Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/07/12

While some are still coming down from draft day, there was still baseball taking place in the minor leagues. The Southern League announced their All-Stars, with James Adduci, Justin Bour, Frank Batista, and Kevin Rhoderick representing the Tennessee Smokies. The Dominican Summer League also opened play, with shortstop Luis Acosta putting on an offensive display.

Meanwhile, John Andreoli, Arismendy Alcantara, Nelson Perez, and Rubi Silva are heating things up for Daytona. But pitching woes still plague Iowa, where the offense provided by Anthony Rizzo and Ty Wright was squandered.

So make today’s Down on the Farm Report your number one selection, for all your minor league news.

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

The CCO’s Prospect Watch will be replaced today by a weekly recap of the Dominican Summer League.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (26-32)
The rally caps couldn’t help the entire way on Sunday, as the Chiefs lost to Kane County 6-5 in ten innings. Peoria was down 5-3 in the sixth inning when Javier Baez entered the game defensively for Anthony Giansanti (1-for-3, double). Two innings later, Baez delivered an estimated 450-foot two-run homer to tie the game. The Cougars jumped out ahead on starter Kyler Burke, scoring five runs (two earned) in five innings. Felix Pena and Hunter Cervenka each tossed two scoreless innings to allow the offense to come back. Oliver Zapata (1-for-4) slugged a solo homer run while Zeke DeVoss (1-for-5) and Wes Darvill (2-for-4) drove in runs. Starling Peralta was touched for an earned run with two out in the home half of the tenth.

The Chiefs were off to the races on Monday, as five stolen bases helped contribute to a 2-0 victory against Kane County. Peoria had only five hits, but made them count as they were more aggressive on the basepaths. Leading the way was Pin-Chieh Chen, who scored one of the runs and was 2-for-3 with a stolen base. Javier Baez doubled and was 1-for-3 as he, too, pilfered one. Also stealing bases were Zeke DeVoss, Wes Darvill, and Oliver Zapata.

It was a bullpen day for the pitching staff, as Ben Wells got the starting nod and completed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Luis Lira and Larry Suarez followed, each pitching two scoreless innings. Sheldon McDonald struck out three as he shut down the Cougars for two innings. Yao-Lin Wang picked up his fifth save by striking out two in a scoreless ninth.

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High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (25-31)
What can you say when your team gets one-hit? Daytona ran into a buzz-saw on Sunday as the dropped a 4-0 loss to Fort Myers. Whatever Miracle pitcher Madison Boer and his 9.39 ERA had going for him the D-Cubs couldn’t catch up with it as Greg Rohan was able to notch the only hit. PJ Francescon allowed four earned runs in five innings, as AJ Morris and Jeffrey Lorick held Fort Myers scoreless the rest of the way.

Winners of five of their last six games, Daytona can be considered on a role as they defeated Fort Myers 8-3 on Monday. Hitting has been the key, as the D-Cubs had 15 hits for the evening. The first six batters in the lineup had multi-hits, including John Andreoli (2-for-4, double), Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5, double, two RBI), Nelson Perez (3-for-4), Greg Rohan (2-for-5, double, two RBI), Rubi Silva (2-for-5, triple), and Taylor Davis (2-for-5, RBI).

Starter Frank Del Valle was workman-like, striking out two and allowing an earned run in six innings. Joe Zeller had a little trouble, giving up two earned runs in his two innings. Tony Zych had a somewhat uneventful ninth, recording a strikeout in a scoreless inning.

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Daytona’s new found confidence served them well on Tuesday, as they came from behind to defeat Bradenton 6-5. Coming up big in the rally was Taylor Davis, who is now playing third base regularly. Davis was 1-for-2 with two walks and two RBI. Nelson Perez continues to be an offensive force, as he was 2-for-3, including his tenth home run. Rubi Silva went 2-for-4 with a double, while Micah Gibbs and Ronald Torreyes added an RBI apiece.

