Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 09/01/11

Playing out the string is not what they have in mind in Boise, as Paul Hoilman looks for a home run crown while Reggie Golden is heating up. Peoria’s Richard Jones continues his pursuit of 100 RBI, as All-Stars Evan Crawford, Justin Bour, and Frank Batista of Daytona prepare for the playoffs. With five games left in the season, Josh Vitters and the Tennessee Smokies remain tied for the second half championship and a first round bye. Meanwhile, Bryan LaHair is making history in Iowa.

Along with News and Notes, and a season 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 (33-39)
After spotting Salem-Keizer two runs in the first inning on Sunday, Boise’s offense went on a tear as they defeated the Volcanoes 9-2. Oliver Zapata (2-for-3) started the scoring by blasting his second home run. Reggie Golden added a two-run shot, and Paul Hoilman (2-for-5) extended his Northwest League lead with his 15th home run. Pin-Chieh Chen was 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI, while Wes Darvill was 2-for-4 with a double.

Ben Wells may have had his best effort of the season, as he allowed only two unearned runs and struck out five in 5.2 innings. Kyler Burke went 3.1 scoreless innings, striking out five and in the process he earned his first save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

After an off-day Monday, Boise spotted Vancouver to an early run, and then blew past them for a 5-1 victory. Reggie Golden paced the Hawks, going 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and three RBI. Paul Hoilman was 2-for-3 and clubbed his league leading 16th home run. Zeke DeVoss and Rafael Lopez were each 2-for-4.

Boise gave Joe Zeller a start, and he was up to the task, allowing an earned run and striking out two in three innings. Dustin Fitzgerald and Andrew McKirahan were each perfect following Zeller … Fitzgerald throwing three innings and McKirahan two. Bryce Shafer finished out with a scoreless ninth.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (58-76)
Peoria pitching sparkled on Sunday, as they shut out the Kane County Cougars 2-0. Luis Liria held the Cougars to one hit while striking out three in 6.2 innings. Yoannis Negrin earned his first save by tossing 2.1 perfect innings. Richard Jones continued his quest for the Midwest League’s RBI title by belting his 23rd home run. Kenny Socorro was 2-for-4 with a double, while Rafael Valdes was also 2-for-4. Rubi Silva drove in the Chiefs’ other run.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

They saved all the action to the very end, and unfortunately, Kane County came out on top on Monday as the defeated Peoria 5-4. Rafael Valdes was 2-for-4 with a double, but his throwing error provided the Cougars with the winning margin. Anthony Giansanti was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and an RBI. In his second start, P.J. Francescon showed some potential. Francescon allowed only one earned run while striking out five in four innings. Pete Levitt had one of his better outings, striking out four in three scoreless innings. Ramon Garcia, previously un-scored upon in 13 innings, broke the seal on Monday, giving up four runs (three earned) in the eighth inning.

Peoria scored seven runs in the fourth inning on Tuesday, and then hung on for an 8-7 victory over Kane County. Everyone for the Chiefs recorded at least one hit. Rafael Valdes led the way. Valdes was 4-for-5 with a double and a run driven in. Taiwan Easterling was 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Richard Jones added to his league leading RBI total by plating two more runs and going 2-for-4 with a double. Dustin Geiger and Ben Klafczynski also had multi-hit games.

Dallas Beeler, still working his way back from injury, tossed 2.2 scoreless innings, striking out three batters. Brett Wallach followed and walked six and he allowed three earned runs in an inning. Yohan Gonzalez also allowed three earned runs in 2.1 innings. Alvaro Sosa held the Cougars scoreless for two innings, and Roderik Pichardo gave up a run in the ninth.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

High Class-A Daytona Cubs (76-57)
With Sunday’s game tied at 3-3 after five innings, Daytona’s pitching fell apart as they lost to Dunedin 10-5. Starter Casey Harman gave up six runs (five earned) in five innings, while Jeffrey Lorick allowed four earned runs in his two innings. Juan Serrano mopped up with a scoreless inning. Evan Crawford remained in the running for the Florida State League batting crown after going 3-for-5. Jake Opitz and Michael Brenly were each 2-for-4 with a double.

Like Cubs announcer Bob Brenly likes to say, Daytona “kept the line moving”, pounding out 18 hits as they defeated Dunedin 9-6. Everyone in the D-Cubs’ line-up got at least one hit, with Jake Opitz leading the way by going 4-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI. Justin Bour, Elliot Soto, and Chad Noble were responsible for the other runs.

