As the saying goes “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” There was plenty of movement in minor leagues to end the week, as there was the usual roster shuffling along with a big trade. Tennessee said hello to new prospect INF Addison Russell and welcomed back to OF Jorge Soler. Outfielder Billy McKinney met some new teammates in Daytona, while Chris Rusin and possibly more are leaving Iowa for the big leagues.
Through it all, four teams maintained their first place leads while two more moved into second place. To find out where each team stands, 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 Class-A – Boise Hawks (11–12)
Pitching took control Wednesday as Boise defeated Tri-City 8-3. Nineteen-year old Erick Leal had the Dust Devils’ number as he gave up an unearned run and struck out two in six innings. Nineteenth round draft pick Brad Markey made his Boise debut and picked up a strikeout in two scoreless innings. Josh Davis continues to struggle as he allowed two earned runs in the ninth.
The Hawks had a big third inning as Jeffrey Baez (1-for-5 with a triple and a stolen base) led off with a triple and scored on a one-out single by Mark Zagunis (2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base). Zagunis stole second but was able to walk home on a Jesse Hodges (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) longball, his fourth home run of the season. Justin Marra (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) followed with a double and scored on a single from Mark Malave (2-for-4 with two RBI). Boise put the game out of reach in the seventh after Zagunis, Danny Canela (1-for-4 with an RBI), and Hodges singled to load the bases. Zagunis scored on a groundout by Marra that forced Hodges at second. A base hit by Malave plated Canela, while a double from Giuseppe Papaccio (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) scored Marra. The Hawks added a run in the eighth after Rashad Crawford (1-for-6) reached on an error, made it all the way to third and scored on a groundout.
Momentum has come to Boise as the Hawks won three straight games with a 4-0 shutout of Tri-City Thursday. Trevor Clifton was on top of his game as he scattered four hits and three walks while striking out seven in six innings. Sam Wilson pitched two perfect innings and struck out three batters. David Garner had a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.
Jeffrey Baez (1-for-3 with a home run) put the Hawks on the board in the fourth inning with a leadoff homer. Mark Zagunis (1-for-3) began the seventh inning with a single, and Jesse Hodges (1-for-3) reached on a one out basehit. Both runners advanced a base on a balk and scored on a two out single by Alex Tomasovich (2-for-4 with two RBI). Boise added a run in the ninth after Mark Malave (1-for-4) and Tomasovich reached one out singles, and Malave scored on a sacrifice fly.
Boise lost some of their momentum Friday as the Hawks came flat against Eugene and lost 7-1. Josh Conway remains impressive in a limited role as he only gave up two walks in three scoreless innings. On the other hand, Ryan McNeil continued to struggle as he allowed three earned runs in two innings. Greyfer Eregua bounced back from a poor outing and posted two shutout innings, but Alberto Diaz extinguished any hope of a comeback as he gave up four earned runs and struck out two in two innings. The only run for the Hawks came in the second inning after Jesse Hodges (1-for-2) walked, went to third on a single from Mark Malave (2-for-4), and scored on a sacrifice fly.
The Hawks scored in double digits for the sixth time this season Saturday as Boise blew past Eugene 15-3. Danny Canela (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI) had an excellent night as he led off the second inning with a single. Jesse Hodges (2-for-5 with a double) doubled and Canela scored on a sacrifice fly. Walks to Giuseppe Papaccio (0-for-2) and Charlie White (2-for-4 with two RBI) started the third inning, and they both scored on a Jeffery Baez (2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) longball, his league leading sixth home run of the season. Mark Zagunis (1-for-4) had a one out single and scored on a double from Canela. A fielder’s choice allowed Hodges to reach and Canela was wiped out at third. Hodges scored on a home run from Justin Marra (1-for-4). The fourth inning began with a single by White, who went to third on a one out base hit from Rashad Crawford (2-for-5). Both White and Crawford scored on a series of fielding errors that allowed Zagunis to make it all the way to third base. A groundout plated Zagunis. The Hawks weren’t done as Baez and Crawford started the sixth with singles, and Canela loaded the bases with a one out base hit. Walks to Marra and Jason Vosler (1-for-4 with an RBI) forced in two runs. Pinch-hitter Chesny Young (1-for-1 with an RBI) was hit by a pitch that forced in another run. Marra and Vosler scored on a single by White.
Boise starter Trevor Graham had a team-high eight strikeouts as he allowed two earned runs in five innings. Jasvir Rakkar qualified for the long save as he tossed three innings of shutout ball with two strikeouts. Trey Lang gave up his first earned run of the season as he eventually fanned three in the ninth.
Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (57–29)
Kane County continued to flex their muscles Thursday as the Cougars swamped Peoria 10-2. Daury Torres may be bucking to be the next Cougars’ pitcher to gain Midwest League Pitcher of the Week as he held the Chiefs to two unearned runs while striking out two in seven innings. James Pugliese worked around a walk and a hit in two scoreless innings.
Kane County was in command from the start after Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with an RBI) reached on an error and one out later Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with an RBI) was hit by a pitch. A double from Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) drove in Hannemann and Schwarber. The Cougars increased their lead in the fourth after Cael Brockmeyer (2-for-4 with a home run) reached on an error and Carlos Penalver (0-for-3) walked. After a groundout moved the runners up a base, Brockmeyer scored on a single from David Bote (2-for-4 with three RBI). A base hit by Hannemann plated Penalver and Bote. Brockmeyer led off the sixth inning with a solo home run. Kane County made it a no-doubter in the eighth inning after Jacob Rogers (0-for-3) walked and Brockmeyer singled to put runners at the corners. A one-out double by Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and a stolen base) drove in Rogers, and a base hit from Bote scored Brockmeyer and Dunston. A single by Hannemann and a walk to Ben Carhart (1-for-4) loaded the bases, and Bote scored on a groundout.
It was another excellent pitching performance Friday as Kane County had just enough to outlast Clinton 2-1. Juan Carlos Paniagua has only given up three earned runs in his last five appearances as he went six innings on Friday and allowed an earned run while striking out three batters. Michael Wagner has quietly put together a very good season. Wagner picked up his second save as he struck out three in three scoreless innings.
The Cougars offense got the lead I the second inning as Jacob Rogers (1-for-4) had a one out single and came home on a triple from Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI). Kane County added to their lead in the sixth after Shawon Dunston Jr. (0-for-2) walked and eventually scored on a double by Kyle Schwarber (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI).
Pitching remains the story in Kane County as another dominant performance helped the Cougars to a 4-0 victory over Clinton on Saturday. Duane Underwood gave up only three hits with no walks and six strikeouts in six innings. Jose Arias had only a walk to go along with two strikeouts in two innings. Michael Heesch finished up the game with two strikeouts in the ninth.
The Cougars broke a scoreless tie in the third inning after Jeimer Candelario (0-for-2) led off with a walk and Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) singled. Both runners moved up a base on a groundout and scored on a single by Carlos Penalver (1-for-5 with two RBI). Kane County sealed the victory in the ninth on leadoff singles by Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4) and Jacob Rogers (1-for-3). Will Remillard (0-for-4) reached on an error that allowed Balaguert to score. Candelario walked, and Rogers scored on a sacrifice fly.
It was a heartbreaker Sunday as Kane County went 14 innings but lost to Clinton 2-1. Tyler Skulina battled all afternoon as he allowed an earned run on six hits while striking out three in six innings. Jen-Ho Tseng drew the long assignment and went five scoreless innings as he struck out three batters. James Pugliese did his job as he held the Lumber King without a run and a strikeout in two innings. Gerardo Concepcion entered the game in the 14th inning and was immediately in trouble with a walk and a base hit before he struck out a batter. Concepcion issued another walk and the walk-off single. The Cougars tied the game in the sixth after Trey Martin (2-for-6 with a double) doubled with one out and scored on a single from Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-4 with an RBI).
High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (35-45)
Two rainouts in a row had a positive effect on Daytona as they played a complete game to beat Lakeland 4-2. Nathan Dorris blanked the Flying Tigers for six innings with four strikeouts. Michael Jensen took over and allowed an earned run with a strikeout in 1.1 innings. Zack Godley got the call and struck out a batter while giving up an earned run in route to picking up his second save.
The D-Cubs broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning after Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a home run) jacked a solo home run with two outs. Gioskar Amaya (0-for-4) reached on a dropped third strike and Wes Darvill (2-for-4 with a double) hit a ground rule double. A passed ball allowed Amaya to score. Rademacher led off the sixth inning with a walk and Darvill reached on a force attempt. A single from Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Rademacher, and Darvill scored on a groundout.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (44-43)
It was marathon baseball Thursday as Tennessee lost to Montgomery 4-3 in 16 innings. Eduardo Figueroa started for the Smokies and had a good outing. Figueroa allowed an earned run and struck out three in six innings. Lendy Castillo kept the biscuits at bay by striking out five in two scoreless innings. Usually reliable Frank Batista had some trouble in the ninth and gave up an earned run in two innings. Hunter Cervenka surrendered the go-ahead run in the 12th but he had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Jeffry Antigua was asked to carry the burden as he went 4.1 innings while striking out six and gave up the winning run. The offense had their chances as the Smokies collected fifteen hits. Tennessee tied the score in the fourth after Dustin Geiger (2-for-8 with a double and a home run) doubled with one out scored on a two out double from Jonathan Mota (2-for-6 with a double and an RBI). Tennessee took the lead in the seventh after Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-7 with a double) doubled with two out and scored on a single from Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-6 with an RBI and a stolen base). Behind 3-2 in the 12th, Geiger blasted a leadoff home run.
Tennessee could not find a way to put their offense together as the Smokies were blanked Friday 6-0 by Birmingham. The Smokies had six hits as Elliot Soto, Dustin Geiger, Jonathan Mota, Jae-Hoon Ha, and Anthony Giansanti were each 1-for-4 while Luis Flores went 1-for-3. Starter Dae-Eun Rhee took the hit from the lack of offense as he allowed four earned runs and struck out two in six innings. Tony Zych gave up another two earned runs in two innings.
It was one of those nights for Tennessee Saturday as the Smokies were blown out 13-3 by Birmingham. The Smokies started off the game right after Elliot Soto (0-for-4) led off with a walk and scored on a double from Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with double and an RBI). A groundout moved Bruno over to third and he scored on a single from Charles Cutler (1-for-2 with an RBI). But that would be it for Tennessee until the ninth inning when the Smokies scored a consolation run after pinch-hitter Taylor Davis (1-for-1) singled and eventually scored on a groundout. Starter Matt Loosen was shelled for nine runs (seven earned) with two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. P.J. Francescon was also roughed up as he surrendered four earned runs in 2.2 innings. Zach Cates had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
The Tennessee offense received a boost before Sunday’s game and it was reflected in a 9-1 romp over Birmingham. Outfielder Jorge Soler (2-for-5 with a home run and an RBI) returned from the disabled list and was joined by newly acquired shortstop Addison Russell (0-for-5). Behind 1-0 in the top of the fourth, Charles Cutler (2-for-4) and Jonathan Mota (3-for-4) started things off with singles. A base hit from Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-5 with an RBI) plated Cutler, and a single by Dustin Geiger (3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI) loaded the bases. Mota scored on a single from Anthony Giansanti (1-for-5 with an RBI), but Ha was thrown out at home. Geiger and Giansanti scored on a single from Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with two RBI) and moved to second on a base hit by Stephen Bruno (2-for-5). Soler drove in Chen with a single. Mota led off the fifth inning with a single and scored one out later on a double from Geiger. Soler smacked his first Double-A home run in the sixth inning. The Smokies weren’t done in the ninth, as Cutler singled and Mota walked with one out. A two out double by Geiger allowed both runners to score.
Corey Black helped keep Tennessee in the game long enough for the offense to warm up as he allowed an earned run while striking out six in six innings. Andrew McKirahan yielded only two hits in two scoreless innings, while Frank Batista mopped up with two strikeouts in the ninth.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (48-41)
The Iowa bullpen could not hold the lead Thursday as they lost 4-3 to Omaha. Dallas Beeler followed up his spot start for the parent club by going six innings and allowing two earned runs while striking out four batters. In order to setup Tsuyoshi Wada to pitch in a doubleheader for the parent club Tuesday, Iowa had him replace Beeler and he promptly gave up two earned runs and struck out four in 2.2 innings. Zac Rosscup picked up the final out. The I-Cubs cut a 2-0 deficit in half in the fourth inning after Javier Baez (1-for-4) and Chris Valaika (2-for-3 with a double) singled. Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a stolen base) grounded out and Valaika was forced at second. Baez scored on a ground out. Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a double) began the fifth inning with a double and moved to third on a single from Brett Jackson (1-for-3). A double by Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with double and an RBI) plated Szczur, and Jackson scored on a wild pitch.
