Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/24/12

To start this week, the mid-May shuffle took a positive spin as pitchers PJ Francescon, Eric Jokisch, Brooks Raley, and Travis Wood were all promoted a level. The promotions can be seen as a positive step for the organization, as each level is closing in on playing at the .500 level, while Peoria and Tennessee recorded their 20th wins.

With Anthony Rizzo still pounding away at Iowa, the parent club has had to scramble to address rumors of his promotion. As Daytona gets their offense untracked, rumors of promotions began to swirl around that team.

With all the latest comings and goings, take a look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.

Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (20-25)
It took ten innings, but Peoria finally recorded their 20th win on Sunday with a 9-6 victory over Cedar Rapids. The Chiefs started quickly, as they posted four runs in the first inning. Taiwan Easterling (1-for-4) and Rafael Lopez (2-for-6, double, RBI) came home on a triple by Paul Hoilman (2-for-5, triple, RBI). Hoilman then scored on a single by Taylor Davis (3-for-3, double, two RBI), with Davis scoring later in the inning. Anthony Giansanti and Oliver Zapata were each 2-for-4, while Pin-Chieh Chen plated two with a double as he was 1-for-5.

Gerardo Concepcion put forth what can be considered at this point to be a typical effort. Concepcion allowed four earned runs in five innings of work with two strikeouts. Ben Wells was his piggyback, and although he blew a save with two earned runs in the ninth, he struck out seven in five innings for the win.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Chiefs allowed Cedar Rapids to break open a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth with three earned runs as Peoria ended up falling 5-4. Larry Suarez was responsible for the winning margin, serving up a three-run homer in his one inning of work. Michael Jensen started and struck out four while allowing two earned runs in 5.1 innings. He was followed by Luis Liria, who kept the Kernels off the board for 1.2 innings. Oliver Zapata was the offensive star, going 1-for-1 with three walks, two stolen bases, an RBI, and two runs scored. Paul Hoilman was 2-for-5 with a double.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (18-25)
In what can be considered his worst pitching performance of the season, Austin Kirk and Daytona were pounded by Palm Beach 8-4 on Sunday. Kirk simply didn’t have it, as he allowed six earned runs on eight hits over 2.1 innings, striking out two batters. Eduardo Figueroa tried to keep the D-Cubs in the game by striking out five, but gave up an unearned run in 1.2 innings. Joe Zeller was also the victim of an unearned run, as he struck out two in two innings. Tony Zych got some mop up work, as he tossed two scoreless innings. Micah Gibbs recorded his first hit for Daytona, as he was 1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI. Richard Jones and Ronald Torreyes also drove in runs, while Nelson Perez and Elieser Bonne were each 2-for-4.

A pitcher’s duel on Monday turned out to be a sprint to the finish, as Daytona nosed out St. Lucie 4-3. Starter Matt Loosen had things in control until the seventh inning, when he gave up a solo home run. For the evening, Loosen struck out eight in 6.2 innings. Ty’Relle Harris then gave back the lead, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out two batters. In a new role, Ryan Searle came in and shut down the Mets in order in the ninth, and set the scene for the offense to save the day.

The first order of business was to tie the score, which the D-Cubs did in the seventh when Chad Noble (2-for-4) scored on a single by Matt Szczur (2-for-4). In the ninth, Noble started the rally again with a single, followed by a John Andreoli (2-for-3, two stolen bases) walk. Noble came home on a throwing error after Szczur singled for the second time. Andreoli crossed the plate on a single by Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5, RBI), and Nelson Perez was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Greg Rohan (1-for-4, double, RBI) brought in the game winner with a sac fly.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

It was another thriller on Tuesday as Daytona took ten innings, but finally put away St. Lucie with a 6-5 win. PJ Francescon got his first Florida State League start, and was impressive as he went six innings and allowed two runs (one earned), as he struck out five batters. Hayden Simpson had a rough time, as he let the Mets back into the game by giving up three earned runs in his one inning of work. Scott Weismann then righted the ship, punching out two as he went a scoreless inning. AJ Morris then got the long save, as he shut St. Lucie down the rest of the way and posted a strikeout.