Austin Kirk had another dominant performance, striking out seven and allowing only one earned run over six innings. Jeffrey Lorick had a bumpy ride, as he gave up three runs (two earned) in an inning of work. Ryan Searle came on in the eighth and gave the D-Cubs a scare by letting in an earned run in the top of the ninth, but held on for the victory.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (26-33)
The second inning was the undoing for the Smokies on Sunday, as the offense failed to show up again in a 3-2 loss to Montgomery. Nick Struck had one bad inning, giving two home runs and three earned runs in the second, as he went 5.2 innings altogether and struck out seven batters. Casey Harman, fresh off the disabled list, held the Biscuits hitless for 2.1 innings while striking out four. Tennessee was held to five hits, as Logan Watkins (1-for-3) and Michael Brenly (1-for-4) scored, with Rebel Ridling (1-for-3) and Justin Bour (1-for-4, double) driving them in.

Tennessee had a win on Monday night that harkened back to the glory days of 2011: great pitching, a late arriving offense, and a shutdown bullpen as they defeated Montgomery 7-4. It had the look of a typical 2012 Smokies game, as Dallas Beeler allowed two earned runs over 5.1 innings. Usually that would be the end of the story, as the Tennessee offense would have trouble keeping pace. But the offense exploded for six runs in the seventh inning, as Tennessee took a 7-2 lead. Justin Bour was the big contributor, going 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. James Adduci was 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Logan Watkins also drove one in as he was 2-for-5.

Marcus Hatley took over for Beeler and started to dominate like a 24-year old in his second year in the league should. Hatley blanked the Biscuits for 1.2 innings. All good things have to end, and Frank Batista was finally touched for two earned runs in an innings of work. Alberto Cabrera then came in and earned his fifth save in a 1-2-3 ninth.

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Whoa! Where has all this offense been for Tennessee this season? The Smokies thoroughly destroyed Montgomery Tuesday night 12-3, and it wasn’t even that close! Justin Bour had an explosion, as he was 4-for-6 with a double and two RBI. Jae-Hoon Ha drove in three as he was 2-for-3, including a triple. Logan Watkins plated two as he doubled and went 2-for-4. Michael Burgess was 2-for-6, while Matt Cerda was 2-for-4.

Eric Jokisch didn’t have his strikeout pitch working, punching out only one batter, but had everything else as he went seven scoreless innings. Brian Schlitter got into trouble, allowing two runs (one earned) in 0.2 innings. Ty’Relle Harris bailed him out, letting in one more earned run.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (25-32)
The Iowa offense couldn’t pull the pitching out of the fire on Sunday, but made things close as they lost 6-5 to Oklahoma City. On the good side, Brooks Raley struck out eight batters in five innings; on the bad side, he gave up two home runs and five earned runs total over that span. Manny Corpas pitched a scoreless inning, but Jeff Beliveau allowed an earned run in his inning of work. The I-Cubs scratched their way back with Ty Wright leading the way as he was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Brian Esposito and Diory Hernandez also had RBI doubles, while Juan Apodaca drove one in with a pinch-hit. Rafael Dolis kept the RedHawks from scoring in the eighth, but there was nothing left from the offense.

Getting a consistent effort has been the bugaboo for Iowa. On Monday, the offense provided enough runs to win, and the starting pitching wasn’t great, but still didn’t lose the game, but the relief corps didn’t do their job as the I-Cubs lost 6-5 to Oklahoma City. The offense put up five runs in the first six innings, as Anthony Rizzo led the way going 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Ty Wright matched Rizzo, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, and drove in a run with his third home run. Matt Tolbert was 2-for-4and an RBI, and pitcher Chris Rusin tried to help his cause by going 2-for-2 while plating a run. Rusin, however, was also his own worst enemy as he allowed five earned runs, but struck out three, in five innings. Inheriting a mess from Rusin, veteran Esmailin Caridad failed to stem the tide as he allowed what would be the winning run, striking out three in two innings. Mike MacDougal kept the RedHawks from scoring, but the damage had already been done.

