It was all about the First Round Draft Picks as the week ended and the second half began for most of the minor league teams. The Kyle Schwarber-less Boise Hawks have struggled mightily since his promotion, while his new team, the Kane County Cougars, won three out of four as Schwarber hit his first Low-A home run. Last year’s number one pick Kris Bryant has scuffled in a few games but has belted three homers since his promotion. Meanwhile, teammates Javier Baez (2011 first round) had a four RBI night and Josh Vitters (2007 first round) has batted .316 in his last ten games. For more on all the picks in the system, look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Also included is a mini-game summary for the Arizona Rookie League
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday through Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday.
Short Season Class-A – Boise Hawks (4–6)
It was fun while it lasted as Boise opened their first series without 2014 first round draft pick Kyle Schwarber with a 8-7 loss to Eugene in 11 innings Thursday. Starter Tyler Ihrig once again had his strikeout pitch going as he fanned seven in six innings, but he allowed four earned runs. In a statistical anomaly, Josh Davis was charged with three unearned runs due to an error, even though he served up a three-run home run in his inning of work. Both Yomar Morel and Carlos Llano had outings. Morel struck out two in one inning while Llano struck one batter in a scoreless inning. Alberto Diaz continued to struggle and gave up three hits and a walk, along with the winning run, while striking out two in 1.1 innings. The Hawks struck first as Jeffrey Baez (0-for-6 with a stolen base) reached on an error, stole second, and scored on a two out double from Danny Canela (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI). A one out double by Kevin Brown (3-for-5 with two doubles) in the third inning set up Justin Marra (2-for-6 with a double, a home run, and three RBI). Marra walloped his third home run of the season. It was Brown again in the fifth inning as he doubled and scored on an error that allowed Marra to reach first. A double from David Bote (1-for-4 with a double, RBI and two stolen bases) drove in Marra. Needing two runs to tie in the top of the ninth, Brown singled and scored on a double by Marra. Marra touched home after a passed ball and an error.
Boise tried to make a game of it on Friday but ended up being buried 9-5 by Eugene. Rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the second inning, the Hawks tied the game after walks to Zak Blair (0-for-3), Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-3), and Erick Castillo(1-for-3) started the inning. Blair scored on a sacrifice fly, while Rashad Crawford(1-for-3 with a triple and a stolen base) was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. A double from Kevin Brown (2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI) plated Papaccio and Castillo. Boise showed no quit in the seventh inning as Crawford tripled and scored on a double by Brown. Brown scored after two ground outs. Erick Leal had a little more trouble in his second start than he had in his first outing. Leal surrendered eight runs (six earned) while striking out three in three innings. Greyfer Eregua continued to struggle to find his way and gave up a home run in an inning of work. Veteran Yao-Lin Wang had five strikeouts as he tossed two scoreless innings, while Francisco Carrillo fanned two in two innings.
After winning four of their first five games, Boise dropped their fourth straight game Saturday night as the Hawks lost 3-2 to Spokane. Trevor Clifton had another fine outing as he had seven strikeouts while allowing an earned run over four innings. Trey Lang also pitched well. Lang shut down the Indians for 1.2 innings with a strikeout. However, David Garner gave up two runs (one earned) and was tagged with the loss while striking out three in two innings. The Hawks tied the game in the third inning when Varonex Cuevas (2-for-3 with a home run) led off the frame with a solo home run. In the fifth, Charlie White (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch and Cuevas walked and both advanced a base on a balk. A groundout scored White.
