Great news today for Cubs top pitching prospect Pierce Johnson as he was promoted today from Class A Kane County to High A Daytona. Johnson earned every bit of this promotion, the 2012 first round pick (supplemental, 43rd overall) was 5-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 13 starts with the Cougars. Johnson is moving fast, in his first half season in the Cubs organization he pitched for the AZL Cubs, and for the Boise Hawks. He started 2013 with Kane County and now is making the jump to Daytona, that’s four levels in just about a calendar year, the future is very bright for Pierce Johnson, congrats!
Boise beat Yakima on Wednesday night 3-2 in a thrilling winner take all game three. Felix Pena was the story in this one pitching seven scoreless innings allowing five hits and striking out two. The Hawks got the scoring started as they scored three in the third inning. Wilson Contreras started the inning with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Trey Martin followed with a single and runners were on at the corners with Gioskar Amaya at the plate. Contreras scored the first Boise run on a wild pitch and after an Amaya walk, Stephen Bruno flew out for the first out of the inning. Jeimer Candelario walked to load the bases for Dan Vogelbach who hit a towering fly ball to left. It appeared the left fielder Michael Lang was under it, but he lost it in the lights and the ball fell for a single driving in two more runs. Marco Hernandez grounded into a double play and the third inning ended with Boise up 3-0. Felix Pena continued throwing up zeros and the game went to the bottom of the eighth with the Hawks leading 3-0. Brian Smith relieved Pena and got in trouble right away giving up a single to the first batter and walking the second. The next batter hit a slow ground ball to Gioskar Amaya who attempted to get the force out at second base, but threw it away and the Bears now had one run in and runners on second and third. Yakima added a run and moved the tying run to third base after a ground out to Amaya. Eduardo Orozco relieved Smith and got a big strike out for the second out of the inning. With the tying run on third base Jacob House hit a ball up the middle that Gioskar Amaya made a diving stop on and threw House out from his knees for the third out of the eighth. Boise threatened in the ninth, but came up empty and it was onto the bottom half with Boise up 3-2. Orozco stayed in the game and quickly got the first out via the strikeout. The next batter grounded out to Amaya and Boise was now one out away from the series. The last chance for Yakima, the speedy Michael Lang hit a slow roller to shortstop Marco Hernandez who came up with a great play to give Boise the win and NWL East Division Championship. Orozco was great in relief recording the last five outs, notching his first save of the postseason and giving Felix Pena the win. Albert Almora had another hit on Wednesday, bringing his average to .417 in the three game series. Boise will travel to Vancouver to play game one on Thursday night, with game two and game three if necessary to be held in Boise on Saturday and Sunday.
Graphics by George and thanks for reading,
Things were not looking good for Boise as they were down to their final four outs, but they tied it in the eighth, then exploded for seven beating Yakima 11-5 to force a winner take all game three. After a quick first two innings, Boise got the scoring started in the third. With one out Darien Martin singled and was followed by a two-run homer by Gioskar Amaya, and just like that the Hawks took a 2-0 lead. Yakima came right back to tie it in the bottom of the third on starter Tayler Scott, who ended the night giving up two runs on five hits in four innings. The game stayed tied into the fifth when Boise struck again. Darien Martin doubled to lead the inning off and moved to third on a Gioskar Amaya sacrifice bunt. Stephen Bruno quickly plated the run as he singled to center giving the Hawks a short-lived 3-2 lead. Michael Heesch took over for Scott in the fifth and was greeted quite rudely as the first two hitters singled. After a ground out that moved the runners to second and third Mark Ginther gave the Bears their first lead of the night as he singled to right. Boise squandered chances in both the sixth and the seventh, but couldn’t get that elusive big hit to tie it. Heesch and Tyler Bremer did a great job and were able to keep this a one run game into the eighth. In the eighth the Hawks quickly made two outs, and up stepped Albert Almora who hit the right-center gap and slid into third with a triple. The next batter Marco Hernandez swung and missed on a pitch, but the catcher couldn’t keep it front of him and Almora scampered home to tie the game at four. After Bremer pitched a scoreless bottom half, the Hawks came to the plate in the ninth. Once again Boise had two outs and nobody on when Gioskar Amaya came to the plate, the madness was about to begin. Amaya drew a walk and moved to third on a Stephen Bruno single. That would bring to the plate the team leader in RBIs, Jeimer Candelario, who didn’t disappoint as he tripled to center driving in two. After a Dan Vogelbach walk, with Wilson Contreras batting pitcher Cody Wheeler was called for a balk, brining in a run. Contreras walked and was followed by a two-run double by Almora, who ended the night 3-for-5 with a double, triple, two runs scored, and two RBIs. Things didn’t end there as Rock Shoulders and Darien Martin each added RBI singles in the ninth. When it was all said and done Boise would score seven runs and bring 12 men to the plate in the ninth inning. Bremer went back out in the ninth and recorded the last three outs and got the win for the Hawks. He pitched the final three innings allowing one run on three hits, while striking out three. Some other offensive highlights on the night was Darien Martin and Stephen Bruno who each had three hits and combined to score three runs and knock in two.