In what could be considered a copy of the day before, Iowa relief pitching failed to come through, as they lost 4-3 to Oklahoma City. The I-Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead, as Luis Valbuena (1-for-4) doubled and came home on a sac fly by Blake Lalli in the second. After Diory Hernandez (1-for4) doubled, he scored on a bunt attempt that the RedHawks’ second baseman missed, but starting pitcher Frankie De La Cruz was hurt on the play. Pinch runner Anthony Rizzo would eventually score on another error. After pitching two shutout innings, De La Cruz was replaced by Jay Jackson, who allowed an earned run and struck out four in five innings. Scott Maine got a hold, as he struck out two in a scoreless inning. But Rafael Dolis wasn’t able to close things out, giving up three earned runs in the ninth on a homer by Brad Snyder to let Oklahoma City escape with a victory.

Dominican Summer League
Play began in the DSL this past Saturday, with the schedule in full-swing on Monday. The Cubs-1 team lost its opener 8-1 to the Rockies. Third baseman Adonis Paula was the bright spot offensively, going 3-for-4, while centerfielder Robert Caro was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. C-1 split their next two games, beating the Rockies 8-5 while losing to the Twins 2-1. Adonis Paula remained hot, and is now hitting at a .455 clip. Eighteen year old right-hander Gilberto Abreu had a decent outing, going 2.2 innings and striking out two batters. Catcher Wilfredo Petit was 2-for-3 with a double and triple. On Wednesday, 16-year old lefty Carlos A. Rodriguez struck out seven and allowed an earned run over five innings.

Over in Boca Chica South, the Cubs-2 team handled the Pirates 7-1 in their first game. C-2 seems to be where the prospects are, as shortstop Luis Acosta was 3-for-4 with three doubles and four RBI. Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Kelvin Encarnacion was 2-for-4 with three runs scored; and second baseman Bryant Flete was 2-for-3 with a stolen base. Right-handed pitcher Daury Torres was the winner as he went five innings and struck out four, allowing an earned run. C-2 also split its next two games, losing to Pirates-2 6-3 and defeating the Phillies 13-1.

Twenty-one year old righty Amalio Reyes had a good start on Tuesday, striking out five while allowing an unearned run in five innings. Luis Acosta continued to look impressive on Wednesday, maintaining his average at .400 and adding his first home run. Third baseman Mark Malave was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Eighteen year old DH Edwin Contreras was 3-for-4, including a double and an RBI. Loiger Padron started and struck out four in three innings, allowing an earned run.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs outrighted RHP Michael Bowden to the Iowa Cubs; recalled RHP Manny Corpas from the Iowa Cubs. The Peoria Chiefs placed IF Ryan Cuneo on the 7-Day disabled list; IF Dustin Geiger was assigned to the Peoria Chiefs.

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Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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  • SuzyS

    Well, the draft may or may not turn out to be good…early indications are disappointing. There’s no way the Cubs can win in the Soler signing….If we don’t sign him…people will complain. If we do sign him…we’ll have to overpay by a ton AND folks will gripe about that.

    Soler’s certainly in a great situation, a unique one in baseball’s history…brought on by Selig’s new cba restraints.

    Actually, Uncle Bud should resign…citing “the best interests of the game”.

    The reality of what the Cubs are trying to accomplish…and it’s difficulty is really starting to set in.
    This is the Bull’s redux immediately after Jordan left.

    • Aaron

      The Bulls weren’t relevant for 6 years after Jordan left, but they weren’t even left with a cornerstone to build around like the Cubs have in Samardzija and Castro. They also had a college coach (Floyd) pretending to be a pro coach.

      ….but I digress.

      For all their supposed brains, scouting, and player development prowess, Team Theo has left me extremely disappointed thus far, from the short-sighted deal for Stewart that unnecessarily included LeMahieu to not protecting middle IF depth like Flaherty and Gonzalez, and then making matters worse, claiming Bianchi, then DFA-ing him because they still had DeWitt (who has since been DFA-d yet again)…Bianchi as an FYI is sporting a .333 avg, .388 OBP right now.

