Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/11/14

It appeared as if many of the minor league teams want to get as much baseball in as they can with the season drawing to a close, as doubleheaders and extra innings dotted the landscape. One of the hottest players in the system is Daytona’s Rock Shoulders, who was 6-for-13 with three home runs over the weekend.  Iowa is experiencing a power surge, with Kris Bryant, Mike Olt, Manny Ramirez, Jorge Soler and Elliot Soto all with home runs. Shawon Dunston Jr. continues to be an excellent table-setter for Kane County, and Pierce Johnson came very close to pitching the minor’s second no-hitter of the season.

With news from the Arizona Rookie League, step inside 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 (28–26)

Boise could not overcome the Salem-Keizer’s offense Thursday and lost 9-5. Josh Conway continues to be limited in his starts as he went 2.1 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out two batters. Ryan Williams followed and gave up two earned runs and struck out two in 2.2 innings. James Farris surrendered two earned runs in an inning of work. Daniel Lewis blanked the Volcanoes for an inning with two strikeouts. Trey Lang had an uncharacteristic outing and yielded three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Alberto Diaz recorded the final out. The Hawks were on the board first after David Bote (3-for-5 with a stolen base) led off the second inning with a single and stole second base. A two-out base hit by Bryant Flete (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drove in Bote. It was Bote again in the fourth as he singled and moved to second on a balk. Jesse Hodges (0-for-3) walked and a base hit from Mark Malave (1-for-3 with an RBI) scored Bote. The seventh saw Charcer Burks (1-for-5) lead off with a single and score on a one-out home run from Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Malave walked in the eighth and was replaced by pinch-runner Charlie White. White scored after a passed ball, a fielding error, a hit batsman, and a wild pitch.

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PrintA late inning rally could not make up for an early deficit as Boise lost 4-3 to Salem-Keizer on Friday night. Behind 4-0 in the sixth, Bryant Flete (1-for-4) singled with one out and moved to third on a double from Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a double). Flete scored on a groundout. David Bote (1-for-4 with a double) opened the seventh inning with a double, went to third on a single by Justin Marra (3-for-4 with a double), and scored on a groundout. The Hawks came up short in the ninth after one out doubles by Marra and Jesse Hodges (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Marra. But the Hawks left the tying run in scoring position to end the game. Trevor Graham started for Boise and gave up four earned runs while striking out four in five innings. Jeremy Null followed and had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Yomar Morel worked around a hit in the eighth.

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On Saturday, Boise was simply smoked by Salem-Keizer and lost 16-3. Dillon Maples continues to be painful to watch as he surrendered nine runs (seven earned) while striking out a batter in 2.1 innings. As bad as Maples was, Alberto Diaz was worse as he gave up seven runs (six earned) in an inning of work. Sam Wilson calmed things down somewhat as he struck out five in 2.2 scoreless innings. Tommy Thorpe shut down the Volcanoes for the last two innings while recording two strikeouts. Surprisingly, the Hawks had the lead after Charcer Burks (1-for-5) and Rashad Crawford (1-for-3 with a stolen base) led off the game with singles and Burks scored on a sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Calvin Graves drew a one out walk in the seventh and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Graves scored on a double from Mark Malave (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Boise added a run in the ninth after Jesse Hodges (0-for-3) walked, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single from Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with an RBI).

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (74–45)

The bullpen spoiled a good effort Thursday as the relievers failed to hold a lead in Kane County’s 4-3 loss to Cedar Rapids in 11 innings. Duane Underwood put together another quality start. Underwood allowed an earned run while striking out seven in six innings. David Garner allowed the Kernels back into the game. Garner gave up two earned runs and struck out two in 1.2 innings. Jasvir Rakkar tossed 2.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts. But Francisco Carrillo failed to record an out as he surrendered the winning run. Behind 1-0 in the fourth, Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-5 with a triple) led off with a triple and scored on a double from the hot-hitting Chesny Young (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI). A one out triple from Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) plated Young. The Cougars added a run in the sixth after Dunston reached on a fielding error, went to third on a single by Young, and scored on a groundout.

