Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/30/13

The longball was the center of attention at the start of the week, as Iowa ended up getting them from unexpected sources in Edwin Maysonet and Donnie Murphy. Arismendy Alcantara continues to amaze in Tennessee as he hit his seventh longball of the season. Meanwhile, Kane County’s Dan Vogelbach got himself back on track by launching two big flies of his own. None may have been more important than one by Javier Baez, who helped Daytona win in walk-off fashion. To get the details, see what’s inside of this version of Down on the Farm.

Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Wednesday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (24-26)

On Sunday, it looked as if Kane County would cruise and even their season record. However, the bullpen fell apart and the Cougars wound up losing 6-5 to Beloit. Tayler Scott gave up two earned runs in the first inning and escaped jams all night until he was lifted with two out in the sixth after allowing two more earned runs. Eddie Orozco allowed back-to-back doubles and two singles to let the Snappers take the lead. Orozco went 2.1 innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out three batters. Jeffry Antigua pitched a scoreless ninth.

The Cougars manufactured their first run as Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4) led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice fly, and scored on a groundout. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with a home run) tied the score in the third with his first home run of the season. One out singles by Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4) and Willson Contreras (1-for-3) in the fourth set up Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with two RBI), who singled in in both runners. Chen and Albert Almora (2-for-5) singled to start the fifth and Chen once again scored on a groundout.

Kane County survived a scare to one of its top prospects on Monday as they came from behind to defeat Beloit 8-4. Outfielder Albert Almora had to leave the game in the third inning after hurting his leg on a defensive play. Reports are that Almora suffered a hamstring injury. The Cougars spent the early innings trying to match the Snappers run for run. Rock Shoulders (1-for-5) led off the second with a single and advanced to third on a throwing error. Shoulders scampered home on a wild pitch. Down by two runs in the third, David Bote (1-for-4), in for Almora, singled and Dan Vogelbach (3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) followed with a base hit of his own. Bote scored on a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a RBI), while Vogelbach came in on a groundout. The Cougars broke the game open in the eighth as Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3) led off with singles. A sacrifice moved them up ninety feet, and Hernandez scored on a fielder’s choice and an error on a hit from Oliver Zapata (2-for-4). Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with two RBI) laced a single that scored Amaya and Zapata, and then Chen trotted home when Vogelbach clobbered his sixth home run.

Starter Michael Heesch was able to get through six innings while allowing three earned runs and striking out four batters. Steve Perakslis was almost a goat as his throwing error let in another run, but he was able to compose himself and strike out three in three innings for the win.

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A rain shortened game on Tuesday did not allow Kane County enough time to come back as they lost to Quad Cities 7-5 in 5 1/2 innings. Once again, Dillon Maples had a rough time as he allowed seven earned runs in three innings while walking five and striking out five batters. Piggy-back starter Lendy Castillo took over in the fourth and struck out two in two scoreless innings. The Cougars tied the score in the third inning as David Bote walked and Oliver Zapata (2-for-3) singled. Bote and Zapata scored on a triple by Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with two RBI). Kane County closed the gap in the fifth as Zapata and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-1) were on board when Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) belted his seventh home run of the season.

High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (25-24)

It seemed as if Daytona could not get things together on Sunday as they lost 5-3 to Lakeland. P.J. Francescon was not able to keep the ball down in the zone and he allowed four earned runs, while striking out six in six innings. Yao-Lin Wang saw action fresh off the disabled list and gave up an earned run while striking out two in 1.2 innings. Jeffrey Lorick finished things up with two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. The D-Cubs could not muster any offense until the fourth inning when Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) clubbed his seventh home run with Javier Baez (1-for-3) on base. Another run scored in the eighth as Tim Saunders was hit by a pitch and stole second. Saunders moved to third on a single by Zeke DeVoss (3-for-4), and scored on a John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a RBI) base hit.

Dramatics were in store on Tuesday as Daytona came back in the late innings to defeat Tampa 6-4 in 11 innings. Down 2-0 early, the D-Cubs started chipping away in the third inning as Wes Darvill (1-for-3) led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly. In the fourth inning, a walk to Ben Carhart (1-for-3) and an RBI double from Chadd Krist (1-for-4 with a RBI) cut the lead to 3-2. Daytona kept the Yankees’ lead to one run in the sixth as Carhart and Darvill were hit by pitches, moved up ninety feet on a sacrifice fly and Carhart scored on a wild pitch. The D-Cubs tied the game in the ninth on a wild series as Dustin Geiger reached first base on a dropped third strike. Geiger was replaced by pinch-runner Taiwan Easterling, who moved to third on a throwing error on a hit from Carhart. Another throwing error allowed Easterling to scamper home and tie the score. The game remained tied until the 11th as John Andreoli (2-for-6) singled and came in on a Javier Baez (2-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) walk-off home run.

