As we enter August, the final push of the minor league season begins. Iowa will need to straighten things out after a nine-game losing streak pushed them back in the division. Tennessee clings to a half game lead in the Southern League as they ride the bats of Justin Bour and Javier Baez. The team approach, and a very good starting rotation, has worked for Daytona as they have opened up a four and a half game lead in the Florida State League. Unfortunately, Kane County remains in last place despite the efforts of Albert Almora and Dan Vogelbach.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (5-7) (26-24)
(L) Boise was never in the game on Thursday as they lost 5-1 to Everett. James Pugliese had rough time. Pugliese allowed four runs (three earned) while striking out a batter in five innings. Eddie Orozco gave up an earned run and struck out four in two innings of work. Jasvir Rakkar notched a strikeout in a scoreless inning. The Hawks lone run game off the bat of Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a home run), who blasted his sixth home run in the eighth inning.
(W) Rain in Everett on Friday meant a doubleheader on Saturday and Boise took game one 4-0. Dillon Maples looks like a different pitcher since coming to the Hawks and he shut out the Aqua Sox for five innings with a strikeout. Corbin Hoffner continued his fine season with two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Both offenses looked a little rusty, as there was no score until the fourth inning when Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-3) reached and went all the way to second on a fielding error. A single by Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a RBI) not only drove in Encarnacion, but extended his hitting streak to eight games. The Hawks put the game away in the sixth after Encarnacion drew a one out walk and David Bote (1-for-4) singled. A walk to Bryant loaded the bases and Encarnacion scored on a sacrifice fly. A single by Rony Rodriguez (1-for-3 with a RBI) brought in Bote and Bryant scored on a fielding error that allowed Cael Brockmeyer to reach base.
(L) Game two saw a combined ten hits between the two teams and Boise fell 3-1 to Everett. Michael Wagner was given his first start of the season and allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out three in 2.2 innings. Juan Carlos Paniagua saw his first action for the Hawks and had two strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings. Scott Frazier relieved and was throwing smoke, with the radar gun hitting 97 mph as struck out two and shut out the Aqua Sox for an inning. The lone run for Boise came on a home run to center by Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run) in the fourth inning that cleared the scoreboard and the net and landed in the street outside the stadium.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (14-26) (44–62)
(W) In what appears to be a case of too little, too late, Kane County won its third in a row and eighth out of their last 12 games on Thursday when the Cougars defeated Wisconsin 6-2. Tayler Scott surrendered the only runs for the Cougars. Scott tossed two innings and struck out three batters. Andrew McKirahan earned the win and also had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Armando Rivero continued to work his ERA down as he shut out the Timber Rattlers for two innings and recorded four strikeouts.
The Cougars cut Wisconsin’s lead in half in the third inning after Oliver Zapata (1-for-4 with a home run) launched his fifth home run of the season. Jose Dore (1-for-3 with a home run) tied the score at two when he led off the sixth with a solo home run. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) restarted the frame with a single and moved all the way to third on a throwing error and a wild pitch. A single by Albert Almora (2-for-4 with a RBI) plated Amaya, and Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a RBI) doubled in Almora. A base hit by Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4) put runners on the corners, and both scored on a double from Rock Shoulders (2-for-3 with two RBI).
(L) The winning streak came to an end on Friday when Kane County fell to Wisconsin 7-4. Michael Heesch yielded five earned runs in six innings while striking out two batters. Al Yevoli had four strikeouts in 2.1 innings, but allowed two earned runs. Steve Perakslis got the final two outs. Down 3-0 in the fifth, the Cougars rallied and tied the score after Oliver Zapata (1-for-3) led off with a triple. Dan Vogelbach was hit by a pitch and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with two RBI) walked to load the bases. Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with three RBI) then cleared the bases with a double. Kane County pulled within a run of the Timber Rattlers in the seventh. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-5) and Albert Almora (3-for-5) started things off with singles. A base hit by Candelario scored both runners.
(W) Kane County got back on the winning track on Saturday and used two big innings to defeat Clinton 6-1. Rock Shoulders walked to start the second inning and scored on the tenth home run of the season by Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). One out later, Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-3 with a home run) blasted his first career home run. Oliver Zapata (1-for-4) started the third inning with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. A sacrifice fly scored Zapata. Shoulders worked his second walk and strolled home after Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) homered to right field.
