Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 20, 2016

Riding the Bus Header 2016

WEDNESDAY APRIL 20, 2016

Iowa4-20

Full Box Score

After trailing all night the Iowa Cubs were able to tie the game up at two in the eighth only to see New Orleans walk-off in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win.

At the Plate:

  • Juan Perez got a chance out of the lead-off spot and came through; he went 2-for-5 with his first homer of the year, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Albert Almora is really swinging it right now; he went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, an RBI, and a run scored; he’s now hitting .368 on the season.
  • Matt Murton (!) got the start in left tonight; he went 2-for-4 in the loss.
  • Munenori Kawasaki was 1-for-2 with two walks; clearly he has taken the approach of the major league club down to Iowa with him.

On the Mound:

  • Drew Rucinski was brilliant last night, but had to settle for a no-decision. He worked six innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking two, and striking out ten.
  • Carl Edwards Jr. had a nice bounce back effort last night; he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.
  • Spencer Patton struggled with command but battled through it; he worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Brandon Gomes took the loss in this one; he worked just 1/3rd of an inning, giving up one run on two hits.

Tenn4-20

Full Box Score

A tough loss for the Smokies as they rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth then watched as the Biscuits scored three times in the ninth en route to a 5-4 victory.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Tyler Skulina got the start and struggled with finding the plate; he worked 3.2 innings, giving up three runs on three hits while walking four, and striking out one.
  • Gerardo Concepcion might actually be figuring it out; he was good again last night. Concepcion worked 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out two.
  • Juan Paniagua was also solid in relief; he worked two scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking one.
  • David Garner had a rough go of it, and was hung with the loss. Garner worked one inning, giving up three runs on three hits while walking one, and striking out two.

MB4-20

Full Box Score

The Pelicans didn’t have much going offensively in this one, but they found just enough as they scored three times in the eighth to beat the Winston-Salem Dash 4-1.

At the Plate:

  • Ian Happ has had a really solid start to the year; he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and is now hitting .296 on the season.
  • Yasiel Balaguert was one of the offensive heroes last night; he went 1-for-4 with two RBI’s, and has now knocked in eight on the season.
  • Daniel Lockhart went 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored in the win.
  • David Bote provided the big blow in this one; he went 1-for-4 with his first home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Brilliance from Zach Hedges; he worked seven innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • James Farris was just as good in relief, and picked up his second save of the season. Farris worked two scoreless/hitless innings while walking one, and striking out three.

SB4-20

Full Box Score

Eight runs over the first three innings put this one to bed early.  The South Bend Cubs pounded out thirteen hits and eight runs on their way to an 8-4 laugher last night.

At the Plate: (There’s a lot)

  • Eloy Jimenez had a solid game; he went 2-for-3 with a walk, and two runs scored.
  • Eddy Martinez broke out of a small slump; he was 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, he now has seven RBI’s on the season.
  • Daniel Spingola has been red hot as of late; he went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, and a run scored; he’s now hitting .405 on the season.
  • Tyler Alamo has been great in the early going this year; he went 3-for-4 with a double, and an RBI; he’s now hitting .455 on the season.
  • Sutton Whiting, P.J. Higgins, Donnie Dewees, and Matt Rose all finished the night with one hit a piece.

On the Mound:

  • Justin Steele has had a rough start to 2016, but last night was a step in the right direction. Steele worked five innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits while walking one, and striking out six to pick up his first win of the year.
  • Craig Brooks was good once again in relief; he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out five.
  • Scott Effross was also solid; he worked two innings, giving up one run, unearned, on three hits while striking out two.

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Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 13, 2016

Riding the Bus Header 2016

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2016

Iowa4-13

Full Box Score

The Iowa Cubs finally found the offensive explosion that they have been searching for as they scored eight times over the first five innings en route to a 9-5 victory over New Orleans.

At the Plate:

  • Arismendy Alcantara ripped his first home run of the season; he went 1-for-4 with a walk, said homer, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach has had a great start; he went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, and is now hitting .391 on the season.
  • Albert Almora is getting on base quite a bit; he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and three runs scored.
  • Juan Perez had a huge day; he went 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBI’s, and one run scored.
  • Logan Watkins couldn’t make an out yesterday; he went 4-for-4 with a double, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Stephen Fife got the start and was brilliant; he worked 4.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Miguel Mejia was torched, but picked up the win (the win stat is horrible); he worked an inning, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out one.
  • Armando Rivero turned in another solid outing; he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out two.
  • Carl Edwards Jr. was roughed up a bit; he worked one inning, giving up two runs on two hits while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Spencer Patton finished this one off by working a scoreless ninth inning.

