Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 12/03/12

As we head into the final month of the regular season for the winter leagues, there were plenty of thrill, chills and spills this past week.

Dave Sappelt nearly hit for the cycle in Venezuela, while Tony Campana saved the day with a diving catch. Meanwhile, arbitration bound Luis Valbuena kept on slugging and new outfielder Johermyn Chavez went deep in back-to-back games.

Elsewhere, Junior Lake remained on fire in the Dominican Republic, while Arismendy Alcantara began his first starting assignment with a bang.

Starting pitching was also in the spotlight as Michael Bowden, Jay Jackson and Yoanner Negrin all had good outings.

More details are waiting inside today’s report!

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

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas
While it wasn’t perfect, Michael Bowden was good enough on Monday to even his record at 2-2 in 6-4 win over Este. Bowden allowed two runs (one earned) over 5.1 innings. Bowden struck out three and issued four free passes as the Eagles held off the Toros.

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Leones de Escogido
It was a quiet week for reliever Lendy Castillo as he pitched only in spot duty twice. The first of which was Monday where Castillo was credited with a hold despite giving up two earned runs while striking out a batter in only 0.1 innings as the Lions beat Oriente 7-5.

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Lendy Castillo pitched again pitch on Wednesday and allowed an unearned run in a 12-9 loss to Cibaenas.

Toros del Este
This past week was a busy one for Cubs players in Este but their efforts just didn’t translate into wins. The week started off with a 4-1 loss to Oriente on Sunday as Diory Hernandez was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double, while reliever Jeffry Antigua tossed a scoreless 0.1 inning. Alberto Cabrera had a long stint in relief on Monday. Cabrera surrendered an earned run with a walk and three strikeouts over four innings as the Bulls lost 6-4 to Cibaenas. Diory Hernandez (0-for-3) walked and stole a base.

The fortunes for Este turned on Tuesday, as they shut out Licey 3-0. Diory Hernandez continued to be a factor on the basepaths. Hernandez (2-for-4 with a run scored) swiped his seventh base. Jeffry Antigua picked up his fourth hold as he struck out a batter over two scoreless innings.

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However, it was one step backward for the Herd on Wednesday with a 7-4 loss to Cibao. Lefty Horacio Ramirez was used in relief for the first time this winter and allowed two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Diory Hernandez went 1-for-4. After a night off on Thursday, the Toros went into extras with Licey but lost 7-6 in 13 innings on Friday. Diory Hernandez was 3-for-7 while Horacio Ramirez did not allow a run in 1.1 innings. Jeffry Antigua tossed 0.2 innings of scoreless relief. The week ended with another loss, this time 7-4 to Cibao on Saturday despite two RBI delivered by Diory Hernandez (1-for-4). Alberto Cabrera walked two and allowed two runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings.

Tigres del Licey
Infielder Arismendy Alcantara experienced the long and short of things this week. Alcantara was used as a pinch runner in the Tigers’ 13-inning win over Este on Friday.

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Arismendy Alcantara was rewarded with a start on Saturday … and he drilled a solo home run to lead off the game. Alcantara’s longball ended up being the only run the Cats would score in a 5-1 loss to Oriente. Alcantara finished the night 1-for-3 with a walk.

Estrellas de Oriente
It was the Junior Lake Show for Oriente this week as bouncing between left field and third base didn’t seem to affect him at the plate. Junior Lake started in left field on Sunday and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in a 4-1 victory over Este. Nelson Perez (1-for-1) made a pinch hitting appearance drove in a run in his lone at bat.

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Junior Lake moved over to third base on Monday and went 2-for-5 with a walk in a 7-5 loss to Escogido. Nelson Perez (0-for-1) once again was used as a pinch hitter while relief pitcher Rafael Dolis was hung with the loss after allowing two earned runs while striking out a batter in 0.2 innings. Another loss followed on Wednesday as Cibaenas topped Oriente 8-7. Nelson Perez worked a walk as a pinch hitter and Junior Lake (1-for-3) walked twice, stole a base and scored a run while making another start in left field. The losing streak reached three games on Wednesday as Junior Lake (1-for-4) played both third base and left field. Nelson Perez received a start and responded with a 1-for-3 performance that a double, a walk and two RBI.

