Cubs Notes from Down on the Farm – 08/30/14

Congratulations to the Daytona Cubs, who became the second minor league team to qualify for the playoffs by winning the second half Florida State League North Division Championship. It was a struggle to find consistency all season long for the D-Cubs, but they got a needed shot in the arm when the traded for OF Billy McKinney and promoted OF Jacob Hannemann and OF/C Kyle Schwarber. Hannemann has batted .248/.303/.355/.657 with two home runs, 12 RBI, and five stolen bases, solidifying the leadoff spot that had been problematic since the speedy Tim Saunders went down to injury. Both McKinney (.302/.393/.436/.829 with a home run and 36 RBI) and Schwarber (.303/.396/.568/.863 with 10 homers and 28 RBI) have provided much needed run production. Daytona will need all of their bats if they are to make a splash in post-season, as their pitching staff is second to last in the FSL in both ERA (4.24) and WHIP (1.43).

Even with all the big names that Daytona has on their roster, the player that should be named their Most Valuable Player is Bijan Rademacher. Quite simply, Rademacher outplayed more publicized prospects, such as Albert Almora, Jacob Hannemann, and Dan Vogelbach. Currently hitting .285/.368/.456/.824 with 10 home runs and 56 RBI, Rademacher was pretty much the only player producing in the first half of the season. The D-Cubs have batted Rademacher everywhere from leadoff to ninth, and he has had to move off of his best position, right field, to accommodate others such as Almora, Pin-Chieh Chen, Hannemann, and Billy McKinney.

PrintWith the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) winning both halves of the Northwest League South Division, the Boise Hawks need only one victory over Salem-Keizer (Giants) this weekend to secure their fourth straight playoff appearance. The NWL playoff procedure state that when one team wins both halves, the team with the next best overall record qualifies. The Hawks currently have a two game lead with three left to play against the Volcanoes. Should they tie, Boise would miss the playoffs on head-to-head record in the second half.

In a first place tie with Chattanooga (Dodgers), Tennessee will have to win two out of three against the Lookouts as the season closes to make the playoffs in the Southern League.

The Cubs have one more position player roster spot to name for the Arizona Fall League, and there is a lot of speculation swirling around who will be named. Recently renewed interest in Kyle Schwarber developing as a catcher has put his name in the forefront. However, with 258 at bats (155 currently at Advanced –A Daytona) is 130 ahead of what Kris Bryant (128 at bats, 57 for Daytona) had last season. A trip to the Fall Instructional League may be better suited for Schwarber. There have also been rumbling about Iowa catcher Rafael Lopez. Eligible for the Rule 5 draft, Lopez would fit the profile of the type of player current management wants to send to the AFL. The left-handed hitting Lopez has hit .278 with a home run and 27 RBI in 59 games for the I-Cubs since being promoted in early June. Another consideration could be Daytona catcher Willson Contreras. Like Lopez, Contreras will be on the Rule 5 draft list and the Cubs have a slew of catching prospects behind him (Cael Brockmeyer, Will Remillard, and Mark Zagunis at Single-A Kane County), so evaluating his future is a possibility. Contreras is currently batting .245/.321/.363/.684 with five home runs, 37 RBI, and five stolen bases.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has followed me here, on Facebook, and on Twitter this season. It’s been an exciting minor league season, one that provided more than just a ray of hope for all Cubs’ fans.

Follow @TheCCO_Minors for the latest from Don on the Farm

Quote of the Day

You can’t create magic … don’t deserve magic until you play the game properly. It shouldn’t come your way. And, it won’t come your way. But, if you play the game properly, then all of a sudden, these little things start rolling in your direction and you start expecting them to happen on a daily basis because you’ve earned it.” – Joe Maddon

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  • Ghostdawg

    I belive the Cubs must send a catcher to the AFL, as the Mesa Solar Sox are set on infielders, so my bet would be Victor Caratini, who has made a smooth transition to catcher from 3rd base according to Tim Cossins, the Cubs minor league catching coordinator, but who could still use the reps at catcher so that the FO doesn’t have to wait on his defense to promote him if his bat warrants it.

    • Tom U

      I heard his name mentioned also, but he doesn’t fit the profile as well as the ones mentioned above. Caratini figures better for the instructional league, but you can never be sure until the team announces their intentions.