Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 04/28/14

Winning streaks were in vogue throughout the minor league system as Iowa has won five straight thanks to the pitching of Tsuyoshi Wada and Chris Rusin and the hitting of Arismendy Alcantara. Tennessee struggled but ended their weekend on a high note as Pierce Johnson, Hunter Cervenka, and Armando Rivero one-hit Huntsville. Daytona are winners of four in a row with Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, and Bijan Rademacher leading the way. Meanwhile, Kane County stretched their win streak to six games as Will Remillard and Jacob Hannemann led the offense and Daury Torrez flirted with a perfect game.

PrintFor what Jack Brickhouse would call the “Happy Totals,” take a look at today’s Down on the Farm.

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

Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (17-6)

Kane County maintained their first place lead in come from behind fashion on Thursday as the Cougars defeated Beloit 10-8.  Kane County did not score until the sixth inning and by that point, the Cougars were down 7-0. Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4) led off the inning with a single. Two outs later, consecutive walks to Jacob Rogers (1-for-2 with a RBI), David Bote (1-for-3), and Will Remillard (0-for-4 with a RBI) plated Hannemann. A single by Jordan Hankins (1-for-2 with two RBI) scored Rogers and Bote. The Cougars were down 8-3 in the bottom of the eighth when Rogers and Bote started things off with back-to-back singles. One out later, Hankins was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A double by Trey Martin (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Rogers and Bote. A base hit from Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-4 with a RBI) scored Hankins. After a walk to Hannemann, Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) laced a double that scored Martin and Dunston. An intentional walk to Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) loaded the bases once again, and a sacrifice fly scored in Hannemann. A wild pitch allowed Lockhart to come home with the final run.

With the threat of rain, manager Mark Johnson opted for a bullpen day and gave the ball to Josh Davis to start the game. Davis was the victim of some sloppy fielding as he allowed six runs (three earned) while striking out two in three innings. Jose Arias was also let down by the defense and gave up an unearned run while recording two strikeouts in two innings. Tyler Bremer had his strikeout pitch going as he fanned six and let in an earned run in three innings. Emerging stopper Zack Godley worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout to earn his fourth save.

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Hosting interstate rivals Wisconsin on Friday, the Cougars jumped out to a big lead and coasted to an 8-4 victory. It was another electric start for Daury Torrez, who carried a perfect game into the seventh inning before allowing three earned runs. Torrez went 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts. Juan Carlos Paniagua went the rest of the way and gave up an earned run while striking out four to pick up the long save.

Kane County’s offense went to work early as one out singles by Danny Lockhart (2-for-5) and Yasiel Balaguert (3-for-4 with a double), and a walk to Jacob Rogers (0-for-3 with a RBI) loaded the bases. A single from Danny Canela (2-for-4 with three RBI) drove in Lockhart and Balaguert. A walk to David Bote (0-for-3) re-loaded the bases. Will Remillard (2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI) cleared the bases. The Cougars kept the heat on in the second inning after Carlos Penalver (3-for-5 with a triple and a RBI) started things with a single. Balaguert putting runners on the corners with a base hit. A ground out scored Penalver, and Balaguert came around on a single by Canela. Kane County put on the finishing touch in the eighth after Remillard doubled and was sacrificed to third. A triple by Penalver scored Remillard.

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Kane County once again saved the best for last on Saturday afternoon as the Cougars scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Wisconsin 5-4. Trailing 4-0, the Cougars offense didn’t arrive until the seventh inning when David Bote (1-for-3) and Danny Lockhart (1-for-3) reached with one out singles. One out later, a base hit from Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated Bote. The ninth inning began with Bote reaching on an error and Lockhart walking. Jordan Hankins (2-for-4 with a RBI) singled in Bote, with Lockhart advancing to third on an error during a stolen base attempt. A walk to Trey Martin (0-for-3) loaded the bases, while another free pass to Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with a RBI) forced in Lockhart. Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-5 with two RBI) came through with a single that scored Hankins and Martin with the winning runs.

Duane Underwood received the starting nod and picked up three strikeouts while allowing four runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings. Gerardo Concepcion followed and breezed through 4.1 scoreless innings. Concepcion gave up four hits and recorded a strikeout. Nathan Dorris picked up the victory as he struck out two in a scoreless ninth.