Matt Loosen got the call on Monday and delivered six strikeouts while allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings. Eduardo Figueroa threw two perfect innings, but Angel Guzman gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Frank Batista struck out three as he recorded the final four outs for his 26th save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Inclement weather postponed a doubleheader on Tuesday. So on Wednesday, Daytona turned to “Mr. Doubleheader” for a 6-3 win over Tampa. For the third time this season, Dae-Eun Rhee went the distance in a doubleheader game, allowing three earned runs and striking out seven batters. Rhee’s 110 strikeouts place him 11th in the Florida State League.

All-Star Evan Crawford, back in the leadoff spot, set the table for the D-Cubs by going 2-for-4. Matt Szczur had a big afternoon, 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. Justin Bour, another All-Star, pushed into second place in the league by driving in two runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Daytona got seven hits in game two, but couldn’t string them together for runs as they lost to Tampa 4-1. Frank Del Valle gave up two earned runs in the first four innings. Aaron Kurcz and Yoannis Negrin each allowed another earned run in their respective innings. Jordan Latham pitched a perfect seventh. Matt Szczur continued to have a good day’s work, going 2-for-3 in the nightcap and driving in Daytona’s only run. Abner Abreu was also 2-for-3 and scored the run.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (81-54)
Tennessee struggled both offensively and defensively on Sunday, giving away a 6-2 game to Jacksonville. Starter Ryan Searle gave up six runs in 5.2 innings, but only three earned after an error by Josh Vitters. Kevin Rhoderick and Oswaldo Martinez finished the game combining for 3.1 scoreless innings. Rebel Ridling was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Vitters and Nate Samson drove in the Smokies’ runs.

While Andrew Cashner had the spotlight on Monday, it was the Trey McNutt show for Tennessee, as the Smokies secured their 80th win with a 7-2 victory over Jacksonville. Cashner struck out the side while working the first inning, and McNutt struck out five while allowing only one earned run in six innings. McNutt even aided his cause by belting his first home run. Jeffrey Beliveau gave up an earned run and struck out two in the final two innings.

Josh Vitters blasted a two-run home run as part of a 2-for-4 evening, while Nate Samson added his own two-run shot. Rebel Ridling and Jonathan Mota also joined the 2-for-4 club, each driving in a run.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Tennessee put up six runs in the seventh inning on Tuesday, and then held on for a 10-8 triumph over Jacksonville. Batting in the second spot, Josh Vitters was a one man wrecking crew. Vitters was 3-for-5 with a double and five RBI. Setting the table for Vitters was Jae-Hoon Ha, who was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Steve Clevenger was 3-for-4, and Junior Lake was 2-for-5.

Marco Carrillo was given the spot start and came through with a typical performance. Carrillo gave up only an unearned run and struck out six in five innings. He even aided his own cause by singling and coming around to score. Larry Suarez followed and struggled, allowing two earned runs in only a third of an inning. Kevin Rhoderick bailed Suarez out of the sixth inning. Marcus Hatley allowed two earned runs in an inning, while Rafael Dolis coughed up another two earned runs in a third of an inning. Jeff Stevens limited the damage to an earned run in 1.2 innings and picked up his second save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (63-76)
Iowa lost out on a squeaker again on Sunday, bowing to Oklahoma City 2-1. Alberto Cabrera may have pitched one of his best games for the I-Cubs. Cabrera went six innings and allowed two runs while striking out five batters. Robert Coello tossed two perfect innings to help keep the team in the game. The offense just couldn’t click, as Luis Montanez followed the role of an Iowa leadoff hitter, blasting a solo homer for the I-Cubs. Marwin Gonzalez was 2-for-4.

Down 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh on Monday, Iowa put the pedal to the metal and shot past Nashville 8-5. Once again, Bryan LaHair was the story as he tied an Iowa record with his 37th home run. LaHair was 2-for-4 on the evening with three RBI. Luis Montanez also drove in three as he went 3-for-4 with a triple.

Chris Rusin had a rough outing, serving up two home runs in 6.2 innings in a five earned run effort. Hung-Wen Chen was able to get Rusin off the hook in the seventh by striking out the last batter. Blake Parker then went the rest of the way, striking out three in two scoreless innings for his fourth save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Iowa wasn’t able to keep pace with the Nashville Sounds on Tuesday, as they lost 7-3. Nick Struck appears to be running out of gas, as the 21-year old tossed another uncharacteristic performance. Stuck allowed six earned runs, but struck out five, in 4.2 innings. Carlton Smith was able to get Struck out of the fifth inning, and Dan Berlind followed with a scoreless sixth inning. Kyle Smit then came in for two innings and allowed an earned run. John Gaub finished out the game with a perfect ninth. The single season record for home runs in the Iowa franchises history now solely belongs to Bryan LaHair. LaHair connected with his 38th of the season, and added a double in a 2-for-3 evening. Chris Robinson was 2-for-4.

