AAA—Oklahoma City 9, Iowa 6,
Oklahoma City scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth including a walk-off grand slam to win the game.
At the Dish: 1B Mike Olt's (.343) changes in his swing, stance and approach have paid dividends as he continues to tee off on AAA pitching, blasting a pair of homers and knocking in three......3B Kris Bryant (.322) smacked his 16 AAA homer, a solo shot, and now has 38 on the season. DH Manny Ramirez (.214) gave the I-Cubs a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the first.
On the Hill: Opportunity knocked in Tennessee when three pitching prospects went to the disabled list and Dae-Eun Rhee (1-1, 4.50 ERA) answered the call. In his seventh season with the Cubs organization, the 25-year-old was the workhorse of the Smokies staff logging 104.2 innings. He made 16 starts and went 5-4 with a 3.27 ERA with 40 BB and 61 K. After the trades and promotions at the upper levels, the South Korean made his AAA debut on July 8 vs. Omaha. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder’s fastball sits in the upper 80s and his best pitch is the change-up. Rhee is a free agent at the end of the season....... In his fifth start for Iowa, Rhee gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. He fanned four and threw 97 pitches, 58 for strikes. Arodys Vizcaino threw 1.1 innings of shutout ball and Zac Rosscup earned his ninth hold with a scoreless eighth. Marcus Hatley didn’t retire a batter as three hits and walk scored a run and set the table for the walk-off.
I-Cubs Notes: I’m going to try to make it though the roster and write some notes about each player before the end of the year. I’ll write up starting pitchers over the next week and go from there. I’ll keep the position players in the notes and I’ll feature an outfielder today and randomly move around the diamond.........It shouldn’t come as a surprise when the news arrives that Josh Vitters has been taken off the 40-man roster and designated for assignment. Once the Cubs top prospect, the third overall pick in 2007 made the switch from third to left field this year but is hitting .212/.269/.349 in 100 games for Iowa, his third season in AAA. Vitters may get a call-up in September as a parting gift for his Cubs career but I don’t seem him as part of the 40-man roster when spring training starts in 2015.......Eric Jokisch (8-8, 3.58 ERA) makes the start on Sunday.
Game at Mobile was rained out and will be made up as a double header on Sunday beginning at 2:05 p.m. EST.
On the Hill: Pierce Johnson’s season has been stymied by a pair of leg injuries but after making six starts in July (2-3, 1.87 ERA, 33.2 IP, 16 BB, 35 K) it looks likes one of the top prospects is back on track. The 23-year-old is likely to finish the year in Tennessee but should be part of the Iowa rotation in 2015, and be knocking on Wrigley’s door by season’s end. On Saturday night, Johnson (4-4, 2.71 ERA) was scheduled to make his 13th AA start but that will have to wait until Sunday.
Smokies Notes: Prospect Update—John Andreoli has been on the DL since early June and is also Rule 5 eligible in November so a decision on his future with the Cubs could be solved within a few months. The 17th round pick in 2011 out of University of Connecticut hit .297/.411/.405 the first month of the season and was selected for the Southern League All-Star game. Before going on the DL, Andreoli really struggled going 5-67 (.075) over his last 19 games to drop his slash line to .211/.329/.249. The 24-year-old is one of the best base stealers in the organization, swiping 28 in AA this year. Hard to project what the Cubs will do with Andreoli, especially if his slump was injury related. With outfield depth in the upper levels a question mark, the Cubs will try to keep him around but I would be surprised if he was protected on the 40-man. Its unlikely he would make a MLB team’s 25-man roster out of spring training next year.
High A—Lakeland 3, Daytona 1
A two-run single in the top of the 8th proved to be the difference in the game.
At the Dish: Daytona’s only run of the night came on a solo bomb over the center field fence off the bat of RF Rock Shoulders (.229), his 11th of the season. SS Marco Hernandez (.283) doubled while Jacob Hannemann and Chadd Krist both singled.
