Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 01/23/12

As we near the Caribbean World Series, Obregon continued its drive to defend their title with the help of Marco Carrillo, Oswaldo Martinez, and Alfredo Amezaga. Kyle Smit may have pitched the game of his life as Mayaguez inched closer to the series, while Juan Apodaca and former Cubs’ farmhand Austin Bibens-Dirkx tried to keep Zulia’s hopes afloat.

In Australia, the Brisbane Bandits made a desperate last minute push for the playoffs with Ryan Searle leading the way.

To find out how your favorites fared, look inside this week’s Down on the Farm Report.

Dominican Winter League

Gigantes del Cibao
Newly re-signed catcher Mario Mercedes had a rare appearance on Monday, going 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter/defensive replacement in the Giants’ 8-2 loss to Escogido. Cibao was eliminated from post-season play, as Escogido faces Cibaenas in the DWL championship.

Mexican Pacific League

Yaquis de Obregon
Ahead 2-1 in their semi-final series against Mexicali, Obregon turned to starter Marco Carrillo to widen the gap on Sunday. Carrillo was up to the task as he threw six innings, allowing only a solo home run and striking out three in a 5-1 win over the Eagles. Shortstop Alfredo Amezaga was 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

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Alfredo Amezaga was then 1-for-5 with a run scored on Monday, as the Yaquis eliminated Mexicali 10-3. Reliever Oswaldo Martinez helped nail down the victory by striking out a batter in a scoreless inning of work.

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As the LMP finals began on Saturday, Alfredo Amezaga was 0-for-3 in the Tribe’s 3-2 win over Guasave.

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Puerto Rico Baseball League

Indios de Mayaguez
Mayaguez currently has a 4-2 lead in the LBPPR best of nine finals.

Last Sunday, Iowa pitcher Kyle Smit tossed an inning of relief as the Indians fell 4-0 to Caugas. Smit then went on to have one of his finest pitching performances on Tuesday. Called on with two out in the third inning, Smit delivered 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball. Smit struck out three and earned the win as Mayaguez beat Caugas 2-0.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Saturday night’s game was suspended in the ninth inning, with Mayaguez leading 8-4. Completed Sunday afternoon, Kyle Smit was called on again as Caugas inched closer by scoring another run. Smit set down the side after inducing a double play and getting a pop-up after allowing a hit. Smit would earn the save as the Indians won 8-5.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Venezuelan Winter League

Aguilas del Zulia
The Cubs recently signed 25-year old minor league catcher Juan Apodaca, formerly of the Indians and Red Sox organizations. Apodaca was 1-for-4 in a 16-5 loss to La Guaira on Sunday and 0-4 on Thursday, as the Eagles lost 8-1 to Anzoategui.

Former Cubs’ farmhand Austin Bibens-Dirkx got his playoff form back on track, tossing seven innings of shut-out ball on Wednesday. Bibens-Dirkx struck out two and improved his post-season record to 1-2 as the Eagles defeated on Anzoategui 3-1.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Australian Baseball League

Brisbane Bandits
The Brisbane Bandits ended the ABL regular season tied for the last remaining playoff spot, but lost out on the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Tennessee starter Ryan Searle did his best to keep the Bandits in contention. On the season’s penultimate day, Searle went seven innings in the second half of a double-header. Searle allowed two earned runs, including a solo home run, and struck out nine for a 4-3 win over Adelaide. For the season, Searle was 3-1with a 3.66 ERA and 32 strikeouts against 9 walks in 32 innings pitched.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

News and Notes
The Cubs re-signed Mario Mercedes according to Baseball America. The Cubs also signed Jason Jaramillo, Rodrigo Lopez and Matt Tolbert to minor league contracts that include non-roster invitations to Spring Training.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx signed a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals.

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.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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  • Anthony

    Old News:

    For my buddy Tony:

    2009 Fleita/Wilken regime, even with Castro on board, they made a hot pursuit for this SS because they even knew back then Darlin Starlin was a temp fix at the position.

    Now, the Cubs lost out to Theo, and as of now, Theo and the boys appear to be OK with Wilken/Fleita, and why not, they do a good job, and you are going to tell me all these suits aren’t trying to figure this out and try to pry the kid away? Fine

    http://www.thecubreporter.com/site/jose-iglesias

    Iglesias was signed by the Sox to a four-year, $8.25 million major league deal over the summer. While some teams were surprised that the price went that high, there was at least one team — the Cubs — that, according to multiple baseball sources, was willing to pay even more to acquire the 20-year-old,

    http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2010/02/21/an-infield-coachs-first-glimpse-of-iglesias/

    • Aaron

      Anthony….

