Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 8, 2016

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FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016

Iowa 4-8-16

Full Box Score

After falling behind 4-0 early the Iowa Cubs fell just short in their comeback attempt as they dropped a nail biter to Round Rock, 4-3.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Stephen Fife was roughed up in this one, he worked three innings, giving up four runs on five hits while walking three, and striking out five.
  • Jean Machi was brilliant, he worked two scoreless innings while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Felix Pena was just as good, he worked two scoreless innings, walking one, and striking out two.
  • J. Riefenhauser, and Miguel Mejia each worked a scoreless inning to keep things close.

Tenn 4-8-16

Full Box Score

The Smokies couldn’t muster much offense in their quest to move to 2-0 on the season as they could only scratch across one run in a 2-1 loss to Mobile.

At the Plate:

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn struggled early, giving up five hits over the first two innings, but that was it for the night. Blackburn worked five innings, giving up one run on five hits while striking out two.
  • Michael Jensen was solid out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Corey Black picked up the loss in this one, he worked one inning, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Andury Acevedo worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.

MB 4-8-16

Full Box Score

The Pelicans came up just short in their attempt at coming back from a 5-1 deficit in the sixth inning.  Myrtle Beach pulled to within one before falling to Frederick 7-5.

At the Plate:

  • Rashad Crawford had another good night, he was 2-for-4 with a walk, but was also picked off twice, oops.
  • David Bote was 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.
  • Cael Brockmeyer showed off his power, he was 1-for-4 with his first homer of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Charcer Burks had a huge night, he was 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple, an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Zach Hedges got the start tonight, and picked up the loss. He worked 5.1 innings, giving up four runs, two earned, on five hits while walking one, and striking out six.
  • Dillon Maples struggled, he worked just 1/3 of an inning, he gave up an unearned run on one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Ryan McNeil was decent out of the pen, he worked 2.1 innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out three.
  • Jordan Minch worked one innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one.

SB 4-8-16

Full Box Score

A messy game for the South Bend Cubs as they made six (SIX) errors on their way to a snow shortened 6-3 loss to West Michigan.

At the Plate:

  • Matt Rose went 1-for-2 with a walk, one of four for the Cubs in this one.
  • Ian Rice was 1-for-2 with a run scored, and a walk in the loss.
  • Bryant Flete was the offensive star tonight, he went 2-for-3 with a triple, and two RBI’s.

 

On the Mound:

  • A weird night for the Cubs start Justin Steele. Steele worked 3.2 innings, giving up four runs, all unearned, he made three (!) errors while walking three, and striking out three.
  • Casey Bloomquist worked two innings out of the pen, giving up two runs, both unearned, on two hits while walking one, and striking out three.
  • James Norwood was tremendous, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings, he walked one, and struck out three.

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

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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 Affiliate Shuffle (Reminder)

Regular readers of this blog know one thing, we cover the minor leagues every night, box scores, recaps, etc, and we enjoy it.  It is important to know that the Cubs’ system has seen a major shakeup in regards to where the minor league teams are located.  Here is a rundown of everything you need to know, I’m sure this is not new info for a lot of people, but nothing wrong with a reminder.

SS-Rookie Ball – Low (A)
2014 – Boise Hawks
2015 – Eugene Emeralds

Emeralds

Eugene Emeralds official website
Follow the Emeralds on Twitter:  @EugeneEmeralds
Manager:  Gary Van Tol
Location:  Eugene, OR

SINGLE-A
2014 – Kane County Cougars
2015 – South Bend Cubs (Formerly Silver Hawks)

South Bend

 

South Bend Cubs official website
Follow the SB Cubs on Twitter:  @SBCubs
Manager:  Jimmy Gonzalez
Location:  South Bend, IN

HIGH-A
2014 – Daytona Cubs
2015 – Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Pelicans

 

Myrtle Beach Pelicans official website
Follow the SB Cubs on Twitter:  @PelicanBaseball
Manager:  Mark Johnson
Location:  Myrtle Beach, SC

 

It is in your best interest to follow these teams on Twitter, they are outstanding, and interact with the fans regularly.  We will have box scores, and recaps from every game for these teams, and the existing affiliates in Tennessee and Iowa this season.

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The Steady Progression of Paul Blackburn

Cougars8-Blackburn

It’s finally here, 2015 Spring Training, ignore the negative twenty-five wind chills outside, it’s baseball season.  The talk over the last few years heading into spring training has been how good the Cubs prospects are, and eventually the Cubs will compete with said prospects.  This year publications still love the Cubs when it comes to prospects (Kris Bryant was just named the number one prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America), but the major league team is finally ready to take the next step.  But before we get too far into that I want to talk about a Cubs prospect that is one of my personal favorites, but doesn’t get too much pub yet, Paul Blackburn.

Blackburn is in the group that I would consider the second wave of prospects, which means one of two things.  He either steps onto a Cubs team that is already competing (2017), or he is traded in a package to improve an already competitive team anywhere from this season through the 2016 off-season.  Either way I think that Blackburn can, and will be an effective major league starter, I just hope it’s with the Cubs.

The Cubs drafted Blackburn in the 1st round (supplemental round) of the 2012 amateur draft, number 56 overall out of Heritage High School in Brentwood, CA.  Wasting no time, the Cubs and Blackburn struck a deal, and Pauly was pitching in Arizona for the Cubs AZL team.  It was the end of a long calendar year, but Blackburn handled himself quite well in an offensively heavy league.  Blackburn tossed 20.2 innings, and finished the season with an ERA of 3.48, and a FIP of 5.39, obviously that last number is a little high.  The following season with Boise was trying for Blackburn as his innings were limited, and his command disappeared.  My guess is he was trying to miss too many bats, probably due to the fact that his BABIP was .313 in 2012, bad luck, so he tried to limit contact, just my opinion.  On one hand the strikeouts escalated from 5.66 K/9 in 2012 to 7.43 K/9, but so did the walks, which was uncharacteristic.  In 2012 Blackburn had a BB/9 rate of 3.05, that went all the way up to 5.67 BB/9 in his 46 innings of work in 2013.  With all that happening his advanced stats got better, the BABIP went down to .288, and his FIP went down to 4.47, more strikeouts, more walks, but less long balls.

With only 65+ professional innings under his belt Blackburn took his talents to Kane County for the 2014 season, and broke out.  Blackburn was a key cog in one of the best minor league teams that I’ve ever seen, as well as one of the best rotations.  The command came roaring back, Blackburn could put the ball where he wanted without hesitation again.  The strikeouts went back to 2012 levels, but the walk rate plummeted to 2.38 per nine innings, the FIP followed suit, dropping to 3.84, a career best.  The most impressive thing about Blackburn was his ability to bounce back from a year in which he probably learned a lot about himself as a pitcher.  As Jonathan Mayo points out in his 2015 prospect rankings (Blackburn 15th in Cubs system), Blackburn probably has the best combo of stuff and feel in the system.  He knows how to pitch, kind of like Kyle Hendricks, and has the same type of ground ball stuff but with a little more consistent velocity.  Expect Blackburn to get time at High-A Myrtle Beach this year, and possibly Double-A Tennessee.  I’m excited about the type of pitcher, and person that Pauly is, you should be too.

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