As expected, the organization began shuffling players around the system this past week. Several players received promotions and recent draft picks made their pro debuts while one of the top prospects in the organization ended up on the disabled list.
Meanwhile, Daytona kept their cool despite some head-hunting with both Javier Baez and Wes Darvill hitting big flies. Boise evened their record riding the bats of David Bote and Yasiel Balaguert. Iowa pushed their record over .500 on the pitching of Guillermo Moscoso, Chris Rusin, and Nick Struck. Tennessee exploded to finally give run support to Eric Jokisch, while Kane County tossed away another potential victory.
Pierce Johnson and Kyle Hendricks both put together good outings for Daytona and Tennessee.
The Tennessee Smokies announced on Friday that a group led by Randy Boyd had purchased the team and will become the new owner of the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate. The deal to buy the team from principal owners, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam had been in the works since January and the agreement was reached in March to sell the team.
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 (8-8)
A rainout on Tuesday meant a doubleheader on Wednesday as Boise hosted the new Hillsboro Hops and used some late inning dramatics to win game one 4-3. James Pugliese allowed three runs (two earned) in the first inning, but did not give up another run the rest of the way. Pugliese struck out four in five innings of work. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino tossed two scoreless innings while striking out a batter and picked up his league leading third win. The Hawks chipped away as Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4) singled and Shawon Dunston Jr. walked to start the game. A stolen base by Hannemann and a groundout scored the first run. In the second, Cael Brockmeyer walked and Danny Lockhart (1-for-3) singled and both runners moved up ninety feet on a wild pitch. Once again, a groundout scored Brockmeyer. After squandering several scoring opportunities, David Bote (1-for-2) was hit by a pitch to start the seventh. Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled, and Hannemann dropped down a bunt that he beat out for a single. And Bote and Penalver scored on a throwing error.
The Hawks couldn’t get out of their own way in game two as they committed four errors in route to a 3-2 loss to Hillsboro. Paul Blackburn turned in another dominant performance. Blackburn allowed three unearned runs while striking out eight in five innings. Tyler Bremer struck out five through two scoreless innings. The Hawks manufactured a run in the second inning as Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-2 with a RBI) walked and Jose Dore (1-for-2) singled. Both were moved up ninety feet by a sacrifice bunt and Balaguert scored on a groundout. David Bote (3-for-4) led off the third with a single and later moved to second on a throwing error. Bote scores on a double from Balaguert.
Boise used their big bat to come from behind and beat Hillsboro 5-3 on Thursday. The Hawks traded runs with the Hops and after six innings the game was tied at three. Boise got on the board in the second as Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A groundout sent Balaguert to third and Balaguert scored on another wild pitch. Jacob Rogers (2-for-4) singled in the fourth but was forced out on a grounder from Balaguert. Jordan Hankins reached on a dropped third strike, and a single by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Balaguert. The Hawks tied the game in the fifth after Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4) tripled and scored on a single by Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a RBI). It was Balaguert again in the eight as Rogers grounded a one out single and scored on Balaguert’s second home run of the season.
Starter Loiger Padron had a decent outing. Padron allowed three earned runs while striking out three in five innings. The rehabbing lefty Andrew McKirahan returned to Boise and delivered a scoreless inning. Jasvir Rakkar struck out two and held Hillsboro without a run for two innings. Michael Hamann took over in the ninth and worked around a single to collect his third save.
They call it Memorial Stadium Magic in Boise as they rallied from four runs down to beat Eugene 5-4 in 10 innings. The Hawks’ offense didn’t get going until the fifth inning when Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a RBI) and Jordan Hankins walked. Lance Rymel (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Rogers. Rymel stole second to put runners on second and third. A fielder’s choice allowed Jose Dore to reach and Hankins scored on a groundout. A one out triple by Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5) was almost an inside-the park home run, but manager Gary Van Tol wisely stopped him at third. Hannemann scored on a groundout. With two outs in the ninth, Van Tol dipped into his bench and pulled out Rony Rodriguez (1-for-1 with a home run). Rodriguez belted a towering home run that tied the game. Hannemann led off the tenth with a single and advanced to second on a fielding error. Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-3 with a RBI) was intentionally walked and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) worked a walk to load the bases. Jacob Rogers then ripped a single into right for the game winner.
