Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/16/12

As the playoff season winds down, Caribbean Champion Obregon continued to make a push toward defending their crown, thanks to Oswaldo Martinez and a new member of the Cubs’ family, Alfredo Amezaga. Kyle Smit advanced to the finals in Puerto Rico, while the struggles continue for Austin Bibens-Dirkx in Venezuela. And, upon further review, Nelson Perez wasn’t needed by Escogido in the Dominican Republic.

Meanwhile, Ryan Searle gave his native Australia a rare treat as he and his Brisbane teammates fight for their playoff lives.

For more details, check out this week’s Down on the Farm Report.

Dominican Winter League

Leones de Escogido
Round robin play in the DWL continued with the Lions leading Cibaenas by three games with a 10-5 record. The only appearance by a Cub prospect this week was Tennessee outfielder Nelson Perez. Perez was announced as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday, only to be pulled after a pitching change as Escogido lost 14-4 to Licey.

Mexican Pacific League

Yaquis de Obregon
Needing a win to advance on Sunday, Tennessee reliever Oswaldo Martinez ended up slamming the door with a perfect ninth. Martinez picked up his first save of the playoffs as Obregon defeated Guasave 6-3 to move to the semifinals.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Down one game to none to Mexicali on Thursday, Oswaldo Martinez snuffed out a two-run rally in the sixth inning by getting the last batter to pop-out. The Yaquis went on to post a 4-3 win over Mexicali to even the series.

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On Saturday, newly signed shortstop Alfredo Amezaga delivered a one-out RBI single to put the Tribe on the board for the first time in the game. Obergon would go on to win 3-2 over Mexicali as Amenzaga was 2-for-4. The Yaquis are now up 2-1 in the series.

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Puerto Rico Baseball League

Indios de Mayaguez
Mayaguez advanced to the LBPPR finals against Caugas after the Indians defeated Ponce 5-4 on Tuesday. Iowa reliever Kyle Smit tossed a scoreless inning and earned a hold in the victory. The Tribe now leads the Creoles 1-0 in the best on nine series.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Venezuelan Winter League

Aguilas del Zulia
The Eagles and Austin Bibens-Dirkx continue to be frustrated in VWL round-robin play. Bibens-Dirkx remained in a funk on Wednesday as he allowed three earned runs, including another home run, in six innings in a 3-2 loss to Aragua. Bibens-Dirkx took the loss and struck out three as Zulia moved to 0-10 in the playoffs.

Australian Baseball League

Brisbane Bandits
On Friday, Tennessee starter Ryan Searle recorded only the fourth complete game in the ABL this season as he improved his record to 2-1 in a 7-3 win over Melbourne. Searle went the distance for the Bandits, striking out five while allowing three earned runs, including two solo home runs. While still in sixth place, Brisbane is only one game out of a playoff spot with five games left to play in the regular season.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

News and Notes
There are reports that Austin Bibens-Dirkx has signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals but the signing has not been confirmed.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs signed Alfredo Amezaga to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to big league camp. The Cubs also signed catcher Juan Apodaca and released right-handed pitcher Jhon Rodriguez.

Attention CCO Readers
The Down on the Farm reader’s poll continues. Please post the names of the minor league players you would like the Down on the Farm Report to follow next season. 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 to be followed. Readers kept interest at an all time high last week, as the number of votes cast has now nearly doubled the total for the entire six weeks of last year’s poll.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Tom U

    To Dorasaga:

    You asked the other day about Welington Castillo. In preparing the report, I found that Castillo hasn’t played any more since his brief appearance in December. This is not uncommon, especially in the Dominican Republic. The rules are very loose (we saw Nelson Perez switch teams in the middle of the season) and perhaps a team needed a bat for a game and knew Castillo was around. 

    • Dorasaga

      I see. Thank you again for this wonderfully organized info… Makes me wonder why he (or the Cubs player development) didn’t want the playing time…

  • Binyow

    How many times can you vote?

    • Tom U

      Vote as often as you like (remember, this is Chicago), however, I would prefer if you have already voted for a player that you nominate a different player (one player, one vote). 

      • SuzyS

        Tom, I’d like you to follow Soler.
        I really think the Cubs will try and make a splash with either Cespedes/Soler. Between the 2, my preference
        is Soler.

        • Tom U

          I’ll put him on the list Suzy. However, if the Cubs don’t sign him, I’ll let some of the posters like Aaron or Cubtex follow him.

          • SuzyS

            Tom, thanks for the sincere reply….AND all your hard work….Re Soler…I requested that tongue in cheek to get commentary going.

            In reality…I think most guys have already been listed that I’d be interested in.

            IMHO third base is NOT settled for now or in the future. Vitters either makes strides this season or should be traded.
            So All potential third base candidates
            should be covered.
            Thanks Again, Tom

          • Tom U

            So I’ll put you down for Vitters, Cerda, Rohan, Geiger, Contreras, and Candelario.

