Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/23/12

Playoffs??!! Are you kidding ME??!!

Apparently, no, as both Boise and the AZL Cubs have the post season in their sights. Boise has the post-season on their minds for their second consecutive season as they ride the Northwest League’s leading hitter Stephen Bruno, along with Gioskar Amaya, Dan Vogelbach, Albert Almora, and Jeimer Candelario providing the pop to the Hawks’ attack.

The A-Cubs have gotten contributions from Shawon Dunston Jr., Trevor Gretzky, and some very solid pitching.

Peoria got a measure of revenge by taking a series from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers thanks to pitchers Yao-Lin Wang and Jeffry Antigua, along with the bats of Dustin Geiger and Jorge Soler.

And Iowa won two out of three with Greg Rohan and Dave Sappelt leading the charge, as well as an excellent pitching performance from veteran Seth McClung.

With recaps of the Arizona Rookie League and the Dominican Summer League, here 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 (31-35)
The Hawks were unable to hold onto an early lead on Sunday, losing to Yakima 4-3. Tayler Scott continues to impress, as the Bears were only able to scratch out one earned run in five innings. But Nathan Dorris had his first subpar performance for Boise. Dorris was able to go only one inning while allowing three earned runs. Rafael Diplan kept Yakima scoreless for two innings and struck out two, but the offense could not rally. After posting three runs in the second inning, the Hawks bats went silent. Trey Martin was 2-for-3, while Xavier Batista (1-for-4, double) and Marco Hernandez (1-for-3, double) drove in runs.

After taking a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth on Monday, Boise was outscored 8-2 the rest of the way as the Fell to Yakima 8-7. Dan Vogelbach hit the big blow that led to the early lead. Vogelbach slugged his ninth home run and was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Steven Bruno edged closer to the top of the Northwest League leaderboard. Bruno went 3-for-3 with a double. Trey Martin drove in two runs and was 1-for-4 with a double, while Marco Hernandez (1-for-3) cracked a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Ian Dickson had one of his best starts of the season. Dickson allowed two unearned runs in five innings and struck out four batters. But Hunter Ackerman had a rough outing. Ackerman gave up four earned runs in 2.2 innings. Ackerman was replaced by Tyler Bremer, who could have stopped the Bears’ rally, but ended up letting in two earned runs.

Boise maintained their five game lead over Yakima with ten games to play in the second half of the season, as they defeated the Bears 7-4 on Tuesday. The Hawks jumped out to a four-run lead in the top of the first as Gioskar Amaya (3-for-4, two RBI) led off the game with a home run. The Northwest League’s new leading hitter, Stephen Bruno (1-for-3) singled and scored on an error. Albert Almora (1-for-5) drove in Dan Vogelbach, who was hit by a pitch, and Xavier Batista scored on another error. Boise would get two more runs in the fourth inning, and an insurance run in the seventh.

Pierce Johnson had some trouble in his scheduled two innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out two batters. Piggyback Felix Pena continues to be impressive, averaging five innings over his last three outings while giving up only two earned runs over that period. Pena was hung with an unearned run but struck out three in five innings. Eduardo Orozco had his strikeout pitch going, as he fanned three in two scoreless innings in route to his sixth save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (57-69)
After having a frustrating season against the Timer Rattlers, Peoria earned a series split on Sunday by defeating Wisconsin 4-3. Yao-Lin Wang continues to strut his stuff as a starter. Wang had seven punch-outs while allowing two earned runs in 6.1 innings. Justin Berg showed that he still has some issues with command. Berg walked four, but limited the damage to one earned run over two innings. Really taking to the closer role, Larry Suarez was able to get the final two outs for his third save.