      It’s one thing to be an advocate of the Cubs moving him to 3B or something like that…and given the other options now, I’m not sure why you’d even want to do that at this point…

      But you’re taking this to a ridiculous level. Iglesias will NOT stick at the MLB level because he’s a clone of Rey Ordonez…only worse, because Rey could actually hit in the near.250’s but even as good as he was in the field he eventually flamed out because teams realized that “glove men” were no longer valuable as they could no longer afford to give away at bats….ESPECIALLY in the NL where you could be giving away 2…possibly even 3 at bats if you also had a light hitting catcher

      • Aaron

        Also…don’t think for a second Team Theo doesn’t think about the implications with the fanbase (and Ricketts probably conveyed this to them as well) of trading the ONLY potential star player to come up through the system in a LONG time.

        Give this coaching staff a chance to work with the kid…After all, he’ll be just 22 years old. He also increased his power numbers last year, along with stolen bases, PLUS, if you look at errors per game rate, he dropped that (27 errors in 125 games the year before and 29 errors in 158 games last year). Is that a good number? No, but he was just 21 years old last year. Give the kid a break for crying out loud.

        • wfn2

          I think the fact that Castro has tremendous upside potential is the exact reason why he ‘should’ be traded, because he will bring unfathomable talent in return.  Its because he has the potential to be an All Star every year for 15 years, teams will have to give up an unreal huge package for him.  Packages like, from the Braves, Jurjens, Prado, Venters, and Bethancourt.  From the Tigers, Turner, Smyly, Oliver, and a couple other quality prospects as well.  Think big, don’t think ‘He’s awesome, we cant trade him’, think ‘He’s awesome, lets get a TON of talent for him’, we’ll get back far more than he could ever be worth.  That’s what Theo does even with lesser talents like Marshall, no doubt if he traded Castro he’d do a deal better than any of us here have even imagined.  Thats why I’d love to see Theo trade him, that one trade could set this team up in ways we can only imagine.

          • Tony_Hall

            And if a team does offer, that unbelievable package, that truly offers 3 or 4  players, who all can be a part of the future, then they will say yes.  But, that’s just not gonna happen anymore.

            First, Castro will be a Super 2 (most likely) next year.  So, his cheap years will be gone, as his pay will start moving up fast, especially if he repeats his first 2 years and especially if he improves.  

            Second, teams are just not as willing to give up 3 or 4 MLB type players anymore for 1 MLB player.  He would return 2 Top prospects and maybe 2 mid-level prospects, and I just don’t see teams doing that, with the new CBA.

    • daverj

      This is a new one … a Cub fan UNDERvaluing the Cub’s best player.

      Why should we judge the 2012 Castro based on the scouting department’s view in 2009?  Also, Iglesias’ bat has not developed as well as expected back in 2009.

      The Cubs are not trading Castro this offseason.  The Cubs are not getting Ellsbury this offseason.  The Cubs are not getting Youkilis this offseason.

      Is it possible that Iglesias is traded to the Cubs in a deal for Garza? …. Yes, but it’s unlikely the Red Sox can put a package of prospects together that would satisfy Epstein.

      • paulcatanese

        I do not undervalue Castro. I do not think he should be traded, but, with the signings of Theo this year and invites to spring training that are being given out at an alarming number, I do not think it’s out of the realm that he could be traded.

        He (Castro) would bring a number of interesting options to Theo, as well as Garza.

        Now that Linecum has declared he wants 100 mil. I would think that raises Garza’s stock.

        I would not like to see either traded, but two ballplayers do not make a pennant contender, and as long as they will have to wait until they become viable
        increases the time that they have to remain valuable.

        They are both guys to get the Cubs somwhere, but again it will take an inordinate amount of time to get it done, too many holes to fill.

        They could (not saying they should) be traded based on the number of good prospects they could bring, and the time to improve would be shortened.

        Theo cannot build a winner with the type of players he is bringing in, too many things have to happen to too many players to make that come about.

        I think their is that possibility that they could be gone.

    • John_CC

      Anthony…hmmm…why the sarcastic personal nature of your post?  Why don’t you let that rest, back and forth debates are better when it’s just based on the merits of the argument rather always trying to show someone else up. 

      Because there is nothing wrong with throwing out trade ideas and making up your own “ideal” moves. We all do it. It’s fun. It’s a big part of this whole blogging things, right?  So maybe you should stop railing on all the “momma’s basement” dwellers that just make stuff up, then you wouldn’t have to defend yourself so vehemently for doing the same thing.

