Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/12/13

The Cubs’ farm system went streaking at the end of the week. Kris Bryant ran his hitting streak to 15 games while the Boise Hawks won three games in a row. Iowa posted five consecutive victories and enjoyed a 13 game hit streak from Jae-Hoon Ha. Daytona broke their streak of being rained out as they got enough of a break in the weather to win two in a row. Kane County notched a couple of wins while Tennessee also won two out of three games.

And Kyle Hendricks did not disappoint in his Triple-A debut while Dillon Maples kept throwing strikes with the Hawks.

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

Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (9-7) (30-24)  

(W) It was a wild finish on Thursday as Boise returned from All-Star break and defeated Vancouver 7-5. The Hawks tied the score 1-1 in the first inning when Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run) belted his fourth home run of the season. Boise took the lead in the second after Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) led off with a double. Rony Rodriguez (2-for-4 with a RBI) followed with a single and Balaguert scored on a sacrifice fly. Jacob Rogers (1-for-3) reached on a one out single in the fourth and went to second on a wild pitch. A base hit by Rodriguez scored Rogers. In the fifth, David Bote (1-for-4) started things with a single and Carlos Penalver (1-for-2) walked. A double play wiped out Penalver but moved Bote to third and he scored on a wild pitch. After the Canadians moved to within one run in the top of the eighth, Bryant and Rogers walked to start the bottom of the eighth. Yasiel Balaguert then socked a three run homer to provide the winning margin.

The Hawks are receiving good production out of their deep pitching staff. Paul Blackburn started the game and allowed an earned run while striking out a batter in three innings. Duane Underwood followed and provided three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Boise welcomed back 2012 star Jose Arias as he also tossed a scoreless inning on the rehab trail. Trey Masek had a little trouble and gave up two earned runs in an inning, and Eddie Orozco raised Vancouver’s hopes as he surrendered two runs (one earned) in 0.1 innings. Tyler Bremer got the last two batters on strikeouts to nail down the victory.

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(W) Boise saved the best for last on Friday as they scored all five runs in the final two innings to beat Vancouver 5-4. The Hawks were down 4-0 in the bottom of the eighth when Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-5) led things off with a single. Danny Lockhart (1-for-3) was hit by a pitch and Kris Bryant (2-for-3 with a RBI) walked to load the bases. A single by Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated both Encarnacion and Lockhart. Bryant scored on a wild pitch. Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) reached on a fielder’s choice, and Rogers scored on a single by Rony Rodriguez (1-for-3 with a RBI) to tie the game. Carlos Penalver (2-for-4) doubled to start the ninth and moved to third on a single by Encarnacion. Lockhart was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Bryant delivered a sacrifice fly to bring home the winning run.

Manager Gary Van Tol utilized his 18-man deep pitching staff well again. Starter James Pugliese allowed only an unearned run in four innings while striking out three batters. Zack Godley had a rough time and gave up three earned runs in two innings. Control seemed to escape Scott Frazier as he walked three to go along with a strikeout in 0.2 innings. Jasvir Rakkar settled things down as he struck out two in 2.1 scoreless innings to earn the victory.

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(W) An offensive explosion from an unlikely source aided Boise in a 9-2 romp over Vancouver on Saturday. Defensive standout Carlos Penalver (3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) was the star of the game as he helped pace a 15-hit attack. The scoring started in the second inning after Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4) led off with a double, and singles by Rony Rodriguez (2-for-4 with a RBI) and Lance Rymel (2-for-4 with a RBI) brought him home. Trevor Gretzky (2-for-4 with a RBI) reached on a base hit to load the bases for Penalver. The 19-year old Venezuelan then deposited his first home run over the right field wall … a Grand Slam. Kris Bryant (1-for-4) and Jacob Rogers started the fifth inning with walks and Bryant scored on a single by Rodriguez. It was Penalver again in the sixth inning after he laced a one out double and scored on a double from Kevin Encarnacion (2-for-5 with a RBI). Consecutive wild pitches moved Encarnacion to third and around to score. Balaguert doubled to begin the seventh inning and moved to third on a single by Rymel. A force play by Gretzky wiped out Rymel but scored Balaguert. Penalver then singled but Gretzky was thrown out trying to go to third.

