Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/02/12

¡Feliz Año Nuevo a todos en la CCO! As an old year ended and a new one begins, the regular season came to an end for most of the winter leagues while the playoff season started for others.

With teams fighting to keep playing in the post-season, several players raised their level of performance. Pitchers Marco Carrillo and Oswaldo Martinez did their best to keep their team in the hunt, as did Kyle Smit. Bryan LaHair kept thundering away, and another debut was made by pitcher Ryan Searle.

To see how they all made out, take a look inside this week’s Down on the Farm Report.

Dominican Winter League
It was a quiet week in the DWL. As their playoff began, there were no appearances by any prospects from the Cubs’ system.

Mexican Pacific League

Yaquis de Obregon
As Obregon continued to challenge for a playoff spot, Marco Carrillo pitched a gem. On Monday, Carrillo allowed an unearned run in six innings and struck out five as the Yaquis defeated Culiacan 4-2. Carrillo improved his record to 5-3 while lowering his ERA to 2.72.

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Tennessee reliever Oswaldo Martinez continues to make some noise, striking out a batter in Wednesday’s 6-5 loss to Navojoa. Facing the Mayos again on Friday, Martinez struck out a batter and served up a solo home run in 2.1 innings of work, as the Tribe lost again to Navojoa 8-6.

Puerto Rico Baseball League

Indios de Mayaguez
Iowa reliever Kyle Smit is proving to be a reliable performer for Mayaguez. In Wednesday’s 11-6 victory over Caguas, Smit had a strikeout in a scoreless innings of work.

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On Friday, Kyle Smit lowered his ERA to 1.29 and earned his third hold as the Indians held off Caguas 4-1. Smit tossed 1.1 innings and struck out a batter.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Venezuelan Winter League

Caribes de Anzoategui
As the regular season wound down in the VWL, Carlos Zambrano took the hill for the Caribes on Tuesday. Zambrano threw 4.1 innings, allowing an earned run and striking out two as Anzoategui won a 2-1 squeaker over Zulia. In that Game, newly acquired Dave Sappelt was 1-for-3.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Dave Sappelt was in the starting line-up again on Thursday and was 1-for-4 with a double in a 5-1 loss to Lara.

Navegantes del Magallanes
With other members of the line-up finally clicking, Bryan LaHair helped push Magallanes closer to the playoffs this week. LaHair started on Monday by going 1-for-3 with a double, RBI, and a walk in a 12-11 loss to Margarita. In that game, Rebel Ridling was 1-for-4.

Bryan LaHair was 1-for-2 with two walks on Tuesday as the Navigators fell again, this time 6-1 to league leader La Guaira.

Bryan LaHair was then 2-for-4 with an RBI, as he cracked his league topping 15th home run in Wednesday’s 12-4 Victory over Zulia. Rebel Ridling struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

In the Navs’ final game of the regular season on Thursday, Bryan LaHair was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, as the Pathfinders blew out Caracas 10-0. With no one within four home runs of him, Bryan LaHair became the league’s home run champion.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Aguilas del Zulia
The string of good outings came to an end for Austin Bibens-Dirkx on Monday. Bibens-Dirkx allowed three earned runs in 6.2 innings and struck out five as the Eagles lost 3-2 to Anzoategui. Bibens-Dirkx ended the season with a 7-3 record and a 2.19 ERA.

Australian Baseball League

Brisbane Bandits
Due to time differences, Tennessee starter Ryan Searle’s first appearance on December 17 was missed on last week’s report. Ryan Searle went 4.1 innings in his debut and struck out seven, but served up three earned runs and took the loss as the Bandits fell 4-2 to Adelaide.

