Ramblings, Roster Moves, News, Notes
Playing ball in the minors is a long grind and most never make it. But just because a player’s drafted in the 23rd round and never appeared on a prospect list doesn’t mean they don’t make an impact. I had a chance to talk with Tim Cossins, the Cubs Field and Catching Coordinator for the minors. It wasn’t an interview but a conversation during batting practice in Clinton while Kyle Schwarber was in the cage. It was here I learned that Cossins had been actively involved in the scouting of Schwarber and the plans to keep him at catcher. Now I could have run to twitter and announced this to the world but I didn’t, I just counted all the “experts” that had him pegged on the fast track to Wrigley in left. Cubs eventually put an end to these rumors with comments from Jaron Madison and Jed Hoyer that Schwarber would be a catcher and would ‘hit it hard’ at fall instructs. We also talked about the type of players the Cubs were drafting and their influence on the organization. Jason McLeod said recently they spend more time on what type a person a first-round pick will be in seven years than his skill-set as a player. I’ve had a chance to meet a bunch of players drafted the past two years and they all fit the same mold—top notch individuals. Cossins said the impact some players who may never make it to the majors have on their teammates is tremendous, especially with preparation and work ethic. So when you see a guy in the minors who may be a little old for his level or wonder why the Cubs are keeping him in the organization, remember that development is not all about stats, its about learning, from coaches and teammates. ........Another day, more prospect write-ups, second basemen today..
AAA—Las Vegas 6, Iowa 5
The 51s pushed across the winning run in the top of the ninth as Iowa dropped the opening game of the series.
At the Dish: Kris Bryant regained the minor league home run lead with a solo shot in the 8th, his 17th since joining Iowa and 39th on the season. Bryant went 3-for-5 and knocked in two runs, giving the slugger 100 on the season. Rafael Lopez had two hits while Mike Olt, Elliot Soto, and Ryan Kalish plated runs. Jorge Soler didn’t start but struckout as a pinch hitter in the 7th.
On the Hill: Felix Doubront fanned seven in four innings as the left-hander made his Cubs debut with the start in Iowa. He threw 80 pitches, 52 for strikes and was charged with three runs on four hits and two walks......Carlos Pimentel allowed two runs in three innings, Marcos Mateo fanned the side, and Marcus Hatley (2-6, 4.43 ERA) gave up the winning run on three hits and a walk, the run scoring on a double.
I-Cubs Notes: Chris Rusin (7-11, 3.76 ERA) gets the start on Wednesday night as the Cubs look to even the series with the Mets affiliate.
Prospects Update—Logan Watkins was promoted to Wrigley last year in August but only got 38 at-bats, hitting .211/.268/.237. Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez took playing time from Watkins at second but he’s been moved all over the diamond seeing action at every position except pitcher and catcher. At the plate, the 24-year-old is batting .255/.327/.362 in 94 games with 4 HR, 32 RBI, 56 R, and 20 SB. Based on the other players in the system, it would be easy to write Watkins off and say he’s not part of the Cubs future, but he has a spot on the 40-man roster, and provides depth and versatility.
AA—Huntsville 5, Tennessee 2
Smokies moved into a three-way tie for first with the loss to Huntsville.
At the Dish: Smokies scored both of their runs in the fourth as Christian Villanueva doubled home a pair for a 2-0 lead. Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-4 while Addison Russell singled, walked, stole a base and scored a run.
On the Hill: Felix Pena (1-2, 5.27 ERA) had problems finding the strike zone as the right-hander didn’t make it out of the fifth, throwing 90 pitches, 53 for strikes. Pena gave up three runs on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts....Andrew McKirahan surrendered two runs in the sixth and allowed an inherited runner to score in the fifth. He finished with a line of 1.2 IP, 3H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K......Hunter Cervenka, Lendy Castillo and Tony Zych all tossed a scoreless frame.
Smokies Notes: Corey Black (5-7, 3.18 ERA) gets the start on Wednesday night vs. Huntsville.