The offense provided great run support for Dillon Maples, who was on top of his game once again. Maples allowed an earned run and struck out five in five innings. Corbin Hoffner went the rest of the way. Hoffner gave up his first earned run in 19 innings while striking out two to collect his first save.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (17-30) (47–66)

(W) Kane County was able to pull ahead of Burlington in the late innings and secure a 7-4 win on Wednesday. The offense started well after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-2 with a RBI) led off the game with a walk and swiped second base, his 13th stolen base of the season. Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with a RBI) walked and a single by Rock Shoulders scored Amaya. After ceding two runs to the Bees in the third, the Cougars struck back after Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4) singled and scored on a triple from Jeimer Candelario. Candelario scored on a wild pitch. Kane County nudged back ahead in the sixth after Carlos Escobar (2-for-3) doubled with one out. A single by Jose Dore (2-for-3) moved Escobar to third, and Escobar scored on a base hit by Amaya. The Cougars put the game out of reach in the eighth inning. Marco Hernandez reached on a dropped third strike and was sacrificed to second. A triple by Willson Contreras (1-for-1 with a RBI) plated Hernandez and Contreras scored on a wild pitch. A single by Oliver Zapata sandwiched by walks to Amaya and Vogelbach loaded the bases, and another wild pitch scored Amaya.

Michael Heesch once again labored through 5.1 innings. Heesch allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Sheldon McDonald struck out four in 2.2 innings, but also gave up an earned run. Steve Perakslis picked up his fifth save by striking out two batters in a scoreless ninth.

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(W) It has been a long time since the fans in Kane County were able to enjoy a game like Thursday’s as the Cougars shut out Burlington 7-0. Starter Starling Peralta was absolutely dealing as he struck out five and allowed only one hit in 5.2 scoreless innings. Justin Amlung kept the Bees off the board for 2.1 innings, while Nathan Dorris struck out two in the ninth inning.

The scoring started for the Cougars in the second inning after Rock Shoulders (1-for-3) drew a one out walk and scored on a double from Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-3 with a RBI). A Reggie Golden walk began the third inning. Golden stole second and Gioskar Amaya drew a walk. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) then smacked his 17th home run of the season and his three-run shot cleared the bases. Oliver Zapata (1-for-4) led off the fifth with a single and Vogelbach was hit by a pitch. Two outs later, Papaccio was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A single by Carlos Escobar (1-for-3 with a RBI) drove in Zapata, and a base hit by Jose Dore (1-for-3 with two RBI) scored both Vogelbach and Papaccio.

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(L) Kane County did their best to keep themselves in the ballgame on Friday but wound up losing 6-5 to Burlington in ten innings. The offense provided a cushion after Oliver Zapata walked to start the game, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-3 with a RBI). But the Cougars found themselves down 5-1 as they came to bat in the bottom of the fourth inning when Marco Hernandez (3-for-5) reached with a one out triple. A home run by Carlos Escobar (2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) moved Kane County to within two runs. The Cougars tied the game in the fifth after Candelario worked a one out walk and Hernandez doubled. A single by Escobar drove in both runners. Tyler Skulina was roughed up in his second start with the Cougars. Skulina allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out three in 2.1 innings. Al Yevoli also had a tough time and gave up two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Second round pick Rob Zastryzny made his first appearance in a Cougars uniform and tossed three scoreless innings. Andrew McKirahan replaced Zastryzny and struck out four batters over two perfect innings. Closer Michael Hamann gave up his first earned run in 2013 as he surrendered the winning run in the tenth.

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(L) Kane County did not record their first hit until the sixth inning of Saturday’s game and they were blanked 6-0 by Cedar Rapids. Starter Felix Pena was the victim of poor defense as he allowed six runs, two earned, in 5.1 innings. Sheldon McDonald and Steve Perakslis picked up the slack. McDonalds tossed 2.2 scoreless innings while Perakslis threw a shutout inning. The Cougars managed only two hits … Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3) and Jose Dore 1-for-3).

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (24-15-1) (59-46-1)

(L) The long layoff due to weather and an in-game delay hampered Daytona’s efforts on Wednesday as they lost 6-5 to Clearwater in ten innings. C.J. Edwards was the scheduled starter, but after a scoreless inning a lengthy rain delay saw Yao-Lin Wang take the mound when play resumed. Wang performed well and allowed an earned run while striking out two in three innings before handing things over to Lendy Castillo. Castillo kept the D-Cubs in the game by giving up an earned run in two innings of work. The game got out of control when Jeffrey Lorick surrendered three earned runs in three innings that allowed the Threshers to tie the game. Austin Reed gave up the winning run in the tenth inning. Daytona struck first after the rain delay. Zeke DeVoss (3-for-4) and Elliot Soto (1-for-4 with two RBI) worked two out walks. Wes Darvill (1-for-6 with a home run and three RBI) then smashed a three run home run to put the D-Cubs ahead. Daytona expanded their lead in the seventh when Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4) led off with a walk and DeVoss singled. A wild pitch moved the runners up a base, and a single by Soto brought in both Chen and DeVoss.

