At The Plate – The I-Cubs were looking pretty good through four innings, then the bottom fell out, and that’s putting it nicely. Logan Watkins continues to embody everything that Theo Epstein wants, as he was 0-for-2 from the lead-off spot but had three walks. Ryan Sweeney was 1-for-4 with his second home run of the season, two RBI’s, and a run scored. Brian Bogusevic, and J.C. Boscan each had two hits in the loss. Edwin Maysonet only had one hit on the night, but he was productive as he had three RBI’s.
On The Mound – Nick Struck did just fine tonight, I know the final score doesn’t indicate that but he was solid. Struck went four innings giving up two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out three. That was the end of the good news for the Iowa pitching. Esmailin Caridad was hung with the loss, he worked one inning giving up five runs, four earned, on three hits while walking three and striking out one. Jaye Chapman was even worse as he gave up five runs on six hits while walking one and striking out one in just two-thirds of an inning. Cory Wade had an odd stat line, he went three innings giving up two runs on NO hits while walking three and striking out five. The I-Cubs are now 1-8 on the season.
At The Plate – The Smokies could only manage four hits and two runs but that was just enough for the victory. Matt Szczur continued his strong start to the season from the lead-off spot going 1-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, two stolen bases, and a run scored. Jae-Hoon Ha was 1-for-3 with the only other RBI for the Smokies. Rubi Silva, and Jonathan Mota tallied the only other hits for the Smokies in the win.
On The Mound – Outstanding work all night for the Smokies pitchers. Eric Jokisch got the start and also the victory as he went six strong innings giving up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out three. Tony Zych, Zach Rosscup, and Trey McNutt all tossed scoreless innings to shut the door on the Lookouts. Trey McNutt earned his first save of the season and has yet to give up a run in 2013.
At The Plate – The D-Cubs didn’t need much in this one, but they were able to score five times on just six hits. Taiwan Easterling had another solid game going 2-for-5 with a double, three RBI’s and a run scored. Javier Baez was 1-for-4 with a walk, and an RBI, much better approach from Baez in this one. Stephen Bruno was 1-for-4 with a double, and a run scored.
On The Mound – Austin Kirk was outstanding despite fighting his command early. Kirk went five scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking four and striking out two, he improves to 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA. Yao-Lin Wang was just as good out of the pen going four scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out five to earn the rare four inning save.
NOTES: Kane County was scheduled to play a double header in Wisconsin today but for the second straight day they were snowed out. They are planning on playing a double header tomorrow and Saturday to make up for the last two days. Ronald Torreyes is back! He was a week late in arriving to camp and stayed about a week late to make up for it. He has now been assigned to AA Tennessee.
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At The Plate – Not a whole lot going on for the Iowa Cubs in their fourth straight loss to start the season. They could only manage three runs on four hits as they were swept by the Isotopes. Ryan Sweeney had his second straight solid game going 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, and RBI, and a run scored. Brett Jackson was 1-for-4 with a runs scored, the I-Cubs were o-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
On The Mound – 2012 minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck got the start, and also the loss in this one. Struck went five innings giving up four runs on eight hits while walking none and striking out one. Casey Coleman worked two innings giving up two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out two. Jensen Lewis also gave up a run in an inning of work on two hits.
At The Plate – The Smokies staged a late comeback that came up one run short. Matt Szczur was 1-for-4 from the lead-off spot with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .368 on the season. Justin Bour was 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Jae-Hoon Ha was 1-for-4 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored, he is now hitting .389 on the season.
On The Mound – Kyle Hendricks got the start, and had a rough go of it. Hendrick went five innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out five, he took the loss. Tony Zych (1.2 innings) and A.J. Morris (1.1 innings) each had scoreless appearances out of the bullpen.
At The Plate – The D-Cubs are finding a grove right now, they are winning convincingly, and now have won three straight. It was the Jorge Soler show again as he went 2-for-4 with a walk, a home run, two RBI’s, and two runs scored, he is now hitting .438 on the season. Stephen Bruno continued his hot start to the season going 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s hitting .385 on the season. John Andreoli tops them all however as he went 2-for-3 with two walks, a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored, he’s hitting a robust .467 on the season.