Matt Szczur set the pace for the D-Cubs again, as he was 2-for-4 with a double, stolen base, and an RBI. Greg Rohan is now putting some distance in his RBI lead, as he ran his total to 37 by slugging his sixth home runs and driving in two. Nelson Perez is now tied for second in home runs, as he belted his seventh of the year and was 2-for-4. John Andreoli was also 2-for-4 and picked up his tenth stolen base.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (20-26)
By starting and finishing earlier, the Smokies were technically the first team in the organization to 20 wins as they defeated Mississippi 6-3 on Sunday. A resurgent Jae-Hoon Ha has been a key to the Tennessee attack, as he was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. He was on board for one of two home runs by Rebel Ridling (2-for-4, two home runs and three RBI). James Adduci (1-for-3, RBI) added a solo blast. Justin Bour drove in two runs as he was 1-for-4.

Trey McNutt bounced back from his longest outing of the season with a reasonable effort, allowing three runs (one earned) in five innings. Once again, the bullpen is emerging as a dangerous weapon for the Smokies as three relievers held the Braves scoreless the rest of the way. Casey Weathers pitched inning and had a strikeout, while Kevin Rhoderick punched out two in his two innings. Frank Batista remains unscored-upon in the Southern League, as he tossed an inning for his sixth save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Once again, Tennessee allowed things to slip away, as a 4-2 lead ended in an 8-5 loss to Mississippi on Monday. Dae-Eun Rhee was a little shaky, but was able to gut out six innings and give up three earned runs. However, Brian Schlitter totally fell apart by allowing three earned runs and letting a fourth in on his throwing error, all in only 1.1 innings. Casey Harman didn’t do much better, letting in the final earned run. Jae-Hoon Ha continues to set the table, as he was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Rebel Ridling swatted his third home run in two days, as he was 1-for-4 and two RBI. The only other Smokie with multiple hits was Junior Lake, as he was 2-for-4.

As the Smokies were caught between transactions, Mobile was able to take advantage of some poor situational pitching to defeat Tennessee 4-3 on Tuesday. With Brooks Raley promoted to Iowa and Eric Jokisch not up from Daytona, Jeffry Antigua was given the start and went four innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out three. Knowing the game was up to them, some members of the bullpen were not up to the task. Casey Weathers did his job, holding the BayBears scoreless for an inning. But veteran Marcus Hatley put the Smokies in a two run hole, as he coughed up an earned run, but struck out two, in an inning. Then Alberto Cabrera couldn’t pitch around a Junior Lake error, giving up an unearned run in his two innings. Lake would put Tennessee on the board with a home run to lead off the game, and was 3-for-5 for the evening. But even though the Smokies had nine hits, they couldn’t bunch them for runs. Justin Bour was 3-for-4, while Luis Flores and James Adduci drove in runs.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (19-25)
Another great pitching performance went by the wayside on Sunday, as Iowa dropped a 2-1 loss to Salt Lake City. Rodrigo Lopez tossed a one-hitter through six innings, striking out five batters. However, Nate Robertson was the goat by serving up back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh. Jeff Beliveau finished things out, striking out three in two scoreless innings, but it was too late. Brett Jackson, Luis Valbuena, Josh Vitters, Dave Sappelt, and Brian Esposito each had a hit, with Sappelt driving in Vitters, who doubled in the fourth inning.

The I-Cubs were never in it on Monday, as pitching was responsible for an 8-2 loss to Tacoma. Jay Jackson was back in the starting rotation. However, with a six earned runs in three innings performance, he wasn’t missed. It then turned into a bullpen night, as Manny Corpas held serve for three innings, but Ryan Roland-Smith allowed the Rainiers to add to their totals with an earned run in an inning. Mike MacDougal gave up an unearned run, while Scott Maine mercifully ended things with a scoreless inning. Despite ten hits, Iowa could only manage two runs. Alfredo Amezaga and Juan Apodaca were 2-for-3, while Blake DeWitt was 2-for-4.

Iowa erased the sour taste of Monday’s game with an 18-hit romp as they defeated Tacoma 18-8 on Tuesday. Every I-Cub had a hit except defensive replacement Juan Apodaca. Anthony Rizzo may have had the best day, as he was 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and five runs scored. Joining Rizzo in going deep was Luis Valbuena, who was 2-for-4 including a double, home run, and four RBI. Another couple of Iowa players driving in a pair were Dave Sappelt, as he was 2-for-5 with a double, and Josh Vitters was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Nate Samson was 2-for-5, and Alfredo Amezaga was 2-for-6 including a double and an RBI.

