For those of you visiting NorthSiders Report for the first time, welcome. I’ve spent the season writing daily reports on the eight Cubs affiliates and I’m in the process of a series of write-ups on each of the prospects. Currently going around the infield with a check at third in today’s recap. Northsiders also has player pages for the Cubs prospects that you can access by clicking on the player's name.
Cubs trade Brett Jackson to D-Backs
The Cubs traded 2009 first-round pick Brett Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league relief pitcher Blake Cooper. Once considered one of the Cubs top prospects, Jackson could never cut down on the strikeouts and was likely to get released. Jackson hit .210/.298/.348 in 81 games for Iowa this season. The trade opens up a spot on the Cubs 40-man roster.......Cooper, 26, is in his fifth season after being selected in the 12th round in 2010 by Arizona. Appearing in 24 games out of the bullpen for Mobile (3-2, 1.85 ERA) to start the year, the right-hander was promoted to AAA Reno and is 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA with 17 BB and 20 K in 24 IP.
Roster Moves, News, Notes
To make room for Benjamin Carhart on the Daytona roster, the Cubs have released catcher Chadd Krist. Krist was the Cubs 9th round pick out of the University of California in 2012. The 24-year-old hit .220/.291/.333 for Daytona in this year and caught 65 games last year in the FSL.....Cubs third-round pick Mark Zagunis was promoted to Kane County from Boise. The 21-year-old played in 43 games for the Hawks, splitting time between the outfield (14), DH (13) and behind the plate (16). The junior from Virginia Tech hit .290/.420/.414 with 2 HR, 28 RBI and walked (32) as nearly as many times as he fanned (33). The NWL all-star hit for the cycle July 14 vs. Spokane with 4 RBI.......OF Kevin Brown has been sent to Boise from Kane County. Brown hit .221/.279/.325 with 2 HR and 10 RBI. Brown joined the Cougars when Yasiel Balaguert went on the DL in early July. Balaguert made his second rehab start in right field in Mesa on Thursday night.......OF Calvin Graves has been sent back from Boise to Mesa and Jake Stinnett, Cubs 2014 second-round pick, tweeted that he was headed to Boise after pitching Thursday night for Mesa.
AAA—Iowa 6, Las Vegas 5—12 innings
Kris Bryant hit a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 12th after the 51s took the lead with a solo shot in the top of the frame.
At the Dish: Kris Bryant (.313/.422/.661) made his 40th homer count with a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th to give Iowa the win. It was his 18th AAA homer in 54 games and he now has 103 RBI. I think its safe to assume Bryant is the favorite for every publication’s minor league player of the year. Mike Olt (.333/.375/.667) slugged his fifth homer in his last six games and seventh in AAA and also added a double and two RBI. Matt Szczur (.261/.315/.310) and Logan Watkins (.260/.330/.365) had three hits each and Manny Ramirez (.220/.325/.360) went 2-for-3.
On the Hill: Dallas Beeler (8-5, 3.80 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) made his 17th start and went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. Beeler gave up two homers, fanned five and threw 92 pitches, 61 for strikes. Armando Rivero (3-0, 1.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) struckout the side in the seventh but gave up a solo homer and was charged with his second blown save. Zac Rosscup (2-0, 2.17 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) tossed two scoreless frames and Blake Parker (0-0, 1.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) pitched a scoreless ninth. Marcos Mateo (2-0, 3.97 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) gave up a solo homer in the 12th but got the win on Bryant’s heroics.
Prospect Update—Fans will get a chance to see Kris Bryant in September when he picks up his Cubs Minor League Player of the Year award. After kicking down the door in his first pro season and earning Arizona Fall League MVP honors, the 22-year-old hasn’t stopped. With 39 HR and 101 RBI between Iowa and Tennessee, he’s hit .338/.443/.683 and either leads the minors or is near the top of most offensive categories. I don’t think there’s any doubt if the Cubs would have been in a wild card race this year Bryant’s major league clock would have started. Service time, a spot on the 40-man roster and more time at third in AAA are all legit reasons for Bryant not to make his debut this year. Don’t worry, you’ll like what you see in 2015.
AA—Tennessee 1, Huntsville 0
Dustin Geiger’s single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth plated the only run of the game.
