Now THAT is an early Spring Training game if I’ve ever seen one, and I didn’t even see this one. It was a long, messy game that ended with the Cubs on the losing end of an 11-7 final, and holding their breath about a potential injury to their franchise shortstop, more on that later. It was a tale of two games for both teams really as seventeen of the eighteen runs scored in the game crossed the plate in the first five innings. Cubs pitching finally had a rough day, and it started with Brooks Raley. Raley was really knocked around, he was able to go one plus inning giving up four runs on five hits while walking one and striking out one. Thanks to an early surge by the Cubs offense Raley wasn’t on the hook for the loss, that honor went to Trey McNutt. McNutt didn’t pitch terribly in his outing, but he was hung with the loss as he couldn’t bail out Raley after he left and allowed an earned run of his own in an inning of work on two hits. Jaye Chapman, and Alberto Cabrera were also beat up pretty bad today as they combined to give up five runs, four earned, on six hits over three innings. Chapman was particularly bad as he only lasted a third of an inning giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits while walking two. The foursome of Michael Bowden, Hisanori Takahashi, Shawn Camp, and James Russell stopped the bleeding but it was too little too late.
As I mentioned the Cubs bats were alive and well early this afternoon as they held a 4-1 lead and pushed across seven runs in the first four innings. Both Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney had two hits, and they were productive as Schierholtz knocked in one with Barney driving in two. Javier Baez drew some oohs and aahs with a screaming line drive base hit that almost decapitated the Dodgers shortstop, the hit had twitter abuzz, and drew comparisons to Gary Sheffield after the game from Dale Sveum. Back to the Cubs holding their breath, Starlin Castro was 1-for-3 on the day, but had to leave the game after pulling up lame crossing first base after grounding out. Castro said after the game that he was worried when he first felt it, but he is confident it’s more tightness then a pull, he’s feelings were echoed by Sveum as well after the game, fingers crossed.
Thanks for reading,
Justin Germano and Homer Bailey went back and forth early each throwing up zeros for the first five innings. Germano ran into some problems in the sixth when he walked the first three batters in the sixth inning and just like that Germano’s night was done. Manuel Corpas was brought into a tough spot and got Scott Rolen to fly out, but Ryan Hanigan delivered the big blow hitting a three run double into the right center gap. Corpas got out of the inning and pitched the seventh as well not allowing another hit. Alberto Cabrera and Jaye Chapman did their job keeping the Reds right where they were as they combined to pitch two scoreless innings. The Cubs threatened in the eighth when with one out Darwin Barney delivered his second hit of the game and would later score the Cubs lone run when Bryan LaHair lined a double down the right field line. Homer Bailey was really good for the Reds, but that would be the end of his night and in came our old friend Sean Marshall. After hitting Dave Sappelt he struck out Josh Vitters and got Anthony Rizzo to ground out to end the Cubs threat in the eighth inning. With no Aroldis Chapman the Cubs saw Jonathan Broxton in the ninth and did absolutely nothing going three up and three down to end the game losing 3-1. The Cubs offense was not good again on Tuesday only able to muster up four hits against the Reds, two of which were by Barney who extended his hitting streak to 13.
Thanks for Reading,
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has done an updated top 100 prospects lists as well as each organizations top 20. Mayo will probably come out with a list prior to the 2013 season, but here is where Cubs prospects stand as of now according to Mayo. To check out the entire top 100 list and to read a little more on these Cubs prospects.
1. Javier Baez – SS (#24)
When the Cubs picked Almora they new his bat was going to play and that is exactly what happened. The Cubs top pick from 2011 was outstanding in his time with Peoria this year hitting .333/.383/.596 with 12 home runs, 33 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He struggled a bit when moving to Daytona, but overall it was very successful season for the young shortstop.
2. Albert Almora – OF (#52)
The Cubs top pick in this years draft didn’t sign right away, but when he did he didn’t disappoint. He started with the AZL Cubs and moved to Boise shortly after. Combined he played in 33 games hitting .321/.331/.464 with two home runs and 19 RBIs. He also hit 12 doubles.
3. Brett Jackson – OF (#74)
It has been an interesting year for Brett Jackson who has dropped a bit in the prospect watch. The good news first he has made it to the show and when he makes contact does some damage as he left Iowa with 22 doubles, 12 triples, and 15 home runs, to go along with 27 stolen bases. He also plays great defense, the bad news is he has really struggled making contact striking out over 200 times between his two stops.
4. Arodys Vizcaino – RHP (#76)
Vizcaino was considered one the Braves best young pitchers and was deemed untouchable last year. Things changed a bit this year as he missed the entire season after elbow surgery in March. The Cubs are very pleased to have acquired Vizcaino, but it remains to be seen how he will recover from surgery. Lets hope it is as a starter, but at the least he is a power arm out of the pen which the Cubs need badly as well.
5. Jorge Soler – OF (#77)
Jorge Soler did quite well in getting accustomed to baseball in America. He is still very raw, but at 20 the Cubs feel very strongly he will be a big contributor to the big club in the future. He spent time with the AZL Cubs and moved to Peoria where he finished the year. He combined to hit .299/.398/.463 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in just 34 games.
6. Matt Szczur – OF
The speedy outfielder had a nice season in Daytona hitting .295/.394/.407 with 38 stolen bases, but struggled a bit in 35 games with Tennessee.
7. Trey McNutt – RHP
McNutt did not have the year he was looking to have going 9-8 with 4.26 ERA. He struggled a bit and was moved to the bullpen, but maybe it will be better for him and the Cubs.
8. Junior Lake -SS
Lake played the entire year in Tennessee and did a pretty good job going .279/.341/.432 with 10 home runs, 50 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. He is still very raw and will continue to work on his game.
9. Pierce Johnson – RHP
The Cubs took Johnson with the 43rd overall pick in this years draft and he did quite well making six starts, two with the AZL Cubs and four with Boise.
10. Josh Vitters – 3B
The former first round pick, number 3 overall finally put it all together this year in Iowa hitting .304/.356/.513 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs. The PCL All Star got the call up, but has struggled so far with the Cubs, but at only 23 the future is still very bright for Vitters.
11. Dillon Maples – RHP
It took a while for Maples to make his first appearance, but when he did he showed signs of what he could be. He was a bit inconsistent in his six appearances, but he will have more opportunities next season to show what he has. He has tremendous upside.
12. Robert Whitenack – RHP
Coming off of Tommy John surgery Whitenack struggled pitching for Daytona going 1-6 with a 5.96 ERA. Although the numbers don’t look good, remember he is coming off of major surgery and has good upside.
13. Dan Vogelbach – 1B
Not many Cubs prospects did as much damage as Vogelbach did this year. The big first baseman played in 61 games this season between the AZL Cubs and Boise Hawks. He hit .322/.410/.641 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs.
14. Ben Wells – RHP
A 2010 draft pick the 19-year-old Wells missed most of the season with a right elbow strain. He made a few appearances at the end of the year, but will look to stay healthy in 2013.
15. Paul Blackburn – RHP
Another 2012 draft pick Paul Blackburn was chosen 56th overall out of high school. He made nine appearances for the AZL Cubs going 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA.
16. Jeimer Candelario – 3B
Candelario played the entire season at Boise and at only 18 the corner infielder showed he can hit a little bit. The switch hitting Candelario hit .281/.345/.396 with six home runs and 47 RBIs.
17. Gioskar Amaya – 2B/SS
Amaya played his season in Boise and put up some good numbers. He his .298/.381/.496. The 19-year old filled up the stat sheet with six doubles, 12 triples, and eight home runs. He also drove in 33 and stole 15 bases.
18. Tony Zych – RHP
Zych shared time between Daytona and Tennessee out of the bullpen. He combined to going 5-4 with a 3.67 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.
19. Alberto Cabrera – RHP
Cabrera, who moved to the bullpen this year started in Double-A, but quickly moved to Triple-A before finally ending up with the big club. His minor league numbers were really good going 4-1 with 3.11 ERA with 74 strikeouts to only 14 walks. He has struggled since coming to the Cubs, but we’ll see where he factors in going forward.
20. Marcus Hatley – RHP
Hatley pitched well in Tennessee out of the bullpen going 3-1 with a 3.40 with 46 strikeouts in 45 innings. He then got the call to Iowa where he struggled in his time there.
It is good to see the Cubs have five players who are inside the top 80 in MLB. You can also see the emphasis the Cubs placed on pitching, drafting Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn in this years draft as well as bringing in Arodys Vizcaino in the Paul Maholm deal. Looking a little further into things is the talent Theo Epstein and company brought in this year. They obviously brought in the three pitchers above as well as Albert Almora and Jorge Soler. three of those five are inside the Cubs top five and Pierce Johnson makes it four in the top 10. The exciting thing is there are more who they brought in who I would guess are close to cracking this top 20 and who may even show up in the top 20 before the 2013 season gets underway. Keep checking back this offseason as we will talk more in-depth about these prospects as well as many more.
Thanks for Reading,
It doesn’t get weirder than that one, neither team could generate any offense, but somehow the Brewers managed to score five runs on three hits. The Cubs weren’t any better as they were only able to manage four hits on the night on their way to a 5-2 defeat. Chris Rusin made his major league debut and was very good, unfortunately he didn’t get any help from his offense and ended up taking the loss. Rusin went five innings giving up one run on one hit while walking two, hitting two guys, and striking out four. The Brewers “big” inning against Rusin was the fourth, they pushed across a run on one hit thanks to two hit batters and a walk. Rusin got Lucroy to ground into a double play with the bases loaded and one out to avoid any further damage. The Brewers broke it open in the 6th when Alberto Cabrera walked three guys then gave up one hit, all three guys scored, and it was all but over after that. The Cubs were able to score twice in the ninth inning but it was too little too late. Alfsonso Soriano had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, he is now hitting .263 on the season with 76 RBI’s. The Cubs look to avoid the sweep this afternoon in Milwaukee as Travis Wood takes the mound against Yovanni Gallardo.
Thanks for reading,
Chad Billingsley had his way with the Cubs lineup, as he usually does, and the Dodgers knocked around Jeff Samardzija en route to a 6-1 victory in Los Angeles. Samardzija was repeatedly beat tonight ahead in the count, which is rare for him. Shark just couldn’t put any one away, he lasted 5.1 innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out three on the way to his ninth loss of the season. As I mentioned the Cubs offense was nothing to write home about as they seemed to sleep walk their way through this one. They only managed four hits on the night, and finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Luis Valbuena was the only Cubs player to register an RBI as he knocked in Darwin Barney with an RBI double in the 5th to tie the game at one. Unfortunately the Dodgers poured it on from there, scoring twice in the 5th and 6th to make it 5-1 on their way to the victory. There was a bright side tonight, I promise. Scott Maine, Alberto Cabrera, and Jeff Beliveau all had scoreless outings, nice to see some success out of the bullpen by guys not named Russell and Camp. Small change to the rotation as Chris Volstad will get the start against Clayton Kershaw tomorrow night instead of Justin Germano. Full box score and highlights after the jump.
July 30th Cubs minor league report.
The AZL Cubs and the Boise Hawks were off on Monday.
Beloit scored three in the eighth and held on to beat Peoria 5-3. Pin-Chieh Chen had a great game going 4-for-5 with an RBI. Zeke DeVoss led the game off in style with a home run, he added another hit and ended the game with two runs scored, two RBIs, and his 29th stolen base. Javier Baez and Dustin Geiger each added a double and Bijan Rademacher had a triple on the night. Chadd Krist also had a hit and he is now hitting .340. Joseph Zeller got the start, but did not factor in the decision giving up two runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. Sheldon McDonald got the loss and Austin Reed pitched two scoreless innings in relief. The Chiefs record now stands at 50-55.
Daytona got a little scare in the ninth, but still won pretty easily 8-4. The Cubs pounded out 14 hits including three from Rubi Silva. Ronald Torreyes continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBIs. John Andreoli also had two hits and reached base four times from the leadoff spot. he also scored a run and stole his 41st base of the season. Rafael Lopez, Elieser Bonne, and Matt Cerda all had two hits and an RBI. PJ Francescon got his second win of the season pitching six shutout innings. He only gave up three hits and struck out six. Frank Del Valle was very good in relief striking out four in just two innings.
Tennessee got off to a good start in game one scoring five runs and holding on to win 6-3. Matt Szczur had his best game since moving to Double-A going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Junior Lake stayed hot at the plate going 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Logan Watkins and Michael Burgess each had two hits and Justin Bour drove one in. Greg Rohan connected on his fifth home run, a three run shot in the first inning. Eric Jokisch pitched all seven innings gving up three runs on five hits and striking out two.
Tennessee won the second game of the double header beating Pensacola 3-2. Nate Samson was the only Smokies player to have a multi-hit game going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Juan Apodaca and Michael Burgess each had a hit as did Dustin Harrington and Nelson Perez. Matt Szczur drove in a run in game two. Casey Harman got the start and pitched well allowing no runs on four hits in four innings pitched. Casey Weathers got the win pitching a scoreless fifth innings striking out two. Frank Batista recored his 19th save of the season as he closed out game two on Monday.
The Iowa Cubs lost another one on Monday losing to New Orleans 5-3. James Adduci had another great game, going 2-for-5 with a home run, double, run scored, and three RBIs. Dave Sappelt also had two hits and scored a run. Chris Rusin took the loss pitching 5.2 innings surrendering five runs, only one earned and struck out six. Alberto Cabrera had a nice night in relief striking out four in 2.1 innings. Iowa just can’t seem to get it together.
Thanks for Reading,
A quick look at the Cubs minor leaguers on Friday, July 27.
The AZL Cubs dropped a low scoring game to the AZL Athletics 3-1. Lendy Castillo got the start as he continues to work his way back allowing one run on two hits in four innings. He struck out six and took a no decision in this one. Tyler Bremer gave up two runs and took the loss. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino and Jin-Young Kim combined to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings, but the Cubs offense couldn’t come back. The Cubs got their run in the first when Albert Almora hit a two-run double and then scored on a Jorge Soler RBI single. Soler would add another hit on the night and stole a base. Carlos Penalver was the only other Cubs player to record a hit on Friday. This is not what we have come to expect from the Cubs, but they will get back on track soon.
Boise exploded to beat Tri-City 8-3. The Hawks had five players with multi-hit games. Daniel Vogelbach was one of those going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Gioskar Amaya and Marco Hernandez each had two hits, wtih Amaya driving in two. Trey Martin and Xavier Batista also added two hits a piece. Wilson Contreras connected on his second home run of the season, a three run shot in the second inning. Willengton Cruz got his second win of the season out of the bullpen. He pitched two strong innings striking out four. James Pugliese started and gave up three runs in four innings of work. Michael Heesch and Su-Min Jung each pitched well in relief. After a tough 1-0 loss last night, it was nice to see Boise come back strong tonight.
Javier Baez gave Peoria a lead with a two-run shot in the eighth and the Chiefs held beating Cedar Rapids 3-2. Baez’s 11th homer of the season turned out to be one of his biggest of his young career. He finished the game 2-for-3 and is now hit a robust .341. Wes Darvill also had two hits, including a double, a run scored, and an RBI. Austin Reed recorded the win in relief, his fourth of the season. Zach Cates got the start, pitching 5.1 innings allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out seven. Sheldon McDonald pitched two scoress inning in relief dropping his ERA to 1.91 on the season. It has been exciting following Baez this year and he continues to impress.
Robert Whitenack and the staff were outstanding for the Daytona Cubs beating Bradenton 2-0. Robert Whitenack got his first win since coming back from Tommy-John surgery. He pitched five innings allowing no runs on two hits, while striking out four. Eduardo Figuerora struck out four in three scoreless innings in relief. AJ Morris closed the game out recording his second save of the season. The offense lost Matt Szczur who was promoted to Tennessee was able to get enough to win. Rebel Ridling hit his second home run of the season and had two hits. Timothy Saunders also had two hits including a double and a run scored. A big congrats to Robert and here’s to many more in the near future.
Jacksonville was able to score two runs in three different innings defeating Tennessee 6-4. Junior Lake continued his hot stretch in this one going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Greg Rohan had two hits and connected on his fourth home run with the Smokies. Juan Apodaca also had two hits and an RBI. In his first game with Tennessee Matt Szczur went 0-for-4 with two strike outs. Ty’relle Harris started and took the loss going 2.2 innings allowing four runs on six hits. Zach Rosscup gave up two runs in 3.2 innings, but struck out an impressive six batters. Casey Harman and Kevin Rhoderick also pitched in the loss.
Iowa wins, Iowa wins, Iowa wins. It has been a rough go as of late so to beat Okalahoma City 5-0 is great to see. Chris Volstad had his best start pitching eight scorelss innings. He only surrendered four hits, walking three, and striking out five. Alberto Cabrerea finished the game off throwing a scoreless ninth striking out two. Alfredo Amezaga led off going 3-for-5 and scored a run. Adrian Cardenas and Brian Esposito each had two hits with Cardenas hitting a double and scoring a run. Dave Sappelt had a triple and drove in two on Friday. Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson each recorded one hit and scored a run, Jackson also drove one in. Hope this is signs to come for Chris Volstad and the Cubs.
Thanks for Reading,