Prospects Update—Stephen Bruno didn’t spend much time in A-ball, skipping Kane County and only playing 19 games in Daytona before Tommy John surgery ended his 2013 season. The 7th round pick in 2012 out of University of Virginia got off to a slow start but hit .346/.414/.641 with 13 doubles in May and was named a Southern League all-star. Bruno’s cooled off slightly but is still batting .271/.342/.391 in what amounts to his first full pro season. He’ still needs work to improve his defense but has proven he can hit at any level. Bruno could return to AA to start 2015 but should earn a promotion to Iowa at some point.
High A—Game 1—Brevard County 5, Daytona 1; Game 2—Daytona 3, Brevard County 2
A throwing error in the bottom of the seventh gave Daytona the walk-off win and a split of the doubleheader.
At the Dish: GAME 1—Not much offense for the Cubs in the opener. Jacob Hannemann’s RBI double scored Gioskar Amaya, who singled and took second on a throwing error. Amaya and Hannemann both finished with two hits.......GAME 2—Cubs were scoreless through four but a double by Billy McKinney and a RBI single by Chadd Krist cut the lead to 2-1. Wes Darvill’s sacrifice fly in the sixth scored Kyle Schwarber, who singled and took third on Daniel Vogelbach’s base hit. In the bottom of the seventh, Krist walked to lead off and took second on Bijan Rademacher’s single. Gioskar Amya laid down a bunt but pitcher Taylor Williams threw the ball away, allowing Krist to score the game-winner. Vogelbach and Rademacher finished with two hits each.
On the Hill: GAME 1—Juan Paniagua (1-3, 6.00 ERA) escaped trouble for three innings but didn’t make it out of the fourth, surrendering five runs, three earned. He allowed seven hits, three walks and a homer. Nathan Dorris (4-6, 6.58 ERA) worked around four hits and two walks in 2? innings and Michael Jensen (6-4, 2.86 ERA) tossed a scoreless seventh......GAME 2—Tayler Scott (7-8, 4.31 ERA) had a good outing, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He fanned five and gave up a solo homer. Yao-Lin Wang (3-5, 5.43 ERA) got the win, working a 1-2-3 seventh.
Prospects Update—Gioskar Amaya has been on and off the Cubs top prospect lists as the 21-year-old plays his fifth season in the organization. After hitting .252/.329/.369 in 117 games for Kane County last year, the Venezuelan has improved his numbers, especially cutting down on strikeouts and improving his walk rate. In 95 games for Daytona, Amaya is batting .279/.380/.347 with 13 SB. He’s also improved his range on defense and turned in a highlight reel of defensive gems. While the Cubs middle infield is stocked with top prospects, the Venezuelan provides the Cubs more depth and should earn a promotion to Tennessee in 2015.
Low A—Kane County 4, Cedar Rapids 3
Kane County scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth with Daniel Lockhart delivering the walk-off RBI single.
At the Dish: Cougars took advantage of two errors, an infield pop up that fell untouched and a wild pitch in the ninth. After Victor Caratini reached on an error, Jacob Rogers slugged his 14th homer to pull Kane County to within one. The next two hitters reached on miscues and after a bunt, a wild pitch scored Cael Brockmeyer to tie the game. The Bandits walked the bases full and with two outs Lockhart hit a fly ball to left and the ball dropped untouched to give the home team the win. Dunston and Jeffrey Baez had two hits.
On the Hill: Good report on Jen-Ho Tseng (6-1, 2.52 ERA) from Rob below.....Michael Wagner gave up a run in 2.1 innings on three hits and two walks and two strikeouts. David Garner (1-0, 4.05 ERA) worked a 1-2-3 ninth and earned his first MWL win.
Eye Witness account from Rob Willer......Jen Ho Tseng dominate once again 5? innings of two-run ball with three hits allowed, three walks, and five Ks. Breezed through the first five allowing one hit and a walk. Got squeezed in the sixth after retiring two of the first three but then giving up two walks and two hits. He sat mostly between 88-90 and topping out at 92 mixed in at least a dozen breaking balls from 68-74 had a lot of bite on the curve was missing a lot of bats........Shawn Dunston looked great, showed great speed as well as patience at the plate. He's putting together a great season a nice bounce back year from 2013. He stole two bases without a throw great jumps off the starting pitcher and solid secondary lead contributed to his success......Victor Caratini was very comfortable behind the plate and even threw out a runner at second a very strong arm. Had solid contact at the plate just hit right at defenders.