What a way to end this one. It didn’t come easy, but Boise finally got things going and it just kep going, and going. Hopefully it continues into tomorrow night as this series has turned into a one game playoff where the winner will take all. Vancouver will be waiting for the winner as they beat Everett tonight and have advanced to the championship. Looking forward to reporting good news on Wednesday, Go Hawks!!
Another shout out to George for the graphics and thanks again for reading,
Compared to the AZL Cubs, the Boise Hawks have a little more room for error, but not much, as the NWL playoffs get started tonight. Each round of the playoffs is best of three instead of a one game playoff like the AZL Cubs had to deal with. Here is everything you need to know about the Boise Hawks in round one of the NWL playoffs, and a game one preview.
Yakima Bears (36-40, East Division first-half champions) vs. Boise Hawks (37-39, East Division second-half champions)
Yakima won the season series, 7-5
Game 1 at Boise, Sept. 3 at 8:45 p.m. ET
Game 2 at Yakima, Sept. 4 at 10:05 p.m. ET
Game 3 at Yakima (if necessary), Sept. 5 at 10:05 p.m. ET
Pierce Johnson gets the ball in game one for Boise, follow us on Twitter for live game updates tonight!
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A big congrats goes out to the Boise Hawks who are the Northwest League East Division Champions for the second half. Boise ran away with the second half as they are currently 21-11 and no other team in the East is above .500. They will now play a three game series against the Yakima Bears who won the division in the first half. Game 1 will be held at Boise on Monday, September 3, with games two and three being played at Yakima on the September 4th and 5th. The winner of the series will then face the winner of the West division playoffs for a chance to play for the league championship.
Thanks for Reading and Go Hawks!!!
2012 first round draft pick Albert Almora has been promoted to Boise and will join the team tomorrow. The center fielder has been really hot of late going 10 for his last 14 with five RBIs over his last three games. In 75 at bats with the AZL Cubs he is hitting .347/.363/.480 with one home run and 13 RBIs. There are about three weeks left in the Hawks season and they currently in first place in the second half. We will see how the 18-year-old handles the promtion and see if he can help Boise to a playoff birth. Here is the first stepping stone of many for Almora and we look forward to seeing him progress in the future.
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Here is a recap for the month of July for the Cubs minor league system. There are a lot of players who had a good July, but I limited it to a player of the month/pitcher of the month at each level.
AZL Cubs: 21-10 (1st place)
July Record: 14-8
The Cubs had a pretty good month of July to go along with a great start to the season and they are in first place as of today. There were a lot of exciting things happening in Mesa, mainly the debut’s of both Albert Almora and Jorge Soler. There were other exciting debut’s as pitchers Dillon Maples and 2012 draftees Paul Blackburn (56 overall) and Ryan McNeil (3rd round) started there professional careers. Finally Daniel Vogelbach just crushed the ball before being promoted to Boise. He left the Cubs hitting .324 with seven home runs, 12 doubles, and 31 RBIs.
Player of the Month: Ben Carhart
The 22-year old third baseman was drafted in the 35th round of this years draft out of Stetson University. This month he hit a robust .400. with one home run, six doubles, 14 runs scored, and 12 RBIs. He slugged .550 and had an OBP of .486 bringing his OPS to 1.036.
Pitcher of the Month: Carlos Martinez-Pumarino
In his first year in the organization, the 21 year-old pitcher has been very good. This month Martinez-Pulmarino was 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA. He pitched 15.2 innings in six games, all but one out of the bullpen. He struck out 14, allowed only five hits and walked four in July.
Boise Hawks: 5-2 (1st place second half)
July Record: 12-17
Boise was off to a really rough start, but have been hot of late winning six out of their last eight and four in a row. Luckily for them the second half has just started, so as far as the second half goes they are off to a nice start.
Player of the Month: Gioskar Amaya
At only 19-years old the infielder has impressed with the bat thus far at Boise and July was no different. He hit .330 with four home runs, four triples, and three doubles. Amaya knocked in 13 and scored an impressive 24 runs while stealing six bags. He had an OBP of .407 and slugged .567 brining his OPS to .974.