At the Dish: Albert Almora (.214/.247/.300) led off the ninth with a bouncer to second that was mishandled and ruled a hit, his second of the game. He took third on Addison Russell’s (.300/.350/.523) single to right and an intentional walk to Christian Villanueva (.235/.302/.376) loaded the base. Geiger (.228/.306/.389) lined a single back up the middle for the walk-off win. Taylor Davis (.327/.373/.525) went 2-3 and Geiger had two hits.
On the Hill: C.J. Edwards (1-1, 2.65 ERA, 1.06 WHIP) fell behind a few more hitters than usual but he still worked his way through six shutout innings and turned in his best outing of the season. He threw 71 pitches, 40 for strikes, walked one, gave up four hits and fanned one. Edwards got nine ground ball outs and the Smokies turned two double plays. His tailing fastball was in the low 90s.....Hunter Cervenka (2-3, 3.13 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) kept the Stars off the board for two innings and Frank Batista (4-0, 1.16 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) worked a 1-2-3 ninth and got the win.
Smokies Notes: Pierce Johnson (5-4, 2.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) gets the start on Friday night.
Prospect Update—After being named the best third baseman in AA last year, Villanueva headed to AAA Iowa with his sights set on a possible trip to Wrigley. Kris Bryant’s promotion and Villanueva’s struggles (.211/.283/.372, 64 G, 6 HR) had the 23-year-old back at Smokies Park. A career .266 hitter, Villanueva is hitting .240/.303/.383 in 44 games in Tennessee. A solid defender at third, Villanueva give the Cubs at worst a solid back-up in AAA that could be used in an emergency role. Increased offensive numbers in 2015 could get Villanueva back into the conversation and is a possible trade candidate.
High A—Game 1—Daytona 6, Brevard County 2; Game 2—Brevard County 2, Daytona 1
Billy McKinney knocked in four runs in the opener as Daytona split with the Manatees.
At the Dish: GAME 1—Billy McKinney (.314/.407/.441) delivered a three-run double in the first and added a sacrifice fly; and has 32 RBI in 34 games since being traded to the Cubs. Benjamin Carhart had two hits and knocked in a run in the four-run first. Jacob Hannemann (.282/.325/.385) doubled and scored while Rock Shoulders (229/.351/.419) hit his first career triple, walked twice, and scored twice......GAME 2—Daytona’s only run scored in the second when Wes Darvill (.263/.321/.354) doubled and scored on Bijan Rademacher’s (.267/.360/.402) RBI single. Hannemann doubled and Kyle Schwarber (.245/.383/.362) singled in the first but both were stranded.
On the Hill: GAME 1—Jose Rosario (5-7, 5.50 ERA, 1.71 WHIP) worked five solid innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. He fanned three and won for the first time since June 25. Starling Peralta (6-3, 3.52 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) kept the Manatees off the board the final two frames with four strikeouts......GAME 2—Justin Amlung (3-4, 4.89 ERA, 1.61 WHIP) pitched well enough to get a win but didn’t get much offense. The right-hander gave up two runs, one earned, on seven hits and a walk. He fanned three and coaxed eight ground ball outs in five innings. Austin Kirk (1-0, 3.32 ERA, 1.16 ERA) fanned two in a scoreless inning.
D-Cubs Notes: Cubs travel to Tampa for a three-game set with the second place Yankees.
Prospect Update—Jordan Hankins has made the most of his first full season after being selected in the 11th round last year out of Austin Peay. He was named a MWL all-star for Kane County, hitting .322/.361/.461 with 3 HR and 34 RBI, and earned a promotion of Daytona in mid-June. He hasn’t found the same success in Daytona, batting .216/.321/.330 in 28 games. When I talked to Hankins earlier this year at Kane County, he said the Cubs had told him he would likely move to catcher during the off-season, so he’s future is not at third.
Low A—Kane County 4, Quad Cities 1
Trey Martin’s three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th gave the Cougars the sweep over the River Bandits.
At the Dish: After a double by Chesny Young (.390/.400/.492) and a single by Carlos Penalver (.209/.262/.264), Martin (.242/.287/.310) slugged a bomb over the left field wall to give the Cougars the lead. Shawon Dunston (.281/.314/.405) walked, stole his 22nd base, and scored on Victor Caratini’s (.229/.289/.343) RBI double. Cougars only had two hits coming into the 8th, a triple from Dunston and a single from Young.
On the Hill: Duane Underwood (5-4, 2.49 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) made his 19th start and while the hard throwing right-hander walked four, he kept the Bandits off the board for five innings. The 20-year-old gave up three hits and fanned four. Zak Hermans (2-3, 4.09 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) allowed a run on two hits and two walks over two innings. Jasvir Rakkar (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP) earned his first MWL win, tossing two scoreless innings. The right-hander has not allowed a run in 11 innings since joining the Cougars..
