Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 05/12/14

Big time comebacks were the news Sunday as both Tennessee and Iowa worked their way back from big deficits to prevail. The Smokies have some of the hottest bats in baseball as Kris Bryant, Stephen Bruno, Charles Cutler, Rafael Lopez, and Rubi Silva are all on a roll.

The dramatics by Iowa and Tennessee overshadowed the fact that Kane County swept Burlington in a three-game set behind the pitching of Duane Underwood, Jen-Ho Tseng, and Paul Blackburn. Meanwhile, Daytona continued to slog through their miserable season by dropping three straight despite the play of Bijan Rademacher.

With all of these interesting story lines, today’s Down on the Farm becomes a must read.

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 (26-10)

Twelve hits by Kane County on Thursday helped produce a 5-2 win over Burlington in 11 innings. The Bees carried a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning when Carlos Penalver (1-for-5 with a double) led off with a double for Kane County. Two ground outs moved Penalver around the bases to tie the score at one. That is how the game remained until the 10th inning as Jacob Hannemann (0-for-2 with a stolen base) walked, stole second, and scored on a double by Ben Carhart (2-for-6 with two doubles and an RBI). However, Burlington tied the game again at two in the bottom half of the inning. Moving on into the 11th inning, Jacob Rogers (3-for-5 with two doubles) singled and scored after back-to-back one out doubles from Jordan Hankins and David Bote (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Hankins also scored on Bote’s double. Shawon Dunston Jr. (3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI) tripled to centerfield and plated Bote.

Duane Underwood was pivotal in keeping the Cougars hopes alive in this game as he allowed only one earned run and struck out three in five innings. Back from attending to personal business, Juan Carlos Paniagua put on a display that many thought would be the norm for him by striking out five batters in four scoreless innings. However, Tyler Bremer could not hold the lead as he gave up an earned run and struck out two in an inning of work. James Pugliese earned his first save with a strikeout in a scoreless 11th inning.

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PrintOnce again Kane County put on a late rush and overcame a one run deficit to beat Burlington 5-2 on Friday. The Cougars tied the game in the fourth inning when Jacob Hannemann (0-for-5 with a stolen base) reached on an error and stole second base. A single by Ben Carhart (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Hannemann. The score was 2-1 in the Bees’ favor in the eighth when Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) led off with a double. Jordan Hankins (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) blasted his first home run of the season to give Kane County the lead. A walk and a stolen base by Trey Martin (1-for-3) put him in scoring position, and a single from Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove Martin home.

Jen-Ho Tseng started for the Cougars and allowed two earned runs while striking out five in 5.2 innings. Gerardo Concepcion put forth one of his best efforts as he struck out five in 2.1 scoreless innings. Nathan Dorris made it interesting with three walks in the ninth, but struck out a batter to pick up his first save.

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Kane County completed a series sweep on Saturday as they defeated Burlington 2-1 in 11 innings. Paul Blackburn got the starting nod and pitched a game worthy of victory as he allowed an earned run and struck out two in five innings. Jose Arias may have had his best effort of the season as the big man recorded six strikeouts in three perfect innings. James Pugliese matched Arias’ effort as had seven strikeouts in three innings while not allowing a hit or walking a batter.

The Cougars were able to tie the game in the sixth after Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with a double) reached on a one out single and scored on a base hit from Will Remillard (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Carlos Penalver (1-for-5) led off the 11th inning with a single and Lockhart bunted him over to second. After a wild pitch and a walk to Remillard, Jordan Hankins (1-for-5 with an RBI) scorched a line drive base hit to center that plated Penalver.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (10-23)

It was an embarrassment for everyone on the Daytona team on Thursday as they lost 7-0 to Brevard County. The D-Cubs managed only two hits as Dan Vogelbach and Gioskar Amaya each went 1-for-3.  Starter Yao-Lin Wang may be working on a short leash with another poor outing as he allowed four earned runs and struck out two in five innings. Ben Wells wasn’t much better. Wells gave up three earned runs in three innings.

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Daytona continued their downward slide on Friday as they lost 5-2 to Brevard County. A leaky defense by the D-Cubs was their undoing as starter Felix Pena allowed five runs in four innings, but only one of them was earned and he struck out two batters. Austin Reed and Zack Godley each tossed two scoreless innings with Reed picking up a strikeout while Godley fanned three batters. Daytona actually took the lead in the third inning after Rock Shoulders (1-for-3) led off with a single and Willson Contreras (0-for-4) reached on an error. A double play allowed Shoulders to score. Daytona received a gift run in the fifth inning after Jeimer Candelario (0-for-3) made it all the way to second on two errors and scored on another error.

