Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/05/14

Chicagoland has a new baseball power, and its name is the Kane County Cougars. The Cougars completed a weekend sweep and raised their record to a Midwest League best 21-9! It has been a total team effort for the Cougars with Jacob Hannemann, Jordan Hankins, and Will Remillard providing the highlights on offense and the pitching of Zack Godley.

Daytona played for the first time in three days on Sunday and won in walk-off style thanks to Jeimer Candelario. Tennessee had a six game winning streak paced by the blistering hot John Andreoli, and Iowa met some hard times against the Nashville Sounds.

To find out more, check out today’s 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 (21-9)

Kane County did not seem ready for game one of their doubleheader in Cedar Rapids on Thursday. The Cougars committed four errors and lost 5-2. Daury Torrez once again was very good at beginning of his outing. Torrez worked around two of the errors and struck out two batters while holding the Kernels scoreless for the first three innings. But it caught up with him in the end as Torrez allowed four runs (two earned) with three strikeouts in four innings. Josh Davis pitched the final two innings and gave up an earned run while recording a strikeout. The Cougars tied the game at two in the top of the fifth after Will Remillard (1-for-3) reached on an error and singles by David Bote (1-for-3) and Cael Brockmeyer (2-for-3) loaded the bases. A double play scored Remillard, and a single from Trey Martin (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Bote.

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PrintThe Cougars’ come-from-behind offense did not get a chance in game two as Kane County ran out of innings in a 5-4 loss to Cedar Rapids.  Juan Carlos Paniagua pitched 4.2 innings and struck out three while allowing three earned runs. Gerardo Concepcion had two strikeouts and gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Kane County’s offense had chances but could not capitalize after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) started the game by reaching on an error. After two outs and a walk to Jacob Rogers (0-for-2), Jordan Hankins (1-for-2 with an RBI) singled in Hannemann. The Cougars took the lead in the third inning when Hannemann and Carlos Penalver (1-for-4) lined one out singles. Both advanced on a wild pitch, and Hannemann scored on a groundout. Kane County tied the game in the sixth after Rogers reached on an error with two outs. Hankins walked and a bloop single from Danny Canela (1-for-3with an RBI) scored Rogers. Down by two runs in the final inning, the Cougars came up short when Danny Lockhart (1-for-3) and Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-3) singled to put runners on the corners. Wild pitches allowed Lockhart to score and moved Dunston to third, but he would end up stranded there.

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The Cougars came home on Friday and put some distance between them and one of their rivals as Kane County outlasted Burlington 3-2 in 11 innings. Offense was hard to come by on a cold damp night. Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) singled to lead off the game and Carlos Penalver (0-for-5) reached on an error. Hannemann scored as Burlington committed an error while trying to turn a double play. Yasiel Balaguert (0-for-5) made it all the way to second base. A wild pitch advanced Balaguert to third and he scored on a groundout. It would stay tied at two until the bottom of the 11th when Jordan Hankins (1-for-4 with a double) laced a two out double. After an intentional walk to Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with a double), David Bote (2-for-5) drilled a single to third. A throwing error allowed Hankins to score.

Duane Underwood had another fine outing for Kane County as he struck out three and allowed two earned runs in five innings. Justin Amlung did some heavy lifting as he held the Bees’ offense in check for four innings with four strikeouts. Tyler Bremer upped his record to 3-0 by striking out two in two scoreless innings.

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Kane County became the organization’s first team to win 20 games on Saturday after the Cougars dug out from a first inning deficit to beat Burlington 4-2. Starter Jen-Ho Tseng had another rough start to his outing as he allowed two earned runs in the first inning. Tseng settled down and blanked the Bees for five innings. Tseng ended up pitching six innings and striking out six batters. With his big-time fastball, Jose Arias struck out two and held Burlington hitless for 1.2 innings. Zack Godley is starting to become automatic as he picked up three strikeouts in 1.1 innings to earn his sixth save.

The Cougars cut the lead in half in the second inning after Jacob Rogers (2-for-4 with two doubles) led off with a double and scored two outs later on a single by Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base). Kane County then tied the game in the third after Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with two stolen bases) walked, stole second, and scored on a single from Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with an RBI). The Cougars took the lead in the sixth inning after Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) singled, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a base hit by Cael Brockmeyer (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI). The Cougars added an insurance run in the eighth when Rogers doubled with one out and scored one out later on a double from Brockmeyer.

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The Kane County Cougars completed the sweep of the Burlington Bees on Sunday with a 13-3 thumping of the Bees. Starter Paul Blackburn was the benefactor of the offensive explosion as he allowed three earned runs and struck out six in six innings. Gerardo Concepcion limited the Bees to one hit with three strikeouts in two innings. Fresh off the disabled list, James Pugliese pitched an inning and recorded a strikeout.