  • SuzyS

    For Aaron….or anyone else….I was just reading a Red Sox blog about
    pitching upgrades in response to the Yankees moves last week.
    They are looking at Oswalt & Edwin Jackson…but the fans keep chirping for a Garza deal.
    In your individual opinions, what do the Red Sox have that might make a fair deal for Garza???  OR would it have to be a 3 way trade?

    • Aaron

      They literally have nothing in terms of pitching which we need. Folks seem to like Ranaudo but it’s more hype than anything. In terms of position prospects, they have a few like Middlebrooks but we already have guys that project to be better than them so….the cupboard is relatively bare and make no mistake about it…Theo knew that and brought with him the architect of their formerly highly ranked system in McLeod…so don’t think for a second that didn’t play a factor in Theo leaving Boston

      • Anthony

        that is a reason why any trade with BOS involving Garza must return MLB talent and toss in Ranaudo anyways  

      • SuzyS

        Thanks Aaron…pretty much as I thought….I’m also pretty sure that Ricketts is NOT one of John Henry’s favorite people just now.
        I’m thinking that down the road…we will probably have some type of dealings with Boston…ala Dallas Green and the Phillies…But that it might have to be a three-way deal in order to truly match up.

  • Theboardrider

    Reggie Golden

  • Anthony

    Not directly in response to Suzy BOS request, but to rehash something I posted here a week ago, or so.

    If BOS feels Garza is required to counter the NYY/SEA trade, then before that trade, I suggested:

    Garza, Byrd as the salary swap for Youklis and Ellsbury, even dollars for luxury tax considerations, then toss in Anthony Ranaudo and a couple younger prospects to close the deal.

    BOS gets a #2 in his prime, a plug in CF for one season.
    ChiC gets a one year rental on Youk, a solid CF with some offense, a near-ready SP(probably a #3 type) in Ranaudo and Theo can pick the add-ins he originally drafted.

    BOS will probably NOT renew Youk in 2013 for 14M, Ellsbury is Arb-Elig for 2012/13, and FA in 14.

    AT some point, Theo has to get Cub players in a deal instead of all prospects and speculation guys, he needs something proven at the MLB level in return.

    Youk also makes a backup 1B if needed, and the Cubs could always entertain signing him after 2012.

    This isn’t a comprehensive trade suggestion, but a foundation for thought, and potential trade basis.

    Fire Away

    • John_CC

      I have a hard time imagining that Boston would part with Ellsbury.  Teams like the Red Sox aren’t afraid of arbitration eligible players, not of Ellsbury’s talent. The guy is awesome, he had an MVP season last year. 

      I would love it if the Cubs could pry him away, but it seems really unlikely.  And I can’t see how the Red Sox would add any high level prospects along with him for Garza. Seems to me that Garza – Ellsbury would be a 1 for 1.

      But what do I know?  I am curious to hear what others think.

      • Anthony

        the chatter in chowdaland is that they are waiting to see if Ellsbury and the power surge was a fluke because eventually a LT contract may end up Crawford-like, and BOS is already paying luxtax.

        that is also why they may let Youk walk in 2013 instead of paying him 14M, so Youk included is a salary swap/dump

        BOS doesn’t have a prospect package alone that equates to two years of a #2 like Garza, and now BOS has to counter NYY, like it or not, by overpaying for you know who LHP, or taking a flyer on an Oswalt type.

        • John_CC

          I don’t know what prospects they have, but don’t you agree that Ellsbury would be a 1 for 1 trade with Garza?  They aren’t going to add prospects, Ellsbury is the best CF in the league.

          And I can’t think of who “you know who” is?  Oswalt would be a great addition to any staff.

          • Anthony

            meant RHP, like RJ was…lol

          • Agustinrexach

            You need two Garzas to get one Elsbury and I think very highly of Garza.

          • Anthony

            that is funny

    • ChadAudio

      Yeah, it seems like that would be a crazy bad trade for Boston.
      Youk had a down year, but remember – there aren’t many 3B options any more… he still worth a lot to a lot of teams.  
      In contrast, Ellsbury is at peak value right now.  I’m guessing, because of compensation owed for Theo, you couldn’t even do Ellsbury for Garza straight-up.

      • Anthony

        seems strange that a player with minimal power, away from the game due to injury, comes back, and all of a sudden, is healed and hits 30 bombs?

        very strange

        no track record of power

        instant power


  • texcubnut

    Tom, as always, great job. The 10 players I’d like to keep an eye on are Dae-Eun Rhee, R. Whitenack, Javier Baez, Zach Cates, R. Torreyes, R. Golden, R. Ridling, Dillon Maples, Matt Szczur and Jeff Beliveau. Some of the other ‘big’ names like Rizzo, B. Jax, Vitters, McNutt and Carpenter we’ll hear about them anyway. As for past prospects like C. Archer and Hak Ju Lee, well, I’m sure if they are not playing well than cubtex will be sure to let us know and if they are doing well than Tony Hall will be equally quick to let us know:)  Thank you for your time and effort involved in this, Tom. I know that it is extensive.

    • Tom U

      It’s never a problem when you love what you do.

