Don’t Panic. Yes, Gerardo Concepcion received a lot of hype when he signed with the Cubs. Yes, he struggled in the first inning of each of his first two starts for the Low-A Peoria Chiefs, and yes he did in fact fail to get out of the first inning on Monday. It is regrettably true that his season ERA stands at 19.06 in just under six innings of work. However, it is also true that it is premature to be overly worried about any of this. Concepcion doesn’t just have under six innings of work for Low-A Peoria, he has under six innings of work as an American professional pitcher at any level. It will take him some time to adjust, and the Cubs will give him that time. With Concepcion, as with any prospect just starting on his minor league career, the most important thing is to stay patient. It is just too early to draw any conclusions about this guy no matter how scary the numbers look. Panicking now would be very premature.
After all, we can always start panicking later.
Travis Wood needed 91 pitches to get through five innings. Knowing that, it should not be surprising that he did not pitch well (7H, 5R, 1BB, 4K) or that he was stuck with yet another loss. The bullpen, on the other hand, was nearly flawless. Nate Robertson walked one in a scoreless seventh, but Frank Batista pitched a perfect eighth and Jeff Beliveau a perfect ninth.
Anthony Rizzo and Adrian Cardenas both had two hits for Iowa, including a solo home run by Cardenas. Brett Jackson and Luis Valbuena both reached base three times, each on two walks and a hit. Josh Vitters has now hit safely in four straight games, and has reached base at least once in eight of his last nine.
AA – Tennesse Smokies. 11 – 14
Tennessee was off on Monday. Their next home stand will begin on Tuesday against Montgomery.
High A – Daytona Cubs. 7 – 17
Dayton was in the driver’s seat until the eighth inning. Reliever Eduardo Figueroa could not find the strike zone and that ultimately cost the Cubs the game by a final of 8-6.
Frank Del Valle pitched five decent innings to start the game, and then handed things over to the bullpen. Joseph Zeller had an off game but left with the lead intact. A.J. Morris (who arrived in the Tom Gorzelanny trade last winter) pitched a scoreless inning. Tony Zych came in to clean up Figueroa’s mess in the eighth and wound up with the blown save (Figueroa got the loss).
The Cuban Contingent had another good game. Elieser Bonne was two for five. Now that he has gotten acclimated to the Florida State League Bonne is on a bit of a hot streak. He has reached base safely in eight of his last ten games. Rubi Silva, on the other hand, is continuing to scorch the ball. He went three for four and raised his season line to .342/.398/.461. I think a trip to Tennessee is in Silva’s future.
Matt Szczur kept his extra base hitting streak alive with a triple (part of a two for five day) and John Andreoli added two hits of his own. I have not talked much about Andreoli yet this season, but he deserves a mention. The Cubs took him out of Connecticut in the 17th round of last years’ draft. While he did spend a few games in Arizona and Peoria last season, for all rational purposes he began his professional career this season in High-A Daytona. That slightly advanced opening assignment has not caused him any trouble at all. The twenty-one year old outfielder has an OPS of .842, five stolen bases, and a strikeout to walk ratio of 15/14. If he keeps producing at this pace he will not only get a shot at Tennessee by year’s end, he could emerge as one of the bigger surprises in the farm system this year. Keep an eye on him.
Concepcion gave up seven runs on five hits, one walk, and one hit batter; fortunately the bullpen pitched much better. Willengton Cruz turned in one of his best games of the season in three and a third innings of work, and Bryce Shafer, Luis Liria, and Jeffrey Lorick finished the game allowing just one run between them. With the exception of Concepcion’s struggles, the Chiefs enjoyed some pretty good pitching.
Zeke DeVoss continued his recent run of good games with a two for three, one double and two walk performance. Rafael Lopez, Paul Hoilman, and Ryan Cuneo each contributed two hits and a double as well.