The promotions of Tony Campana and Scott Maine are only the beginning. I think we can expect a lot of prospects to be climbing aboard the Iowa-to-Chicago express this summer. That, of course, means there will be a lot of miles logged between Tennessee and Iowa, and Daytona and Tennessee. We have already begun to see some movement in and out of extended spring training; expect that pick up as well. This season we will need to watch the transaction wire just as closely as we do the box scores.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 7 – 10
Heading into the eighth inning Iowa held a 5-3 lead and one of their best relievers was on the mound. What followed was one of the worst innings in the minor leagues this season. Iowa rallied back, but they fell far short. The Cubs lost this one 12-7.

Starter Casey Coleman pitched six good innings and was on his way to a win having allowed just two runs and struck out seven. After getting through the seventh, Jeff Beliveau took the mound in the eighth. And then, as things began to fall apart, Manuel Corpas replaced him. When the inning ended several batters later those two had combined to give up nine runs. It was so bad that Blake Lalli (a catcher) and Alfredo Amezaga (an infielder) pitched the ninth.

Now that Tony Campana has gone to Chicago, a number of his teammates are working on joining him. Brett Jackson (2 for 5, double), Anthony Rizzo (2 for 5), Dave Sappelt (2 for 4, home run), and Adrian Cardenas (2 for 3, double) all had good nights for Iowa. Josh Vitters did not have a hit, but he did draw an intentional walk. It is much to early to say who will be the next Cub called up from Iowa, but I suspect Cardenas has a good chance to be the next hitter.

Hopefully Iowa, and especially the bullpen, can forget about this one quickly.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 9 – 8
The Smokies scored a single run in every other inning on their way to a 4-2 win.

The top of the order kept getting on base and the middle of the order kept driving them in. Elliot Soto, Logan Watkins, and Jae-Hoon Ha scored all four of the Smokies’ runs from the first three positions in the batting order. Rebel Ridling and Ty Wright drove them in from the fourth and fifth slots. Ha also scored on wild pitch.

With Campana now a member of the Chicago bench, the Cubs’ may choose to move an outfielder from Tennessee to Triple A Iowa. Ha, Ridling, Wright, or James Adduci could all be candidates for that promotion. I think it is a little soon for Ha; my choice would be Ridling. On the other hand, the Cubs may move in a different direction altogether. Iowa’s roster is flexible enough to allow the Cubs a lot of options.

Nicholas Struck pitched five innings and collected his second win of the season. Jeffry Antigua pitched three innings in relief, and Marcus Hatley earned the save.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 4 – 11
Does anyone remember when Daytona was an error ridden team that struggled at the plate? The Daytona Cubs sure don’t. The offensive floodgates have opened and the Cubs poured forth another 13 runs and 17 hits in their 13-2 win.

Normally I like to mention any players who had multiple hits or extra base hits, but in this game there were just too many of them. Nelson Perez (3 for 3, 3 run homer, two walks) and Dustin Harrington (2 for 5, double, triple) led the team-wide attack. Nearly every player reached base at least twice.

Meanwhile, the pitching was able to the Yankee batters in check. Eric Jokisch went five and two thirds allowing seven hits and three walks. It wasn’t his best game, but it was good enough for the win. Larry Suarez and Joseph Zeller were nearly perfect over the final three and a third.

There is more than enough talent on this team to put together a long winning streak; this might be the start of one.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 6 – 10
Peoria’s own mistakes cost them. This 2-1 loss will be hard to swallow.

Michael Jenson got the loss, but he did not deserve it. He pitched seven good innings, allowing two hits, one walk, and striking out six while not allowing a single earned run. Thanks to a pair of errors behind him, he did allow a couple of unearned runs to the cross the plate, and that that was the difference in the game. Jensen has yet to have a bad start this season.

The Chiefs’ had their chances to score some runs, but they finished the game just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Rafael Lopez, Paul Hoilman, and Eduardo Gonzalez all had extra base hits and Oliver Zapata joined Hoilman as the only two Chiefs to enjoy a multi-hit day. The unstoppable Zapata also stole a base, his second of the season.