      You found some sources to back your idea that the Cubs want to move Castro…the problem is those two “articles” are 2 years old.  Feb 2010 was before Castro stepped foot in the MLB. Before he performed well above expectations for 20 year old rookie, and before he then went out in his sophomore year out-did his near ROY season by collecting 200+ hits with increased power and 21 years old. 

      The Cubs are not going to trade the only legitimate offensive player they’ve produced since Mark Grace for defensive SS that can’t hit his way out of a paper bag!

      If you think everyone here is so dumb, or a bunch of losers living in momma’s basement, then why o why do you keep coming back?  Please, man just participate like the mature baseball fan that you are! You clearly have a lot of experience and knowledge in the game.  Use it for good, not evil! :)

    • Tony_Hall

      2 year old articles…I’ve always said, you can always find an article on the internet to back any argument you want to make…but 2 years old…before Castro played at Wrigley…that’s stretching it Phil.

      Just because a team signs a player, or drafts a player, doesn’t  mean they are wanting to replace the incumbent.   Best player available…if a player is in the draft or international signing, you always pick up the best players you can get.  

      So just because a team wants to sign a SS, doesn’t mean they don’t like their SS.

  • daverj

    For all those LeMahieu fans, the Rockies acquisition of Marco Scutaro to play 2B tells you all you need to know about how the organization views LeMahieu’s prospects for 2012 major league contributions.

    • Aaron

      I wouldn’t be too quick to assume that. The Rockies are hoping he can man 3B until their top prospect is ready. Scutaro will be the starting 2B for sure, given his contract…but don’t discount the fact that LeMahieu can also play 1B in a pinch for the oft-injured Helton.

      • ChadAudio

        Aaron.  LeMahieu may still stick with the Rockies, but the Scutaro signing was a big hit to his chances.  
        The Rockies signed Casey Blake to play 3B this offseason, and since they spent the money, it’s his job to loose.
        As for 1B, the Rockies signed Cuddyer to be the RF and occasional backup to Giambi and Helton.  Plus, the Rockies have mentioned Colvin as a possible 1B backup as well.  The Rockies just keep signing players, that makes it seem like LeMahieu was a backup for them if they weren’t able to make transactions like the Scutaro trade.
        Now, it seems LeMahieu is set to battle utility IF duty… but remember, defense isn’t really LeMahieu’s strong strength so… we’ll see.

        • Tony_Hall

          And to back up your thoughts.

          “One of the great shifts in the offseason has been the Colorado Rockies’ move to strengthen the culture of their clubhouse. A major investment was made in Michael Cuddyer, regarded as one of the best leaders in baseball. The Rockies signed veterans to play catcher (Ramon Hernandez) and third base (Casey Blake).

          And now Colorado has added another veteran, with the trade for Marco Scutaro, who has a reputation as a great clubhouse guy. Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told the Denver Post’s Troy Renck: “He fits in well. He’s another guy with a slow heartbeat that is a winning player.”

          This is what the Colorado lineup could look like:

          CF Dexter Fowler
          2B Scutaro
          LF Carlos Gonzalez
          SS Troy Tulowitzki
          RF Cuddyer
          1B Todd Helton
          C Hernandez
          3B Blake

          Colorado may now have as much experience in its everyday lineup as any team in the majors (and this comes with a heightened injury risk, as well). If the Rockies can get good starting pitching — to go along with what should be a good bullpen — Colorado should be part of the lead pack in the NL West.

          The Rockies are built to mash and can roll if their rotation is mentally up to the challenge, writes Renck.”
          http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/7489119/colorado-rockies-hope-addition-veterans-help-win-nl-west-mlb

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yeah, yeah, yeah. But the Rockies should remember:

            “Nice guys finish last.”

          • Tony_Hall

            I don’t care about the Rockies, I just cut and pasted the info because it is an ESPN Insider article and not everyone has access.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Sure Tony. I wasn’t making any comment about you. I was just saying that the Rocks need to remember that building a club around nice guys ain’t a winning formula.

          • Tony_Hall

            Nice guys finish last…maybe that’s been one of the Cubs problem…add it to the list of problems with this team.

            I can’t wait for ST to get started, this off season has started to drag on.

  • Anthony

    When Jackson played for Cal, his K/AB was an issue even with a metal bat around 25% to go along with a mediocre slugging percentage.

    Looking at his development in Pro ball with a wood bat, the K/AB is actually worse, basically a poor contact rate and no sign of it trending to an acceptable rate of say 20%.