      The Marshall trade has been nothing short of a disaster with T. Wood, Sappelt, and Torreyes being extreme disappointments.

      About the only trade that’s worked out for them….somewhat…was the Rizzo trade, but he has yet to play a game at the MLB level for them

      And even the Theo compensation hasn’t gone well. Kurcz is sitting at 3.00 ERA, 30 IP, 27 hits, 14 walks, 43 K’s…good enough for a 12.9 K/9 line

      And while there were some positive reviews (which I don’t understand at all how they got them….probably because the national writers still fawn all over Theo and company), I am not buying it at all. Between free agency/trades/draft, they leave much to be desired.

      Now, if they can sign Soler, Almora, and most of their picks in short order, plus trade Dempster and get good value (NOT a Marshall-esque return), then I’ll buy the hype…..but I ain’t buying it right now. They can’t fool me. 

      I’m not one of those people that’s easily swayed by hype/star power, etc. like most of this country seems to be (cough….politics….cough)

      • Tom U

        Aaron, there has been a lot of love here on the CCO for Jeff Bianchi, but I don’t feel that way.

        I feel that the system is better off with Adrian Cardenas and Luis Valbuena.

  • Aaron

    Good news…if they follow through with what they say:

    *********************************************************************************
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0607-cubs-brewers-chicago–20120607,0,2188924.story 

    “We’ve already started talking to teams,” Hoyer said. “Teams work on dual tracks this time of year. But even the last couple of days, those calls will pick up. It’s such a jumbled (playoff) race right now.”That’ll shake out a little bit over the next six to eight weeks, and as it does teams will be more active. We’ll be on the phones. … That’s what the focus is going to be now.”Is it a seller’s market?”We’ll see how it looks in six weeks,” he said. “Right now, there are not a lot of (sellers).”

    **********************************************************

    Let’s take a look at which teams are the current likely “sellers” (teams 7 games or more back):

    Twins-22-34, 9 games back
    A’s-25-32, 8 games back
    Mariners-26-33, 8 games back
    Astros-24-32, 7.6 games back
    D’Backs-27-30, 9 games back
    Rockies-24-32, 11.5 games back
    Padres-19-38, 17 games back
    Cubs-19-37, 12.5 games back

    Everyone else could be potential buyers. In fact, I can’t remember a season in which there are this many buyers out there.

    Now, let’s examine the following needs:
    Starting Pitching-just about every team in contention right now could use pitching except for the Nationals. And if you look at the “sellers” out there, you’ll see that the Cubs are in an enviable position where they have two frontline starters, and no shortage of teams that could use them. If Garza can get his ERA in the 3.75 range and under, he’ll bring the Cubs a very good return. Dempster is already there with his 2.59 ERA. I’d even argue that the Cubs could find a taker for Travis Wood if he improves his ERA from the 4.56 range to around 4.10 and under. There’s basically no hope for trading Maholm at this point, who sits at 5.10 ERA

    Relief Pitching-Teams in contention are always on the look-out for relief pitching. The Cubs have several intriguing options. Marmol’s performance last night just about ruined any remaining trade value he had before the deadline….yet he can still recover a bit as we get closer to the deadline, and maybe salvage a bit of the value. Camp, Russell, and Wells also might be in demand. Coleman and Corpas also might develop some value as we go along.

    Hitting-In terms of bench help, nearly every team in contention out there could use guys like Baker, Johnson, Mather, and teams would likely also consider DeJesus a decent back-up (versus starter)

    Of all the teams that are in contention, the Cubs absolutely have to get the Jays involved, and it just so happens that they are currently 1 game behind the Rays and Indians in a battle for the 2nd Wild Card. The Jays have so many intriguing prospects that it’s absolutely imperative that the Cubs get them involved. The same could be said for the Rangers, Nationals, and Braves in terms of intriguing prospects.