Chris Volstad got his first start for the I-Cubs and was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst, as he struck out six and allowed four earned runs in six innings. Esmailin Caridad’s three earned runs in two innings hurt nothing this time, except his ERA. Nate Robertson completed the underwhelming performance, as he gave up an earned run in an inning of work.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

News and Notes
Left-handed pitcher Brooks Raley was assigned to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies. Left-handed pitcher Eric Jokisch was assigned to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs. Right-handed pitcher PJ Francescon was assigned to the Daytona Cubs from the Peoria Chiefs.

CCO’s Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (IF) – Extended Spring Training: Unofficial numbers – .329, five doubles, three triples, eight home runs, 26 RBI, 10 stolen bases
  • Jeimer Candelario (3B) – Extended Spring Training: Unofficial numbers – .315, eight doubles, three triples, home run, 14 RBI, two stolen bases
  • Zeke DeVoss (2B) – .236, six doubles, triple, two home runs, 11 RBI, 11 stolen bases (Peoria Chiefs)
  • Junior Lake (IF) – . 310, four doubles, triple, two home runs, five RBI, three stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Dillon Maples (RHP) – Extended Spring Training: Rehab, has not pitched
  • Matt Szczur (OF) – .270, 11 doubles, three triples, home run, 11 RBI, 19 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Ronald Torreyes (2B) – .154, three doubles, two triples, six RBI, four stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Josh Vitters (3B) – .253, 10 doubles, four home runs, 20 RBI, stolen base (Iowa Cubs)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Extended Spring Training: Unofficial numbers – .183, three doubles, triple, two home runs, eight RBI
  • Tony Zych (RHP) – 2-1, 3.22 ERA, 22.1 innings, 17 strikeouts, 4 walks, 1.16 WHIP, 4 saves (Daytona Cubs)

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • Bphiatt723

    Tom U,
    Where do you think javier baez will move to? Boise or Peoria??

    • Tom U

      That’s difficult to say. Baez would probably be best served by going to Boise, where he can grow up with an infield on Jeimer Candelario at third, Gioskar Amaya at second, and Dan Vogelbach at first. 

      However, I can see Baez also starting in Arizona. His defense will have to improve to get to the awful level, and there’s a lot of question as to where he will end up playing in the field.

      That all said, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Baez at Peoria for a short period of time, until Boise is ready to open. This isn’t unusual for a player who doesn’t seemed challenged by EXT pitching. Last year, the organization moved up Kyung-Min Na and Ryan Cuneo in a similar fashion, only to send them to Boise later. 

  • Zonk

    Ronald Torreyes’s numbers look horrible (he’s at .175 as of today, so must have had a good game last night), but there are silver linings.

    First, he only has 8 Ks in 126 ABs.  He has put the ball in play 118 times, with only 22 hits.  That is a very very low BABIP, particularly for a player with good footspeed like he has.  If he keeps making contact like that, his BA will rise.  He’s been unlucky.

    Second, he is young for his level, only 19.  He’s got time.

    Don’t close the book on that Marshall trade yet

    • Calicub

      As much as i have given team theo carte blanche, i think its fair to say that no one is truly winning the trade with the reds. Had marshall stayed in chicago i think his numbers would have been better, and likewise for wood, that being said, the cubs still have two players in Sappelt, whom the cubs systtem didnt need anyway, and torreyes who can easily become contributors for the cubs.

      The Stewart trade on the other hand has proven to be an immediate disaster, as Dj is up and crushing it as a. 2B and then there is colvin who thrugh 35 games is batting .296.

      Meanwhile the cubs got a thirdbasmen who seems to be having trouble reaching 200 and a wild pitcher closer to being cut than being promoted.

      • Scott

        I was never a big fan of the trade myself, but I’m not sure it is quite as bad as you make it seem.  Colvin has done things with “smoke and mirrors” at this point.  He has struck out 25 times in 81 at bats and has a BABIP of .429,  Seems like his average just might fall a little bit when it stops being quite so lucky.

        As for LeMahieu, I misunderstood and thought when you said he “is up” that he was with the MLB team, but he is still at AAA.  I wouldn’t say that he is “crushing” it though.  His average is a very nice .315, but he is only slugging .398 and is leading the team in errors.

