Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 06/27/13

New faces in new places marked the beginning of the week. Daytona continued to be the hottest team in the Cubs’ system. The D-Cubs improved to 5-1 in the second half and Pierce Johnson made his first High-A start. Jacob Hannemann is starting to flex his muscles for Boise, while P.J. Francescon helped win a marathon for Tennessee. Jae-Hoon Ha picked up Iowa’s only hit on Tuesday, while countryman Chang-Yong Lim debuted in Arizona.

Two of the Cubs’ top prospects will participate in the upcoming SiriusXM All-Star Futures game on July 14 in New York, and a third could be added to the World Team’s roster if he receives enough votes.

Tennessee shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara will be joined on the World Team by Daytona outfielder, Jorge Soler. Javier Baez is a finalist for the final spot on the World Team’s roster and you can vote for the shortstop by clicking on this link.

For more information, 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.

Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (4-7)

For the third straight game, a Boise comeback fell short in Spokane as the lost 8-6 on Sunday. In his second start, Duane Underwood continued to have difficulty in getting batters out. Underwood allowed seven runs (six earned) while striking out four in 4.2 innings. Tyler Bremer got Underwood out of the fifth, but not before another unearned runs scored. Bremer ended up pitching 2.1 innings and struck out four batters. Matt Iannazzo finished with a scoreless inning.

Third round pick Jacob Hannemann (1-for-5 with a home run) helped cut the lead in the third inning with his first professional home run. The Hawks climbed back into the game in the sixth as a double by Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-5).  Singles from Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4) and Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) plated Balaguert and Brockmeyer later scored on a wild pitch. A double by Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-4 with a RBI) scored David Bote (2-for-4 with a RBI). Boise tried to rally in the ninth after Carlos Penalver (1-for-5) singled and Encarnacion doubled to start the inning. Jacob Rodgers (3-for-5 with a RBI) singled in Penalver, but the Hawks were not able to add any more despite loading the bases with no outs.

Boise pitching could not hold off Spokane on Monday as the Hawks lost 5-3 in 11 innings. Starter Trey Lang had a good start. Lang allowed two earned runs and struck out four in four innings. Corbin Hoffner continued to impress as he recorded three strikeouts in three shutout innings. Closer Michael Hamann had an unearned run score on a Jose Dore throwing error. Hamann pitched two innings and rang up four batters. Matt Iannazzo tossed a scoreless tenth but gave up a walk-off two run homer in the 11th.

The Hawks tied the game at one in the fourth as Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-3) reached on a one out single, moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a base hit from David Bote (1-for-5 with a RBI). Back-to-back doubles by Carlos Penalver (2-for-5) and Jacob Hannemann (3-for-6 with a RBI) plated another run in the seventh. Boise retied the game in the ninth after a single by Penalver and a double by Hannemann. Penalver scored on a groundout.

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (0-6) (30–42)

After being manhandled at Quad Cities, Kane County may be dreading a return in the future as the Cougars lost 6-1 on Sunday. The River Bandits jumped all over starter Felix Pena in the first inning. Quad Cities scoring four runs in the first and Pena ended up allowing five runs (two earned) with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Dillon Maples followed Pena to the mound and gave up an earned run in 2.1 innings while recording three strikeouts. Justin Amlung took the hill in the seventh and pitched a scoreless inning, and Nathan Dorris followed with a scoreless eighth. The Cougars scored a consolation run in the eighth as Carlos Escobar (1-for-4 with a home run) slammed his first home run of the season.

An off-day on Monday did nothing to cure the blues for Kane County as they lost 9-5 to Beloit on Tuesday. Brian Smith had an awful time in the first inning and allowed five unearned runs after an error by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5, RBI). Lendy Castillo replaced Smith and poured gasoline on the fire by surrendering three earned runs in four innings. Nathan Dorris could not stop the Snappers from rolling as he gave up an earned run while striking out two in 3.1 innings. Steve Perakslis picked up the final two outs.

The Cougars tried to chip away at the big lead as Candelario and Rock Shoulders (2-for-5) led off the second with singles and Candelario scored two ground balls later. Albert Almora (2-for-5) reached on a one out double in the sixth and moved to third on a single by Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4). Almora then scored on a throwing error. Willson Contreras led off the seventh with a double and scored one out later on a single by Oliver Zapata (1-for-4 with a RBI). Vogelbach walked to start the eighth and singles by Candelario and Shoulders loaded the bases. Vogelbach scored on a groundout. Another double by Almora in the ninth led to a run as Vogelbach singled and Almora scored on a groundout.

High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (5-1) (40-32)

Daytona broke open a close game against Lakeland on Sunday and cruised to a 6-1 victory. Starter Kyler Burke continued his dominance since returning from extended spring training. Burke notched a strikeout while allowing an earned run over six innings and improved to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Austin Reed held the Flying Tigers without a hit over three innings while striking out two. Reed picked up his first save.

