron mentioned Schaumberg that offered the Cubs a new ballpark. Anyway, they can always make a call to suburbs and make Wrigley locals feel the pressure of tax burden if the Cubs moved out. They’ll give in and let them have more night games. Or just move out at all. Play some 20 games at Wrigley Field for a few weekend series to make the city happy.

          Voila! Problem solved. I wonder if old Bronx and Boston natives are laughing at all these Wrigley folks who can’t stand night games but won’t force pubs and shops to close early (evil wink).

          It’s time for CHANGE. I wake up everyday hoping to see the Cubs one step closer to the World Series. And what do I get? The hitting coach complaining about schedules but wasn’t answered by high management. Yeah, Ricketts, I’m talking to you.

          • Richard Hood

            Let me explain your last part from a business owners prospective. I got employees that never complain about anything and I got some that only complained when asked. I don’t know what group that Rudy is in but I would not think about answering any thing like that publicly with my guys. It would be handled in house.

            I know a lot of people will think that is not realistic but this is a guy that kept a very public figure (Hendry) on after he was fired with none of us the wiser. Ricketts knows how to keep things close to the vest.

          • Dorasaga

            I understand that. My point was that the Ricketts need to figure out if they need more night games or not to give the players the best environment for winning. I don’t care when exactly the Ricketts will respond to such a concern. The sooner the better, but hey, they know how Cubs fans want a winner, not whiner.

          • Brp921

            I would be O.K. with a new modern ballpark. It could be built to resemble Wrigley Field, but with all the amenities of the new stadiums. I like the nostalgia and atmosphere of Wrigleyville, but if the nieghborhood won’t bend to let the Cubs be competitive with other teams then they should move. I think if it came down to that, the city would change their mind.

          • Henry

            You are correct!  Move the ballpark.  Quit being held hostage by the neighborhood!  the Cubs have never won a thing in Wrigley Field.  I do not get where all the history is unless you are talking about losing history.  If the Yankees can move then why can’t the cubs!

    • Darrenmcculloch

       I would think it would be harder for the opposing team because the Cubs players should be used to this situation by August. 

      • paulcatanese

        You are correct, I can remember before lights at Wrigley and it was thought
        that the Cubs had an advantage over teams that came into town. Who knows what kind of record they would have had if it wasnt for that,

      • Brp921

        I think they are more worn out than other teams by August. This is not to say that is an excuse for never winning, but it does add to the situation.

  • cc002600

    The cubs haven’t won in 103 years, and have been well below .500 most of
    those years…the common thread in all those years is Wrigley.,, I am starting
    to believe that the schedule really does have an adverse effect on players. 


    If it doesn’t, how else can you explain why so many players that play for
    multiple teams, seem to have their worst years in a cub uniform ?   


    Coinicidence ? for 103 years ? I don’t know, seems awful odd to me.


    Years ago, I didn’t think it mattered, but I have changed my mind over the


    • BosephHeyden

      Keep in mind that their complaint is the fact they have night games followed immediately by day games, not that they have a lot of day games.  If their complaint was that they have to play during the day, my response to that is to continue laying these guys off/benching players until they stop complaining.  But the complaint, for the last 20+ years, does have some bearing, as we’re the only team that does have home stands that possess night games immediately followed by day games.  THAT I can understand, because I would never want to work 3:30 to midnight and then have to wake up the next morning to work 6:30 to 3:00.

      • Tom U

        I don’t mean to sound indignant, but it seems obvious that you’ve never worked for a hospital.

        • paulcatanese

          No Tom, never worked at a hospital, but been there for extended periods of time and will say those people work their butts off and always have a smile on their face. They love the job, I could not do it , physicaly, emotionaly, anyway
          put, one of the most demanding jobs ever.

    • Tom U

      cc002600, I must have been the only 5-year old on the planet that complained that Wrigley was a dump and the team needed a new ballpark back in the late 1960’s. That was the time to build something, when land was easier to acquire and a good site could have been found within the city limits.
      Now, that would be nearly impossible from a cost standpoint. The infrastructure alone would be more that the city and state would be willing to spend at this time. 

      As far as Schaumburg goes, living in that area, I know of some of the problems.

