Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/28/12

With Anthony Rizzo now up in Chicago, who will be the next player the Cubs’ faithful turn their eyes to? Boise Third baseman Jeimer Candelario can stake his claim, as he continues to roll in the Northwest League. Peoria infielder Javier Baez suffered a minor setback with a hand injury, but is still on a steady pace. Flying under the radar is Daytona shortstop Arismendy Alcantara, who is quietly putting together a good season. Also in the shadows a bit is Tennessee first baseman Justin Bour, who may end up benefitting by Rizzo’s promotion. However, Iowa third baseman Josh Vitters is on everyone’s hot list.

For further information, along with recaps of the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Summer League, check out 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.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (4-8)
Boise fans had to bite their fingernails on Sunday night, as they almost saw a nine run lead evaporate to Eugene, but the Hawks held on for a 14-11 victory. Boise used the heavy lumber, as Marco Hernandez (2-for-4, two RBI) and Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5, RBI) hit back-to-back homers in the first inning. Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4, double) added a solo shot in the third, while Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4) showed his speed and power with a triple, home run, and two RBI. Both Wilson Contreras (2-for-5) and Chadd Krist (1-for-3, double) drove in two, and Stephen Bruno went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Willengton Cruz had a decent showing, allowing three earned runs and striking out two in five innings. Felix Pena was tagged for two unearned run as he struck out two in three innings. However, Pete Levitt continued to struggle, giving up six earned runs while only going 0.1 innings. Bryce Shafer got the final two outs to close out the game.

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Monday’s tight game was broken open by Spokane in the sixth inning, as Boise lost 4-1. A 1-1 tie was being waged between the Hawks and the Indians, as Jose Arias struck out three and allowed an earned run in five innings. Amaury Paulino replaced Arias and gave up three earned runs over two innings. Seeing his first action of the year, Su-Min Jung tossed a scoreless eighth inning. Lead-off hitter Gioskar Amaya scored the only run, as he was 2-for-4 with a double. Wilson Contreras went 1-for-3 and an RBI.

A chilly 54 degrees greeted Boise in Spokane on Tuesday, as the Hawks only managed three hits in a 3-1 loss to the Indians. Jeimer Candelario and Stephen Bruno each had a hit, while Rock Shoulders drove in Chadd Krist with a single for their only run. James Pugliese was able to go 4.2 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out three batters. Hayden Simpson was charged with an unearned run as he struck out four and went 3.1 innings.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (38-36)
In a real barnburner, Peoria had to survive two comebacks on Sunday as the outlasted Quad Cities 12-11. Pin-Chieh Chen was a big part of the win as he was 4-for-5 with an RBI. Driving in three was Dustin Geiger (1-for-4), as he blasted his third homer. Paul Hoilman was 2-for-5 with two doubles, while Anthony Giansanti plated two as he was 2-for-5. Zeke DeVoss also slugged a home run and scored three run as he was 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

Michael Jensen didn’t have one of his best outings, giving up seven earned runs in four innings. Also coming down to earth was Hunter Cervenka, as he went 2.1 innings and allowed three earned runs. Larry Suarez settled things somewhat, letting in a earned run while striking out three in 1.2 innings. Coming on for his tenth save was Yao-Lin Wang, striking out a batter and pitching a scoreless ninth.

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The Chiefs were able to nudge across just enough runs on Monday, as they defeated Clinton 2-1. Zach Cates received his first start for Peoria, and he went 4.2 innings, allowing an earned run and striking out a batter. The Chiefs’ fans doubled their Zach’s, as Zach Rosscup also saw his first action of the season as he struck out two in 2.1 scoreless innings. Luis Liria picked up his third save by tossing two shutout innings. Wes Darvill went 2-for-4 and Yasiel Balaguert was 2-for-3, while Dustin Geiger and Anthony Giansanti were each 1-for-3, driving in a run apiece.

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Peoria was locked in a 2-2 tie with Clinton on Tuesday before putting their stamp on in the tenth inning, winning 7-2. The Chiefs got some production from the bottom of the order, as Oliver Zapata and Pin-Chieh Chen were each 2-for-3, with Chen hitting a triple and driving in a run. There was also symmetry in the middle of the order and Dustin Geiger and Paul Hoilman went 2-for-5 each, Geiger with an RBI and a stolen base while Hoilman plated two and had a double.