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Daytona’s misery continued on Saturday as they lost 5-2 to Brevard County. Jose Rosario was the victim of poor run support and shoddy defense as he allowed four runs (one earned) with two strikeouts in five innings. Zach Cates also struck out two in his two scoreless innings. Andrew McKirahan gave up an earned run as he struck out two and worked two innings. The D-Cubs cut the Manatees’ lead in half in the seventh inning when Albert Almora (1-for-4 with a stolen base) led off with a single and stole second base. A double by Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drove in Almora. Rademacher later scored on an error.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (21-15)

Tennessee looks as if they are beginning to find themselves as a team, as the Smokies worked together to defeat Birmingham 5-4 on Thursday. Starter Pierce Johnson is still in the process of getting his feet underneath him after beginning the season on the disabled list. Johnson allowed three earned runs and had eight strikeouts in six innings. In his second rehab appearance, Jose Veras picked up a strikeout in a scoreless inning. It was a little rocky for Armando Rivero as he gave up an earned run in two innings. But Rivero hung tough and struck out batters to pick up his seventh save.

Trailing 2-0 in the third inning, John Andreoli (0-for-4 with a stolen base) drew a one out walk and Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with a home run) singled with one out. Andreoli stole third base. A Jorge Soler (2-for-2 with a double and two RBI) double drove in both Andreoli and Bryant. The Smokies took the lead in the fifth when Bryant slugged his third home run in two days, a solo shot. After the Barons tied the game again, Tennessee went ahead to stay in the seventh inning after Stephen Bruno (1-for-3) led off with a single. Soler walked one out later. Both Bruno and Soler scored on a single from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with two RBI).

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A furious comeback fell short as Tennessee took the series but lost 6-4 to Birmingham on Friday. Corey Black started and he was only able to work three innings. Black allowed five runs (three earned) and struck out five batters. Austin Kirk stabilized the situation as he struck out two in three scoreless innings. Arodys Vizcaino worked a perfect inning, but Tony Zych gave up an earned run in two innings. After spotting the Barons four runs, the Smokies came back with two in the second after Rafael Lopez (2-for-4) and Charles Cutler (2-for-4 with two RBI) singled and scored on a double from Rubi Silva (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Tennessee attempted to come back with two outs in the ninth when Lopez singled and Jorge Soler (1-for-4 with a double) doubled with both runners scoring o a single from Cutler.

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Moving on to Jackson on Saturday, Tennessee was able to out-slug their cross-state rivals and beat the Generals 10-6. The Smokies started early after Stephen Bruno (4-for-6 with a double, two home runs, four RBI, and a stolen base) doubled with one out and scored on a single from Kris Bryant (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI). Jorge Soler (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) followed with a double that plated Bryant. Down 5-2 in the third inning, Tennessee cut the deficit to one after John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a stolen base) walked and came around on a home run by Bruno. Jeudy Valdez (3-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) tied the game at five in the fourth inning when he cracked a solo shot. The Smokies started a two-out rally in the fifth inning after Rubi Silva (3-for-5) and Dustin Geiger (1-for-5) singled, and Valdez drew a walk to load the bases. Taylor Davis (1-for-5 with two RBI) cracked a single to plate Silva and Geiger. Bryant then upped the ante to 8-6 in the eighth inning after he left the park with his tenth home run. Tennessee put the game away in the top of the ninth when Valdez singled and two outs later, Bruno drilled his second home run of the night.

Ivan Pineyro did not have his best stuff as he allowed six earned runs with a strikeout in four innings. P.J. Francescon is quietly having a good season as he tossed three shutout innings with two strikeouts. Hunter Cervenka came in for an inning and held Jackson scoreless while picking up a strikeout. Armando Rivero worked around two walks to close out the game.

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Persistence was the key word on Sunday as Tennessee never gave up and was able to triumph 17-13 over Jackson. The Smokies were down 6-0 after the first inning and took the lead for good after an eight-run fourth inning. Matt Loosen put the Smokies in a hole by allowing 11 runs (10 earned) with four strikeouts in 4.2 innings. But the bullpen bailed Loosen out as Tony Zych retired the final batter in the fifth inning. Jose Veras held the Generals scoreless for 1.2 innings, while Jeffrey Lorick limited the damage to two earned runs with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.

