Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/05/12

As Independence Day marks the traditional halfway point in the baseball season, the Cubs’ affiliates are all hoping for a better second half, as the top five teams were able to only eek out three wins to start the week.

Young players are taking some of the spotlight, as Dan Vogelbach and Tim Saunders are impressing in Mesa, while Jeimer Candelario keeps on hitting in Boise. Dustin Geiger remains a player to be reckoned with in Peoria, while Daytona has recently seen a burst from Elieser Bonne.

Further up the chain, Greg Rohan made a big splash in his Tennessee debut, and Randy Wells tries to demonstrate there is still something salvageable to his career.

Providing you all the information, along with recaps of the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Summer League, is 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 (6-13)
Boise came back down to earth after a wild-and-wooly win the day before to lose 2-1 on Sunday to Tri-City. James Pugliese had his best start of the season, as he went four scoreless innings and struck out five batters. Roderik Pichardo relieved and gave up an earned run while working one inning. Eighth round draft pick Michael Heesch saw his first action, as he pitched two scoreless innings; as fellow 2012 draftee Eduardo Orozco also went two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. However, Rafael Diplan couldn’t find the plate, walking three and surrendering an earned run, and the game, in 0.2 innings. Dong-Yub Kim (2-for-4, double) provided the game’s only excitement for the Hawks, as he hit his third home run of the season. Chadd Krist was 3-for-3, while Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-5.

The Hawks scored all of their runs in the first two innings on Monday, but their pitching didn’t hold as they lost 7-5 to Tri-City. Gioskar Amaya remains a triples machine, as he hit his fifth of the season while going 3-for-5 with two RBI. Stephen Bruno was 2-for-4 with a double as he drove in two more runs. Starter Tayler Scott did well enough, as he struck out four and allowed two runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings. However, Hayden Simpson didn’t fare as well, allowing three runs (two earned) in 1.2 innings. Su-Min Jung also had a hard time, pitching two innings and giving up two earned runs.

After showing some signs that their fortunes are turning around, a trip to Tri-City was disastrous as the Hawks were swept on Tuesday, losing 6-4. The offense couldn’t get things going, as Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Rock Shoulders drove in two with a double, as he was 1-for-4. Ian Dickson lasted only one inning, allowing three runs (two earned). Rafael Diplan held down the fort, tossing three scoreless innings. But Pete Levitt continued his struggles, as he gave up two runs (one earned) in 2.2 innings. Roderik Pichardo threw the last 1.1 innings and let in a final earned run.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (38-43)
Peoria kept things close against Kane County on Sunday, until the Cougars broke the game open in the ninth to defeat the Chiefs 7-2. Starling Peralta has his best start of the season, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out two over eight innings. Larry Suarez came on in the ninth and served up four earned runs. Taiwan Easterling was 3-for-3 with a stolen base, while Dustin Geiger was 2-for-3.

The Chiefs laid an egg on Monday night, as they were shutout and three-hit by Kane County, losing 6-0. As for the hits, Zeke DeVoss (double), Paul Hoilman, and Pin-Chieh Chen were the lucky players for Peoria. While Jose Rosario struck out seven, he allowed six runs (four earned) in seven innings. Sheldon McDonald held the Cougars scoreless for two innings and struck out three batters.

While Tuesday’s contest with Kane County was closer, the results were the same as Peoria lost 4-1. The Chiefs called-up knuckleballer Joe Zeller to start and he lasted five innings, giving up two earned runs. Hunter Cervenka then held the line as he struck out four in three scoreless innings. But the usually reliable Luis Liria had an off night, as he allowed two earned runs in the ninth. Peoria’s offense staggered again, being held to three hits for the second night in a row. Dustin Geiger was 1-for-4, while Wes Darvill and Yasiel Balaguert each doubled, and were 1-for-3.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (37-44)
Hitting and defense betrayed Daytona on Sunday, as they lost 5-3 to Lakeland. The D-Cubs managed four hits, as Rebel Ridling led all by going 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Matt Loosen was victimized by three Daytona errors as he allowed four runs (three earned) and struck out two in six innings. AJ Morris stemmed the tide by tossing two scoreless innings and striking out two batters. Jeffrey Lorick allowed the Flying Tigers an insurance run in the ninth.