It appears that Boise has now truly lost their way as the Hawks were defeated 6-2 by Spokane on Sunday. The Hawks do not seem to have a clue both on offense as well as with their pitching as the only scraped together five hits and struck out ten times while surrendering 12 hits and three walks. Boise eked across a run in the first inning after Justin Marra (1-for-4) had a two out single and Danny Canela (1-for-3) walked. A fielding error allowed Marra to score. Charlie White (1-for-3) led off the second with a bunt single and scored on a one out triple by Rashad Crawford (1-for-3with a triple and an RBI). Starter Josh Conway remains on a pitch limit as he allowed two earned runs and struck out two in 2.2 innings. Alberto Diaz shut out the Indians for 1.1 innings, while another pitcher coming back from injury in Ryan McNeil gave up an earned run as he worked 2.2 innings. But Josh Davis surrendered three runs (two earned) and had two strikeouts in 1.1 innings.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (47–26)
It was just slightly disappointing that Kane County’s second half opener Thursday was called after five innings. The good news was that the Cougars beat Cedar Rapids 7-0. Daury Torrez put Kane County on track as he limited the Kernels to three hits to go along with a strikeout in five scoreless innings. The Cougars scored all of their runs in the third inning after Trey Martin (1-for-2 with a triple) tripled with two out and scored on an inside-the-park home run by Jacob Hannemann (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI). Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a stolen base) restarted the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. A single from the newest Cougar Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Penalver. A wild pitch advanced Schwarber to second and he scored on a single from Ben Carhart (1-for-3). Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-3 with an RBI) followed with a base hit and Carhart scored on a double from Jacob Rogers (1-for-2 with a double and an RBI). Balaguert and Rogers scored the final runs on a single Danny Lockhart (1-for-2 with two RBI).
The winning habit continued for Kane County on Friday as the Cougars chipped away and beat Cedar Rapids 6-4. Kane County cut a 2-0 deficit in half in the first inning after Kyle Schwarber (2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and an RBI) doubled and scored on a single from Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with an RBI). The Cougars tied the game in the second inning after Jacob Rogers (2-for-4 with a triple) tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly. Kane County took the lead in the fourth after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-3) hit a solo home run. And Schwarber added to the lead with his own solo blast in the fifth inning. With the game tied at four, Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4) and Rogers reached on one-out singles in the eighth inning. Both Balaguert and Rogers scored on a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI).
Juan Carlos Paniagua continues to deal as a starter and he struck out five batters in 5.1 innings while allowing four runs (two earned). Corbin Hoffner appears to be finding his way as he notched two strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless innings. Tyler Bremer shut down the Kernels in the ninth inning for his ninth save.
Torrential downpours on Saturday meant a doubleheader on Sunday, and the Kane County offense apparently did not get their wake-up call as the Cougars lost 5-0 to Cedar Rapids in game one. Pierce Johnson was assigned to the Cougars after spending the early part of the season on the disabled list and at Double-A. Johnson went four innings and allowed an earned run while striking out two batters. Regularly scheduled starter Duane Underwood replaced Johnson and gave up four earned runs while striking out a batter in three innings. The Cougars eked out three hits … Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3), Ben Carhart (1-for-3) and David Bote (1-for-2 with a double).
Game two had some late inning heroics as Kane County defeated Cedar Rapids 3-2. The Cougars grabbed the early lead after Yasiel Balaguert (0-for-2) walked to start the second inning. Jacob Rogers (2-for-3 with a double and a home run) doubled Balaguert to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Kane County was behind 2-1 in the seventh when Rogers clubbed a solo home run that tied the game. Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2 with an RBI) followed with a walk, and a one out single from Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3) put runners at the corners. Trey Martin (0-for-2) walked to load the bases, and Jacob Hannemann (1-for-2 with an RBI) laced a walk-off single that plated Candelario with the game-winner. Jen-Ho Tseng had another excellent performance. Tseng struck out five and allowed an earned run in six innings. James Pugliese gave up the tying run but was able to limit the damage to just that as he secured his third victory.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (29-43)
Trying to put a disappointing first half behind them, Daytona kicked off the second half of their season with a 7-4 win over Brevard County. Pin-Chieh Chen and Wes Darvill (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) began the game with walks, and after a double play Chen scored on a passed ball. Dan Vogelbach (3-for-5 with a double, home run, and two RBI) then hit a solo home run. Trailing 4-2 in the top of the fourth, Daytona started chipping away as Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) walked and scored after a pair of singles from Rock Shoulders (1-for-4) and Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base). The D-Cubs regained the lead in the seventh inning after Albert Almora (2-for-5 with a double) and Vogelbach hit back-to-back doubles that plated Almora. Bijan Rademacher (0-for-3) walked, as he and Vogelbach scored on a double from Contreras. Daytona added an insurance run in the eighth when Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with a stolen base) reached on a one out single and stole second base. A two out double by Darvill plated Hernandez.
