All-Star assignments were a big part of the news to start the week as 15 players from the Cubs’ organization will be representing their respective teams with Triple-A yet to be announced. Kane County’s Jose Arias, Paul Blackburn, Jordan Hankins, and Will Remillard were named to Midwest League squad. Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez, Andrew McKirahan, Felix Pena, and Bijan Rademacher are Daytona representatives in the Florida State League and the Southern League made Tennessee players John Andreoli, Corey Black, Kris Bryant, Stephen Bruno, Rafael Lopez, and Armando Rivero All-Stars.
To see how those All Stars, and other players in the system performed, take a gander at today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (39-20)
Being able to hold a lead is something that needs to be addressed across the organization, as Kane County lost concentration and surrendered three unearned run in route to a 5-3 loss to Peoria on Monday. Duane Underwood remains poised for a 19-year old as he had a strikeout in five innings while allowing three runs (one earned). Zak Hermans suffered a similar fate as he gave up two runs (one earned) in 1.2 innings, while Michael Heesch had three strikeouts in 1.1 innings. The Cougars drew first blood in the fifth inning after Carlos Penalver (1-for-4) singled and took third on an errant pickoff attempt. A base hit by Jacob Hannemann (3-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base) drove in Penalver. Kane County chipped away in the seventh after Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with a double) doubled and scored on a double from Hannemann. The Cougars added a run in the eighth after Ben Carhart (1-for-3 with a double) doubled and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with a double) singled. Carhart scored on a sacrifice fly.
Kane County had an off-day on Tuesday and opened a three game series with Clinton on Wednesday. The Cougars won 5-4 in ten innings and reduced their playoff magic number to three. Starter Paul Blackburn was unable to get out of the first inning due to a pitch count limit after he issued three walks, a hit and gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. James Pugliese had to get ready in a hurry and was able to pitch 3.1 innings. Pugliese struck out six and allowed two earned runs. Corbin Hoffner had his best showing since joining the club as he struck out six in three scoreless innings. Tyler Bremer was asked to make an extra effort. Bremer pitched three innings and held the Lumber Kings scoreless to earn his fifth victory.
The Cougars started their comeback from a 4-0 deficit in the fourth inning after Jordan Hankins (1-for-4 with an RBI) reached on a one out single but was erased on a fielder’s choice from Yasiel Balaguert (0-for-4 with an RBI). Singles by Jacob Rogers (2-for-4) and Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Balaguert, with Rogers scoring on a wild pitch after a walk to Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-3 with a double). Kane County tied the game in the fifth after Jacob Hannemann (3-for-5 with two doubles) and Danny Lockhart (2-for-5 with a double) reached on back-to-back doubles and scoring on a groundout. Hannemann led off the tenth inning with a double and a bunt attempt by Lockhart went for a single. After a groundout, Hankins was intentionally walked. Hannemann then scored the game winner on a ground out.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (23-34)
Daytona received a contribution from an unexpected source as they defeated St. Lucie 3-1 on Monday. Nathan Dorris was given only his second start and was able to hold the Mets to one earned run while striking out two in 6.2 innings. Zach Cates gave up only a hit in 1.1 innings. Now in a new role, Michael Jensen struggled and surrendered two hits and a walk, but wound up striking out the side in a scoreless ninth for his first save.
The D-Cubs provided just enough offense after Bijan Rademacher (1-for-1) led off the game with a single. Zeke DeVoss (2-for-5) followed with a basehit. One out later, Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a double) walked to load the bases. Rademacher scored on a single by Chadd Krist (2-for-5 with an RBI). Vogelbach led off the third with a double and scored on a single from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-5 with a RBI). Daytona added a gift run in the sixth after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a throwing error.
It was two in a row for Daytona on Tuesday as they were able to hang onto a 6-5 victory over St. Lucie. The game started with a walk to Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3) and a single by Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4). After a double play, Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) drove in Chen with a base hit. The D-Cubs broke the game open in the third when Marco Hernandez (0-for-3 with a stolen base) walked and Chen singled. Chen was caught stealing and DeVoss walked. Hernandez scored on a single by Albert Almora (1-for-5 with an RBI). Vogelbach walked to load the bases. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with an RBI) kept the line moving with a base hit that plated DeVoss. A walk to Jeimer Candelario (0-for-3 with two RBI) plated Almora. Rock Shoulders (0-for-4 with an RBI) showed his patience, worked a walk and forced in Vogelbach. Daytona added what would be a necessary insurance run in the fifth after Vogelbach doubled and, two groundouts later, scored.
Sent down from Tennessee earlier in the day, Austin Kirk made his first start of the season and allowed three earned runs with a strikeout in 3.1 innings. Starling Peralta came on in relief and gave up another two earned runs while tossing four innings and striking out a batter. Stephen Perakslis struck out a batter and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for his first save.
The D-Cubs rallied past Jupiter 4-2 on Wednesday. Daytona scored all of their runs in the eighth inning after Willson Contreras (1-for-3) led off with a single. Wes Darvill (0-for-2) walked. Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3) dropped down a bunt that went for a single to load the bases. Contreras scored as a throw home was late on a Gioskar Amaya (0-for-3 with an RBI) fielder’s choice. Marco Hernandez (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) gave the D-Cubs the lead as he doubled in Darvill and Candelario. Amaya scored on a sacrifice fly.