Wisconsin was hit with some lightning and thunder, as Pin-Chieh Chen supplied the flash. Chen was 2-for-4 with an RBI and his 30th stolen base. Dustin Geiger then moved into fourth in the Midwest League with his 16th homer. Geiger was 1-for-4 with two RBI. Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a RBI) also contributed.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Joe Zeller’s knuckleball zigged when it should have zagged on Monday and he was pounded by Wisconsin in an 8-1 loss for Peoria. Zeller went six innings and allowed seven runs, five of which were earned. Willengton Cruz was also tagged for an unearned run in his inning of work, with Luis Liria tossing a scoreless inning. Zeke DeVoss was 2-for-4 with a double, while Tim Saunders was also 2-for-4. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3) doubled in Jacob Rogers (1-for-3) for the Chiefs’ only run.

Peoria ended up winning the series against Wisconsin with a Tuesday matinee 4-2 victory. Backup catcher Sergio Burruel had his time to shine. Burruel was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Jorge Soler also drove in a run and was 3-for-4, while Zeke DeVoss was 1-for-4 with and RBI.

Jeffry Antigua was given his second start and made the most of it. Antigua struck out five and allowed two runs (one earned) in 5.2 innings. Austin Reed provided stellar relief, holding the Timber Rattlers scoreless over 2.1 innings. Larry Suarez set down the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (52-64)
For the second week in a row, Mother Nature was not kind to the Daytona Cubs, raining out a doubleheader on Sunday and a regularly scheduled game on Tuesday. The D-Cubs had a scheduled off-day on Monday.

Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (63-65)
It was a team effort for Tennessee on Sunday, as they rallied for six runs then had to hold on for a 6-5 victory over Chattanooga. Dallas Beeler started and had to deal with his teammates chucking the pill around, as Junior Lake and Justin Bour committed errors that led to three runs (two earned) in five innings. Tony Zych pitched a perfect inning, and gave way to Kevin Rhoderick, who yielded an earned run in 0.2 innings. Casey Harman threw a scoreless inning, but Lake booted another ball for Frank Batista, hanging him with two runs (one earned) while he struck out a batter and collected his 23rd save.

Manager Buddy Bailey practically emptied the bench to get the win. Chad Noble ended up his most productive hitter. Noble went 1-for-4 with two RBI. Matt Cerda was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Logan Watkins (1-for-3) drove in a run. Michael Burgess added a pinch-hit RBI double.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Tennessee busted open a tied game on Monday with a four-run eighth inning, as they beat Chattanooga 5-1. The game was tied at 1-1 with starting pitcher Nick Struck (1-for-2) doubling and scoring on a Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-3) single … there was no RBI due to an error by the Lookouts’ shortstop. Logan Watkins (1-for-4) ignited the rally in the eighth with a leadoff single. Walks to Ha and Justin Bour (1-for-3, double) loaded the bases. Junior Lake (2-for-4, double) knocked in Watkins and Ha with a single. A base hit by Rubi Silva (2-for-4) reloaded the bases for Michael Brenly (1-for-3). Brenly doubled in Lake and Bour.

While helping his cause at the plate, Nick Struck managed to strike out three while allowing an earned run in six innings. Trey McNutt pitched a scoreless seventh, while Brian Schlitter also had three strikeouts as he slammed the door on the Lookouts with two shutout innings.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The Smokies were three outs away from their third win in a row on Tuesday, but let Chattanooga off the hook and lost 3-1 in 11 innings. Tennessee’s only run came in the first as Logan Watkins scored on a Justin Bour (1-for-4) double. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-4, while Matt Cerda went 2-for-3. Eric Jokisch started and held the Lookouts scoreless over five innings, posting four strikeouts. Trey McNutt and Tony Zych shut down Chattanooga for three innings. Zych struck out three batters in his two innings of work. However, the Southern League’s leading reliever, Frank Batista, served up a solo home run that tied the game in the top of the ninth. As the game progressed in to extra innings, Kevin Rhoderick allowed an earned run and was charged with another as a Casey Harman wild pitch would make the score 3-1, which is where it would stay.

Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (50-79)
Iowa was able to put up big numbers in the first two innings on Sunday and then coasted to a 6-3 win over Memphis. Mexican League veteran Yoannis Negrin made his first Triple-A start of the season and struck out three while giving up an earned run through four innings. Ryan Searle also tossed four innings and struck out three and he collected his first Triple-A victory. Scott Maine finished things off by allowing two runs (one earned) with a strikeout in the ninth.

Greg Rohan gave the I-Cubs a lead they would never relinquish as he blasted a three-run homer with James Adduci and Dave Sappelt (1-for-2) aboard. Rohan finished the game 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBI. Blake Lalli and Alfredo Amezaga also drove in runs.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The I-Cubs were in a tight ballgame early on with Memphis before the Cardinals turned it on and pounded Iowa 11-3 on Monday. Starter Ty’Relle Harris did not have a poor outing. Harris allowed three runs (two earned) in four innings. Harris recorded four strikeouts. Jay Jackson set down the side in his first inning before giving up two earned in his second inning of work. Marcus Hatley was then completely lit up. Hatley surrendered six runs (four earned) while failing to record an out. Esmailin Caridad calmed things down with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Reserve catcher Brian Esposito added another scoreless inning. Greg Rohan continued his assault on Triple-A pitching. Rohan was 2-for-5 with a double and his 23rd RBI (in only 19 games with Iowa). Alfredo Amezaga was 2-for-5, while James Adduci and Blake Lalli were each 2-for-4.

Fortunes were better for Seth McClung in his second start on Tuesday, as Iowa defeated the Redbirds 2-0. McClung struck out six over seven shutout innings. Scott Maine and Blake Parker each supplied a scoreless inning. The I-Cubs offense was able to dent phenom Shelby Miller for two runs after being struck out twelve times by the Cardinals’ prospect. Blake Lalli (1-for-3) singled in the seventh inning and came around on a Jeff Frazier (1-for-3) home run.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Arizona Rookie League
It’s starting to be nip and tuck for the AZL Cubs. They continue to have the second best record in the rookie league at 31-18, but are now four games behind the AZL Athletics. With five games left to play, the AZL Cubs lead the AZL Mariners by three games for the wild card spot. This past week, the A-Cubs went 2-3.

The A-Cubs were almost unstoppable on Thursday. Shawon Dunston Jr. (3-for-4, three RBI) and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-3, double, RBI) slugged home runs as they defeated AZL Reds 9-1. Trevor Gretzky was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI, while Carlos Penalver went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI as well. Anthony Prieto pitched the first three innings, striking out three and holding the A-Reds scoreless. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino upped his record to 5-0 as he fanned seven batters while allowing an earned run in five innings. Jin-Young Kim set down the side in order in the ninth.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

The A-Cubs rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh in game one of Tuesday’s scheduled doubleheader with the AZL Mariners and pulled out a 7-6 victory. Anthony Giansanti, who is on a rehab assignment, led the comeback with a 2-for-4 performance that included three RBI. Shawon Dunston Jr. drove in a run and went 2-for-3. Dominican speedster Jeffrey Baez, just called up from the DSL, was 1-for-3 with a stolen base. Carl Lang, a sixth round draft pick in 2012, started and surrendered only a hit in one inning. However, Carlos Martinez-Pumarino had a rough time and allowed five runs (four earned) while striking out three in three innings. Steve Peraksis followed and gave up an earned run to go along with three strikeouts in two innings. Chad Martin came out of the pen and picked up the win. Martin gave up a run and walked a batter but neither one of the baserunners crossed the plate.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Dominican Summer League
The Dominican Summer League is winding down. As of Wednesday there is only four games left to play.

Cubs-1 continued to remain in fifth in the Baseball City division with a record of 33-35. C-1 has seen some interesting things from a late signee in catcher Steven De La Cruz, who has hit .346 with five RBI in ten games. Corner infielder Roney Alcala has moved into a tie for tenth place in the league with 43 RBI, while batting .303 to go along with five home runs. Right-hander Carlos A. Rodriguez is tied for ninth in the league with 70 strikeouts (1.92 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP). Lefty Luis Villalba is a hair behind Rodriguez in ERA (1.93) and has 37 strikeouts with a 1.14 WHIP.