Tenn4-13

Full Box Score

All Smokies in this one, Tennessee jumped out to a 7-0 lead en route to a 7-3 victory over Birmingham.  The Smokies pounded out 13 hits, and walked six times, nice to see the “Cubs Way” permeating the organization.

At the Plate:

  • Big night for Jeimer Candelario; he went 3-for-4 with a walk, and a run scored.
  • Taylor Davis has been solid this year; he went 2-for-4 with a walk, and two runs scored to bring his average to .333 on the season.
  • Bijan Rademacher doesn’t appear to be bothered by AA pitching; he went 3-for-5 with his second dinger of the year, four RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Anthony Giansanti went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the win.
  • Carlos Penalver also chipped in; he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn got the start and was brilliant in picking up his first win of the season. Pauly worked six scoreless innings, giving up four hits while walking one, and striking out six.
  • David Garner was solid in relief; he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Andury Acevedo had a weird, horrible outing; he worked 1.1 innings giving up three runs, on NO HITS while walking FIVE, and striking out two, okay then.
  • Starling Peralta closed the door on this one by recording the final out to get out of Acevedo’s trouble, Peralta picked up his first save of the year.

MB4-13

Full Box Score

Myrtle Beach came out on the wrong end of a pretty solid game between two teams.  After falling behind 2-0 early the Pelicans tied things up in the third and it stayed that way until Winston-Salem scored twice in the ninth.

At the Plate:

  • Rashad Crawford has been awesome so far this year; he went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored. He is now hitting .381 on the season from the lead-off spot.
  • Shawon Dunston Jr. continues to produce; he went 1-for-4 with a walk, a double, and a run scored.
  • I love Ian Happ, deal with it. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI in the loss.
  • Yasiel Balaguert, Jason Volser, and Jeffrey Baez each finished the night with one hit a piece.

On the Mound:

  • Great effort from Jonathan Martinez after a shaky first; he worked seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • James Pugliese picked up the loss in relief; he worked two innings, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out three.

SB4-13

Full Box Score

A huge fourth inning propelled South Bend to a 6-5 victory over Bowling Green.  Things got a little uneasy late in this one as the Hot Rods pulled to within one before their rally fizzled out.

At the Plate:

  • Remember how much I love Ian Happ? I love Donnie Dewees just as much; he went 3-for-4 with his second double of the year, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  He is now hitting .440 on the season, that’s basically unpossible.
  • Sutton Whiting had a solid game; he went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Bryant Flete has been very good this year as well; he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and two runs scored, he’s now hitting .429 on the season.
  • Tyler Alamo chipped in from the nine spot in the order; he went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Preston Morrison struggled a bit with command but was good enough to pick up his first win of the season. Morrison worked six innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking four, and striking out six.
  • James Norwood had a rough go of it out of the pen; he worked 1.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out three.
  • Greyfer Eregura was solid in picking up his first save of the year; he worked 1.1 scoreless innings while striking out one.

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Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 9, 2016

Riding the Bus Header 2016

SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016

Iowa 4-9-16

Full Box Score

Another rough one for Iowa as they fall to Round Rock for the third straight time to start the season.  The Cubs were down 8-0 after the fifth inning, and never really stood a chance tonight.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Eric Jokisch was torched tonight, he worked 4.1 innings, giving up right runs on eleven hits while walking two, and striking out three.
  • Armando Rivero worked 1.2 innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out two.
  • Scott Barnes, Carl Edwards Jr., and Miguel Mejia all worked a scoreless inning in relief.

Tenn 4-9-16

Full Box Score

Pitching dominated the evening, and the Smokies came out on the right side of a 1-0 thriller.

At the Plate:

  • Chesny Young continued his hot start to 2016, he went 2-for-3 in the win.
  • Jeimer Candelario knocked in the only run of the night, he went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
  • David Freitas was 2-for-3, the Smokies only had six hits, all singles, but it was enough.

On the Mound:

  • Brad Markey got the start tonight, and was brilliant. Markey worked five scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • Gerardo Concepcion (!) picked up the win out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings, he didn’t walk anyone, and struck out three.
  • Josh Conway picked up a hold, he worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit while walking one.
  • Juan Paniagua shut the door for his first save of the year by working a scoreless ninth, he struck out two.

MB 4-9-16

Full Box Score

A late offensive explosion propelled the South Bend Cubs to a 5-3 win over West Michigan, their first of the season.