The big sticks came back for Daytona on Monday, as they used a sixth inning rally to defeat Lakeland 7-3. The D-Cubs welcomed back Matt Cerda, who was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base. Also driving in two was Micah Gibbs, as he went 1-for-2, while Elieser Bonne was 3-for-3.

PJ Francescon notched his first Daytona win, as he went six innings and struck five, allowing three earned runs. Ryan Searle pitched two perfect innings, while Brian Schlitter shut down the Flying Tigers in the ninth.

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A Daytona rally in the bottom of the eighth came up a little short as the D-Cubs lost to Lakeland 9-8 on Tuesday. Starter Austin Kirk was not in his usual form, as he allowed five earned runs while striking out three in only four innings. Matt Spencer is still experiencing his growing pains as he transitions from outfielder to pitcher, as he went 2.1 innings and gave up two earned runs. Scott Weismann has hit a bump in the road recently, as he let in the final two earned runs as he pitched 2.2 innings. Rubi Silva paced the attack for Daytona, as he was 3-for-5, including a triple and two RBI. Also plating two was Elieser Bonne in a 2-for-5 effort that included a triple. John Andreoli and Rebel Ridling were each 2-for-4 with an RBI, as Ridling doubled and Andreoli collected his 28th steal.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (41-42)
It was a blue Sunday for Tennessee, as they were blanked by Chattanooga 3-0. The Smokies were not able to push one across the plate despite seven hits, with a Justin Bour 3-for-4 performance that included two doubles leading the way. Nate Samson was also 2-for-4. Nick Struck was gunning for his tenth win, but it was not to be as he went five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out two batters. Casey Harman struck out four, but gave up an earned run as he went two innings. Casey Weathers pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

The Smokies once again provided some thrills for their fans on Monday, as they held on for a 6-4 victory over Chattanooga. Greg Rohan said hello to Double-A pitching, as he went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI in his Tennessee debut. Michael Burgess and Junior Lake were each 2-for-5, while Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-4 with a double and RBI.

It has been a tough season for Dae-Eun Rhee, as he allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings. Tony Zych earned his second hold with a scoreless inning, while Ty’Relle Harris also received a hold by blanking the Lookouts for two innings. Earning his 14th save, Frank Batista had a 1-2-3 ninth.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Tennessee pitching continued to struggle with holding leads, allowing a 5-0 lead to evaporate as the lost 11-6 to Chattanooga on Tuesday. Trey McNutt tossed 88 pitches in only four innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four batters. Jeffry Antigua struck out five, but gave up three earned runs in 2.1 innings. While continuing to deal with blister issues, Kevin Rhoderick has been hit hard, letting in five runs (three earned) in 0.2 innings. Casey Weathers then served up the final earned run for the Lookouts in the eighth. Michael Burgess continues to surge at the plate, as he was 2-for-5 with a triple and four RBI. Logan Watkins (2-for-5) also had a triple.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (35-51)
It was “swing from the heels day” Sunday in Nashville, as Iowa lost a 13-12 slugfest. The Sounds scored all of their runs early, as starter Frankie De La Cruz didn’t have it, allowing nine runs (seven earned) in 4.1 innings. Esmailin Caridad finished up the fifth inning, giving up another four unearned runs. Mike MacDougal, Jay Jackson, and Michael Bowden held Nashville scoreless the rest of the way, each tossing a scoreless inning with Jackson striking out two and Bowden fanning three batters. Adrian Cardenas, Josh Vitters, and Blake Lalli each had three hits, with Lalli driving in three runners. Brett Jackson and Matt Tolbert each had two hits and two RBI.

A pitcher’s duel on Monday turned into a rout, as Iowa lost 4-1 to Nashville. Starter Chris Rusin had his good stuff going, as he went six scoreless innings and struck out five batters. However, Jeff Beliveau was as bad as Rusin was good, allowing four earned runs in 0.1 innings. Alberto Cabrera finished up the final 1.2 innings and held the Sounds scoreless. Matt Tolbert and Dave Sappelt were each 2-for-3, while Josh Vitters drove in the only run as he was 2-for-4 with a double.