Kane County quickly answered a Burlington run in the first inning after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-5 with a home run) launched a home run to lead things off. Ben Carhart (2-for-6) lined a one out single, which was followed by doubles from Jacob Rogers and Jordan Hankins (2-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI) that scored both Carhart and Rogers. Will Remillard (2-for-4 with an RBI) walked and a single by Danny Lockhart (4-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and a stolen base) plated Hankins. Walks to Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-3) and Trey Martin (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Remillard. One out later, a base hit from Carlos Penalver (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI) plated Dunston and Martin. Lockhart led off the third inning with a double and scored on a one out single from Martin. Jacob Rogers (1-for-4 with a double) drew a one out walk in the fourth and Hankins reached on an error. A single by Remillard loaded the bases, and a groundout scored Rogers. A double steal by Lockhart and Hankins resulted in Hankins scoring on an error. Kane County rounded out the scoring in the fifth inning after Penalver reached on a one-out base hit. A single by Carhart and a double from Hankins plated both Penalver and Carhart. Hankins scored on a base hit by Remillard.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (10-17)

Playing for the first time in three days due to persistent rain, Daytona was able to outlast Lakeland to post a 2-1 victory in 12 innings on Sunday. Felix Pena continued his fine 2013 campaign as he tossed six scoreless innings and struck out three batters. Michael Jensen was nicked for an unearned run as he pitched two innings. Arodys Vizcaino struck out two of the three batters he faced in an inning of work. Steve Perakslis had three strikeouts in three scoreless innings to pick up his first victory. The D-Cubs tried to make a first inning run hold up after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5 with a double) led off the game with a double, took third on a groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly. It would stay that way until Jeimer Candelario (1-for-5 with a home run) led off the 12th inning with a walk-off home run.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (16-14)

Tennessee broke open a tense contest on Thursday with a big ninth inning as the Smokies defeated Chattanooga 7-2. The Smokies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Kris Bryant (2-for-4) and Rafael Lopez (3-for-4) reached on two out singles. Bryant scored on a throwing error. After being tied at one, Tennessee edged ahead in the sixth inning when Rubi Silva (1-for-3 with an RBI) walked and Jeudy Valdez (0-for-4) was hit by a pitch. Wes Darvill (2-for-2) sacrificed the runners over with a bunt, and a sacrifice fly scored Silva. Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the ninth, Bryant started the inning with a walk. Singles by Lopez and Dustin Geiger (1-for-5) loaded the bases, and Bryant scored on a sacrifice fly. An out later, a double from Stephen Bruno (1-for-1 with a double, two RBI) plated Lopez and Geiger. A wild pitch and an intentional walk to John Andreoli (1-for-1) put runners on for relief pitcher Tony Zych (1-for-1 with two RBI). Andreoli advanced to second on defensive indifference. Zych then swatted his first hit of his professional career to drive in Bruno and Andreoli.

Matt Loosen probably put together his best pitching performance to this point of the season. Loosen struck out eight and allowed an earned run in five innings. P.J. Francescon continued his fine season as he tossed two scoreless innings. Tony Zych continues to struggle on the mound as he gave up an earned run in the ninth. Zych pitched two innings and struck out two batters.

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Tennessee officially got on a roll on Friday as the Smokies won their fifth straight game by outlasting Chattanooga 8-7. It was a team effort on a night when a lot of the Smokies were not at their best. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee struck out five, but also allowed five runs (four earned) in 4.1 innings. Austin Kirk was able to get Rhee out of the fifth inning without any further damage. Jeffrey Lorick also continued to struggle as he gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out three in 2.2 innings. Armando Rivero did not allow a batter to reach base as he retired the final four batters to pick up his sixth save.

Tennessee limited their offensive output to two innings. In the second inning, Dustin Geiger (0-for-3 with an RBI) reached on an error and Rubi Silva (1-for-3) drew a one out walk. A single by Jeudy Valdez (1-for-4) loaded the bases. John Andreoli (3-for-5 with two RBI and a stolen base) stepped up with two outs and drove in Geiger and Silva. The Smokies exploded in the sixth inning when Geiger walked, Silva singled, and Valdez walked to leave the sacks jammed again. Pinch-hitter Anthony Giansanti (1-for-2 with two RBI) singled in Geiger and Silva, while Andreoli re-loaded the bases with a single. A double from Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Valdez and Giansanti, and Kris Bryant (0-for-4) reached on an error that scored Andreoli. Walks to Rafael Lopez (0-for-4) and Geiger drove in Bruno with the Smokies’ final run.