The Cubs-2 team has dropped to sixth place in the Boca Chica South division with a 32-35 record. Outfielders Kelvin Encarnacion and Shamil Ubiera remain the offensive leaders. Encarnacion is tops on the team with a .309 average, along with five home runs and 28 RBI. Ubiera paces the squad with 40 runs driven in while hitting .305 with four homers. Right-hander Daury Torres is now third in the league both in WHIP (0.82) and ERA (1.21). Torres is 6-3 with 50 strikeouts. Righty Perdo Araujo is next behind Torres with a 2.72 ERA and 5-2 record to go along with 47 strikeouts in 53 innings.

News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned LHP Brooks Raley, LHP Jeff Beliveau, and IF Adrian Cardenas to the Iowa Cubs; recalled LHP Chris Rusin from the Iowa Cubs. The DSL Cubs-1 assigned OF Jeffrey Baez to the AZL Cubs.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO


  • Aaron

    Tom,

    Please see my question about Wells in the post-game recap….was wondering if you saw the box score of the AZL Cubs with Ben Wells listed. Didn’t he have TJ surgery? Probably a misprint

    • Tony_Hall

      Aaron – Here is another report I saw, that I trust is correct.

      “The most encouraging news of the day for me was that RHP Ben Wellswas able to return before the end of the season — and he struck out the side in his only inning. Wells reportedly added a few ticks to his fastball and was reaching the high 90s this spring, causing him to be specifically mentioned by the Cubs new brass as a pitcher they had high hopes for. If he comes back strong and healthy, he could add some oomph to their SP prospect depth chart. He’ll still be only 20 next season and should start at least in Peoria…or Kane County.”

      • Tony_Hall

        Any thoughts on Tim Saunders (SS), taken in the 32nd round this year. He just seems to keep hitting and playing well in Peoria already.

        • Zonk

          Tom posted on him a week ago, and JIm Callis featured him in a recent update.

          I am paraphrasing Callis, but basically Saunders is a Div III star, and scouts don’t think he can stick at SS. But he has good speed and athleticism, and is obviously off to a great start. Cubs are playing him at multiple positions, and he may project as ML utility guy.

          Cubs have a problem right now in the low minors of more good prospects in the middle infield than places to play them. A good problem to have. Saunders would be at A+, but he’s “blocked” by Baez and Torreyes

          Saunders shows advanced hitting skills, and is clearly beyond A-ball, where he is right now

          • Tony_Hall

            I was hoping Tom had a little more that what Callis and some of the others put out on him.

            I think you will see the log jam break with next years assignments. Iowa has a lot of roster fillers who will be expendable to move up guys as they are ready.

          • Tom U

            I will be seeing Peoria next weekend, so I’ll have a report from the ground level.

        • Tom U

          I’m going to go Dale Sveum on you.

          In the real world, the 22-year old Saunders would jump ahead of 19 year old Javier Baez on the depth chart, and seriously challenge Junior Lake at the next rung.

          Seriously, with the changes that are happening, one should expect less biases toward late round picks and favoritism to high draftees, and more of a focus on production.

          The knock on Saunders coming into the draft was his defense. But, so far, he’s proved better at the position than either Baez, Lake, or teammate Wes Darvill. It seems as if the minor league brass is anticipating the need to do something with Saunders, playing at 3B, 2B, and OF. At a slim 6′ 1″, 180 lbs, he doesn’t project well at 3B.

          I fully expect Saunders to be part of the Fall Instructional League to see if he has a future at SS, or they need to put him somewhere else.

          • Tony_Hall

            Thanks Tom. They only drafted 2 SS this year which says something about the current depth in the system of middle infielders. But he seems like he is determined to make it. Not sure how far he will make it, but I will be rooting for him.