Prospects Update—The Cubs 14th round pick in June out of Mercer University, Chesny Young has made a quick rise since signing. After two games in Mesa, Young hit .354/.466/.417 in 15 games at Boise and was promote to Kane County and made his MWL debut on July 25. Since arriving in Geneva, Young is batting .377/.389/.472 heading into play on Tuesday. Hard to predict where the 21-year-old starts 2015 but he’s already been identified as a ”sleeper” by Cubs player development director Jason McLeod.
Short-Season—Boise 9, Eugene 8—10 innings
Charcer Burks delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to give Boise the sweep of Eugene.
At the Dish: Bryant Fleete and Rashad Crawford opened the 10th with walks and Fleete raced home on Burks game-winning single, his second hit of the night. Danny Canela and Jesse Hodges were 2-for-5 with two RBI. Crawford and Fleete both added two hits, had a RBI and scored once.
On the Hill: Trevor Clifton (3-2, 4.40 ERA) had his roughest outing in Boise, lasting only 1.2 innings. He gave up five runs, three earned, on five hits and two walks. The 20-year-old fanned two and threw two wild pitches....Yomar Morel tossed 4.1 innings of emergency relief, allowing a run on three hits. Alberto Diaz surrendered a run on two innings with a pair of strikeouts. Sam Wilson (5-0, 3.24 ERA) got charged with his third blown save allowing the tying run in the ninth. He fanned four in two innings and got credit for the win.
Hawks Notes: Josh Conway (0-1, 2.92 ERA) gets the ball on Wednesday night as the Hawks travel to Hillsboro for a three-game series.
Prospects Update—A 20th round pick out of Charleston Southern, Alex Tomasovich made his pro debut for Boise June 21 and has played in 21 games for the Hawks. The 22-year-old is hitting .280/.359/.329 and has shown some versatility with 10 games at second and time at first, third and short.
Arizona Rookie League—Cubs
Cubs and Indians were rained out.
Prospects Update—After being drafted in the 32nd round out of the University of Washington, Andrew Ely turned pro and went 1-for-3 in his debut. He hasn’t stopped hitting, collecting seven multi-hit games in his first 18, including three 3-hit outings. He's also lifted four homers out of the park, not something you would expect from the 5-foot-10 left-handed bat (.364/.391/.621). After two errors in his first two games, he’s only committed one over the next 14.
Dominican Summer League—Cubs 8, Angels 2
Cubs knocked out 15 hits and Oscar De La Cruz fanned six in six shutout innings.
At the Dish: 1B Yohan Matos (.294) went 2-for-5 and knocked in three runs while CF Robert Caro and DH Frandy Delarosa had three hits and a RBI. 3B Antonio Valerio (.226), 2B Franklin Tineo (.221) and Robert Garcia (.314) had two hits and a RBI apiece.
On the Hill: Oscar De La Rosa (7-1, 1.80 ERA) gave up two hits and a walk over six scoreless frames. The 19-year-old has made 13 starts in his second pro season with 57 K in 70 IP and a 1.05 WHIP. Chris Pieter gave up two runs in 1.1 innings and Santiago Rodriguez (8-0, 1.28 ERA) fanned both hitters he faced in relief. He only lasted 1.2 innings on Aug. 9. Aneuris Rosario tossed a scoreless ninth.
Prospects Update—Cubs have had seven different players play second this season but no one has logged more innings that Franklin Tineo, a 19-year-old in his first pro season. Also spending time at short, third and DH, Tineo’s hitting .213/.316/.287 in 159 PA with nine extra base hits and 27 runs entering play Tuesday. On defense, he’s committed 15 errors in 28 games at second for a .959 fielding percentage.