The Cubs got back to basics this afternoon and also back into the win column, that’s not a coincidence. After yesterdays game, which was one to forget, the Cubs pitching shut the A’s down all day while the offense pounded out twelve hits, and the defense was solid making no errors, a complete ballgame. Scott Feldman got the start for the Cubs, his first as a North Sider, and struggled a bit with his command but was able to pitch around some self-imposed trouble. Feldman worked two innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two and striking out two. Travis Wood followed Feldman out of the pen, and ended up with the victory as he also went two innings, he gave up one run on two hits while walking none and striking out two. Kyuji Fujikawa had his second straight strong outing as he worked a scoreless inning giving up one hit and striking out one, he now has three strikeouts in two innings of work this Spring. Jensen Lewis made things interesting in the ninth inning as he allowed one run on three hits, but got a couple of clutch strikeouts to earn the save.
The Cubs sprayed the ball all over the field offensively today, registering twelve hits with zero leaving the ballpark. Junior Lake had an impressive day at the plate going 2-for-3 with a double, and an RBI, he is now hitting .300 on the Spring (3-for-10). Darnell McDonald had a strong day at the plate as well going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Jorge Soler flashed some of his tools in the game today, he finished 1-for-3 at the plate with two strikeouts, but gunned down Josh Reddick at 3rd base from right field. Javier Baez got the start at shortstop today while Starlin Castro nurses a tight hamstring, and went 1-for-3 with a run scored, he didn’t endanger any infielders’ lives today, which is good I guess. I know it’s early, and it’s only Spring, but it’s nice to see a Cubs team competitive from the start.
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Things didn’t exactly get going the right way for the Cubs and eventual winning pitcher Travis Wood. Wood walked the first batter he faced today, on four straight pitches, then threw 11 consecutive strikes to close out a solid two inning outing. He didn’t get out of the game unscathed as the lead-off walk he issued scored for the Angels which was part of a two run first inning. The Cubs quickly erased that deficit thanks to some clutch hitting in the third inning. After Luis Valbuena brought the Cubs to within one run in the second inning with a solo home run, the Cubs exploded for five runs in the third, all with two outs. The highlight of the inning had to be Brett Jackson‘s two run triple, his second triple of the game, he finished the day going 2-for-2 with two triples, two RBI’s and a run scored, guess that new swing is working out okay so far, it’s early, I know. Jorge Soler, and Anthony Rizzo had solid spring debut’s as they each registered a double in three plate appearances, Soler’s double brought in a run for his first RBI of the Spring season. Junior Lake also wowed the capacity crowd with a long solo home run, his only hit of the day in three plate appearances. Back to the pitching, it was outstanding, sure it wasn’t against the vaunted Angels every day lineup, but it was still an excellent performance for so early in the Spring. After Travis Wood, six Cubs pitchers joined the fun to close out the game, they tossed seven innings allowing four hits, one walk and no strikeouts.
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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.
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Peoria and Tennessee were the only Cubs minor league teams with regular season games today. Boise played game one, which we will have a separate post on.
Peoria finished the season strong beating Kane County 6-2. Ben Wells got the start pitching two scoreless innings allowing no runs on three hits. Willengton Cruz got the win pitching 4.2 innings allowing two runs on just one hit. Luis Liria struggled with his command, walking four in just 0.2 innings, but got the ball to Pete Levitt who recorded his first save of the season throwing the final 1.2 innings. Yaniel Cabezas had the big blow going 2-for-4 with a three run home run in the fifth. Pin-Chieh Chen also had two hits and a scored a run. Dustin Geiger was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI and Timothy Saunders had a hit and a run scored. Jorge Soler and Chadd Krist each had a hit in the win.
Tennessee ended the season on a high note as well beating Pensacola 8-1. Austin Kirk was good getting a win in his final start giving up one run on four hits in 5.2 innings. Frank Batista, Jaye Chapman, Rafael Dolis, and Trey McNutt combined to pitch the final 3.1 innings striking out three, giving up two hits, and allowing no runs. Newly acquired Anthony Recker was 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. He his a three run shot in the seventh. Jae-Hoon Ha and Matt Cerda also had two hits a piece with Cerda driving in one run. Rubi Silva had a hit and drove in two in the Smokies win. Junior Lake, Logan Watkins, and Matt Szczur all had a hit and a run scored on the day.