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(W) It isn’t very often fans get a fun one like Thursday as Daytona thoroughly walked all over Clearwater 11-0. Things started off modestly enough as Dustin Geiger (3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI) opened the scoring in the second inning with a solo home run. Anthony Giansanti (1-for-1 with a RBI) began the fourth inning with a walk. A single by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 and two RBI) and a walk to Geiger loaded the bases. Everyone moved up a base as a sacrifice fly scored Giansanti. A wild pitch allowed Rademacher to score and Geiger scored on a groundout. A one out single by Wes Darvill (1-for-4) set up Giansanti to drive him in with a triple in the fifth inning. Giansanti then scored on a single by Geiger. The D-Cubs weren’t done though as Brad Zapenas and Zeke DeVoss led off the ninth with walks. A two out walk to Giansanti loaded the bases, and a single by Rademacher scored Zapenas and DeVoss. Geiger then slammed his second homer of the night to close out the scoring.

While the offense romped, Pierce Johnson was firing bullets and he allowed only two hits with six strikeouts in five innings. Kyler Burke came off the disabled list and pitched three scoreless frames. Armando Rivero finished up with two strikeouts as he preserved the shut out.

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(W) Saturday saw a total team win for Daytona as they beat Tampa 6-3. Starter C.J. Edwards allowed three earned runs, but struck out eight batters in 3.2 innings. Zach Cates was the long man for the day as struck out two in two scoreless innings. Daytona stretched out Frank Del Valle. Del Valle pitched 3.1 shutout innings while striking out four and earning his eighth save.

The D-Cubs got on the board in the first inning after Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-5) reached on an error and moved to third on a single by Wes Darvill (2-for-5). A base hit from Bijan Rademacher (3-for-3 with a RBI) drove in Chen with the first run. The fourth started with walks to Ben Carhart and Chadd Krist. Elliot Soto (1-for-1 with a RBI) sacrificed both runners up a base. Zeke DeVoss (1-for-5 with two RBI) then doubled in both runners. It was walks again the hurt the Yankees, as Anthony Giansanti and Rademacher drew free passes in the fifth inning. A wild pitch advanced Giansanti a base and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Singles by Rademacher and Dustin Geiger (1-for-3) and a walk by Krist loaded the bases to start the seventh. Rademacher scored on a double play, while a single from Soto plated Geiger.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (27-20) (61-55)

(W) It was a roller-coaster ride on Thursday with Tennessee winding up on top in a 9-8 game against Montgomery. Matt Szczur (4-for-5 with a home run) led off the game by crushing his third homer of the season. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4) followed a single, stole second and moved to third on a groundout. A groundout off the bat of Justin Bour plated Alcantara with the Smokies’ second run. Tennessee was down 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth when a single from Szczur was sandwiched around walks by Rafael Lopez and Alcantara. A fielding error allowed Alcantara to score. It was 6-4 in the seventh when the Smokies finally grabbed the lead. Szczur singled and stole second. Back-to-back doubles by Justin Bour (1-for-5 with two RBI) and Rubi Silva plated two runs. Silva stole third and both Christian Villanueva and Brett Jackson walked. A single by John Andreoli (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Silva and Villanueva. An insurance run in the eighth would come in handy as Szczur doubled and scored on a single from Javier Baez (1-for-5 with a RBI).

Eduardo Figueroa had a rough time in his second start. Figueroa allowed five earned runs in six innings. Zac Rosscup gave up an earned run in only 0.1 innings. Tony Zych righted things by tossing 1.2 scoreless innings and striking out a batter. Frank Batista survived a rocky ninth as surrendered two earned runs but hung on to pick up his 15th save.

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(W) Tennessee defeated Montgomery 11-10 on Friday. Pitching placed the Smokies in a precarious position all night. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee allowed five earned runs and struck out four in five innings. Jeffry Antigua added to the misery as he gave up an earned run while striking out two in two innings. Dayan Diaz went only 0.2 innings and surrendered two more earned runs, while Yeiper Castillo allowed an earned run in 0.1 innings. Frank Batista surrendered the tying run in his 0.2 innings of work. Hunter Cervenka picked up the final out in the ninth with a strikeout and was credited with the victory.

