Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 10/22/12

Misery loves company, as Greg Rohan and Hector Mayora joined the entire Mesa Solar Sox squad in having a tough time this past week. Mesa was a miserable 0-for-6 for the week, as they wasted decent performances from Matt Szczur and Kevin Rhoderick.

However, Ty Wright saw his fortunes turn around as he welcomed Jae-Hoon Ha to Tigres de Aragua. Yoanner Negrin also had a gem for Leones de Caracas, while infielders Alfredo Amezaga, Diory Hernandez and Junior Lake kept plugging along.

Note: Coverage of the winter leagues will be by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday

Arizona Fall League

Mesa Solar Sox
It was a tough week for the Mesa Solar Sox, as they lost all six games. The week started with a 9-2 loss to Peoria on Monday. Outfielder Matt Szczur appears to have seized the centerfield and leadoff spot for the Solar Sox, as he had his finest game of the fall by going 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. Infielder Javier Baez was 0-for-4 as he lined up at shortstop.

Tuesday saw another loss to Peoria, this time 4-2 as Javier Baez played third base, this time without incident. Baez went 2-for-4 with his ninth RBI, while Matt Szczur and Rubi Silva each went 0-for-4. Kevin Rhoderick and Nick Struck each tossed a scoreless inning, with Rhoderick striking out two batters.

Cubs’ pitchers most of the action on Wednesday, as Dae-Eun Rhee started and allowed three earned runs in four innings. Rhee was the losing pitcher in a 5-2 effort against Scottsdale. Rhee also struck out four in his outing. Tony Zych pitched a scoreless inning and Matt Szczur went 1-for-3 with a walk.

The struggles continued on Thursday with Mesa dropping an 8-3 contest to Scottsdale. Rubi Silva went 0-for-3, while Javier Baez was back at short. Baez committed two errors and finished the day 0-for-4.

Friday saw good and bad efforts by Cubs’ prospects, but the trend continued as a 10-6 loss to Phoenix made it five in a row for the Solar Sox. Nick Struck has had a tough time with his location and adjusting to working out of the bullpen. Struck gave up three walks and three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Both Matt Szczur (0-for-5) and Javier Baez (0-for-4) failed to put wood to the ball. However, Rubi Silva entered the game in the fifth inning at second base and went 1-for-2 with a triple and an RBI before being ejected in the ninth inning. Kevin Rhoderick remained solid and pitched a scoreless inning.

Mercifully, the week came to an end on Saturday, but not before Mesa pitching put the Solar Sox in a 14-4 hole after just two innings in a 16-10 loss. Pitching wasn’t only at fault, as shortstop Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a home run, three RBI, two runs and a walk) committed two more errors (already six total on the season). Baez somewhat redeemed himself in the eighth inning by clouting a three-run homer for his league leading 12 RBI. Matt Szczur was 1-for-4 with two walks and two RBI, while Tony Zych gave up his first earned run of the fall and struck out a batter in an inning of work.

Dominican Winter League
Toros del Este
It was an up and down week for the Bulls, starting out with a 2-1 loss to Oriente on Sunday. Infielder Diory Hernandez was 0-for-3, while reliever Jeffry Antigua saw 0.2 scoreless innings of work, but was tagged with a blown save. Iowa reliever Jairo Asencio took the loss after giving up an earned run in 0.1 innings.

Este was back to work on Tuesday, this time beating Licey 11-3. Diory Hernandez had a good game going 2-for-5with a double.

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The Cubs’ prospects didn’t see any other action until Friday, when Licey returned the favor and trounced the Bulls 12-5. Diory Hernandez was 1-for-4 with a run scored, while Jeffry Antigua worked three innings of relief. Antigua allowed an earned run and walked two, but struck out four during his stint.

The Toros closed out the week with a 7-5 victory over Cibao. Doiry Hernandez drove in a run and went 1-for-4. Even though Jairo Asencio gave up a walk and an earned run in an inning, he also had a strikeout and picked up his first save of the winter.

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Tigres del Licey
Daytona infielder Arismendy Alcantara only saw brief action as a pinch runner this past week, scoring a run in the Tigers’ 7-6 victory over Escogido on Sunday while going 0-for-1 in an 11-3 loss to Este on Tuesday.

Estrellas de Oriente
It appeared that infielder Junior Lake was in the right place at the right time for the Stars this week, as Oriente reeled off three straight wins starting with a 2-1 victory over Este on Sunday. Lake was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the contest.

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After a day off on Monday, Oriente had another 2-1 win on Tuesday, this time over Cibaenas as Junior Lake was 0-for-3.