On The Mound – P.J. Francescon was outstanding this afternoon, he went five scoreless innings, he gave up only one hit while walking one and striking out six. Yeiper Castillo (2.0 innings), Luis Liria (1.0 inning), and Austin Reed (1.0 inning) all had scoreless appearances to close this one out.
At The Plate – Pitchers duel in this one, only thirteen combined hits in thirteen innings as Kane County dropped their fourth straight. Oliver Zapata had another solid game going 2-for-5 with a walk and a caught stealing, he’s now hitting .357 on the season. Rock Shoulders continues his torrid start going 2-for-3, he’s now hitting .471 on the season. Willson Contreras was 1-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI in the loss.
On The Mound – Michael Heesch was outstanding this afternoon, he went 6.1 innings giving up one run on one hit while walking two and striking out five. Felix Pena was just as solid out of the pen going 5.2 scoreless innings giving up three hits while walking one and striking out five. Eduardo Orozco got the loss as he gave up two runs in his inning of work on two hits while walking one.
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As we inch towards opening day we will be seeing more of these reports, these are both good and bad, good meaning we are finally getting an idea of what the roster might look like, bad because, well, being cut isn’t a bad thing, it’s a developmental step, yeah that’s it. Today the Cubs announced they have sent six players back to various levels of their system, five pitchers and one position player. We will start with the position player, Logan Watkins, a guy I really like, and I think the Cubs do as well as he is versatile in that he can play a number of infield spots. It looks as though he will start the 2013 campaign in Iowa as the starting second baseman, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Wrigley at some point this year.
Now let’s discuss the pitchers that were sent packing. Brooks Raley, who started a few games for the Cubs at the end of last year will be headed to Iowa, and most likely be in the rotation there. Raley had an opportunity to crack the roster coming out of camp but had a less than memorable Spring up to this point. Alberto Cabrera, who the Cubs are trying to morph back into a starter will also take up residence in Iowa, like Raley, there was an outside shot of Cabrera making the team as he saw time with the Cubs last year, but a bad Spring forced the Cubs hand. The 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the Cubs organization, Nick Struck, was also sent home from camp today. Struck had a decent Spring and will look to build off an impressive 2012 this year, most likely in Iowa, yes that staff is pretty full already. Robert Whitenack, who spent much of 2012 coming back from Tommy John surgery, was another one of the cuts. Whitenack is intriguing, as many people in the organization like his arm, and ability, it’s now a matter of regaining confidence post surgery and I think that is what is holding him back. Whitenack is someone to pay attention to as he is already on the Cubs 40-man roster, my guess is he starts a AA Tennessee, that might be a little advanced for him, but he has to show the Cubs organization that he belongs.
The final cut is probably the most notable, Trey McNutt, and his beard. McNutt was a pitching prospect for the Cubs before they restocked with other pitching prospects, if that makes sense. McNutt, originally a starter has become seemingly more valuable out of the bullpen, that made it realistic for him to break camp with the Cubs and be another solid arm in the pen. With him being cut from camp I would think the Cubs would like to see what he can do strictly as a reliever at AAA Iowa, I think that McNutt has a future with the Cubs, and I think it’s out of the pen, but time and performance will tell. The Cubs roster now stands at 53, as I said, inching closer to that magical 25 number for April 1st.