Iowa spoiled an excellent pitching performance as the bullpen once again imploded in a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma City. Starter Erick Jokisch had seven strikeouts in seven scoreless innings, but reliever Arodys Vizcaino failed to record an out as he gave up three earned runs. Marcus Hatley allowed the game-winner to score as he had two strikeouts in an inning of work. The I-Cubs started the 4th of July fireworks early as Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a home run) put them on the board in the first inning with a solo home run. Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with a double) lined a one out double and scored on single from Rafael Lopez (1-for-3) in the second inning. Not to be outdone, Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with a double and a home run) drilled a solo home run to start the fourth inning.
It appears that the Iowa offense took a nap after the first inning as they lost 3-2 Saturday to Oklahoma City. The I-Cubs started the game with a walk to Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-2 with a stolen base) and he scored on a double by Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled in Baez. But Iowa managed only two more hits in the game as Carlos Pimentel was given the start after some transactions depleted the pitching staff. Pimentel allowed three earned runs and struck out five in five innings. Alberto Cabrera fanned four in two scoreless innings, while Marcos Mateo had a strikeout in the eighth.
The drama in Iowa’s 5-4 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday not only played out in the field, but in the dugout. Starter Kyle Hendricks went two innings and allowed an earned run while striking out four batters. Hendricks’ removal did not seem to be injury related, and he exited to hugs from his teammates. Yoanner Negrin took over and gave up an earned run in four innings, exiting with after allowing two batters to reach in the seventh. Armando Rivero surrendered two earned runs on a single that would be charged to Negrin, as he ended up with three earned runs and three strikeouts in four innings. Rivero then collected himself and shutout the Red Hawks for two innings. Zac Rosscup survived the ninth on two strikeouts as he picked up his second save.
The I-Cubs answered a run from Oklahoma City in the second inning after Chris Valaika (2-for-4 with a double) led off with a double and scored on a home run by Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI). Javier Baez (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) added a run in the sixth as he launched his 13th home run of the season. Ryan Kalish (2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) got into the act in the seventh inning as he hit a solo home run. Iowa was more conventional in the eighth inning after Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a double) had a two out single and scored on a double from Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with a double).
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (8–3)
A wind/dust storm postponed Thursday’s contest as the AZL Cubs firmed up their grip on first place by thrashing the Angels 7-1 on Friday. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez continued to be on fire as he went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, and three RBI while first baseman Alberto Mineo was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Zach Hedges came on in relief and had a strikeout in a scoreless inning to pick up his first victory.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs recalled LHP Chris Rusin from the Iowa Cubs; released INF Jeudy Valdez; sent RHP Dillon Maples to the AZL Cubs from the Kane County Cougars on a rehab assignment; assigned INF Addison Russell to the Tennessee Smokies; assigned OF Kevin Brown to the Boise Hawks from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Jordan Brink to the AZL Cubs. The Tennessee Smokies activated OF Jorge Soler from the 7-day disabled list. The Daytona Cubs activated C Lance Rymel from the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Note: Eloy Jimenez debuts on the Top Prospect List, replacing C Willson Contreras
Arismendy Alcantara (INF) – Iowa Cubs
Albert Almora (OF) – Daytona Cubs
Corey Black (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Paul Blackburn (RHP) – Kane County Cougars
Jacob Hannemann (OF) – Kane County Cougars
Kyle Hendricks (RHP) – Iowa Cubs
Eloy Jimenez (OF) – AZL Cubs
Pierce Johnson (RHP) – Tennessee Smokies
Dan Vogelbach (1B) – Daytona Cubs
Rob Zastryzny (LHP) – Daytona Cubs