The “big fly” played a prominent role to end the week in the minors. First Round pick Kyle Schwarber had two round-trippers for Boise and Justin Marra also went deep as the Hawks began their season. Kane County received homers from Yasiel Balaguert, Jordan Hankins, and Jacob Rogers as the Cougars finished the first half of their season. Taylor Davis was able to deliver a pinch-hit home run for Tennessee, while Javier Baez had a game-winner for Iowa.
So look out in the bleachers, as they’re swinging from the heels in today’s Down on the Farm Report.
And this week’s report includes highlights from Saturday’s Florida State League All-Star Game.
Editor’s Note: Monday’s covers games from Thursday through to Saturday. Thursday’s report covers games Monday through Wednesday
Short Season Class-A – Boise Hawks (3–0)
Opening night Friday contained an air of excitement as Boise defeated Tri-City 4-2. The Hawks drew first blood in the fourth inning after Kyle Schwarber (3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) singled and David Bote (3-for-4 with a double) doubled to put runners in scoring position. Schwarber scored on a ground out. Boise had fallen behind 2-1 in the seventh when Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-4) led off with a single and two outs later Mark Malave (1-for-3) walked. Schwarber then launched his first professional home run to put the Hawks ahead for good.
Tyler Ihrig was in command as the Boise starter. Ihrig allowed only one hit through five scoreless innings while striking out five batters. Greyfer Eregua made his first appearance in the United States and gave up two earned runs as he struck out two in two innings. David Garner was dominant in relief with four strikeouts, including striking out the side in the eighth, in two scoreless innings to pick up a save.
In a game that could be considered typical at this level early in the season, Boise prevailed over Tri-City 10-5 on Saturday. The game featured nine wild pitches and two hit batters combined by both teams. Nineteen-year old starter Erick Leal showed some of the best control. Leal struck out four and allowed an unearned run in five innings. Scott Frazier could not find the plate, and his four wild pitches and four walks led to four earned runs as he failed to record an out. Trey Lang showed some improvement as he had four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Twenty-four year old Venezuelan Francisco Carrillo had three strikeouts as he held the Dust Devils for two innings.
The Hawks remained aggressive on offense as Jeffrey Baez (2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI, and two stolen bases) led off the game with a walk and promptly stole second base. A wild pitch moved Baez to third, and an out later, Baez scored on a single by Kyle Schwarber (3-for-5 with three RBI). Kevin Brown (2-for-3) started out things in the second inning with a one out single. Zak Blair (2-for-3) followed with a base hit and Oliver Zapata (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Brown. A single from Baez plated Blair and Zapata, and then Baez stole second base again. Schwarber delivered another RBI single that plated Baez. In the fourth inning, Blair singled, was sacrificed to second and scored on a base hit from Mark Malave (1-for-4 with an RBI). Boise put the game away in the seventh after Baez started the inning with a triple. Schwarber singled in Baez with one out. Danny Canela (2-for-4) followed with a base hit, and a double from David Bote (1-for-4) scored Schwarber. Jesse Hodges (0-for-4) reached on fielder’s choice as Canela was thrown out at home. A wild pitch advanced Bote and Hodges, and Brown walked to load the bases. Bote and Hodges scored on consecutive wild pitches.
It looks as though the offense will be carrying Boise in the early part of this season as the Hawks defeated Tri-City 11-9 on Sunday. The Hawks tied the score in the third inning after Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-3 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a double by Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Baez scored on a home run from Kyle Schwarber (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI). Boise regained the lead in the sixth inning when Schwarber coaxed a one out walk. David Bote (1-for-2) had a two out single, and Justin Marra (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) drilled his first home run of the season. Rashad Crawford (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) began the seventh inning with a single and stole second base. Kevin Brown (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) doubled in Crawford with the tying run. Boise broke the game open in the eighth after Bote walked to start the frame, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Zak Blair (1-for-4 with an RBI). Blair took second on the throw home and moved to third on a wild pitch. A walk to Papaccio brought up Crawford, whose safety squeeze plated Blair. Baez and Brown were issued free passes, which allowed Papaccio to score. A sacrifice fly brought in Crawford.