      First a site would be available, as Schaumburg already has a minor league ballpark that’s lying fallow due to the team’s bankruptcy. It would take a lot to upgrade it to major league standards. However, it shares a parking lot with the Metra station, so there would be public transportation. It also is by the Elgin-O’Hare expressway, which the state has targeted for upgrades. (as an aside, the Elgin-O’Hare expressway was built as an access road for the new Bears stadium that was supposed to be built in Schaumburg in the mid-1980’s)

      However, the Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates/Arlington Heights area has a lot of problems. One is that Schuamburg is saddled with a white elephant in their convention center, and may not want to bite off something as big as major league baseball. Hoffman Estates is finding occupancy for Sears Centre difficult. And Arlington has trouble attracting people on non-special race days (eg: Kentucky Derby, the Million).

      • cc002600

        Tom U,
        Yes, I don’t ever see the cubs moving from that site, especially given the fact that they want to renovate, which would be great.

        It sounds like you and I are about the same age (I’m 48), so we have both been going to Wrigley for decades, so as much as I love Wrigley and the unique characteristics it has, when you compare it to some of these new stadiums, it really is a dump. (and it hurts me to say that)

        And maybe that’s not so much a knock at Wrigley but more of a statement of how absolutely beautiful the new stadiums are with their modern amenities. Because when I look at what these new stadiums replaced, there is a HUGE difference. (i.e old comiskey, old busch, veterans stadium, 3 rivers, Astrodome, etc, etc). 

  • Neil

    From Jon Heyman: Tom Ricketts had 9-min conf call with Cubs employees. no further shakeup. Hope is Wilken/Fleita stay. Seek young, analytical GM

    • Richard Hood

      Considering that it has been reported that any leaks that come out of the front office that even is talking about the GM search is considered a firing offense I do not know how credence we can put into any reports right now. Did a conference call happen? Probably. Will we know what was mentioned on it other than general lip service. Nope.

      • Aaron

        I know he said they’d keep it confidential but i never heard anywhere about it being a firable offense if someone said anything. I guess it’d make sense though especially if he’s going after the big fish like Cashman, Epstein, and Friedman….because they have great jobs now and wouldn’t want that info getting out

        • Richard Hood

          There was a blog last week that talked about not trusting the media on this and that the guys sources had all dried up because of the hush order. I think it was Bleacher Nation but I will have to find it again.

  • cc002600

    Question for Tom U, (or Neil)
    Is playing Zeke DeVoss playing more CF than 2B ?  Is his glove at 2B below average ? 

    If yes, that would be a shame, because his offensive stats so far are very impressive, and it seems like we already have loads of CF prospects.


    • cubtex

      Tom can expand on this….but DeVoss has been playing mostly 2B so far in the minors. He has made alot of errors but keep in mind, he only started playing second midway thru his season at Miami due to an injury. He was a shortstop in high school and played mainly outfield in college until last year. I think the Cubs would like to keep him at 2B where his speed and athletism would be a plus but he definately needs to improve defensively.

      • cc002600

        Thanks. By 2013-2014 we could have lineup that features Castro, DeVoss, BJax, and Szczur.  Could you imagine that speed ?   Wow, would that be fun to watch.

    • Aaron

      I know you asked Tom and Neil, but yes, recently he’s played more CF and it is directly related to his poor defense at 2B.

      I actually don’t see his move being a problem. First of all, the system doesn’t really have a guy like Devoss who is fast and has a high obp other than Jackson, who ay least in my opinion projects more as a corner outfielder with his power and with colvin’s

      • Aaron

        Oops sent too soon…..

        Colvin’s lack of development.

        Campana is not an everyday player and Crawford took a nosedive in production late in the season…..

        The way i look at it…let the best man win and it sure looks like Devoss should win eventually based on speed and high obp which nobody but Jackson can claim

      • cubtex

        Out of 36 games he has played 29 at 2B.

      • cc002600

         thanks……but what about szczur ? 

        He fits into that “high obp with speed” category too…..agree ?

    • Tom U

      Thanks for waiting, I’m just getting home and there seems a lot to comment on, but looked like it was the most important. 

      DeVoss has mainly played second base at Boise, and only recently played in center. This was a little frustrating to me, because Boise has a glut of infielders and DeVoss was taking valuable playing time away from them.

      That problem has seemed to work itself out with management being a little more flexible, ie: lining up DeVoss, Wilson Contreras, and Ryan Cuneo occasionally in the outfield, while placing Brad Zapenas at third at times to give him and Wes Darvill more reps. Kenny Socorro was also moved up to Peoria because of Arismendy Alcantara’s injury.

      Like Cubtex, I don’t mind DeVoss playing second, and would encourage he also see a little action at shortstop. If I’m right in my assessment, versatility is going to be a major criteria for prospects. 

      And as Aaron reported, his errors at second are mainly fielding, not throwing, so the move from center is related.