        At least in my opinion, Colvin and LeMahieu are exactly what I thought that they were – Colvin is an all or nothing outfielder while LeMahieu is a solid hitter with little power and is iffy in the field.  The trade was a high risk/high reward proposition.  Sometimes those work, sometimes they don’t.

        • Tom U

          LeMahieu was promoted to Colorado yesterday.

        • cubtex

          Would this be fair to say?

          Z and 16 mil for Volstad= Huge edge Marlins

          Marshal for T Wood, Sappelt, Torreyes= Edge Reds

          Cashner for Rizzo= I think both teams would do this trade again….so even thus far

          Marlon Byrd and 5 mil for Bowden= Edge Red Sox

          Colvin/Lemahieu for Stewart/Weathers= Edge Rockies

          Team Theo subtracted 3 arms from the team in Z,Marshall and Cashner and replaced them with Volstad and Travis Wood. His trades so far have not worked out. The Rizzo trade could be the saving grace if he comes up and hits like he has in the minors.

          • paulcatanese

            Agree, Colvin and LeMahieu for Stewart and Weathers. Weathers should not even be mentioned.
            Stewart,while a good defensive move for the Cubs, overshadows it by his poor plate approach. If he gets his pitch, he can hit it, unfortunatly he has a definite hole in his swing.
            If that improves ok, but so far has not, so I would agree with the edge going to the Rockies at this point.
            I would say that Mather looks almost as good over there, and is the better hitter right now.

      • John_CC

         I don’t think it is fair, at all, to call Stewart and “immediate disaster.”  The guy’s defense at 3B is pretty great, and he’s been pretty “unlucky” on offensive side, his BAbip is .221 vs. a career .289.

        As for Colvin, I am glad to see that he is not only surviving but doing well in a roll-player position.  He’s started 15 games and gotten into 20 more.  He’s even started 2 games at 1B.  And he’s hitting like the good Colvin we remember, a lot of Ks: 25 in 84PA, but also with good power, his OPS is over .828.  I still think he should have been given the chance to play 1B last year. 

        LeMahieu is doing what he did in the minors last year; hitting for good average with on base skills but zero power and bad base stealing ability.  I really like the kid when he was in AA because he was someone to follow that was hitting the ball like crazy for the Cubs! But we still have to wait and see what, if anything, he contributes to a ML team.

      • Zonk

        I wouldn’t characterize that trade as a disaster.  Colvin is a bench player, he won’t be batting .296 at the end of the year, with a 12 to 1 K to BB ratio.  LeMahieu is either a defensively-challenged 2B, or a 3B with no power.  Neither is a good player.

        I’m not sold on Stewart, but he has had poor luck so far this year. 

        • DWalker

           cubs needed a 3b, Stewart was a decent gamble, still possibly is at an affordable price. Had a lot of potential, coming off a number of factors that contributed to a bad year amd at least the possibility of a rebound.  If he works out he is tradeable or a defensive 3B until someone better comes up from the minors (so far noones knocking down any doors). an expensive FA was never in the cards to fill 3B right now.

          Colvin and Lemahieu are in the same catagory as Blake and Dewitt, they had no future here with an excess of bench players and marginal possibilities. They have occasional uses, but will almost certainly never develop into long term core assets. That vs The possibility of an adequate, affordable and potentially tradable or usable 3B and a glaringly empty 3B at that? Yeah, that was a gamble they couldn’t afford to pass up. 

    • Aaron

      Yes, you can close the book on the Marshall trade, unless T. Wood miraculously proves to be about a 3.90-4.20’s ERA starting pitcher. If not, it’s a loss. Sappelt is horrible at AAA, and Torreyes is a pint-sized player to begin with. If you’re not getting on base like you should be, then you have no value, especially at that size.

      Torreyes is young for his level for sure, but so were Castro and Lake coming up through the system, including Vitters, and they all have had better success than him right now.

      I hope the Cubs win the trade, but I just cannot see it right now, even though Marshall has a 4.80 ERA at the moment, albeit with 8 saves.

  • cubtex

    Tom, What is going on with Dillon Maples?

    • Tom U

      Maples is still at Fitch Park on a rehab assignment

      • cubtex

        I didn’t hear he was hurt. Arm? Shoulder? Knee?

        • Tom U

          There isn’t any definitive information, but I believe I heard of him have a triceps problem.

          • cubtex

            ok. thanks for the info! Have a great day!