Duane Underwood got the starting call and while he is a work in progress, he continued to show that he is making progress. Underwood allowed three runs (two earned) while striking out three in 4.1 innings. Ethan Elias followed and gave up an earned run with a strikeout over 2.2 innings. Orbandy Rodriguez kept the Hawks in the game by shutting out the Emeralds for two innings. Matt Iannazzo earned his first victory by setting down the side in order in the tenth.
A three game win streak helped Boise even their record as the Hawks beat Eugene 8-5 on Saturday. The Hawks jumped out ahead in the first as Davis Bote (2-for-4 with a RBI) reached on a one out single and scored on Yasiel Balaguert’s (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) third home run of the year. Boise started the fourth inning down by two runs. The Hawks started chipping away when Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3 with a RBI) led off with a double, but had to be replaced at second by Danny Lockhart (1-for-2) due to dehydration. A wild pitch sent Lockhart to third and he scored on a groundout. The Hawks retook the lead in the sixth as Carlos Penalver (1-for-3) singled and scored on a double from Lockhart. Bote walked and a sacrifice fly moved the runners up ninety feet. Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with two RBI) then lined a single to right that plated both Penalver and Bote. Boise added an insurance run in the eighth as Bote singled, went to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a base hit by Rony Rodriguez (1-for-5 with a RBI).
Trey Lang started and labored through 2.2 innings while allowing four runs (three earned) and striking out a batter. Corbin Hoffner picked up the slack and was charged with an unearned run to go along with four strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Fifth round pick Trey Masek made his professional debut and faced the minimum in his inning of work. Tyler Bremer had four strikeouts in two scoreless innings for his first save.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (1-8) (31 – 44)
A midweek matinee could not shake Kane County out of their second half doldrums as the Cougars lost 5-4 to Beloit on Wednesday. Starter Jose Rosario is still looking for his first win as he allowed four earned runs while striking out a batter in 3.2 innings. Justin Amlung struck out six in 3.1 scoreless innings. But Armando Rivero is still trying to find his way as he gave up an earned run while striking out three in two innings. The Cougars tried to get their offense going early as back-to- back one out singles by Albert Almora (1-for-5) and Dan Vogelbach (4-for-4), along with a double by Jeimer Candelario (1-for-5 with a RBI) put a run on the board in the first inning. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4, RBI) hit a solo blast in the second inning to make it a 2-1 ballgame. Kane County got two more in the eighth as Carlos Escobar (1-for-4) doubled in Amaya and a single by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 with a RBI) scored Escobar.
The Cougars finally got off the schneid on Thursday as it took ten innings to defeat Beloit 8-7. Things looked bad for Kane County early on as the Cougars were down 6-0 going into the bottom of the fourth. Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3) led off with a single and scoried on a base hit by Willson Contreras (1-for-5 with a RBI). Albert Almora (3-for-5 with two RBI) hit a one out triple in the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly. The Cougars made their mark in the seventh as Oliver Zapata (3-for-4) tripled and scored a single by Almora. Candelario drew a two out walk and Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) crushed his league leading 15th home run. Kane County tied things in the eighth as Zapata singled, stole second, and scored on a base hit from Almora. The game-winner came in the tenth after Zapata singled, advanced to third on throwing error, and scored on a wild pitch.
Tayler Scott started for Kane County and was inconsistent. Scott struck out seven but also allowed seven runs (four earned) in four innings. Sheldon McDonald did a good job eating some innings. McDonald struck out three over three shutout innings. Jeffry Antigua went the rest of the way and struck out three batters in three innings.
The frustration returned for Kane County on Friday as the Cougars received an excellent pitching effort but were shutout and lost 2-0 to Beloit. Michael Heesch turned in one of his best outings of the season. Heesch allowed an earned run while striking out three in seven innings. Steve Perakslis kept the Cougars in the game. Perakslis gave up an earned run with a pair of strikeouts in two innings. Dan Vogelbach led the Kane County offense with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate while Rock Shoulders (1-for-4) and Reggie Golden (1-for-3) also collected hits.
Kane County took a lead four different times on Saturday but the Cougars’ pitching problems continued and they lost 10-9 to Wisconsin in 11 innings. The Cougars season-long issues were on full display as starter Felix Pena was given a 1-0 lead in the third, and then promptly gave up three earned runs. Pena exited after allowing four earned runs in six innings. Dillon Maples replaced Pena and appeared to have absolutely no idea where the ball was going. Maples allowed two earned runs in three innings without a hit. Maples walked four, threw a wild pitch, uncorked another wild pitch that was charged as a passed ball and hit a batter. Nathan Dorris was unable to seal the deal as he surrendered four runs (three earned) in 1.2 innings.
Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) opened the scoring for the Cougars in the third inning a solo homer, his 12th longball of the season. The Cougars added two more runs in the seventh after Carlos Escobar (1-for-3 and a RBI) singled and Reggie Golden (3-for-4) doubled. Oliver Zapata (1-for-4 with three RBI) singled in both Escobar and Golden. The game should have ended in the ninth, but baseball etiquette came back and bit the Timber Rattlers. Escobar was hit by a pitch in retaliation to start the inning, and singles from Golden and Gioskar Amaya (3-for-5 with a RBI) loaded the bases. Zapata walked to force in a run, while a sacrifice fly and a groundout tied the game. Kane County tool the lead in the tenth as Jeimer Candelario (2-for-6) doubled, was bunted to third, and scored on a sacrifice fly. Back-to-back singles by Golden and Amaya scored another run. The Cougars regained the lead in the 11th as Kevin Encarnacion (2-for-4 with a RBI) walked, was bunted to second, and scored on a single from Vogelbach.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (7-3) (42-34)
Rain washed out the game on Wednesday so a doubleheader was played on Thursday with Daytona cruising to a 6-1 victory over Tampa in game one. Starter Ben Wells once again had his sinker working. Wells recorded nine groundouts while also recording a season-high seven strikeouts. Wells allowed an earned run in six innings. Jeffrey Lorick worked around a hit and ended up striking out the side in the seventh.
The D-Cubs scored in the first inning after Zeke DeVoss (2-for-3) singled with one out and advanced to second on a passed ball. After Dustin Geiger worked a one-out walk, Ben Carhart (1-for-3 with two RBI) singled up the middle and plated DeVoss. The D-Cubs broke the game open with big third inning. John Andreoli (1-for-4) led off with a double and stole third base. DeVoss walked and Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a RBI) doubled in Andreoli. Geiger walked to load the bases and DeVoss scored on a sacrifice fly. Tim Saunders drew a two out walk and Wes Darvill (2-for-3 with three RBI) cleared the bases with a triple.
Game two went into extra innings as Daytona fell 3-2 to Tampa in eight innings. John Andreoli (3-for-4) continued to set the table for the D-Cubs. Andreoli and Zeke DeVoss (2-for-3 with a RBI) singled to start the game. A double play moved Andreoli to third and he scored on a single by Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a RBI). Daytona tied the score in the sixth as Andreoli singled, took second on a balk, stole third, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Zach Cates was effectively wild. Cates struck out seven, walked four and allowed two runs (one earned) over five innings. Daytona may have stretched Larry Suarez too far. Suarez struck out two over 2.1 innings but gave up the winning run in the eighth.
The fireworks on Friday night may have been on the field as Daytona powered past Tampa 13-6. The D-Cubs started quickly after Zeke DeVoss (2-for-5 with a home run) walked and stole second. Wes Darvill (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) then walked, and a wild pitch moved the runners up ninety feet. Ben Carhart (1-for-5 with three RBI) singled in both DeVoss and Darvill. Daytona added two more in the third as DeVoss reached on an error and Darvill hit his first home run of the season.
After the Yankees tied the score at four, the mood of the game apparently changed. It was reported that Javier Baez (3-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) took exception to a hard slide on defense. Baez then blasted his 17th homer in the fifth. After an exchange of words with the Tampa pitcher, Dustin Geiger (1-for-4) was hit in the head and had to be restrained. Both the Yankees’ pitcher and manager were ejected. The D-Cubs then went on a tear and scored three runs in the seventh. Zeke DeVoss led off with a solo home run. Baez reached with a one out single and Geiger walked. A force by Carhart wiped out Geiger at second, but a single by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 with two RBI) plated in Baez and a wild pitch scored Carhart. Daytona wasn’t finished. In the eighth, four straight singles by DeVoss, Darvill, Baez, and Geiger scored a run. A groundout plated Darvill, Rademacher singled in Baez and a wild pitch allowed Geiger to score. Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Rademacher.
Reliever Yao-Lin Wang was given a spot start and pitched two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third. Wang allowed four earned runs in 2.2 innings. Austin Reed probably had his best outing of the season. Reed struck out five batters in 3.1 scoreless innings. Eduardo Figueroa struggled and gave up two earned runs over three innings but struck out two and picked up his third save.