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It was a rocky win for Kane County Friday but the Cougars topped Cedar Rapids 6-5. The Cougars experienced more roster upheaval after the team learned earlier in the day that relief pitchers Tyler Bremer and Jose Arias were traded to Miami for Jacob Turner. Jonathan Martinez made his second start for the Cougars since coming over in the trade for Darwin Barney. Martinez allowed two earned runs in three innings. Michael Wagner picked up the slack as he struck out five in four scoreless innings for the win. Michael Heesch made the game close as he gave up three earned runs in 1.1 innings. Francisco Carrillo bailed Heesch out after he struck out two of the three batters he faced. Carrillo earned his first save for Kane County.

The Cougars started the game out strong after Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-5 with a stolen base) singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on a base hit from Chesny Young (2-for-5). Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a double) walked and Jacob Rogers (2-for-4 with a double and three RBI) wiped the bases clean with a double that scored Dunston, Young and Caratini. Kane County gave themselves some breathing room in the sixth after Rogers and Cael Brockmeyer (3-for-4 with an RBI) singled with one out and scored on a two out double from Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI). The Cougars added a run in the eighth after Caratini doubled and scored on a one out single from Brockmeyer.

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A patented Kane County comeback was not in the cards Saturday as the Cougars fell short and lost 3-2 to Cedar Rapids. Soft-tossing Tyler Ihrig did not have a bad game as he allowed three earned runs and struck out two in six innings. David Garner struggled his way through an inning. Garner walked three and struck out a batter. Jasvir Rakkar had a strikeout in a perfect inning. The Cougars tied the game at one in the fifth after Jeffrey Baez (2-for-4 with two doubles) doubled and scored on a single from Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base). Kane County inched closer in the seventh after Lockhart tripled with one out and Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with a stolen base) walked. Lockhart scored on a double steal.

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It took five hours to complete Sunday, but Kane County finally came away with a 7-4 win over Cedar Rapids in 15 innings. Shawon Dunston Jr. (3-for-7 with a home run) and Danny Lockhart (3-for-6 with a stolen base) led off the game with singles, and Dunston scored on a double play. Dunston supplied all the scoring in the third inning when he smacked a solo home run. In the fourth, Cael Brockmeyer (3-for-7 with a double and two RBI) had a one out single and scored on a double from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-7 with a double and an RBI). Kane County tied the game in the eighth after Lockhart walked and Ben Carhart (2-for-6) singled. Lockhart stole third and scored on an error. The score remain tied at four until the top of the 15th when Lockhart singled and Carhart walked. A triple from Jacob Rogers (2-for-7 with a double, triple, and two RBI) plated Lockhart and Carhart, and a double by Brockmeyer scored Rogers.

Starter Ben Wells struggled with his command all afternoon but limited the damage to two runs (one earned) as he walked five and struck out a batter in five innings. Just back from a trip to Boise, Zak Hermans also had command issues. Hermans walked three and gave up two runs (one earned) in 1.1 innings. Michael Heesch settled things down with 1.1 scoreless innings, while Francisco Carrillo had four strikeouts as he shut down the Kernels for 2.1 innings. Jasvir Rakkar kept the Cougars in the ballgame by striking out three in three scoreless innings. Out of pitchers for the day, Ben Carhart tossed two innings for his first professional win as a pitcher.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (54-61)

After nearly a week of offensive frustration, Daytona came out of their hitting slump in a big way Thursday as they crushed Clearwater 18-2. Lost in the score was a very good job by the pitching staff, beginning with starter Tayler Scott as he gave up two earned runs and struck out seven in seven innings. Gerardo Concepcion had a strikeout in a scoreless inning, while Starling Peralta tossed a perfect inning.

The pyrotechnics started modestly in the second inning after Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) led off with a walk. Billy McKinney (3-for-4 with an RBI) had a one out single and Willson Contreras (0-for-5 with an RBI) walked to load the bases. A single by Jordan Hankins (1-for-3 with an RBI) with help from a fielding error plated Vogelbach, McKinney, and Contreras. Jacob Hannemann (3-for-6 with two RBI) and Marco Hernandez (1-for-6 with an RBI) singled with two outs and scored Hankins. A base hit from Kyle Schwarber (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) scored Hannemann and Hernandez. Rock Shoulders (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) extended the lead to 7-0 as he smacked a solo home run leading off the third inning. Another big inning had a quiet start as Shoulders began the fifth with a walk, followed by a walk to McKinney, a force that erased McKinney and allowed Contreras to reach, and a walk to Hankins. A two out single by Hannemann drove in Shoulders and Contreras. A wild pitch and an error allowed Hernandez to reach and plated Hankins and Hannemann. A base hit by Schwarber put runners on the corners, and everyone came scored on a home run by Vogelbach. The onslaught continued in the sixth after McKinney singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, third on a sacrifice fly, and scored on a throwing error. Schwarber then led off the seventh with a solo home run of his own. The punctuation was added in the ninth after Schwarber and Vogelbach walked and Shoulders singled to load the bases. A walk to McKinney forced in Schwarber, and a force play allowed Vogelbach to score.