The offense responded with being placed behind the eight-ball all night, especially in the middle innings. The fun started in the third inning after John Andreoli (2-for-5 with a RBI) reached on a one out single and stole second base. A base hit from Matt Szczur (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Andreoli. Javier Baez (2-for-5 with two RBI) led off the fourth with a walk and scored on a home run from Justin Bour (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Rubi Silva (3-for-5) restarted the inning with a single and scored on a home run by Christian Villanueva (3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI). Brett Jackson (2-for-3) followed Villanueva with a single and advanced to second on a base hit by Rafael Lopez (2-for-5). Szczur walked to load the bases. A single by Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-6 with two RBI) plated Jackson. Silva started the fifth inning with a single and scored on a double by Villanueva. Jackson singled and put runners on first and third. Andreoli singled in Villanueva. Andreoli stole second, Szczur walked, and a force play off the bat of Alcantara scored Jackson. Baez then delivered a base hit to drive in Andreoli. A dramatic ninth inning started with a single by Lopez, who was replaced by pinch-runner Nate Samson. A walk to Szczur and a single by Alcantara loaded the bases. Javier Baez then drove in the winning run with a broken bat single.

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(L) Control was illusive for the Smokies’ pitching staff on Saturday and Tennessee lost 10-2 to Montgomery. Nick Struck got the start after being sent down from Triple-A and allowed four earned runs while striking out two batters and walking four in four innings. A.J. Morris followed and issued three free passes. Morris struck out four and gave up five runs (two earned) in three innings. P.J. Francescon was the only pitcher not to walk anyone, but he still surrendered an earned run with a strikeout in two innings. The Smokies didn’t get on the board until the fifth inning when Christian Villanueva (1-for-3) singled and Brett Jackson walked. A single from Matt Szczur (1-for-5 with a RBI) scored Villanueva. Tennessee got a consolation run in the ninth as pinch-hitter Nate Samson walked and scored on triple from pinch-hitter Jonathan Mota.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (56-65)

(W) It was a sparkling Triple-A debut for Kyle Hendricks on Thursday as Iowa defeated Fresno 2-1. Recently promoted from Tennessee, Hendricks was hung with an unearned run as he struck out five in seven innings. Alberto Cabrera and Brian Schlitter pitched in a scoreless inning. Schlitter struck out two batters and earned his 14th save.

Kyle Hendricks even helped his own cause on offense as he walked with two outs the third inning. Tim Torres (1-for-4) and Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with a RBI) followed with singles that plated Hendricks with the first run. Brad Nelson (1-for-3 with a home run) hit a solo homer in the fourth inning that ended up as the difference in the game.

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(W) Iowa was able to stave off a rally from Fresno and hung onto a 5-4 victory on Friday. The I-Cubs jumped ahead in the second inning after Brad Nelson (3-for-3) singled and scored on a home run by Ty Wright (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Iowa regained the lead in the fourth inning after a double by Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Nelson. Iowa opened up the lead in the sixth after Edwin Maysonet (2-for-3 with a RBI) and Chad Noble (2-for-4) reached with one singles and Julio Borbon (2-for-4) walked after a sacrifice bunt. A single by Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-5 with a RBI) scored Maysonet, and Noble scored on a wild pitch.

Jake Arrieta labored through three innings. Arrieta allowed two earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three batters. Arietta had words with home plate umpire Alex Ortiz as he was leaving the field and was ejected from the game. Casey Coleman tried to bridge the gap and gave up two earned runs while striking out four in four innings. Chang-Yong Lim tossed a perfect inning, while Brian Schlitter earned his 15th save by striking out two in the ninth.

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(W) The I-Cubs got a gem from Brooks Raley on Saturday as they shut out Fresno 3-0. Raley was in control from the beginning and gave up only two hits with three strikeouts in eight innings. Chang-Yong Lim and Marcos Mateo split up the ninth. Lim recorded the first out and Mateo closed it out for Raley.

The Game was scoreless for five innings before Iowa broke things open in the sixth. Brooks Raley (1-for-3) helped his own cause. Raley singled and scored on a double from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3 with a RBI). Ha increased his hitting streak to 12 games with the double. A single by Edgar Gonzalez (2-for-4 with a RBI) scored in Ha. The I-Cubs added some insurance in the eighth when Dave Sappelt (1-for-3) singled and Ha walked to start the inning. Sappelt scored on a base hit from Ty Wright (2-for-4 with a RBI).