    Some power has developed, but will there be enough to overcome his high K rate?

    In AAA Iowa, the PCL bashers league, K/AB at 35%

    10 HR’s, you think he was swinging from the heels?

    –this report filed from momma’s basment–lol

  • paulcatanese

    Tom, now B Jackson is rated number 5 in all of Major League prospects and thats great.

    But when is he going to show his face with the Cubs?,  Every year their were promises that he would be up and he isn’t .
    When finally do you thinkg that’s going to happen?

    • daverj

      The rating was 5th for outfield prospects … not all prospects.

      I know you asked Tom and not me, but assuming Jackson starts off well in AAA, I’m confident we’ll see him in Wrigley somewhere between mid-June and early July of this year.  the Cubs will keep him in AAA to start the season to avoid Super 2 status and save some cash.

      • Tom U

        Took the words right out of my mouth, daverj!

    • Tony_Hall

      Exactly what Dave said, and let me add that he would have seen Wrigley last year, but he had just gotten injured when they needed an OF.

  • paulcatanese

    Spring training will be a zoo. With all the invites that have gone out, as I mentioned before, there going to need a bigger ballpark.
    I envision numbers on the back(like the ones that were taped on at tryouts) to see who they are.
    Theo needs a bigger staff to see this thru. Not making fun at all, but the few short weeks that spring training allows, I don’t see how all are going to get an equal shot.
    Theo will need 30 hour days to make it happen.
    I wish I had faith in this system as others have,but I get the feeling that whatever pops up on the computer on a given day, that person is invited.
    It’s like filling a basket with apples, shaking it around and what ever falls out is gone.
    You know sometimes a good apple is overlooked or falls out of the basket by accident, I hope this doesent happen.

    • Tony_Hall

      Paul – I really don’t think there will be all that much difference in the number of players in ST, than any other team, any other year.  This years team is not being built with 2012 World Series thoughts, but to build a team, without affecting the building of the foundation.  Give it some time, I really think after what you watched the last couple of years, you will enjoy this years team more than those teams…I know that isn’t setting the hurdle high.

      • paulcatanese

        Sure hope thats the caseTony. I have made a New Years resolution that if I cannot say somthing nice or in a nice way, I will not comment at all. (wonder how long that one will last):)

  • cubtex

    FYI……..With the recent signing of Carlos Pena by the Rays, the Cubs will draft this way in the upcoming draft.

    6th overall pick
    42nd overall pick( ARam)
    53rd overall pick(Pena)

    Good opportunity to add more quality depth to the system!

    • daverj

      Added highly regarding young talent will allow the Cubs to package young players for star major leaguers when the time is right.  Stockpiling high draft picks (and drafting the right players) is a big key to the current rebuilding plan.

    • cc002600

      If Hendry was still GM, you wouldn’t have the sandwich picks….

      :-)

      • daverj

        Agreed!

  • Zonk

    I have to say I’m impressed so far with the new management. 

    Look at our division; Cincy, St. Louis, and Milwaukee all have short-term windows to acheive, and are built to win quickly, or flame-out.  Cincy is all-in on 2012, and Milwaukee has to hurry as the FA clock is running out on it’s best pitchers.  St. Louis is relyling on Beltran and Berkman for run production.  All 3 have issues with age or FA retention.

    All of this means that it is wise to chuck 2012, and target 2014+.  Because it’s possible it won’t take much to be the best team in the NL Central by 2014.  We’ll also have one less team to contend with by then (though the present-day Astros are doormats). 

    We could be like the Red Sox, except no Yankees in our division…..

  • Anthony

    thanks Paul for the little bit of open-eyed baseball versus Blue colored glasses.

    Castro is medicore at best at SS, and you can Google your brains out and read enough articles and opinions by experts that constantly repeat, move to 3B, move to LF, move to 2B, etc.

    Point is, he is an offensive Tweener everywhere except SS, and the BA and OBP, and averahe power simply does NOT fit in the long run.

    Garza and Castro, two players, can effectively produce 8 players, either as contributors, and/or many trade chips.

    You think Theo is done with his overhaul? Not even close.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    It is Very Broken, get it while the gettin is good!

    • cubtex

      Offensive tweener??? Cmon man…give it a rest! All this kid did last year is lead the NL in hits with 207 and was 6th in the league in batting average at…….AGE 21!!!!!! He is special and I cannot believe you cannot see this!