The Smokies cut the deficit in half in the second inning after Rafael Lopez (3-for-3 with a double and two RBI) singled but was wiped out on a force play that allowed Jorge Soler (2-for-5 with two doubles and four RBI) to reach first. Charles Cutler (2-for-4 with an RBI) followed with a base hit and Rubi Silva (4-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, and five RBI) tripled in Soler and Cutler. Silva scored on a ground out. Tennessee cut the deficit to two in the third inning after John Andreoli (1-for-5) was hit by a pitch and scored on a double from Lopez. The Smokies took the lead in the fourth inning after Cutler walked and scored on a double from Silva. Jeudy Valdez (0-for-3) walked and one out later Andreoli loaded the bases with a single. A fielding error allowed Cutler to score as Stephen Bruno (1-for-6 with an RBI) reached first. Kris Bryant (3-for-5 with three RBI) singled in Valdez and Andreoli. The bases were re-loaded after Lopez drew a walk and a double by Jorge Soler scored Bruno and Bryant. Cutler coaxed his second walk of the inning and Silva plated Lopez and Soler with a double. Tennessee loaded the bases again in the seventh with one out after Bryant was hit by a pitch and walks to Lopez and Soler. Cutler rapped a single to score Bryant. The Smokies upped their lead in the eighth after Valdez walked and was bunted over to second by Anthony Giansanti (0-for-5). Back-to-back singles by Bruno and Bryant scored Valdez and Bruno crossed the plate on a base hit by Rafael Lopez. A double from Soler allowed Bryant and Lopez to touch home.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (19-15)

After experiencing the emotional high of being a part of a no-hitter the day before, a let-down probably could have been expected as Iowa lost 9-1 to New Orleans on Thursday. Kyle Hendricks might have a right to be frustrated as he was tagged with four unearned runs. Hendricks struck out six batters in six innings. Alberto Cabrera had one of his patented melt-downs as he yielded five earned runs while failing to record an out. Eduardo Figueroa tried to pick up the pieces by striking out three in two scoreless innings. The I-Cubs scored a consolation run in the eighth inning after Brett Jackson (1-for-4) and Eli Whiteside (1-for-3) reached with one out singles and pinch-hitter Jonathan Mota walked to load the bases. A groundout  plated Jackson.

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It was another trying night for Iowa on Saturday. The I-Cubs returned home to Principal Park and lost 10-1 to Nashville. Eric Jokisch had a tough time as he allowed six runs (five earned) with five strikeouts in four innings. Jeffry Antigua tried to pick up the slack as he struck out four and gave up an earned run in three innings. Marcus Hatley tossed an inning and surrendered an earned run, while Marcos Mateo let in two earned runs with a strikeout in the ninth. The only run for the I-Cubs scored in the eighth inning after Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a single by Josh Vitters (1-for-4 with an RBI).

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Behind by eight runs in the second inning, Iowa made a miracle comeback on Sunday and defeated Nashville 12-11. In his second Triple-A start, Dallas Beeler was pounded by the Sounds. Beeler allowed ten runs (eight earned) with a strikeout in three innings. Carlos Pimentel was called on to bail out Beeler but was still the victim of Iowa’s defensive gaffes. Pimentel surrendered an unearned run but struck out six in four innings. The good Alberto Cabrera showed up and worked around two walks in a scoreless inning. Blake Parker had a strikeout in the ninth to earn his sixth save.

The I-Cubs cut the lead in half in the bottom of the second inning after Lars Anderson (2-for-3 with three RBI) walked, Chris Valaika (3-for-4 with an RBI) singled, and Christian Villanueva (0-for-3) walked to load the bases. A double from Logan Watkins (1-for-1 with a double and three RBI) cleared the bases. Beeler drove Watkins in one out later with a single. Nashville increased their lead to 11-4 when Pimentel led off the sixth inning with a single. Eli Whiteside (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) drilled his second home run of the season. After an out, Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a stolen base) restarted the inning with a walk, and a double from Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a double) moved Szczur to third. Anderson laced a two out single that plated Szczur and Alcantara. A base hit from Valaika plated Anderson. Moving on to the eighth inning, Jonathan Mota (0-for-2) led off with a walk and Szczur singled. Alcantara bunted the runners up ninety feet. Walks to Javier Baez (0-for-4) and Anderson forced in Mota. A wild pitch then enabled Szczur and Baez to score with the tying and winning runs.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs assigned OF Zeke DeVoss to the Daytona Cubs from the Boise Hawks

The Daytona Cubs placed INF Giuseppe Papaccio on the 7-day disabled list.

Top Prospect Watch
  • Arismendy Alcantara (INF) – .271/.289/.465/.754 with 11 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 16 RBI, eight stolen bases (Iowa Cubs)
  • Albert Almora (OF) – .243/.270/.330/.601 with seven doubles, one home run, 12 RBI, three stolen bases (Daytona Cubs)
  • Corey Black (RHP) - 2-3 with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP with 30 strikeouts and 14 runs allowed in 31.0 IP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Paul Blackburn (RHP) – 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with 25 strikeouts and 12 runs allowed in 36.1 IP (Kane County Cougars)
  • Jacob Hannemann (OF) – .238/.326/.352/.679 with two doubles, three triples, two home runs, 14 RBI, 12 stolen bases, (Kane County Cougars)
  • Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – 3-3 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP with 43 strikeouts and 17 runs allowed in 42.0 IP (Iowa Cubs)
  • Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP with 19 strikeouts and nine runs allowed in 20.0 IP (Tennessee Smokies)
  • Duane Underwood (RHP) – 0-0 with a 2.91 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP with 18 strikeouts and seven runs allowed in 21.2 IP (Kane County Cougars)
  • Dan Vogelbach (1B) - .239/.315/.325/.640 with four doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, one stolen base (Daytona Cubs)
  • Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – 1-3 with a 8.33 ERA and a 2.04 WHIP with 26 strikeouts and 25 runs allowed in 27.0 IP (Daytona Cubs)