  • cubtex

    The Cubs are now 1-8 vs LH starting pitching. We have Anthony Rizzo who will be up soon who is a lefthanded power bat. BJax is lefthanded. Vitters is righthanded but he isn’t really a huge power threat.
    Can you imagine how vulnerable a lineup would be with Rizzo at 1st, Stewart at 3rd, DeJesus in RF, BJax is CF and LaHair in LF?
    Sure… can platoon like the Cubs are doing now….but how is that working out??? It very seldom does if you do it with multiple positions. LaHair is not part of the future. He cannot be part of this team next year if they hold onto DeJesus and give BJax cf. They need to add some righthanded thump especially if they get rid of Soriano after this year. I am sure the front office is smart enough to see this so don’t expect to see LaHair or maybe even Stewart part of this team next year if DeJesus Rizzo and BJax are all penciled in as starters.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, the only way platoon works is if the opposite type is as good as who they replace with. The Cubs have sought so many left handed hitters that it’s almost impossible to field a team of RH hitters, their are none.

    • cc002600

       I agree.  You can’t have 5 LH hitters in your starting lineup.

      How about BJ Upton ?   He is FA this winter.

      • cubtex

        He is but I don’t think he is a player Team Theo would target.

        Lower average….High Strikeout guy

        164 and 161 K’s the last 2 years with not a great average. Free agent market is not great next year so I don’t see how they can improve significantly next year without making a couple of killer trades.

        • cc002600

           Yea, I get that, but he also has speed, power, athleticism, and is that magic age (28)….and if  you look at his numbers over the last few years, they have been improving a little bit. and I’m sure he’s good defensively.

          Yes, he has some flaws, but somehow it seems as though everyone is now looking for that perfect player.  Let me know when you find him, because I haven’t seen one yet.

          • cubtex

            I am just saying that he doesn’t fit the Theo mold that is all. I wouldn’t mind having Upton for the right price but I am just saying that I don’t think they would pursue him.

  • Tom U

    Today’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Kyler Burke (0-2, 2.62)
    Daytona – Ryan Searle (1-0, 4.50)
    Tennessee – Dallas Beeler (1-2, 3.86)
    Iowa – Chris Rusin (4-3, 3.02)

    One note:

    Jae-Hoon Ha surpassed 200 plate appearances yesterday, most in the organization. He shown what having some time off does, hitting his first homer of the year in as a pinch hitter 

  • cc002600

    Tom U,

    It seems as though Junior Lake is an awful infielder  with possibly too many flaws to ever be any good at 3B or SS.

    With his speed, athleticism, and arm I would think he would make an excellent OF.

    Is there any talk of that ?
    what are your thoughts ?

    • Tom U

      Sorry to reply so late cc002600, as I just got back from work.

      Lake was used in the outfield in the Arizona Fall League last year. There has been no reason given as to why he continues in the infield, despite showing he is a below average fielder.

  • DWalker

    As a soft tossing lefty, a role that often struggles to miss bats, just how badly is Gerardo Concepcion underperforming compared to other soft tossing lefties at his level and young age?

    I have been seeing more statements lately talking about how soft tossing lefties have been the biggest gainers from the weaker offensive numbers, in a big part due to more teams using defensive shifts. Is there anything going on at Peoria as far as defensive shifting going on, or for that matter at any of minors? I am guessing there probably isn’t for a lot of reasons. If thats the case, are we going to start seeing more of a trend of guys like Concepcion struggle through the minors, have pathetic stats that don’t even look like they are getting by; then come up to the bigs with proper advanced scouting, scatter charts and shift defenses and suddenly become very servicable pitchers?

    • SomeGuy27

      As a former soft tossing lefty (topped out around 90) I can tell you from experience that defensive shifts help immensely. I can’t tell you how many times in games I would ask my shortstop, 2B, or 3B to adjust only to have them move back to their traditional spots a pitch or two later and then see a three hopper go right to where I had originally put them.  Having said that though if you want to survive, you have to accept who you are.  You really have to learn how to pitch backwards and live around the zone picking your spots to come into it.  Rarely can challenge guys without getting burned.  

  • CubsTalk

    Some draft predictions on which player the Cubs will take …..

    Albert Almora, OF, Mater Academy (Fla.)


    Max Fried, LHP, Harvard Westlake HS (Calif.)

