Neil Ramirez, Felix Doubront Updates and Cubs News from Down on the Farm

Neil Ramirez began a rehab assignment Wednesday night with the AZL Cubs. Ramirez threw two-thirds of an inning and allowed two runs, one earned, on one hit with a walk and a strikeout.

Ramirez was placed on the 15-day DL July 29, retroactive to July 26, with triceps soreness after the team tried to option him to Iowa for ten days to give him a break. Ramirez is eligible to come off the disabled list Aug. 11 and was not expected to miss more than the required 15 days when he was put on the shelf.

By sending him on a rehab assignment, the Cubs technically have 30 days before Neil Ramirez has to be activated from the DL.

The Cubs would like to take a look at LHP Felix Doubront in a starting role before the end of the season. The Cubs acquired Doubront from the Red Sox prior to the deadline for a player to be named later. Doubront is viewed as a change of scenery guy with a high upside that could pay dividends for the Cubs down the road, and in the rotation as soon as next season.

According to a report from Carrie Muskat, Doubront completed another side session Wednesday, 88 pitches, and will travel with the team to Chicago. Felix Doubront could begin a rehab assignment next week as he works to get back to full strength after being placed on the 15-day DL with a left calf strain when he was acquired from the Sox.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs announced three roster moves Thursday.

Manny Ramirez was activated from the disabled list. Ramirez was placed on the DL on July 24. Blake Parker reported back to Iowa and was made available for Thursday’s game. INF Jonathan Mota replaced INF Javier Baez on Iowa’s roster.

Kyle Schwarber

The Cubs first round pick in June’s draft has started his pro career on a positive note, and MLB Pipeline has noticed. Jonathan Mayo listed Kyle Schwarber as one of the five best position players to have a strong start to his professional career.

PrintSchwarber signed quickly and has Mayo pointed out, Schwarber has already played at three different levels but more importantly he’s already received over 200 plate appearances.

Kyle Schwarber has slowed down with Daytona and is hitting .239/.372/.378 with 15 walks, 16 strikeouts, two doubles and two home runs in 20 games. Even with the struggles in High-A ball, Kyle Schwarber has hit .341/.437/.594 with 11 doubles, a triple, 10 home runs, 28 walks, 35 strikeouts and a 1.031 OPS in his first 48 games in professional baseball.

Baseball America’s Best Tools

Baseball America began posting its annual series on the best tools in each league for every level of the minor league system Wednesday. And to no surprise, the Cubs prospects are heavily represented.

Best Tools – Triple-A – Pacific Coast League

Baseball America asked Triple-A managers to vote on the best players for each of its categories.

  • Power Prospect – Javier Baez
  • Control – Kyle Hendricks
  • Reliever – Blake Parker
  • Defensive Second Baseman – Arismendy Alcantara
  • Defensive Third Baseman – Kris Bryant
  • Infield Arm – Javier Baez
  • Defensive Outfielder – Matt Szczur

Complete Report from Baseball America

Best Tools – Double-A – Southern League

Baseball America asked Double-A managers to vote on the best players for each of its categories.

  • Batting Prospect – Kris Bryant
  • Power Prospect – Kris Bryant
  • Infield Arm – Kris Bryant
  • Outfield Arm – Jorge Soler
  • Most Exciting Player – Kris Bryant

Complete Report from Baseball America

Mesa Solar Sox and the AFL

The Arizona Fall League rosters have not been announced yet, but when they are C.J. Edwards is expected to be on the list of Cubs prospects on the Mesa Solar Sox roster.

The AFL announced the managers and coaching staffs for the upcoming season at the end of July and Ron Villone was named the pitching coach for the Solar Sox, which is good news for the Cubs pitching prospects that will be participating in the AFL.

The schedule for the fall season was announced Wednesday and the 2014 AFL season kicks off on Oct. 7 … and for the first time, the Solar Sox will use Cubs Park for the team’s home games.

The season begins on Oct. 7 and runs through Nov. 15 with the league’s championship game at Scottsdale Stadium. Mesa is scheduled to face Glendale on Opening Day in the Arizona Fall League (Oct. 7).

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  • John G

    Just read this factoid on another site. “The Cubs (49-64) are on their way to a fifth straight losing season for the first time since a six-year stretch from 1978-83,”
    Well we all know what happened after that six year stretch. So does history repeat?

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      We choke away the NLCS?

      • jtrain23

        I would LOVE for this team to be in position to choke away the NLCS next year. That team would have won that series 4 out of 5 times. It just didn’t happen. To change an old famous quote, it’s better to be there and lose than to not be there at all.

        • Jeffrey Rogers

          HAHA! Agreed,

      • dicepaul

        Wrigley Field now has lights so the Cubs won’t have home field advantage taken away from them. Home team wins every game and Cubs win!