Felix Pena has some difficulty coming off of his All-Star game appearance as he allowed four earned runs and struck out four in 3.1 innings. Starling Peralta, reinstated to the roster, came in and blanked the Manatees for 4.2 innings with four strikeouts. Andrew McKirahan worked a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.
The D-Cubs may need to put out an SOS for more pitching as they were embarrassed by Brevard County 9-3 on Friday. There is no need to sugar coat this anymore … Daytona pitching has been atrocious all season long. Daytona is second to last in the Florida State League in both ERA and WHIP. Starter Nathan Dorris seems out of his element as he struck out five but allowed two earned runs in five innings on five hits and two walks. Jose Rosario was hammered for eight hits and two walks as he surrendered five earned runs with three strikeouts in three innings. Zack Godley also served up a two-run home run in the ninth. Daytona’s runs came too little, too late after Wes Darvill (0-for-3) reached on a dropped third strike and Albert Almora (1-for-5 with an RBI) singled with one out in the sixth. Darvill scored on a double from Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI). In the seventh inning, Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4 with a stolen base) singled and Marco Hernandez (1-for-3 with a stolen base) walked. A one out free pass to Darvill loaded the bases and Amaya scored on a groundout. A single by Vogelbach drove in Hernandez.
In a rare offensive outburst on Saturday night, Daytona gave their pitching some run support as they defeated Tampa 11-4. The game was a scoreless tie until the third inning when Chadd Krist (1-for-4) walked and Marco Hernandez (2-for-5) singled. A double by Zeke DeVoss (2-for-6 with a double and an RBI) drove in Krist, while Hernandez scored on a single from Wes Darvill (4-for-6 with a double and an RBI). A groundout plated DeVoss and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a double) reached on a fielder’s choice. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5) singled, as he and Rademacher scored on a home run from Rock Shoulders (3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and three RBI). In the fifth, Rademacher led off with a double and scored two outs later on a single from Jordan Hankins (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI). The D-Cubs added the punctuation in the seventh when Shoulders doubled and scored on a home run from Hankins. Hernandez singled one out later, and Darvill reached on a two out base hit. A wild pitch scored Hernandez, while a single by Dan Vogelbach (1-for-5 with two RBI) plated Darvill.
Justin Amlung was the beneficiary of the offensive splurge, but kept the game close early as he allowed two earned runs with a strikeout in five innings. Jasvir Rakkar worked around two hits in a scoreless inning. Austin Kirk went the rest of the way and gave up two earned runs and struck out two in three innings to collect his first save.
A beleaguered pitching staff was able to shine on Sunday as Daytona beat Tampa 4-2. Rob Zastryzny has a 1.90 ERA over his last four starts as he went five scoreless innings and struck out four batters. Michael Jensen allowed his first earned run in 10.2 innings. Jensen struck out three batters over 2.2 innings. Andrew McKirahan collected his seventh save after surrendering an earned run with a strikeout in 1.1 innings.
All the runs for the D-Cubs came in the eighth inning after Zeke DeVoss (1-for-4) and Wes Darvill (1-for-4) reached on one out singles and Bijan Rademacher (0-for-3) walked with two out to load the bases. DeVoss and Darvill scored on a base hit by Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with two RBI). Rademacher and Contreras scored on a throwing error.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (36-37)
Some familiar faces returned to Tennessee in the hopes of a more successful second half. The Smokies started off on the right foot with a 4-3 victory over Chattanooga. Dae-Eun Rhee put together a quality start as he limited the Lookouts to an earned run with a strikeout in six innings. Jeffrey Lorick served up a solo home run in 0.1 innings, and Zach Cates completed the seventh with two strikeouts. Tony Zych also had a strikeout in a scoreless inning. Hunter Cervenka tried to nail down the win but gave up the tying run as he pitched 0.1 innings. Cervenka yielded to “old reliable” Frank Batista, who struck out the last two batters and earned the victory.