Starter Austin Kirk was unable to hold the Tampa attack as he allowed three earned runs and struck out three in five innings. Austin Reed followed and gave up another earned run in two innings. Eduardo Figueroa and the recently activated Larry Suarez each tossed a scoreless inning. Frank Del Valle picked up the victory by shutting out the Yankees for two innings.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (27-23)

Tennessee was able to answer the call on Sunday and ended up cruising to a 5-2 victory over Huntsville. Starter Eric Jokisch blanked the Stars for five innings before giving up a pair of earned runs in the sixth as he finished with six strikeouts over 5.2 innings. Trey McNutt was at his best and ended up striking out the side in his inning of work. Zac Rosscup also had his strikeout pitch working as he fanned two in 1.1 innings. Old reliable Frank Batista pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his sixth save.

The Smokies drew first blood in the second as Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a RBI) reached on a one out double and Tim Torres (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) brought him home with his second home run. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3) walked in the fourth and took third on a single from Ty Wright (1-for-4). Wright advanced to second on the throw. Alcantara scored on a fielder’s choice from Villanueva. Back-to-back one out doubles by pinch-hitter Jonathan Mota and Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a RBI) in the seventh scored another run, with Szczur moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a sacrifice fly.

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The fans in Eastern Tennessee got their money’s worth on Monday as the Smokies beat Huntsville 8-6. Matt Loosen set the tone for the game with the first batter by serving up a solo home run. Loosen gave up two more home run balls while allowing four earned runs to go along with three strikeouts in six innings. Hunter Cervenka saw his first Double-A action and was greeted rudely. Cervenka allowed two earned runs in one inning. Tony Zych was able to stem the tide by blanking the Stars for two innings while earning his first win of the season.

The Smokies matched Huntsville in the first inning as Matt Szczur (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled and moved to third on an errant pick-off attempt. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a RBI) knocked Szczur in with a base hit of his own. Tennessee took the lead in the fourth as Ty Wright singled, Rubi Silva (1-for-3 with a RBI) was hit by a pitch, and Christian Villanueva (1-for-3) walked to load the bases. A sacrifice fly scored Wright, and a walk to Chad Noble (2-for-3) re-filled the sacks. Matt Loosen drew a walk to force in Silva, while Szczur also got the easy RBI on a walk to score Villanueva. The Smokies tied the game by scoring single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Pinch-hitter Anthony Giansanti singled and came home on a single from Ronald Torreyes (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) and back to back doubles by Wright and Silva produced another run. With Noble on, Torreyes launched his first home run of the season to give Tennessee the winning margin.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Tennessee received a sparkling effort from their pitching staff on Tuesday and held Birmingham at bay 3-2.  Kyle Hendricks is emerging as the ace of the staff as he allowed two earned runs in 6.2 innings while striking out six batters. Kevin Rhoderick held the Barons scoreless for two innings, while Frank Batista earned his seventh save as he shut down Birmingham for the final 1.1 innings. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a home run) started out the scoring for the Smokies when he launched his seventh home run of the season in the fourth inning. Consecutive singles by Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4), Chad Noble (1-for-3) and Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Giansanti in the fifth inning. Christian Villanueva (2-for-4) tripled with one out in the sixth and scored on a single from Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with a RBI).

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (24-26)

Sunday saw a doubleheader for Iowa as their pitching outlasted Oklahoma City’s pitching for a 2-1 victory in game one. Barret Loux was having an uneven season but finally was able to show why he has so much promise. Loux struck out six and scattered three hits while allowing an earned run in six innings. Blake Parker set down the side in order in the seventh to collect his seventh save. It was all Edwin Maysonet (2-for-2 with a home run) for the I-Cubs as he doubled to lead off the third inning. Maysonet ended up a third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly. Maysonet took things in his own hands in the fifth as he cracked his fourth home run.