Starling Peralta was brilliant in his season debut for Kane County. Coming off of rehab, Peralta went five scoreless innings and struck out four batters. Sheldon McDonald replaced Peralta and allowed an earned run while striking out two in two innings. Michael Hamann tossed two scoreless innings and ran his streak to 18.2 innings this season without allowing an earned run.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (22-14-1) (57-45-1)
(W) It was a rocky debut for Corey Black on Friday, but the Daytona offense came through and the D-Cubs beat Bradenton 9-7. Corey Black made his first start since coming to the organization from the Yankees in the Alfonso Soriano trade. Black struck out right in four innings, but allowed four earned runs. Ben Wells replaced Black and gave up three runs (one earned) in two innings. Lendy Castillo earned his first save by striking out four in three scoreless innings.
The D-Cubs used the grinder approach to put their first run on the board. Zeke DeVoss (3-for-4 with two RBI) led off the game with a walk, moved to third on a passed ball and a balk, and scored on a sacrifice fly. It was the fourth inning that made the difference in the game after Chadd Krist (3-for-5) led off with a double and moved to third on a single by Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4). A double from DeVoss scored Krist. After a walk to Elliot Soto (1-for-1 with a RBI), Wes Darvill (1-for-4 with two RBI) doubled in Chen and DeVoss. One out walks to Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4) and Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with a RBI) forced in Soto. Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 with three RBI) cleared the bases with a double and scored on Krist’s second double of the inning. Daytona added a run in the seventh after Chen led off with a single and scored Zeke DeVoss’ second double of the game … the D-Cubs ninth double of the game.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (24-17) (58-52)
(W) In a squeaker on Thursday, Tennessee was able to turn two late inning runs into a 2-1 victory over Birmingham. Kyle Hendricks once again was at his best as he limited the Barons to an earned run and struck out four in six innings. Hunter Cervenka went the rest of the way and shutdown Birmingham for three innings.
The Smokies didn’t score until the seventh inning when Justin Bour (1-for-2 with a home run) cracked his team leading 15th home run. That set up a dramatic ninth inning, which began when Javier Baez (1-for-4) reached on a fielding error. Baez stole second. Bour walked and Christian Villanueva was hit by a pitch to load the bases. An infield single by John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Baez with the game-winner.
(L) Tennessee was on the wrong side of a close game on Friday and the Smokies lost 1-0 to Jacksonville. Eduardo Figueroa was given his first Double-A start and did well. Figueroa strck out two and allowed an earned run in five innings. Fresh off the disabled list, Dayan Diaz struck out three in two scoreless innings, while Tony Zych struck out two and shut out the Suns in the final inning. The Smokies offense was not able to generate any threats. Rubi Silva went 2-for-4 with a double, while Matt Szczur (2-for-4) and Christian Villanueva (2-for-4) also collected two hits.
(L) After a promising start to Saturday’s game, the Smokies ended up losing 4-3 to Jacksonville. Dae-Eun Rhee retired the first seven men he faced and only allowed a walk over the first three innings. However, Rhee got into trouble in the fourth inning, and by the time he left after 5.1 innings he gave up four earned runs and struck out three batters. Yeiper Castillo finished the sixth for Rhee but walked three batters. Zac Rosscup worked around a hit by striking out the side in his inning of work. Rosscup has 65 strikeouts in 43 innings this season. Kevin Rhoderick worked a three up, three down inning. The Smokies took an early lead after Matt Szczur (1-for-4) reached on a fielding error to lead off the game. Javier Baez (2-for-4) doubled to put runners on second and third. Szczur later scored on a groundout. A double by Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a RBI) scored Baez. Down 4-2 in the ninth, Tennessee tried to rally after Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4) walked and scored on a throwing error, but Baez got caught in a rundown to end the game.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (51-64)
(L) Iowa lost their grip on a tight game in the sixth inning on Thursday and they lost 9-3 to Salt Lake. Barret Loux had allowed only two runs until he gave up five more earned runs the sixth inning. Loux surrendered seven earned runs in 5.1 innings with two strikeouts. Alberto Cabrera continued to have problems adjusting to the pen and he surrendered two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Marcus Hatley finished the game with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. The I-Cubs actually took a lead in the first innings thanks to Edgar Gonzalez (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) hitting his second homer of the season. Iowa regained the lead in the fourth after Brad Nelson (1-for-3) singled and Ty Wright reached on a fielder’s choice. A double by Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Nelson. Luis Flores drew a one out walk in the seventh and scored after singles by Donnie Murphy (3-for-5) and Edgar Gonzalez.