Ryan Searle was back on the hill on Saturday as Brisbane thumped Canberra 10-2. In the game, Searle tossed six innings and allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out four batters.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Attention CCO Readers!
The Down on the Farm reader’s poll is now beginning. Please post the names of the minor league players you would like the Down on the Farm Report to follow a little closer next season and provide weekly stat updates. The CCO will track the progress of ten players throughout the entire season. A representative sample of positions and levels of play is optimal. You can name as many players as you like, but remember, only ten will be chosen. Last year, readers nominated 45 separate players. So from Brett Jackson to Varonex Cuevas, all nominations will be accepted and given equal weight.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Binyow

    Here are some key players I would like to be followed
    1)Austin Kirk-potential 2-3 starter
    2)Goisker Amaya
    3)Dallas Beeler
    4)Javier Baez
    5)Dillon Maples
    6)Jeimer Candelario
    7)Trey mcnutt
    8)Robert Whitaneck-(how his rehabb is going)
    9)matt szczur
    10)Tony Zych
    11)zeke devoss
    12)John Andreoli-saw him play in, I like this guy. Could be a keeper.

    Well, those are a few. hope you like my list.

    • Binyow

      Oh, one more ….Ronald torreyes.

  • Calicub

    1. Torreyes
    2. Baez
    3. Devoss
    4. Ridling
    5. Szczur
    6. Vitters
    7. McNutt
    8. Castillo
    9. Lake
    10. Golden

    • Tom U

      Which Castillo Calicub? Catcher Welington Castillo or RHP Lendy Castillo?

      • Aaron

        I know you were asking Calicub, but Lendy can’t be considered, correct? It’s only guys that aren’t on the roster, right?

        • Tom U

          My bad

          • ChadAudio

            Is that the same reason Bret Jackson is left off all the lists on here so far?

          • Tom U

            Lendy Castillo has to remain on the major league roster or be offered back to the Phillies as a rule 5 player. I forgot he was part of the major league phase and not the Triple-A phase.

            While Brett Jackson is on the 40-man roster, he is not on the major league roster at this time. He is eligible to be nominated.

          • Neil

            Brett Jackson is eligible to be on the list. It does not matter if the player is on the 40-man roster if he is still considered a prospect.

            Jackson is not on the 40-man and will be included on the list.

          • Tom U

            Not having a good day today

          • Calicub

            Lol I meant wellington but don’t sweat it Tom U.

          • Tom U


  • Griffnbell

    Javier Baez
    Ben Wells
    Evan Crawford
    Kyler Burke

  • cubtex

    Hi Tom…Happy New Year

    Some other names who I would like to see some updates for.

    1. Hayden Simpson(hopefully he bounces back this year to show some promise)
    2. Chris Russin
    3. Micah Gibbs
    4. Aaron Kurcz
    5. Jae Hoon Ha
    6.Dae Eun Rhee

    along with the ones already mentioned.

    • Aaron

      I agree with that list….sans Simpson. He doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned as a prospect, and might go down as one of the worst 1st round picks in Cubs’ history

      • cubtex

        We should know for sure about Simpson after this year.

        • Aaron

          Curiously, AZ Phil doesn’t even have him listed on his depth chart. He’s usually very thorough and accurate with that, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already been released. Reports were that he was throwing about 88 mph last year, and was shut down anyway with elbow issues (possible TJ candidate).

          Epstein and Hoyer have absolutely no attachment to these players, so it wouldn’t shock me at all to see the entire system overhauled.

          • Anthony

            you can bet that Theo has his BOS scouting reports as well as Hoyer SD scouting reports on ALL the players

  • Redlarczykg

    Two lefties to watch you missed:
    Jeffrey Beliveau (Minor League Pitcher of the Years)
    possible replacing Marshall in the Pen
    Tenn AA 6-1 1.89 era 57 in – 37h – 69 so – 13 bb
    Jeffry Antigua  Day A 2-2 83.1 in – 75 h – 81 so – 18 bb
    who finally gained some needed control and came on strong the second half

    • Dorasaga


      I’ll like to see Ryan Searle. I’m interested to see any Cubbie returned from the ABL (I watched them play in person last year), plus I bought my first winter jacket at Sears; they sound together.
      Redlarczykg also got a point. Antigua should be followed. Wasn’t he, once upon a time, one of Aaron’s favorite prospects?