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Rookie League – AZL Cubs (6-6) (19-21)

(W) The Cubs broke open a close game in the fifth inning with seven runs and they defeated the Brewers 11-4 on Wednesday. Catcher Albert Mineo (2-for-5) drove in three runs. Eighteen-year old 2013 draftee Tyler Alamo recorded his first professional hit. Rehabbing Trey McNutt tossed an inning. Johermyn Chavez has made the conversion from an outfielder to a pitcher and gave up an earned run in 0.2 innings. Erick Leal earned his second victory by striking out five in 4.1 scoreless innings.

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(L) More players were rehabbing for the Cubs on Friday and they lost 4-3 to the Angels in 12 innings. Brian Bogusevic led off and went 1-for-4, while pitcher Ryan Searle started and allowed two runs while striking out two in two innings. The Cubs’ young pitching was on display as David Garner notched five strikeouts and gave up an earned run in 2.1 innings. Brad Renner struck out the side in an inning, and Daury Torrez recorded three strikeouts in four scoreless innings.

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(L) Once again on Saturday, players on rehab assignments were part of the story as the Cubs lost 5-4 to the Rangers. Pitchers Trey McNutt and Johermyn Chavez, along with outfielder Brian Bogusevic all saw action. But it was young pitcher Carlos Rodriguez who stole the show as he struck out five in 2.1 scoreless innings. Kevin Brown and Trevor Stevens were each 2-for-4 with a triple while Alberto Mineo went 2-for-4.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent OF Julio Borbon outright to the Iowa Cubs; selected the contract of OF Darnell McDonald from the Iowa Cubs; recalled RHP Eduardo Sanchez and selected the contract of C J.C. Boscan from the Iowa Cubs; optioned C J.C. Boscan to the Iowa Cubs; assigned C Chad Noble, LHP Zac Rosscup and RHP Kyle Hendricks to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Nick Struck to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned C Taylor Davis to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs; assigned LHP Rob Zastryzny to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned IF Danny Lockhart to the Boise Hawks from the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Jose Rosario to the Boise Hawks from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Luis Guillen to the DSL Cubs from the AZL Cubs.

The Iowa Cubs placed C Luis Flores on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to August 6.

Top Prospect Watch

  • Javier Baez (SS) – .267/.327/.570/.897 with eight doubles, 11 home runs, 30 RBI, five stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, 32.0 innings pitched, 12 earned runs, 29 strikeouts, 16 walks (Boise Hawks)
  • Reggie Golden (OF) – .230/.285/.393/.676 with six doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 18 RBI, a stolen base (Kane County Cougars)
  • Trevor Gretzky (OF) – .232/.259/.268/.527 with three doubles, five RBI (Boise Hawks)
  • Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, 36.0 innings pitched, 10 earned runs, 34 strikeouts, 15 walks (Daytona Cubs)
  • Dillon Maples (RHP) – 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, 23.0 innings pitched, three earned runs, 21 strikeouts, seven walks (Boise Hawks)
  • Juan Carlos Paniagua (RHP) – 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP, 2.1 innings pitched, no earned runs, two strikeouts, one walk (Boise Hawks)
  • Duane Underwood (RHP) – 2-3 with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.72 WHIP, 39.0 innings pitched, 24 earned runs, 28 strikeouts, 19 walks (Boise Hawks)
  • Christian Villanueva (3B) – .262/.313/.454/.767 with 31 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 57 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .281/.358/.450/.808 with 21 doubles, 17 home runs, 71 RBI, four stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)

Note: Reggie Golden replaces the injured Albert Almora on this week’s Top Prospect watch.

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  • rohitverma

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

    Johnson, Blackburn and Maples all loom very promiing. What is Bryant’s OBP? Any chance Ha will be called up? I couldn’t think of who to call up when they recently called up whoever that guy was from AAA, but now I’m wondering why not Ha?

    I’d love to see Villanueva hit a bit better. As good as he is definsively he could really have a future wither with us or as a trade chip.

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

      Just saw where Bryant’s OBP is .416! Too cool! He may have a realistic shot of being in Chicago next September. I see him having a fabulous rookie season in 2015, probably batting in the 4 hole, maybe moving to 3 later in the season. A lot will depend on Olt, Alcantra, Baez and others that are getting close. I think in 2015 we could realistically have Almora, Baez and Bryant in the starting line-up. Maybe even Soler if he gets back to form in fall and winter ball.