The D-Cubs scored in the first inning as John Andreoli (1-for-3) walked, moved to third on a single by Zeke DeVoss (2-for-4), and scored on a double play. Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a RBI) doubled with one out in the sixth, stole third base and scored on a single by Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with two RBI). A base hit by Ben Carhart (3-for-4) put runners on first and second. But Chadd Krist grounded into a force that erased Carhart and put runners on the corners. Tim Saunders (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Geiger. One out singles by Andreoli and DeVoss put runners on first and third in the seventh and Andreoli scored on a sacrifice fly. DeVoss scored on a double by Geiger. The bottom of the order got into the fun as Taylor Davis (1-for-4) laced a two out single to center in the eighth and scored on a double by Taiwan Easterling (1-for-4 with a RBI).

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Sometimes the smallest hit has the biggest impact as a bunt single in the 12th inning on Monday gave Daytona a 6-5win over Lakeland. The D-Cubs didn’t get on the board until the fourth inning when Chadd Krist (1-for-5) walked and Wes Darvill (3-for-6) singled with two out. Tim Saunders (2-for-3 with two RBI) laced a double to center that scored both Krist and Darvill. Daytona tied the game at five in the bottom of the ninth as Krist led off with a single and two outs later Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5) was hit by a pitch. John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a RBI) and Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4 with two RBI) hit back-to-back doubles to score Krist, Chen and Andreoli. That set up a dramatic 12th inning as Krist reached on a throwing error and stole second base. Saunders singled Krist to third. Chen then dropped down a perfect bunt that plated Krist with the game winner.

Pierce Johnson made his first High-A start and went six innings while allowing three earned runs with two walks and six strikeouts. Eduardo Figueroa followed and gave up two earned runs in three innings. Frank Del Valle struck out three in two scoreless innings, while Luis Liria worked around a single to shut out the Flying Tigers for an inning.

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Daytona completed a sweep of Lakeland on Tuesday as they beat the Flying Tigers 5-2. Florida State League Pitcher of the Week Matt Loosen backed up his award by striking out eight while allowing an earned run over seven innings. Carlos Gutierrez, fresh from rehab in Arizona, tossed two scoreless innings. The D-Cubs used a big inning to secure the win as Zeke DeVoss (1-for-3) led off the fourth with a single. Ben Carhart drew a two out walk. Wes Darvill (2-for-4 with three RBI) then cleared the bases with a triple and scored on a double by Tim Saunders (1-for-4 with a RBI). Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-3 with a RBI) followed with a single that plated Saunders. Daytona added an insurance run in the seventh as DeVoss was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Carhart was hit by a pitch two outs later and DeVoss scored on a single by Darvill.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (4-3) (38-38)

Tennessee continued to provide a lack of run support to Eric Jokisch as they lost 5-2 to Chattanooga on Sunday. Jokisch received 4.6 runs per game when he was the Pitcher of the Month in April, but a mere 2.3 runs per game since. Jokisch allowed three earned runs and struck out five in six innings. Trey McNutt replaced Jokisch and gave up an earned run in an inning of work. Frank Batista also allowed an earned run as he wrapped up the game.

The Smokies scored their only runs in the sixth inning as Matt Szczur (1-for-4) reached on a one out single and moved to third on an Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4) double. A sacrifice fly scored Szczur, while Alcantara scored on a double by Justin Bour (1-for-4 with a RBI).

The Smokies received a breathtaking pitching performance from Alberto Cabrera on Monday as they defeated Jackson 5-1. The big right-hander allowed an earned run and three hits over eight innings while striking out a career-high 13 batters. Zac Rosscup worked around a walk in the ninth without allowing any runs. Tennessee received big hits in the second and third innings as Justin Bour (2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBI) and Elliot Soto (1-for-2 with a home run) each hit solo home runs. The score remained 2-1 until the eighth when Soto walked and Matt Szczur (1-for-4) singled to put two on for Justin Bour. The lefty first baseman made up for lost time on the disabled list by smacking his second home run of the game.

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It took 14 innings on Tuesday, but Tennessee was finally victorious as they defeated Jackson 7-6. The Smokies looked as if they would cruise to another win as they scored six runs in the first three innings. But the Generals fought their way back against Tennessee pitching as starter Austin Kirk allowed four earned runs in 4.2 innings. New arrival P.J. Francescon stepped in for Kirk and gave up and earned run while striking out a batter in 2.1 innings. Tony Zych kept Jackson off the board for an inning, but Frank Batista allowed the Generals to tie the game as he allowed an earned run in two innings. Kevin Rhoderick picked up the slack with a pair of strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings. Hunter Cervenka was throwing the pill by a weary Jackson club as he notched four strikeouts in 1.2 innings for the win.