    • Nathan

      out of those two I would rather have almora, everything ive seen/heard says he is a stud in the outfield with promising power. However, I think the Cubs can go several different ways. If Gausman or Zimmer fall to them I would rather them draft one of them instead. The risky route would be to take Giolito coming off his shoulder injury who is very high reward if he stays healthy. A couple of other guys to look out for would be Carlos Correa the SS out of Puerto Rico. Most have him moving to third/outfield because of his 6’3 6’4 frame, and then Michael Wacha who most people have being picked around 12-15, but if the cubs want a pitcher in the first round and he is  the best one left, he might also be the safest pick in this years draft.

  • Josh

    Top Performers in System


    HITTERS (min 120 PA, OPS > 755 or stat leader)


    Anthony Rizzo (22) AAA: 355/420/710, 10 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 2 SB

    Luis Valbuena (26) AAA: 317/384/481, 6 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 1 SB

    Paul Hoilman (23) Low-A: 300/358/488, 15 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR

    Greg Rohan (26): 279/360/485, 11 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR

    Justin Bour (24) AA: 271/337/434, 9 2B, 6 HR, 1 SB

    Arismendy Alcantara (20) High-A: 297/324/436, 6 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 12 SB



    Nelson Perez (24) High-A: 300/405/550, 6 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR, 4 SB

    James Adduci (27) AA: 301/364/444, 8 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 4 SB

    Matt Szczur (20) High-A: 270/365/393, 11 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 19 SB

    Brett Jackson (23) AAA: 228/323/426, 10 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 7 SB



    Starters (min 7 GS)

    Michael Jensen (21) Low-A: 2.92/1.07 35/16

    PJ Francescon (23) Low-A/High-A: 1.82/0.78 47/15

    Kyler Burke (24) Low-A: 2.62/1.14 31/10
    Austin Kirk (22) High-A: 2.68/1.12 29/13

    Matt Loosen (23) High-A: 3.55/1.15 24/13

    Eric Jokisch (22) High-A/AA: 2.90/1.23 48/14

    Trey McNutt (22) AA: 2.67/1.25 21/14

    Brooks Raley (24) AA/AAA: 3.69/1.27 33/15

    Chris Rusin (25) AAA: 3.02/1.08 32/15


    Relievers (min 12 GP/14 IP)

    Yao-Lin Wang (21) Low-A: 2.65/1.00 14/7

    Jeffrey Lorick (24) Low-A: 0.52/0.98 25/8, 6 SV

    Luis Liria (22) Low-A: 2.16/1.44 19/10

    Ty’Relle Harris (25) High-A: 2.66/1.18 21/12

    AJ Morris (25) High-A: 2.13/1.03 10/4

    Joseph Zeller (24) High-A/AA: 2.63/1.17 21/10

    Scott Weismann (22) Low-A/High-A/AA: 1.69/1.03 17/3, 1 SV

    Casey Harman (23) High-A/AA: 2.59/0.95 19/3

    Alberto Cabrera (23) AA: 2.49/1.15 26/6, 3 SV

    Kevin Rhoderick (23) AA: 1.00/0.72 20/5, 5 SV

    Marcus Hatley (24) AA: 3.05/1.21 26/9, 1 SV

    Frank Batista (23) AA/AAA: 2.45/1.20, 6 SV

    Jeff Beliveau (25) AAA: 3.00/1.14 23/9

  • Vivid_Reality

    From Fangraphs:

    “Junior Lake, SS, Chicago Cubs

    Current Level: AA

    2012 Top 15 Prospects Ranking: NR

    Current Value: Small Sample Size Improvement
    If you’re impressed with tools than you’re probably already familiar
    with Lake. The shortstop injured his back in spring training and missed
    all of April while rehabbing in extended spring training. He’s been
    quite impressive since returning. He split 2011 between high-A and
    double-A ball. Returned to double-A to begin ’12, Lake has already
    walked 10 times in 63 at-bats. This is particularly important because
    his over-aggressive nature at the plate has been a detriment to his
    development over the years. He walked just 13 times in 242 double-A
    at-bats last year. He probably won’t keep up the 14% walk rate but
    hopefully he can keep it above the 5% he had at double-A last season and
    definitely over the 2.8% rate he had in high-A ball. As well, Lake’s
    strikeout rate is currently under 20%, something he has never done in a
    full season. If the 22-year-old prospect keeps showing improvements to
    his approach at the plate, he could definitely be a solid contributor at
    the MLB level with good gap power, the ability to hit 10-12 home runs
    and steal 15-20 bases. He also showcases a plus arm on defense but
    questionable range for the position.”

