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

It was an abbreviated schedule to start the week, as everyone took Tuesday off for the Major League All-Star game.

Wins were hard to come by, as Tennessee provided the thrills by coming from behind twice behind Greg Rohan, Logan Watkins, and closer Frank Batista. Iowa went off on a winning note due to the hot bats of Alfredo Amezaga, Dave Sappelt, and Josh Vitters. Daytona split a pair, with Arismendy Alcantara at the top of his game; while Boise and Peoria dropped two apiece.

Along with recaps of the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Summer League, enjoy 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 (8-17)
Violent storms cut short Sunday night’s game for Boise, as their contest with Yakima was ended after six innings with the Hawks coming away with a 10-1 loss. Xavier Batista (2-for-2) had half of Boise’s hits. Ian Dickson was pounded for seven earned runs in 2.2 innings. Rafael Diplan pitched another 2.1 innings and allowed three runs, but only one was earned.

The Hawks may need to start looking for answers, as they gave up double digit runs for the second straight night in losing 10-4 to Yakima. In a switch, Felix Pena was named started and actually did well, giving up only one earned run over four innings. Announced starter Willengton Cruz followed and was a completely different story, allowing four earned runs in an inning. Michael Hamann didn’t do much netter, surrendering three earned runs in 0.2 innings, while Roderik Pichardo and Su-Min Jung each let in an earned run. Trey Martin had his best night in a Boise uniform, going 3-for-4 while Willson Contreras was 2-for-4.

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (41-46)
The Chiefs were not able to push a run across the plate on Sunday, as they were shutout by Cedar Rapids 3-0. Peoria was able to manage six hits, but only Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4) and Wes Darvill (1-for-3) went for extra bases, with each hitting a double. Knuckleballer Joe Zeller allowed three runs, but only one earned as he struck out three in five innings. Coming back from Tennessee, Jeffry Antigua also had three strikeouts in three scoreless innings.

Peoria pitching suffered a meltdown in the ninth inning, as the lost a Monday matinee to Cedar Rapids 4-3. The offense got identical numbers from Javier Baez and Wes Darvill, as they were each 2-for-4 with a home run. Michael Jensen had another good effort, allowing an earned run and striking out three in five innings. Sheldon McDonald and Austin Reed held the Kernels scoreless, McDonald for 1.1 innings while Reed went 1.2 innings. But Luis Liria had a hard time finding the plate, as he walked three and gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings.

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (39-48)
Daytona made their five hits count, as they rallied late on Sunday to defeat Lakeland 5-2. Chad Noble was the only D-Cub with more than one hit, as he was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Rebel Ridling drove in two as he was 1-for-4, while Arismendy Alcantara and Rubi Silva also had an RBI apiece.

Austin Kirk had to wait until the eighth inning to get off the hook, as he allowed two earned runs in six innings and struck out two batters. AJ Morris also had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, while Brian Schlitter set down the side in order in the ninth for the save.

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The D-Cubs had too big of a hole to dig out of on Monday, as they lost 5-4 to Lakeland. Frustration seems to be growing as Daytona is only 2-6 in games started by Robert Whitenack, as he allowed five runs, all earned, in 2.1 innings. Matt Spencer and Scott Weismann each pitched a scoreless inning, while Ryan Searle gave up no runs in 1.2 innings. The biggest loser, though, has been Frank Del Valle, as he hasn’t started in ten days. Del Valle went two shutout innings and struck out three batters. Arismendy Alcantara was 4-for-5, while John Andreoli went 2-for-3 and Rebel Ridling was also 2-for-4.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (44-45)
The Smokies survived another nail-biter on Sunday as they defeated Chattanooga 5-3. Trey McNutt started and went five innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and striking out two batters. Casey Weathers then allowed the Lookouts to creep back in, as they scored an earned run in his 1.1 innings. But Ty’Relle Harris stopped Chattanooga in its tracks, as he struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings. Frank Batista slammed the door in the ninth, picking up his 15th save.

It continues to be the Greg Rohan show in Tennessee, as Sunday’s left fielder was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Nobody else on the Smokies had more than one hit, as Junior Lake, Logan Watkins, Justin Bour, and Michael Brenly each had an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Tennessee bullpen had fans holding their breath again as another gem was in jeopardy as they beat Chattanooga 4-3. Starter Dallas Beeler struck out five in seven shutout innings, and then had to grit his teeth while watching his fellow pitchers. Tony Zych only recorded an out as he gave up two earned runs in relief. Then Marcus Hatley allowed the Lookouts to get closer, as he let in an earned run in an inning. Finally, Frank Batista restored order by getting the last two outs for his 16th save.