It was the big fly for the second day in a row for the Smokies as Justin Bour (2-for-5 with a RBI) led off the second with a double and trotted home when Christian Villanueva (1-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) went deep for the seventh time this season. Elliot Soto (2-for-3, RBI) cracked his second homer in as many days in the third. The first two homers of Soto’s pro career. Matt Szczur (3-for-6 with a RBI) restarted the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Jonathan Mota walked, and both Szczur and Mota scored on a single by Justin Bour. And Bour scored on the play after an error by Jackson’s right fielder … a little league home run. But that was all until 14th when Ronald Torreyes (1-for-5) lined a one out single and scored on a double from Matt Szczur.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (39-41)

Iowa maintained their hold on first place on Sunday despite being shut out by Memphis 6-0. Nick Struck continued to struggle as he allowed six runs (five earned) while striking out four in five innings. Barret Loux struck out four in two scoreless innings in relief. Marcus Hatley notched a strikeout of his own as he held the Redbirds scoreless for an inning. Logan Watkins and Dave Sappelt each went 1-for-4, while Tim Torres was 1-for-3 and Donnie Murphy had a pinch-hit.

The I-Cubs saved all of their scoring until near the very end as they used a six-run eighth inning

to defeat Memphis 6-1 on Monday. Brooks Raley shut out the Redbirds over seven innings while striking out four batters. Michael Bowden struck out a batter in a scoreless inning. Brian Schlitter pitched the ninth and gave up a solo home run.

The I-Cubs’ big inning started when Dave Sappelt (1-for-3 with two RBI) and Junior Lake walked and a single by Darnell McDonald (1-for-4) loaded the bases. Luis Flores (1-for-3 with a RBI) walked to force in Sappelt. A sacrifice fly scored in Lake, and Logan Watkins (1-for-5 with a RBI) singled McDonald. A Brian Bogusevic grounder forced Watkins at second, and a base hit by Donnie Murphy (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Flores. A walk to Brad Nelson loaded the bases before Sappelt singled and drove in both Bogusevic and Murphy.

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Every once and in a while life throws you a stinker and Tuesday night that’s just what happened to Iowa as they lost 7-0 to Memphis. Jae-Hoon Ha, just up from Tennessee, was 1-for-3, and recorded the I-Cubs only hit on the night. Starter Yoanner Negrin had all sorts of trouble in the first inning. Negrin lasted only 0.2 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) while striking out two batters. Casey Coleman drew the long assignment and, all things considered, he didn’t pitch badly. Coleman gave up an earned run and struck out four in 4.1 innings. Eduardo Sanchez followed with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, while Marcus Hatley worked around a walk in the eighth.

Rookie League – AZL Cubs (1-4)

Note: With increased interest in the Rookie League, the CCO will offer a mini-recap of each game (along with winning box scores).

International signee Korean Chang-Yong Lim made his debut on Monday for the Cubs. Lim allowed two earned runs while striking out a batter in an inning of work as the AZL Cubs lost 13-3 to the Angels. Eleventh round pick Jordan Hankins made his first professional appearance at third base and was 1-for-3 with a triple.

Tuesday saw a couple of pitchers for the Cubs get pummeled as they lost to the Giants 14-4. Anthony Prieto allowed five earned runs in 3.1 innings while Luis Guillen gave up four in 2.1 innings. Catcher Erick Castillo continues to be impressive at the plate. Castillo went 2-for-3 and raised his average to .571.

Dominican Summer League

The DSL Cubs went 5-1 this past week to zoom into first place with a 13-8 record in the Boca Chica South Division. Second baseman Dalfis Otiz remains the team leader with a .311 average, to go along with a home run, 10 RBI, and six stolen bases. Outfielder Jenner Emeterio moved up to second in the DSL with 15 stolen bases, and is second on the team with a .271 average that includes a home run and eight RBI. Right-hander Jose Zapata is 2-0 with 15 strikeouts in 18 innings and remains the league leader with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. Eighteen-year old lefty Frailin Figueroa is also 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA and 0.92 WHIP that includes 10 strikeouts in 12 innings. Prospect Juan Carlos Paniagua is a man among boys as he awaits approval of his visa. Paniagua has tossed 8.1 scoreless innings while striking out 10 batters.

Venezuelan Summer League

The VSL Cubs had a 4-3 record over the past week to even themselves at 18-18 for the season, good enough for third place. Infielder/outfielder Roney Alcala remains in fourth place in the league in hitting. Alcala is batting .367 with four homers, while his 24 RBI are also good enough for fourth place. Outfielder Arnaldo Calero moved down to ninth place with 19 RBI and he is hitting .257 with two home runs and six stolen bases. Shortstop/second baseman Bryant Flete also slipped this week among the league leaders. Flete is sixth in the league with ten stolen bases, and is now hitting .291 with 16 RBI. Outfielder Delbis Arcila is tied for second in the league with six home runs and is hitting .302 with 21 RBI. Right-handed pitcher Greyfer Eregua continues to lead the league with a 0.94 WHIP, but his 1.91 ERA now ranks fourth. Eregua has struck out 28 batters in 33 innings.

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs released 3B Ian Stewart; selected the contract of OF Brian Bogusevic; assigned RHP P.J. Francescon to Tennessee from Daytona; assigned RHP Carlos Gutierrez to Daytona from Iowa; assigned LHP Jeffry Antigua to Kane County from Iowa; assigned IF/C Jordan Hankins and LHP Andrew McKirahan to Boise from the AZL Cubs. The Cubs released catcher Jose Morales.

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