          • Henry

            Tony and Tom, I was at the Chief’s game in Beloit last night. Saunders was a hitting machine! 4 hits! he did not get much in the way of opportunities in the field but when he did he flashed a strong arm. he was much more impressive than Geiger at 3rd and Darvill at 2nd.

            A couple of side notes we sat in front of LF Bijan Readmacher’s Uncle. I had to use the men’s room between the 10th and 11th inning as I was walking out in walks Jorge Soler. I guess he couldn’t hold it anymore!

          • Zonk

            Tom, what’s the status on Arismendy Alcantara? He was having a good year at A+ when he went down with injury. Is he done for the year?

            Also looks like Baez is struggling a bit in the advance to A+; it’s only 40 ABs at a new level, so wouldn’t worry too much…..probably just means he’ll start next year at A+, and won’t be bumped up to AA to start the season

            Szczur also scuffling a bit at new level, though he has picked up a bit lately. He’ll probably start next year at AA. I think he might slide a bit on the BA top 100 rankings though, he progressed this year, but not very fast for his age

          • Tom U

            I know Alcantara is out with an undisclosed leg injury. At this point, he’s probably done, but I expect he’ll play again in the winter leagues if he is injury free.

            As for Baez, I guess he can’t ,,,, nah, it’s too easy.

            Szczur is one of the glaring examples as to the shake up in the organization’s developmental team. Szczur was clearly being outplayed by Rubi Silva in Daytona, but because of the mistakes made with Szczur’s contract they were compelled to move him up.

          • Zonk

            Interesting take on Szczur. Couple follow-up questions:

            1. What was the problem with Szczur’s contract? It’s a ML-one? You don’t think he deserved a promo?

            2. Why do you like Silva? He is very hack-tastic at the plate, doesn’t have power, can’t steal bases, doesn’t walk, strikes out too much…..he hits for average, but needs to really rake at his age to be a legit prospect. I don’t see it, honestly. At least Szczur shows more plate discipline.

          • Aaron

            I know you asked Tom, but the problem with Szczur is that Hendry and his team wrote up a ridiculous contract. My understanding is they could have included language in the original one that would have benefited both sides in the event he gave up football, but they didn’t, and had to re-write the whole damn contract, and when you do that to a draftee, you MUST include them on the 40-man.

            As for Silva, yes, he’s a hacker, but Tom’s right, he was clearly outplaying Szczur.

            Because he’s on the 40-man, the Cubs had to advance him quickly due to options, which run out in 2015. Szczur receives a 4th year, just like Concepcion and Soler, because they played partial seasons their first years in the organization. You figure that he’ll start next year in AA, and if he performs well, he’ll get moved up to AAA late in the year. In 2014, he’ll likely start in AAA, and be in line for a September call-up, unless he’s obliterating AAA pitching (unlikely). That means the team would technically only have 1 year to see what he can do, or risk losing him on waivers. My timeline is probably different than theirs, because they want to see what he can do at the MLB level before he’s exposed to waivers. That’s why I listed the full timeline of things so you can get an idea of how far along he would normally be in his development versus what the team will want to do.

          • Zonk

            In Hendry’s defense, maybe they had to do a ML contract to lure him out of football. The Cubs only used a 5th round draft choice, then “bought” him out of football, which always costs a little more when you do that (like it did for Shark).

            Much harder to do that under the new CBA, where your $ is limited

          • Tony_Hall

            No, this was a blunder with the paperwork, not JH buying out a football player like Samardzija.

          • Aaron

            Tony,

            You’re right, that’s how I understood it as well…that it was squarely on Hendry and his crew messing up the paperwork.

            Evidently what happened was they agreed on two bonuses….one initially, and one for him to give up football, but they weren’t smart about it in the first place, which forced them to essentially right up an entirely new contract, thus forcing them to add him to the 40-man as is the rules when you rip up the old contract with a draftee.