  • Aaron


    I think we need to wait on this until Garza and others are traded.

    Garza should hopefully bring a decent haul of prospects, and obviously, there will be great interest in what those guys produce.

    As for what we currently have, I’m intrigued by the following:

    Javier Baez
    Larry Suarez
    Marco Hernandez
    Ben Wells
    Wellengton Cruz
    T. Scott

    I realize that’s way over 10 names, but I thought they might be worth considering for others.

    • Tom U

      We’ll run this at least until spring training. You can also nominate as many players as you want.

  • Anthony

    Tom, looking forward to your farm reports. Thought I would add the following before my list of interest. I analyzed the NL Central big clubs using each teams top 10 offensive contributors(60 players) based on at bats, and where they came from.

    Of the 60 players, 10 from each team:

    1st round-15
    2nd round-7
    3rd round-3
    4th round-5
    5th round-2
    6th thru 10th-5
    11th thru 20th-9

    The team using the most IFA’s, the Chicago Cubs, one more than the Houston Astros. The STL Cards used NONE.

    Of the 60 players, 32 were drafted in the first 5 rounds along with 13 IFA’s totalling 45/60, or 75%.

    My follow list, and why:

    Zeke DeVoss-where Theo decides to develop him defensively will determine his track more than anything, especially with the addition of Torreyes. Since he offensively profiles as CF, speed and contact, his value may be better served there. Prediction:Peoria

    Taiwan Easterling-did OK offensively, needs reads and routes, and from what I saw profiles more as a bonus athletic LF, more of a defensive tweener(LCF). Prediction:Daytona LF

    Dan Vogelbach-high school pitching and showcasing is one thing, playing thru the grind and travel against better pitching is another, and like all the high school kids selected in the 2011 Draft, time will tell. This can be said for Baez also. Prediction:Boise

    Ben Klafczynski-want to see that hot August right out of the gate in 2012 as the defense is already there(experience), the RF arm is plus-plus, and probably the most underrated athlete in the system. If the hit tool arrives, with some power, a potential fast-track. Prediction:Daytona RF

    Junior Lake-is he a future UTIL? Where do they play him on the field? He appears to be the mystery player and any prospect that shows improvement, like he has, warrants a follow.AAA unless more moves are made to clog up ST.

    Paul Hoilman-power/power, and then some, experienced, good athlete built like a tight end, decent defense, and if some K’s are traded for a tad more contact?Prediction:Peoria 1B with quick promo to Daytona.

    Greg Rohan-one of the better, most successful hitters in the Org who goes unnoticed. What is his defensive position? Will he play 3B or relegated to LF. Prediction:TENN

    Arismendy Alcantara-is a good baseball player, no standout tool, but all of them good enough to contribute, kind of a throwback who gets the job done, which is desirable because to play at a high level, you have to be consistently good everyday.Prediction:wherever Torreyes isn’t.

    Anthony Giansanti-another underrated athlete, plus-plus arm using a short-arm throwing method, good instincts, will he stay as an OF, move to 3B, or possibly catcher. Has the perfect body-type as a catcher, not to tall, not to short, and his bat is developing. Prediction:depends on position out of ST.

    Thanks Tom

    • Aaron

      First of all, VERY good analysis. Most star players in MLB are drafted in the first 3-4 rounds. After that, it’s slim pickings…but if you look at it even further, it’s usually the position talent that falls into that category. The pitchers are an entirely different story. It’s pretty interesting. That’s also one of the major reasons GM’s like Epstein will trade for former 1-4 rounders to try to turn their careers around. Hendry dabbled in this philosophy later in his career as GM.

      also, wanted to comment on your follows:

      Ben Klafczynski-I had him as my “sleeper pick” for the draft when I did the analysis for Neil. I, too, hope his hot August transfers over to this season, as he has all the tools you want: power potential, plus arm, plus defense.