The Smokies made five hits count, as Logan Watkins was 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and two RBI. Junior Lake and Justin Bour were each 1-for-4, including a double and an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (38-53)
Iowa’s eleven hits on Sunday were enough to bail out starter Randy Wells, as the I-Cubs went into the All-Star break with a 6-5 win over Omaha. Wells followed up a good performance his last time out with what came be described as “typical Randy Wells“, as he allowed five runs (four earned) with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Alberto Cabrera stopped the Storm Chasers in their tracks, striking out four and shutting them down for 2.2 innings.

Alfredo Amezaga seems to be enjoying the leadoff spot, as he was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Dave Sappelt continued his hot hitting, as he went 2-for-4 as he drove in a run. And when you speak of being hot, Josh Vitters comes to mind as he also was 2-for-4, including a double and an RBI.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Arizona Rookie League
Ladies and Gentleman, your first place Cubs! Sounds nice, doesn’t it, even if it is only the AZL Cubs. Tim Saunders continues to be a one-man wrecking crew for the 12-4 Cubs, as he raised his average to .547 with two home runs and 11 RBI. He even showed off his versatility by lining up in centerfield for a few games. Dan Vogelbach is now the sole leader in homers with three, along with 16 RBI and a .339 average. Also standing out have been corner infielder Jacob Rogers (.433, two home runs, eight RBI) and middle infielder Dan Lockhart (.309, nine RBI). Left-hander Hunter Ackerman remains unscored upon in three starts (seven innings), while Alvido Jimenez leads the team with 14 innings pitched and 13 strikeouts; to go along with a 1-2 record, 4.50 ERA, and a save.

Dominican Summer League
What a difference a week makes, as both Cubs-1 and Cubs-2 teams improved their records to over .500.

Cubs-1 are now at 17-16, still good for fourth in the Baseball City division. Infielder Jenner Emeterio remained the offensive leader, hitting .375 with two home runs and an RBI total of thirteen. Switch-hitting First baseman Roney Alcala has also improved, batting .330 and leading the team with 19 RBI. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez is now second in the league with 19 stolen bases while hitting .294. Sixteen-year old Carlos A. Rodriguez has moved to fourth in the league with 41 strikeouts.

The Cubs-2 team is now starting to live up to some of its hype, with a record of 19-14 ranking third in the Boca Chica South division. However, it hasn’t been the expected cast of characters, as catcher-first baseman Jhonny Pena leading the team with a .397 average, including two homers and 17 RBI. Outfielders Kelvin Encarnacion and Shamil Ubiera pace the attack, with Encarnacion hitting .324 with his five home runs and 20 RBI, while Ubiera leads the team with 21 RBI and is batting .320. Nineteen-year old Daury Torres now leads the league with a 0.756 WHIP, reflecting only two walks against 34 strikeouts, and posting an ERA of 1.13 along with a 5-1 record.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned RHP Chris Volstad to the Iowa Cubs. The Iowa Cubs assigned RHP Justin Berg to the Peoria Chiefs; released RHP Mike MacDougal. The Daytona Cubs assigned C Chad Noble to the Tennessee Smokies. The Peoria Chiefs assigned C Rafael Lopez to the Daytona Cubs; placed IF Kenny Socorro and LHP Gerardo Concepcion (virus) on the 7-Day disabled list. The Boise Hawks assigned C Chadd Krist to the Peoria Chiefs; assigned OF Shawon Dunston Jr. to the AZL Cubs. The AZL Cubs assigned C Carlos Escobar to the Boise Hawks; released IF Gregori Gonzalez.

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Dorasaga

    Tom, while comparing minor stats , I found out the Cubs owned an older “Bret Jackson,” drafted four years earlier than the top prospect we care:

    He’s a pitcher from Modesto, CA.

    Curious, do you know anything about him?

    • Dorasaga

      By the way, good 2012 vid by Neil and Friends:

      I believe that hit was off the glove of Tim Collins, now a setup man for the Royals.

      • Dorasaga

        If we compare the above vid to this, 2011:

        The young outfielder had really bulked up. He’s also using a longer bat. I don’t like him strolling off home plate after each pitch now. Bad habit to pick up.