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The Smokies jumped out to a big lead on Saturday and held on for their sixth straight win as Tennessee beat Chattanooga 8-4. Walks to John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a stolen base) and Zeke DeVoss (0-for-3), as well as a single from Kris Bryant (4-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) started out the game. Charles Cutler (3-for-5 with a double and four RBI) cleared the bases with a double and scored one out later on a base hit by Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with an RBI). The Smokies increased their lead in the fourth inning when Andreoli was hit by a pitch and was forced out on a grounder from DeVoss. Bryant cranked a two-run bomb to right-center. Cutler followed with a single while Dustin Geiger (0-for-5) reached on an error. Cutler scored one out later on a single by Jeudy Valdez (1-for-4 with an RBI). Tennessee followed the previous inning’s pattern in the fifth after Pierce Johnson walked but was wiped out on a force play, with Andreoli reaching base on the play. Singles by Bryant and Cutler plated Andreoli.

Starter Pierce Johnson appears to be getting into his groove as he went six innings with five strikeouts while allowing two earned runs. Ryan Searle continued his struggles this season as he gave up two earned runs and struck out a batter in an inning of work. Hunter Cervenka worked two scoreless innings and picked up a strikeout.

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The winning streak came to a halt on Sunday as Tennessee lost to Chattanooga 6-4. Starter Corey Black tried to carry the Smokies on his back as his teammates didn’t seem to show up until the eighth inning. Black no-hit the Lookouts for the first three innings before yielding six runs (five earned) with four strikeouts in five innings. Black even drove in the Smokies’ first run with a single that plated Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4) in the fifth inning. Austin Kirk replaced Black and notched two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Tony Zych tossed a perfect eighth inning. The Tennessee offense finally came to life in the eighth inning when John Andreoli (0-for-4) led off with a walk and Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with a double) doubled. A one out single by Rafael Lopez (1-for-2 with two RBI) scored both Andreoli and Bruno. Ha led off the ninth with a single and Wes Darvill (0-for-4) reached on an error. But Anthony Giansanti (0-for-2) grounded into a double play that scored Ha and all but ended the threat.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (15-13)

It was too little, too late for Iowa on Friday as the I-Cubs lost 4-3 to Nashville. Starter Chris Rusin was doing well until the sixth inning when he gave up three earned runs. In total, Rusin went six innings and struck out five batters. Eduardo Figueroa took over in the seventh and allowed an earned run, while Marcos Mateo struck out a batter in a 1-2-3 eighth inning. The I-Cubs’ offense didn’t kick into gear until the seventh inning when Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with two doubles) doubled and scored on a single from Christian Villanueva (1-for-3 with an RBI). Logan Watkins (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) followed with a single and one out later, pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez (1-for-1 with an RBI) drove in Villanueva with a base hit. Iowa threatened to tie the game in the ninth as Valaika once again led off the inning with a double. Lars Anderson (1-for-3) walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Matt Szczur. A double by Watkins scored Valaika, but Szczur was held at third. Szczur ended up being stranded at third as the last two batters struck out to end the game.

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Iowa could not get their offense going on Saturday as they lost 3-1 to the Sounds. The I-Cubs managed only three hits and scored their only run in the eighth inning. Brett Jackson (0-for-2) walked with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch. Luis Flores (0-for-1) walked and Jackson scored on a single by pinch-hitter Lars Anderson (1-for-1 with an RBI). Kyle Hendricks did not pitch poorly, but was unable to overcome a lack of run support, and his defense, as he allowed three earned runs and struck out eight in 5.1 innings. Zac Rosscup returned from the big league club and struck out two batters in 1.2 scoreless innings. Alberto Cabrera worked a perfect inning.

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The I-Cubs were offensively challenged again on Sunday as they lost 5-1 to Nashville. The sole Iowa run came in the fifth inning when Josh Vitters (1-for-3 with a home run) blasted a solo home run. Eric Jokisch did the best he could and allowed four runs (three earned) with four strikeouts in six innings. Jeffry Antigua had a strikeout as he gave up an earned run in two innings.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of OF Chris Coghlan; optioned LHP Zac Rosscup to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Josh Davis to extended Spring Training from the Kane County Cougars; loaned RHP Yoanner Negrin from the Iowa Cubs to Tabasco of the Mexican League.

The Iowa Cubs activated OF Brett Jackson from the 7-day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars activated C Ben Carhart and RHP James Pugliese from the 7-day disabled list.