      As far as speed goes, I don’t know about that. I do know that Matt Szczur and Taiwan Easterling, who are former football wide receivers, have run sub- 4.50 40 yard dashes. In football, that would be considered average speed. But in baseball, that’s blazing fast. 

      However, if a race were to be held, despite Tony Campana’s confidence, my money would be on Evan Crawford. (Incidentally, Hak-Ju Lee would have probably beaten them all!)

  • Brp921

    Question: Rudy Jarramillo (I hope thats spelled correctly) has been here two years now, when do we see the improved approaches to hitting?

    • John_CC

      That is an easy criticism, and maybe pointed.  But you must take into account the players he is working with.  30+ year old veterans with 8-10 years in the league do not just change their approach.  I am talking about Aramis, Soriano (though he did try and was happy that Rudy was there, he’s just old and slow), D Lee, Fukudome, etc.

      A good coach can maybe help them find a problem in a slump and try to fix it, but these guys aren’t all of sudden not going to swing at low away slider (Soriano), not take first pitch strikes (everyone) etc.  I mean it doesn’t take a good coach or even a coach at all the tell Soriano to lay off the junk pitches. 

      On the converse, look at Castro and Barney.  Castro wasn’t even a .300 hitter in AAA. He has made adjustments and has continued to hit, and hit better, at the MLB level.  Barney too, for a kid that was never highly regarded to come up and hit with the consistency that he has is impressive.  Sure Colvin has struggled.  Soto hasn’t improved much.  So who knows, maybe Rudy can help some and not others.  His reputation is undisputed, so I think he still deserves the benefit of doubt. Because I am not going to blame him for Aramis, Lee, Soriano, Byrd, Dome, etc…

      • Calicub

        You have to hold the JamMan accountable for Byrd. Byrd himself has repeatedly stated to be tried and true Rudy stock. Although at this point I’m not sure whether Byrd is in a slump or can only hit in the first half of the season

        But other than that I agree with your statement.

        • paulcatanese

          Since you brought up Byrd, I have to throw a little in here. He amazes me that he is still an everyday player. He swings the bat out of the catchers mitt (always late) and when he is ahead of the pitch its usualy that little chip down the third base line. When he does pull the ball its usualy a slider or an off speed pitch. He is totaly locked up at the plate with runners on base and will invarably hit the ball off the end of the bat, bloops, chips to the right side. If I were Rudy I would tell Byrd to stop throwing his name around.

      • Brp921

        I’m not trying to place criticism on Jarramillo as much as I am the way the team is ran. If the veterans were held accountable, in other words received their playing time on a what have you done lately basis, then I think you would see them be more willing to be more coachable. Maybe they would take more pitches, go to the opposite field more, move runners over…ect…in other words play more team ball.

      • Tom U

        Sorry to correct you John, but Starlin Castro never played Triple-A ball. He went to the big leagues from Double-A. His lowest batting average was .288 in 31 games for Tennessee at the end of the 2009 season.

      • studio179

        What you say is true, but don’t forget Rudy had Soriano and Byrd in Texas. Both guys were tooting Rudy’s horn when he came here. Yet, they keep doing their same approach.

        Rudy teaches aggressive approaches. But I’m thinking he does not tell Byrd to swing at the first pitch every AB with runners in scoring position. 

        Soriano uses that heavy bat. I remember Rudy saying he would like Soriano to use a bit of a lighter bat, but he has to want to do it. 

        Ramirez would not go to him for over a year. He finally asked for some help a while back and Rudy helped Ram drop his bat during his stance and that is when he took off.   

        Again, I agree what you say that vet players get comfortable with an approach, good or bad. Then, they ride it out what got them there. Some make adjustments. If they do not see immediate results…back to old habits. It is all a players mindset if they are willing or able to adjust. 

  • Matt Collins

    todays lineup

    • Neil

      The game preview will post shortly

  • Neil

    Andrew Cashner is throwing one inning again tonight. Trey McNutt will follow.

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Chris Rusin (4-2, 3.96)
    Tennessee – Andrew Cashner, projected follower Trey McNutt (4-5, 4.55)
    Daytona – Matt Loosen (1-3, 5.06)
    Peoria – PJ Francescon (1-4, 2.11)

    Boise is off today.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.

  • Neil

    Andrew Cashner struck out the side on 16 pitches (11 strikes) in his third rehab appearance in AA on Monday night. Cashner struck out the first batter on three pitches swinging, ran a 3-2 count on the second batter before striking him out swinging. Cashner struck out the third man looking (2-2 pitch). Hit 94 MPH on his fastball, mixed in a changeup and pitched out of the stretch.