      That’s what excites me so much! Imagine Almora, Baez and Bryant all rookies in the same season! It could be a 3-way race for ROY with all of the contenders being Cubs. And Blackburn, Johnson, Hendricks and Maples in a mix of rotation and bullpen. I see Hendricks in the rotation for sure by then, not as sure about the others but we shall see. I’m really excited. And I have come around to Ray’s position and wouldn’t mind seeing a few free agents in the offseason to help next year. If they come on short-term, team friendly deals. The only one’s I would sign long-term would be Ellsbury and Santana, if the price is right.

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

    It’s amazing what a difference a year makes. So slim in talent and now guys all over that look like future big leaguers. Take 3rd base: Olt, Bryant, Villanueva; all 3 look like they will be eventual starters at the big league level. The Chicago product is still lacking but the difference in the farm system over one year, I’ve just never seen anything like it. To me it is nothing short of miraculous. If you named saints in baseball based in working Miracles, Theo would need only one more to reach it.

    • paulcatanese

      A little strong, don’t you think you should wait until Theo walks on water?
      53 roster changes last year and at least 50 so far this year, some of them have to stick, these are not miracles, just signing everyone in sight, and hoping for the best.
      No logic in signing guys already on the DL,no logic on losing to get higher draft picks, I see no miracles here.
      What they have brought in with the draft have been good ones, but remember they are all just prospects, and have a way to go.
      I can appreciate the way you back you’re love for the Cubs, and that is you’re choice.
      But as you have posted earlier that no matter what, one should support them, good bad, or otherwise, that’s what a Cub fan should be, in essence without any discerning opinion, or go root for another team.
      Let me say that being a Cub fan for a little over 70 years, I personally have earned the right to dis-agree with some of the moves, I agree with some, dis-agree with others, and that is my right as a Cub fan.

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

        I think that between bringing a chamoionship to Boston and te farm system building he has done here are two baseball miracles. When we win the championship that will be number 3.

        I disagree with moves that are made as well Oaul, but it’s the iutright bashing and constant nagativity that bothers me. I hear worse things said on this site than I do from my friends that are Cardinal fans. “Our best hitter is a pitcher,” ” Nobody that can drive in runs,”. It’s just silly. I very muh sisagree with aome things, and when I do I will voice them. But the cnstant stabs at the team aren’t fair and reek of “fair-weatherdness,” from some. Paul you weren’t someone I was pointing iut with those comments. Neither was BRP. You guys back up your arguments and overall I can still see you passion for the team. But we have people who say nasty, one-sided things on here all the time, and yes, I have begun to question if tey still lile this team. There is a difference between educated disagreement, and juvenile hyperbole. I hear enoughh of that in the real workd from people I know dislike the Cubs. I don’t like to hear it here.

        • Brp921

          Boardrider, I can tell from your posts that you are a passionate Cub fan. I think you take some of the remarks made to seriously though (as I have at myself at times). I believe some remarks made to be somewhat tongue in cheek, such as Travis Wood being our best hitter. Some of them are just the honest truth, such as we have not hit well at all with runners in scoring position. The Cub’s are near the top in extra base hits (or at least in the upper half I believe) but yet near the bottom in runs scored. I don’t think most of us blame the FO for this, though some of us have different ideas on how to fix it, or at least how fast to go about it. They didn’t have a lot to work with coming in. I think about everyone who posts on this site agrees they have done a fantastic job with our farm system. I do agree that there have been a few posters visit this site just to taunt us Cub fans, but I think Neil has done a pretty good job weeding them out while still allowing people to speak their mind whether he agrees with them or not. I think it’s admirable of you to always be positive and supportive of your team, if that’s what you choose, and I appreciate you mentioning that you didn’t include me as a “fair weather” fan, because as I’ve mentioned I’m a long time diehard, faithful fan. I will look forward to debating things with you in the future.

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

            I appreciate your reply BRP and you are probably right. I overreacted the other night to what I was reading that is clear. Living in OKC most of my close friends are Cardinal fans and I hear it from them so much. It’s gotten to where I don’t even bring up baseball because I don’t want the proverbial “Scrubs,” comment or something about how long it’s been or how bad we suck. It’s disheartening. I still say I don’t understand why the Cardinals hate us so much. Sure we are rivals but they have all the rings. I’ve said it before, the hammer and the nail aren’t rivals. I don’t get their preoccupation with the Cubs when they’ve had so much success. It’s kind of silly to me and as much class as everyone talks about them having I sure don’t see it when it comes to their hate for my Cubs. Lately some of the comments I see seem to have ventured into hyperbolic Cubs-bashing and they serve no purpose. That’s why I appreciate the way you and Ray and others present your critiscm in a way that is critical but also isn’t hateful of the team. The hate is what bothers me and I dare say, there is some of it on this site from supposed fans.