    • gary3411

       Took the words out of my mouth. Love what the stat sheet is showing for him right now. I think his ceiling is more like 15-20 HR. I say put him in RF right now and maybe he can be starting there next year in Chicago.

      Is Alcantara going for the all-time minor league errors record? 20 and May’s not even over. Talk about a guy who needs a position change, that cannot be just poor luck or a tough start.

    • Zonk

      “Small Sample Size”; let’s see if he holds it.  This does look promising, though.

      Tom, is he going to stay at SS?  I remember reading reports that he is a bit large for SS, and 3B looks like more of a possibility.  (Though his bat would profile better at 2B)

      • John_CC

         I got to watch him practice in Mesa this past spring, I was really impressed with his size, speed and swing. He is a BIG dude out there, big athletic dude that is.  I asked Tom after seeing him and he told me he is a basically a really bad SS.  He really needs to get into the OF in my opinion. 

        When looking at him, I think of Dominic Brown of the Phillies farm.

      • gary3411

        I think you waste his arm putting him at 2B. But then again, maybe his throws are a big part of his error problem? Wish I could see a breakdown of fielding vs throwing errors by him.

  • BosephHeyden

    Okay, so, with the team in “full rebuild” mode, my question is how many of these guys should be able to contribute in the next two years?  Because, realistically, with the payroll the Cubs have, they should be able to produce a very good team somewhere around the middle of the 2014 season.

    The key, though, is figuring out what positions most definitely have to be filled externally versus which positions should be able to be filled internally.  By my count, we should be good at catcher.  Between the infield prospects we have and Castro, we should have the middle of the lineup filled. First should be covered with Rizzo.  And the outfield should at least have Jackson, with Campana being a possibility, with either LaHair or Sczur filling that third spot (or maybe LaHair and Sczur filling the other two spots opposite Jackson).

    Do we have any good prospects that could fill third by mid-2014, in case Vitters turns out to be a complete bust?  By my counts, we will likely have to either sign or trade for (and sign) an ace for the staff, because Garza is living up to his being a number 2 guy, and Samardzija is showing he’s a good #3 (though, to be realistic, he’s very likely going to play himself into a very lucrative contract).  Our farm system should be able to produce good 4 and 5 guys (I still think Casey Coleman would be a great fifth starter), but it looks like we have no one with “ace stuff”.

    I ask because, save for a few guys, there really isn’t a whole lot to get excited for, which is a shame.

    • Zonk

      There isn’t much in the system for near-term help; this is the problem.  Junior Lake could be answer at 3B, we’ll see, and Szczur is having a nice year in A+; I could see him up in 2 years, if he continues to improve.  A couple other guys might contribute within 2 years like Ha, but noone that would turn a franchise around

      We have to be patient

    • gary3411

       I see it as this:

      1. Jackson somewhere
      2. Lake in RF or Szcur in CF(one will probably pan out, one probably won’t)
      3.We need to add another OF IMO and I think Ethier would be a good addition, probably moving over to LF. LaHair I don’t see as our LF for very long if ever, I’m predicting a trade.

      Castillo – I just got the feeling he’s the man for next 5 years


      Second: wild card. I think we need to acquire one via trade (whether it is a young guy almost ready for bigs in LaHair or Garza trade or we acquire a proven one with some of our younger prospects sometime before 2014)

      Stewart – no other options (I’m giving Vitters a 5% chance to be our long-term 3B, so that is possible I suppose)


      We definitely need to fork up the money for one dominant bullpen arm at some point soon. Not sure who it will be.

      1. Addition
      2. Dolis
      3. Cabrera
      4. Russell
      5. Batista or Rhoderick or an emerger not seen yet
      6. Believeu
      7. one of Volstad/Coleman/Wells

      This really depends on McNutt the way we shape this thing I think. What can he be? I certainly do not know. One thing I do know is we need help here if a World Series is the goal. I really don’t know Garza’s future either, as his asking price is unknown. I do know he likes Chicago and he has stated he enjoys day games, so my gut says he will be around for a while. Here’s a guess:

      1. Hamels
      2. Garza
      3. Samardzija
      4. Sanchez
      5. Wood

      If McNutt really shows something the rest of this year, then he replaces Sanchez.