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Kane County won its sixth straight game on Sunday afternoon as they beat Wisconsin 10-2. Jen-Ho Tseng struggled from the get-go. Tseng hit a batter and walked three in the first inning before he settled down. For the game, Tseng allowed an earned run and struck out seven in five innings. Tyler Bremer was tagged with an unearned run but had two strikeouts in two innings. Jose Arias and Zack Godley each pitched a scoreless inning.

The Cougars got to work in the bottom half of the first after Jacob Hannemann (3-for-5 with four RBI) led off the game with a single and took second on an error. After being sacrificed to third, Hannemann scored on a single by Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-5 with a RBI). Kane County blew the game open in the fourth after Danny Canela (2-for-4 with a double) single and moved to second on an error. Base hits by Will Remillard (3-for-4 with a double, a home run and three RBI) and Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with a RBI) drove in Canela. A single from Jordan Hankins (2-for-3) loaded the bases. After a ground ball forced Remillard at home, Hannemann singled in Lockhart and Hankins. Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-4 with a stolen base) scored on a wild pitch. Remillard started off the sixth inning with a solo home run. Lockhart and Hankins followed with singles. Dunston reached again on a force and stole second base. Hannemann drove in both Lockhart and Dunston with a single. The seventh inning started with a walk to Jacob Rogers (1-for-4). Consecutive doubles by Canela and Remillard scored Rogers and Canela.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (9-14)

Thursday saw one of Daytona’s first sustained offensive efforts of the season as the Cubs beat Brevard County 7-3. The D-Cubs tied the game in the top of the second when Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with a double) swatted a two out double and scored on a single by Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3 with a RBI). Daytona took the lead for good in the third inning after Tim Saunders (0-for-4) started things out by getting hit by a pitch. Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-5) reached on an error and made it all the way to second base. Both Saunders and Chen scored on a single from Albert Almora (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI). A single by Dan Vogelbach (4-for-4 with a home run) and a sacrifice fly scored Almora. The D-Cubs weren’t done as Vogelbach and Willson Contreras (1-for-3 with a RBI) singled to start the sixth inning. A one out walk to Amaya loaded the bases, and a double by Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Vogelbach and Contreras. Vogelbach added a solo home run in the seventh to end the scoring.

Daytona turned to Yao-Lin Wang again for a spot start and he allowed three earned runs while striking out two in four innings. Ben Wells followed and tossed three scoreless innings, while Steve Perakslis set down the side in order in the eighth. Arodys Vizcaino was a little shaky. Vizcaino allowed two hits and a walk, but settled down and struck out two of the next three batters to get out of the jam and end the game.

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Give the D-Cubs credit for never giving up on Friday as they chipped away and finally pulled ahead of Brevard County in route to a 6-3 victory. Felix Pena once again had a good start, but labored a little as he gave up four walks and five hits while allowing two runs (one earned) with one strikeout in three innings. Starling Peralta recorded three strikeouts while giving up an earned run in four innings. Zach Cates pitched two perfect innings to pick up his first save.

Daytona scored in bunches starting in the fourth inning after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with a stolen base) led off with a single and stole second base. A one out base hit from Dan Vogelbach (3-for-4 with a RBI) put runners on the corners, while a single by Chadd Krist (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) scored Amaya. Walks to Tim Saunders (1-for-4) and Jeimer Candelario (0-for-3 with a RBI) plated Vogelbach. Consecutive doubles by Marco Hernandez (2-for-4 with a double) and Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a stolen base) in the seventh inning scored a run. And a single by Vogelbach plated Chen. The D-Cubs put the game out of reach in the ninth inning after Bijan Rademacher (1-for-5 with a home run) extended his hitting streak to nine games with a solo home run. Krist doubled with two outs and scored on an error.

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An intense game on Saturday saw Daytona on the right side of the ledger as they beat Brevard County 2-0. Jose Rosario may be close to regaining the form that made him a promising prospect in 2011 before injuries sidetracked his career. Rosario struck out six while working around five hits and three walks in six innings. Austin Reed was nearly perfect for two innings and surrendered only a hit. Andrew McKirahan set down the side in order in the ninth for his first save. The only scoring in the game happened in the fourth inning when Chadd Krist (2-for-4) and Rock Shoulders (2-for-4 with a double) singled with two outs. Tim Saunders (1-for-3 with a triple, two RBI and a stolen base) ripped a triple that scored both Krist and Shoulders.

