Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/10/14

Success is beginning to show itself from top to bottom in the system as Boise moved to within one game of first place and are poised to join Iowa, Tennessee, Daytona, Kane County, and the AZL Cubs as the other first place teams in the system. Outfielder Rashad Crawford is leading the way for the Hawks, while RHP Paul Blackburn continued his dominance for Kane County.  Daytona continues to be led by Albert Almora, with Rock Shoulders beginning to heat up. Tennessee took a step back from all of the hoopla and let steady veterans Frank Batista and Luis Flores lead them, and Iowa received a sterling performance from Eric Jokisch.

Along with summaries from the Dominican Summer League and the Venezuelan Summer League, here is today’s Down on the Farm Report.

Editor’s Note: Monday’s report will cover games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday. Late Games by the Boise Hawks and the AZL Cubs will be carried on the following report.

Short Season-A – Boise Hawks (14–12)

Boise was able to even their record Sunday as the Hawks accelerated past Eugene 10-5. Boise took an early lead after Jeffrey Baez (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) was hit by a pitch to start the game, and stole second base. With two outs, Mark Zagunis (2-for-4 with two RBI) singled in Baez. In the second inning, Chesny Young (3-for-3 with a double and two RBI) singled with two outs and moved to second on a wild pitch. A base hit by Baez allowed Young to score while Baez took second on the throw home. A single by Rashad Crawford (3-for-5 with a double and three RBI) brought in Baez. Tied at three in the bottom of the fourth, Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-4) walked with one out and Young was hit by a pitch. A two out single plated Papaccio and Young, and Crawford scored on a base hit from Zagunis. Baez reached on a fielder’s choice in the sixth and moved to third on a double from Crawford. A single by Zagunis scored Baez. Jason Vosler (1-for-5) and Papaccio had one out singles in the seventh and scored on a double from Young. A base hit from Baez and a groundout scored Young.

PrintBen Wells has not shown the confidence of a man who has been here before as he allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out four in four innings. Josh Davis had one of his better outings as he had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Brad Markey struggled a little bit as he had four strikeouts but gave up two earned runs in two innings. Francisco Carrillo struck out the side in a perfect ninth.

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Taking on division leading Hillsboro on Tuesday, Boise came away an 11-4 winner and moved within two games of the top spot. Rashad Crawford (3-for-5 with a double and three RBI) had a one out double in the first inning and scored on a two out single from Danny Canela (1-for-4 with an RBI). The Hawks started to pull away in the fifth inning after Chesny Young (2-for-4 with a stolen base) singled and scored on a triple from Jason Vosler (2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI). Charlie White (1-for-2 with two RBI and a stolen base) walked and everyone scored on a Jeffrey Baez (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and four RBI) grand slam, his seventh home run of the season. Jesse Hodges (1-for-4 with an RBI) began the sixth inning with a single and scored on a two out single from Vosler. Walks to White and Baez loaded the bases, and Vosler and White scored on a single by Crawford. Boise wasn’t done in the eighth as White began the inning with a single, stole second and scored on a double by Baez. Crawford drove in Baez with a base hit and Mark Zagunis (0-for-4) walked. A ground out and a sacrifice fly allowed Crawford to score.

Tyler Ihrig was steady once again for the Hawks. Ihrig struck out six and allowed two earned runs in six innings. David Garner got in an inning of work as he struck out two and gave up an earned run. Sam Wilson came on for the last two innings and had a strikeout as he surrendered an earned run.

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Boise road a four-game winning streak to move within one game of first place as the Hawks defeated Hillsboro 6-2 on Wednesday. Boise responded to two runs in the top of the third inning with Mark Malave (2-for-3) leading off with a walk. Giuseppe Papaccio (0-for-3) drew a one out walk and a single by Jeffrey Baez (3-for-5 with a stolen base) loaded the bases. Rashad Crawford (2-for-4 with a double, triple, and three RBI) tripled to clear the bases. A single by Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) plated Crawford. In the fourth inning, Justin Marra (1-for-3 with a double) doubled, moved to third on a single from Malave and scored on a double play. Boise added a run in the fifth after Baez began things with a single and stole second base. A two out single from Danny Canela (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Baez.

Erick Leal had a good effort except for one poor inning. Leal allowed two earned runs and struck out two in five innings. Newly promoted Ryan Williams relieved and had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Trey Lang worked around a hit as he pitched an inning, while Alberto Diaz survived a rocky ninth to seal the victory.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (58-30)

Kane County started their week Tuesday with a 7-3 victory over Quad Cities. Kyle Schwarber (3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI) doubled with two outs in the first inning and scored on a double from Jacob Rogers (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI). Will Remillard (0-for-4) followed with a walk and newcomer Kevin Brown (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) doubled in Rogers in his first at bat for the Cougars. Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4) led off the second with a single and Ben Carhart (0-for-3) drew a two out walk. A throwing error advanced the runners a base, and Candelario scored on a passed ball. It was Brown again in the third inning as he hit a solo home run. The fourth inning saw Candelario once again lead things off with a base hit, and he scored on a single from Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-5 with a stolen base) and a fielding error. Carhart was hit by a pitch and Schwarber drove in Dunston with a double. Kane County capped their scoring in the sixth inning after Dunston had a one out single and Carhart reached on a fielding error. Dunston stole third and scored on a ground out.

Paul Blackburn seemed to struggle a little and gave up two earned runs in the second inning before he settled down and struck out six in five innings. Zak Hermans allowed an earned run with five strikeouts in three innings. Corbin Hoffner struck out two in a perfect ninth. 

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The Cougars did not play poorly Wednesday, they just didn’t play well enough to win as Kane County lost 3-1 to Quad Cities. Daury Torrez had a fine effort. Torrez allowed three earned runs while striking out five in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion kept Kane County in the game as he struck out three in three scoreless innings. The Cougars’ only run came in the sixth inning after Kyle Schwarber (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a single by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with double and an RBI).

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (38-48)

Finally back in action after a series of rainouts, Daytona played a doubleheader with Lakeland on Monday and took the opener 4-3 in eight innings. Tayler Scott got the starting nod and allowed two earned runs while striking out two in five innings. Austin Kirk let the Flying Tigers tie the game in the seventh as he gave up an earned run with two strikeouts in two innings. Stephen Perakslis worked around two hits in the eighth as he picked up his second save. Albert Almora (1-for-4 with a home run) put the D-Cubs on the board in the first innings after he blasted a solo home run with one out. Rock Shoulders (1-for-3 with a home run) then led off the third with a solo home run of his own. Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with an RBI) singled with one out in the fourth and moved to third on a base hit from Billy McKinney (1-for-3). A single by Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Rademacher. In the eighth inning, Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double while Marco Hernandez (0-for-3) reached on an error from a sacrifice bunt attempt. After a double play, Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) was intentionally walked to get to Rademacher, who singled to left that plated Darvill with the go-ahead run.

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In the nightcap, Daytona cruised to a 6-1 victory over Lakeland. It was almost over before the fans re-took their seats as Zeke DeVoss (0-for-2) led off the game with a walk and Albert Almora (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) crushed a two-run home run. Two outs later, Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with a home run) blasted a solo shot. The D-Cubs added to their lead in the fifth after Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with a stolen base) began things with a single and stole second base. DeVoss drew a one out walk and Darvill scored on a base hit from Almora. A fielding error allowed DeVoss and Almora to score. Rob Zastryzny was back after a 14-day lay-off and struck out five in three scoreless innings. Justin Amlung went the rest of the way and gave up an earned run while striking out four in four innings.

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Daytona continued to work their way through a series of rainouts on Wednesday as they beat Dunedin 4-1 in game one. The D-Cubs put up three runs in the second inning after Rock Shoulders (0-for-2) led off with a walk and Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3 with a double) doubled. A single from Jordan Hankins (2-for-3 with two RBI) drove in Shoulders, and a one out base hit by Albert Almora (2-for-3 with an RBI) scored Amaya. Hankins scored on a sacrifice fly. Daytona got a little breathing room in the sixth after Amaya singled with two outs and scored on a base hit from Hankins. Felix Pena finally received some run support as he allowed an earned run and struck out seven in 5.2 innings. Starling Peralta had three strikeouts in 1.1 innings to pick up his first save.

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The D-Cubs were not as fortunate in game two and lost 8-6 as their pitching could not contain Dunedin. Jose Rosario started and gave up five earned runs while striking out four in 4.2 innings. Tyler Bremer wasn’t much better. Bremer allowed three earned runs and struck out two in 2.1 innings. It was the second inning again for Daytona as Rock Shoulders (1-for-2 with a home run) began things with a solo home run. Billy McKinney (1-for-2 with two RBI) drew a one out walk and a single from Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3) put runners on the corners. McKinney scored on a sacrifice fly and Amaya scored on a single from Zeke DeVoss (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base). In the third inning Wes Darvill (0-for-3) reached on a force and made it to second on a fielding error. McKinney and Amaya were hit by pitches, and a single by Chadd Krist (1-for-3 with two RBI) plated Darvill. The D-Cubs added two runs in the fourth inning after Marco Hernandez (2-for-3 with two stolen bases) and Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4) singled. Darvill walked with two outs and a base hit from McKinney plated Hernandez and Vogelbach.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (45-44)

The buzz created by new team members the day before died out Monday as Tennessee was embarrassed by Birmingham 7-1. Pierce Johnson continued his disappointing season as he allowed three earned runs and struck out six in four innings. Jeffry Antigua gave up another two earned runs as he worked two innings with two strikeouts. Hunter Cervenka tossed a scoreless inning, and Lendy Castillo surrendered two runs (one earned) and struck out two batters in the eighth. The only run for the Smokies came in the ninth after Jorge Soler (3-for-4 with a double, a home run) blasted a solo home run.

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Tennessee gave some of their newest players a day off and the old lineup came through and defeated Birmingham 7-3. It was a team effort for the pitching staff as Eduardo Figueroa started and allowed an earned run while striking out a batter in four innings. Tony Zych had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, while Andrew McKirahan gave up an earned run in his inning of work. Zach Cates ran into some trouble as he surrendered an earned run in only 0.1 innings. But ‘old reliable’ Frank Batista bailed Cates out with 1.2 scoreless innings for his fourth save.

It was a big night for the lower part of the batting order as Luis Flores (1-for-3 with a double and three RBI) walked with one out in the second and Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with a double) singled with two outs. A double from Dustin Geiger (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) scored Flores, while a double by Elliot Soto (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Davis and Geiger. In the fourth inning, Davis doubled and scored on a one out single from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with an RBI). Tennessee left no doubt in the ninth inning after Soto led off with a single and was bunted over to second. Christian Villanueva (0-for-2) and pinch-hitter Jorge Soler walked with two outs and all of the baserunners scored on a double from Flores.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (49-43)

It was an inauspicious start for one of the newest Iowa Cubs on Monday as they lost 7-3 to Omaha. Newly acquired Dan Straily was on the mound for Iowa and was charged with four unearned runs after an error by Kris Bryant (1-for-3) opened the door. Straily ended up going five innings and had three strikeouts. Arodys Vizcaino was roughed up for his second straight outing as he gave up three earned runs and struck out two in 1.2 innings. Marcos Mateo stopped the bleeding with a strikeout in 1.1 scoreless innings. The only runs for the I-Cubs came in the third inning after Ryan Kalish (1-for-3) singled and Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-2) drew a one out walk. With two outs, Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) delivered his 14th home run of the season.

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Iowa let one slip away from them on Tuesday by giving up three runs in the final two innings and losing to Omaha 7-6. The I-Cubs were scoring in bunches after Ryan Kalish (2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and three RBI) doubled with two outs in the second and scored on a single from Matt Szczur (1-for-4). Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) then brought in Szczur with a two run home run. One out walks to Chris Valaika (0-for-3) and Rafael Lopez (0-for-3) brought Kalish to the plate, who smacked a three-run home run.

Dae-Eun Rhee made his first Triple-A start and gave up four earned runs while striking out a batter in four innings. Alberto Cabrera worked around three walks in three scoreless innings with three strikeouts.  However, Marcus Hatley had a rare rough outing. Hatley allowed three runs (two earned) with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings.

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Iowa made the most out of their five hits Wednesday as they beat Omaha 2-1 in 14 innings. Starter Eric Jokisch had a career-high 11 strikeouts as he allowed only one earned run through seven innings. Armando Rivero had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings, while Marcos Mateo struck out a batter in 1.1 innings. Called up from Kane County to help a depleted staff, lefty Michael Heesch pitched 3.1 scoreless innings while striking out four batters. Zac Rosscup had a strikeout in 0.2 innings for his third save.

The I-Cubs took the lead in the second inning after Chris Valaika (0-for-5) reached on a fielding error and made his way to second base. A double from Josh Vitters (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) plated Valaika. The tie was broken in the top of the 14th inning after Logan Watkins (1-for-6 with a home run and an RBI) popped a solo home run with two outs.

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Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (8–6)

Rehabbing reliever Kyuji Fujikawa had a strikeout in a scoreless inning as the AZL Cubs lost to the Rangers 7-5 on Sunday. Seventh round pick right-hander James Norwood made his professional debut and allowed three earned runs in an inning, while Jefferson Mejia worked three innings and gave up an earned run while striking out three batters. Third baseman Varonex Cuevas was 2-for-4 with two RBI, and catcher Tyler Alamo was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

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Not much to see here for the A-Cubs in Monday’s 11-2 loss to the Indians. Dillon Maples started, allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out a batter in 2.1 innings. Luis Hernandez also pitched 2.1 innings and gave up seven runs (four earned) while striking out four batters. Catcher Alberto Mineo was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and outfielder Shamil Ubiera went 1-for-4 with an RBI.

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It was defense that was the undoing of the AZL Cubs on Tuesday as they lost 6-4 to the Indians. Adbert Alzolay started and gave up six runs (three earned) while striking out four in 4.1 innings. Eighth round pick Tommy Thorpe made his professional debut and tossed a scoreless inning. Second baseman Andrew Ely hit his first career home run and was 3-for-4. Shamil Ubiera remained on a roll as he went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases.

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Dominican Summer League

The DSL Cubs remain in second place in the Boca Chica North Division as their 22-10 record puts them seven games behind the DSL Rangers. The D-Cubs do not have a player in the top ten in any offensive category.  Infielder Carlos Jimenez continues to lead the regulars at .333/.371/.447/.818 and two home runs with 24 RBI. Catcher Yohan Matos leads the team with three home runs and is second with 19 RBI along with a .312/.424/.506/.930 line. Right handed pitcher Santiago Rodriguez has taken the league lead with a 0.24 ERA, as he is 4-0 with a 0.97 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 37 innings. Oscar De La Cruz is sixth in the league with a 0.97 ERA and has 32 strikeouts with a 0.97 WHIP, along with a 4-0 record, in 37 innings.

Venezuelan Summer League

The VSL Cubs have finally made their way out of the cellar. The Cubs improved their record to 20-26 and moved to 2.5 games behind the VSL Mariners for third place.  The V-Cubs continue to have several players among the league leaders. Outfielder Luis Hidalgo ranks sixth in the league with a .320 batting average, fifth with three home runs, and is eleventh with 19 RBI. Third baseman Wladimir Galindo leads the league with seven home runs and is seventh with a .296 average and third with 27 RBI. Teammate Miguel Rico is tied for fourth with four home runs and is seventh in the league with 23 RBI, while hitting .253. Switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Humberto Garcia is now second in the league with 15 stolen bases, while outfielder Luis Ayala is third with 13 stolen bases. Lefty Yapson Gomez is fifth in the league with a 2.00 ERA, sixth with a 0.93 WHIP, and is 3-1 with 25 strikeouts in 45 innings. Enrique De Los Rio is tenth in the league with a 3.23 ERA and is eighth with a 1.16 WHIP and eleventh with 31 strikeouts in 47.1 innings, along with a 2-2 record. Carlos A. Rodriguez is tied for fifth in the league with 36 strikeouts.

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs recalled INF/OF Arismendy Alcantara and RHP Dallas Beeler from the Iowa Cubs; optioned LHP Chris Rusin and LHP Tsuyoshi Wada to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Dae-Eun Rhee to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned LHP Michael Heesch to the Iowa Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Yoanner Negrin to the Iowa Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned OF Kevin Brown to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Ryan Williams to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs; assigned C Erick Castillo to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks. The Kane County Cougars placed OF Yasiel Balaguert (foot injury)on the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies activated INF Christian Villanueva from the 7-day disabled list.

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  • SuzyS

    Glad to see Dillon Maples name come up in any capacity. Next , it would be nice to see some sort of positive news on the guy.
    So far, he seems to have wasted his potential.

  • DWalker

    considering all the roster shuffling thats going to be going on, are we likely to see Vitters or Jackson moved off the 40 man? Jackson’s July splits so far are good, but otherwise he’s been abysmal and his splits against lefties are absurdly bad.

    • Tom U

      There have not been enough players to show that they are ready for the next level, so their places on the 40 man roster seem safe, for now.

  • Bredboy

    Jeffrey Baez seems to be littering the Boise writeups lately. Does he have the upside to be on the fast-track now that he’s out of his teens?

    • Tom U

      Baez has shown a good hit tool and great base-stealing ability. He is a good enough defender for right field and can be above average to elite in centerfield.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    Does Dunston JR have the ability / potential to be a MLB player?

    • Tom U

      Dunston is one of the few players drafted by the previous regime that present management actually likes. Dunston was very raw when he was drafted, and will have a slower developmental arc. He has great speed and enough arm for centerfield, but will probably end up in left.

  • Tom U

    Apologies to those who have asked questions. There are times that I am not at liberty to answer during the day.