Note: RHP Duane Underwood replaces RHP C.J. Edwards, who is on the disabled list.

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  • gocubs

    Im very confused on the “Top Prospect Watch” section. I understand there was a vote to see who would be “watched,” but why not actually have an update on the guys who are the top 10 or 15 prospects? Where is Baez, Bryant, Soler? Why not have guys with bigger names who where once top prospects still in the system like Bret Jackson, Vitters?

    • John_CC

      Because Tom and Neil made the decision to let the readers poll and decide which players they wanted to keep up on. I think the reason is because there will be no shortage of reports, updates, and “watching” of Baez, Bryant, Soler, etc, as they are already the top prospects with a lot of spotlight. Why would we want to keep track of the bigger names of the past? Personally I don’t want to be reminded everyday of what a disappointment Brett Jackson is.

      The top prospect watch list is quite depressing at the moment, I agree. One hitter batting over .250? One pitcher is an ERA under 3.50?

      Meanwhile Andreoli and Bruno are looking to advance and former prospect Chris Valaika is pounding at the door. I heard he started in LF sometime last week … is this a decision from above Tom? If he is serviceable there I’d love to see his excellent approach replace Lake’s terrible one for a stint.

    • gary3411

      I never understood any fuss about ‘top prospect watch,’ Type any player’s name in google and boom you have his stats.

  • TrevorPetersma

    I was at the ICubs game on Sunday, what a crazy game! They played sloppy defense and the first inning could have been completely different if Beeler could have executed an easy double play. He showed nice glove on a hard grounder back to the mound, but then pulled the catcher off the plate on his throw home. Safe at home, no chance to turn two. Baez looked awful at the plate, with little patience. He also booted at least one grounder and then was lazy on a throw to first that ended up being safe. Pimental looked nice on Sunday.

    All in all, cool comeback win on Mother’s Day. I took my parents and it was my son’s first ICubs game (just turned 4). We got a ball, pictures with Cubbie Bear, snow-cones, and he got to run the bases after it was over.

  • cubtex

    Ben Badler
    ‏@BenBadler
    Age 18, throwing 102 mph. Is this the hardest throwing amateur ever? “I’ve never seen anything like it in 20 years.” http://bit.ly/SSYdhh

    Nice story on Tyler Kolek.

  • redlarczykg

    Theo and Jed’s plan to put all their eggs in the prospects basket is turning into a disaster for the Cubs and their fans. These 3 years of the worst Cub teams in their long history is reason enough to discredit the FO “boy wonders”.

    • cc002600

      pretty depressing, isn’t it ?
      Just goes to show that its not a good idea to try and build a team from the farm system only. You can certainly try to win at the same time you are trying to build. Just look at the Brewers, Did anyone expect anything out of them this year ? I’m very tired of watching this team “try” to lose every year for the last 3 years, and now they will very little to show for it. To me, Bryant is the only prospect they have that I really believe will be a star. The rest of them are all suspect.

      • redlarczykg

        All baseball prospects are suspects. Less than 2% make it big. What if Baez turns out to be another Vitters – “Great” Scott – Kevin Orie or David Kelton? Baseball has to be the most difficult sport to master.

        • Vivid_Reality

          The success rate in the higher rounds is much better and you don’t need every prospect to “make it big.” All you need is some productive major leaguers from the farm to offset the expensive free agent additions.

      • Vivid_Reality

        The Brewers had the pieces in place to win and they made they additions to make it happen but they only had to add three players. Everyone else was either home grown or traded for in the rebuilding phase. The Cubs were never a third baseman and two above average pitchers away from winning.

  • redlarczykg

    Highly touted Cub prospects current stats
    Almora .243, 1 HR, 3 SB
    Vogelbach .239, 2 HR
    Ex-Cub future star Hak-Ju Lee AAA Rays .196, 0 HR, 2 SB
    not to mention Baez
    Justin Bour let go by the Boy Wonders – in AAA .336 , 5 HR, 25 RBI
    Talent evaluation often adds a heavy dose of hype and toward the negative is the old labeling like the Cubs did with Bour.