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Game two saw Iowa’s most consistent pitcher in an emergency start as they swept Oklahoma City 4-3. The I-Cubs usually turn to Esmailin Caridad to help with the back end of doubleheaders. But with Caridad on the disabled list, Yoanner Negrin stepped up and struck out five in 4.1 innings while allowing two earned runs. Fresh up from Tennessee, Marcus Hatley tossed 1.2 innings and gave up and earned run while striking out two to collect his first victory. Zach Putnam took over the closer chores and went 1-2-3 for his fourth save. Iowa jumped out to an early lead as Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with a home run) started the game off with a home run. A single and stolen base from Brian Bogusevic (1-for-2), a walk to Dave Sappelt, and a single from Brad Nelson loaded the bases. Both Donnie Murphy (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) and Edwin Maysonet drove in runs after both players were hit by a pitch. With the game tied in the sixth, Murphy launched his fourth home run that gave Iowa the lead.

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Iowa wasn’t quite able to complete the five-game sweep of Oklahoma City on Monday as they lost 4-3. Guillermo Moscoso has not been as effective as he had been in his first three starts. Moscoso was tagged for four runs (three earned) to go along with six strikeouts in five innings. Hisanori Takahashi walked three in his two scoreless innings, but didn’t give up a hit. In his first appearance for Iowa since 2010, Brian Schlitter shut out the Red Hawks for two innings while striking out three batters. The I-Cubs got on the board in the fourth inning as Brian Bogusevic (1-for-2) doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Brent Lillibridge (1-for-4 with a home run) socked his third home run of the season. Walks to Bogusevic and Darnell McDonald sandwiched around a single from Brett Jackson (1-for-4) loaded the bases in the sixth. Once again, Bogusevic came home on a sacrifice fly.

Tuesday saw a dominant pitching performance as Iowa defeated Nashville 6-2. Chris Rusin gave up an earned run in the first inning, and then cruised through the next seven as he ended up with eight strikeouts in eight innings. Eduardo Sanchez gave up an earned run in his inning of work. The I-Cubs never looked back after the second inning as Dave Sappelt reached on a throwing error and Donnie Murphy (2-for-4) doubled. Both Sappelt and Murphy scored on sacrifice flies. Luis Flores led off the fifth with a walk and Brent Lillibridge (2-for-4 with a home run) singled him the third. Lillibridge ended up getting picked off of first. Rusin helped his cause with a single that plated Flores. Brett Jackson (1-for-3) was aboard with a walk in the sixth when Edwin Maysonet (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) cracked his fifth home run. Lillibridge added a solo shot in the seventh.

Click Here for Complete Box Score

Venezuelan Summer League

The VSL Cubs have moved into sole possession of second place by going 4-2 over the last week to run their season record to 7-6. Infielder/outfielder Roney Alcala and outfielder Arnaldo Calero are seventh and eighth in the league respectively in hitting. Alcala is now sporting a .346 average that includes a home run and nine RBI. Calero is right behind Alcala with a .345 average that also includes a home run and nine RBI. The team RBI leader is first baseman Delbis Arcilia, who is also fourth in the league with 12 runs driven in to go along with four home runs and a .307 average. Third baseman Miguel Rico is tied for the league lead with five home runs, while hitting .214 with 10 RBI. Right-handed pitcher Greyfer Eregua continues to lead the league with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP to go along with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings. Right-hander Francisco Carrillo is right behind Eregua with a 0.91 WHIP to go along with a 2-0 record, a 1.26 ERA, and a league leading 16 strikeouts.

Note: Saturday marks the beginning of The Dominican Summer League.

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs assigned RHP Brian Schlitter to Iowa from Tennessee; assigned LHP Hunter Cervenka and C Chad Noble  to Tennessee from Daytona; assigned C Lance Rymel to Tennessee from extended spring training; assigned RHP Larry Suarez to Daytona from extended spring training

The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Esmailin Caridad and IF Josh Vitters on the 7-Day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs activated RHP Yao-Lin Wang from the 7-Day disabled list.

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Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Loux, Hendricks, finally some pitching to get excited about! And don’t look now but I’m actually sensing some consistency from Trey McNutt! That is phenomenal news.

    • Tony_Hall

      Loux and Hendricks looked good that is for sure. And just think we got Hendricks and Christian Villanueva for Dempster, at the last minute….says quite a bit about our scouting department as Hendricks was the “throw-in”.

      Loux was basically for Soto, who we didn’t want back and the Rangers cut before resigning to get his salary down.

      • Ray Ray

        The thing I don’t get is…….until a player like Villanueva or Hendricks does something in the major leagues……how is it a great trade? Hendricks and Villanueva are both in AA.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Just a projection! We’re going for prospects and based on what we gave projects to be a solid return.

          But you are right, nothing is foregone. However exciting.

