Rainy weather caused delays, postponements, and doubleheaders across the minor leagues to begin the week. Pitching seemed to dominate as Kane County received fine efforts from Jen-Ho Tseng, Tyler Skulina, and Daury Torrez. Daytona’s Rob Zastryzny has been pitching better of late, and Eduardo Figueroa did well for Tennessee, while Tsuyoshi Wada continues to chug along in Iowa.
So instead of trying to play ‘Find the Ball’ during the next rain delay, why not look at today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s report covers games from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (44-22)
Kane County moved closer to their own club record of 47 wins in a season half on Monday with a 2-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Jen-Ho Tseng returned from the disabled list and pitched three strong innings. Tseng an earned run and struck out three batters. Michael Heesch is starting to round into form as he had four strikeouts in 2.1 innings. James Pugliese remained rock solid as he struck out five in 2.2 innings. Tyler Bremer came on in the ninth and struck out two batters while recording his seventh save.
The Cougars scored all the runs they would need in the fourth inning after Jordan Hankins (0-for-2) drew a one out walk and scored on a double from Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI). Rogers took third on the play at the plate, and after Cael Brockmeyer (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch, Rogers scored on a sacrifice fly from Danny Lockhart (1-for-2 with an RBI).
A rainout on Tuesday meant a doubleheader on Wednesday and Kane County dropped game one to Peoria 2-1. Tyler Skulina was the victim of his defense as he allowed two unearned runs and struck out three in five innings. Michael Wagner continues to shine as he had two strikeouts in a scoreless inning. The Cougars were held to two hits, as Jacob Hannemann (0-for-2 with a stolen base) began the game with a walk. A wild pitch and a stolen base advanced Hannemann to third, and he scored on a double from Jordan Hankins (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI).
Game two saw the Cougars rally back from a 3-0 deficit with four unanswered runs to beat Peoria 4-3. Daury Torrez remained consistent as he allowed three earned runs and struck out two in six innings. Tyler Bremer struck out the side, all swinging, in the seventh for his eighth save. Kane County finally got on the board in the fourth inning as Jordan Hankins (2-for-3 with an RBI) and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) reached on back-to-back singles, and Hankins scored on a sacrifice fly. The Cougars inched closer in the sixth inning when Ben Carhart (2-for-4) and Hankins had base hits and, two outs later, a double by Tim Saunders (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) plated Carhart. With their last chance in the seventh, Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a double) singled and advanced to second on an error. On a sacrifice attempt, Carlos Penalver (2-for-3 with a double) reached and made it all the way to second on a throwing error while Hannemann scored the tying run. A pair of sacrifice flies would bring in Penalver with a game-winner.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (25-38)
Daytona received one of their best performances from a starting pitcher on Monday night. Unfortunately, the results were typical as the D-Cubs lost 2-0 to Clearwater. Rob Zastryzny continues to improve as he went seven innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out nine batters. Stephen Perakslis had three strikeouts of his own as he tossed a scoreless inning. It was a pretty quiet night for the Daytona offense as they only managed six hits … Marco Hernandez (2-for-4), Willson Contreras (2-for-4), Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4).
Consistency has been the season long bugaboo for Daytona and after receiving a good pitching performance on Monday, the D-Cubs received a terrible one from their best pitcher as they lost 11-4 Tuesday to Dunedin. Felix Pena had been a model of consistency for Daytona, but he gave up nine earned runs and struck out two in four innings. Zack Godley is starting to settle in as he was charged with an unearned run while striking out three in two innings. Jasvir Rakkar chipped in two innings and allowed an earned run while recording a strikeout. Daytona was down 6-0 in the third inning when Chadd Krist (1-for-3 with a home run) put them on the board with a solo home run. The D-Cubs tried to crawl back into the game in the eighth inning after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4) led off with a single and Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-4) walked. Chen was wiped out on a force the allowed Marco Hernandez (2-for-5) to reach. A single by Albert Almora (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Amaya, and Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) walked to load the bases. Hernandez scored on a force attempt and Almora crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (31-34)
In what has become a familiar story, the Tennessee pitching staff failed to hold a lead on Monday and the Smokies lost 8-7 to Jacksonville in ten innings. The Smokies jumped out to a 5-0 lead with the scoring starting in the second inning. Anthony Giansanti (2-for-5 with an RBI) singled with two out and moved to third on a base hit by Jeudy Valdez (1-for-4) and scored on a passed ball. Elliot Soto (2-for-5 with a double) started the third inning with a bunt single, and Kris Bryant (2-for-5 with a home run) followed with a base hit of his own. After a ground out that moved the runners up a base, a soft liner by Dustin Geiger (2-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Soto and Bryant. Rubi Silva (1-for-5 with a double) doubled to but runners in scoring position again, and Geiger scored on a base hit by Valdez. Starting pitcher Joe Gardner (1-for-1 with an RBI) got into the act as his single plated Silva. Tennessee added two in the seventh after Bryant led off with a solo home run. A base hit put Charles Cutler (2-for-4) on base and he scored two outs later on a single by Giansanti. Gardner had his first difficult as a starter for the Smokies as he allowed four earned runs, with a strikeout, in 4.2 innings. P.J. Francescon kept the Suns in check for 1.1 innings as he had a strikeout. But Hunter Cervenka allowed Jacksonville to creep back into the game after he gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Jeffrey Lorick took over and surrendered the tying run in his 1.2 innings of work. Arodys Vizcaino was able to get the first batter out in the tenth, before he served up a walk-off home run.