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Only three games on Sunday as the minor league season comes to a close. Daytona’s season ended on Sunday, while Peoria and Tennessee will play their final game on Monday.
Peoria led most of the way, but lost in extra innings 5-4. Starling Peralta got the start and pitched pretty good, but had one tough inning in which he gave up three runs on three hits, walked three, and struck out eight in 5.1. Sheldon McDonald and Steve Perakslis combined to pitch the next 2.2 innings allowing one run. Austin Reed took the loss as he gave up a run in the 10th inning. Jorge Soler was the story on the offensive side as he was 3-for-5 with a mammoth home run, his third with Peoria. Jacob Rogers and Timothy Saunders each had two hits with Rogers knocking in one run. Zeke DeVoss, Pin-Chieh Chen, and Sergio Burruel each had a hit with Burruel adding an RBI in the loss.
Daytona ended the season on good note beating Brevard County in walk off fashion 3-2. Also ending the season on a positive note was Javier Baez who was 2-for-3 with two home runs and two RBIs. Taylor Davis was the hero though as he had two hits, including the walk off RBI. Ronald Torreyes was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk in the win. Nelson Perez and Micah Gibbs each had a hit. Ryan Searle got the start pitching six inning allowing two runs, one earned on four hits. Matt Spencer and Hunter Cervenka combined to pitch 2.1 innings not allowing a hit and striking out four. Eduardo Figueroa got the win getting the last two outs of the game. It was a nice way for Javier Baez and the Daytona Cubs to end the season.
Tennessee scored four in the 15th beating Pensacola 7-3. Dae-Eun Rhee got the start pitching six innings allowing one run on five hits. Tony Zych struggled giving up two runs in just 0.2 innings, but Frank Batista and Brian Schlitter did a really nice job pitching the next 4.1 scoreless innings. Casey Harman was outstanding as well pitching four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, one walk, and one strike out notching his first win of the season. Matt Cerda was 3-for-7 with an RBI and a run scored. Logan Watkins had two hits, including a double and two RBIs. Junior Lake had one hit, but he made it count hitting a three-run homer and ended with four RBIs on the night. Jae-Hoon Ha, Rubi Silva, and Michael Brenly each had two hits in the win.
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A quick recap of the Cubs minor leagues on Friday, August 31. Peoria was cancelled due to rain and both Iowa and the AZL Cubs seasons are in the books.
The Boise Hawks had a few rough innings and lost this one 6-4. Felix Pena pitched five really good innings giving up no runs on four hits with three strikeouts. Hayden Simpson struggled and took the loss giving up six runs on six hits in two innings. Eduardo Orozco pitched well in his two innings allowing no runs on one hit and striking out four. Jeimer Candelario had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Stephen Bruno and Gioskar Amaya each had two hits, with Amaya scoring two runs. Dan Vogelbach and Wilson Contreras each a had a hit in the loss and Rock Shoulders was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Marco Hernandez delivered a pinch-hit RBI single.
Daytona got down early, but Rebel Ridling and the bullpen sparked a 4-3 win. Ridling was awesome on Friday tying the game in the seventh and winning it with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth. He ended the night 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. Vladimir Frias also had a nice night at the plate going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Nelson Perez had two hits, including a double and a run scored. Rafael Lopez and Christian Villanueva each had a hit in the win. Kyler Burke got the start for the Cubs, he lasted four innings giving up three runs on six hits. Matt Iannazzo pitched the next three innings allowing only one hit and striking out two. Scott Weismann got the win as he threw the final two scoreless innings. It was a nice win for the Cubs as the season is coming to a close.