        • Tony_Hall

          I am sure you won’t like or agree with any of this, but this is why.

          First thing to remember is that no prospect is guaranteed to advance to the majors and be successful, just like past production for majors leaguers doesn’t guarantee future production.

          Next the reason you stockpile prospects, and more specifically, higher floor/ceiling players is it takes many prospects to get one to the majors. So the more Soler’s, Baez’s, Alcantara’s, Watkins, etc the better the quality of the players that make it through the system and get to the majors. No more bringing up prospects that are not that good, just because they are the best thing available, and have never been pushed by other quality prospects.

          Keep in mind, they were not going to resign Dempster. So they traded a player that had no future value to the Cubs. In return they got 2 prospects that are both above the average player in the system and Villanueva who is a Top 20 in the system, Top 10 on some lists. Hendricks is better than how he has been ranked, which ranks him lower because he doesn’t throw heat. So by bringing in these guys they have improved their farm system. The farm system is starting to get replenished and the AA team is starting to be fun to watch and follow. AAA, not so much. But by next year, the real prospects in the system will start to take over AAA. Of course not completely, as AAA will still be a place to park AAAA players who will be depth for the major league team as well.

          Whether Villanueva or Hendricks specifically make it or not, is not how to determine if this was a good move. You can’t track individual prospects and judge every move, as more moves will be bad than good. If you want to find failure it is really easy to do. But it is the successes you need to follow. If the Cubs have one of Lake, Vitters, Villanueva, Baez etc at 3B soon and there for awhile as a productive player, all the moves that brought in these guys were good ones, as together they produced a major league player.

          Hope this helps with understanding the why and how the moves are positives for the organization.

          • Ray Ray

            But again if neither make it or can be used to acquire a future major league player or major league player..it wasn’t a good trade.

          • Tony_Hall

            Dempster was going to be gone, and they got these 2 in return. For the life of me, I don’t get how you don’t understand this one. The trade is good, the future results can make it a very good to great trade.

          • Ray Ray

            So if the Cubs would have been able to get a player to eventually help them in a trade or being promoted as opposed to getting 2 players who never make it…it is still a good trade? Makes perfect sense

          • Tony_Hall

            You just don’t understand player development and an organization needing to keep bringing in better prospects and giving up nothing but a few months of a player. Of course you want to look back and see Villanueva and his HOF career at 3B and Hendricks and his HOF pitching career, but is that realistic….no.

            If the Cubs keep trading short term assets for long term assets that improve the quality of the farm system, it will speed up the rebuilding process. Whether these specific 2 players make it, get traded, or along them to trade other players who bring back someone that makes it, it was and still is good trade.

  • redlarczykg

    I know the plan to rebuild includes signing some cheap free agents and they do well, trade them midseason for some young talent. I hope that the Cubs keep Feldman! Why would you trade one of the top starters in the league for a rookie or two, who then you would hope to some day be as good as Feldman, In my opinion Feldman is a definite keeper.

  • Ray Ray

    As predicted. I didn’t think anyone would claim him. He has no value. They cut Bowden ahead of Camp purely based on performance. This goes to show you what other clubs think of our relief pitching. Camp has zero value as well.

    Reliever Michael Bowden cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A by the Cubs, according to the Pacific Coast League transactions page.
    Having been outrighted before, Bowden had the right to elect free
    agency, but then his contract would have been terminated.

    • Tony_Hall

      Perfect, we cleared Bowden off the 40 man, brought in 2 new relief arms in the process, and now have added Putnam to the bullpen. Once again, the individual player is just not that important, especially middle relievers, I believe you said a dime a dozen. After the 10 days of DFA, they were able to see if anyone wanted Bowden in a trade. Obviously no one did or they would have claimed him. But I guarantee you if they could have picked him up and put him in the minors, without using a 40 man roster spot, almost all the teams would have wanted him. 40 man roster spots are just too valuable to drop someone to grab someone else, unless you know they are a better player, not just the same thing.

      Our relievers have now given up 3 runs (Gregg finally gave up a run) in the last week or so, spanning over 20 innings. Not too bad for a bullpen no one likes.

      • Ray Ray

        I believe you said Bowden’s trade value was high and the Cubs dfa’d him because of that. Not the case.

        • Tony_Hall

          Once again, you never read my posts, just find the first negative thing and react.