The Smokies were off Tuesday and hosted Mississippi on Wednesday. Tennessee broke a tie in the eighth on a wild pitch and won the game 3-2. The game started well for Tennessee as Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4) led off with a single and Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with a double) doubled. A wild pitch plated Giansanti, while a single by Kris Bryant (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Bruno. But that would be all the scoring for a while as the pitchers dominated the middle innings. Then in the eighth, Giansanti reached on a fielding error and made it to third on a base hit from Bryant. Charles Cutler (0-for-3) walked and a wild pitch sent Giansanti scampering in with the lead run.
Eduardo Figueroa looked a little more comfortable in his second start as he went five innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out three batters. Tony Zych kept the Braves off the board for two innings and picked up two strikeouts. P.J. Francescon tossed a scoreless inning, and Armando Rivero struck out two in the ninth for his tenth save.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (33-28)
It was a game that people talk about for years as Iowa obliterated Fresno on Monday 17-2. Before we get to all the runs, starter Tsuyoshi Wada did his job. Wada held the Grizzlies to an earned run and struck out two in six innings. Alberto Cabrera had two strikeouts in a scoreless inning, while Carlos Pimentel surrendered an earned run as he tossed a frame. Frank Batista finished things off with a strikeout in the ninth.
It was actually a close game for the first few innings after Javier Baez (3-for-5 with a triple, a home run, two RBI, and a stolen base) got the I-Cubs on the board with a solo home run in the first inning. Ryan Kalish (2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base) walked and scored on a double from Matt Szczur (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) in the second inning. In the third inning, Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-6) started things off with a single, but exchanged places with Baez on a force. Baez then stole second and Rafael Lopez (2-for-5 with a home run and seven RBI) walked. Kalish drove in Baez with a single. Iowa added two runs in the fifth after Baez tripled and scored on a groundout. Kalish followed with a double, stole third base, and scored on a single by Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a home runs and five RBI). Brett Jackson (2-for-4) began the sixth with a walk but was out going to second on a bunt attempt from Tsuyoshi Wada (0-for-2). Singles by Alcantara and Logan Watkins (2-for-5 with an RBI) loaded the bases, and one out later Wada and Alcantara scored on a single by Lopez. Kalish walked to re-load the bases, and Villanueva cleared them with a Grand Slam. In the seventh, Jackson and pinch-hitter Casper Wells lead off with walks. Jackson scored on a single from Watkins and Wells scored in on a sacrifice fly. The I-Cubs weren’t done in the ninth, as singles by Alcantara and Baez were sandwiched around a walk to Watkins. Lopez put the punctuation on the win with a Grand Slam of his own.
Iowa may have wished they had saved some runs from the previous night as they failed to hold the lead in a 3-2 loss to Fresno on Tuesday. Kyle Hendricks did well enough to win as he allowed three earned runs and struck out six in seven innings. Marcos Mateo pitched a perfect eighth inning and had a strikeout. The I-Cubs took the lead in the first inning after Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a triple) led off the game with a single, went to third on a bunt and a throwing error, with Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) making it to second base. Alcantara scored on a groundout but Iowa wasted a bases loaded opportunity. Iowa re-took the lead in the fifth after Alcantara tripled and scored on a single from Szczur.
Dominican Summer League
The DSL Cubs are currently tied for first place in the Boca Chica North Division. Only one offensive player ranks among the league leaders. Infielder Jenner Emeterio is tied for tenth with five stolen bases. Outfielder Roberto Caro is leading the regulars at .303/.477/.576/1.053, and is tied for the team lead with a home run and eight RBI. Infielder Carlos Jimenez also has a home run and eight RBI along with a .281/.324/.375/.699 line. Right handed pitchers Oscar De La Cruz and Pedro Araujo remained tied for the league lead with a 0.00 ERA, as each hurler is 2-0 in 11 innings. De La Cruz has 12 strikeouts and a 0.55 WHIP, while Araujo has a WHIP of 1.00 with seven strikeouts.
Venezuelan Summer League
The VSL Cubs have climbed out of the cellar, sort of, as their record of 9-15 is tied for last in the five-team league. Outfielder Luis Hidalgo ranks in the league top ten on all three major categories. Hidalgo is tied for first with three home runs, third with a .344 batting average, and tied for tenth with 10 RBI. Third baseman Wladimir Galindo is tied with Hidalgo for the lead with three home runs and is tied for fifth in the league with 16 RBI, while hitting .282. Infielder Henrry Pedra remains just behind the leaders at .315 with five RBI and five stolen bases. Switch-hitting infielder/outfielder Humberto Garcia remains the league leader with 11 stolen bases. Right-hander Harrinson Bermudez has moved into third in the league with a 1.83 ERA and is 1-1 with a 1.17 WHIP and nine strikeouts in 19.2 innings. Lefty Yapson Gomez has moved to fourth with a 2.05 ERA, fifth with a 1.00 WHIP, and is 1-0 with 15 strikeouts in 22 innings. Enrique De Los Rio has fallen to tenth in the league with a 2.91 ERA and has a 1.20 WHIP, along with a 0-1 record and 15 strikeouts in 21.2 innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned INF Tim Saunders to the Kane County Cougars from extended spring training; assigned INF/OF David Bote to the Boise Hawks from the Kane County Cougars; assigned OF/C Kyle Schwarber to the Boise Hawks. The Tennessee Smokies activated INF Stephen Bruno from the 7-day disabled list; placed RHP Julio Rodriguez on the 7-day disabled list.