Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/24/14

A minor league system that was struggling offensively has suddenly found their bats. Kane County won two out of three thanks to the steady contributions of Carlos Penalver and Yasiel Balaguert. Daytona exploded for 18 runs on Tuesday behind the hot bats of Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, and Tim Saunders. John Andreoli has set the table for Tennessee, while Kris Bryant remains consistent. And Arismendy Alcantara went yard twice as Iowa now has a winning record. And for those who like pitching, there were excellent performances by Corey Black, Tayler Scott, Kyle Hendricks, and Eric Jokisch.

PrintThat’s a lot happening, so take your time and enjoy the Down on the Farm Report.

Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday through Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday.

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (13-6)

Kane County was not able to keep their concentration on Monday afternoon as errors made the difference in a 5-3 loss to Beloit. Jen-Ho Tseng pitched fairly well, but his balk allowed the Snappers to tie the game. Tseng went five innings and gave up three runs (two earned) while striking out three batters. Tyler Bremer held Beloit in check as he also had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Josh Davis was victimized by an error as he was charged with two unearned runs and a strikeout in two innings. The Cougars started out well on Monday after Carlos Penalver (2-for-3) and Ben Carhart (2-for-4) reached with one out singles. A ground out scored Penalver, and a base hit by Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Carhart. It was Penalver and Carhart again with singles in the third inning, with Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with two RBI) driving in Penalver with a base hit.

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The Cougars gave their fans a scare on Tuesday afternoon but were able to secure a 5-4 win over Beloit. Kane County broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the fourth after Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) led off with a double and scored on a double by Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI). A single from Jacob Rogers (1-for-4) put runners on the corners. David Bote (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Balaguert. Trey Martin (0-for-2) started the fifth with a walk. Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with a RBI) followed with a single. Penalver bunted the runners up a base. Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Martin. Walks to Bote and Danny Lockhart (0-for-3) began the eighth inning, with a bunt by Will Remillard (0-for-2) moving the runners over. Martin walked to load the bases, and Hannemann drove in Bote by drawing his own walk. A sacrifice fly scored Lockhart.

Starter Paul Blackburn didn’t have his best stuff, but he held the Snappers to an earned run in 5.1 innings. Nathan Dorris recorded three strikeouts but allowed an earned run in 2.2 innings. Jose Arias tried to notch the save, but ended up allowing two earned runs while striking out two in 0.2 innings. Zack Godley struck out the last batter in the ninth to pick up his third save.

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It took a while for Kane County to get warmed up on Wednesday afternoon, but when they did it resulted in a 10-4 victory over Beloit. Down by two runs in the bottom of the fourth, Jacob Rogers (0-for-2 with three walks) drew a one out walk. Consecutive singles by Danny Canela (2-for-5) and Will Remillard (4-for-4 with a double and three RBI) drove in Rogers. One out later, Jordan Hankins (3-for-4 with a double and two RBI) belted a double to score Canela. The Cougars took the lead in the fifth after Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) walked with one out. Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-5) singled and Rogers walked to load the bases. A base hit by Remillard brought in Penalver and Balaguert. Kane County added a run in the sixth after Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI) doubled and scored on a double by Penalver. The Cougars then put the game away in the seventh with a single by Canela, a double from Remillard, and a base hit by Danny Lockhart (1-for-5 with a RBI and a stolen base) plated Canela. Hankins singled in Remillard, and pulled off a double-steal with Lockhart. Everyone walked home after Dunston blasted his first home run of the season.

Tyler Skulina was tapped to start for the Cougars and struck out two batters while allowing three earned runs in 4.1 innings. Justin Amlung improved his record to 3-0 as he blanked the Snappers for 3.2 innings with two strikeouts. Gerardo Concepcion continues to be a work in progress as he gave up an earned run but struck out two in an inning pitched.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (5-14)

Daytona survived some high winds that seemed to help the opposition as they outlasted Clearwater 6-5 in 11 innings on Monday. Jake Arrieta was sent on a rehab assignment to work on his breaking ball and got a few up in the zone. Arrieta was taken out of the park three times as he went 5.2 innings and struck out seven while giving up five runs (three earned). Andrew McKirahan picked up the final out of the sixth. Starter Jose Rosario entered the game and ate a few innings while striking out four batters in four scoreless frames. Arodys Vizcaino put down the side 1-2-3 in the eleventh for his first save.