Dae-Eun Rhee (1-for-1) made up for allowing the leadoff batter to hit a home run by starting the third inning with a single and he advanced to second on a throwing error. Everyone was safe after a sacrifice bunt by Jae-Hoon Ha (0-for-4) moved Rhee to third, and Rhee scored on a sacrifice fly. The Smokies took the lead in the sixth inning after Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a home run by Rubi Silva (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). All tied up in the bottom of the ninth, Stephen Bruno (2-for-3 with an RBI) reached with a one out single and advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt. Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with an RBI) provided the game winner. Villanueva drove in Bruno as the Smokies walked off with the victory.
The excitement is back in Tennessee as the Smokies took 11 innings to beat Chattanooga 5-4 on Friday. Behind 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Charles Cutler (0-for-2 with an RBI) drew a one out walk and scored an out later on a Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with a triple, a home run, two RBI, and a stolen base) home run, his sixth longball of the season. Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) went back-to-back with Silva as he hit solo shot out to left. Cutler was in the middle of things again in the sixth inning after he walked with one out to start the frame. Successive errors on plays involving Dustin Geiger (0-for-4) and Silva allowed Cutler to score the tying run. It would stay 4-4 until the bottom of the 11th when Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4) and Stephen Bruno (2-for-6) led off with singles and both runners advanced a base on a throwing error. Christian Villanueva (1-for-3) was intentionally walked to get to Cutler, who drew a free pass to bring in the winning run.
It was a team effort by the pitching staff as starter Matt Loosen had five strikeouts and allowed two earned runs in five innings. Jeffry Antigua gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out a batter as he pitched two innings. Lendy Castillo relieved and went 1.2 scoreless innings while striking out two batters. P.J. Francescon picked up a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Jeffrey Lorick earned the victory by pitching a perfect inning.
The Tennessee offense was absent on Saturday night as the Smokies lost 4-1 to Chattanooga. Corey Black is putting together a nice season as he allowed two earned runs and struck out five in 4.2 innings. Zach Cates gave up another two earned runs with a strikeout in two innings. Tony Zych worked a perfect inning, while Hunter Cervenka worked around a hit in the ninth. The Smokies avoided the shut out in the bottom of the eighth after Lance Rymel (1-for-2) and Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-3 with a double) walked to start the inning. A one out double by Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) scored Rymel.
Three pitchers combined on a shut out Sunday as the Smokies beat Chattanooga 4-0. Eduardo Figueroa was on the hill to start the afternoon and he recorded three strikeouts in five innings. P.J. Francescon allowed a hit as he worked two innings, while Frank Batista struck out three in two innings. All the runs for the Smokies came via the long ball. Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4) reached on a two out single and scored on a round-tripper from Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Rubi Silva (1-for-3) led off the seventh with a basehit and scored on a four-bagger, with two down, from Dustin Geiger (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI), his tenth of the season.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (38-36)
After losing to El Paso on Wednesday, Iowa put on a late rush Thursday to send the Chihuahuas to the doghouse a 6-2 loser. The I-Cubs bats did not get going until the fourth inning when Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a stolen base) and Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with an RBI) led off with singles. A one out base hit by Josh Vitters (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Baez. Starting pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (1-for-3) singled to begin the fifth. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base) followed with a base hit and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners a base. Baez was intentionally walked, and Wada scored on a sacrifice fly. Vitters stared the sixth with a single and moved into scoring position on a base hit by Casper Wells (1-for-4). Vitters and Wells scored on a single by Alcantara. Iowa capped the scoring in the seventh after Valaika singled and scored on a home run by Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI).
Tsuyoshi Wada continues to be the best pitcher on the Iowa staff. Wada struck out seven and allowing two earned runs in 6.2 innings. Yoanner Negrin went the rest of the way with four strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings for his first save.
