Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/21/14

With time running out in the season, all of the Cubs’ top five minor league teams remain in the hunt for the playoffs. Boise will need some help, but is starting to get some production for Kevin Brown. Kane County is already in, and outfielder Jeffrey Baez is starting to make his presence felt. Daytona got some dramatics from Kyle Schwarber, while Tennessee received excellent pitching from Corey Black, C.J. Edwards, and Pierce Johnson. Meanwhile, Iowa looks like they will have to go down the stretch without the red-hit Mike Olt.

With summaries from the Arizona Rookie League, take a look 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 (34–30)

It was a disappointing effort from the pitching staff Monday as Boise lost 7-3 to Salem-Keizer. Trevor Clifton had three strikeouts as he allowed two earned runs in four innings. Ryan McNeil gave up another two earned runs with two strikeouts in an inning of work. Trey Lang was nicked for three runs (one earned) while striking out two in three innings. The Hawks scored all of their runs in the third inning after Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a two out single from Charcer Burks (3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI). A home run by Kevin Brown (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) drove in Burks.

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PrintIn their annual trip across the border, Boise was not able to capitalize on several scoring chances and lost 2-0 to Vancouver on Tuesday. Josh Conway remains effective with a limited pitch count. Conway tossed three scoreless innings. Ryan Williams was victimized by an error that allowed two unearned runs, but he struck out six in four innings. Yomar Morel had a strikeout in a perfect inning. The Hawks were able to pound out eight hits, but left runners in scoring position several times … Kevin Brown (3-for-4 with a double), Charcer Burks (2-for-4), Alex Tomasovich (2-for-4) and Rashad Crawford (1-for-4) collected hits.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (83-45)

There was sterling pitching on both sides Monday, but when the dust cleared Kane County ended up on of Burlington 2-1 in ten innings. Jen-Ho Tseng continues to impress every time he takes the mound. Tseng struck out five and allowed an earned run on four hits in six innings. Michael Heesch was practically untouchable as he had four strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings. Jasvir Rakkar went the rest of the way as he shut down the Bees for 1.2 innings.

The Cougars tied the game in the bottom of the third on a manufactured run. Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3) was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch and a throwing error. In the bottom of the tenth, Trey Martin (0-for-3) led off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored the winning run on a single from Shawon Dunston Jr.

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The never-say-die attitude of Kane County propelled them to another win Tuesday as the Cougars beat Burlington 4-3. Paul Blackburn had a fine effort as he struck out two and allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings. Zak Hermans gave up an earned run as he tossed three innings. Francisco Carrillo picked up his fourth save with a scoreless ninth.

Once again, the Cougars came from behind as they tied the game in the bottom of the fourth after Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2) walked with one out. Candelario was wiped out on a force play that allowed Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) to reach. Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) followed with a walk. Cael Brockmeyer (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch and a walk to Mark Zagunis (1-for-2 with a double and an RBI) forced in Balaguert. Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a home run) tied the score again in the fifth when he led off with a solo home run. In the eighth, Candelario walked with two outs and Balaguert singled, and both advanced a base on a wild pitch. A double from Rogers drove in Candelario and Balaguert with what would be the winning runs.

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Kane County made it a clean sweep Wednesday afternoon as the Cougars beat Burlington 7-3. For the third game in a row, the Cougars saved their offense for the last minute. Kane County went into the eighth inning behind 3-2. Kane County scored their first run in the third inning after Jeffry Baez (2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, and a stolen base) hit a one out single, stole second, and scored on a two out double from Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Singles by Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4) and Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4) started the sixth inning. Candelario scored on a two out base hit by Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with an RBI). Once again, Candelario and Balaguert began things in the eighth with singles. A base hit by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Candelario, and Balaguert scored on a force play and error the allowed Lockhart to reach. Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with an RBI) singled in Lockhart, and a home run by Jeffrey Baez scored Penalver.

Duane Underwood had another quality start as he allowed two earned runs and struck out four in five innings. Michael Wagner gave up an earned run in 2.2 innings. Three of the four outs Jasvir Rakkar recorded in 1.1 scoreless innings were strikeouts.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (58-67)

Rain on Monday meant a doubleheader Tuesday as some late inning dramatics allowed Daytona to come out on top 4-3 over Clearwater in eight innings in the opener. Tayler Scott has been pitching better of late, and he gave a solid effort once again. Scott allowed three earned runs while striking out five in five innings. Stephen Perakslis saved the rest of the bullpen by recording two strikeouts in three scoreless innings. The D-Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the first after Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with two doubles) led off with a double and scored on a single from Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with an RBI). Daytona took the lead in the second after Billy McKinney (1-for-3) and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4) singled with one out. McKinney scored on a force play. Down to their last strike in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kyle Schwarber (2-for-4 with a double, a home run, and an RBI) tied the game with a solo home run. With one out in the eighth, McKinney walked and scored the game-winner on a pair of throwing errors.