Starter Starling Peralta had his longest outing of the season, as he went seven innings and struck out three while allowing two earned runs. Matt Spencer got his first win for the Chiefs as he set down three in two scoreless innings. Yao-Lin Wang got some work in and he shut the door in then tenth with two strikeouts.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (34-40)
A rainstorm on Sunday brought a doubleheader on Monday with St. Lucie, as game one ended in a 7-3 victory for the D-Cubs. Leadoff hitter Arismendy Alcantara was the whole show, as he went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, three RBI total, and a stolen base. Micah Gibbs and John Andreoli were each 2-for-3, while Taylor Davis drove in two as he was 1-for-3, including a double. Matt Loosen pitched well, striking out seven and allowing three earned runs in six innings. Ryan Searle finished things off with a strikeout in a scoreless seventh.

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Game two turned into a marathon, as a seven inning contest with St. Lucie went 12 innings for a 4-3 Daytona win. Kyler Burke returned to the Florida State League for the first time since 2010, this time as a pitcher. Burke lasted five innings and struck out two, as he allowed three earned runs. AJ Morris went a scoreless inning, while Tony Zych tossed two and struck out three as he kept the Mets from scoring further. Scott Weismann added four “Ks” as he tied his season high as he threw three innings. Eduardo Figueroa earned his first save by tossing a scoreless inning. Chad Noble went 2-for-4 with two doubles, while Dustin Harrington also had a double and was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Matt Szczur stole his 22nd base as he was 2-for-4 including a double and an RBI.

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After a grueling 19 innings of baseball the previous day, Daytona went 12 innings with St. Lucie on Tuesday before succumbing 4-3 to the Mets. PJ Francescon had another good start, as he went six innings and allowed two earned runs, while striking out three batters. Jeffrey Lorick held the Mets for 1.2 innings and allowed the D-Cubs to take the lead. However, Brian Schlitter failed to close thing out, letting St. Lucie tie the score in the bottom of the ninth with an earned run in 1.1 innings. Ryan Searle tossed another 2.2 innings, but gave up the game-winner in the 12th. Elieser Bonne went 3-for-5 with a double, while Rebel Ridling was 2-for-5 with two RBI.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (38-37)
Rain on Sunday ended in the Smokies game being suspended and played as a doubleheader on Monday, as the lost 11-3 to Jacksonville. Trey McNutt was pitching well before the delay, striking out two and allowing an earned run in two innings. Picking up on Monday, Eric Jokisch started as if it were a new game and had his worst performance of the season, giving up ten runs (nine earned) in 5.2 innings. Ty’Relle Harris came in and got the final out. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-5, while Junior Lake went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Tennessee ended up making the day a total loss, as they fell to Jacksonville 10-3 in the second game. Dallas Beeler pitched well enough to win, allowing an earned run and striking out three in 3.1 innings. Marcus Hatley then pitched 1.2 innings and gave up two earned runs. Then everything fell apart as Kevin Rhoderick has his worst outing by letting in five earned runs in only 0.2 innings. Casey Harman gave up the final two earned runs before recording the last out. The Smokies got an RBI apiece from Justin Bour, Nelson Perez, and Nate Samson as Bour and Perez were 1-for-3 and Samson went 1-for-2.

After a poor showing on Monday, Tennessee took things out on the visiting Birmingham Barons, beating them 11-6 on Tuesday. The bottom part of the order rocked, as Michael Burgess went 3-for-3 with two homers, three RBI, and four runs scored. Michael Brenly was 2-for-4 with his own home run and two driven in. Jae-Hoon Ha joined the hit parade as he went yard and was 2-for-5, including three RBI and an outfield assist. Logan Watkins stole his 14th base as he was 2-for-4 with a double, while Justin Bour went 2-for-5, also with a double. James Adduci was 2-for-4 with a double.