Rob Zastryzny put together one of his best outings of the season. Zastryzny struck out four and allowed two earned runs in five innings. Jose Rosario had his strikeout pitch working as he fanned five in three scoreless innings. All-Star Andrew McKirahan shut down the Hammerheads the rest of the way with two strikeouts to earn his fifth save.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (28-31)
The Smokies losing streak increased to eight games on Monday as Tennessee lost 10-5 to Birmingham. Dae-Eun Rhee kept the Barons off the board for the first two innings, but wound up allowing seven runs (six earned) with three strikeouts in six innings. Lendy Castillo pitched two innings and had two strikeouts while giving up an earned run. P.J. Francescon poured gas on the fire as he surrendered two earned runs with two strikeouts in an inning of work. Tennessee cut the lead in the sixth after Kris Bryant (2-for-4) and Charles Cutler (2-for-5) reached on one out singles and scored an out later on a base hit from Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with two RBI). The Smokies kept fighting in the ninth as Geiger led off with a single and scored on a double by Anthony Giansanti (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Jeudy Valdez (0-for-3) walked and Wes Darvill (1-for-4) loaded the bases with a single. Giansanti scored on a sacrifice fly, while a double by Rubi Silva (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) plated Valdez.
A familiar face helped Tennessee snap their losing streak on Tuesday as the Smokies shut out Birmingham 3-0. Matt Loosen returned from the restricted list and tossed a gem. Loosen struck out seven Barons in six scoreless innings. Hunter Cervenka continued to get Birmingham to swing and miss as he struck out five batters in two innings. Armando Rivero picked up his ninth save by fanning two in the ninth inning.
The Smokies got all of their runs in the fourth inning after Rubi Silva (2-for-4) led off with a bunt single and scored on a Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) home run, his 19th longball of the season. Consecutive one out singles by Anthony Giansanti (2-for-4), Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4), and Taylor Davis (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Giansanti.
On Wednesday afternoon, pitcher Joe Gardner showed that he may be ready for bigger and better things as Tennessee closed out their series against Birmingham with a 4-1 win. Gardner has be dominant since joining the organization, with a 0.98 ERA in three starts, as he allowed an earned run and struck out five in 6.2 innings. Jeffrey Lorick came on with two outs in the seventh and picked up three strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. Arodys Vizcaino tossed a perfect inning to record his first save.
The Smokies took advantage of some charity in the third inning after Elliot Soto (0-for-3 with a stolen base) walked and stole second. John Andreoli (1-for-3 with two stolen bases) also worked a walk. A fielding error allowed Rubi Silva (0-for-4) to reach and drove in Soto. Tennessee added two quick runs in the fourth as Charles Cutler (1-for-3) led off with a walk and scored on a home run from Dustin Geiger (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI). Those two were in the middle of the action again in the eighth inning after Cutler singled and Geiger walked. Cutler scored on a double by Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (30-26)
Iowa could not provide any run support on Monday as they lost 4-1 to Nashville. Dallas Beeler had a strong showing as he allowed three earned runs and struck out three in seven innings. Alberto Cabrera was touched for an unearned run and had a strikeout in an inning. The only run for the I-Cubs came in the fourth as Logan Watkins (1-for-4) reached on a fielding error, made it to third on a single by Chris Valaika (2-for-3), and scored on a wild pitch.
A Tuesday matinee saw Iowa’s pitching and hitting working together, sort of, to deliver a 4-2 victory over Nashville. The I-Cubs were able to score first in the fifth inning after Casper Wells (1-for-3) led off with a single and scored one out later on a double by Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). In the sixth, starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (1-for-2) led off with a single and advanced to second on a base hit by Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a stolen base). Everyone was safe as a bunt attempt from Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-3) resulted in a throwing error that allowed Wada and Szczur to score. After two outs and the ejections of Wells and Manager Marty Peavy, Ryan Kalish (1-for-4 with an RBI) singled in Alcantara.
Tsuyoshi Wada provided a solid effort but did lose some concentration and gave up an earned run in six innings with five strikeouts. Carlos Pimentel had a strong outing as he notched a strikeout in 1.2 scoreless innings. Blake Parker made things interesting. After being touched for three hits and an earned run, Parker was able to strikeout the final batter to collect his 11th save.
Dominican Summer League
The Dominican Summer League began play on May 31with the DSL Cubs playing three games and posting a 2-1 record. First baseman Jose Paniagua leads the team with a .417 average and three RBI. Outfielder Roberto Caro is next in line with a .364 average with three RBI and a stolen base. Infielder Carlos Jimenez also has three RBI along with a .333 average. Right handed pitchers Oscar De La Cruz and Pedro Araujo each have a victory after tossing five shutout innings. De La Cruz has four strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP, while Araujo has a WHIP of 1.40 with six strikeouts.
Venezuelan Summer League
The VSL Cubs have improved to a record of 6-13, but remain last in the five team league. Outfielder Luis Hidalgo is seventh in the league in both hitting and slugging percentage with a .327/.357/.500/.857 line, along two home runs and eight RBI. Infielder Henrry Pedra has quickly moved up the charts as he is hitting .340 with five RBI and five stolen bases. Switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Humberto Garcia is batting .309/.367/.491/.858 with eight RBI and a league leading 10 stolen bases. Huge 17-year old third baseman Wladimir Galindo ranks sixth in the league with 12 RBI and is hitting .275/.351/.507/.858 with two home runs. Right-hander Enrique De Los Rio remains fifth in the league with a 2.70 ERA and is seventh with a 1.08 WHIP, along with a 0-1 record and 12 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. Lefty Yapson Gomez ranks two slots behind De Los Rio with a 2.87 ERA, eighth with a 1.286 WHIP, and is 1-0 with 11 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of C Eli Whiteside; assigned C Rafael Lopez to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned INF/OF Jonathan Mota to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Wes Darvill to the Daytona Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned LHP Austin Kirk to the Daytona Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Trevor Graham and INF’s Giuseppe Papaccio and Tim Saunders to extended Spring Training from the Daytona Cubs; assigned INF/C Danny Canela to extended Spring Training from the Kane County Cougars. The Tennessee Smokies activated RHP Matt Loosen from the restricted list.