Pitcher of the Month: Tayler Scott
The 20-year old starting pitcher had quite a nice July. He started six games and went 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA. In his 30 innings pitched he gave up 21 hits, walked 14, and struck out 20. Scott was drafted last year in the fifth round out of Notre Dame Prep High School in Scottsdale, AR.
Peoria Chiefs: 15-22 (7th place second half)
July Record: 12-16
July was not the best of months for the Chiefs and they will have some work to do to get back in the playoff picture. Catcher Chadd Krist came up from Boise and has continued to hit and Pin-Chieh Chen has been on quite a tear over the last couple weeks. Peoria will look to have a good August and make up a lot of ground in hopes to get back in the race.
Player of the Month: Javier Baez
Wow did the 2011 first round pick have a great month. The 19-year old shortstop hit .368 with with seven home runs, three triples, and six doubles. Baez drove in 20 runs, scored 21, and stole eight bags. His OPS for the month was 1.076 as he slugged an impressive .679 and had an OBP of .397. It was quite the month for the highly touted Cubs prospect.
Pitcher of the Month: Joseph Zeller
Zeller, 24 pitched well in July going 2-2 with a 1.65 ERA in six appearances, five starts. He pitched 32.2 innings giving up 32 hits, walking seven, and striking out 14. He isn’t a huge strikeout pitcher and he gave up a hit an inning, but it is impressive to see the ERA as low as it was in the month.
Daytona Cubs: 18-21 (5th place second half)
July Record: 12-17
Daytona didn’t have their best month, but there were some highlights to go along with the disappointing record. Matt Szczur was promoted to Tennessee after Jae-Hoon Ha was injured. Szczur had been one of Daytona’s most consistent performers throughout the year and it will take some adjustments for them to get back on track without him. The Cubs will have to make up a lot of ground in August as they sit six games back going into today.
Player of the Month: Ronald Torreyes
At only 19-years old the second baseman is starting to really hit. After a disappointing first couple months Torreyes had a very good June and followed it with a nice July. He hit .333 with one home run, two triples, and seven doubles. He also drove in 18, scored 16, and stole seven bases. Torreyes was brought over in the Sean Marshall deal.
Pitcher of the Month: Matt Loosen
Loosen went 4-1 in six starts in July. He had an ERA of 3.08 throwing 38 innings, giving up 26 hits, walking 13, and striking out 35.
Tennessee Smokies: 17-20 (4th place second half)
July Record: 12-16
A sub .500 record in July wasn’t what the Smokies were looking for as they currently are 5.5 games behind the division leader. The month was highlighted when Matt Szczur was promoted to Tennessee. The reason he was promoted was because of an unfortunate accident when Jae-Hoon Ha got a concussion. The Smokies need to got hot in order to make a run at the division.
Player of the Month: Justin Bour
The 24-year old first baseman has had a good season and July was no different. He hit .337 with four home run and eight double. Bour drove in an impressive 25 runs which brings him to 84 on the season. He slugged .529 and had an OBP of .381 with an OBP of .909. It will be fun to watch Bour’s pursuit of 100 RBIs.
Pitcher of the Month: Eric Jokisch
Jokisch, 23 was 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA in five July starts. In 28 innings pitched he struck out 2o, walked eight, and surrendered 21 hits. We all know the Cubs system is light on arms, but Jokisch has had a pretty good season up to this point.
Iowa Cubs: 42-69 (Last place)
July Record: 8-20
Things don’t get much worse than an 8-20 month, but maybe it is when August is starting and you are 24 games back. It was going to be tough when Rizzo was brought up, but I don’t think anyone was expecting a month like this. There weren’t too many bright spots, but there were some. Josh Vitters had a good month, not great, but good. James Adduci came up from Tennessee and did well in the 18 games he played in compiling and OPS of .999. All Iowa can hope for now is to end the season on a high note.
Player of the Month: Dave Sappelt
The 25-year old outfielder had his best month since coming over from Reds. Sappelt hit .317 in July hitting one home run, one triple, and eight doubles. He scored 16 runs and drove in 12 while stealing eight bases. He got on base at a .368 clip and slugged .442. It was nice to see Sappelt have a good month and my guess is we will see him in Chicago at some point this season.
Pitcher of the Month: Esmailin Caridad
I bet you didn’t expect to hear that name again, but he had quite an impressive month. In 18.2 innings Caridad gave up 14 hits, walked 7, and struck out 22 as his ERA stands at 0.92 for the month of July. if Caridad can continue we might see him again in big leagues.
It wasn’t the best month for the Cubs farm system, but there were some good things as well as some really exciting things. There were a lot of hitters and pitchers who could have been included and narrowing it down to only one per level was tough. Hope you like it.
Thanks for Reading,