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A big ninth inning rally came up one run short Friday as Daytona lost to Clearwater 8-7. It was a close ballgame as starter Jose Rosario had a fine effort. Rosario allowed two earned runs while striking out seven in six innings. However, Nathan Dorris had an appearance he most likely would want to forget as he surrendered six earned runs in only 0.2 innings. Michael Jensen mercifully relieved and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings. The D-Cubs tied the game at one in the second after Rock Shoulders (2-for-3 with a double) singled and Billy McKinney (2-for-3 with an RBI) walked. An error moved up both Shoulders and McKinney and Shoulders scored on a groundout. The score was tied again in the sixth after Dan Vogelbach (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) doubled and came around to score after two wild pitches. Behind 8-2 in the ninth, Kyle Schwarber (0-for-3) walked with two outs and advanced to second on a balk. Vogelbach drove in Schwarber with a single, and Shoulders followed with a walk. A base hit by McKinney plated Vogelbach, and Shoulders and McKinney scored on a home run from Chadd Krist (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI).

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Consistency continues to be an issue with Daytona as they lost 3-1 to Lakeland on Saturday. The D-Cubs’ offense managed only four hits, and tied the game at one in the seventh on a solo home run from Rock Shoulders (1-for-2 with a home run). Tyler Skulina was much better in his second Daytona start as he was charged with an unearned run with three strikeouts in four innings. Justin Amlung remains a dubious choice in the bullpen as he allowed two earned runs with three strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Austin Kirk finished up the game with two strikeouts in 1.2 scoreless innings.

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On a Sunday that featured two other extra innings games in the Cubs’ minor league system, Daytona played a marathon of its own as they beat Lakeland 4-3 in 13 innings. Playing from behind all day, the D-Cubs came roaring back in the fifth after Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with a home run) blasted a solo home run. Jacob Hannemann (0-for-4) walked to begin the sixth, and Marco Hernandez (0-for-5) followed with a walk of his own. After a pitching change, Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4) and Dan Vogelbach (1-for-5 with two RBI) each drew walks to force in Hannemann. Hernandez scored on a sacrifice fly. It would remain 3-3 until the bottom of the 13th when Jordan Hankins (0-for-4) walked and was sacrificed to second. A two-out walk to Schwarber brought up Vogelbach, whose single plated Hankins with the winning run.

Rob Zastryzny had a decent outing but showed that he still has work to do as he struck out seven but allowed two earned runs in five innings. Stephen Perakslis went three innings and gave up an earned run with three strikeouts. Zack Godley kept Daytona in the ballgame as he struck out three in two scoreless innings. Gerardo Concepcion shut down the Flying Tigers the rest of the way with two strikeouts in three innings.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (58-61)

Bad weather in Mobile meant no game on Thursday and a doubleheader on Friday and Tennessee dropped the opener 8-1. It was a rough one for Corey Black, who allowed five earned runs in 3.1 innings. Matt Loosen was equally as bad. Loosen gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Lendy Castillo brought some sense of order as he tossed two scoreless innings. The only run for the Smokies came in the third after Albert Almora (1-for-4) and Addison Russell (1-for-2) singled. Almora scored on a two out base hit from Charles Cutler (1-for-3 with an RBI).

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It was more of the same in the nightcap, as Tennessee lost 4-1. C.J. Edwards was on the hill for the Smokies and allowed three earned runs while striking out four in four innings. Hunter Cervenka had a strikeout and gave up an earned run in two innings. Tennessee scratched out a run in the fifth after Luis Flores (2-for-3) singled, Dustin Geiger (2-for-3 with two doubles) doubled and Flores scored on a groundout.