Through his first seven games and 28 AB, Zapata has put up some fairly ridiculous numbers. He is now hitting .464/.516/.750 with two doubles, two home runs, two stolen bases, three walks and six strikeouts. Zapata was called to Peoria out of extended spring training when Reggie Golden went on the disabled list. It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do when Golden is ready to return. There is no word on when that will be.

  • brittney

    The trend this year seems to be losing records…..I hope it turns around. I’m enjoying the reports luke! And I am excited for several of the guy individual results.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Thanks, Luke. I appreciate the links with each player’s name, too. Encourages me to learn more about the system.
    Where in the universe do the Boise Hawks fit into the Cubs Constellation? Is Bill Buckner associated with them? I thought I read he was a hitting coach there. He looked good in his old BoSox jersey at Fenway’s diamond anniversary on Friday. The Fenway Faithful were sure glad to see him there. I’m glad he made the trip.

    • Norm

      Boise doesn’t start until, I think, mid-June.

      • Luke

        This is correct.  Thanks to the earlier deadline for draft picks to sign, there is a decent chance we could see several of the Cubs’ 2012 draft picks in Boise.

  • R.E.S

    My son and I and about 75 other damp cold people stayed till the end of the Iowa game. They looked great for seven innings but when Beliveau came back out in the eighth and couldn’t throw strikes they really didn’t have any pitching left Corpas has been used alot and didn’t have it. Rusin’s short start and Wells skipped start and the call ups of Wells and Maine have left the I cubs short in the bull pen. Caridad threw 4 1/3 in a game this week I bet its been several years since he’s thrown more than two. Hopefully they get a couple guys today to replace Maine and Wells. Bowden?

  • djriz

    Luke, do you have a scoutng report on Jensen? What kind of stuff does he have? His peripheal numbers are pretty good and like you said, he hasn’t had a bad start.
    I guess what I’m asking (hoping?) is, is he a REAL prospect?

    • Luke

      According to some comments in the Peoria Journal Star by his catcher, Rafael Lopez, Jensen’s main weapon is his fastball.  Apparent that fastball has a lot of movement on it  (Lopez compared it to a cutter), and so far hitters have not managed to make consistently solid contact on it.  I don’t know much about his secondary pitches other than that he is working on some.

  • Dougy D

    Can anyone tell me who the Cubs got for their PTBNL in the Epstein deal? I can’t remember when it was reported or who it was.

    • Luke
      • Dougy D

        Thanks Luke

      • Chrisjmj

        What level is he playing at????

        • Luke

          So far, he isn’t.  I expect him to start this season in June in the Arizona Rookie League.

          • Tonycampanathebasethief

            Who do u and Brett think the ptbnl for Byrd will be????

            • nkniacc13

              Well Hoyer hassaid it will be a pitcher

            • Brett

              A low-level, low-upside, young pitcher – or an old, Minor League journeyman reliever type.

  • Luke

    Sunday’s Minor League Starters.

    Iowa (1:05 CDT) – Chris Rusin.  Iowa’s bullpen could really use a long outing from Rusin.

    Tennessee (2:00 EDT) – Ryan Searle.

    Daytona (5:35 EDT) – Matt Loosen.

    Peoria (2:00 CDT) – Patrick Francescon

    • Luke

      Chris Rusin delivers.  Through 8 innings he’s pitching a 2 hitter.  He hasn’t even through a 100 pitches yet.  The exhausted and shorthanded Iowa bullpen owes that guy dinner.

  • David

    I just had to look up the box score for Iowa’s game, and noticed this in the game recap:

    Dave Sappelt hits an inside-the-park home run (2) on a ground ball through the hole at second base. Matt Tolbert scores.

    • MichiganGoat

      Weird, could be a series of errors and the box score didn’t put a single/double that became a HR through errors

      • ETS

        I couldn’t see the ball very well from my seat, but it was barely fair, bounced hard into foul territory and caromed around the visitor’s bullpen.

  • ETS

    The iowa cubs relievers were clearly spent in that game. When Amezego picthed Lalli played second. Crazy game, terrible weather and Iowa was playing in Des Moines after finishing a game late in Albuquerque the previous night.

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder what the roster move will be Monday when Bowden gets here and has to be put on the 25 man roster

    • Tonycampanathebasethief

      Any idea who the ptbnl is for Byrd????