      Lake-I think they try him in RF eventually, but I think he’s likely trade bait, as he has no defensive value (other than his strong arm), and he has absolutely no plate discipline, which is another knock on him with the new regime.

      Paul Hoilman-supposedly, they tried the “more contact” approach with Hoilman in Boise, and he struggled big time, then they allowed him to go back to his usual swing, and he started hitting again. With Hoilman, in a full season, you’re likely to see 80-90 walks, but also 170-180 K’s, which is REALLY bad. He’s somewhat like the righty version of Adam Dunn, but his K:BB ratio is far worse, and the thing about Dunn is that when he was in the minors, in 343 games, he had 230 walks vs 270 K’s…with 49 walks vs 105 K’s last year in just 71 games, Hoilman is on pace for about a 2:1 ratio of K: BB…my hope is that they’ll be able to work on him in Spring Training, because he’s an exciting power candidate and could develop into a Paul Goldschmidt type of power hitter.

      Greg Rohan-the reason Rohan hasn’t been noticed, is because of his age relative to his competition. He’s been about 3-4 years older at every stop, and while he still hit upon his promotion to Daytona, he still did so at 25 years old against mostly 21-23 year olds. He also doesn’t add much power with last year’s total of 11 being the most he’s ever hit.

      Giansanti-Giansanti’s future is either at catcher or pitcher, with the latter being the preference. He has a cannon arm (supposedly can hit 95-96 mph), but he has absolutely no offensive potential. The problem with using him at pitcher is his short-arming motion, which likely would not play out too well. He has been tried at pitcher though, with about 4 IP under his belt and a 2.70 ERA…so not too shabby.

      • Anthony

        aaron, my reply ended up top?

  • Nathan

    Whitenack (if healthy)
    Richard Jones

    • Nathan

      Add vitters to that!

    • Nathan

      Geiger as well

  • Tom U

    It’s only the first day, but readers have already surpassed the number of last year’s nominations. Keep’em coming!

  • RynoTiger

    1. David Kelton
    2. Robin Jennings
    3. Bobby Brownlie
    4. Courtney Duncan
    5. Ty Griffin
    6. Kevin Roberson
    7. Ruben Quevedo
    8. Bobby Hill
    9. Brooks Kieschnick
    10. Jason Dubois
    11. Jim Bullington
    12. Lance Dickson
    13. Phil Stephenson

    • Binyow

      What about Miguel cuevas novas????? lol

    • Aaron

      Earl Cunningham? How about Luke Haggerty or Grant Johnson…lol

    • Tom U

      Great job RynoTiger!

      • RynoTiger

        Just thinking about how little the Cubs farm system has produced in my 27 years as a Cubs fan makes me realize that such futility would be the only thing in the universe that would make a new born puppy cry for the rest of it’s life…now that’s a sad picture

        • Binyow

          As opposed to the yanks system, Phillies Cards, Boston,etc. Thats why we can win if our system improves

      • cubtex

        Abner Abreu is another guy I would like to track.

        • Aaron

          Why? He’s awful….in his analysis of the trade, I believe it was Stark that said both Abreu and Carlton Smith (aka the 2 guys we got for Fuku-nuts) were carbon life-forms that were living and breathing….and they both lived up to that accurate description.

          But who knows…maybe he’s worth following…I am not blasting your suggestion just wondered why

          • Anthony

            the Tribe scouting reports had Abreu a “half-a-plate” hitter currently who needs to improve on pitch recognition and using the entire field versus pull power and guess hitting.

            see post at the top

          • cubtex

            More curiosity than anything. He is very raw but he does have some tools.

          • carmelo

            You are correct, he is a tools guy—need to see how high he can get.  I’ve saw him play in Kinston in 2010—interesting guy.

