Cubs Aug.13 Minor League Recap

Albert Almora delivered a walk-off pinch-hit double to keep Tennessee in first place and Kane County’s bullpen closed the door over the final five innings in their win. Mike Olt slugged his sixth homer, Boise was no-hit for nine innings, and Mesa got swept by the Indians. Northsiders Report also give you a look at eight shortstop prospects.

Roster Moves, News, Notes

Kane County catcher Benjamin Carhart has been promoted to Daytona from Kane County...... Smokies placed right-handed relief pitcher Tony Zych on the DL and activated right-handed relief pitcher Zach Cates.

AAA—Las Vegas 6, Iowa 4

Las Vegas used a three-run fifth to beat the Cubs for the second straight night at Principal Park.

At the Dish: Mike Olt slugged his sixth homer, singled and walked in four trips to the plate. Matt Szczur and Josh Vitters had two hits each while Szczur, Kris Bryant and Elliot Soto added RBI.

On the Hill: Six hits and three walks led to five runs off left-hander Chris Rusin (7-12, 3.91 ERA) over seven innings. Rusin threw 92 pitches and got 12 ground ball outs. Alberto Cabrera allowed a run in an inning and Arodys Vizcaino pitched a scoreless ninth with 2 K.

I-Cubs Notes: Dallas Beeler (8-5, 3.75 ERA) will look to get the I-Cubs back in the win column on Thursday night.

Prospect Update—Elliot Soto was the Cubs 15th round pick in 2010 and established himself as a solid defender and valuable utility player. The 24-year-old missed the first 50 games of the season after being suspended for a drug of abuse and started the season at Tennessee. A career .248 hitter coming into the season, Soto hit .246/.348/.306 in 40 games for the Smokies and was promoted to Iowa after Javier Baez and Chris Valiaka were promoted to Chicago. Soto’s defense is good enough if he’s ever needed for a MLB reserve role and is eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December.

AA—Tennessee 6, Huntsville 5

Albert Almora ripped a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to give the Smokies the win and keep them in first.

At the Dish: Nursing a sore shoulder for the past two days after diving for a ball, Albert Almora’s pinch-hit double in the bottom of the ninth scored Stephen Bruno for the game winner. Jae-Hoon Ha was 3-for-5 with two RBI while Charlie Cutler added a two-run double. Lars Anderson knocked in a run, had two hits, and scored once.

On the Hill: Corey Black (5-7, 3.12 ERA) does a great job missing bats as he entered Wednesday night’s start with a .216 BAA. He’s also having problems missing the strike zone. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed a run on three hits over five innings but walked six. He threw 89 pitches, only 44 for strikes, and was helped out by three double plays.....After coming off the DL earlier in the day, Zach Cates struggled only getting two outs in the sixth. He was charged with four runs on three hits and two walks. Jeffrey Lorick got the Smokies out of the jam in the sixth and ended the night tossing two scoreless frames. P.J. Francescon picked up his 10th win in relief getting the final four outs, one on strikes.

Prospect Update—While Cub fans are have been programmed for the “Core Four”, SS Addison Russell may end up being the best player of the bunch. The Florida native was considered Oakland’s top prospect and some pundits had him possibly cracking the A’s big league lineup this summer before a hamstring injury landed him on the DL for two months. In 32 games with Tennessee since the trade, Russell has torched Southern League pitching for a .308/.362/.550 slash with 8 HR and 19 RBI. Not only has he shown a big league glove and arm at short, he’s also launched some long bombs at Smokies Park, comparable to Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. Russell will be headed to Iowa for the start of 2015 and may be pounding on the door at Wrigley by season’s end.

High A—Daytona

Had the day off and travel to Brevard County for a doubleheader on Thursday. Jose Rosario and Justin Amlung will start the twin-bill.

Prospect Update—Marco Hernandez caught some prospect buzz after batting .288/.310/.416 with 5 HR and 38 RBI for Boise in 2012. In his second trip to the MWL, Hernandez hit a respectable .254/.287/.338 in 111 games for Kane County and led the team with 21 stolen bases. The 21-year-old as upped his fielding percentage the past two seasons but has had trouble with popups in the FSL earlier this season but seems to be over that problem. Going from a switch-hitter to just batting left-handed, the Dominican is in the midst of his best season at the plate with a ..278/.324/.357 with 45 RBI and 16 stolen base. A trip to AA is likely in-store for Hernandez in 2015.

Low A—Kane County 6, Quad Cities 3

Kane County scored four times in the third and their bullpen shut down the Bandits.

At the Dish: Benjamin Carhart gave the Cougars a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run homer, his fifth of the season. Two walks and a RBI single by Victor Caratini tied the game and then after two more walks forced in a run, Jeffrey Baez delivered a two-run single. Carhart finished 2-for-4 while 2B Daniel Lockhart (.288) tripled, scored twice and walked.

On the Hill: Paul Blackburn (9-4, 3.34 ERA) only went four innings in his 21st start of the season. The 20-year-old right-hander was charged with three runs on five hits and a walk. He fanned two and allowed a solo homer. The Cougars bullpen was nearly unhittable retiring 15-of-the-15 hitters they faced. Michael Heesch (3-1, 2.94 ERA) fanned four in three perfect frames and Francisco Carrillo (0-1, 3.00 ERA) set three down on strikes over the final two frames for his second save.

Cougars Notes: Kane County goes for the sweep on Thursday night with Duane Underwood (5-4, 2.64 ERA) getting the start.