Trevor Clifton tied a Boise high for the season with five strikeouts as he allowed four earned runs in 4.1 innings. Carlos Llano, just activated before the game, went two innings and gave up an earned run as he struck out two batters. Yomar Morel surrendered four runs (three earned) in his Boise debut as he pitched 2.2 innings with two strikeouts.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (45–25)
Kane County closed in on a record Thursday as the Cougars defeated Peoria 4-1. The Cougars needed to win two of their next three games to tie a club record for victories in a half-season with 47. Kane County took the lead in the second inning after Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with a double) reached on a two out double and scored on a single by Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with an RBI). The Cougars increased their lead in the fifth after Dunston led off with a base hit and scored on a triple from Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI). A groundout allowed Penalver to score. Kane County added a run in the seventh after Trey Martin (2-for-4 with a stolen base) singled with two out and stole second. Jacob Hannemann (0-for-4 with an RBI) walked, and a base hit by Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with an RBI) plated Martin.
Juan Carlos Paniagua posted his third straight quality start as he had six strikeouts over six scoreless innings. Zak Hermans had a little trouble as he allowed an earned run with a strikeout in two innings. James Pugliese continues to sparkle in his new role as a reliever. Pugliese struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.
It was a see-saw affair on Friday night as Kane County ended up losing to Beloit 3-2. Paul Blackburn had a decent showing. Blackburn allowed two earned runs and struck out three in five innings. Josh Davis had four strikeouts but gave up the winning run in his three innings of work. The Cougars took the lead in the first inning after Carlos Penalver (1-for-4 with a double) led off the game with a double and scored after two groundouts. Kane County tied the game in the seventh inning on a solo home run from Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a home run).
Beloit may want to think about giving their scoreboard operator a day off after Saturday night, a game in which Kane County lost 12-11. The big offensive numbers hide the pitching display made by Cougars’ starter Jen-Ho Tseng as he struck out eight in five scoreless innings. Lefty Alberto Diaz was pummeled by the Snappers. Diaz gave up seven earned runs as he failed to record an out. Corbin Hoffner replaced Diaz and poured gas on the fire by allowing three earned runs while striking out three in 2.2 innings. Kane County still had a chance to win the game, but Tyler Bremer was not his reliable self and surrendered two earned runs in the ninth. The Cougars jumped out to a big lead after Jacob Hannemann (4-for-6 with a double and two RBI) led off the game with a double and moved to third on a single by Carlos Penalver (3-for-5 with a double, two RBI, and a stolen base). After an out, Hannemann scored on a single from Jordan Hankins (4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBI). Penalver started the third inning with a single and stole second. A base hit by Ben Carhart (2-for-6) and a double from Hankins scored Penalver. In the fourth, Trey Martin (3-for-4 with two doubles) hit a two out double and scored on a single from Hannemann. The Cougars then exploded in the sixth inning after Danny Lockhart (1-for-5) led off with a single and Antonio Valerio (1-for-5 with a double) doubled. A walk to Martin loaded the bases, and a single by Hannemann plated Lockhart. Valerio was forced in as Penalver walked, and a one out single by Hankins drove in Martin and Hannemann. Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) delivered a double that brought Penalver home, and Hankins scored on a sacrifice fly. Kane County tacked on a run in the eighth after Carhart singled and scored on a double from Hankins. The Cougars knotted the game at 11 in the ninth after Martin singled with one out and advanced to third on a base hit by Hannemann. Hannemann was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double and was ejected after pushing umpire Cameron Westover. Manager Mark Johnson was also ejected on the play. A double from Penalver scored Martin.