          • Tom U

            Zonk, others can explain it better, but the gist of things is that the previous management messed up Szczur’s bonus, requiring for him to be placed on the 40 man roster. That accelerates his development to having just three years, as to going at his own pace. The organization had to push him up to Double-A this season to stay on schedule.

            As for Silva, while his offense is more consistent with the previous regime’s philosophy, he does have one thing that I always grade high on, and that is being able to hit in the clutch. Silva has 63 RBI against 135 hits. That’s darn good for someone who has only 3 homers.

            While not a good base-stealer, Silva has very good functional speed, with 15 doubles and 12 triples. That speed also shows up in the best part of his game: his defense.

            I’ve seen Silva play and he is a joy to watch defensively, He’s silky smooth in the outfield with a powerful throwing arm. At second, he has the type of fast-twitch reactions that make him a playmaker. He is major league ready defensively at this point, with his outfield defense bordering on gold glove material.

            That said, he may not have a future in the organization, with their “grinder” approach. If not, he will probably be similar to former Cub prospects Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu, who have found success elsewhere.

          • Tom U

            Thanks for the report Henry! Remember though, at 20 years old, Darvill and Geiger are still young for the level they are at, and that players develop at different rates.

          • Henry

            Good Point. Geiger made a throwing error on a bad decision. He seems to be throwing side arm. Not coming over the the top. I will give him a pass for a small sample size. Darvill had quite a few opportunities. he showed limited range. He was also eaten alive on a ball hit right at him. The scorer gave the the Snappers player a hit but it was clearly an error.
            Soler gets credit for a stolen base in this game but the fact is he was picked off and beat the throw to 2nd. A note about Soler(I think others may have made this point as well) the sound of the ball off his bat is different than the other players. You can tell he is hitting it hard!

          • mutantbeast

            Tom-talked to a scout from the Dodgers when Soler first came to AZL. This guy says Soler has some Matt Kemp in him. He seems to believe Soler has Kemp-like potential.

          • Tony_Hall

            Sorry I didn’t make it last night, but some times baseball has to take a back seat. I am going Friday for sure, and not looking like I am going to make it out tonight.

          • Henry

            Not a problem! Hope your day went easy. I won’t be at either Thursday or Friday’s game. 2 hour ride for me. I was up for business during the day and rolled it into a ballgame!

          • brent carmona

            This is cool, continue to give us updates when you go to the games, we all appreciate the info

        • Zonk

          PS: And I didn’t even notice him until Tom brought Saunders up. He was flying under the radar, but hitting .412 over half a season will get you noticed!

          • mutantbeast

            Zonk-I live in Paradise, Az. Saw Vogelbach out here a few times this summer(my Biz is 5 minutes away from where the AZLcubs play). When Shawon Dunston Jr labeled him Vogel-BOOM , he wasnt kidding. This kid has BIG time power, fast hands and power to all fields. Only thing, he needs to lose 25-40 lbs to have any hope of being an OF. Maybe the Cubs might lobby for the DH in the NL with this kid.

          • Zonk

            To Aaron’s point as well, Vogelbach has “Surprisingly average speed”. But he doesn’t figure to get faster as he gets older, and I can’t see him playing OF unless he really loses some weight. He’s a big boy. I also have no idea what kind of arm he has for OF.

            I’d like to see him hit at a higher level, like A+, before we get too excited, but so far so good, that’s for sure.

          • Zonk

            Tom, one recent draftee who has had a nice start at a position of dire need for us is Chadd Krist. He’s up to Peoria, and has held his own first half-season. How does his defense project? Does he figure to stay at Catcher?

            IMO, the cupboard in the minors is completely bare of catching, and we need some prospects at that position.

        • Aaron

          Tony,

          Tim Saunders’ college coach was effusive in his praise of Saunders. He said that he was the best player in college baseball last year, and should’ve won player of the year. When the reporter questioned him about that, and that he must be talking about POY for Division III, the coach said he was not mistaken, and he really did mean all of college baseball.