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If the Cubs can bottle this Spring pitching and take in North when they break camp they will be more than just an improved team in 2013. The pitching this afternoon was fantastic, and it all started with Edwin Jackson making not only his Spring debut, but his Cubs debut. Jackson was stellar, tossing two scoreless innings while pounding the strike zone. He surrendered two hits, didn’t walk anyone and didn’t strike out anyone, you have a defense behind you, use it! Drew Carpenter followed Jackson and was the eventual winning pitcher for the Cubs as he also went two innings giving up one run on two hits while walking one and striking out one. Chris Rusin, Zach Putnam, and Nick Struck combined to closed out the final five innings for the victory. Both Rusin and Struck went two innings, Struck picked up the save giving up one run on two hits, while striking out one. The Cubs didn’t knock out too many hits on the day (6) but they made them count as they were able to push across four runs. Christian Villanueva got the Cubs on the board in the third inning with a solo home run off of Jorge De La Rosa. Dave Sappelt had a strong day at the plate going 2-for-2 with a home run of his own, an RBI, and he scored two runs. Starlin Castro doubled, Javier Baez and Logan Watkins rounded out the hits for the Cubs, and Baez recorded his first stolen base as well.
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Not much has gone right for the Mesa Solar Sox as they currently sit at 6-16 which is good for dead last in the AFL East. Wanted to bring you up to speed on how the Cubs prospects are doing, it’s been a rough go of it.
I’m actually happy with what Szczur has done with the Solar Sox so far. He’s not driving the ball much, but he is getting on base at a .353 clip, and is stealing bases, something a good lead off hitter does.
What a weird season for Baez, his average was way down and so was his OBP. His power numbers were through the roof however, as he blasted four home runs and drove in 16 during his injury shortened AFL season. Not thrilled with the OBP, but it’s hard not to be impressed with his production.
It’s been a tough AFL season for Silva, but I expected that as he is not playing every day and is finding it hard to find a groove. Silva is not making enough contact, but that’s why these players are here, to learn and develop.
Watkins was a late addition to the AFL roster, he was summoned after Javier Baez was injured. Watkins is showing outstanding plate discipline early, something he has done all year, and what a year it was for the Cubs minor league player of the year. It’s nice to see the patience, I know the organization is loving that too.
Really like the innings Rhee has been able to throw down in Arizona, the results, not so much. Command has been spotty for Rhee, and it shows with the 6 walks and 22 hits in just under 17 innings.
Struck has been able to wiggle off the hook many times already during the AFL season. Command has gotten him in trouble as he as walked 8 guys in just 12 innings. However, his ERA hasn’t really taken a hit as it sits at a respectable 3.75 for the season.
Zych has been really good down in Arizona, he has given up more hits than innings pitched but he doesn’t walk guys. Zych has only walked one guy in 10 innings of work, and sports a sparkling 2.70 ERA on the season.
Rhoderick has been very good for the Solar Sox, his 4.82 ERA might suggest otherwise, but he’s been dominant at times. In just over nine innings of work Rhoderick has stuck out 14 and only walked two, he’s only given up seven hits. The long ball has hurt him as he has given up two home runs which have accounted for the majority of the runs he has given up.
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When things are going well teams find ways to win, especially in games where they aren’t their best, or don’t deserve to win, this is the opposite of that. The Mesa Solar Sox are beyond struggling and this latest loss pretty much sums up the first 13 games this season. Things were going well enough for the first seven innings as the Solar Sox held a 3-0 lead heading to the 8th inning. The Scorpions scored once in the 8th and three times in the ninth to walk away with a 4-3 victory, what’s worse is the blown save and loss were registered to Cubs prospect Kevin Rhoderick. Rhoderick pitched the ninth inning and didn’t have anything working as he allowed three runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one. On the bright side Nick Struck had a dominant performance, he worked two innings and struck out three without allowing a base runner. Matt Szczur had a decent day at the plate going 1-for-4 with another walk and a run scored. Rubi Silva was the only other Cubs position player to get into this one as he went 1-for-4 in the loss.
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Mesa came storming back to tie the game in the ninth with a two-out single off the bat of Matt Szczur. Unfortunately Salt Lake won the game in the bottom of the 10th. Szczur ended the game 2-for-5 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Rubi Silva was back in the lineup, hitting second and playing RF. Silva did not have a hit, but stole his third base of the season. Javier Baez also got another start and went 1-for-5 with a run scored. Both Kevin Rhoderick and Nick Struck pitched scoreless innings, with Rhoderick striking out two.
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