2017 Draft—High School Bats
No group of prospects jumps up and down rankings and mock draft boards like high school position players. Some scouts love this guy and others will point out two flaws in their swing. The first pick Theo Epstein ever made with the Cubs was prep outfielder Albert Almora. Since that time, team Epstein and his trusty sidekick Jason McLeod have only selected two prep position players in the first ten rounds—outfielders Charcer Burks (9th round-2013) and Darryl Wilson (4th round-2015).
So with that in mind, you can cross off SS/OF Royce Lewis (California) falling to the Cubs as he’s likely the first true prep position player drafted. Outfielders Jordan Adell (Kentucky) and Austin Beck (North Carolina) are considered the next best prospects but after that, the list gets to preferences. Beck’s stock has dropped recently and he keeps falling in mock drafts. 1B Nick Pratto (California), OF Bubba Thompson (Alabama), SS Nick Allen (California), OF Drew Waters (Georgia), SS Brady McConnell (Florida), IF Mark Ventos (Florida), and OF Quentin Holmes (New York) could all be available when the Cubs make their two first-round picks. The Cubs could also select a prep that’s ranked farther down and sign him under slot to add more impact players later on in the draft. Many mock drafts have the Cubs tied to SS Nick Allen, so you know he’s not going to Chicago. :)
Pacific Coast League—AAA—Iowa
Iowa had the day off and host Nashville (A’s) on Thursday night at Principal Park. Aaron Brooks (3-4, 7.57 ERA) will get the start.
Hitting Recap: Don’t look now but IF Chesny Young has raised his average to .293 after batting .367 (29-for-79) in May. He hit .224 in his first month at AAA.……With C Miguel Montero becoming a free agent at the end of the season, Victor Caratini is making a case to become the backup in 2018. The switch-hitting backstop not only continues to improve behind the plate but is having his best season with the bat as a pro, batting .340/.382/.509 in 44 games with four homers, 11 doubles and 33 RBI……3B Jeimer Candelario leads the PCL with 17 doubles but is just 8-46 since returning from Chicago. All eight of his hits have gone for extra bases.
Pitching Chart: I’m not sure what Cubs fans expect out of a number five starter. As far as I’m concerned, if he can keep you in the game for five innings more than half the time, then you really can’t ask for more. If the Cubs do send Eddie Butler back to Iowa, the options in Des Moines are slim. With Jake Buchanan no longer in the organization (claimed off waivers by Reds) and Rob Zastryzny currently on the DL, the only minor league starting option that wouldn’t affect the 40-man roster is right-hander Aaron Brooks. While he leads the Iowa staff with 54.2 innings, the 27-year-old with 10 major league starts has struggled missing bats. He’s given up a team-high 10 homers and sports a 7.57 ERA, a 1.65 WHIP and PCL hitters are batting .344 against the right-hander. RH Seth Frankoff, 28, is having the best season of his eighth year minor league career. The right-hander has fanned 52 in 49.2 innings and is 0-2 with a 2.90 ERA and a team-best 0.93 WHIP. Frankoff has spent most of his minor league career pitching out of the bullpen and hasn’t been a regular starter since 2011. RH Casey Kelly, who’s made nine big league starts, joined Iowa in mid-May and has made three starts, logging 13 innings, 18 H, 7 ER, 7 BB, 11 K.
Southern League—AA—Montgomery (Rays) 5, Tennessee 3
Montgomery (28-24) scored four times in the bottom of the eighth and took the series opener from Tennessee (29-22).
Hitting Recap: 2B David Bote (.270) gave the Smokies a 1-0 lead in the second with his sixth homer, a blast over the center field fence. SS Carlos Penalver (.258) drew a leadoff walk in the third and made it 2-0 when he scored on a double down the left field line by C Erick Castillo (.270). With two outs in the seventh, Penalver smacked his first homer of the season, a solo shot to left. Only five hits for Tennessee.