An off-day on Thursday seemed to rejuvenate the Stars as they bounced back on Friday to defeat Cibaenas 6-2. Junior Lake (2-for-4 with two RBI) committed his first error in three games at third base, but more than made up for it at the plate by blasting his third home run. Nelson Perez went 1-for-3.

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The week ended with another big game by Junior Lake (1-for-3 with a walk, a home run, three RBI and two runs scored). Lake smashed his fourth home run, drove in three runs and scored two more while playing third base in a 5-1 victory over Licey. Nelson Perez (1-for-2) also coaxed a walk.

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Mexican Pacific League

Venados de Mazatlan
It may have not been pretty but Jay Jackson was effective for the Stags on Friday as Mazatlan lost to the first half champions Culiacan 3-2. Jackson walked four, but also struck out four in six scoreless innings.

Yaquis de Obregon
Obregon has seemed to find themselves as they currently lead the LMP in the second half. Things started off well on Sunday as Esmailin Caridad tossed a scoreless inning as the Yaquis beat Mazatlan 8-4. Christian Villanueva was 1-for-5 with a double in the game.

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The Tribe back in action on Tuesday against Culiacan and they edged their number one rivals for the top spot, 5-4. Esmailin Caridad had a rare poor outing. Caridad gave up two earned runs but struck out two in 1.1 innings. Alfredo Amezaga was 1-for-4 in the victory and Christian Villanueva went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter.

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Game two with the Tomato Pickers didn’t go as well on Wednesday with Obregon coming out on the wrong end of an 8-7 game. Alfredo Amezaga again was 1-for-4, while Esmailin Caridad struck out two in a scoreless inning.

In the rubber game with Culiacan on Thursday, the Yaquis took the series with an 8-3 win. Esmailin Caridad tossed a scoreless inning for the Tribe.

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It was “swing from the heels” night on Friday in Hermosillo as Obregon went toe-to-toe with the Orangemen … and came out on top 15-14. Alfredo Amezaga provided the spark for the Yaquis. Amezaga went 3-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored.

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Another slugfest ensued on Saturday but this time Hermosillo got the best of the Tribe 10-9. Alfredo Amezaga was dropped to the bottom of the batting order and went 1-for-4, while Christian Villanueva (0-for-2) entered the game as a pinch hitter and stayed in to play third.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League

Atenienses de Manati
The only action for Cubs’ players in Puerto Rico this week was Edwin Maysonet. Maysonet went 0-for-2 in Manati’s 4-3 win over Ponce on Sunday.

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Venezuelan Winter League

Bravos de Margarita
While not starting his week until Wednesday, Dave Sappelt was on fire. Sappelt went 7-for-12 in the three games he played for the Braves. Sappelt stole his third base and scored a run, as he was 2-for-4 in Margarita’s 6-3 loss to La Guaira

Dave Sappelt’s stats were more modest on Thursday. Sappelt went 1-for-4 with a run scored as the Bravos beat Aragua 5-3.

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Margarita would then need a monster game from Dave Sappelt on Saturday as their pitching gave up three home runs in an 11-9 victory over LaGuiara. Sappelt didn’t disappoint as he hit his second homer as part of a 3-for-4 performance that also included a double, a walk, two runs scored and four 4 RBI.

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Cardenales de Lara
Infielder Luis Valbuena received a victory off the field this past week as the parent club tendered him a contract for next season. It was the accumulation of an excellent effort shown by him this winter. Valbuena started off the week with four walks while going 0-for-1 in a 10-9 win over La Guaira.