      • paulcatanese

        Good response Tom,it show’s in all of you’re post’s.
        All of you guy’s must love it and all do a great job.

  • gocubs

    For all those who think Soriano is a bad Left Fielder…

    “While Soriano plays an awkward left field with what looks like a lack of
    coordination, he rates very favorably. UZR isn’t the gospel, but when a
    guy posts 2007-11 marks of +33, +16, -3, +5, +3, it seems safe to say
    he can field. Since switching to left field in 2006, Soriano has a
    cumulative +60 UZR, one-third of watch is attributable to his ARM
    Since 2006, only Chase Utley‘s +68 and Adrian Beltre‘s +65 outpace
    Soriano, and his arm only paled in comparison to Jeff Francouer and
    Jayson Werth. ” 

    • cc002600

      Do they have a stat that tracks routine flyballs that clank off the outfielder’s glove ?  or flyballs that he takes the wrong route to ?


      • Aaron

        And therein lips the reason you cannot solely rely on sabermetrics for evaluating players…though I am a huge sabermetrics advocate

        • Anthony

          Soriano “became” an outfielder, as he was an infielder, not a good one either, and WAS a 3 tool player, hit, hit for power, and speed.

          Outfield play has some genetic aspects, vision, athleticism, perception, burst(twitch) resulting in proper judgement(reads).

          Running while keeping your head still is not easily learned, if it all.

          Reads are the tough part(tool), but routes can be taught with speed to make up for other deficiencies.

          After you get past that, you better have a gun for an arm.

          So much time is spent labeling Top prospects from offensive boxscores, and many forget the other tools that make a complete player.

          Outfielders also have the innate abilty when tracking due to ballspin, picking up on shanks, hooks, slices, ropes, and also have to be a tad balsy many times going back to a wall or coming in with infielders in the way of flares.

          Solid outfield play is kind of like having great long-range radar.

          LF is where your weakest OF resides, and Soriano is awful defensively anywhere, was awful everywhere, but could hit, and once could run.

          The man is now a DH. That isn’t news!

          Kenny Lofton made great plays using his speed and athleticism

          Jim Edmonds was born to play the outfield.

          • paulcatanese

            With Edmonds therin lies the difference, he never had to use his eyes to any great degree to track the ball, he knew at the crack of the bat, pretty darn close where it was going to be, all he had to do is turn and end up at the spot, uncanny, but he knew.

          • Anthony

            two dynamics at work paul, one new school, one old.

            new school, hire a non-baseball athlete and try to teach

            old school, if you can hit, they will find a position for you

            Edmunds was great because he wasn’t a “modern day” profiled CF(speedy jackrabbit), just a dang good one born for the position.

          • paulcatanese

            Edmonds profield the two Dimaggio brothers, Piersall, as
            Lofton did Mantle. 

          • Anthony

            Mick was natural, Lofton was learned

          • paulcatanese


            Mick was a shortstop when he came up.He was also a natural right handed hitter and learned to hit lefty from his dad.

          • Anthony

            I forgot to mention the RF sun, and the couple seconds of playing blind from the deck of lights the ball travels through. A natural OF player already has a feel for where the ball will return to vision. It ain’t easy folks.

          • cubtex

            Running with your head still is hard to do and not easily learned…if at all. What? If you had said running on the balls of your feet in the outfield instead of your heels where to visually makes the ball appear to move up and down….I might buy into that….but to say it is hard to learn to run with your headstill? I have played a long time and have never heard that!

          • Anthony

            end justifies the mean………meaning the same thing

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, playing the infield for any length of time would give you a very good idea where the ball would come down and you could turn and bust to the spot. Never had a problem with pop ups. Never paid attention to what my head was doing, it didnt have anything in it anyhow.:)

    • Tony_Hall

      So you think he is a good fielding outfielder?   Have you ever used your own eyes and said the same thing?  

      He is bad in the OF, that is why you have to have a mix of stats and scouting.  

      • cubtex

        Can I quote u on that :)

        • Tony_Hall

          You have to use both, we both know that.  

    • ChadAudio

      If you read the article, you can immediately find it’s flawed logic.  It rates how Soriano has done over a span of time, since becoming an outfielder.  The problem is, the last 2 years has shown that his defensive skills have sharply fallen off the table.
      Yes, when he first started play OF, he could run, and use his arm.  Since then, he has had injuries, and doesn’t have the athleticism to cover up for his terrible miss-plays.  2012 version of Soriano is not a usable LF.

      • cubtex

        A lot of stats are flawed. If you dig deep enough on numbers and stats you can usually find what you want. Fangraphs has Garza with a 5.0 WAR where baseball reference is in the 2’s. You can usually spin things in different ways.

  • Anthony

    one thing mentioned at the festivities was the instant video results that will be provided to each minor leaguer, as well as advanced scouting video on opponents where they can access online

    Tom, your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to get more info on a concept that most D1 colleges have employed the past several years on opposing pitchers and hitters

    Colleges with small budgets provided this stuff?