          He said that he was light years ahead of Division I players he’d seen, and that he had the perfect package of hit tools, defense, and speed to make it at the next level. He said the Cubs were getting an absolute steal in him, and they’ll be talking about him for years to come.

          While he’s only played in 40 games, let’s review his stats versus Baez’s stats:
          Saunders-40 games, 180 PA, 40 runs, 66 hits, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 4 hr, 31 RBI, 15 SB, 3 CS, 15 walks, 36 K’s, .415/.467/.579
          *AZL, Peoria, and Daytona (.310/.362/.381 line at Daytona prior to Baez arriving)

          Baez-69 games, 281 PA, 45 runs, 78 hits, 12 doubles, 5 triples, 13 hr, 40 RBI, 22 SB, 4 CS, 11 walks, 62 K’s, .304/.352/.541
          *Peoria and Daytona (only .159/.196/.273 at Daytona)

          The unfortunate thing for Saunders, is he doesn’t have the 1st round tag and 7 figures behind his name. He’s clearly a better, more well-rounded hitter than Baez. Yes, he is 3 years older than Baez with less power, but he has about the same speed, more contact ability, more versatility, and better defense.

          Where Baez might hit .275/.335/.480 at the MLB level with 20+hr, 80+RBI, I personally believe that Tim Saunders is the second coming of Michael Young, where he’s not particularly flashy, but all he does is hit, and he might have 10+hr, 80+RBI, but with a .310/.375/.450 line

          But the question is, will Saunders be allowed to do it with the Cubs, or will he be traded in some other deal? If he is traded, then some team is getting the future Michael Young Part 2 in my opinion.

          Personally, I’d rather have an infield of:
          1B-Rizzo
          2B-Saunders
          SS-Castro
          3B-Baez

          than….
          1B-Rizzo
          2B-Barney/Cardenas/Lake/Amaya
          SS-Castro
          3B-Vitters

          Reports are that Soler and Baez have a different sound when they hit the ball. If that’s the case, then it would be wise to get them both in the lineup, and worry about LF later, because you figure to have the following guys in 3 years:
          1B-Rizzo
          2B-?
          SS-Castro
          3B-Baez
          LF-?
          CF-Almora
          RF-Soler

          I don’t believe the Cubs see Jackson or Vitters as part of their future based on comments from the FO and Sveum. Personally, what I would like to see is Vogelbach going to Camp Bussy, losing 25 pounds, and making the switch to LF, and I’d love to see Saunders play in the AZFL, then look at the following lineup:

          Saunders-speed/contact=perfect for lead-off
          Castro-contact hitter, perfect for 2-hole
          Rizzo
          Soler
          Vogelbach
          Baez
          Almora
          W. Castillo

          You’d have 4 guys in a row starting with Rizzo that have 20+hr potential, and if you split up Rizzo and Vogelbach with a free swinger in between like Soler, then you’d have 2 OBP guys sandwiched and then another free swinger in Baez to clean it all up, with a contact hitter following in Almora in case he strikes out.

          While I realize that prospects are almost always suspects, this is probably the greatest collection of position player talent I’ve seen in the Cubs system since they had the likes of Carter, Dunston, Hall, Palmeiro, Grace, etc. in the mid-to-late 80′s.

          Of the guys not currently in MLB, Soler, Baez, and Vogelbach have the best shot of making an impact. Almora’s great, but he’s a ways away given age and the fact he needs to hit with more power.

          I just hope they don’t make the mistake of trading away Vogelbach. He might just wind up a better overall hitter than Rizzo….who knows? He’s 19 years old at Boise right now, and has cartoon-like numbers:
          .329/.411/.671, 69 hits, 18 doubles, 3 triples, 16 hr, 57 RBI and 28 walks vs 40 K’s (and btw, he’s hit even better at Boise than he did at AZL) and he has 3 triples despite the label as a bad runner, and he has only 1 error at 1B despite the label of being a butcher.