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Tuesday saw a continuation of the “grinder” approach as Luis Valbuena (1-for-3 with a double) worked two more walks and drove in a run as the Cardinals came up big with a 15-6 victory over Zulia.

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Lara pushed their win streak to three games on Wednesday by beating Zulia 7-4. Luis Valbuena went 1-for-3 with a run scored, a stolen base and an RBI.

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Luis Valbuena (0-for-4) walked and drove in a run on Thursday as the Redbirds lost 3-2 to Zulia. Valbuena got back on track on Friday with a 1-for-4 effort in a 5-3 victory over Anzoategui.

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Luis Valbuena (1-for-2) closed out the week by returning to his earlier approach. Valbuena worked two walks and scored a run on Saturday in a 14-5 loss to Magallanes.

Caribes de Anzoategui
Recently signed outfielder Johermyn Chavez made the most of his opportunities last week. Chavez went 1-for-4 with a stolen base on Wednesday as the Indians defeated Caracas7-4.

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Johermyn Chavez (1-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored) was a bigger part of the offense on Thursday. Chavez hit his second home run of the winter and worked a walk as Anzoategui romped 16-3 over Magallanes.

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The Caribes lost 5-3 to Lara on Friday but not before Johermyn Chavez belted his third home run. Chavez drove in two runs and scored a run. Chavez then went 1-for-5 on Saturday in a 6-2 loss to Aragua.

Tigres de Aragua
It was a short but memorable week for Jae-Hoon Ha. Ha bashed his first home run and was 1-for-3 on Sunday in a 12-4 loss to Magallanes. In Ha’s only other game on Wednesday, he walked twice and scored a run on Wednesday as Aragua beat Magallanes 9-1.

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Leones de Caracas
The week began with outfielder Tony Campana saving the day on Sunday as they beat Margarita 4-2. Campana entered the game as a pinch runner and scored the go-ahead run. Campana then sealed the victory with a diving catch to snuff out the Braves’ hopes in the ninth.

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Tony Campana (0-for-1) was asked to pinch hit on Wednesday as the Lions lost 7-4 to Anzoategui 7-4. Campana then went 0-for-3 in a 2-1 victory over Zulia on Friday.

Yoanner Negrin started Saturday and tossed five scoreless innings as the Pride squeaked out a 1-0 win over Zulia. Negrin walked one and struck out two in route to his third victory of the winter. Catcher J.C. Boscan was 0-for-3, while Tony Campana (1-for-4) stole his third base.

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Tiburones de La Guaira
Swing-man Eduardo Figueroa saw action out of the bullpen on Friday and allowed an earned run over three innings. Figueroa walked one and struck out one in the Sharks’ 6-1 win over Magallanes.

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Australian Baseball League

Brisbane Bandits
In a doubleheader on Saturday, Ryan Searle was called on to preserve a victory in the seventh inning. Searle gave up a consolation run but earned his first save as Brisbane defeated Sydney 3-2.

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Quote of the Day

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

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  • Ripsnorter1

    What’s this “arbitration bound Luis Valbuena” statement? I mean, if I were Team Theo, and this guy is taking me to contract arbitration, he’d be a FA faster than one could say “Goodbye.”

    Wow. Get FA Casey McGehee in here ASAP.

    See why we got skunked at last year’s Rule V draft? Flaherty or Gonzalez could do better than this guy. And the real hurt is the bad trade with the Rockies in throwing in DJ LeMaheiu for…cough, cough….Casey Weathers.

    I wouldn’t let this guy take me to arbitration.

    • Tom U

      Luis Valbuena is eligible for arbitration due to being a Super 2, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The two sides can agree to a contract before they go in front of an arbitrator.

    • calicub

      I see Michael Bowden is quietly putting together a decent DWL as a starter and saw he went seven innings last night.
      Where does everyone else see this guy?