          I said that Bowden’s value would never be higher. Which is and was true. But not enough for anyone to trade for him. Keeping him is better than a low level arm in return. They DFA’d, I believe, because between Camp and Bowden, Bowden was the one most likely to return a player, where Camp would have been gone and they would be on the hook for his salary. I want Camp gone, but feel they are hoping he has a decent run in June and July and can return a prospect of some sort back.

          • Ray Ray

            So his value was and will never be higher but still not high enough for a team to trade for him? Is that what you are saying?

          • Tony_Hall

            That does seem to be the case as no one traded for him. How much would you give up for a middle reliever….not much, but if you need one, you just might.

            And I don’t ever imagine that he will have more value than now, unless he gets back in the bullpen and works his way into the 7th or 8th inning guy, and I just don’t see that happening.

  • Ray Ray

    I hope Thoyer are learning a lesson. You know what they say about “assume” Jed?

    Baker signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract last
    November after missing the entire 2012 season. He’s long tossing in
    Arizona and not expected back before August at the earliest.

    “Some of those things cluster at times, and we haven’t had the
    greatest luck,” Hoyer said. “We do get into a routine of assuming that
    every Tommy John is 12 months and the guy comes back and he’s feeling
    great. And that does happen and that’s what you hope for, but at the
    same time some guys do have setbacks along the way. Every guy heals
    differently.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      We’ve got time before we’re going to realistically headed to the postseason. I like these buy low, hig reward moves lile Baker. When he gets healthy could be formidable. I’ll sign those guys to club-friendly, low-risk contracts all day long.

  • cc002600

    I really, really hope the cubs draft either Bryant or Moran, instead of one of the pitchers.

    Pitchers are just too risky, and you can’t come away with nothing on this draft pick, or losing 101 games was all for nothing. And don’t think it doesn’t happen. It happens all the time. Look no further then Prior…..and myriads of other pitchers that were supposed to be “can’t miss” that ended being busts.

    Bryant or Moran could be the cubs “Evan Longoria” for the next 10 years. Their numbers are off the charts. Especially, take a look at the OBP. wow.

    and yes, I know the cubs need pitching, but you could then trade Baez and others.

    By the way, is Stephen Bruno hurt ? Anyone know his status.

    • Tom U

      Stephen Bruno is on the DL with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that sidelined him earlier.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Prior wasn’t what I called a bust. He had some good seasons with us, but his career was definitely short. If they drafted a guy and he had a career like Prior’s and helped us win a WS, but his career was over by 28, I’d take that.

      • cc002600

        Prior wasn’t a bust ? You can’t be serious. He had 1 outstanding year (2003) and then his career ended at age 24.

        That’s not a bust ? Would you be happy with that if cubs drafted Appel and his career ended at age 24 ?

        If that’s not a bust, tell me what is.

        • 07GreyDigger

          Prior came up in 2002 and his career ended in 2006. In that time he went 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA, 1.225 WHIP and 757 K in 657 IP. While we wasn’t as dominant in the years after 2003, he was still for the most part effective.

          I think when I mean a bust I think of guys like Tim Beckham or Matt Bush who never even made it to the majors and were top 5 picks. At least we got SOME value out of Prior.

          • cc002600

            Ok, I will give you that. So he was a “modified” bust. LOL

            But let’s face it, to draft a pitcher who was supposed to be the 2nd coming of Cy Young and his career ends at 24 is a pretty big miss.

            I am CERTAIN you would not be happy to see that repeated with a guy like Appel or Gray. Agree ?

            I hope I’m wrong, but I just think the safer pick would be a hitter. Especially a 3rd baseman, which we don’t have.

            sad fact is that pitchers get hurt. It’s not if, just when.

          • 07GreyDigger

            That’s true. But I’d rather take the risk. 1st round or not, only 10% of drafted players make the majors. This team needs another stud arm to pair with Shark and the draft is the best way to do it without paying an arm and a leg.

          • cc002600

            ok, we will agree to disagree.

            It will be very interesting to see what they do.

            I won’t be mad if they pick Appel, I just think a hitter is a better, safer pick.

            Yes, they need pitching, but their lineup is very weak also, and 3B always seems like a black hole for this team….

    • redlarczykg

      Don’t forget that Ryan Harvey and Ty Griffin were 1# position picks that never made it.

      • cc002600

        very true, but I guarantee you that Griffin and Harvey were not putting up monster numbers at the college level like these 2 guys are. Not even close. And oh, all this is being done with different bats in college. In fact, if I remember correctly, Harvey was out of high school, which means his chances of making it are a lot less. These guys (Bryant and Moran) are different. Much different.