The question on many Cubs fans’ minds may be “Has Randy Wells finally woke up and smelled the coffee?” as Iowa rode Randy Wells to a 3-2 victory over Nashville on Tuesday. Wells had his best performance in a long time, as he went five innings and struck out four while giving up an earned run. The game was then turned over to some pitchers who, at times, have disappointed this season. Ryan Rowland-Smith tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, while Jay Jackson was touched for an earned run in 1.2 innings. Earning his first save, Michael Bowden struck out two in the ninth. The offense was relatively quiet, as seven hits were dispersed over as many players. Josh Vitters drove in two, as he was 1-for-3, while Brett Jackson stole his 18th base and finished 1-for-4 at the plate.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Arizona Rookie League
Things continue to look good for the AZL Cubs, as they raised their record to 8-4, 1.5 games out of first place. Dan Vogelbach had a breakout game this week, as he was 4-for-5 with a triple, home run, and three RBI to raise his season average to .432 with eleven RBI. Lower round picks Tim Saunders and Jacob Rogers remain impressive, as Saunders maintained a .471 average while Rogers is hit .550, tying Vogelbach for the team lead in homers with two. Outfielder Izaac Garsez is also beginning to press for upward consideration, as he is now batting .3345 with a homer and five RBI through seven games. This week also saw the first appearance of 17 year-old catcher Alberto Mineo for the Italian League.

Left-handers Brian Smith and Hunter Ackerman are the only pitchers with two starts for the Cubs, while rehabbing Justin Berg pitched two scoreless innings. Alvido Jimenez leads the team with ten strikeouts, but has an ERA of 5.91. Dominican Loiger Padron has shown some promise, as he has struck out seven and has a 2.16 ERA in three appearances.

Dominican Summer League
Cubs-1 can’t seem to get over the hump, as a record of 13-14 is good for fourth in the Baseball City division. Shortstop Jenner Emeterio maintained offensively last week, hitting .378while increasing his RBI total to 11. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez is now rounding into form, batting .284 and tied for fourth in the league with 13 stolen bases Carlos A. Rodriguez has moved into seventh in the league with 32 strikeouts, and his ERA of 1.38 is among the leaders for starting pitchers.

The Cubs-2 team has some punch at the top of their lineup, but little else as they have a record of 13-14, sixth in the Boca Chica South division. Outfielders Roberto Caro and Kelvin Encarnacion lead the attack, as Caro is hitting .372 while Encarnacion is at .333, with his five home runs good for second in the league. Outfielder Shamil Ubiera has raised his average to.317 with his 16 RBI tied for second on the team. Right-handed pitcher Daury Torres’ ERA of 1.38 ties him with fellow organization member Carlos A. Rodriguez while his 0.83 WHIP is fifth among league starters.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs recalled RHP Chris Volstad from the Iowa Cubs; optioned RHP Casey Coleman to the Iowa Cubs. Tennessee Smokies IF Matt Cerda was assigned to the Daytona Cubs. The Daytona Cubs assigned IF Greg Rohan to the Tennessee Smokies. The Peoria Chiefs placed C Anthony Giansanti on the 7-Day disabled list; recalled IF Kenny Socorro from the 7-Day disabled list. The Boise Hawks assigned RHP Joe Zeller to the Peoria Chiefs and IF Gregori Gonzalez to the AZL Cubs; released OF Eduardo Gonzalez.

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Quote of the Day

"Pitching is the cornerstone of most championship teams." – Roger Craig

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  • J Daniel

    I know it is way to early to judge a trade but I believe the Cubs are going to ended winning the Rizzo trade by a huge margin! As I have stated, Rizzo, to me, looks like he has “it” and is going to be a LONG term solution to a key position on a championship team. I love the idea of having a true LH power hitting guy that can hit for average and FIELD his position. Looks like he will be their #3 in the lineup for many, many years.