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More inclement weather Saturday forced another doubleheader Sunday and Tennessee won game one 3-0 over Mobile. The story of the game was Pierce Johnson, who took a no-hitter two outs into the sixth inning. For the game, Johnson tossed six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. Andrew McKirahan struck out a batter in a perfect inning as he earned his first save. The Smokies scored all of their runs in the fourth inning after Addison Russell (1-for-3 with a double) started things off with a double. Christian Villanueva (0-for-1) was hit by a pitch with one out, and a single by Charles Cutler (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Russell. Stephen Bruno (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Villanueva, and Cutler scored on a sacrifice fly.

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Game two saw Tennessee squander a big lead as the Smokies lost 9-8 to Mobile in nine innings. Albert Almora (1-for-2) and Addison Russell (2-for-4) singled with one out, and a two-out base hit from Dustin Geiger (1-for-2 with an RBI) drove in Almora. In the second, Taylor Davis (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) led off with a double and scored on a home run from Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI). The third inning began with singles by Russell and Christian Villanueva (1-for-5), and a walk to Geiger that loaded the bases. A single by Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Russell and a base hit from Davis plated Villanueva, but Geiger was thrown out at home. A groundout plated Bruno. After the pitching staff gave up the lead, the Smokies tied the score at eight in the sixth after Davis, Anthony Giansanti (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base), and Lars Anderson (0-for-1) drew walks. A double play allowed Davis to score, and Giansanti crossed the plate on a passed ball. Fresh off the disabled list, Ivan Pineyro struck out three and allowed four earned runs in 2.2 innings. P.J. Francescon had a strikeout in 1.1 scoreless innings. But Hunter Cervenka and Tony Zych were tagged for two earned runs apiece as they combined to pitch the fifth inning. Steady Frank Batista tossed two scoreless innings with a strikeout. Jeffrey Lorick struck out three but gave up the winning run in 1.1 innings.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (65–58)

A depleted roster caught up with the Iowa Cubs on Thursday as they lost to Oklahoma City 16-4. With all of the recent promotions, Iowa had to turn to Carlos Pimentel to fill out the rotation and he was lit up for nine earned runs with a strikeout in five innings. Yoanner Negrin did not fare much better and gave up three earned runs in an inning of work. Marcus Hatley surrendered an earned run with a strikeout in an inning of work. Marcos Mateo was also pummeled and yielded three earned runs in the final inning. The I-Cubs relied on the longball for all of their runs. Manny Ramirez (2-for-5 with a double, home run, and two RBI) went deep in the fourth with Jorge Soler (1-for-3) aboard. In the sixth, Brett Jackson (1-for-2) led off with a single and scored on a home run from Kris Bryant (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI).

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Iowa had to sweat things out a little bit Friday as they beat Oklahoma City 8-5. Starter Dallas Beeler logged his eighth win of the season after he allowed three earned runs with two strikeouts in six innings. Armando Rivero had three strikeouts as he gave up two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Blake Parker made it save number 22 for the season as he fanned two in 1.1 scoreless innings.

The I-Cubs grabbed the lead in the second inning after Jorge Soler (2-for-3 with a double, home run, and three RBI) walked, Mike Olt (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) singled, and Brett Jackson (0-for-3) loaded the bases with a one out walk. A two-out base hit by Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with three RBI) drove in Soler and Olt. In the third inning, Kris Bryant (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch and scored on a home run from Soler. Logan Watkins (1-for-5 with a double and a stolen base) began the fifth inning with a double and stole third. Soler was intentionally walked and Olt doubled in Watkins. Jackson drew a two out walk and Elliot Soto drove in Soler with a single. A bases loaded walk to Lopez forced in Olt. Iowa added a final run in the sixth when Bryant singled with one out and scored on a double from Soler.

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A bullpen meltdown snatched a victory away from Iowa on Saturday as they lost to Oklahoma City 9-6. The I-Cub built a big lead after Matt Szczur (1-for-2 with a stolen base) led off the game with a single and stole second base. Josh Vitters (1-for-4) walked and Mike Olt (2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI) drew a two out walk. A single from Manny Ramirez (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Szczur and Vitters. Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI) added a solo home run in the third inning. Olt led off the sixth inning with a solo home run of his own, and went deep again in the eighth after Jorge Soler (1-for-4) singled ahead of him. Dae-Eun Rhee pitched well enough to win with that type of offense as he allowed four earned runs and had four strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Arodys Vizcaino worked around a hit in 1.1 innings, while Zac Rosscup fanned two as he worked an inning. Marcus Hatley entered the game in the ninth and had one of those days. Hatley gave up five earned runs without recording an out.