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Sunday saw Daytona improve their winning streak to four games in dramatic, walk-off fashion, as the D-Cubs defeated Brevard County 2-1. The D-Cubs took the lead in the fourth inning after Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3 with a stolen base) walked and stole second base. A single by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-2 with a double and a RBI) scored Vogelbach. The game would remain tied at one until two outs in the bottom of the ninth when Candelario laced a double. Rock Shoulders (0-for-2) was intentionally walked and a single from Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Candelario with the game-winner.

Tayler Scott started for Daytona and had a very good outing. Scott allowed an earned run and struck out four batters in six innings. Michael Jensen bottled up the Manatees the rest of the way as he struck out four in three scoreless innings for his first win of the season.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (11-13)

Tennessee continued its futile search for their offense on Thursday as the Smokies lost 3-1 to Huntsville. The pitching staff cannot be faulted for their effort as Ivan Pineyro allowed two earned runs while striking out two in five innings. Hunter Cervenka had four strikeouts and gave up an earned run in two innings while Armando Rivero recorded a strikeout in two scoreless innings. The only run for the Smokies came almost as an afterthought as Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a triple) led off the seventh inning with a single. Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a double) drew a walk, and a double by Rafael Lopez (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) scored Bruno.

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A somewhat tight ballgame on Friday turned into a laugher as the Smokies lost 15-1 to Huntsville. Tennessee was down 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a double) was hit by a pitch and scored on a double from Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI). But that would be it for the offense. Starter Matt Loosen had a decent showing. Loosen allowed three earned runs and struck out three in 6.1 innings. Jeffrey Lorick, however, was shelled. Lorick gave up five earned runs in 0.2 innings. Tony Zych poured gas on the fire by letting in another three earned runs in his inning of work. The Smokies then turned to outfielder Anthony Giansanti to save the pitching staff as he was rocked for four runs (three earned), but struck out two in the final inning.

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The Tennessee offense once again hung their pitching staff out to dry as they lost to Huntsville 4-3 in 13 innings on Saturday. The Smokies were able to keep pace somewhat with the Stars after John Andreoli (1-for-5) led off the game with a single. Tennessee played “small-ball” as Andreoli was sacrificed to second and moved to third on a single by Kris Bryant (2-for-6 with a home run). Andreoli scored on a sacrifice fly. Down 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Jeudy Valdez (3-for-5 with a double and a home run) cut the deficit to one with a solo home run. Bryant tied the game in the sixth with a solo shot of his own. Jake Arrieta was making what had been announced as his last rehab start. Arrieta went two innings and allowed two runs (one earned) with two strikeouts. Dae-Eun Rhee took over and had a fine outing. Rhee gave up an earned run while striking out four in seven innings. The recently shell-shocked Ryan Searle took over in the tenth and struck out three batters over three scoreless innings. P.J. Francescon could not hold the fort any longer in the thirteenth inning. Francescon struck out two batters but let in the game winning run.

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The offense for Tennessee still sputtered on Sunday afternoon but the pitching came through as the Smokies one-hit Huntsville to a 2-1 victory. Tennessee answered a 1-0 lead by the Stars in the second inning after Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with a double) doubled.  A sacrifice fly and a walk to Rubi Silva (0-for-2) put Lopez in scoring position and he scored on a wild pitch. It would stay that way until the bottom of the seventh when Dustin Geiger (1-for-3 with a home run) broke the tie with his fifth home run of the season.

Pierce Johnson made his second start and struggled with his command. Johnson walked eight and giving up a hit while allowing an earned run with a strikeout in four innings. Hunter Cervenka picked up the slack by tossing three scoreless innings and recording a strikeout. Armando Rivero had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings to earn his fourth save.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (13-9)

Iowa’s pitching was sharp on Thursday as the I-Cubs shut out Colorado Springs 9-0. Tsuyoshi Wada continued his impressive campaign by striking out six in five innings. Alberto Cabrera had four punch-outs in his two innings of work, while Eduardo Figueroa struck out two in the final two innings.