    It’s quite clear that the Cubs need help at 3B, OF, and starting pitching with prospects. The Cubs really don’t have any OF prospects that would be considered starting caliber outside of maybe Brett Jackson. Currently, they don’t have any starting caliber 3B outside of Josh Vitters, and he’s anything but a sure thing. They have a couple intriguing starting pitchers, but they’re all in A-ball right now: Jensen, Francescon, Burke, Wells, Kirk, Loosen, and then in AA they have McNutt.

    The last thing the Cubs need is relief pitching, so I would venture a guess that they’d be able to acquire exactly what they need in starting pitching and position players with the trades.

    I don’t know what the Cubs are going to do, but if they can find a way to get guys like Nicolino, Syndergaard, etc.—those type of prospects in trades, then they’ll be well on their way to rebuilding.

    • SuzyS

      Aaron,
      Exactly so…in terms of rebuilding.  Since October…with the exception of the Rizzo/Cashner trade…we’ve seen very little rebuilding. It’s been more a working out of the old contracts and fielding a minimally serviceable mlb team…a tredding water type thing.
      The Theo team needed to acquaint itself with what we do have
      and what we don’t.
      The 2 biggest decisions at the moment is:
      A) What happens with Soriano…if no takers with a trade…then a DFA situation…by the end of the year….But there is no true ongoing replacement for him yet.

      B) Garza…to extend him or trade him.  The key variables to Garza is what is the price of his extension vs what a trade would return….There’s a value balance there…and I don’t know what it is.

      Assuming Dempster doesn’t come back next year…it will be tough to replace him with the same quality (but younger) to begin with.

      I now believe that Theo knew exactly what he was doing in putting the current team on the field…We do NEED to be drafting high for a few seasons in order to build a WS caliber team….

      With the new cba constraints and the end of Hendry’s bad contracts…I expect the Cubs to amend the plan to include
      FA…at least for a few SP…going forward.

      In any case….it’s still going to be interesting to watch phase 2…the beginning of the rebuild.

       

      • Redlarczykg

        Suzy,

        Replacements for Soriano, LaHair against righties and Mather against lefties.  Rizzo is coming soon, so leftfield is the only way to keep LaHair’s bat in the lineup.

  • Cubs Fan

    Poll Question of the Day…….

    Should the Cubs avoid future prospects and Free Agents who are represented by Scott Boras?

    A – Yes
    B – No

    • Aaron

      B-No…and yes

      They shouldn’t avoid the draftees represented by him, but they SHOULD avoid the free agents.

      Just look around the league. Most of the recent high-priced free agents represented by Boras have completely bombed.

      Is it because they’re represented by Boras that they bomb?  Not necessarily….but I will tell you that it does have something to do with it, as he tries to get maximum dollar and maximum years for his clients. Think about how that changes you as a person….If you know for a fact that you’re guaranteed a deal for 6+ years at $15+million or so….would you be working just as hard working to your next contract, knowing that you could be calling it a career anyhow after the 6 years. After all, most players reach free agency at around 29-30 years old, so you’re looking at 35-36 years old when you’re deal is up. I think historically if you look at free agents, they let up after getting that first big contract. It’s just human nature to ease off the gas once you get your money.

      I think players tire of punishing themselves training, etc. to keep pushing as they did prior to the contract

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    This explains his absence …

    Matt Szczur has been put on the
    disabled list because of a sore knee for precautionary reasons. Elieser
    Bonne has been activated off the DL.
     

  • Tom U

    Some impressions from the draft:

    With 22 pitchers taken, its fairly obvious where management sees it needs to improve.

    The 7 outfielders are more a reflection of the type of outfielders in the system rather than the quality. Most of the present OF’s are very athletic with high contact/low OBP-low K offense.

    Reflecting some weak spots, 5 catchers and 4 third basemen (plus one SS who will probably move to 3B) were taken.

    The strength of the system remains at 1B and middle infield, as no 1B, 2 SS, and a 2B were selected.

    • SuzyS

       Tom…once again, Thanks for your good work…your reports are invaluable.

      • Tom U

        Thank you Suzy

  • SuzyS