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The nightcap saw the offense pound out ten hits but scored only two runs as Daytona lost 5-2 to Clearwater. The D-Cubs tied things at one in the first inning after Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) singled and Gioskar Amaya (0-for-3) walked. A wild pitch allowed the runners to advance, and Hannemann scored on a sacrifice fly. Daytona grabbed the lead in the second when Billy McKinney (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a two out single from Marco Hernandez (2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base). Jose Rosario took the mound as the game two starting pitcher and allowed four runs (three earned) while striking out three in four innings. Michael Jensen gave up an earned run with three strikeouts in two innings. Austin Kirk struck out two in a perfect seventh.

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It was a repeat Wednesday night as Daytona outhit Clearwater but did not outscore them and lost 7-3. Recently returning to Daytona, Eduardo Figueroa allowed five earned runs and struck out two in four innings. Gerardo Concepcion gave up his first earned runs in a D-Cubs uniform. Concepcion surrendered two runs and struck out three in three innings. Yao-Lin Wang fanned three in two perfect innings. Daytona tied the game in the second inning after Willson Contreras (1-for-3) led off with a single and scored on a triple from Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI). A base hit by Marco Hernandez (2-for-3 with an RBI) plated Rademacher.  The D-Cubs added a run in the fifth after Hernandez drew a one out walk and Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) singled. A ground rule double from Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) scored Hernandez.

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (65-63)

A close game turned into a rout Monday as Tennessee pulled away from Montgomery 7-1. The Smokies were the first on the board after Stephen Bruno (1-for-5 with an RBI) reached on a throwing error with two outs in the second inning and scored on a single by Taylor Davis (1-for-4). With the game tied at one in the sixth, Addison Russell (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) led off with a double and scored on a one out double from Christian Villanueva (2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI). Albert Almora (2-for-5 with a double) began the eighth inning with a single and scored on a home run from Addison Russell. Villanueva doubled with one out and moved to third on a single by Charles Cutler (2-for-5). A base hit by Bruno brought in Villanueva. Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-3) drew a two out walk to load the bases. A walk to Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-4) forced in Cutler. A fielding error allowed Almora to reach and Bruno to score.

It was Corey Black and a host of others as Tennessee pitching scattered eight hits. Black allowed an earned run and struck out four in five innings. P.J. Francescon and Hunter Cervenka each tossed 0.2 innings, and Blake Cooper had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Andrew McKirahan slammed the door in the ninth with a strikeout.

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Tennessee had it in the bag Tuesday until some sloppy play let it slip away as the Smokies lost to Montgomery 7-6. C.J. Edwards was working on a no-hitter for four innings as shut down the Biscuits for five innings and struck out seven batters. Matt Loosen allowed two earned runs to score in 1.1 innings. Zach Cates went 0.2 innings and Jeffrey Lorick set down the side in the eighth before getting into trouble in the ninth, yielding to Frank Batista. The defense kicked the ball around a little, and Lorick was charged with an earned run and Batista with four runs (three earned). The Smokies came out of the gate fast after back-to-back one out doubles by Albert Almora (1-for-5 with a double) and Addison Russell (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and five RBI) scored Almora. Lars Anderson (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Russell. Tennessee then seemed to pull away in the seventh after Stephen Bruno (1-for-3) singled and Taylor Davis (0-for-2) walked. A sacrifice moved the runners up a base, and Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-3) was intentionally walked. Addison Russell then delivered a one out Grand Slam home run.

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On Wednesday, Tennessee grabbed the early lead and never let go as the Smokies defeated Montgomery 4-1. Albert Almora (2-for-4) broke the ice with a one out single in the first inning and scored on an Addison Russell (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) home run, his 11th longball in a Smokies’ uniform. Tennessee manufactured a run in the second after Taylor Davis (0-for-3) reached on an error and Stephen Bruno (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch. Davis scored after a fly out and groundout. A pair of one out singles by Russell and Lars Anderson (1-for-4) began the third inning and Russell scored on a double from Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI).