Nick Struck was able to shake off some poor fielding to strike out three while allowing four runs (one earned) in six innings. Casey Weathers made things interesting, giving up two earned runs in an inning of work. Frank Batista then slammed the door, getting the long save as he went two innings and striking out three batters for his 12th of the season.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (32-45)
Once again, the I-Cubs couldn’t turn hits into offensive production as they lost on Sunday to Round Rock 5-2. Iowa had eight hits, with three coming off the bat of Welington Castillo as he was 3-for-4. Blake DeWitt was 2-for-4, while Brett Jackson hit his tenth home run and stole his 14th base in a 1-for-3 performance. Rodrigo Lopez pitched well through five innings, but the wheels came off in the sixth as he allowed four earned runs and ended up with five strikeouts. Esmailin Caridad and Jeff Beliveau each pitched a scoreless inning, and Michael Bowden was tagged with an unearned run in the ninth.

A Monday matinee for Iowa ended in a 2-1 victory over Round Rock. Brooks Raley had his second consecutive quality start, and he struck out five and allowed an earned run through seven innings. Jay Jackson had three strikeouts sandwiched around a hit in a scoreless eighth, while Rafael Dolis shut down the Express in the ninth. Josh Vitters was “the man“, as he went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI.

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Iowa’s offense remained spinning their wheels on Tuesday, as they were on the short end of a 3-1 loss to Round Rock. Frankie De La Cruz received no run support, and his three earned runs allowed over five innings should have been enough to keep the I-Cubs in the game. However, the offense scattered seven hits, as Juan Apodaca was the only Iowa player with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with two doubles. Ryan Rowland-Smith tossed three scoreless innings, while Michael Bowden had a 1-2-3 ninth.

Arizona Rookie League
The AZL Cubs hit the ground running this season, as they are off to a 4-2 start. The biggest news has been infielder Tim Saunders, who is hitting .526 with four RBI in four games while splitting time between shortstop and third. Last year’s second round pick, Dan Vogelbach, has been a doubles machine, batting .412 with five doubles in four games. However, Vogelbach has been relegated to DH, as his defense is not quite ready. A surprise has been 40th round pick Jacob Rogers, who is at .300 while playing mainly first base. Thirty-fifth round choice Ben Carhart has seen time at third base and is hitting .357.

As is usual at this time, pitchers rarely go more than a couple of innings, and innings are dominated by rehabbing players. One prospect that looked good in his first start was 2010 40th round pick Brian Smith, as the 19-year old lefty held the Diamondbacks scoreless for three innings while striking out two batters. Former international free agent Jin-Young Kim is being converted into a closer, and has a save, two strikeouts, and a 0.00 ERA in two appearances.

Dominican Summer League
The Cubs-1 team continues to keep their head above water with a record of 10-11 despite a team batting average of only .234, as they are now fifth in the Baseball City division. Shortstop Jenner Emeterio came back down to earth a little, but is still hitting .355, including three doubles, a triple, a home run, and nine RBI. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez only has a batting average of .250, but he has stolen ten bases in only 12 games. Left-handed starter Carlos A. Rodriguez remains the ace; as he has pitched 21 innings, posting an ERA of 1.29, WHIP of 0.86, and 24 strikeouts. Lefty Jose Paulino is tied for sixth in the league with 26 strikeouts, while he has a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings.

With their better offensive players, the Cubs-2 team is still struggling to translate that into wins, as they are 10-11, fifth in the Boca Chica South division. Centerfielder Kelvin Encarnacion continues to be the offensive leader, with a .345 batting average, five home runs and 14 RBI. Shortstop Luis Acosta has dropped to 11th in the league with 18 RBI, but raised his average has to .260. Right-handed pitcher Daury Torres remains dominant, as his ERA is 1.30 while being tied for sixth in the league with 26 strikeouts, also including a 0.90 WHIP.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs recalled IF Anthony Rizzo from the Iowa Cubs; optioned IF Adrian Cardenas to the Iowa Cubs. The Chicago Cubs recalled RHP Rafael Dolis from the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Alberto Cabrera to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies.

The Peoria Chiefs placed IF Kenny Socorro on the 7-Day disabled list; activated OF Taiwan Easterling from the 7-Day disabled list. The Boise Hawks released IF Brian Inoa; recalled IF Gregori Gonzalez from the AZL Cubs.

The AZL Cubs released RHP Ramon Garcia; assigned RHP Daniel Adrian from the DSL Cubs 1; assigned RHP Anthony York, IF David Bote, and OF Bijan Rademacher from the Chicago Cubs.

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Quote of the Day

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