            And I apologize if I offended anyone that wasn’t my intention. I like all the regular posters even though I don’t agree all the time. This site wouldn’t be the same without Rip and I’m glad he’s here. I just wouldn’t mind seeing something positive, maybe like once a week? That’s not a lot to ask, just one positive comment a week. Humor me…

          • texcubnut

            Hey Rider, I know what you mean about Cards fans; the St. Louis organization may be a model for other baseball clubs and they may be a classy organization, but, most of their fans are not. I live in North Texas and most fans are Ranger fans whom I’ve never expierienced one problem from. But if I have my Cub ‘colors’ on and I run into a Cardinal fan you can betcher’ ass he’ll tell me how much the Cubs suck and how great his Cards team is.
            I , too, think this front office has done an admiral job of rebuilding this franchise and am very excited about our future. I have rarely disagreed with their moves but when I have I will voice them, such as Ray’s insistence that they can rebuild the farm system and put a more competitive team on the field at the same time.

          • Bredstik

            Living in central Illinois, I too don’t understand Cardinal fans’ hatred for the Cubs. They’re the model organization with all the rings – not sure why they waste their time & energy hating the Cubs. You’d think it would be more like our relationship with the White Sox – they hate the Cubs, but we’re kind of indifferent about the White Sox unless we’re playing them.

        • paulcatanese

          OK, I’ll buy that.:)

  • Tom U

    Bill Buckner is quietly doing a great job with the hitters at Boise.

    The Hawks are first in the Northwest League in batting, home runs, and slugging. They are second in OPS and tied for second in RBI and OBP. Boise hitters also have the fewest strikeouts.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/league.cgi?id=3ae7fd58

    • 07GreyDigger

      How are they at grounders through their legs? (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

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

        Let him replace Deer. That was a poor hire in my opinion. Admit a mistake and correct it.

  • SirGladiator

    That Hendricks fellow is just so impressive, he’s the next Greg Maddux, I’d like to see him get a start or two in Wrigley by the end of the year, provided he keeps owning in AAA. We sure don’t need any more of EJax, we could shut him down early and maybe the extra time off would do him some good, he sure needs something, desperately. Arrieta is also owning now, imagine T Woody, Shark, Arrieta, Hendricks, and EJax as our rotation to start 2014, with Rusin either in the pen, our as a sixth man in the rotation, or even taking EJax’s place, whatever. You’re talking best starting pitching in baseball, so we get that bullpen and our offense fixed in the off season, we’re talking HUGE shot at the World Series next year! Obviously an actual hitting coach will be key to the offense part, and a manager who knows what he’s doing would be nice too, but if we get a good hitting coach and fix the pen, I think we can win even with a crappy manager, that’s how awesome we will be. I’m mighty excited!

    • 07GreyDigger

      I don’t think they paid EJax 52 million dollars to pitch out of the bullpen…

  • 07GreyDigger

    Tom, any idea of any looming promotions for Kane County? I was thinking of going next weekend and don’t want to miss any of the big names!

    • Tom U

      GreyDigger, like I said yesterday, I think a lot of the college age pitchers like Sam Wilson and Trey Masek to name a few will be going to Kane County.

      • 07GreyDigger

        Let’s hope one pitches Sunday and they don’t promote Vogelbach by then.

  • Brp921

    Tom, do you have any insight into how the mlb site top prospect list is put together. My main question is on the scouting report rating system. They rank them in five different categories on where they are now in their development and where they project them to be when they reach their full potential and then they give them an overall rating of where they are and where they project them to be. When I add the projected individual numbers on a few of the top ten prospects they don’t add up. One player had a lower total number yet a higher overall ranking number or another has similar total numbers but tops out at seven and the other guy six. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Tom U

      Brp921, I really don;t know much about their rating system and in general don’t pay attention much to ratings. I try to trust my own judgment. And if you have been reading my articles for a while, you’ll know I put more emphasis on performance and production rather than promise.

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

    Tom, do you think Ha will be called up this year? What is the deal with the new international guys? When will Jimenez, Torres, etc het their assignments?