The D-Cubs tried to stay one step ahead of their rehabbing starter as they began the second inning with a pair of singles from Bijan Rademacher (1-for-5) and Chadd Krist (3-for-5 with a double) sandwiched around a walk by Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3). A sacrifice fly scored Rademacher, and a double by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI) plated Vogelbach. Candelario later scored on a single from Marco Hernandez (1-for-5 with a RBI). Krist reached with a one out single in the fourth and Rock Shoulders (1-for-2 with a RBI) walked. Another double by Candelario drove in Krist, and a single from Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5 with a RBI) scored Shoulders. Vogelbach started out the eleventh with a one out walk, and a double off the bat of Chadd Krist putting runners on second and third. Shoulders was intentionally walked, and a wild pitch allowed Dan Vogelbach to score the go-ahead run.

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A frustrating season for Daytona finally got some relief on Tuesday as the D-Cubs stomped on Clearwater 18-5. It was that kind of night for Daytona as Gioskar Amaya (3-for-4 with a RBI) led off the third inning with a single, took second on an error, moved to third on a balk, and scored on a passed ball. Pin-Chieh Chen (4-for-5 with a double, two triples and three RBI) tripled two batters later. Tim Saunders (2-for-2 with two doubles and three RBI) walked. A sacrifice fly plated Chen, and a double by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-5 with two doubles and a RBI) scored Saunders. Rock Shoulders (3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI) led off the fourth with a walk. Singles by Amaya and Marco Hernandez (2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI) loaded the bases. Chen cleared the bases with another triple. A double from Saunders plated Chen. Chadd Krist (0-for-3) walked to start the fifth inning. Shoulders followed with a double, and an error allowed Krist to score. A ground out scored Shoulders, and Chen walked. Saunders then ripped another double that plated Amaya and Chen. It all started with two out in the sixth after Shoulders doubled, Jeimer Candelario (0-for-5) walked, and Amaya singled in. Hernandez tripled in both Candelario and Amaya. Daytona put the exclamation point on the game in the ninth after Chen doubled, Rademacher walked, and Krist was hit by a pitch. Shoulders then delivered a Grand Slam to complete the scoring.

Starter Tayler Scott kept the D-Cubs in the game before the offense finally clicked. Scott allowed three runs (one earned) while striking out a batter in 5.1 innings. Steve Perakslis struck out three in his 1.2 scoreless innings of work. Austin Reed gave up two earned runs along with two strikeouts in two innings.

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The D-Cubs could have used a few of the runs from the previous night on Wednesday afternoon as they fell to Clearwater 6-3. After exploding for 18 runs, the offense once again appeared sluggish. Daytona took the lead in the first inning after Gioskar Amaya (3-for-5 with a double and a RBI) stroked a one out single and stole second base. After an out and a walk by Bijan Rademacher (1-for-2 with a RBI), Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a RBI) singled to right to bring in Amaya. The D-Cubs would not score again until Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-5, stolen base) led off the eighth with a single. Chen then stole second and scored on a double by Amaya. A single by Albert Almora (1-for-5) put runners on the corners. Amaya scored on a base hit by Rademacher. Starter Rob Zastryzny continued to scuffle as he allowed four earned runs and struck out five in 4.2 innings. Michael Jensen had three strikeouts but gave up an earned run in 2.1 innings. Zach Cates pitched the final inning. Cates let in an earned run while striking out a batter.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (10-10)

Tennessee found the tonic for their ailing offense in the pitching of Birmingham as the Smokies defeated the Barons 10-5 on Monday afternoon. John Andreoli (2-for-6 with a triple and a stolen base) once again set the table as he led off with a single and scored on a home run from Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI). Jae-Hoon Ha (3-for-5 with a double and a home run) led off the second inning with a double, while walks to Charles Cutler (0-for-2) and Wes Darvill (0-for-3) loaded the bases. Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with a RBI) was hit by a pitch to force in Ha. And a single by Silva scored Cutler. The Smokies put the leadoff man on for the third straight inning after Rafael Lopez (0-for-2) walked and Ha reached with a base hit. Darvill walked and Lopez was out trying to score, with Ha and Darvill moving up to second and third. A fielder’s choice and a throwing error put Andreoli on second base with Ha and Darvill scoring on the play. Andreoli stole third and scored on another throwing error. Tennessee added a run in the fifth after Bruno singled and scored on a base hit from Kris Bryant (1-for-5 with a RBI). Jae-Hoon Ha clubbed his first home run in the sixth. Cutler walked and scored on a triple by Andreoli.