(L) Iowa’s bullpen failed to hold a lead on Friday and the I-Cubs lost 5-4 to Salt Lake. Iowa jumped out ahead in the second inning after Edwin Maysonet (1-for-4) doubled and scored on a homer by Ty Wright (2-for-2 with two home run and four RBI), his fourth of the season. After the Bees took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning, Iowa struck back in the sixth after Edgar Gonzalez walked and Wright homered again. Nick Struck allowed three runs in 5.1 innings in what is becoming a typical performance for him this season. Casey Coleman struck out two in 1.2 innings. Chang-Yong Lim allowed Salt Lake to tie the score as he gave up an earned run in an inning, while Brian Schlitter surrendered the winning run with one out in the ninth.
(L) The suddenly punchless I-Cubs were shut out on Saturday and lost 5-0 to Tacoma. Luis Flores (2-for-3) led an offense that managed only six hits. Brooks Raley was in part victim of sub-standard defense as two errors led to two unearned runs. Raley allowed four runs and struck out three in five innings. Yoanner Negrin raised his season strikeout total to 87 in 76.1 innings by fanning a batter in a scoreless inning. Marcus Hatley also added a shut out inning while Marcos Mateo allowed an earned run in the eighth inning.
Rookie League – AZL Cubs (3-4) (16-19)
(L) Ryan Searle made his first rehab start and tossed two scoreless innings with a strikeout as the Cubs lost 3-2 to the A’s on Thursday. Trevor Graham gave up two earned runs in two innings, while Ethan Elias yielded an unearned run in 2.2 innings. Kelvin Freeman went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Mark Malave (2-for-3) drove in the Cubs’ second run.
(W) The Cubs received an excellent pitching performance from 18-year old Erick Leal as they defeated the Giants 6-4 on Friday. Leal went five innings and struck out eight while allowing two earned runs. Wilfredo Petit went 2-for-3 with three RBI and Francisco Sanchez was 2-for-4 that included two triples and three RBI.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs called up IF Logan Watkins from the Iowa Cubs; selected the contract of Iowa Cubs IF Donnie Murphy; assigned LHP Jeffry Antigua and RHP Dayan Diaz to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs; assigned RHP Armando Rivero to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned LHP Gerardo Concepcion to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Henry Rodriguez on the 7-Day disabled list; activated IF/OF Tim Torres from the 7-Day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs activated RHP Ben Wells from the 7-Day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs activated LHP Michael Heesch from the 7-Day disabled list. The AZL Cubs released OF/1B Xavier Batista.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora (OF) – .332/.379/.470/.849 with 17 doubles, four triples, three home runs, 23 RBI, four stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
- Javier Baez (SS) – .224/.291/.570/.861 with four doubles, 11 home runs, 21 RBI, two stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 0-2 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, 29.0 innings pitched, 11 earned runs, 28 strikeouts, 13 walks (Boise Hawks)
- Trevor Gretzky (OF) – .219/.250/.260/.510 with three doubles and four RBI (Boise Hawks)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, 31.0 innings pitched, 10 earned runs, 28 strikeouts, 12 walks (Daytona Cubs)
- Dillon Maples (RHP) – 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, 18.0 innings pitched, two earned runs, 16 strikeouts, six walks (Boise Hawks)
- Juan Carlos Paniagua (RHP) – 0-2 with a 8.22 ERA and a 2.87 WHIP, 7.2 innings pitched, seven earned runs, six strikeouts, 12 walks (Kane County Cougars) 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP, 2.1 innings pitched, no earned runs, two strikeouts, walk (Boise Hawks)
- Duane Underwood (RHP) – 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP, 36.0 innings pitched, 24 earned runs, 26 strikeouts, 18 walks (Boise Hawks)
- Christian Villanueva (3B) – .263/.315/.453/.768 with 28 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 53 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .285/.363/.454/.818 with 20 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBI, four stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)