The Iowa offense consistently put up numbers after they adjusted for the altitude. Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with a stolen base) led off the third inning with a single. Eli Whiteside (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) walked, and a one out double from Chris Coghlan (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) scored Watkins. Chris Valaika (4-for-5 with a double and a RBI) stared the fourth inning with a single and Josh Vitters (2-for-5 with a double and a RBI) reached on an error. Watkins reached on a fielder’s choice, and a double by Whiteside scored both Valaika and Watkins. The I-Cubs put the leadoff man on base again in the fifth inning after Coghlan singled. Back-to-back doubles from Valaika and Vitters scored Coghlan and Valaika. Watkins began the sixth inning with a walk, and then stole second base. Pinch-hitter Jonathan Mota (1-for-1 with a RBI) singled in Watkins. Iowa put the exclamation point on the game in the ninth after Valaika and Vitters singled and scored on a double by Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI).

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The I-Cubs broke open a tight game in the seventh inning on Friday in a 9-2 victory over Colorado Springs. Iowa jumped out to the lead in the first inning and never looked back after Chris Coghlan (1-for-3) started the game with a single, advanced to third on a base hit by Javier Baez (1-for-5) and an error. Coghlan scored on a ground out and Baez scored on an error. It would stay that way until the seventh, when Christian Villanueva (1-for-5 with a double) led off with a double. Logan Watkins (1-for-3) singled. Villanueva scored when Eli Whiteside reached on an error. Chris Rusin (1-for-2) reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt, and Lars Anderson (2-for-2 with a double and two RBI) knocked in Watkins. Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a RBI) kept the line moving with a single that plated Whiteside, while Rusin scored on a double play.  Iowa made things hurt with two out in the eighth after Watkins walked and Whiteside singled. Both scored on a triple by pinch-hitter Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-1 with a triple and two RBI). A double from Anderson scored Alcantara.

Starter Chris Rusin had his best game of the season. Rusin scattered seven hits and allowed an earned run while striking out six in seven innings. Marcos Mateo gave up an earned run as he worked an inning. Marcus Hatley continued his fine season with a strikeout as he went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

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Iowa played marathon baseball on Saturday and defeated Colorado Springs 9-6 in 13 innings. It was a career day for Arismendy Alcantara, who went 5-for-7 with a triple and three RBI. The I-Cubs demonstrated a consistent offense throughout the game, starting with a Chris Valaika (3-for-7 with a home run and two RBI) solo home run to lead off the second inning. Jonathan Mota (3-for-6 with a home run and two RBI) added to the Iowa lead in the third inning when he cracked a solo home run. After losing the lead in the fourth, the I-Cubs regained it in the fifth after starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks began the inning with a single. Mota walked and a base hit by Alcantara drove in Hendricks. Mota scored on a ground out. Iowa broke another tie in the sixth when Eli Whiteside (1-for-6 with a home run) went yard for his first home run of the year. Down a run in the ninth, the I-Cubs tied the game again after Logan Watkins (1-for-4) led off the ninth with a single. After pinch-hitter Lars Anderson was hit by a pitch, Alcantara delivered a two out single that plated Watkins. Both teams drew blanks for the next three innings, but Watkins led off the 13th with a walk. Pinch-hitter Chris Rusin sacrificed Watkins to second with one out, and the go-ahead run scored on a single from Jonatan Mota. Alcantara followed with a triple that plated Mota. A base hit by Javier Baez (1-for-7 with a RBI and a stolen base) scored Alcantara.

Kyle Hendricks soldiered through a bit of a rough outing. Hendricks allowed four earned runs on ten hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings. Yoanner Negrin ended up with a blown save as he gave up two earned runs with a strikeout in two innings. Jeffry Antigua picked up the slack as he struck out three in four scoreless innings. Blake Parker surrendered a hit, but otherwise was able to retire the side in the 13th for his second save.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs recalled LHP Zac Rosscup, RHP Neil Ramirez and RHP Brian Schlitter from the Iowa Cubs; optioned RHP Blake Parker to the Iowa Cubs; assigned LHP Jeffry Antigua to the Iowa Cubs from extended Spring Training; loaned RHP Frank Batista from the Tennessee Smokies to Tabasco of the Mexican League.

The Kane County Cougars placed C Ben Carhart on the 7-day disabled list; activated C Cael Brockmeyer from the 7-day disabled list.