Daytona could not solve Clearwater pitching in a low scoring affair as the Cubs lost 3-2 on Saturday. The D-Cubs started well on offense as Tim Saunders (1-for-4) reached on a one out base hit and moved to second on a wild pitch. Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Saunders, and stole second base. A single by Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Baez.
Starter Pierce Johnson put together another solid outing and allowed three earned runs with three strikeouts in five innings. Jeffrey Lorick also struck out three in his 2.2 innings of work. Luis Liria finished the game with two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (6-3) (40-38)
After burning through six pitchers the previous night, Tennessee received an excellent effort from Kyle Hendricks on Wednesday as the Smokies shut out Jackson 8-0. Hendricks went eight innings, struck out six and improved to 8-2 on the season. Zac Rosscup picked up a strikeout in his scoreless inning in relief of Hendricks. The Smokies scored all of their runs in two innings.
Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) went deep in the second inning for the second straight night with Justin Bour (1-for-3 with two RBI) on board. The Smokies added to their lead in the fifth inning after consecutive singles from Rafael Lopez (2-for-4), Ronald Torreyes (1-for-4), Elliot Soto (1-for-4), and Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated two runs. Arismendy Alcantara reached on a fielder’s choice and a single by Justin Bour plated both Szczur and Alcantara.
With two days off due to bad weather, a rested Tennessee club put a good-old fashioned butt whoopin’ on Montgomery on Saturday and beat the Biscuits 13-0. Starter Eric Jokisch finally received run support and showed how effective he can be when not pressured to carry the load. Jokisch struck out seven and scattered three hits in 6.1 innings. Yeiper Castillo followed and struck four in 1.2 innings. Tony Zych finished the game by retiring the side in order in the ninth.
The hit parade for the Smokies began in the first as Ronald Torreyes (2-for-5 with a RBI) led off the game with a walk and scored on a double by Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-6 with two RBI). The second started with Rafael Lopez being hit by a pitch and John Andreoli (3-for-5 with two RBI) notching a single in his first Double-A at bat. A single by Jonathan Mota scored both runners and Mota took second on a throwing error. Singles by Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4) and Torreyes plated Mota. Arismendy Alcantara doubled in Giansanti. Rubi Silva (3-for-5 with five RBI) singled in Torreyes while Alcantara scored on a sacrifice fly. Mota and Giansanti walked and Torreyes singled to start the third inning. Rubi Silva then blasted a Grand Slam. The Smokies first granny of the season made it 11-0 Tennessee. The Smokies added two more runs in the eighth after Rubi Silva doubled and Justin Bour walked. Andreoli drilled a single into center that plated both Silva and Bour.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (42-41)
After an off-day, Iowa jumped out ahead on Thursday and went on to a 4-2 win over Omaha. Logan Watkins led off the game with a walk, stole second and scored on Donnie Murphy’s (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) eighth home run of the year. Murphy doubled with one out in the fifth and Brad Nelson (1-for-4) walked. Dave Sappelt (3-for-5) singled in Murphy. The I-Cubs added an insurance run in the ninth as consecutive two out singles by Nelson, Sappelt, and Junior Lake (1-for-5) scored pinch-runner Brooks Raley.
Guillermo Moscoso started for Iowa and had a good outing. Moscoso allowed two earned runs while striking out two in six innings. Michael Bowden struck out four in two scoreless innings. Brian Schlitter picked up his sixth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
A day after pounding out 13 hits, Iowa registered 16 hits against Omaha in a 5-1 victory. Logan Watkins (4-for-5 with a RBI) led off the game with a single and scored on double by Dave Sappelt (3-for-5 with two RBI). The I-Cubs added a run in the second after Darnell McDonald (2-for-5) and Luis Flores (2-for-5) led off with singles. A force wiped out Flores at second and moved McDonald to third. McDonald scored on a single by Watkins. Iowa opened the lead up in the fourth as Flores doubled and Ty Wright (2-for-5 with two RBI) singled him in. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5) reached and Sappelt singled in Wright. Junior Lake led off the seventh with a walk and advanced to third on a single by McDonald. Wright picked up another RBI in his return to Triple-A with a single that scored Junior Lake. The offense may have overshadowed the effort turned in by Chris Rusin. Rusin struck out two and allowed an earned run in seven innings. Esmailin Caridad returned for the disabled list and tossed a scoreless inning. Eduardo Sanchez closed things out with a strikeout as he shut out the Storm Chasers.