          • Tony_Hall

            I can attest for the sound when Soler hits the ball, it is different than the rest of the guys. I have also been told by guys who say Baez in Beloit, that he had that same sound that stood out.

    • Tom U

      According to Arizona Phil, Wells opted for rest over surgery.

      • Aaron

        Tom,

        Thanks buddy! I am not sure how I feel about that move. If he “sprained” his elbow, then the following definition would hold true:
        An elbow sprain is stretching or tearing of the ligaments that stabilize the elbow. Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that cross joints and connect bones to each other.

        Causes Elbow sprains may be caused by:Forced twisting of the armFalling on an outstretched armA blow to the elbowRisk factors for an elbow sprain:Playing certain sports, such as gymnasticsPoor coordinationPoor balanceInadequate flexibility and strength in muscles and ligamentsLoose jointsElbow sprains are graded according to their severity.Grade1 Stretching and some microtearing of ligament tissueGrade 2 Partial tearing of ligament tissueMild instability of the jointGrade 3 Severe or complete tearing of ligament tissueSignificant instability of the joint

        So….no matter what, he has tearing going on. If you let it heal on its own, you’re still going to have scar tissue build-up, and when you have that, you’re going to have an impingement at some point. I am unaware of guys opting for the “rest” that Wells did, and not eventually have surgery, so this is a very curious move on his part. With pitchers nowadays, it’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” they have TJ surgery, and the older you get, the longer it takes for recovery, etc. I would’ve rather had him undergo the surgery at age 20, then come back next year in April or May much like Whitenack With TJ surgery, you lose basically 2 seasons: 1 for surgery, and 1 to get back in a groove. That’s almost universally the case. Yes, sometimes guys come back sooner, and some guys perform better earlier as well, but that’s extremely rare to say the least.
        Having said all that, his stats from this year are still impressive for a 19 year old (turns 20 in mid September). I just hope he doesn’t regret not having the surgery. From just about every scouting report I’ve seen of him, it’s universal that he’s anywhere from a top-of-the rotation type to a #3 at worst. Getting up to 97 mph this spring from 92-94 mph in his first pro season is a good sign, but I’m curious if he was even remotely close to that last night. I wonder if someone has radar readings.

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Boise – Hayden Simpson (1-3, 5.15)
    Peoria – Michael Jensen (10-5, 3.56)
    Daytona – Robert Whitenack (1-5, 6.14)
    Tennessee – Austin Kirk (1-0, 1.50)
    Iowa – Ryan Rowland-Smith (3-4, 4.12)

    Some quick notes:

    In listening to the Tennessee Smokies’ broadcast the other night, Tim Wilken stated that Hayden Simpson had an MRI prior to the season which disclosed some tears in his shoulder. He states that Simpson is currently trying to build up his arm strength.

    In the same interview, Wilken said that the organization was “very high” on outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha.

    • Aaron

      Amazing that they’re actually trying Simpson as a starter. The pitching carousel is becoming a joke this year. I hope Jensen, Whitenack, and Kirk do well tonight. Smith and Simpson have no future with the team

    • Zonk

      Not sure why they are so high on Ha. He’s a good defender, and he is young for his level, I’ll give him that……would like to see alot more power from a corner OF.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs claim RH Miguel Socolovich from Balt. Option him to Iowa. C Lalli is designated to make room on 40-man.

    • BosephHeyden

      I was going to ask why they moved away from claiming Cleveland guys to claim this guy, but then I read the press release and saw he was a non-drafted free agent signed by Baltimore in ’04. That explains it.

  • http://www.kiboomukidssongs.com/ kids songs

    Hope your day went easy. I won’t be at either Thursday or Friday’s
    game. 2 hour ride for me. I was up for business during the day and
    rolled it into a ballgame!i think it is not problem…..