    • JimBo_C

      Mike Harkey
      Kevin Orie
      Ryan Harvey


  • TomO

    I haven’t looked at others’ comments, because I didn’t
    want to be influenced.  I’m sure I’ve listed more than a few names that have already been mentioned.  Thanks!  – Tom in Peoria
    1. 1B – Dan Vogelbach = are we growing our own Cecil Fielder?
    2. 1B – Richard Jones, Justin Bour, & Rebel Ridling = all 3 put up decent numbers for their ages at their respective levels in 2011.  Is there a MLB caliber player between the three of them?
    3. 2B/SS – Ronald Torreyes = if he’s the future 2B of the future then I figure he’s worth a look
    4. 2B – Pierre LePage = fell in love with his hustle and work ethic in Peoria; he’s my pick for 2B of the future
    5. SS/3B – Junior Lake = I hear all the positives, but is he still swinging at everything from his nose to his toes?
    6. 3B – Josh Vitters = needs to make another stride in the correct direction in 2012
    7. OF – Matt Szczur = I’ve seen him play in Peoria and he stood out. 
    Will he learn to get on base at a better clip to take advantage of
    plus-plus speed?
    8. P – Dillon Maples = 1st round talent drafted in 14th?  Uh-huh. You got the signing bonus, now show me the stats that back it up.
    9. P – Hayden Simpson = last season was a lost year; needs to add weight to frame and DEVELOP, not regress
    10. P – Eric Jokisch = needs to log more innings to speed his development; solid lefty arm who knows how to change speeds
    11. Trevor Gretzky & Dunston, Jr. = I have high hopes, but I’d love to see one of these two in Peoria this year.

    • Binyow

      How about Austin Kirk with his no hitter? Had a great first half wore down at the end. He’s a Mlb if yuo ask me.

      • TomO

        Yeah, I saw that game live.  He worked both sides of the plate really well that game.  I like Jokisch better, because I think he pitches, whereas Kirk seems to be more of a thrower at times.  But I agree, Kirk is probably as good as any lefty starter we have in the system.

  • Aaron

    Tom and Neil…

    I don’t know if you guys want to change things up but given how new this was anyway…would you guys be interested in following a top 3 at every position (sans OF where we could follow 6)?

    My reasoning is that injuries, promotions, etc always factor in and some guys just plain suck and aren’t worthy of following later on so by including more, you can account for those drop-offs.

    For instance:

    Starting Pitchers-Maples, Antigua, McNutt
    Pen-Weathers, Kurcz, Rhoderick
    Catcher-Castillo, Clevenger, Rosario
    1B-Vogelbach, Bour, Hoilman
    2B-Watkins, Torreyes, DeVoss
    SS-Lake, Hernandez, Baez
    3B-Vitters, Shoulders, Geiger
    OF-Jackson, Ha, Easterling, Szczur, Schlecht, Dunston Jr.

    …It could be fun to do it that way because then we have a better grasp of the system and what might be in play for future trades.

    • Anthony

      I would add another idea. Depending on where you reside, in-person games and a full report, i.e if you can get to any park where a Cubs affiliate is playing, write a report!

      • TomO

        I would be willing to help out on that.  I make it to usually 10 to 20 Peoria Chiefs games a summer depending on how busy things are.

    • Neil

      Aaron, let’s see how the responses come in over the next six weeks before making that decision.

  • Anthony

    Tom, as you gather information, see if you can get some info regarding hitters with respect to approach, i.e guess hitters versus those who are better on pitch recognition.

    I can tell the difference watching in person, not from box scores.

    One of the peeves I always here about are walk totals, whereas I am on the other side of the discussion feeling they are overrated.

    A batter getting walked is more the pitchers fault, and a hitter not getting a walk means they made contact or the pitcher did well, if that makes sense. Taking that statement one step further, it only holds true in my opinion as long as the hitter swung at a strike, meaning, he has decent pitch recognition and fast twitch and hands.

    Very few walks are “earned” from a foul-off battle.