Iowa was able to stave off a rally and nudge their record over the .500 mark on Saturday as the Cubs beat Omaha 8-5. The I-Cub offense got on the board in the second after Darnell McDonald (2-for-5) tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly. Logan Watkins (2-for-5 with a home run) led off the third inning with his eighth home run of the season. Iowa was able to regain a two run lead in the sixth inning after Donnie Murphy (1-for-4) led off with a walk and scored on a double by Dave Sappelt (1-for-4 with a RBI). Junior Lake (2-for-5 with a RBI) singled in Sappelt. The I-Cubs broke the game open in the eighth. Darnell McDonald doubled and scored on a home run by Ty Wright. J.C. Boscan (2-for-4) and Tim Torres (1-for-4) restarted the inning with singles, and a base hit by Watkins loaded the bases. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with a RBI) then stepped up with a single … and his first Triple-A RBI. Watkins scored later in the inning on a wild pitch.
Nick Struck has had a difficult time in his first full season with Iowa, but Struck had a good outing on Saturday. Struck allowed three earned runs in six innings with a strikeout. Casey Coleman followed and gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Brian Schlitter picked up his seventh save as he struck out two in 1.2 scoreless innings.
Rookie League – AZL Cubs (3-5)
Erick Leal posted his second good performance on Wednesday by allowing one hit and striking out seven through five scoreless innings as the Cubs beat the A’s 6-5. Shortstop Giuseppe Papaccio was 3-for-4 with a stolen base and a RBI, while second baseman Francisco Sanchez had two doubles and went 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Rehabbing pitcher Dae-Eun Rhee took the mound on Thursday and allowed an earned run in two innings while Daury Torrez struck out four and gave up two earned runs in five innings as the Cubs lost to the Giants 3-1. Outfielder Jeffrey Baez was 3-for-4 with his fifth stolen base.
Saturday saw another rehab start as Dayan Diaz struck out two in a scoreless inning. Alexander Santana was hung with four unearned runs but he had five strikeouts in 4.2 innings as the Cubs beat the A’s 8-6. Zac Blair went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI, while Jesse Hodges was 3-for-5 with an RBI.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned OF Ty Wright to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned LHP Jeffry Antigua to the Tennessee Smokies from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP P.J. Francescon and OF John Andreoli to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs; assigned OF Bijan Rademacher to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Michael Hamann and OF Kevin Encarnacion to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP’s Scott Frazier and Trey Masek to the Boise Hawks. The Iowa Cubs assigned RHP Carlos Gutierrez to the Daytona Cubs.
The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Trey McNutt on the 7-Day disabled list; sent RHP Dae-Eun Rhee on a rehab assignment to the AZL Cubs. The Daytona Cubs placed OF Jorge Soler on the 7-Day disabled list; sent RHP Dayan Diaz on a rehab assignment to the AZL Cubs. The Kane County Cougars sent LHP Andrew McKirahan on a rehab assignment to the Boise Hawks.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora (OF) – .341/.364/.492/.857 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 17 RBI, three stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
- Javier Baez (SS) – .272/.332/.541/.874 with 19 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 57 RBI, nine stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP, 15.0 innings pitched, no earned runs, 20 strikeouts, two walks (Boise Hawks)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, 69.2 innings pitched, 24 earned runs, 74 strikeouts, 22 walks (Kane County Cougars) 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP, 11.0 innings pitched, six earned runs, nine strikeouts, six walks (Daytona Cubs)
- Dillon Maples (RHP) – 0-2 with a 7.89 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP, 29.2 innings pitched, 26 earned runs, 28 strikeouts, 30 walks (Kane County Cougars)
- Juan Carlos Paniagua (RHP) – 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.60 WHIP, 8.1 innings pitched, no earned runs, 10 strikeouts, two walks (DSL Cubs)
- Tim Saunders (IF/OF) – .225/.318/.310/.628 with eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, 25 RBI, 21 stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
- Duane Underwood (RHP) – 0-1 with a 7.82 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP, 12.2 innings pitched, 11 earned runs, 10 strikeouts, four walks (Boise Hawks)
- Christian Villanueva (3B) – .253/.312/.429/.741 with 20 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 38 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .280/.348/.453/.801 with 15 doubles, 12 home runs, 48 RBI, three stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
Note: RHP Paul Blackburn replaces injured OF Jorge Soler in this week’s Top Prospect Watch.