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The outcome was never in doubt Sunday as Iowa drubbed Oklahoma City 10-2. Eric Jokisch regained the Pacific Coast League lead in strikeouts with 131 as he fanned five and allowed two earned runs in 6.2 innings. Alberto Cabrera picked up his second save as he tossed 2.1 scoreless innings.

The I-Cubs jumped out ahead in the first inning after Matt Szczur (1-for-5) singled and Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with an RBI) drew a one out walk. A double by Jorge Soler (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in Szczur and Bryant, and Soler scored on a home run from Mike Olt (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI). Elliot Soto (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) began the second inning with a solo home run of his own. Iowa then put the game away in the eighth after Logan Watkins (2-for-5 with a double) doubled and scored on a single from Bryant. Soler and Olt walked, and a one out single from Rafael Lopez (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated both Bryant and Soler. A single by Soto scored Olt and a base hit from Brett Jackson (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Lopez.

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Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (17–21)

The AZL Cubs completed a suspended game from July 3 on Thursday and lost 5-3 to the Padres. Justin Steele had a good outing. Steele went three scoreless innings with three strikeouts, while Austyn Willis shut down the Padres for two innings. Kevonte Mitchell was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Varonex Cuevas went 2-for-2 with two doubles.

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The A-Cubs then played a seven-inning regularly scheduled game with the Padres and won 4-1. Carson Sands had two strikeouts in 2.2 scoreless innings. Tanner Griggs fanned five in 2.1 innings. Second baseman Andrew Ely stayed hot as he went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

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On Friday, the AZL Cubs were able to cruise to a 6-2 victory over the Padres. First baseman Roney Alcala is starting to heat up as he went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and two RBI. Alberto Mineo also was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Jake Stinnett started and tossed two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Rehabbing Neil Ramirez pitched 0.2 innings and had a strikeout.

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Defense betrayed the AZL Cubs on Saturday as they lost 3-2 to the Angels. Marcelo Carreno had another good outing as he works his way back from injury. Carreno allowed an earned run while striking out two in two innings. Jefferson Mejia had five strikeouts in five innings, but was nicked for two unearned runs. Third baseman Adonis Paula went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs sent RHP Neil Ramirez to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment; sent RHP Corbin Hoffner to the Boise Hawks on a rehab assignment; recalled RHP Neil Ramirez; optioned LHP Chris Rusin to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Zak Hermans to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned RHP Michael Knighton to the AZL Cubs assigned RHP Michael Knighton to the AZL Cubs.

The Iowa Cubs placed INF Jonathan Mota on the 7-day disabled list; activated OF Manny Ramirez from the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed RHP Eduardo Figueroa on the 7-day disabled list; activated RHP Ivan Pineyro and OF Anthony Giansanti from the 7-day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars placed RHP Daury Torrez on the 7-day disabled list; activated RHP Daury Torrez from the 7-day disabled list.

Top Prospect Watch
  • Note: RHP C.J. Edwards returns to the Top Prospect Watch
Albert Almora (OF) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Corey Black (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Paul Blackburn (RHP) – Kane County Cougars

 

C.J. Edwards (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Jacob Hannemann (OF) – Daytona Cubs

 

Eloy Jimenez (OF) – AZL Cubs

 

Pierce Johnson (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies

 

Jorge Soler (OF) – Iowa Cubs

 

Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Daytona Cubs

 

Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – Daytona Cubs

 

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  • GaryLeeT

    Hey Tom, I noticed Jimenez has not been in the AZ Cubs’ lineup for a few games. Do you know why?

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I had noticed that too…

  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    Starting to lose faith in Christian Villanueva. I was pretty high on him. But after flailing at AAA, then back in AA he’s not exactly setting the world on fire. He could just be a slower developer though. Not all guys will race through and some may be moved up and down a few times before they click at each level. I’d like to see him get hot at AA before the season ends and then probably start hot at AA next year. Then move to Iowa and take another shot around May or June 2015.

    • John_CC

      Not all guys (most actually) do not race through the minors. And most guys don’t make it out at all.

    • BigJonLilJon

      Kind of thought he was more glove and less bat kind of guy. Still young though I think?? So maybe time for him yet

      • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

        True, he’s young enough to get things done. I think he’s still got a future. Some here never thought much of him, but I think some of that was due to him coming in the Dempster deal and overall dissatisfaction and desire to see players Theo acquires fail.