Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 12/16/13

Pitching was the storyline last week in the winter leagues as Frank Batista has emerged as a go-to reliever in the Dominican League. Carlos Pimentel raised his record to 5-0 while Ryan Searle moved to 2-0 in the Australian Baseball League. To learn more, check out today’s report.

Note: Coverage of the winter leagues is by calendar week, Sunday through Saturday

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas Cibaenas

Frank Batista made an appearance on Tuesday and he gave up a walk in a scoreless 0.2 innings as Cibaenas lost 5-2 to Escogido.

On Thursday, Frank Batista put out a fire for the Eagles as he recorded the final out and picked up his first save of the winter in a 5-4 victory.

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Saturday saw Frank Batista get hung with a blown save, but he struck out three batters over two scoreless innings as the Raptors defeated Escogido 6-5 in ten innings. Batista was brought in with two runners on in the eighth inning and was asked to intentionally walk the first batter he faced. A run later scored on a groundout and was charged to the previous pitcher.

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Leones del Escogido

Carlos Pimentel ran his record to 5-0 on Thursday as Escogido whipped Este 11-1. Pimentel went six innings and allowed an earned run on three hits and a walk while striking out three batters.

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Toros del Este

It was a rough outing for Alberto Cabrera on Friday as Este dropped an 8-5 game to Oriente. Cabrera lasted only 0.1 innings and he allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out a batter.

Tigres del Licey

Julio Borbon saw action as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement on Tuesday as Licey defeated Cibao 5-1. Borbon was lost in the Rule 5 Draft and is no longer in the Cubs’ system. The Orioles selected Borbon in the minor league phase of the draft on Thursday.

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Estrellas de Oriente

Oriente rallied with runs in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings on Tuesday to overcome a 2-0 deficit and beat Licey 3-2. Marcos Mateo picked up his ninth save as he tossed a scoreless ninth inning. Mateo is no longer in the Cubs’ system. Mateo was taken in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday and will compete for a spot in the Diamondbacks’ pen in the spring.

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Mexican Pacific League

Venados de Mazatlan

It was a disappointing start to the week for Mazatlan as they lost to Hermosillo 6-1 last Sunday. Shortstop Walter Ibarra continued his steady climb as he went 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Despite the struggles for Venados, Walter Ibarra extended his hitting streak to seven games as he was 1-for-4 in a 3-0 loss to Mexicali on Tuesday.

Walter Ibarra had his hitting streak stopped on Thursday. Ibarra went 0-for-2 with a walk as the Stags lost 5-4 to Mexicali.

Mazatlan’s slump continued as they fell 3-1 to Guasave on Friday. Walter Ibarra moved up to second in the batting order and was 1-for-4, but was caught stealing.

Venados were able to end the week on a high note as they rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh and held on for a 2-0 victory over Guasave. Walter Ibarra went 0-for-3 with a walk in the game.

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Yaquis de Obregon

Obregon tried to pull out all the stops last Sunday, but wound up losing 5-4 to Navojoa in ten innings. Darnell McDonald continued his struggles at the plate as he was 0-for-4, while Christian Villanueva went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter.

The Yaquis blew a 3-0 lead on Tuesday and ended up losing 8-3 to Los Mochis. Darnell McDonald continued to search for answers at the plate as he went 0-for-3 with a walk. Christian Villanueva was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter.

The Tribe and hitters Darnell McDonald and Christian Villanueva remained ice cold on Thursday when Yaquis lost 6-1 to Los Mochis. Both McDonald and Villanueva went 0-for-3, while McDonald drew a walk.

Obregon stopped a four game skid on Friday by defeating Mexicali 4-2.  Darnell McDonald went 1-for-4 with a stolen base in the win.

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The Yaquis and Darnell McDonald closed out a tough week with a 6-1 loss to Mexicali on Saturday. McDonald was 0-for-4 as Obregon dropped five out of six games.

Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League

Cangrejeros de Santurce

Santurce allowed two runs in the top of the ninth as they dropped a 3-2 game to Carolina. Edwin Maysonet went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

The Cangrejeros were narrowly defeated 1-0 by Ponce on Thursday. Edwin Maysonet was 0-for-3 in the loss.

The Crabmen were able to put up seven runs in the first two innings on Saturday and cruise to a 9-6 win over Carolina. Edwin Maysonet went 1-for-4 with a run scored.

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Leones de Ponce

It was a tight game for Ponce on Tuesday as they last 2-1 to Caugas. Greg Rohan started at third base and Rubi Silva was in left field, with both going 0-for-3. Jonathan Mota moved over to shortstop and went 1-for-4.

The Lions found themselves in a pitcher’s duel on Thursday as they edged Santurce 1-0. Greg Rohan was the DH and went 1-for-3, while third baseman Jonathan Mota and outfielder Rubi Silva were 0-for-4.

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The Pride was never in it on Friday as they lost 4-2 to Santurce. Jonathan Mota played short and third and was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while the slumping Rubi Silva and Greg Rohan were each 0-for-4.