The Cougars ended the first half of the season on a low note Sunday as Kane County was swept by Beloit and lost 5-4 in 12 innings. The longball figured prominently in the scoring as Kane County gained the lead in the fourth inning after Jordan Hankins (2-for-4 with a home run) drew a two out walk and scored on a home run from Yasiel Balaguert (3-for-5 with a double, home run, and two RBI). Hankins increased the lead for the Cougars in the sixth inning after he hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot. Tied at three in the top of the 12th, Jacob Rogers (2-for-5 with a home run) blasted a solo home run. Duane Underwood came off the disabled list and tossed two scoreless innings while striking out a batter. Michael Wagner took over and gave up an earned run while striking out three in three innings. Michael Heesch had a strikeout as he held the Snappers for two innings. James Pugliese was the victim of an error as he allowed two unearned runs in four innings while striking out four batters. Zak Hermans served up a walk-off two run home run in the 12th inning.
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (25-40)
Rain postponed Wednesday’s game with Dunedin, which was made up for with a doubleheader on Thursday and Daytona dropped the opener 5-1. Tayler Scott got the starting call and gave up five earned runs while striking out three in 4.2 innings. Michael Jensen recorded the last four outs. The D-Cubs scored a consolation run in the sixth inning when Wes Darvill (1-for-1 with a home run) hit a solo home run.
The nightcap saw a sweep as Daytona lost 5-2 to Dunedin. Once again, the D-Cubs starting pitcher put them in a hole as Nathan Dorris allowed five earned runs in 2.1 innings. Jose Rosario was summoned and struck out all five batters he faced in 1.2 innings. Starling Peralta and Austin Kirk each shut down the Blue Jays for an inning. As in game one, Daytona scored their runs in the sixth inning after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with a triple) tripled and scored on a double from Zeke DeVoss (1-for-2 with a double and an RBI). One out later, DeVoss stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (33-36)
The combination of not scoring runs and failing to hold a lead seem to be recurring themes for Tennessee this season was present on Thursday as the Smokies lost 4-2 to Mississippi. The Smokies were the first team on the board after Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a double) walked with two outs in the third inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single from Charles Cutler (2-for-3 with an RBI). Behind 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Bryant doubled and scored on a triple by Rubi Silva (2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI). While it may been asking a lot, starter Dae-Eun Rhee failed to hold the one run lead as he allowed two earned runs while striking out two in six innings. Zach Cates was charged with the loss after giving up two unearned runs, on his error, in 0.2 innings. Hunter Cervenka struck out every batter he faced as he fanned four in 1.1 innings. Arodys Vizcaino had a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
Tennessee took out their frustrations on Mississippi Friday as the Smokies beat the Braves 8-2. Tennessee tied the game in the bottom of the first after Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-5 with a double) led off with a single, advanced to second on a bunt and scored on a base hit by Charles Cutler (1-for-2 with an RBI). Once again, Tennessee knotted the game in the third inning after Ha began the inning with a double and scored one out later on a single from Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with an RBI). The Smokies broke the game open in the sixth as Bryant and Cutler drew a one out walks. Bryant scored on a single by Dustin Geiger (2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI). Rubi Silva (0-for-3) was intentionally walked to load the bases. Jonathan Mota (1-for-4) reached on a fielding error that allowed Cutler to score. Geiger and Silva scored on a single by Jeudy Valdez (1-for-4 with two RBI). Tennessee put the game away in the seventh after Cutler was hit by a pitch and scored on Geiger’s ninth home run of the season.
Matt Loosen started the game for Tennessee and notched five strikeouts while allowing two earned runs in five innings. Jeffrey Lorick pitched a scoreless inning. Lendy Castillo blanked the Braves for two innings. Armando Rivero picked up two strikeouts in the ninth.
It was a familiar story line Saturday as the Smokies scored enough but their pitching staff could not hold a lead as Tennessee lost 6-4 to Mississippi. In the first inning, Stephen Bruno (2-for-4) lined a one out single and scored on a two out double from Charles Cutler (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Tennessee increased their lead in the third after starting pitcher Joe Gardner (1-for-2) led off with a single and Bruno was hit by a pitch. Cutler drew a two out walk and Dustin Geiger (1-for-3 with an RBI) singled in Gardner. Bruno was thrown out at the plate. Behind 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a double) hit a one out double, and pinch-hitter Taylor Davis (1-for-1 with a home run and two RBI) slammed a two-run home run. Gardner had another decent start as he allowed three earned runs with a strikeout in 5.2 innings. Tony Zych tossed 1.1 scoreless innings, but Hunter Cervenka gave up two earned runs in his inning of work. P.J. Francescon surrendered an earned run in the ninth.
Tennessee broke the cycle of poor run support and not holding leads Sunday as the Smokies defeated Mississippi 7-6 in 11 innings. The Smokies scored first after Stephen Bruno (3-for-6) reached with a one out single. Dustin Geiger (0-for-3) walked. A base hit from Rubi Silva (3-for-6 with two RBI) plated Bruno. Tennessee regained the lead in the fourth inning after Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-6) led off with a base hit and scored on a two out single from Anthony Giansanti (3-for-6 with an RBI). Behind 6-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Smokies got one out singles from Giansanti and Bruno. Bruno advanced to second on defensive indifference. Giansanti scored on a sacrifice fly, and Geiger drew another walk. A base hit by Silva drove in Bruno, while Taylor Davis (1-for-5) also walked. A throwing error allowed Ha to reach and scored both Geiger and Silva with the tying runs. Davis started the rally in the bottom of the 11th with a base hit and Ha reached again on an error. A one out single by Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with an RBI) scored Davis with the winning run.
Corey Black came off the disabled list and had five strikeouts while allowing an unearned run in three innings. Zach Cates had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings, and Jeffrey Lorick held the Braves without a run for an inning. But Eduardo Figueroa had an inning he would like to forget as he surrendered five earned runs without recording an out. Lendy Castillo picked up the pieces and tossed two scoreless innings. Arodys Vizcaino had two strikeouts in the ninth, while Armando Rivero struck out three in the final two innings to pick up the victory.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (34-33)
Iowa had the tables turned on them on Wednesday night as they lost to Fresno 10-1. The I-Cubs started their series with the Grizzlies by blowing them out 17-2, and got a taste of their own medicine. Starter Chris Rusin simply did not have “it.” Rusin gave up seven earned runs in three innings while striking out four batters. Jeffry Antigua got the early call and struck out two batters in three scoreless innings. Rehabbing Zac Rosscup also held Fresno without a run as he struck out the side in an inning of work. It was a different story for Yoanner Negrin as he allowed three earned runs in the ninth. Iowa pushed across their only run in the second inning after Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a double) led off the inning with a double and scored on a single by Josh Vitters (3-for-4 with an RBI).
It was more of a typical baseball game on Thursday than some of the lopsided scores previously seen, but Iowa still ended up on the short end in 5-2 loss to Fresno. The I-Cubs scored first after Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a stolen base) led off the game with a single, stole second, and two outs later scored on a base hit from Rafael Lopez (2-for-4 with an RBI). Iowa added a run in the sixth on a solo home run from Chris Valaika (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI). Eric Jokisch put together the second straight subpar performance for an Iowa starter. Jokisch allowed five earned runs and strcuk out four in six innings. Frank Batista and Marcus Hatley each tossed a scoreless inning.
Moving on to Sacramento on their West Coast swing, Iowa went to the well once too often in a 7-5 loss to the River Cats. Dallas Beeler started for the I-Cubs and pitched well. Beeler allowed two earned runs through six innings. But manager Marty Peavy may have pushed Beeler a little too far as he gave up another four earned runs in the seventh. Beeler ended up being charged with six earned runs to go along with six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. Carlos Pimentel was somewhat responsible as he allowed three inherited runners to score as he was charged with an earned run while failing to record an out. Marcos Mateo mopped up and recorded the final four outs. Iowa began the game with a double from Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a double), who then scored after two ground outs. The I-Cubs regained the lead in the fifth after Christian Villanueva (0-for-2) was hit by a pitch. Brett Jackson (1-for-2) and Matt Szczur (0-for-3) walked to load the bases. A groundout forced Villanueva at the plated and allowed Alcantara to reach. Ryan Kalish (1-for-3 with a triple and three RBI) cleared the bases with a triple and then scored on a sacrifice fly.