Tennessee continued to roll on Friday beating Pensacola 5-0. Chris Rusin started, but only lasted three innings not allowing a hit and striking out one. Nicholas Struck pitched the next 5.2 and got the win as he gave up only one hit and struck out six. Rubi Silva had a nice night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Matt Szczur had two hits in the win and scored a run. Junior Lake and Justin Bour each had a hit and combined to score three runs. Anthony Recker and Matt Cerda each had a hit and Jae-Hoon Ha had an RBI in the win. It has been fun following Tennessee the past few weeks as they have been playing some really good baseball, unfortunately it was a little late as they have been eliminated from the playoffs.
The Iowa Cubs were supposed to play a series against New Orleans, but because of Hurricane Isaac the series has been cancelled and their season has come to an end.
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The Cubs minor league recap for Tuesday, August 28. Daytona was again cancelled because of rain.
The AZL Cubs tried to come back, but ended up losing to the Diamondbacks 6-4. Dillon Maples started and got the loss allowing two unearned runs in one inning. The Cubs used six more pitchers to get through the rest of the game. Some of the good pitching performances were Loiger Padron who struck out three and allowed one hit in two innings. Anthony York struggled giving up three runs in just 0.2 innings. Daniel Adrian, Jin-Young Kim, and Arturo Maltos-Garcia all combined to strike out eight in just three innings. Garrett Schlecht was really good night going 4-for-4 with a double, triple, and three runs scored. Yasiel Balaguert was 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Trevor Gretzky and Carlos Penalver each had a hit and an RBI. Justin Marra had a double and Jeff Baez knocked in one run in the loss.
Boise jumped on Everett early scoring seven runs in the first two innings and ended up winning 7-3. Stephen Bruno has been outstanding and Tuesday was no different going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Jeimer Candelario and Gioskar Amaya each hit a home run with Candelario driving in two and Amaya three. Wilson Contreras and Marco Hernandez had two hits a piece with Contreras having two RBIs. Carlos Escobar and Darien Martin each had a hit in the win. Although he didn’t have a hit it was nice to see Albert Almora get back in the lineup. Pierce Johnson got the start pitching two innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits while striking out three. Jose Arias pitched the next three innings allowing one run on one hit, while walking four and striking out three. Brian Smith pitched the next 2.2 innings and got the win not allowing a run and striking out three. Rafael Diplan notched his first save of the season, striking out two of the four outs he recorded.
Peoria gave up three runs in the ninth and lost to Wisconsin 4-1. In some really good new Ben Wells got the start in his first game with Peoria since coming back from injury. He pitched two innings allowing no runs on two hits, with one walk. Willengton Cruz did a very nice job in relief pitching five innings allowing one run on three hits, while striking out four. Justin Berg took the loss giving up three runs in the ninth inning. The Chiefs only had four hits on Tuesday. Pin-Chieh Chen and Dustin Geiger each had hits as did Timothy Saunders and Jacob Rogers. Jorge Soler did not have a hit, but walked twice and scored the Chiefs lone run.
Tennessee gave up one run in the ninth to tie the game, but walked-off in the 10th beating Mobile 6-5. Logan Watkins was the hero hitting the walk off home run in the 10th, he ended the night 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. Michael Brenly had quite a nice night as well going 3-for-4 with a home run, one RBI and two runs scored. Matt Cerda was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Michael Burgess had a pinch hit RBI single. Junior Lake and Rubi Silva each had a hit in the Smokies win. Austin Kirk got the start going seven strong innings. He gave up three runs, two earned on seven hits, while walking one and striking out one. Kevin Rhoderick gave up a run in one inning, but got the ball to Frank Batista with the lead. Batista blew the save, but got the win. Tennessee is playing good ball lately and they are now 33-32, but it appears to be too late as they are five out and are one game away from being eliminated.
Iowa lost to Nashville 7-3. Horacio Ramirez wasn’t good giving up seven runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings. Miguel Socolovich, Rafael Dolis, and Jairo Asencio combined to pitch 3.1 innings not allowing a run. Alfredo Amezaga was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Tony Campana and Matt Tolbert each had two hits, with Tolbert scoring a run. Greg Rohan, Dave Sappelt, and James Adduci each had a hit in the Cubs loss.
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