Cougars Notes: Kane County heads to Wisconsin for a three-game set and all the games will be televised on MiLB-TV. Jonathan Martinez (8-5, 3.46 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) makes his third start since being traded by the Dodgers for Darwin Barney.
Prospect Update—I predicted Jeimer Candelario would have a breakout season in the FSL after turning in solid year as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League. I was wrong. Candelario never got on track in Daytona, batting .193/.275/.326 in 62 games before being sent back to the MWL. While he struggled with the bat for the D-Cubs, he did show great improvement in the field, not committing an error over his final 40 games. Candelario’s numbers haven’t improved much with a slash line of .236/.276/.423 in 47 games for Kane County. Candelario may need an off-season to refocus his commitment on becoming a MLB player and at age 20, has time to mature.
Short-Season—Boise 7, Hillsboro 2
Boise scored five runs in the top of the second and evened the series at Hillsboro.
At the Dish: Hawks got all the offense they would need in the second as Rashad Crawford (.275/.313/.376) lined his first pro homer out of the park, a three-run shot to cap off the frame. David Bote (.316/.407/.469) doubled home the first run and Jesse Hodges (.268/.312/.399) added a RBI single. It ws one of four singles for Hodges. Bote finished with two RBI while Charcer Burks (.292/.413/.338) knocked in a run. Bryant Fleete (.329/.402/.386) and Kevin Brown (.269/.324/.463) both doubled and scored.
On the Hill: Jeremy Null (0-0, 3.00 ERA/, 1.33 WHIP) made his first pro start and the 15th round pick in June tossed three innings, allowing a run on three hits. According to Hawks broadcaster Mike Safford, Null was 89-91 with his fastball and commanded good off-speed stuff.....Trey Lang (2-0, 3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) got the win, surrendering a run on a hit in four solid innings as he only allowed two base runners.....Daniel Lewis (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.80 WHIP) held the Hops scoreless over the final two frames.
Hawks Notes: Dillon Maples (0-1, 12.96 ERA, 2.64 WHIP) will be looking to get his game back on track as he gets the start on Friday night.
Prospect Update—Jesse Hodges is having a decent season in the Northwest League. After singing as an undrafted free agent in 2013, the Canadian has hit .268/.312/.399 in 57 games at short-season Boise and has also slugged six homer and knocked in 36. He’s made eight errors on the hot corner for a .949 fielding percentage. The 20-year-old should find himself at Kane County next year to see how he handles the grind of a full season.
Arizona Rookie League—Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 2
D-Backs scored three times in the first and collected 14 hits in the win.
On the Hill: Cubs second-round pick Jake Stinnett had a rough outing, giving up four runs in two innings. The right hander allowed six hits and fanned one......James Pugliese made his first rehab stint since going on the DL for Kane County. He fanned all three hitters he faced. Alex Santana gave up two runs on seven hits over four innings and Hector Perez tossed the final frame.
Prospect Update—Adonis Paula, a 20-year-old from the Dominican, is in his third year of pro ball and his first stateside after two years in the DSL. After a slow start in Mesa, Paula is hitting .250/.299/.315 with 13 RBI in 33 games. The Cubs promoted several players from the DSL and VSL to the states this spring and Paula is part of that international wave. Paula has hit over .300 the second half of the season but lacks power you would expect from a third baseman.
Dominican Summer League—Cubs 5, Astros Orange 4
Antonio Valerio’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gave the Cubs the walk-off win.
At the Dish: Valerio’s game winner capped off a big day at the pale, going 3-for-5 with two RBI. Yohan Matos knocked in a pair and Roberto Caro doubled and scored three runs. Jenner Emeterio was 2-3 and Erick Gonzalez knocked in a run.
On the Hill: Jose Morel went four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks. Jeffry Hernandez pitched a scoreless inning and Andri Rondon got the win, allowing two runs over the final four innings.
Prospect Update—Miguel Ruiz has seen action at second and short but a majority of his first pro season has been spent at the hot corner (33 games). The 17-year-old is hitting .251/.371/.339 in 171 at-bats with six triples and seven steals in 13 attempts. While the free agents with the top contracts grabbed the headlines last July, the Cubs signed several others who have made an impact in their first pro season, including players like the switch-hitting Ruiz.
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