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Junior Lake played a big part in the Stars’ 9-8 win over Licey on Thursday. Lake went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI.

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Friday saw the streak end, as Junior Lake was 0-for-3 with a walk in a 7-3 loss to Cibaenas.

Mexican Pacific League
Venados de Mazatlan
It was a tough week for Iowa infielder Greg Rohan. Rohan went 0-for-4 both on Sunday in an 8-3 loss to Culiacan and in Tuesday’s 9-4 loss to Guasave.

However, Greg Rohan was able to solve the Cotton Growers pitching on Thursday. Rohan was 1-for-3 with an RBI as Mazatlan lost in game one of a doubleheader 9-6 to Guasave.

On Friday, Greg Rohan was able to contribute for the Deer despite going 0-for-5. Rohan reached on a fielding error which also brought in a run in an 11-5 victory over Mexicali.

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Greg Rohan was able to work a walk as a pinch hitter on Saturday, as the Stags outlasted Mexicali 12-10.

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Yaquis de Obregon
The Tribe started a busy week by beating Novajoa 5-1 on Sunday. Iowa infielder Alfredo Amezaga was 1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI, while Iowa reliever Esmailin Caridad got credit for a hold by walking one and striking out one in a scoreless inning.

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Obregon was back in action on Tuesday as Alfredo Amezaga went 2-for-3 in a 4-3 loss to Mexicali. The Eagles were able to best the Yaquis again on Wednesday, this time 2-1. Alfredo Amezaga went 2-4 while Esmailin Caridad struck out a batter as he pitched 1.1 scoreless innings. Mexicali then made it three in a row on Thursday as Alfredo Amezaga was 1-for-5 in a 3-2 loss.

Friday saw Obregon traveling to Hermosillo to take on the Orangemen, with Alfredo Amezaga going 1-for-5 in an 8-3 victory.

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Esmailin Caridad got a rare start on Saturday and tossed 4.2 innings. Caridad allowed three runs (one earned) as the Yaquis lost 4-3 to Hermosillo. Caridad also had three walks and five strikeouts in his appearance while Alfredo Amezaga went 0-for-4.

Venezuelan Winter League
Caribes de Anzoategui
There was only one appearance for Daytona reliever Eduardo Figueroa for the Indians this week. Figueroa tossed 2.2 scoreless innings and struck out a batter as Anzoategui lost 5-3 to Caracas on Thursday.

Tigres de Aragua
Iowa outfielder Ty Wright saw an upturn in production this week. Wright went 1-for-5 on Sunday in a 7-4 loss to Caracas.

Ty Wright then got some company on Wednesday, as Tennessee outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha joined the Tigers and Aragua defeated Anzoategui 3-1. Wright went 2-for-2 while Ha went 0-for-4 in his debut.

The Cats were able to blank Zulia on Thursday 4-0, as Ty Wright went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Jae-Hoon Ha was 0-for-3 but drew two walks.

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The Eagles were able to edge Aragua 7-6 on Friday. Ty Wright had a big game. Wright went 3-for-3 with a double, a triple and a run scored. Jae-Hoon Ha was 1-for-5 with a stolen base and a run scored.

Saturday saw a 12-inning thriller as the Tigers edged Caracas 2-1. Ty Wright went 0-for-3 and was replaced in the outfield by Jae-Hoon Ha, who was 0-for-1 in the win.

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Leones de Caracas
The parent club may have a new name in play for a rotation spot in 2013, as Yoanner Negrin had an eye-opening performance on Tuesday. Negrin shut out the Cardinals for five innings as Caracas defeated Lara 5-3. Negrin walked two and struck out four in the effort.

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Also making an impression was reliever Loiger Padron, who spent time with the AZL Cubs last season. Padron walked a batter and allowed an earned run, but was able to toss two innings in an 11-4 victory over La Guaira on Friday.

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Tiburones de La Guaira
Former Boise reliever Hector Mayora really struggled for the Sharks this week. Mayora allowed two earned runs in 0.2 innings on Tuesday as LA Guaira lost 7-2 to Margarita. Mayora then allowed another two earned runs, this time in an inning of work on Saturday in an11-5 to Magallanes.

Aguilas del Zulia
Playing time for Iowa catcher Juan Apodaca diminished this week. Apodaca was 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Eagles 8-4 loss to Lara on Sunday. Apodaca then drew a walk in a pinch hitting appearance on Wednesday as Zuila dropped a 9-4 game to Magallanes. Juan Apodaca then tripled and drove in a run as he was called on to pinch hit in the Eagles 4-3 loss to Lara on Saturday.