At the Plate:

  • Donnie Dewees was 2-for-4 with a triple, and RBI, and a run scored.
  • J. Higgins has been very good so far this year, he went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks, and an RBI in the win.
  • Eddy Martinez was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, he’s hitting .333 on the season.
  • Daniel Spingola chipped in, he went 2-for-4 with a walk, a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Ryan Kellogg was brilliant in picking up his first win of the season. He worked five innings, giving up one run, unearned, on five hits while striking out three.
  • Greyfer Eregua was just as good out of the pen, he worked 2.2 scoreless innings while striking out two.
  • Scott Effross made things interesting as he worked 2/3 of an inning, giving up two runs, one earned, on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Michael Wagner picked up his first save of the year, he worked the final 2/3 of an inning to do so.

SB 4-9-16

Full Box Score

Not much going right for the Pelicans in this one as they fell behind 4-0 after one en route to falling to Frederick, 6-0.

At the Plate:

  • Gleyber Torres was 1-for-4 in the loss, nice to see him get into the hit column.
  • Ian Happ was the only Pelican to find some success tonight, he went 2-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base, and a double.
  • Jeffrey Baez went 1-for-4 with two stolen bases in the loss.

On the Mound:

  • Trevor Clifton got the start, and picked up the loss. He worked three innings, giving up five runs, three earned, on four hits while walking four, and striking out four.
  • James Farris was pretty solid out of the pen, he worked three innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out four.
  • James Pugliese was solid once again, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out four.
  • David Berg worked a scoreless ninth.

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Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports); April 7, 2016

Riding the Bus Header 2016

Iowa 4-7-16

Full Box Score

The Iowa Cubs kicked off the 2016 minor league season for the Cubs organization today, and they walked way too many guys en route to a 7-3 loss.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Ryan Williams got the start and was knocked around, he worked three innings, giving up seven runs, six earned, on six hits while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Scott Barnes (2 IP), Brandon Gomes (2 IP), Carl Edwards Jr. (1 IP), and Spencer Patton (1 IP) combined to work six scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking five, and striking out six.

Tenn 4-7-16

Full Box Score

A quick start for the Smokies tonight as they put up three runs in the first on their way to a 7-3 victory over the Mobile Bay Bears.

At the Plate:

  • Jacob Hannemann was productive out of the lead-off spot, he went 2-for-4 with two stolen bases.
  • Chesny Young had a huge game, he went 2-for-2 with a home run, RBI, two walks, a stolen base, and two runs scored.
  • Jeimer Candelario went 1-for-3 with a walk, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Victor Caratini, and Bijan Rademacher each registered their first homers of the year.
  • Mark Zagunis was 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI’s, and a walk.

On the Mound:

  • Rob Zastryzny had some early trouble, but settled in to pick up his first win of the season. Z worked six innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking two, and striking out five.
  • Starling Peralta was solid out of the pen, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking one, and striking out one.
  • David Garner worked 1.1 innings to shut the door, he gave up one unearned run while walking one, and striking out one.

MB 4-7-16

Full Box Score

Myrtle Beach is one of my favorite rosters right now in the Cubs system, and they got things off to a good start tonight by dispatching Frederick 5-2.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Jonathan Martinez was outstanding tonight in picking up his first win of the season. Martinez worked five innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Duary Torrez was lights out coming out of the pen, he worked two innings, giving up one unearned run on one hit while striking out one.
  • James Pugliese worked a scoreless inning to pick up his first hold of the season.
  • David Berg shut down things tonight, he worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the season.

SB 4-7-16

Full Box Score

This was on was basically over before it started as West Michigan spread right runs across the first three innings en route to a 9-4 victory over the South Bend Cubs

At the Plate:

  • Donnie Dewees 2-for-5 out of the lead-off spot, both hits were singles.
  • Eloy Jimenez was 2-for-4 with a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Eddy Martinez was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored in the win.

On the Mound:

  • Preston Morrison got beat up pretty bad as he took his first loss of the season. Morrison worked four innings, giving up eight runs, three earned, on seven hits while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Kyle Twomey was great out of the pen, he worked four innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking one, and striking out seven.
  • Scott Frazier put this one to bed by working a scoreless inning.

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Cubs Top 30 Prospect Rankings Unveiled by MLB Pipeline

Cougars8-Blackburn

Some of my best memories at this blog have been writing and reporting about the Cubs minor league system because of how good it has been.  Leading up to last year it was really the only thing to get excited about as the Major League team was subpar at best.  Now the Cubs are World Series favorites, and the prospect rankings are not as top heavy but the talent is apparent throughout.  That’s part of what makes this year so fun, winning at the major league level and still seeing a tremendous amount of organizational talent in the system.