Venezuelan Winter League

Leones de Caracas

It was one of those nights for Yoanner Negrin on Tuesday as Caracas lost 9-5 to Aragua. Negrin lasted only 2.2 innings and he gave up five earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking two out batters.

Cardenales de Lara

It was a bad start of the week for Lara last Monday as they lost 7-2 to La Guaira. Luis Valbuena went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the game.

The Cardinals rebounded on Tuesday as they defeated Magallanes 8-5. Luis Valbuena was 2-for-5 with a run scored in the win.

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The Redbirds took a pounding on Thursday as they lost 14-4 to Zulia. Luis Valbuena went 0-for-3 with a walk in the loss.

Lara lost a heartbreaker on Friday as they fell 5-4 in ten innings to Aragua. Luis Valbuena was 1-for-3 with two walks, a double, and an RBI in the loss.

Three runs in the top of the ninth on Saturday spoiled things for the Cardinals as they lost 8-7 to Magallanes. Luis Valbuena went 1-for-3 with two walks, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.

Australian Baseball League

Brisbane Bandits

It was doubleheader for Brisbane on Saturday and Ryan Searle pitched eight strong innings in an 8-3 victory over Melbourne. Searle allowed three earned runs on six hits and a walk while striking out nine batters to improve his winter record to 2-0.

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  • Dorasaga

    I’ll never forget TomU’s favorite, the Oranges (?) of Yaquis de Obregon.

    • Tom U

      Hermosillo are the Orangemen, and were one of my favorites. My wife and daughter liked the Yaquis, who they think have the cutest logo.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Little Orange swinging a bat……that is what I got on search.

        • Tom U

          Good colors, Orange and Black.

          • Dorasaga

            Then you must check out the Yomiuri Giants uniform. Their official mascot is an orange rabbit under black cap and training gears (I just wikied and they called him “Jetbbit.”).

  • paulcatanese

    Nice post Tom, lots of work involved.

  • redlarczykg

    Mateo should have been protected. Raley’s stuff is way too hittable. I know he’s a lefty, but I’d rather have a right-hander who looks is finally blossoming after all these years in the minors.

  • TheWrongGuy

    Tanaka’s team president now trying to talk him into staying in Japan. Its not big shock to me, as they will now receive less for losing their best player. This also blocks the Yank’s. Which I really like well. Yet I dislike this because I believe the Cubs would have had a chance to sign him.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2013/12/golden-eagles-trying-to-convince-tanaka-to-stay-in-japan.html

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Every time the Cubs are linked to a player, he signs somewhere else………kiss of death.

  • cubtex

    Good article about counteracting defensive shifts. I have been preaching this approach from the start. Rizzo should take note.

    Will hitters ever adjust to big infield shifts? @BillJamesOnline thinks it’ll take 5 years http://sbn.to/1c7oQWM

    • Tony_Hall

      Absolutely hitters should be bunting or even punching a hit through the large hole. That will require the defense to make adjustments. But until then take the easy singles and even doubles sometimes. Any hitter who has shifts against them should be able to do this.

      • cubtex

        I never understood why more left hand hitters wouldn’t do it. The defense is basically giving you 1st base.

        • Tony_Hall

          I agree.

          Now, that was easy :)

  • John_CC

    The Pale Hose swapped Reed for DBack 3B prospect Matt Davidson. The South siders just put together good young core of position players, didn’t they?

    • cubtex

      I was thinking the same thing. Adam Eaton, Matt Davidson, Avisail Garcia all in their low 20′s who will be playing everyday next year along with the big FA signing of Abreu. Rick Hahn has done a hell of a job so far this offseason. Goes to show you there are more than 1 way to rebuild. They traded a back end starter in Santiago for a center fielder and leadoff hitter. Jake Peavy for Avisail Garcia and a closer(that you don’t really need on a rebuilding team) for a 22 year old 3rd baseman with power. Well done!

      • JasonOfTheBurbs

        with a young ace in Sale already on the roster.

        I echo your comment…more than 1 way to rebuild. You can build a farm and field a competitive team at the same time. You can have your cake and eat it too.

        • Tony_Hall

          I don’t think the White Sox have their cake and will get to eat it too.

          They were ranked by BA as having the 24th ranked farm system and I doubt they win all that many games this year either.

          http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/a-simple-accounting-of-farm-system-impact-potential/

          • cubtex

            Yes they have a lower ranked farm but have added 3 top prospects through trades. Hahn has made some great deals imo

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes he has, but the White Sox have ignored the farm system for a long time and won’t fix very quickly. Not as bad as the Yankees system (wow did Jason Parks post a not very good review of their Top 10 players and system in general.)

          • cubtex

            I agree but they have the 3rd pick next year. They added 2 22 year old players in Garcia and Davidson for Peavy and Reed. A 25 year old in Eaton. This is what I wish Theo would have done. The outfield is a mess. Don’t just wait for your own prospects….do something long term. Theo has a F going this offseason so far. He’s got a long way to go to get a C.