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  • Tony_Hall

    Great recap Tom. That is a lot of different teams and players to keep track of all over.

    Here is a Top 10 list of guys who are going to cash in this winter from ESPN Insider.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/olney_buster/id/8532976/kyle-lohse-mike-adams-free-agents-ready-cash-mlb

    Keep in mind this is not the best FA’s available, but ones about to cash in.

    Guys I have on my list for the Cubs
    Rankings based on ESPN article on Top 10 to cash in
    1. Angel Pagan – Hard to believe we dumped him long ago.
    3. Nick Swisher – High OBP to pair with FA Youkilis
    5. Edwin Jackson – Innings eater – 5 straight 31 start years.

  • paulcatanese

    Game 7 staring in a little bit between the Cards and the Giants.
    I am pulling for the Cards.
    Ironicly that will pop up quite a few dis-likes on this site.
    Let me explain.
    The Cardinals are in the central division, the Cubs are in the central division.
    During the season,yes, I hope the Cards lose and the Cubs win,
    as they are competing for the top of the division.
    I support the National League and the central division. If the Cubs
    don’t win,I support anyone from the Central to go on into the World Series, that only means that the central is the best in the National, and the Cubs are part of that.
    I dont understand the hatred for th Cards, during the season yes, but not in the playoffs. Go Cards, beat the Giants.

  • Aaron

    I would take Jackson in a heartbeat, and Swisher would be next, then Pagan, but the problem is, all 3 are likely looking at 3-4 year deals, and that’s just not up the Cubs’ alley at this point.

    A case could be made for going with FA starters like:
    Liriano
    McCarthy
    Anibal Sanchez (though his availability largely depends on his performance in the WS…if he does well, he’s out of price range)
    Matsuzaka
    Marcum

    All of those names have been bantered about, and the Cubs have been linked to all of them. I’d prefer the top 3, but who knows what will happen at this time. The Cubs need at least 2 of those pitchers, or it’s going to be an even worse season. Why? Because Soriano is due for regression. Garza is either an injury risk, or will be dealt. 3B is still a HUGE question mark. DeJesus is a CF masquerading as a RF. Barney is horrible offensively.

    Now, let’s talk improvements. They’re due for improvements with Castro, who will only get better, and a full season of Samardzija in the rotation. Plus, they’re looking at a full season of Castillo behind the plate.

    It will be interesting to see how they look to improve.

  • ChadAudio

    Man Tony, I just think Swisher is poised to get a pretty big contract for at least 3 yrs… that just doesn’t seem to make sens with the Cubs plans.

    I would be surprised if they moved DeJesus out of RF. RF is difficult to play at Wrigley… you can’t just put anyone out there. Yes, I think Swisher and Pagan could handle it, but I think their asking price is going to be way too high (and too long) for the Cubs.

  • John_CC

    Thanks for keeping us up to date, Tom.

    Where is Candelario playing this winter?

  • paulcatanese

    Good comprehensive report Tom. One question, I was under the impression that Vitters and Campana were going to play winter ball, are they?

  • cc002600

    Yea, but if they can sign a couple decent FA pitchers (I.e Sanchez, EJax, Marcum, etc) at least they would have a decent rotation. Are you forgetting already who they were putting out there everyday after the trade deadline ? (Germano, Berken, Raley, Rusin, Volstad, etc) That was embarrassing.

    There is no way they could be worse than that next year.

  • Tony_Hall

    I think they will go 3 years on a SP. The guys I mentioned are not my top 3 guys I would sign, they are numbered by the article I posted.

    All the starters you mention, plus more, are one I have mentioned in my list of SP to consider. I believe they will sign 2 SP’s this off-season, a RF, and a 3B.

    I believe DeJesus will be in CF next year, until they
    give BJAX another shot.

  • Tony_Hall

    I agree, but if the asking price is too high, we just say no. But if the price is right, they would be good. That is why they are on my list of FA’s to consider. The rankings are from the article.

  • cc002600

    I agree
    Swisher is overrated.
    no way I would sign him
    Look no further than the ALCS, when he did nuttin’.
    Not too mention, he looked like a clown out in RF on some balls. Terrible outfielder….plus he’s getting older.

    No way

  • Tom U

    Paul, Campana is on the roster for Leones de Caracas in the Venezuelan League, but has yet to see game action.

    Vitters is another question. The Puerto Rican League has not started yet (November 8th), and that could be a possibility. Another possibility is that players sometime don’t join the teams until after the holidays, and Vitters can be taking some time off.

