Cubs June 15 Minor League Recap

Steve Clevenger is making a case to get back to Wrigley Field as the left-handed hitting catcher is hitting .417 in 10 games and smacked two of homers to lead Iowa Saturday night. Kyle Hendricks improved to 7-2 with seven strong innings in a Tennessee victory. 2012 first-rounder Paul Blackburn made his NWL debut and Kane County lost.

AAA—Iowa 8, Omaha 7; Completion of 6/14 Game—Iowa 9, Omaha 5

Steve Clevenger hit a pair of two-run homers and Donnie Murphy blasted a grand slam as Iowa hung on and beat Omaha. The I-Cubs also won the completed game from the rain delay on Friday night, scoring four runs in the sixth to break a 5-5 tie.

At the Plate: Steve Clevenger has gotten the attention of the Cubs front office, and he's not on twitter. Clevenger, who was assigned to Iowa on June 3 for a rehab assignment, is hitting .417 in 10 games in AAA and on Saturday night blasted a pair of homers after going 3-3 with a homer on Friday. Junior Lake (.395) had a pair of hits and Murphy delivered the big blast with the bases full, going 1-2 with three walks.

On the Mound: Yoanner Negrin throws from a variety of arm angles, touches the mid 90s with his fastball, and still remains in Iowa despite being one of the most reliable arms for the I-Cubs. He made 14 appearances out of the bullpen to start the season (28.1 IP, 7 B, 37K, 2.51 ERA, .276 BAA) and made his fifth start Saturday night. His numbers have gone up as a stater going 1-1 with a 5.87 with 15 K and 6 BB in 15.1 IP. Against Omaha, he allowed a two-run homer, one of five hits and walked three in five innings, throwing 91 pitches. Barret Loux (4-2 5.66) made his second relief appearance yielding an unearned run on five hits in three innings with three punchouts, earning the win. Casey Coleman's streak of not allowing a run in 15.2 innings came to an end as the right-hander was charged with three earned runs in the ninth making the game interesting. Brain Schlitter (1.86) came in to get the final two outs for his third save.

Completion of June 14 game

Brett Jackson's single gave Iowa a 6-5 lead and Brad Nelson added a two-run base knock later in the I-Cubs four-run sixth. Jeffry Antigua threw an inning last night and came back for two more today earning the win. The lefty is making second stint at Iowa after bring promoted from Kane County. Antigua allowed two hits and fanned one. Larry Suarez promoted yesterday from Daytona, worked a scoreless ninth in his AAA debut. An account of the first six innings is in yesterday recap.

AA—Tennessee 5, Mississippi 2

Kyle Hendricks won his seventh game of the season and Arismendy Alcantara ripped two doubles and knocked in two as Tennessee (33-34) downed Mississippi (37-31) to break a four-game losing streak.

At the Plate: 1B Jonathan Mota hit his fifth long ball of the season with a two-run shot in the second. Mota hit a career-high 7HR in 2011, 5 coming in AAA. SS Alcantara (.290/.369/.479) doubled home two runs in the eighth and just missed a homer in the sixth, settling for a double. 3B Christian Villanueva went 2-3 with a sacrifice fly and is now hitting .257/.327/.426.

On the Mound: Watch Kyle Hendricks pitch and I doubt you'll be impressed. He won't light up any radar guns (FB-low 90s) and you probably won't be ‘wowed' by any of his breaking balls. All the right-hander does is pound the strike zone and get outs. Based on his performance this season, the former Texas Ranger farmhand has stepped forward as the Cubs top pitching prospect in the upper levels. Entering Saturday night he was 3rd in the Southern League with 2.14 ERA and 8th in WHIP 1.08. In 71.1 IP he has 60 K and only 16 BB. In his last game vs. Braves, Hendricks allowed a season-high nine hits in a 6-0 loss. Hendricks was named Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May and Southern League Pitcher of the Week June 3-9. On Saturday night, it was another typical outing as he scattered eight hits over seven innings allowing just one run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Kevin Rhoderick (5.56 ERA) got his fourth hold with a scoreless eight and Frank Batista (2.03) allowed a run in the ninth.

Prospect Watch: Arismendy Alcantara is putting together what could be considered a breakout season if the shortstop can stay healthy. Injured part of the past two seasons, the 21-year-old has a career-high 9 HR and before Saturday night was hitting .286/.367/.470. The switch-hitter obviously feels more comfortable from the left side .310/.395/.536 vs. .227/292/.303 as a right-hander. Pitch recognition is a key for Alcantara as his walk rate is 8% batting right-handed and 12 % as a lefty.

High A—Daytona—All-Star Game

Four Daytona Cubs were in the starting lineup in Saturday night's all-star game in Dunedin—John Andreoli CF (0-4 RBI), Dustin Geiger 1B (0-2 BB), Javier Baez SS (2-4 2 2B,), Jorge Soler RF (0-0). Baez had two doubles and according to twitter was robbed of a home run. Andreoli drove in a run in the third on a ground out Soler did not bat and left in the second inning. LHP Frank Del Valle fanned the side in the seventh but allowed a run on a walk and a hit.

Home Run Derby: Javier Baez hit nine homers, tops in the first round, but couldn't match Nick Ramirez's 13 bombs in the finals.

Low A—Wisconsin 11, Kane County 5

Wisconsin (29-35) jumped out to a 7-0 lead and beat Kane County (29-36) for the second straight night.

At the Plate: After 20 games, its looks like CF Albert Almora will be able to hit .400 in the Midwest League. Last year's first-round pick went 2-5 and is now hitting .420/453/.568. He also stole his third base but has been thrown out four times. DH Bijan Rademacher caught the attention of the Midwest League managers being named to the all-star team and he continues to frustrate the league's pitchers. The left-hander went 3-5 with a double and his second homer of the year. He scored twice and is hitting .331/.408/.416. C Wilson Contreras (.257/.329/.454) had a pair of singles and drove in a run while Daniel Vogelbach (.264/.336/.445) knocked in his team-high 45th RBI.

On the Mound: Dillon Maples has lost control. After walking one in his first 10 innings in the MWL, the 21-year-old right-hander has issued 18 free passes in the last 14.1 frames. He walked seven in two innings his last outing and on Saturday night didn't make it out of the first, allowing four more walks and two hits as Wisconsin scored four times. It was his seventh start and he is 0-2 with a 8.51 ERA. Other Cougars pitching were Justin Amlung (2.1 IP, 4H, 3ER, 1BB, 3K 5.25 ERA), MWL all-star Felix Pena (4 IP, 3H, 1ER, 1BB, 5K, 2.89), and Lendy Castillo (2IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 2K, 7.14)

Short-Season—Eugene 1, Boise 0

Pinch-hitter Henry Charles homered in the bottom of the ninth, the Emeralds first hit since the a first-inning single as Eugene (1-1) evened the series with Boise (1-1).

At the Plate: Boise only got three hits, all singles from Jacob Rogers, Jose Dore and Shawon Dunston.

On the Mound: Paul Blackburn, 19, showed why the Cubs selected him in the supplemental first-round last year as the right-hander threw one-hit, shutout ball for five innings and fanned eight in his Northwest League debut. He retired the final 13 hitters using a fastball in the low 90s while mixing in a change-up and curve. RHP Corbin Hoffner, a 2012 draft pick, extended Boise scoreless streak to 17 innings to start the season working three perfect frames with one punchout. Tyler Bremer took the loss giving up a homer to the leadoff hitter in the ninth, after Hawks pitching had retired 22 straight hitters.

Here's the link for today's Cubs minor league box scores

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