Jay Jackson gave it everything he could on Wednesday, but Iowa just couldn’t give him run support as they fell to Nashville 1-0. Jackson struck out eleven batters and allowed only one earned run in his six innings. Robert Coello struck out another four in three scoreless innings. The I-Cubs only managed three hits, singles by Luis Montanez and Ryan Flaherty, and a double by Marwin Gonzalez.

Rookie – AZL Cubs (28-28)
The AZL Cubs missed the playoffs, as the organization placed a priority on getting as many draft choices they could onto the playing field to end the season rather than securing the wild card. That may have been the wise choice, as winning the Rookie League championship at the cost of player development would have been a hollow victory. The AZL Cubs were good at developing players, having 11 position players and 15 pitchers advance to higher levels in the system.

The Cubs’ overall hitting leader was infielder Gioskar Amaya, who hit .377 in 52 games. He also led the team with 13 stolen bases and eight triples, and was second in RBI with 36. First Baseman Ryan Durrence and C Neftali Rosario tied for the team lead with three homers, with Durrence also tying for the team lead in doubles with 16. Shortstop Marco Hernandez tied for the lead in doubles, and was the RBI leader with 42.

Eighteen-year old left-hander Brian Smith was the team leader in starts. His 3.30 ERA and 3-4 record were tops for starting pitchers, and his 41 strikeouts were second on the club. Twenty year old lefty Hunter Ackerman was the strikeout leader with 49, as he sported a 3.68 ERA in 44 innings. Alvido Jimenez and Yilver Sanchez tied for the team lead with two saves, as Sanchez struck out 32 batters opposed to six walks in 26.1 innings.

Dominican Summer League
The Dominican Summer League playoffs came to a crashing halt for the Cubs 2 team, losing two straight to the DSL Mariners in the first round.

For those of you who may have missed it last week, here is a recap of the Cubs 1 team:
The offensive leader for C-1 was OF Kelvin Encarnacion, who hit .296 with 4 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 placed several members among the league leaders. Leading hitter 3B Jeimer Candelario was fourth in the league with a .337 batting average, and second in RBI with 53. Outfielder-First Baseman Xavier Batista was fourth in the league with 11 home runs while his 38 RBI tied for 10th in the league, along with SS Carlos Penalver. Outfielder-First Baseman Delbis Arclia was fifth in the DSL with 44 RBI. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez ranked fourth in stolen bases with 32.

Right-handed pitchers Loiger Padron and Alexander Santana were tied for 12th in the league with six wins. Padron was the team ERA leader with 2.44. Left-hander Victor Garcia led the team, and was 19th in the league with 64 strikeouts. Francisco Turbi had 11 saves, good for sixth in the DSL.

News and Notes
Iowa placed C Welington Castillo on the 7-Day disabled list. Catcher Mario Mercedes was assigned to Iowa from Boise. Right-handed pitcher Yoannis Negrin was assigned to Daytona from Peoria. Peoria activated IF Arismendy Alcantara, and placed OF John Andreoli on the 7-Day disabled list. Right-handed pitcher Ryan Hartman was assigned to Peoria from the AZL Cubs. Boise placed OF Pin-Chieh Chen and RHP Yao-Lin Wang on the temporary inactive list. Left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Lorick was assigned to Boise from Daytona. Outfielder Kyung-Min Na and RHP’s James Pugliese and Tony Zych were assigned to Boise from the AZL Cubs.

Tennessee SS Matt Camp received a 50 game suspension after a second violation of the substance abuse policy.

First Baseman Paul Hoilman and C Rafael Lopez of the Boise Hawks were named to the Northwest League All-Star team. First Baseman Justin Bour, OF Evan Crawford, and Closer Frank Batista of the Daytona Cubs joined Manager Buddy Bailey in being named to the Florida State League All-Star team.

Closer Rafael Dolis of the Tennessee Smokies was named to the Southern League All-Star team. First Baseman Bryan LaHair of the Iowa Cubs was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team.

Bryan LaHair was named the PCL’s MVP on Wednesday.

This concludes ChicagoCubsOnline’s mid-week coverage of the minor league system. The Down on the Farm Report returns to its weekly format on Monday with coverage of the minor league playoffs.

Follow the ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt