Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 07/24/14

It was “Promotion Day” Wednesday as several prospects received word that they would be moving up a level. There was some activity leading up to the day, as RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua was promoted to Daytona, while RHP Ben Wells went to Kane County and RHP Dillon Maples reported to Boise. That set in motion “outfielder roulette” as Jorge Soler moved up to Iowa, Albert Almora to Tennessee, Jacob Hannemann to Daytona, and Jeffrey Baez to Kane County. Meanwhile, RHP Kyle Hendricks and LHP Tsuyoshi Wada went from Iowa to the parent club.

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

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 (22–17)

Boise finished the first half in style even without making the playoffs as the Hawks came from behind Monday and defeated Salem-Keizer 7-6. The bullpen kept the Hawks in the game after a horrendous start by Erick Leal, who surrendered four earned runs in only 0.2 innings. Trey Lang had a yeoman’s effort as he tossed four scoreless innings with a strikeout. Francisco Carrillo yielded and earned run as he pitched 1.1 innings. Sam Wilson gave up an earned run in two innings. David Garner threw a perfect ninth with a strikeout for his second save.

PrintBoise began to claw their way back into the game in the first after Jeffrey Baez (0-for-3 with a stolen base) reached on an error, made it all the way to third base and scored on a ground out. Behind 5-1 in the sixth, the Hawks took the lead after Baez walked and Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a stolen base) singled. The runners pulled off a double steal and Justin Marra (1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI) drew a one out walk. Baez scored on a sacrifice fly, and Crawford scored on a wild pitch. Alex Tomasovich (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch and Jason Vosler (1-for-2) walked. A double by Danny Canela  (1-for-3 with a double and three RBI) cleared the bases and plated Marra, Tomasovich, and Vosler. Marra provided the winning margin in the eighth as he led off the inning with a solo home run.

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It was an inauspicious beginning to the second half of the season as Everett shutout Boise 6-0 Tuesday. Starter Trevor Graham did well for three innings until he was lit up for five earned runs and ended up going 3.2 innings with three strikeouts. Brad Markey relieved and allowed an earned run while striking out two in 2.1 innings. Tommy Thorpe struck out four in two scoreless innings. The Hawks managed only three hits: Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4), Charlie White (1-for-3) and Mark Zagunis (1-for-2).

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (65-36)

In a getaway day matinee Monday, Kane County was swept by Lake County as the Cougars lost 3-1. Daury Torrez did not pitch poorly as he allowed three earned runs and struck out four in five innings. Zak Hermans had three strikeouts in two perfect innings, and Michael Wagner fanned two in a scoreless innings. The only run for the Cougars came in the fifth inning when Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with a home run) launched a solo home run.

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Kane County returned home Wednesday to host South Bend as the Cougars displayed their might by beating the Silver Hawks 5-2. Duane Underwood was reported clocking at 96 mph as he struck out seven and allowed two earned runs in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion provided some quality middle inning relief as he had three strikeouts in three scoreless innings. Jose Arias’ only blemish was a walk while striking out two in the ninth for his third save.

The Cougars tied the game in the bottom of the second after Jacob Rogers (0-for-3) walked but was out at second as Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with two RBI) reached on the force. An error put Cael Brockmeyer (2-for-4 with two doubles) on base, and a two out single from Kevin Brown (3-for-4 with two RBI) scored Candelario. Kane County pulled ahead in the third after two out singles from Carlos Penalver (1-for-4) and Ben Carhart (1-for-3). Rogers reached on an error to load the bases. A base hit by Candelario drove in Penalver and Carhart. Brockmeyer started the sixth with a double and scored after singles from Will Remillard (1-for-4) and Brown. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, Remillard scored on a sacrifice fly.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (45-54)

Daytona survived a middle inning scare to finish ahead of Palm Beach 9-6 on Monday. Starter Jose Rosario allowed six earned runs on ten hits while striking out four in 4.1 innings. Michael Jensen put a stop to things as he had five strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless innings. Starling Peralta went the rest of the way and shutout Palm Beach for two innings with three strikeouts.

Marco Hernandez (1-for-5 with a stolen base) led off the game for the D-Cubs with a single and stole second base. A two out single by Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Hernandez. Rock Shoulders (2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) followed with a base hit. A double by Billy McKinney (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) plated both Vogelbach and Shoulders. McKinney reached on a force play in the fourth inning and Wes Darvill (2-for-4) followed with a single. With two outs, Jordan Hankins (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) cleared the bases with a three run home run. It was the long ball again in the fifth after Vogelbach singled with one out and scored on a blast from Shoulders. Albert Almora (1-for-5) and Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4) led off the ninth with singles. Almora scored on a ground out.

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It was a rude welcome to the Florida State League on Tuesday as Daytona lost 9-3 to Palm Beach. Recently promoted Juan Carlos Paniagua made his first start for the D-Cubs and was hammered for five earned runs with two strikeouts in four innings. Nathan Dorris poured gas on the fire as he gave up four earned runs with a strikeout in three innings. Yao-Lin Wang struck out a batter in a scoreless eighth inning. Albert Almora (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) accounted for all three runs after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3) and Wes Darvill (3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) singled to lead off the third inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base and Amaya scoring on a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Darvill singled, stole second and scored on a base hit from Almora. Daytona added a run in the eighth when Albert Almora hit a solo home run.

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On “promotion day” Daytona reshuffled their line-up and came up a 6-2 winner over Palm Beach … and took three of four in the series. Starter Rob Zastryzny possibly had his best outing of the season, as he limited the Cardinals to three hits while striking out three in six scoreless innings. Justin Amlung had five strikeouts and allowed two earned runs in three innings.

Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with two home runs and two RBI) started things off for the D-Cubs as he led off the second with a solo home run. Willson Contreras (1-for-3) walked and Billy McKinney (1-for-3 with a triple) reached on an error. Rock Shoulders (0-for-2) walked to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Contreras, and a one out single by Marco Hernandez (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated McKinney. A sacrifice fly allowed Shoulders to score. Vogelbach struck again in the third inning as he pounded a one-out solo home run. Daytona added one for good measure in the eighth after McKinney led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (50-52)

It was a disappointing loss for the Smokies Monday as Tennessee lost 4-3 to Mississippi. The Smokies might have been able to win the game had they been able to get their pitching and hitting on the same page. Matt Loosen had an acceptable start as he allowed two earned runs and struck out two in five innings. Tony Zych held the Braves scoreless for two innings and struck out three batters. But Jeffrey Lorick failed to keep the game close as he gave up two earned runs with a strikeout in two innings. The Smokies fell short of a comeback in the ninth after Jonathan Mota (3-for-4) and pinch-hitter Luis Flores singled and scored on a home run from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5 with a home run and three RBI).

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It was a show of character Tuesday as Tennessee came from behind and beat Mississippi 8-7 in 10 innings. Corey Black led the Southern League in ERA, but allowed six runs (five earned) with three strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Lendy Castillo fanned the flames a little by giving up an earned run in 1.2 innings. Hunter Cervenka kept the Braves at bay by tossing three shutout innings. Frank Batista got some extended duty as he struck out two in two scoreless innings.

Put in a deep hole, the Smokies never panicked as Jorge Soler (2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI) began the second inning with a triple and scored on a ground out. Addison Russell (0-for-3) walked to start the fourth and scored on a Charles Cutler (3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) home run. Tennessee got two more in the fifth after Dustin Geiger led off with a pinch-hit home run. Jae Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) walked. A single by Stephen Bruno (1-for-4) and Russell was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A sacrifice fly scored Ha. Tennessee tied the game in the eighth after Christian Villanueva (1-for-5) was on board with a single when Luis Flores (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) cracked a home run. Moving into extra innings, Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-3) began the tenth with a walk and Jonathan Mota (2-for-2) singled. Ha hit a ground rule double that drove in Chen with the game winner.

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A cobbled together lineup was able to provide run support for the pitching staff as Tennessee beat Mississippi 6-3 on Wednesday. While some of the moving pieces from “promotion day” were not in place, the Smokies relied on their bench as Dustin Geiger (0-for-2) and Taylor Davis (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) drew walks to lead off the second inning. A single from Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4) loaded the bases, and Geiger scored on a base hit from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-2 with an RBI). A single by Stephen Bruno (2-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) drove in Davis. Jonathan Mota (1-for-4 with a double) began the third inning with a double and scored on a one out double by Davis. In the sixth, Ha was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A triple from Bruno plated Ha, and Charles Cutler (0-for-2) followed with a walk. A double by Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) plated Bruno and Cutler.

Eduardo Figueroa seems to be settling into a starter’s role as he allowed an earned run with a strikeout in five innings. P.J. Francescon yielded a walk in two scoreless innings. Hunter Cervenka had some difficulty as he gave up two earned runs but ended up striking out the side in an inning of work. Zach Cates shut down the Braves in the ninth for his first save.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (56–48)

Iowa dug themselves too deep of a hole Monday as they lost 5-4 to New Orleans. Dan Straily made his third start since coming over to the organization and allowed four earned runs but struck out seven in six innings. Rehabbing reliever Kyuji Fujikawa tossed an inning and gave up an earned run. Alberto Cabrera worked around two walks in two scoreless innings and had two strikeouts. The I-Cubs put on a late rush starting in the third inning when Lars Anderson (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) reached on an error, advanced to second on a sacrifice and scored on a single from Brett Jackson (1-for-3 with an RBI). With one out in the seventh, Eli Whiteside (0-for-3) walked and scored on a home run from Anderson. Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a stolen base) singled to lead off the eighth and moved to third on a base hit by Kris Bryant (1-for-4). A single from Chris Valaika (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Szczur.

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Pitchers duels don’t get much better than what Iowa saw Tuesday, as the I-Cubs proved to be the better team by beating New Orleans 1-0. Zephyrs’ starter Andrew Heaney took a perfect game into the seventh inning when Matt Szczur (1-for-3) singled and Brett Jackson (1-for-3) bunted for a base hit. Walks to Kris Bryant (0-for-2) and Chris Valaika (0-for-2) pushed across Szczur with the only run. Dallas Beeler nearly matched Heaney pitch-for-pitch as he allowed six hits and struck out seven in seven innings. Zac Rosscup and Blake Parker each had a strikeout in a perfect inning and Parker earned his 21st save.

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In a Wednesday matinee, Iowa blew away the New Orleans Zephyrs 13-4. Just activated off the disabled list, starter Dae-Eun Rhee kept New Orleans in check as he surrendered an unearned run and struck out two in six innings. Kyuji Fujikawa had two strikeouts as he tossed a perfect inning. Carlos Pimentel gave up three earned runs in an inning of work. Marcos Mateo finished off the game with a strikeout in a scoreless inning.

It started innocently enough as the I-Cubs tied the game at one in the second when Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double and three RBI) was hit by a pitch and Lars Anderson (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) walked. Anderson was wiped out on a double play with Bryant moving to third. A single by Ryan Kalish (2-for-4 with a triple and three RBI) plated Bryant. The third saw Matt Szczur (2-for-5) and Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a stolen base) reach on one out singles. Watkins stole second base. A double from Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a double and two RBI) plated Szczur and Watkins. Iowa busted the game wide open in the fifth with two outs after Watkins walked and went to third on a single from Baez. Bryant reached on an error that scored Watkins, and a single from Anderson plated Baez. Josh Vitters (1-for-4 with an RBI) followed with a base hit that allowed Bryant to score and a triple from Kalish plated Anderson and Vitters. In the seventh, Baez led off with a walk and scored on a home run from Anderson. Iowa countered three runs by the Zephyrs in the top of the eighth after Eli Whiteside (0-for-4) reached on a dropped third strike, but was forced out at second on a bunt attempt from Carlos Pimentel, as he reached on the play. Szczur singled and a ground out moved the runners up a base. Baez walked and Bryant cleared the bases with a double.

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Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (12–11)

The AZL Cubs pitchers were beat up Sunday as they lost to the Angels 8-2. Dillon Maples went three innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out four batters. Carson Sands allowed four runs (one earned) with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings. Centerfielder Kevonte Mitchell went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

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After a day of rest, the A-Cubs played a typical see-saw affair for a rookie league game on Tuesday and came out on top with a 7-6 victory over the Dodgers. On a rehab assignment, Ivan Pineyro looked pretty sharp as he allowed two hits and struck out two in two scoreless innings. Justin Steele also had two strikeouts as he shut down the Dodgers for two innings. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez smacked his second home run as he was 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBI. Roney Alcala went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

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Dominican Summer League

The DSL Cubs remain in second place in the Boca Chica North Division as their 27-17 record puts them 10.5 games behind the DSL Rangers. Catcher Yohan Matos is tied for ninth in the league with four home runs with 21 RBI and a .304/.414/.518/.931 line.  Outfielder Jenner Emeterio is tied for eleventh with 18 stolen bases and has improved to .294/.417/.412/.829 with 18 RBI. Infielder Carlos Jimenez remains among the team leader at .309/.370/.406/.776 with two home runs, 27 RBI, and 15 stolen bases. Oscar De La Cruz has moved to second in the league with a 0.71 ERA with 40 strikeouts and a 0.93 WHIP (5-0 record, 50.2 innings). Right-handed pitcher Santiago Rodriguez is now sixth in the league with a 1.10 ERA as he is 5-0 with a 0.96 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 49 innings.

Venezuelan Summer League

The VSL Cubs maintained their place in the standings by improving their record of 25-33 that moved them to within two games behind the VSL Mariners for third place.  The V-Cubs continue to have several players among the league leaders. Third baseman Wladimir Galindo now ranks in the top ten in all three triple-crown categories. Galindo leads the league with seven home runs, seventh with 28 RBI and ninth with a .280 average. Corner infielder Miguel Rico is tied for fifth with 29 RBI and is tied for fourth with four home runs to go along with a .267 average.  Outfielder Luis Hidalgo ranks fifth in the league with a .318 batting average and is tied for sixth with three home runs to go along with 19 RBI. Switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Humberto Garcia is second in the league with 18 stolen bases, while outfielder Luis Ayala is fourth with 14 stolen bases. Carlos A. Rodriguez has now taken over second in ERA (1.14), is third in the league with 49 strikeouts and he is seventh in the league with a 1.04 WHIP. Lefty Yapson Gomez is second in the league with a 0.88 WHIP and third in the league with a 1.58 ERA (5-1 with 31 strikeouts in 57 innings). Enrique De Los Rio is tenth in the league in ERA at 3.39 ERA and WHIP at 1.23, and is 11th with 37 strikeouts in 58.1 innings (2-3 record).

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs recalled RHP Kyle Hendricks and LHP Tsuyoshi Wada from the Iowa Cubs; optioned LHP Zac Rosscup and INF Mike Olt to the Iowa Cubs; sent RHP Kyuji Fujikawa to the Iowa Cubs on a rehab assignment; assigned OF Jorge Soler to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned OF Albert Almora to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs; assigned RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua and OF Jacob Hannemann to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Ben Wells and OF Jeffrey Baez to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Jasvir Rakkar to the Boise Hawks from the Daytona Cubs; assigned RHP Dillon Maples to the Boise Hawks from the AZL Cubs. The Iowa Cubs activated RHP Dae-Eun Rhee from the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies sent RHP Ivan Pineyro to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment; placed OF Anthony Giansanti on the 7-day disabled list; activated C Taylor Davis from the 7-day disabled list.

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  • BillyFinT

    Reading names of Szczur and Valaika alongside Kris Bryant feels like an other-worldly lineup, Star Trek lords or Greek myth gods.

  • J Daniel

    Awesome to see some of these guys moving up a level. Really glad to see Almora move to Tennessee. I am hoping that he does well there as he is a key guy to creating a lot of depth. I know other guys like Szczur or Henneman might develop as well but Almora was such a high pick you have to hope he makes it as well as another guy.

  • J Daniel

    To go along with the “RIZZO DEBATE” … guys like Bryant, Baez, Soler, Russell, … meaning a couple of these guys that make it, can only help Rizzo as the lineup will add depth and a couple more guys that will be tough outs or don’t want to make mistakes to type of guys.

    Rizzo might end up as a #5/6 type of hitter but that is needed on a really good team.

    • Bredboy

      Obviously Rizzo’s strikeouts and current BA w/RISP are not fantastic right now. But look how well he addressed his glaring weakness from last year, which was BA v LHP. I personally believe he will continue to improve into a bonafide 3-4 hitter regardless of who else is in the lineup. I suspect that Baez’s contact issues will have him being the 5/6 power hitter.

      • triple

        I agree with what your saying, although I don’t think he strikes out excessively at all. His K rate is 18.3%, which is pretty good for a power hitter; and puts him on pace for about 125 Ks for the entire season. As a point of reference, he had 127 last year. For more perspective, Paul Goldschmidt struck out 145 times last year with a k rate of 20.4%. This year Goldie has 99 strikouts (22.3%) compared to Rizzo’s 78 strikeouts.

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  • Bredboy

    Essentially written off as a bust signing, Gerardo Concepcion is actually producing some decent numbers in Kane County. Excluding a total beating he took on May 20th, he’d be sporting a 2.77 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and more than a K per inning. Nothing fantastic, but at least he’s finally starting to make some progress.

    • cubtex

      Really? I was curious to see what he has been doing and I don’t see what you see. Remember he is in A ball. Did you see his RHB vs LHB splits?

      vs RHB 24.1 IP 30 hits a .306 BA against with a 5.92 ERA.
      vs LHB 15.1 IP 6 hits 17 K’s with a .128 BA against and a .059 ERA

      Looks to me like a LOOGY. He can’t get righties out in A ball.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        He said he was making progress, that was all. He did not claim anything else. I do not want this turned into a similar discussion as yesterday.

      • Denver Mike

        As bad as those splits may be, Bred’s comment that he’s making some progress is still true considering how bad he was before. Sad, but true.

        • cubtex

          I guess. He is doing well against lefties in A ball so that is something