  • Tom U

    No word on whether Candelario will be playing this winter.

  • AGUSTIN REXACH RODRIGUEZ

    Yuck! Go Giants….One of the greatests baseball comeback ever….super fun to watch.

  • paulcatanese

    Well so much for the Central Division,now that the Cards
    have been eliminated, my loyalty goes to the Giants, reps
    for the National League.

  • SuzyS

    Paul,
    I understand your reasoning…and it’s solid…but I could never root for the Cardinals…just like I could never root for the Yankees…absolutely impossible.

  • Tony_Hall

    I can pull for the Brewers, Astros, Pirates, possibly the Reds, but unlikely. But never the Cardinals. I can’t even comprehend a Cub fan that can root for the Cardinals.

    The Giants sent them home with dominant pitching!

  • ChadAudio

    That’s the same kind of thinking I have Paul… Go NL Central!

  • Aaron

    Agustin,

    I am with you on this buddy, and great to see you back again.

    Also, how about your boy Pagan? What a great season he’s had all around, right?

  • AGUSTIN

    Thanks Aaron. It’s fair to say admire the Cardinals and their whole organization being ‘text book’ but that just makes me despise them even more! They always find a way don’t they??? Glad they lost period. Sorry Paul.
    And Pagan? Wow just everything coming together finally and setting himself up for payday this summer. I credit Bochy for playing the guys that deserve it and for being one of the best in the business.

  • Aaron

    Didn’t you say awhile ago you knew his dad, or family or something? That’d be pretty cool. Hopefully he’d see fit to buy you a nice birthday gift next year :)

  • paulcatanese

    Tony,understandable, as you have been working too long with a Cardinal fan.

  • paulcatanese

    Tony, if I read you right, what it boils down to, is if the Cubs arent there in post season, its the heck with everyone else.
    While I understand you’re point, I dont agree with it.
    I dont understand the feeling that the Cardinals are the most hated by most Cub fans. What have they done to the Cubs, besides
    having a superior farm system(for many years, back to the fifties), along with the Phillies, Giants,Yankees,
    Dodgers and most everyone else.
    The blame should go to the Cubs and their systems over the years not the others who have progressed
    and have seen winning seasons because of intellegent decisions.
    The purchase of the Cubs by Ricketts should have new hope, along with making the decision of bringing in what he(Ricketts) hopes will put them on the right track. As a Cub fan I hope so, but still am watching with apprehension and caution, not going blindly into thinking this is “the fix”.
    Over the years the Cubs have been out-managed, out-played, out traded and desrvedly have become the lovable losers.
    Sounds corny, but I hope and pray these decisions will bear fruit.
    But above all, I don’t hate any NL team as long as they are not playing the Cubs.

  • AGUSTIN REXACH RODRIGUEZ

    Aaron don’t count on that gift hahaha; His brother is an electrician and used to work for me back then[2004-2007] when he was first with the Mets and later acquired by the Cubs. I only talked to Angel Pagan in person once in a ballbpark and he was kind of busy but I did talked to him twice on the phone. One of the conversations was about trying to get an interview for the CCO and he said he was more than willing[I can't recall if Neil ever got to talk to him or not] and the other time We talked was pretty cool because I was talking to his brother[the electrician] about work and Angel took the phone from him, said hello and asked me to take him fishing on my boat….he said his dream was to fish and I said no problem…Sad part we never got that date! lol
    One thing is for sure, he was over hyped in puerto rico as a kid….he was an incredible athlete; people used compare him to Beltran all the time and even dared to say he would be better….Thats a long shot these days but I think it’s safe to say that Angel has had his share of bad luck in terms of having consistent playing time and proving what he’s got up until now. Bochy believes in him and thats great because Angel will get paid this offseason because he is indeed a good player and the free agent class is extra thin to say the least. I wish him and his humble family the best.

  • agustin

    You tell him Suzy, To root for the Cardinals in this site….It forbiden! Just playin with you Paul[but its true]

  • Tony_Hall

    Sorry, Paul, but I can’t pull for the Cardinals, not sure where you get “its the heck with everyone else.” Honestly I can’t figure it out at all.

    The Cardinals are the rival, never to be rooted for, under any circumstances. The others in the division are just not the same, and as far as what have the Cardinals have ever done, you really need to meet some of their fans to answer that. I honestly have nothing against the AL. But there are two teams I just can’t root for, the White Sox and the Cardinals.

  • Tony_Hall

    I no longer have the business that my partner was a Cardinal fan.

  • SuzyS

    Great Story, Augustin !!! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Agustin

    Thanks Suzy!