Dae-Eun Rhee didn’t have his best stuff as he walked five and gave up four hits. But Rhee only allowed two earned runs and struck out four in five innings. Austin Kirk pitched with the benefit of having a big lead as he gave up two earned runs in three innings. Tony Zych allowed two to reach base and let in an unearned run in the final inning.

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It looked like it would be another close game for Tennessee on Tuesday before their pitching fell apart and the Smokies lost 14-3 to Birmingham. Pierce Johnson made his first start of the season after being held back in extended Spring Training with a hamstring injury. Johnson pitched fairly well. Johnson struck out five, but left the game in the fifth inning with runners in scoring position. Johnson ended up being charged with three earned runs. Ryan Searle had his second bad outing as he served up back-to-back home runs in route to allowing six earned runs and striking out three batters in three innings. Jeffrey Lorick didn’t fare much better. Lorick gave up five runs (three earned) in the final inning. The Smokies actually took the lead in the fourth inning after Kris Bryant (3-for-5 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a single by Rubi Silva (1-for-4 with a RBI). Tennessee received two consolation runs in the ninth after Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) singled and Zeke DeVoss (0-for-0) walked. A single by Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with two RBI) plated both Ha and DeVoss.

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The Smokies didn’t mess around on Wednesday afternoon. Tennessee put up eight runs in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 9-1 victory over Birmingham. John Andreoli (3-for-6) started off the game with a single. Zeke DeVoss (0-for-5 with a RBI) walked. Kris Bryant (1-for-5) loaded the bases on a throwing error, and Rafael Lopez (1-for-2 with RBI) drew a walk to drive in the first run. A double by Dustin Geiger (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) scored both DeVoss and Bryant, while Jae-Hoon Ha (0-for-3) re-loaded the bases with a one out walk. Lopez scored on a single by Jeudy Valdez (1-for-5 with a RBI). Wes Darvill (2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI) ripped a bases clearing double that scored Geiger, Ha and Valdez. Andreoli notched his second single of the inning, and Darvill scored on a ground out. Tennessee got an insurance run in the sixth when Rubi Silva (1-for-4 with a home run) belted a solo home run.

The offensive explosion almost overshadowed the masterful performance of starter Corey Black. Black struck out eight and didn’t allow a hit in six innings before being lifted due hitting his pitch limit. P.J. Francescon hit the first batter he face, and then lost the no-hitter on the next batter. But overall, Francescon pitched well. Francescon allowed an earned run while striking out two in three innings … and collected his first save.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (10-9)

A tense Monday night game did not have a score for three and a half innings before Iowa began pulling away and beat Round Rock 5-1. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4 with a home run, a RBI and a stolen base) put the I-Cubs on the board after he led off the fourth inning with a solo home run. Iowa added another run in the fifth after Logan Watkins (1-for-2 with a stolen base) drew a one out walk, stole second and scored on a single by Matt Szczur (3-for-4 with a triple, a RBI, stolen base).  I-Cubs finally got some breathing room in the eighth after singles by Szczur and Alcantara put runners on the corners. Szczur then stole home, and Javier Baez (1-for-3) was hit by a pitch with Alcantara advancing to third on a throwing error. A ground out drove in Alcantara, and a single by Chris Coghlan (1-for-3 with a RBI and a stolen base) plated Baez.

Kyle Hendricks was at the top of his game. Hendricks struck out six batters and allowed only two hits over six scoreless innings. Yoanner Negrin relieved and kept the Express of the board for an inning while striking out a batter. Brian Schlitter gave up the only earned run, but pitched the final two innings to earn his third save.

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With Round Rock blowing out Iowa in the first game of the series, the I-Cubs returned the favor on Tuesday afternoon by drubbing the Express 10-3. Once again, it was Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI) setting the tome after he hit a solo home run in the first inning. Luis Flores (1-for-4 with a RBI) and Chris Coghlan (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) drew one out walks to start the third inning. A double by Alcantara scored Flores, while Javier Baez (2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI) followed with a triple that plated both Coghlan and Alcantara. Baez later scored on a double by Chris Valaika (3-for-3 with a double and a RBI). Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a double) doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on a single by Flores. Coghlan walked, and two batters later a base hit from Baez plated Flores. Iowa completed their scoring in the fifth after Valaika led off with a walk and Jonathan Mota (1-for-4) reached with a one out single. Flores drove in Valaika with a base hit, and a double by Coghlan scored Mota and Flores.