Starter Pierce Johnson scoreless inning streak reached 22 innings before it ended in the fifth inning as Johnson allowed an earned run and struck out five in 4.1 innings. Hunter Cervenka had a strikeout in 1.2 innings. P.J. Francescon also struck out a batter in two innings, while Blake Cooper fanned two in a perfect inning.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (67–64)

The I-Cubs were not able to stave off Salt Lake City on Monday as they lost 7-5. Starter Chris Rusin was hit hard. Rusin allowed six earned runs on nine hits while striking out two in 6.1 innings. Alberto Cabrera relieved and gave up an earned in 1.2 innings. Marcus Hatley pitched a scoreless ninth. Iowa had a big second inning after Manny Ramirez (0-for-2) led off with a walk and Rafael Lopez (2-for-4) had a one out single. A two out base hit by Ryan Kalish (3-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Ramirez. Junior Lake (0-for-4) followed with a walk. Logan Watkins (2-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI, and a stolen base) hit a bases-clearing double. The I-Cubs added a run in the seventh after Elliot Soto (0-for-2) walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a single from Kalish, and scored on a force out.

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Iowa’s offense once again could not keep up with Salt Lake City as they lost 4-2 in a Tuesday matinee. The I-Cubs took the lead in the fourth inning after Mike Olt (1-for-3) had a two out single and scored on a home run from Manny Ramirez (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI). Dallas Beeler started and allowed three earned runs as he struck out a batter in seven innings. Zac Rosscup had a strikeout in an inning of work. Blake Parker surrendered an earned run in the ninth.

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The Iowa Cubs were trailing the Reno Aces 8-4 in Wednesday night’s game at the time this report posted. Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer, his 41st longball of the season, in the third inning.

Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (20–27)

The AZL Cubs dropped game two of the doubleheader with the White Sox 2-1. Luis Hernandez started and allowed an earned run while striking out three in two innings. Michael Knighton struck out two in two perfect innings. The A-Cubs managed only two hits as Gleyber Torres and Andrew Ely were each 1-for-2.

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On Monday, the A-Cubs could only muster four hits as they lost 4-1 to the White Sox. Adbert Alzolay pitched alright in his first action in nearly a month. Alzolay struck out two and allowed an earned run in an inning. Zach Hedges tossed two innings and gave up two runs (one earned). Third baseman Adonis Paula went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

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The AZL Cubs pitched a four hit shutout Tuesday as they beat the Giants 7-0. Justin Steele started and struck out four in three innings. Carson Sands followed and fanned three in three innings. Varonex Cuevas had a big night at the plate. Cuevas went 3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. Calvin Graves was 2-for-4 with a double.

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News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs assigned RHP Eduardo Figueroa to the Daytona Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies. The Daytona Cubs placed RHP Tyler Skulina on the 7-day disabled list. The Cubs sent LHP Felix Doubront to the Tennessee Smokies on a rehab assignment; sent OF Yasiel Balaguert to the AZL Cubs on a rehab assignment; assigned RHP Yoanner Negrin to the Boise Hawks form the Iowa Cubs. The Iowa Cubs placed INF Mike Olt on the 7-day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs placed RHP Tyler Skulina on the 7-day disabled list.

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  • BillyFinT

    Good to hear about Corey Black, whom this FO traded for “Fonzie” Soriano.

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

      He’s a good pitcher IMO. Just a matter of if he can stay as a starter or will need to move to the bullpen. I don’t want to call it a steal, but considering that releasing him and receiving nothing was likely in the near future, getting Black was nice.

  • Jeff Wilson

    What happened to Mike Olt? Placed on 7 day disabled list is what I read, any more information?

  • Bredboy

    About a month ago, Rotoworld stated the following about Corey Black: “Though he’s a hard thrower with a swing-and-miss arsenal, the effort in Black’s delivery limits his overall command as a starter and prevents him from working deep into games. He’s more likely to serve as a reliever in the major leagues.” I haven’t heard that anywhere else. Anyone know if there is any validity to his mechanics affecting his command?

    • Denver Mike

      I haven’t read any scouting reports from other sources, but his 4.43 BB/9 and 6.91 K/9 this year seem to support that assessment. His BB/9 is actually his career best, but still pretty poor. While his 3.06 ERA this year looks pretty good, his 4.42 FIP and .267 BABIP also seem to indicate he has really benefited from good defense behind him as well.

      Certainly not to say he won’t continue to progress, as he has shown the ability to develop thus far, but the underlying statistics seems to support Rotoworld’s stance.

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

        Yeah, he’s very undersized. I wanted to believe he could be a quality starter because his numbers were pretty good. I thought maybe he could be similar to Hendricks. A guy that do to a largely irrelevant factor didn’t get the credit he deserved.

        But i asked Tom aboutit two days ago and he agreed. His delivery isn’t the type that will allow him to start and pitch 6 or 7 innings. Too much effort.

        But who knows, he could be a Billy Wagner type. Or he could surprise everyone and start.