      Bullpen
      Starter
      AAA starter (injury reserve)

      With the Brass explicitly saying pitching is still a priority I don’t see Feldman being guaranteed a spot in the rotation. Either way it will be an interesting competition ands more intriguing spring than deciding whether we loathe Andy Sonnanstine or manny corpas more

    • John_CC

      I assume your disdain for Valbuena stems from his bat, as he is actually a pretty smooth infielder.

      While I do not have any attachment whatsoever to Luis Valbuena it’s hard to argue that McGehee would be an upgrade. Valbuena’s line with the Cubs last year: .219/.310/.340.

      Over 2011 and 2012, Mr. McGehee’s line is: .220/.282/.351. He came crashing back to earth in 2011/12, after his breakout seasons in 2009/2010. He earned $2.5M last year, is arb eligible and will be 30 next season.

      Luis earned $500K last year, is arb eligible, and just turned 27.

      So you’d like to pay $2 – $2.5 million more for an older, crappier defensive version of Valbuena because…????

      .

  • John G

    Has everyone seen this video about our newest Cub
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTzH-FxXeRo
    But what’s with all those balloons that look like sperm floating in the air?

    • calicub

      Ahaha greatest video ever the build up was great. You think the balloon thing will catch on at wrigley?

    • Dorasaga

      In Japan: The fans of the team-won will release the balloons colored to represent the team, as soon as the game’s over. Both the visitor and the home fans need to buy those balloons. And they ain’t cheap (80-200 yen per ballooon, depending on where you bought it). The club owner increases revenue by luring fans into “group fun” and join activities like this. You also see cheerleaders five times throughout the game (with at least three very long dances; before the game, the third or fifth and the seventh inning). There’re a bunch of unique “entertainment factors” in Japanese baseball. I think there was a documentary about it. Those young men who followed Bobby Valentine in 2006-7?

  • Cloycub13

    So Far:
    -I love the Fujikawa signing!
    -I love that Mark Derosa is in the mix for color analyst…that would be HUGE! And Brian would salivate all over his keyboard with Kim D & Heidi D in the MIx.
    -I want the Cubs to Pursue Moylan and Wilson, Rebuild the bully.
    -A Trade of Soriano to anyone, a trade of Marmol for a starter and another surprise move are on my Christmas Cubs wish list
    -And the quote on the twitter feed from Mooney or whatever (Twitter newby and illiterate) RE: Epstein: “a scouting report on Theo from a rival GM: “He’ll slice your throat and step on you.”

    I love the Winter meetings, and the direction the new regime is taking. Hate all you want folks, but the day is coming, the darkest part of the day has occurred and we are waiting for the Dawn of something special. (Hat tip to Suzy for her long cherished and perfectly accurate quote)
    Go Cubs!

    • J Daniel

      Agreed! JH and all of the previous guys have had a hand in sustaining this mess by trying to catch lightning in a bottle. It almost worked, but didn’t.

      I do believe they would have won a Series had they left Dallas Green alone but we know how that turned out.

      I do believe they will win one under Theo and will be in the hunt for years. It takes a little bit of time but fully agree with how they are going about it.

    • DWalker
    • Aaron

      So…Cubs are in need of relief, 3B, and OF help.

      Here’s what I recommend….

      Marmol, Vitters, DeJesus and Barney to Tigers

      for

      Rondon, Castellanos, Dirks and Oliver

      How this helps the Tigers: Even after landing Hunter, they still have a void with Delmon Young being a FA, Boesch not being the answer, Garcia (needing more development). They need someone like DeJesus that can play good defense, and get on base, and step in right away. With Marmol, it just further solidifies their pen, and gives them a proven closer. With Vitters, they have a guy that has experience in LF to plug in when DeJesus’ contract is up next year. and in Barney, he gives them defense they so desperately need (so does DeJesus)

      How this helps the Cubs: They just signed Marmol’s replacement, so they need to get rid of Marmol, who has just 1 year left on his deal. Rondon gives the Cubs a fallback option. Vitters isn’t going to get the 3B with Team Theo at the helm, and needs a change of scenery. Castellanos could likely step in right away for the Cubs, where they already said Vitters would be in AAA to start the year. Dirks (25) gives them basically a younger version of DeJesus. Oliver gives them a power lefty arm in the rotation they desperately need, and make Travis Wood trade bait either as an inclusion in this deal, or to another team.