    Cashner on the the other hand may be really good as well but is on the DL again. You never know with pitchers, or any player, how the injuries will work out but I have a bad feeling for him.

    I also believe that the Marshall for Wood deal will turn out well for the Cubs as well. Marshall has been really good at what he does – but he is a set up man! Wood is young and has a chance to be a long term #4 in a good rotation. Personally, I would take the starting pitcher. Marshall probably should have been in the rotation all along and it might have turned out a different story for him but at the time they had Wood, Prior, Z, Clement, . . . and that was his way. Smardj almost ended up like that and all that is needed sometimes is an extended period to figure it out. It was tough in both of their situations as they were trying to win right then. Now is the perfect opportunity to let guys work it out. I think Smardj might turn out to be a good #3 on a really good team.

    Garza is a #2 at best and probably a REALLY good #3 on a CHAMPIONSHIP team. I like the guy but am really hoping they can pull off a blockbuster and get another “Rizzo” type everyday player that will be in the lineup for years to come.

    I do understand their logic with Vitters but do want to see him get a sniff this year. The problem is, unless their scouting of themselves is really accurate, the will not be 100% sure of what he will be able to do in the Show. Or maybe they want him to keep raking and use him as trade bait to expand a deal and bring back a stud 3B?

    A lot to ponder as the deadline nears but, unlike some on here, think team Theo is making the right moves. No they will not all work like the Stewart move. I still think that one was worth the gamble and they didn’t give up much anyways. I know some will blast on that as they have love for Colvin and DJ but seriously?

    Just waiting for the next move.

    • cubtex

      The only way the Cubs win the Rizzo trade by a huge margin is because of Cashner’s health. He is too good of a pitcher for this to be a landslide. I have said it will turn out to be a good deal for both teams especially if they keep Cashner in the rotation. There have been countless pitchers who have had some arm issues and turned out OK. That guy in Washington seems to be OK. Roy Halladay had shoulder issues early in his career and I think he has had a pretty good career.

      • cc002600

        Cashner has a predisposition of arm problems already. I told you that last winter and you argued with me. Guys who throw that hard and put that much stress on their arms and already have arm issues equals trouble. This guy will never be able make it through a full season as a starter w/o injury. At best, he is a reliever. It’s a dumb idea to try him as a starter. The cubs will win this trade going away.

        • cubtex

          It is almost that you are rooting for him to breakdown. Chances are pretty good that if the Cubs sign Matt Garza to a longterm deal….he will breakdown at some point. With Tommy John surgery…..pitchers are able to come back as well as before surgery. See Stephen Strassburg,Jordan Zimmerman and countless others. Theo even believes that since the Cubs drafted some young guys who have already had arm issues. I like Cashner and think he can be a very good starting pitcher….I like Rizzo alot. I would do that trade again…..but to call it a landslide win for the Cubs this early is way too premature!

          • John_CC

            Cashner’s health issues and problems are in the shoulder, not the elbow. Elbow injuries and TJ surgery have become almost expected these days and players come back better for it a lot of times. The Nats concern about the arms of their top two starters is a lot less now that they have both fully recovered from surgery.

            As we all know all too well, there is no fix, medical or otherwise to shoulder injuries.

            In Cashner’s very short track record he is on his 3rd DL stint. Not good at all.

            And I like the kid a lot, I am not rooting for his career to flame out. I hope he can come healthy, but the odds are against him being a long term starting pitcher.

          • cubtex

            Cashner’s latest injury is a strained right lat muscle…..not shoulder.

          • cc002600

            But to John’s point, which I have stated in the past as well, elbows are TOTALLY different than shoulders.

            he is injury prone, its obvious. A guy that is predisposed with a shoulder injury will always have problems. There is no cure for shoulder injuries, like TJ surgery.

            and no I am not rooting for his injury, I’m just stating the facts, which you seem to ignore.

      • J Daniel

        It will be best if it turns out to be a win – win for both teams and really hope that it does. Just concerned with Cashner’s arm but you make valid points as it happens and pitchers recover and are great.

        Personally, I like the everyday guy that can hit, bat third, and field his position which I believe Rizzo will do. I KNOW it is early but like I said, I have seen enough games to know it looks like he had “it”.