On the Hill: Tyler Skulina was the second starter from the Kane County to earn a promotion to Daytona and also the second arm from the 2013 draft class to join the rotation. I saw Skulina last year and again this season and his biggest problem is repeating his delivery and consistently throwing strikes. Kane County pitching coach David Rosario told me Skulina has a good fastball and breaking ball, and if he can become consistent in his delivery, a good pitcher will emerge. Skulina turns 23 in September and should start 2015 in Class A Daytona with a possible bump to AA by season’s end.......After giving up three runs and only lasting an inning in his first FSL start, Skulina had another rough start as a single, a stolen base and two passed balls scored a run.He got out of the first without any more damage and finished the night with a line of 4 IP, 3H, 1 UER, 4 BB, 3 K......Justin Amlung tossed three scoreless frames but ran into trouble in the 8th allowing a two-run single. He fanned three and walked one.....Austin Kirk got the final five outs, two on strikes.
D-Cubs Notes: Rob Zastryzny (2-6, 4.91 ERA) makes his 20th start on Sunday..........Prospect Update—Outfielder Bijan Rademacher contains to grind way in the minors in his third pro season. Already a two-time all-star, the 13th round pick in 2012 out of Orange Coast College is hitting .265/.362/.403 in 92 games with career-highs in homers (6) and RBI (38). The former college pitcher has a strong arm in right field and has gunned down seven base runners while playing both corner outfield positions for the D-Cubs. Rademacher has a solid approach at the plate with 40 BB and 76 K in 365 plate appearances. He should find his way to AA at the start of 2015.
Low A—Cedar Rapids 3, Kane County 2
The Kernals smacked a pair of homers to knock off Kane County and even the series.
At the Dish: A throwing error in the fifth tied the game and the Cougars second run scored when 2B Daniel Lockhart (.285) and SS Carlos Penalver (.210) pulled off the double steal with Lockhart getting home. RF Jeffrey Baez (.259) had a pair of doubles and Lockhart had two hits, including a triple.
On the Hill: A relief pitcher his final year in college, Tyler Ihrig (1-1, 3.97 ERA) made his 11th start on Saturday night. He appeared in three games for Daytona in May and was the opening day starter for Boise when short-season started. The 23rd round pick in 2013 isn’t going to light-up a radar gun but has a good breaking ball and throws strikes. ......Ihrig only made two mistakes but they both left the yard, a solo shot in the fourth dana two-run blast in the fifth. He allowed seven hits over six Ionians with two strikeouts.....David Garner (7th round-2013) worked a scoreless seventh but gave up a single and two walks to load the bases in the 8th. Jasvir Rakkar worked out of the no-outs, bases-loaded jam with a ground out, a strikeout and a fly out.
Cougars Notes: Prospect Update—Its not the start to his career that Shawon Dunston envisioned but a breakout season at Kane County may have put the 21-year-old back on track to the majors. Inserted into the lineup full-time when Yasiel Balaguert went on the DL and moved into the leadoff spot when Jacob Hannemann was promoted to Daytona, the 2011 11th round pick has taken off at the plate, hitting .356/.374/.481 over his last 30 games. He’s also improved his defense, switching from center to left, especially taking better routes on balls and shown the ability to take away extra base hits. Dunston will be able to show his skills next year in the FSL for Daytona........Kane County RHP Zak Hermans was sent to Boise, took a bus trip to Salem-Keizer, sat on the bench for a few games, and is headed back to Kane County.
Short-Season—Salem-Keizer 16, Boise 3
Salem-Keizer hammered Boise pitching for 16 runs over the first four innings.