According to Baseball America, the Cubs signed shortstop Ho-Young Son.

Top Prospect Watch
  • Arismendy Alcantara (INF) – .301/.310/.554/.865 with seven doubles, four triples, two home runs, 15 RBI and six stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Albert Almora (OF) – .269/.284/.385/.669 with six doubles, one home run, 10 RBI and one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Corey Black (RHP) – 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP, five earned runs with 16 strikeouts in 17 IP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, seven earned runs with 13 strikeouts in 20 IP (Kane County Cougars)
  • C.J. Edwards (RHP) – 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, six earned runs with 20 strikeouts in 20.2 IP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Jacob Hannemann (OF) – .253/.322/.329/.651 with one double, one triple, one home run, 10 RBI and eight stolen bases (Kane County Cougars)
  • Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 3-1 with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP, 14 earned runs with 29 strikeouts in 30.2 IP (Iowa Cubs)
  • Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA and a 2.13 WHIP, four earned runs with six strikeouts in 8.0 IP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .225/.311/.325/.636 with two doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP, 13 earned runs with 17 strikeouts in 18.1 IP (Daytona Cubs)

Note: RHP Pierce Johnson has returned from the disabled list and replaces INF Christian Villanueva on the Top Prospect list.

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  • Richard Hood

    Last year at this time Baez was doing OK in High-A, Almora was just coming off the injured list in Kane County and Soler was beginning to make buzz as possibly becoming the number 1 prospect in the organization. I bring this up to show that even though we are just about at the 100 AB stage for 2014 we still have a long time for the cream to rise to the top.
    Will Baez go on a hot streak soon? Will Almora become more consistent in his approach? Will Soler actually be healthy? EVER? Will Alcentara go back to the approach that put him on the map last season? Is V-Bomb going to start feasting on High-A pitching? Is Bryant going to get the call to AAA soon or is he fast tracking himself to Chicago?
    Over the next few weeks these questions will start sorting themselves out. I for one am very interested in where this season heads on the farm.

    • GaryLeeT

      Heck Rich, except for Bryant, that list of what ifs is more depressing than exciting.

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

      Looks like Alcantra has straightened himself out. He’s red-hot…

      • Zonk

        I’d like to see more than 2 BBs a month…

  • GaryLeeT

    We want Wada We want Wada We want Wada….

    • Zonk

      Wada you care?

      • cubtex

        If they bring up Wada…… then it is back to the Schlitter for Schlitter

  • John_CC

    Tom, when you get a chance I’d like to hear what you know about and think about Rivero. I see he has amazing K rate, 20 in 12 innings, an amazing k/bb: 5/1, and with some gas on the heater.

    As a 26 year old from Cuba, is it possible that he just needs some innings and a tuneup (though I don’t know how he improves on the video game numbers)?

    • Tom U

      Sorry John, had a lot to do today.

      Rivero has a lot of movement on his pitches, so he is deceptive to batters. The problem is that if they lay off , they may not be called strikes. Rivero will have to learn sequencing with his pitches, and also has to be willing to attack the strike zone at times to keep hitters off balance.

      I try to be blind in knowing just where a player comes from, and look solely on how they produce. I always speak highly of John Andreoli because he gets the best out of what he has, has always been productive, and has been a good team player.

      As far as I’m concerned, Andreoli needs no more time at Double-A, and should be furthering his development at Triple-A.

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

    I’d like to see Bryant move to AAA. He seems ready to me and I’d like to get him with Alcantra and Baez. Let them start to feed off each other and develop chemistry.

    • mutantbeast

      Board, my guess is youll see a flurry of moves around Memorial day. Bryant, Rivero to AAA, Vizcaiano either to AAA or the Bigs. Almora possably to AA. My guess is it will be about another month before moves get made.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Was gonna say the exact same thing!!!! Maybe even have Bryant jump AAA and come straight to Wrigley. Seems he’s been tearing up whatever level he’s been put into. Alcantara to AAA for a while before a Sep call up. Not sure about Wada. What I saw of him in ST was awful. Now he’s lighting it up? Baez is looking like he needs more time in AAA, however.

      • SuzyS

        Unfortunately, you’re right about Baez.
        I would rather have him spend the season in AAA…refining his game then to have him come up earlier and pull a BJAX/Vitters.