  • SuzyS

    Welcome to the second half!!!!….In my view, the only player SURE to be traded is Dempster, barring another trip to the DL.
    I’m not really sure what the Cubs will get back in return…but it should be a decent return.
    Garza and Maholm I’d rate about a 50/50 chance of being traded….The key problem with trading either of those two is that the Cubs DO have to have A starting rotation going forward…just to put a team on the field. I really don’t see anyone else close to ready to step in and fill any rotation holes in the near future.
    So some “near ready” starting arms have to come back by the July 31st deadline if Garza and Maholm go.

    • DWalker

      I keep hearing Rusin mentioned as the next canidate. He’s gotten shelled badly in a couple of his last outings, but he also seems to have some good stuff. Anyone have a decent breakdown on him and whether hes really a viable canidate to move up this year? just looking at stats he seems disturbingly like wells and volstad, but sometimes stats don’t tell everything.

      • Tom U

        DWalker, Rusin was mentioned as the #19 prospect by the CCO earlier this year, here is his breakdown.

        At times, Rusin can be a hot-and-cold pitcher, capable of throwing a gem or getting shelled each time out. His biggest problem from what I’ve seen is his release point. When he is consistent, that’s when he’s at his best.

        Rusin is more of a back end starter, and he has a devastating pick off move.

        • Mike Simala

          unfortunately in our farm all we have right now are back end starters. There isnt one person i can see that could maybe skip a level or two and make any bit of difference. Its going to be, for now anyways, the same retreads, Volstad Wells Coleman taking the mound for us. This is why i feel we do need to move demp lahair and even garza to get back some, almost ready for prime time, pitching depth. We really have not one legit pitching prospect in the upper levels at all.

  • SuzyS

    If Soriano played like this (defensively), the last three years. we wouldn’t have been screaming to get rid of him. It’s curious how he’s improved so much…just when a new regime comes in.

    Trading Soriano is still a difficult proposition….One thing I will say…I do believe we’re going to miss moaning and groaning about him…and his large contract for a while….while there is help here further down on the horizon….I don’t see any “all-stars” ready to step in for Sori.

    • SomeGuy27

      I think the difference is that someone (Dave McKay) actually has attempted to coach him up. What a lot of folks don’t realize is the higher up you go as a player the less coaching you actually get. The attitude is “Hey, you’re a pro if you need help you know where to find me”. A lot of guys get to the bigs in their own way and become resistant to change and subsequently don’t seek help from coaches.

  • SuzyS

    Final thought (for the moment), Neither Garza nor LaHair HAVE to be traded…unless the Cubs are blown out of the water with the return prospects.

    • RickinMSP

      I’m with you Suzi. I’d be happy if they trade them, but only if the deal is right. I don’t want them traded just to make a trade. Garza is potentially in the CUbs long term future while LaHair really isn’t, but could be for somebody else. There are enough teams out there that need first basmen that he will be dealt eventually, probably in the off season. He is not a long term solution to right field any more than DeJesus is the solution to left field.
      By the way Cubtex, just returned from Austin last night and had a great time. Spent a few days with my son who is home on leave from Afghanistan, ate a few Fredricksburg peaches, and followed your advice and drank a couple of $2 Lone Stars at the Salt Lick before walking across the parking lot to the Express game.

      • cubtex

        Awesome Rick! My kids love those Fredericksburg peaches as well. There are better beers than Lonestar, but eating bar b que at The Salt Lick……Lonestar beer is the proper compliment:)

    • BosephHeyden

      That’s a reason I like that the Cubs have established the “precedent” for what they expect for Garza. I personally may not believe he’s an ace, but I’d agree he’s at least as good as Ubaldo Jimenez, and the Cubs wanting back a prospect package equal to that makes sense.

  • CubsTrader

    I think the Cubs might have a future closer in Volstad.
    Instead working five innings before he falls apart, Volstad can work one or two innings as a closer.

    Marlmol trade value going up now. His arm looks really good now and he looks more focus on the mound.

    Maholm is looking like one of the best lefties on the trade block.