    • John_CC

      He has two MLB seasons on the back of his card and he is 21 years old!  My point – please do not talk about his BA, OBP and especially his power.  Come on! You know better than that. Or are you really ready to say that Castro is going to be a .300 hitter with an OBP in the .340 range with 10 HR power for the rest of his career?  Really?  Did you also sell all your belongings in lead up the last end of the world prognostication?  Of course you didn’t. And you do not believe that Castro has peaked.

      Also you are one that has been lamenting the roid era comparisons of position to historical numbers. Let’s use 2B for example as I think you have already. It wasn’t until the last couple decades that 2B was power/run producing position. If we really are to see number regress back to historical averages (which I think is already happening) then are you really saying that Castro would be an offensive “tweener” if he were a full time 2Bman?  Because with a developing power I know you believe Castro can be a 20 HR guy, coupled with his .300 BA, .340 OBP, and 20 SB … that line looks a lot like the career average line of Ryno. 

      When Ryno was 22 years old, he played 156 games. He hit .271/.312/.372. He struck out 90 times and walked only 36 times. Hit 7 HR.  I think we are all glad he wasn’t slapped with some silly label like “tweener” when he was just 22 and shipped off.

    • Tony_Hall

      Once again, you keep showing everyone how clueless you are on this subject.

      You really are Phil Rogers…

      • Ripsnorter1

        Anthony must have been the guy who traded Bill Madlock away for two handfuls of garbage……

        • Smcneil

          Wasn’t Madlock trade to Giants for Bobby Murcer? And just to save 100K or whatever Madlock’s salary demands were. I hated that trade, we traded a young thirdbaseman over money demands for a veteran making more money.

          Scott

          • Ripsnorter1

            Yes, and the next year we gave Murcer the money that Madlock was asking for….

            Just another stupid trade by stupid management…..

          • SuzyS

            Rip…stupid management but a different time…The Madlock trade came directly from PK Wrigley’s refusal to spend money for a true winner.
            …at a time when the upper deck was always closed and you could usually find 3 – 500 people in the bleachers on a good day…BUT…ANYONE could afford to see a bad product on any day of the week.
            Now we break the bank to see a bad product.

    • daverj

      You keep digging a bigger hole for yourself on this Castro thing.  The jury is still out on how much power Castro will develop, but he certainly is trending the right direction for a 21 year old.  He has 5-6 years of growth before his prime power years.  He also is becoming a better base stealer.  Five years from now, Castro may have be good for 20 Hr and 30 SB a season.

  • Anthony

    The following should put everyone back to reality and see how behind the Cubs are, and how much work is needed yet.

    One of the best, and fairest trades in MLB history recently happened between the Yanks and Mariners.

    They were able to part with a SP of quality in Pineda(age 23) for a quality hitter in Montero.(only)

    The rumors that Theo wanted Montero, Betances, Banuelos etc. for Garza look funny now, and they should.

    The Mariners have Hultzen, Paxton, and my favorite Taijuan Walker in their stable. The Cubs have NADA.

    Now, how do you resolve that? Well, get lucky for the next 3 drafts under the new CBA, or, trade your best chips in and split them!!

    Some of you can Momma’s basement me all you want. but every time you do, refer to this great trade that will benefit both clubs, and pine for the day your team can do business in this proper fashion.

    Matt Garza and Starlin Darlin Castro are the ONLY trade chips that could bring back the players to immediately make this type of deal that would benefit the Cubs both ST and LT.

    Open your baseball minds.

    • John_CC

       Pineda had one really good rookie season, Montero has all of 60 ABs in the show.  Rizzo for Cashner was pretty good trade of top prospects maybe not as touted as the other two, but my point is it was an equitable trade of high ceiling, top talent, young players.

      And what does this have to do with back to reality? And how does this show “how behind the Cubs are”?  And what the hell is your point?!

      • Tony_Hall

        He has no points, he is beyond clueless. 

    • Tony_Hall

      Yes Phil…whatever you say Phil.

    • daverj

      What makes that deal one of the “best and fairest trades in MLB history”?  How is it any better or fairer than thousands of other deals?

      How do you have any clue how that deal will be viewed 5 years from now?

      The odds are that either one or both of Pineda and Montero will not have a successful major league career and deal may look very lopsided in hindsight.

  • SuzyS

    Anthony and Tony…could you both please stop the “momma’s basement AND Phil Rodgers BS. OR find another blog to put it on…
    Neither fits the “Stay Classy” category that the CCO usually maintains….at least come up with something new…instead of saying the same thing over and over again.

    Anthony….for over a week you’ve been talking about trading Castro, selling high and then denigrating him. YOUR POINT WAS MADE LOUD AND CLEAR….please move on to another topic.