    I still say the “prospect” list post 2012 will be full of surprises.

    • Tom U

      Anthony, covering 830+ minor league games in a season is a daunting task. I use several ways to track the teams, including streaming, Gameday, radio broadcasts, as well as box scores. 

      Last year’s coverage of the Peoria – Kane County game was a very positive experience. I received very good feedback from both organizations. Hopefully, there can be more of that in the future.

      I’ve had a great time “moving out of the armchair” over the past season, and look forward to growing further in the future.

      • Anthony

        Tom, I saw the Chiefs play in Peoria, BGKY, Dayton(where I saw Torreyes), the season before in Ohio(LC), and am trying to setup some dates in TENN and FLA.

        I have seen many of our prospects the past 6-7 years when they played in college as the job allowed for it.

        maybe those Opps I had are the basis of my comments at times, especially(NOT TO) gauging a player from boxscores?

        Listen, if they didn’t have something, they never would have been signed in the first place, which is my true basis of opinion.

        • Tom U

          It’s no problem Anthony. You’re a great poster, and I glad to have you as a reader.  Keep on providing everyone as much information as possible about players. I’ve always said that the best fan is an informed fan.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    SORRY i know i have more than 10 but i do like Aaron’s idea of 2-3 at each position. Also should Garza or anybody else get traded this LIST COULD EASILY BE CHANGED AFTER PICKING UP MORE PROSPECTS.

  • brent carmona

    my players for 2012, in no order:
    Marck malave, jeimer candelario, dallas beeler, tayler scott, vogelbomb, javier baez, josh vitters, tony zych, reggie golden, r torreyes, zeke devoss, logan watkins, dillon maples, dae eun rhee, wellington castillo, casey coleman (UM KIDDING), ben klafcynski (spelling)

    • Aaron

      I like that list, but as with Acosta, I have heard that Malave will open the year in DSL.

  • Anthony

    Aaron, I have seen the players mentioned above both college and in pro ball.
    What I like about Rohan is the unwillingness to quit, and my guess is he starts in AA TENN, and my contact told me the Cubs called him to Mesa this Fall, and he is there now, by request.
    Giansanti can be either a RP or a Catcher. I have been told his athleticism is as good as any prospect out there, just a good example of a player that is much better than “how he got to pro ball”
    Hoilman has the hard part down. An average struck ball still flies over the wall. Hoilman is NOT the clumsy big man, actually quite agile and athletic for his size. Don’t anyone be fooled, and he is one player that can afford a power trade for more contact.
    I posted about Klafczynski because I saw him play at a few college venues(Austin Regional) and against the best GTech offered this past Spring, then saw him in BGKY, Peoria, and Dayton.
    You are right about the tools, as he can play RF in MLB right now, and if the bat comes around, potential fast track. A regional scouting supervisor I know said, STEAL. There is no way in 2007 a poll of the high school baseball coaches in the USA tag the kid with Ben Revere and Jason Heyward as the top 3 outfielders in the country. Interesting follow.
    I also like what DeVoss has to offer as a potential leadoff guy. He really needs to learn defense, fundamentals, and hope Theo and his handbook works magic. He can be electric.
    I saw flashes of solid in Dustin Geiger, and also the warts. Point is, the potential exceeds the bad, and fixable.
    I like Alcantara!
    And everyone will love Torreyes. Looks like a high school freshman out there outplaying many others, and was overshadowed by Hamilton’s speed, who also looks like a ragdoll out there.
    Some other guys that are interesting are R. Jones, Bour, and Ridling. I just don’t understand the nuances of evaluation, but I supoose the decision-makers do.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments. 

    On only the first day of the poll, the number of players nominated and the number of votes cast has already eclipsed the entire poll for last year. Thank you all for your continued support!

  • Allegra 5

    I would like to see more of Ryan Searle, this young guy had the best ERA in the entire organization for starters last year and is often overlooked