    I believe the Cubs have a buyer for Soriano. Has anyone notice that Johnson does not come in for Soriano in the late innings lately?

    Johnson will be traded after Phillies Shawn Victorino gets traded.

    Rays looking at both Soto and Soriano in a trade.

    There is more trade value for Garza now then this time next year.

    It seems Stewart has doubts that the Cubs will pick up his option. If Stewart does return, it will be at a lower cost.

    The more Barney shows how good he is, less likely he will be traded.

    If there is a Cubs prospect that can be traded by the deadline for pitching help, it will be Junior Lake.

    • Tony_Hall

      Volstad doesn’t have the stuff to be a closer, but could be a 7th or 8th inning guy.

      “Marlmol” is going to be worth something in return, if he keeps throwing strikes.

      Stewart is arbitration eligible, so they will release him rather than give him a raise, most likely with a pre-arranged deal already in place to go to Iowa.

      I don’t see Lake being traded, as teams will be looking to add players that can help them this year, while the Cubs are looking for players for the future. The teams that would want guys like Lake, are trying to unload their vets just like the Cubs.

      All in all, a good post about Cubs baseball.

      • Tom U

        Tony, I feel that Lake will possibly used as a “sweetener” in a deal. He is pretty hemmed in from an organizational standpoint.

        • Mike Simala

          was gonna say the same about Lake, hes a man without a position right now. Doesnt really fit anywhere in our future plans. Probably should have already been moved to the OF. Definitely could be a sweetner in a deal to get a piece back that we know we can use.

      • paulcatanese

        If it works out right the Cubs now have three legitimate power hitters in a row in the lineup with
        Rizzo, Soriono, and Lahair, and occaisional power from Castro and Valbuena, could be a lineup that feeds off each other and provide some interesting games from now on out.
        Catching continues to be sketchy,and Barney is holding his own, as everytime they talk about replacing him, he steps up either with the bat or glove.
        DeJesus is on the bubble with contribution, but all in all with Baker, Johnson and Campana, not a bad bench.
        In spite of Dempster and Garza, the pitching is not all that bad and needs one or two additions and they could salvage a decent team.
        Vitters could be a welcome addition as well as Jackson, but the Cubs will have to take a chance to see if that occurs.
        The future is really not as bleak as I had imagined.
        I can credit management for a lot of it, but reserve the right to criticize as well when I think they havent. They are not infalable, but have made some good moves(abeit Stewart and a few others) that does warrent opinions to the contrary.
        One other thing, mistakes, when Castro makes them,why is it because he is young and needs time to “mature” when Rizzo is about the same age and in my eyes has matured already?

        • Mike Simala

          Just a thought about Rizzo and Castros maturity. I may be completely off but with Rizzos struggles last year maybe that caused him to take a step back and become more professional at his craft. Since Castros call up hes just had success and may have never really had to work. Like i said maybe im way off but seems like guys that are just plain gifted tend to be lazy in practice, the field, etc and are a bit less mature, IE Miggy Cabrera Hanley Ramirez.

          • paulcatanese

            Don’t know if thats the case with Castro,but could very well be. The total hype given to Castro just may have made it harder for him,
            with the early (and still) success he has had and then slump a little could work on his mind
            and also he may just not be maturing as quickly as he could.
            I (in my opinion) think he has worked pretty hard this year on defense and his approach at the plate and is running into a few bumps along the way.
            Maturity varies with the individual, Castro being from where he came from was not exposed to the same things that Rizzo has at his age.
            In other words what I am trying to say is Castro may be young for his years. Make sense?

          • Mike Simala

            yes it does.

          • paulcatanese

            Thanks, Mike.

  • Dorasaga

    Had Randy Wells “woken up to coffee”? I don’t know, I’ll need to watch him stretched six to seven innings before call him up again.

    By the way, Kelvin Encarnacion at the DOM league, is he related to the Toronto slugger (Edwin)?

  • Tom U

    Baseball Reference is listing no relation between Kelvin and Edwin Encarnacion

  • Dorasaga

    Good to know. How was Schaumberg?