          • Tony_Hall

            Not sure an F, as making bad moves, just to make moves would be an F. Doing nothing but filling in some potholes is more like a C-

            This FO has brought in a bunch of younger players in the 2 years as well, just most of them are in the minors and not rushed to the majors to appease fans.

          • cubtex

            Tony. What is so genius about losing 100 games 96 games and this roster which should also lose 90 plus.

          • Tony_Hall

            Where did I say anything about being a genius? I thought we were discussing the off-season moves.

          • cubtex

            We were talking about what the White Sox have done compared to Cubs. Now that is how a rebuild should be done.

          • Tony_Hall

            What did they rebuild? The major league team still is ways away and the minor league system is not that good.

            Do you really think their major league team will compete in their division against the Tigers? Do you really think their farm system will fill the holes on the major league team the next few years?

          • cubtex

            They sucked last year. Blew up the team and added 4 everyday YOUNG starters. They didn’t look for a buy low stiff outfielder on a 2 year deal. They didn’t look to add a Luis Vslbuena to play 3rd and just tank the season. They added 3 top 100 mlb prospects to compete with an International FA who will start with the big club. Why couldn’t Theo have added an outfielder or infielder who could be a long term solution. We need to wait to see which prospects make it? That is so small market it is sickening!

          • Tony_Hall

            I guess Theo has built this team with too many 30 something players and without any young players who were highly rated prospects.

            C – Castillo (26)
            1B – Rizzo (24)
            2B – Barney (28)
            Alcantara (22)
            Baez (20)
            SS – Castro (24)
            3B – Olt (25)
            LF – Lake (24)

            Rotation

            Samardzija (29)
            Wood (27)
            EJAX (30)
            Arrieta (28)
            Rusin (27)

            And of course the farm system is loaded with players who are much younger to start filling the major league team.

            Time for some football, Go RAVENS!

          • Tony_Hall

            Sorry, meant to show Alcantara and Baez as who are the likely guys to take over 2B from Barney this year.

          • John_CC

            I’m almost sorry I brought this up…almost bit not really. Because I love these arguments!

            What I find ironic … again, is that you praise Hann for adding some young players via trade but scorn the cubs for adding searching for, talking about and often adding young players. When its Matt Davidson you think its a good move, when its Mike Olt you find the negatives. Davidson is not really much different than Olt as far as prospect status and a brief MLB flop.

            Basically Hann has traded away the ML players that would help win more gamea next year for players that he hopes will help them win more games in the future. Sound familiar? Why do you like this on the SS but not on the N Side?

          • cubtex

            I like the Olt gamble. Notice how I said gamble. Davidson is not a reclamation prospect. White Sox added mlb ready prospects for a pitcher in Santiago who will help them win how many more games? and a closer on a last place team. They added 4 potential core players in less than 5 months if Abreu works out. What has Theo done since the season ended?

          • John_CC

            BTW: Olt was the higher ranked prospect of the the two, even in 2013.

          • Tony_Hall

            Here is an article that talks about the quietly rebuilding White Sox and how they have done a good job of it.

            http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-quietly-rebuilding-white-sox/

            What is ironic is they concluded “In making these trades, the White Sox have accurately assessed themselves, which is the most common problem within the rebuilding process. All four players the White Sox traded away were under contract for the 2014 season and would have made the White Sox better, but by how much? By properly assessing that they were far enough away from fielding a competitive team, the White Sox were able to trade players like Peavy and Rios while they had a year-and-a-half left on their contracts and thus get more back in return.”

            You are praising the White Sox for tanking the 2014 season. They are doing the same thing the Cubs did by trading off short term assets for long term assets, yet they don’t have a farm system to add much to the team over the next few years.

          • RynoTiger

            and by what the White Sox have done do you mean losing 99 games this season? or do you mean the robust .252 hitting Adam Eaton? Who says any of the players are going to help field a competitive team? Why should they be judged to produce favorably when the young players the Cubs bring in are automatically tagged failures? Seems a bit like double standards to me.

          • cubtex

            White Sox brought in top prospects from other teams. Who are the young players the Cubs have brought in that I have tagged failures? Give me some names.

          • John_CC

            Rizzo. Sweeney…though he hasn’t really failed or succeeded yet. I don’t recall much love for the Olt acquisition, though is about the same or better prospect status as Davidson.

          • cubtex

            Sweeney???????? Did you really mention Sweeney? Lol! Theo traded his best young controllable pitcher for Rizzo. Awful deal! And again…..Olt is a reclamation prospect. This is a gamble to see if he can get back to where he was. He had concussion and vision problems. They would not have been able to get him in the Garza deal if he was performing like Davidson has been or Olt was.

    • MikeT_2008

      They are, helps that they had some decent MLB pieces to move to get the guys they’ve acquired. Hopefully both versions of rebuilds work out and there is good baseball on both sides on town