  • Dave_in_STL

    A few observations from attending the I Cubs vs. OKC game tonight.
    1. The I-Cubs look like a Big League team
    —- Let me explain, the OKC is full of guys 5-6, 175 lbs, the Cubs are all 6-2, 195 or so… as the frames mature, more power comes… most of the guys “look” like major leaguers
    2. Kris Bryant – the good & the bad

  • Dave_in_STL

    — that 2 run homer…. EFFORTLESS. an opposite field shot off a lefty. He barely swung and the ball cleared the wall by a mile. It was certainly sweet to see.
    —- Manny’s 2 run blast should have been a 3 run blast. KB made a bad tag up decision and was gunned down at home by a mile… yep, everyone said he has more to learn, you were all right
    —- there were a TON of grounballs to the right side that got thru for singles. KB never got his jersey dirty. Personally, I thought there were at least 2, maybe 3 he should of at least dove for. BA ranks him the “toolsiest” 3B, didn’t see the effort tonight.
    3. Carlos Pimentel was just awful. Is this the best he’s got? Gave up 7 runs in 5 innings. From the sweet seats, I could see his pitches had no movement, either early (in the case of the few breaking balls I saw him “try” to throw, nor his and late movement on a dead fastball. The light hitting Redhawks squared everything up, though that team is certianly a “singles” team. Just awful.
    4. What is Mike Olt? His approach at the plate tonight was fantastic, he looked great. AAAA… Sorry Boardrider, I just don’t have any faith in someone who has failed at the MLB level more than once only to always come back down to AAA and dominate.
    5. Soler’s arm
    —- Holy crap! What a cannon! He made two strikes to the plate from RF. Neither had any business even being close yet both were. It’s ready now, his approach at the plate was good tonight. He worked AB’s into hitters counts… didn’t have a great night, at least up to the point I bailed (thanks Pimentel, you ruined it for me) but man was the arm impressive.
    Everyone has the right to be optimistic folks, sorry I missed Baez, I was really looking forward to seeing the Baez, Bryant, Soler heart of the order.
    Stay Calm, & go Cubs

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

      Appreciate the report. I don’t see how either MLB stint was long enough to be a failure. Yeah he failed, but in Chicago he never got a fair chance. He was setup to fail.

      And in Texas he was barely up. We will know more next season if he comes up. And if he comes up here soon I expect we will know more. I just don’t see how his MLB time was significant. And jn limited duty he hit 11 HR. If he had played everyday. Even if nothing had improved at all and he had stayed exactly who he was, it’s reasonable to project him having 25 HR.

      • Tony_H

        Olt failed this year of his own doing. The 12 HR’s were great but he only had 10 singles in 187 AB’s. That is failing. 139/222/353. He was given many chances to be the starting 3B and never could hold on to it.

        But yeah, the Texas call up was nothing but 33 AB’s.

      • Brian

        I would have to agree with you again. Olt probably shouldn’t have broke camp with the cubs and should have been in AAA all this year after his eye issues last year. He’s got too much potential to be labeled a bust. They probably brought him up due to his age and lack of options at third. With what he’s doing now in AAA I’m more than willing to be patient and to bring him up when he’s ready.

    • SirGladiator

      Thanks for the update, sounds awesome! Just want to defend KB on one point. While I don’t know exactly how AAA works, I assume they have 3rd base coaches just like real baseball teams, and as such it would be his call, not KB’s, on whether or not Kris went home on a fly ball, so blame the AAA version of Wavin’ Wendell, not Bryant on that one :) . Great to hear confirmation about what we’ve already known, tat Soler is ready, hopefully he will be up soon. I agree about Olt too, he was too horrible too short a time ago to take his AAA numbers seriously. Having said that, Rizzo sucked about as badly as Olt his first time up too, and now he’s a Superstar, so one bad stint in the bigs doesn’t necessarily mean but so much, so I’d give him another chance at some point. All in all a great report, thanks and keep providing us such great news :) !

    • Tony_H

      Nice recap. Bryant will end up in the OF to fix that and Soler is an absolute beast!

      I watched Pimental pitch in Iowa and was lit up on a very cold night. Wasn’t impressed with his (lack) stuff.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you so much for posting this. I really appreciate it.

  • GaryLeeT

    Saw the Cubs put a waiver claim on Hamels. Routine stuff I guess, but how great would that be if they miraculously worked something out? We’ll know soon enough.

  • jtrain23

    I would be VERY careful with Ramirez. There is absolutely no need to rush him back. There is no playoff push or anything. He is still just 25 years old and in his first big league season. This guy appears to have the stuff to help this team long term if he’s healthy. I would not at all feel bad if the team rehabbed him to be sure he’s healthy then shut him down for the rest of the season.