In a game that they dominated from the onset, Iowa defeated El Paso 8-3 on Friday night. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4 with two doubles) started the bottom of the first with a double and scored on a one out double from Javier Baez (3-for-4 with a double and four RBI). Starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (1-for-3) led off the third with a single and moved to third on a double from Alcantara. A base hit by Baez drove in Hendricks and Alcantara. Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) began the fourth inning with a walk and scored on a double from Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base). Brett Jackson (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch and Szczur was thrown out a third on a bunt attempt, with Hendricks reaching first on the play. Alcantara walked to load the bases and Jackson scored on a ground out. Hendricks then scored on a single from Baez. Iowa answered a Chihuahuas’ run in the seventh after Josh Vitters (1-for-3) singled and scored on a home run by Watkins.
Kyle Hendricks was at the top of his game as he had six strikeouts in 7.2 innings while allowing an earned run. Armando Rivero finished off the eighth inning with a strikeout. However, Arodys Vizcaino ran into some trouble and he was touched for two earned runs and pitched only 0.1 innings. Alberto Cabrera earned his first save as he had a strikeout in the final 0.2 innings.
As Albuquerque came into town on Saturday the Iowa bats fell silent as they lost 4-0 to the Isotopes. The I-Cubs managed only six hits as rehabbing Welington Castillo went 2-for-3 while Javier Baez (1-for-5), Chris Valaika (1-for-3 with a double), Josh Vitters (1-for-4 with a double), and Chris Rusin (1-for-2) also collected hits. Rusin gave up all four earned runs while striking out five in 6.1 innings. Zac Rosscup had a strikeout as he tossed 1.1 innings. Carlos Pimentel also struck out a batter in 1.1 innings.
It was a tense contest Sunday but Iowa wound up prevailing 7-6 over Albuquerque. The I-Cubs broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third after Logan Watkins (0-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base) drew a one out walk, stole second, and scored on a Chris Valaika (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) home run, his seventh of the season. Behind 5-2 in the sixth, Iowa narrowed the gap after Valaika singled and scored on a two-run homer from Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI). Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a triple) led off the seventh with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The I-Cubs secured the lead in the eighth after Bryant slugged his second home run of the game, a solo shot. Ryan Kalish (1-for-4 with a stolen base) singled with one out, stole second and scored on a base hit from Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with an RBI).
Eric Jokisch did not have one of his best efforts as he allowed five earned runs in six innings with four strikeouts. The bullpen picked up the slack as Marcus Hatley and Armando Rivero had two strikeouts apiece as each tossed a scoreless inning. Blake Parker was nicked for an unearned run but struck out two to earn his 15th save.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (0–1)
Rehabbing outfielder Jorge Soler went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI as the A-Cubs lost 10-9 to the Diamondbacks on Saturday. Jose Paulino was the opening night starter and allowed seven runs (six earned) and had a strikeout in four innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs activated RHP Alex Santana; assigned INF Kris Bryant and RHP Armando Rivero and RHP Arodys Vizcaino to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned INF Christian Villanueva, RHP Frank Batista and LHP Jeffry Antigua to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Jordan Hankins to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Pierce Johnson to the Kane County Cougars from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned INF Jeimer Candelario to the Kane County Cougars from the Daytona Cubs; assigned INF/OF David Bote to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned C Erick Castillo to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs; assigned SS Alex Tomasovich to the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Adbert Alzolay, RHP Scott Frazier, RHP Carlos Llano, and Yomar Morel to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Pedro Araujo and LHP Andin Diaz to the AZL Cubs from the DSL Cubs
The Tennessee Smokies sent OF Jorge Soler to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment. The Daytona Cubs transferred RHP Austin Reed from the 7-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. The Kane County Cougars placed INF Danny Lockhart on the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
Arismendy Alcantara (INF) – Iowa Cubs
Albert Almora (OF) – Daytona Cubs
Corey Black (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Paul Blackburn (RHP) – Kane County Cougars
Willson Contreras (C) – Daytona Cubs
Jacob Hannemann (OF) – Kane County Cougars
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – Iowa Cubs
Tyler Skulina (RHP) – Daytona Cubs
Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Daytona Cubs
Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – Daytona Cubs