      David Wright is a possibility, but I think it’s him or Ethier this winter, so it will most likely depend on how good or bad Stewart is and how much progress Szcur and Lake make.

      That is my prediction for your contending team of 2013 or 14

  • Zonk

    They say it takes 6 years to completely assess a Draft.  With the 2012 June draft around the corner, let’s take a look at the Cubs 2006 draft, shall we?

    We were missing alot of picks, rounds 2 through 4, because this was during a period we were signing lots of free agents.  You can debate that, but here are the Draftees that made the Majors:

    Rnd 1:   Tyler Colvin
    Rnd 5:  Shark
    Rnd 7:  Clevenger
    Rnd 16:  Blake Parker

    ….That’s it.  Tyler didn’t quite work out, but wasn’t useless.  Shark is working out obviously, and Clevenger was a nice value pick for Rnd 7.

    All in all, considering we blew so many picks on Free Agency, it wasn’t a half-bad draft.  Shark obviously saved it.

    • BosephHeyden

      Colvin’s the saddest of the stories, since his failure was purely on Lou and Quade.  2010, Lou had no idea how to play him, and I’m pretty sure we knew he was done when Colvin had sat for a long series of games strictly because of a lefty starter, and a reporter informed Lou of Colvin’s good numbers in the minors versus lefties, which lead to Lou saying “I didn’t know that.”  And it didn’t help in those games versus righty starters where they’d bring in a lefty reliever and Colvin would make good contact.

      But for all that, we know Quade did worse.  Colvin would get hot and, all of a sudden, one 0-4 or 1-5 game later and Quade would bench Colvin for Jeff Baker regardless of matchups for two or three weeks.

      A better manager, and maybe Colvin’s still here.

    • RynoTiger

      so what you’re saying is that under the previous General Manager/President and Ownership, there was an just an overall terrible job in creating an organization that could sustain success at any level and there was a terrible job done in scouting/drafting/and developing players to help create that sustained success. 

      so you’re also saying that Tom Ricketts, who some believe to be the devil in disguise and Team Theo, who some to believe to be the Three Stooges of decision making, came to Chicago and took over a beloved organization that had been poorly mismanaged and built for close to a century?  and now that the Ricketts family have their baseball team in place, I hear you saying that they need more than off season to pull the organization out of the toilet?

      is that what I hear you saying?  if yes, could you help others hear that too? 

  • Zonk

    ….and, too early to look back on 2007?

    Rnd 1:     Josh Vitters
                  Josh Donaldson
    Rnd 3:  Tony Thomas
    Rnd 4:  Darwin Barney
    Rnd 5;  Brandon Guyer

    Rnd 14:  James Russell
    (Cubs also drafted Cashner in Rnd 29, but he did not sign this year)

    Jury is still out on Vitters, but it’s not looking very promising, IMO.  Donaldson was useful in that we traded him for Rich Harden; while we didn’t win a pennant, Harden was really good that 1/2 season, and well worth it.

    Darwin Barney and James Russell are decent ML players, and OK value for their draft slots.

    2 decent Major-Leaguers is not a bad return on a draft, but the problem is there are no STARS.  Like all our drafts.

    • Zonk

      PS:  Avert your eyes though if you start looking 2003-2005, because it’s ugly.  Especially 2005, where the only major leaguer we drafted was Donald Veal (!), who walked too many guys in 10 innings for the Pirates.  The only other player in this time period worth much of anything was Sean Marshall

      This draft period is the main reason we stink right now, because young players from these drafts are in their 3-5th ML season

      • gary3411


    • Zonk

      PS:  Tony Thomas didn’t make majors, he was a somewhat interesting prospect for us for awhile.  He’s now in the Red Sox system.  I should have left him off.

  • Neil
  • Cubster

    Tom U.: Where did you get your “unofficial numbers” for the players in   Extended Spring Training?

  • Rob G.

    Thanks for reading our site. Please have the decency to credit Arizona Phil for the extended spring training stats, along with a return link to the article.

    Much obliged.

  • Soonerfan747

    Why is it when you mention Marcus Hatley that he is coughing up ( choking ) or some other unflattering comment. In his last 10 games he has pitched 16.2 innings and surrendering 2 runs, both earned , 7 walks, 7 hits, 20 k’s and .127 avg (hitters) . give the kid a break