        • paulcatanese

          Maybe Pena was his idol?:)

          • Dorasaga

            Ah, I still remember your posts about Pena, not going to bat but having fun all over the place, not the plate.

    • Tom U

      I’m sorry, afraid not. Perhaps Aaron?

      • Dorasaga

        Thanks. What’s gone is gone, and knowing very little about him, I have an unimportant character that only satisfies my curiosity, yet.

  • Anthony

    Tom, looking at the less than stellar play of many Cub OF prospects, still think they erred on a certain release, especially since that player hit 96 twice in a recent outing, which would have been a nice backup plan if retained.
    If you make the Schaumburg trip when they are there, see what you can find out, or a report if there is a pitching appearance.

  • The Maven

    Although this is a Cubs site, I’d still like to pay homage to the 33rd anniversary to Disco Demolition Nite (by the way, disco still sucks)!

    • calicub

      Here here! What a great marketing stunt that was

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, if the music isn’t Mendelson, Bach, or Beethoven,
      I’ll pass:)

  • BosephHeyden

    The Twitter feed over there is reporting Chris Withrow and Garrett Gould of the Dodgers would be an enticing trade package for Dempster. I’ve heard the Gould’s name thrown out there before, but not this Withrow, and I have no idea who the “reporter” is that said any of that.

    Anyone know who those guys are and if that’s an actual, enticing package?

    • Mike Simala

      Not Enticing. Gould is in high A ball, has good stuff, but not dominant. He would be a good piece to get back along with better prospects as he could develop well. Withrow is in AA and has an era over 5 and has 28 walks to only 50 Ks, NOT GOOD!. Id be looking for Eovaldi and Federowicz, a AAA catcher, to start. Dodgers dont really have too many great prospects. But guys like John Ely and Jerry Sands I think have fallen out of favor there and could end up in a deal. And any of those i mentioned could be playing in Chicago right away. Nothing with the Dodgers really thrills me at all. I just have a feeling Demp does end up there.

      • cubtex

        John Ely has a low ceiling and more of another back of the rotation guy. They need to get a guy with more risk but much higher upside back for Dempster.

        • Mike Simala

          Yeah, never said he was high upside, hes pitched well this year in AAA, but with Dodgers lack of prospects, I could see him as a piece wed get back. I really dont like the idea of dealing with the Dodgers. And if they want guys close to major league ready back, that points to basically only Ely and Eovaldi.

      • BosephHeyden

        Yeah, I get that same feeling. I really hope they just let the market play out so teams with better prospects enter talks, because, like mentioned NUMEROUS times, the Dodgers are not the ideal team.

        Though if they want to play the “eating contracts” bit, we should just take one of their “top” prospects granted they take Soriano, too…and all his salary.

  • Theboardrider

    What’s going on with Reggie Golden? Do any of you guys in the know think he’ll ever play on a MLB team?

    • Tom U

      Boatrider, here is a copy of the response I had on Tuesday:

      The boatrider asked recently about Reggie Golden. Golden reported in shape this year, but got off to a slow start. He injured his knee rounding first on a ball he easily would have made second on. He has since had season-ending knee surgery. The 20-year old will have to use this time to first make sure that he keeps himself in top physical condition. He can also show some maturity by working with coaches in the video room to see why it takes him so long to start producing offensively.

      • Theboardrider

        Thanks Tom. I missed the reply from last report. I hope Golden gets his head on straight. He seems to have potential…

  • Theboardrider

    McNutt with 2 K’s! Wow…

  • gocubs

    Any news on Brett Jackson? Havent really heard much about him lately. After spring training all we heard was that he was “almost ready.” Now, it almost seems like hes fallen off the prospect map pretty steeply.

    • Dorasaga

      Just happened to be reading here prior to CCO:

      On Jackson:
      “Jackson’s line is .261/.339/.494 for an OPS of .833. He has 12 homers,
      37 RBI, 34 walks and 122 strikeouts. We’ve discussed the strikeouts over
      the last several weeks, with Cubs manager Dale Sveum weighing in. We’ll
      see what the second half brings for Jackson.”

  • Jay from sanwhich

    All this talk about Detroit 3b in AA to me is a mistake not because he is not good but because the cubs a think have a nice group of 3b in the system now. What need is pitching pitching and more pitching. You never have enough young arms is true and they are also the type of players for trade

    • cubtex

      Castellanos is not going anywhere. He is actually being moved to lf to make him more versatile.