Eric Jokisch had another very solid outing. Jokisch allowed three earned runs while striking out eight in seven innings. Marcus Hatley fanned two in a scoreless inning, while Marcos Mateo shook off a poor performance in his last appearance by holding the Express without a run in the ninth.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent RHP Jake Arrieta to the Daytona Cubs on a rehab assignment. The Tennessee Smokies activated RHP Pierce Johnson from the inactive list; placed LHP Austin Kirk on the 7-day disabled list.

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  • Theboardrider

    Good for Black and Hendricks!

    Valaika is really raking. What is his potential? Is he an older AAAA type or a guy that could move up to Chicago and contribute for 10 years?

    Vizcaino should move up either to Chicago or at least Tennessee or something. It’s not really cold in Tennessee. We could use him soon with the big club.

    • Tom U

      Valaika is nothing more than an older utility infielder. He is doing what should be expected of someone his age and experience level at Triple-A.

      It is thought that the plan will be to move him to Iowa when the weather stabilizes, and not disturb the development of Armando Rivero at Tennessee.

  • cubtex

    Martin Perez- 23 year old. 4-0 1.42 ERA with a 0.921 WHIP.
    Another one that got away. He looks like a solid 2/3. If CJ Edwards never makes it because of durability issues this is another one that could hurt.

    • Denver Mike

      Nothing like focusing on a 2 year old trade that never happened to get the day started, huh?

      • cubtex

        Look at those numbers for Perez. He was offered for Garza in a package 2 years ago. Nothing like ignoring the facts and burying your head in the sand to get the day started,huh?

        • Denver Mike

          I prefer to live in the present, and look forward to the future. If that is “burying my head in the sand” then so be it. But if that is indeed the case, then I don’t even know what to call it when someone focuses on the 35 innings that support their case, and ignores the 700+ innings prior that don’t. I’m going to take the high road and call it “confirmation bias”, but it also sounds like burying your head somewhere else, definitely not the sand.

          • cubtex

            haha. Full steam ahead. Don’t hold anyone accountable in business. Attaboy Mike! Clean Slate everyday and nothing from yesterday matters. Focus on tomorrow. A day that never comes.

          • Denver Mike

            My attitude and perspective has led me to great things in life and provided me with amazing things to look forward to. If your choice to constantly complain and be critical of everything has afforded you the same pleasures then I am happy for you.

          • cubtex

            I hold my staff to high standards. I expect greatness. If one of my managers makes a mistake…I will let him know about it and the standards I hold him to. If you choose to ignore mistakes made(that is your choice) and I don’t tell you how to live your life. You brought up the line about bringing something up like Perez as an insignificant part of history. I disagree. I look at that as a major piece that the Cubs lost out on. Here is something I am sure you do not know about Perez.

            • The arms: LHP Martin Perez, who leads the AL in
            ground ball percentage, got 15 of his first 24 outs on ground balls
            (including a pair of double plays). … Perez now has 11 double play
            grounders this season. … Perez has not allowed a home run in his 38
            innings this year. That is the most innings pitched without a homer
            allowed by a major league pitcher this year. He would have been perfect for Wrigley with that slow infield and keeping the ball down…..Don’t you think?

          • Denver Mike

            I agree that he would have looked like a steal through the first 3 weeks of the season, and maybe for the rest of his career, but it didn’t happen.

            I’ve always said that I learn more through the mistakes I’ve made than my successes, but that doesn’t mean I wake up every day and run through all of my failures. Instead, I try to find ways to make today as productive as possible, and set me up for a better tomorrow.

            So in that same vein, Perez is no longer available, and hasn’t been for two years. So why are we still talking about him? Why aren’t we focusing on who we CAN get today, in order to make the team better for tomorrow? That isn’t ignoring the past, or “sticking our head in the sand”, it’s admitting a mistake, moving on (<—key here), and finding a way to be a better person/team/company/etc.

          • cubtex

            Exactly. The thing about being a GM in baseball is that most decisions become public. Randall Delgado for Dempster. Martin Perez and others for Garza. I brought up how well Perez is doing and how (IF) Edwards doesn’t pan out due to injuries or performance and (IF) Perez continues to be a solid starter how that one would hurt. You feel that is insignificant(and you are entitled to feel that way) but IF I hired a GM and he is paid as well as Theo is( I would grade him on that) I would grade him on the EJAX signing(not ignore it and say oh well….let’s get em next time) I would grade him on his pickups like Ruggiano,Sweeney etc and how he is putting together a mlb roster. If you don’t hold anyone to high standards and expectations….where is the pressure to perform?