      Soriano to the Phillies

      *along with $28 million (leaving balance of about $5 million/yr for Soriano)

      for

      Dominic Brown and Phillippe Aumont

      How it helps the Phillies: Soriano has great numbers at Citizens Bank Park in Philly, and they’re built to win now, much like the Tigers are (hence the justification for both deals). Brown and Aumont both have fallen out of favor in Philly, and Soriano represents an upgrade offensively for them to augment a lineup that leans heavy to the left with guys like Utley, Howard, etc. in the mix. Additionally, they need to replace righty power lost with the suspension of Ruiz. If DeJesus is not included in the Tigers trade above, then I’d include him in this one as well, since the Phillies have a semi-empty OF right now

      How it helps the Cubs: If BJax isn’t able to take the leap forward, then Brown represents a “change of scenery” type that could bridge the gap til Soler and Almora come up. Aumont gives the Cubs both SP and relief depth, considering he’s done both fairly well in the minors, and has good success at the MLB level thus far. I would prefer Bastardo, but doubt the Phillies would trade him.

      • RynoTiger

        Hey Aaron…what do you think of the Astros minor league system? I read today that they are looking for a DH now that they are in the AL. With that very short porch in LF, I think Soriano would love hitting there and put up some good power numbers.

        • Aaron

          No for several reasons:

          1) Soriano won’t waive his no-trade to go to a rebuilding team. He’s already said that he wants a ring. Of all the contending teams that might have interest, here’s how I’d rank them (both in terms of possible interest and stats he’s had at their parks): Phillies, Braves, Rangers (if they don’t resign Hamilton), Tigers, Rays, Red Sox

          2) His stats at Minute Maid Park are abysmal. .218/.276/.500…..suggesting that he’s doing nothing but swinging for the fences when he’s there. As 12 hr, 30 RBI can attest to…but for reasons mentioned above, there’s no way that happens

          3) Not only does he want to go to a contender, but it most likely would have to be one that puts him in the OF and NOT as a DH, because he said he’s more “in the game” when he’s in the field. That being said, I think he could be persuaded to make the move to the AL if it’s for a contending team in a division/park he’s familiar with (putting Rangers, Rays, and Red Sox at the top)

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

            I like your look at trades that help with the holes but if the Cubs are going to give that much money on Soriano then I would be looking at Tampa Bay not Philly.

            They are pitching rich and has said that every one on their staff is available if you believe the “Experts”. Not saying your look is bad but we could come out with a potential number one from TB if we throw in a just out of the top 10 prospect with Soriano and eat about 30 million on his remaining deal. Would that be enough is the question. I think there need to get more offense would definitely make it at least something to see if there is a deal there.

          • Aaron

            Phillies don’t have much money either. Reports said that is one of the reasons they dealt Pence away. They also have a big decision coming up soon on Halladay’s next contract I believe if his option doesn’t vest. They also have to decide on Utley, and already have big $$ tied up in Howard, Hamels, and Lee (which is also one reason they looked to deal him last year).

            The reason I brought the Phillies up is their window is closing with this group of players, so they are probably looking for one last run at it before those decisions have to be made.

            The Rays make sense because of the pitching depth they have, but reports are they’ve soured on veteran power bats because of the debacles with Manny Ramirez, Burrell, Damon (though technically not true “power bat”), and Pena…so, Soriano might not be in play for them.

    • SuzyS

      Cloycub13…nice to see you post again. Thanks for the kind words!
      The forecast for tonight: “Dark, followed by Dawn”. :-)

  • Dorasaga

    Good to see JayJ and Jeff Antigua back on track.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone for your comments.