Pitching Chart: Jen-Ho Tseng (2.48 ERA) surrendered a solo homer in the third but that would be all the Biscuits would get off the right hander in six innings. Tseng gave up four hits, walked three and fanned six in the 93-pitch outing. Tseng continues to shutdown the Southern League, having allowed three earned runs over the past 25 innings (four starts)…..RH James Pugliese (1.24 ERA) worked around a pair of hits in a scoreless seventh. An error by Penalver opened the eighth and RH Justin Hancock (0-1, 5.40 ERA) only got one out. A RBI double, a walk, a wild pitch, and a two-run double chased Hancock. Daury Torrez (0.34 ERA) got the final two outs but not before giving up a sacrifice fly.
Smokies News: Preston Morrison (0-4, 3.53) is scheduled to start on Thursday night in Montgomery.
Carolina League—High A—Down East (Rangers) 4, Myrtle Beach 3—14 innings
An error in the top of the 14th gave Down East the extra inning win.
Hitting Recap: Pelicans scored all their runs in the fourth for a 3-2 lead. 2B Bryant Flete (.292) led off with a double, took second on a ground out and scored on a RBI single from DH Daniel Spingola (.293). RF Eddy Martinez (.217) singled with two outs and 1B Tyler Alamo (.248) followed with another base knock to score Spingola. 3B Jesse Hodges (.269) delivered the Pelicans third straight single of the inning, scoring Martinez. Hodges finished 3-for-6 and Spingola had two hits in the loss.
Pitching Chart: Oscar De La Cruz (4-2, 3.42 ERA) was scratched before the start of the game after going through his stretching and warm-up routine before the game. RH Kyle Miller (4.76 ERA) was called into action and gave up a run in the first on a leadoff double, a sacrifice bunt and a RBI ground out. The right-hander gave up another run in the second and finished the night with a line of 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. Scott Effross (5.67 ERA) fired two shutout relief innings and Pedro Araujo (2.42 ERA) worked two frames, allowing a run in the seventh and got charged with a blown save. Dillon Maples (2.22 ERA) tossed a scoreless ninth and Jordan Minch (0.00 ERA) added two more shutout frames. Marc Huberman (0-2, 5.56 ERA) kept the Wood Ducks off the board for two innings but a single, a wild pitch and a throwing error by Andruw Monasterio allowed the winning run to score.
Pelicans News: Ryan Kellogg (1-3, 5.01 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday night against Down East.
Midwest League—Low A—Dayton (Reds) 9, South Bend 8
A power outage delayed the start of the game by an hour, and South Bend couldn’t overcome a 6-0 deficit.
Hitting Recap: Cubs has 11 hits in the loss. C Alberto Mineo (280) was 3-for-4 with a double while 1B Vimael Machin (.276) slugged a three-run homer in the fifth, his second. CF Luis Ayala (.279) was 2-for-5 with a two-run triple in the fourth and 3B Wladimir Galindo (.305) added a two-run single in the sixth. SS Zack Short (.263) went 1-for-5 with a RBI.
Pitching Chart: Jose Paulino (2-1, 5.49 ERA) gave up a run in the first and didn’t make it out of the thrid, allowing five more runs. Paulino yielded six extra bases hits, five doubles and a homer, and ended the night with a line of 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 56 pitches…….Pedro Silverio (5.87 ERA) worked a scoreless fourth and allowed two runs in the fifth in his two innings of relief. Dakota Mekkes (0.65) was charged with an unearned run in the seventh, one of two innings he pitched, and Jared Cheek (2.08 ERA) tossed 1.1 scoreless frames.
SB-Cubs News: Bryan Hudson (0-1, 4.19 ERA) takes the mound for the Cubs on Thursday night.
The Northwest League begins play on June 15 and the defending NWL champion Emeralds open the season at PK Park with a five-game series against Vancouver. The team will host Ems Fest on June 13.