Frustration seems to be setting in for Iowa on this road trip, as they lost 9-4 Saturday to Sacramento. The mood was punctuated by Javier Baez (0-for-4) in the sixth inning as he slammed down his bat and shattered it after striking out. Starter Tsuyoshi Wada was not at his best as he allowed five runs (four earned) and struck out five in 4.1 innings. Alberto Cabrera was no help as he gave up three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Yoanner Negrin was the only Iowa pitcher untouched as he tossed a scoreless inning. Blake Parker got in some work and was nicked for an earned run. The I-Cubs actually took the lead in the fifth inning after Josh Vitters (1-for-4) led off with a single and Casper Wells (0-for-2) drew a one out walk. A base hit by Matt Szczur (3-for-4 with an RBI) platedVitters, but Wells was thrown out at home. Iowa attempted a comeback in the eighth inning after Luis Flores (1-for-3 with a home run) smacked a solo home run. Szczur followed with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Walks to Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3 with a stolen base) and Ryan Kalish (0-for-2) loaded the bases and a double play by Baez scored Szczur. Chris Valaika (2-for-4 with an RBI) singled in Alcantara.
Iowa salvaged one Sunday as they came from behind to beat Sacramento 4-3. The I-Cubs were down 2-0 in the fourth inning when Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4 with a double) led off with a single and moved to third on a base hit from Ryan Kalish (1-for-4). Alcantara scored on a groundout. Iowa tied the game in the fifth after Josh Vitters (1-for-4) singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A base hit by Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a stolen base) put runners on the corners, and Vitters scored on a sacrifice fly. In the eighth inning, the I-Cubs took the lead for good after Alcantara doubled and scored on a home run from Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run. two RBI, and two stolen bases).
Kyle Hendricks had what would be for him a routine outing. Hendricks allowed two earned runs and struck out six in seven innings. Zac Rosscup gave up an earned run as he pitched an inning, while Marcus Hatley had two strikeouts as he earned his first save with a scoreless ninth.
Florida State League All-Star Game
The FSL held its All-Star Game on Saturday, and the Daytona Cubs were well represented. In pregame festivities, outfielder Bijan Rademacher made the finals of the Home Run Derby but bowed to Minnesota Twins prospect Adam Brett Walker 36 points to 23. Along with Rademacher, shortstop Marco Hernandez and second baseman Gioskar Amaya were named starters to the North squad, and each of them was instrumental in its 6-4 victory over the South All-Stars. Rademacher went 1-for-3 with an outfield assist, while Hernandez (2-for-4 with an RBI) delivered a key RBI single in the ninth inning to tie the game at four. Amaya (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) provided what would be the game-winner, as his one out double drove in two runs. D-Cubs starter Felix Pena pitched the fourth inning and only gave up a hit. Reliever Andrew McKirahan worked around two hits in the eighth inning and was credited with the victory.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned LHP Zac Rosscup to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Josh Davis to the Boise Hawks from the Kane County Cougars; assigned RHP Carlos Llano and RHP Yomar Morel to the Boise Hawks from extended Spring Training.
The Iowa Cubs placed LHP Jeffry Antigua on the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed OF John Andreoli on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to June 11; activated RHP Corey Black from the 7-day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars activated RHP Duane Underwood from the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Note: RHP Corey Black returns to the Top Prospect List, replacing RHP Duane Underwood
Arismendy Alcantara (INF) – Iowa Cubs
Albert Almora (OF) – Daytona Cubs
Corey Black (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Paul Blackburn (RHP) – Kane County Cougars
Willson Contreras (C) – Daytona Cubs
Jacob Hannemann (OF) – Kane County Cougars
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – Iowa Cubs
Tyler Skulina (RHP) – Daytona Cubs
Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Daytona Cubs
Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – Daytona Cubs