Prospect Update—A lot of talk about Cubs shortstops but the best defender of the lot may be Carlos Penalver, a 20-year-old Venezuelan. Quick soft hands, great footwork and a powerful arm are on display for anyone watching Penalver. He has struggled at the plate in his first full season, batting .207/.261/.263 in 109 games with 17 steals for Kane County. Penalver’s defensive skill set are big league material but he may need to improve his bat to become an everyday player.

Short-Season—Hillsboro 1, Boise 0—10 innings

In a game that saw the Hawks get no-hit for nine innings, Hillsboro won on a walk-off walk in the 10th.

At the Dish: Boise’s only hit of the game came in the 10th when David Bote doubled as five Hops pitchers kept Boise in check.

On the Hill: Josh Conway has faced Hillsboro three times. They don’t have a hit over nine innings. Conway blanked the Hops for the third time, issuing a walk to go along with three strikeouts......10th round pick Ryan Williams turned in his best professional outing, allowing a hit over four shutout innings. He fanned a career-high six.....James Farris, Cubs 8th round pick, fanned four in two shutout frames. Corbin Hoffner, in Boise for rehab from Kane County, gave up a leadoff single in the 10th and then recorded a fly out. A wild pitch moved the runner to second and an intentional walk followed. Hoffner walked the next two hitters to force in the winning run.

Hawks Notes: Boise has not named a starter for Thursday night.

Prospect Update—Bryant Flete has gone from the Venezuelan Summer League to Boise in less than a year as the 21-year-old was promoted to the Hawks on July 24. Starting the year at extended spring training and then staying in Mesa, Flete hit .315/.393/.352 in 19 games for Mesa, spending most of his time at second. Since arriving in Boise, the 5-foot-10, 146-pounder has moved to short, with nine errors in 18 games. He’s done a nice job at the plate, batting .344/.413/.391 with nine RBI.

Arizona Rookie League—Game 1—Indians 6, Cubs 4; Game 2—Indians 4, Cubs 3

A walk-off single in the night-cap gave the Indians the sweep.

At the Dish: GAME 1—Cubs only had four hits and went 0-for-5 with RISP. Gleyber Torres was 1-2 with two walks and a RBI (24). Tyler Alamo knocked in a run while Andrew Ely went 1-4 and scored twice. GAME 2—Cubs jumped out to an early lead on a Torres single, scoring Ho-young Son, who singled and stole second (9). An RBI single by Ricardo Marcano and a throwing error when Kevonte Mitchell’s stole third. Roney Alcala and Marcano both had two hits.

On the Hill: GAME 1—Marcelo Carreno (0-0, 4.75 ERA) continues to add up innings as he recovers from shoulder surgery. In his third game, the 23-year-old gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. Jesus Castillo blanked the Tribe for three innings with 4 K and Andin Diaz (2-2, 3.32 ERA) took the loss, giving up four runs, three earned over the final two innings......GAME 2—Carson Sands isn’t have many problems as a professional pitcher. The Cubs fourth-round pick tossed three shutout innings with two punchouts. According to the box score, Jake Stinnett warmed up for the fourth but never threw a pitch, being replaced by Justin Steele. The fifth-round pick allowed three runs over 1.1 innings on a hit and two walks. Zach Hedges took the loss, allowing the winning run to score in the 7th.

Cubs Notes: Pitcher Jefferson Mejia was listed as the DH in the second game of the DH, going 0-2 with a walk. Eloy Jimenez returned to the line-up for the first time since Aug. 4, going 0-for-6 in the twin-bill.

Prospect Update—17-year-old Gleyber Torres has held his own in the Arizona Rookie League, his first season in pro ball. While most young Latin American player spend a year or two in the DSL or VSL, the Cubs assigned Torres and fellow 2014 international free agent Eloy Jimenez to Mesa. The Venezuelan is batting .282/.366/.387 in 33 games with 23 RBI and shown a good approach at the plate, reflective of his 18:28 BB/K ratio. He’s swiped 6 bases in 11 attempts and has 11 errors in 162 chances for a .932 fielding percentage. Cubs have the luxury of being patient with Torres as he develops but with that said, could be the starting shortstop at Kane County next year as they expose him to a full-season.

Dominican Summer League—Astros Orange 4, Cubs 2

Astros scored four times in the second and hung on for the win.

At the Dish: Cubs had eight hits but were just 2-for-13 with RISP. Yohan Matos (.293) and Jose Paniagua (.316) knocked in runs as eight different players had hits.

On the Hill: Pedro Silverio (3-2, 2.59) made his sixth start and allowed four runs in the second, two earned, and finished with a line o f4 IP, 3 H, 2B, 4K. The 20-year-old has turned in a solid season (59 IP, 1.10 WHIP, 45 K) in his second season as a pro and could earn a trip stateside next spring. Assael Aquino tossed four shutout innings with three punchouts.

Cubs Notes: Cubs (39-25) have nine games remaining and are two games back of the Giants for the wild card spot. The Rangers (48-15) have clinched the division.

Prospect Update—In his first year of pro ball at age 21, Carlos Jimenez was selected to play in the DSL All-Star game and has hit .308/.384/.438 in 54 games, 41 at short. He’s swiped 21 bases, knocked in 33, scored 40 times and I still have a hard time considering him a prospect due to his age and late start. So that leaves Frandy Delarosa, who’s only played 13 games at short and made seven errors. A July 2 signing in 2012, the 18-year-old hit .077 in 11 games last year but has improved with the stick at the plate, batting .288/.346/.425 with 44 RBI and 10 stole bases. Delarosa has spent most of the season as the team’s DH. The switch-hitting middle infielder could be destined for another position if he comes stateside next year.

Cubs Minor League box scores Aug. 13

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