Here’s how MLB Pipeline breaks it down (link to the list)

  1. Gleyber Torres – SS
  2. Willson Contreras – C
  3. Ian Happ – 2B/OF
  4. Duane Underwood – RHP
  5. Albert Almora – OF
  6. Billy McKinney – OF
  7. Jeimer Candelario – 3B
  8. Dylan Cease – RHP
  9. Oscar de la Cruz – RHP
  10. Eloy Jimenez – OF
  11. Pierce Johnson – RHP
  12. Donnie Dewes – OF
  13. Bryan Hudson – LHP
  14. J. Wilson – OF
  15. Eddy Martinez – OF
  16. Carl Edwards Jr. – RHP
  17. Justin Steele – LHP
  18. Mark Zagunis – OF
  19. Ryan Williams – RHP
  20. Dan Vogelbach – 1B
  21. Trevor Clifton – RHP
  22. Jake Stinnett – RHP
  23. Carson Sands – LHP
  24. Jen-Ho Tseng – RHP
  25. Victor Caratini – C
  26. Christian Villanueva – 3B/1B
  27. Corey Black – RHP
  28. Jacob Hannemann – OF
  29. Brad Markey – RHP
  30. Josh Conway – RHP

I really can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to keep an eye on all the arms that are on this list.  I really feel like there are a number of pitchers on this list that are close to making a major impact in the system, and eventually on the big league roster.  Duane Underwood (#4), Pierce Johnson (#11), Carl Edwards Jr. (#16), and Ryan Williams (#19) all have a great chance to be pitching on the North Side this year.  I mentioned that the prospects near the top of this list might not have the same allure as a Kris Bryant, or Anthony Rizzo but they are players who will be part of the next wave of big league talent.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Willson Contreras (#2) sees time with the Cubs this year as the backup catcher, or splitting time with Montero/Schwarber depending on what day it is.  Please don’t sleep on Albert Almora, a healthy 2016 will go a long way to seeing if he is indeed the CF of the future for the Cubs.

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Afternoon Delight: Dominant Bullpen on the Horizon?

Rondon

The bullpen is a tricky thing, from year to year guys come and go, and every once in a while a team boasts a dominant bullpen relatively out of nowhere.  Off-season acquisitions, and power arms marinating on the farm are usually catalysts for such success, but injuries, and unforeseen ineffectiveness can derail the pen quickly.  Given the large number of variables that go into predicting the success of a bullpen it’s usually an exercise in futility, but here goes…  The Cubs’ bullpen has a chance to be dominant (They all do!  You’re screaming), well, let’s just look at the options, shall we?

The Cubs have a solid core group of guys coming back this year, which could point to a reasonable amount of success in 2016.  I base this mostly on the fact that the Cubs had the 8th best bullpen ERA in the Majors last year, and names like Brian Schlitter, Rafael Soriano, Edwin Jackson (wasn’t too terrible in this role), Gonzalez Germen, and Phil Coke were members of said pen.  To be fair, guys like Trevor Cahill, and Travis Wood exceeded expectations in rather unfamiliar bullpen roles last year, and it wouldn’t be crazy to think that they will come back down to Earth a bit.  The fact remains though, the best arms out of that Cubs pen are back this year, and there really is no reason to expect a significant drop in performance.  Let’s break down the possible bullpen roles, yes, despite the crazy competition that will be taking place this spring.

Closer – Hector Rondon

Set up – Pedro Strop

Set up – Justin Grimm

Middle Relief – Adam Warren (acquisition) (Rotation Chance)

Middle Relief – Rex Brothers (acquisition)

Middle Relief – Neil Ramirez

Long Relief – Travis Wood

Long Relief – Trevor Cahill (Rotation chance)

On paper… on paper, that looks pretty darn good, and obviously as I write this I’m using the most optimistic thoughts as possible.  A big key here is the health of Neil Ramirez, he was outstanding in 2014, and parts of 2015 when he wasn’t battling back from injuries, a healthy Ramirez goes a long way towards a great 2016.  Adam Warren proves to be an upgrade over guys that the Cubs had to turn to last year in tough spots, like Jason Motte (again, ignore the injuries for the sake of this conversation).  There is also a chance that Warren will have an opportunity to win a rotation spot, but guys with flexibility are all the rage for Joe Maddon.  Rex Brothers, who was dominate in 2013, and struggled mightily in 2014, looks to bounce back, and if he does proves to be another rather large upgrade.  Young arms like Carl Edwards Jr., Duane Underwood Jr., and Pierce Johnson could also make an impact in the Cubs pen this year despite being starters while working their way through the organization, save for Edwards Jr. last year.

The talent pool is better than last year, and the depth is better as well, those two things put the Cubs in a good spot to start the spring.  If injuries pop up, like they absolutely will, the Cubs are in a better position to handle them, and still might have a few new additions that could surprise during camp, and win a job.

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