    • Tom U

      Sorry for the late response. Like Neil said yesterday, Jae-Hoon Ha will have to be added to the 40 man roster, but there is some room in that. I honestly think he has been jobbed the past few seasons in not being named to the AFL. Needless to say, I’m in Ha’s corner (for whatever that’s worth) and believe that he is one of the the players they need to be looking at moving forward.

      As far as the international players, they most likely are at the Dominican Academy, with Tseng probably in Mesa. It is customary that the players simply work out for the rest of the season, with their first action usually not coming until the Fall Instructional League, if they are assigned. If not, they will start fresh next season.

  • cubtex

    Watching the Cards/Cubs game yesterday and seeing how well the Cards do with RISP got me curious to actually look at some numbers. This has been what I have been getting in a debate with Tony Hall about for months. The middle order bats need to swing the bats. You do not want them to take walks. You want them hacking since they are your best RBI hitters on the team. The Cubs need to find someone who can do this for a season.

    Allen Craig
    130 PA with RISP has driven in 75 RBI in those AB’s

    Adrian Gonzales
    133 PA with RISP has 57 RBI

    Brandon Phillips (who I have used quite a bit as an example)

    152 PA with RISP has 72 RBI

    Now compare that to our own Anthony Rizzo

    Anthony Rizzo

    137 PA with RISP and has a total of 38 RBI

    Do you see the difference?

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

      Those are some stark numbers and definitely a difference. But Fats is only in his second year with plenty of room to grow, on a team that doesn’t inspire with few teammates there to push each other to be great. I would imagine a player with the Reds, Dodgers, or Cardinals would be in the thick of competition amongst his own teammates to be the best. Not to excuse Fats, but I imagine once he has been around another year or so and has better teammates around him to push him we will see these numbers increase.

      But I do agree you want your middle of the order bats to swing, but no matter where they are they need to get their pitch in their zone. I’d rather have them on base with a walk than grounding out weakly to 2nd. Not everyone is Miguel Cabrera or Vlad Guerrero and can jack a bad ball out of the park. Players need to get on base and when they get a pitch they can handle put the bat on the ball.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      When you have a chance, would you mind posting the same numbers for those players when they were 23-24 years old, or their first full year in the majors?

      • cubtex

        It is not a shot at Rizzo. It is a shot at how the 3,4 hitters in a lineup need to produce. Rizzo was put in that situation unfairly because clearly he is not ready to hit there.

      • cubtex

        Here are a couple of other 1st baseman around Rizzo’s age.

        Adrian Gonzales in 2006 at age 24 (his first year with the Padres)
        164 PA with RISP with 60 RBI

        Freddie Freeman age 23
        2013
        121 PA with RISP 60 RBI

        Paul Goldschmidt in 2012. His first full year starting

        166 PA with 63 RBI

        As you can see Neil it is a huge difference when comparing to Rizzo. Rizzo might be able to develop in more of a middle of the order bat but he is not close now. You can’t compare Rizzo to Allen Craig then because they had a fellow named PuJols over there. Brandon Phillips was a leadoff hitter or #2 hitter. I did post AGON’s stats at age 24. His first year with the Pads.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Thank you for posting, just wanted to compare the stats at the same point in their development.

          I did not take it as a shot at Rizzo. Hopefully next year he will have a better lineup around him and that will help as well.

    • mutantbeast

      Give Rizzo Yadier Molina(StL) Yasiel Puig or Hanley Ramirez(LAD) Jay Bruce(Cincy) as protection. Right now, lets be honest. Rizzo is the only legetimate day to day power threat in the lineup, particulary against lefties.

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

        That is a good point. There is nobody to fear behind him. Soriano wasn’t a guy to fear and Schierholtz isn’t there either. They are both good hitters, but not a guy that you feel much worse about facing with Rizzo at 1B or not. There are a lot of factors. I think the lack of competition around him matters as well. He’s the lone guy, (and a 2nd year player) on a team of guys that aren’t that great. It’s not an environment to foster a ton of success by players feeding off one another. I like that Rizzo and Castillo both seem to be playing better at the same time now, hopefully they can go back to the dugout and tease each other about who is better. This matters more to some players than others. Who knows? Surround Fats with some talent and maybe he will really be driven and flourish. Some players are that way.

        • cubtex

          It is hard to ignore Boardrider and it isn’t who is hitting behind him. 137 times he has come to bat with a runner in scoring position and he has only driven in 38 runners during that time. It is almost hard to believe.

  • Tom U

    Twitter has exploded in the last two minutes with reports that Kris Bryant is heading to Daytona and skipping Kane County.

  • Tom U

    Thank you to everyone who posted today!