On the Hill: Dillon Maples (0-0, 7.50 ERA) made his third start as he returns from a broken rib he suffered in spring training. In his third pro season, the right-hander hasn’t lived up to his billing as a prep out of Pinecrest High School or the $2.5 million signing bonus he received. The 22-year-old has big league stuff with a plus fastball and breaking ball but health and command issues have stunted his development.......The right-hander’s struggled continued on Saturday night , allowing three runs in the first, two more in the second and by the time the third inning ended he was out of the game and 4 more runs had scored. Maples had five walks and five wild pitches and finished with a line of 2.1 IP, 5 H, 9 R, 1 K.......Andin Diaz was charged with seven runs and only got three outs. Sam Wilson stopped the bleeding with 2.2 shutout frames and Tommy Thorpe kept the Volcanoes of the board the final two innings.
Hawks Notes: The Hawks have not named a starter for Sunday.......Prospect Update—If you didn’t know about Rashad Crawford then his 19-hame hitting streak in the NWL should have gotten your attention. Drafted in the 11th round in 2012 out of Mundy’s Mill High School, Crawford spent his first two pro years getting his feet wet in the Arizona Rookie League. In his first season out of the desert, Crawford is hitting .273/.302/.366 with 13 stolen bases, a vast improvement over his first two years (.210 in 42 games last year). The 20-year-old will have to cut down on strikeouts (49 in 205 at bats) and put more balls in play to utilize his speed.
Arizona Rookie League—Angels 3, Cubs 2
Angels made the most of their three hits as two errors in the seventh allowed two unearned runs to score.
At the Dish: Cubs had nine hits but didn’t get on the board until the 7th when Ricardo Marcano doubled (8), took third on Erick Castillo’s single, and scored on Adonis Paula’s sac fly. Andrew Ely followed with a double and Gleyber Torres’ sac fly plated the second run. Ely, Castillo and Paula all finished with two hits.
On the Hill: RH Marcelo Carreno (0-1, 2.45) worked two innings, allowing a solo homer with two strikeouts. Carreno was acquired in 2012 from the Tigers for Jeff Baker and it was the 23-year-old’s second game......Jefferson Mejia (2-3, 2.93 ERA) fanned five over five innings, allowing two unearned runs on a hit and three walks. The 6-foot-7 20-year-old was signed last year as part of the Cubs international haul......Michael Knighton worked a scoreless 8th and Hector Perez pitched the ninth.
Cubs Notes: Prospect Update—Ricardo Marcano got off to a slow start in his stateside debut but the 6-foot-2, 20-year-old is heating up. He had his 16-game hitting streak snapped Friday night, batting .328/.369/.393 with four doubles and five RBI during the streak. Signed on July 2 in 2011, Marcano played 63 games in the DSL his first pro year and spent last year in the VSL (.279/.339/.450, 4 HR, 45 RBI, 68 games). A left-handed bat with decent speed, Marcano should bring more power in his game as he continues to develop.
Dominican Summer League—Phillies 4, Cubs 3
A throwing error by second baseman Frandy Delarosa in the bottom of the sixth allowed what would be the winning run to score.
At the Dish: Cubs only had three hits and all three runs scored in the third on Jose Paniagua’s three-run double. 2B Frandy Delarosa (.279) walked twice and scored while CF Roberto Caro (.273) singled and walked twice. LF Robert Garcia (.318) singled and scored.
On the Hill: Santiago Rodriguez (8-0, 1,28 ERA) never made it out of the second, allowing three runs on three hits, two hits batters, a wild pitch and a walk. He fanned two in his shortest start of the season.....Assael Aquino (1-1, 2.50 ERA) got the Cubs out of the second and then added three scoreless innings. Andri Rondon (2-2, 3.72 ERA) gave up an unearned run in the sixth and took the loss with three strikeouts in three innings.
Cubs Notes: Prospect Update: A look at the stats and you would think the Cubs leadoff man of the future is outfielder Jenner Emeterio. He leads the Cubs in stolen bases (23), has an OBP of .450, and more walks than strikeouts (37/27) but unfortunately its his third pro season and he’ll be 22 by the time spring training rolls around. Because of his success this season he may get a look in Mesa next year but you should temper your excitement based on his stat line.