Top Prospect Watch
  • Arismendy Alcantara (IF) – .279/.290/.490/.780 with eight doubles, four triples, two home runs, 15 RBI, seven stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Albert Almora (OF) – .247/.265/.344/.609 with six doubles, one home run, 11 RBI, one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Corey Black (RHP) – 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with 11 earned runs and 25 strikeouts in 28 innings (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP with 11 earned runs and 23 strikeouts in 31.1 innings (Kane County Cougars)
  • Jacob Hannemann (OF) – .257/.336/.376/.713 with two doubles, two triples, two home runs, 12 RBI, 10 stolen bases, (Kane County Cougars)
  • Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP with 17 earned runs and 37 strikeouts in 30.2 innings (Iowa Cubs)
  • Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP with six earned runs and 11 strikeouts in 14.0 innings (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .242/.321/.337/.658 with three doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – 1-2 with a 8.46 ERA and a 2.01 WHIP with 21 earned runs and 21 strikeouts in 22.1 innings (Daytona Cubs)
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  • GaryLeeT

    At what point do the Cubs start to worry about Baez, and his Hernandez like 50% K rate? What could a possible next step be, to help the poor guy out?

    • BigJonLilJon

      I actually don’t think they are worried yet. He typically has struggled at each new level he’s graduated to in the past. And….. I think they are happy if he struggles a bit, so that they don’t have to hear the fans clamoring for his promotion.

    • Zonk

      I think it’s time to upgrade it to “concern”, but not “panic”. He is very young for AAA, and his pattern in the past is that he needs time to adjust to a new level. That being said, it bears watching.

    • John_CC

      Don’t worry Gary. First, I don’t think he’s even played 20 games. Second, if they do “worry” or start to believe that he will never be able to cut that rate and it will be much of a negative, there are plenty of teams that would be willing to take the risk on this kid with the “greatest bat speed in the world” and he would still return quite a nice haul. Look at what they got for Hanley when he was still a prospect.

      • cc002600

        I never understood why Baez was ranked higher than in Bryant in all the prospect lists. I would bet my right arm that Bryant becomes a star, while I think Baez is 50/50 at best. There are too many issues with this guy, IMO . Namely, he seems to have a temper and an attitude. Secondly, he’s not very good defensively. Why in the world do people want to dump Castro and put Baez at SS ? Be careful what you wish for. I guess its sort of like how fans always the backup QB to be brought in as soon as the starter throws an interception. And lastly, he strikes out a ton. Hope I’m wrong on Baez. Either way, I think Bryant will be a MUCH better player in the end.

        • Richard Hood

          In prospect lists Bryant was graded lower because he had never seen a pitch over High-A. I know they say that it does not consider in it but because the only book they got on Bryant was the Arizona Fall League last year it counted again him.

          I know that all the prospects guru’s claim to be just about talent but the proof is in the rankings. The more of a look they have at a kid the higher he ranks because there is less of a bust factor.

      • Tom U

        Baez has played 20 games. Iowa has played 28 games. Only 7 players have played more games for Iowa than Baez. All have a higher batting average.

        • John_CC

          I knew it was right around 20 games. It isn’t much to have a higher BA than Baez currently.

  • Tom U

    Dallas Beeler has been activated from EXST and is starting for Iowa this afternoon.

  • SirGladiator

    There’s really no reason to be concerned about Baez, the whole thing is mental with him right now. He went out there and dominated in spring training, earned a roster spot, but the management was too cheap to give it to him, and he isn’t taking that well, he’s over-pressing to try to do even more to try to force them to bring him up. He doesn’t understand that they were never going to bring him up before the June deadline, they were going to save that extra year even if he was batting a thousand, they’re just too cheap to do the right thing. Once the deadline passes and they finally bring him up he will go back to owning, just like he did in spring training. Not concerned a bit.

    • Brp921

      I think he needs this time AAA to hone his skills a little more. It will do him good to work his way through this slump. It will give him the confidence that he’ll need to know he can do it when it happens on the MLB level. Believe me, I’m as ready as anyone to see these prospects in Chicago, but not till they’re ready.

    • John_CC

      This sounds like you think he should have brought to Chicago to star the season. He’s not hitting his weight at AAA, yoiu think he would be hitting better against ML pitching? If his head gets so messed up about because he had to go to AAA what would happen to him when K’d every 3 AB in the majors?

      If anything his current start shows that not bringing up out of spring was the right decision .

    • Denver Mike

      I disagree that he earned a roster spot this spring. After watching him play in ST I had no problem with sending him down to AAA because it was obvious he isn’t ready to face ML pitching. He still swings at every garbage pitch thrown his way, and has zero discipline at the plate. Forget Super 2 dates and all of that, I would want him to prove himself to be more patient over a couple hundred ABs in AAA before I’d bring him up just to watch ML pitchers play with him.

      It’s obvious that you think the front office is cheap, but don’t let that cloud your judgement.

      EDITED: Just wanted to add that he did an interview like the 2nd week of ST where he acknowledged he was going to AAA regardless of what happened, so it seems like he understood pretty clearly to me.

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      I dont know what spring training you were watching but he did not dominate anything.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    Its not just Baez.

    Almora, Soler and Alcantera not doing much so far either.