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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.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 9 – 14
Once again Iowa came from behind to take a lead, and once again they let it slip away. Iowa drops another close game 5-4.

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.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 10 – 15
Concepcion could not get out of the first inning and the Chiefs could not bounce back in this 8-4 loss.

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.

  • matt m

    Going to watch Iowa play Memphis tonight!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nice! Look forward to hearing your thoughts/impressions/reactions/funny stories.

    • willis

      You live in Memphis? Me too. Went last night and going again tonight. I was impressed last night with Rizzo and Cardenas. Wood is terrible. The pen looked very good (as Luke noted). It was nice to see B Jax get a couple of walks. And I got a foul ball off of Valbuena’s bat. So that was nice.

      All in all a good time. Hoping for a win tonight though. It’s pizza night!

  • Adam

    You should note that Allen Craig (one of last year’s World Series heros) had all of the Redbirds’ RBIs and two bombs

  • Smitty

    Cardenas continues to play well. Will he be given a chance at 2B before the year is out?

    • gratefulled

      Smitty, I was thinking the same thing. I’ve seen Cardenas play many times this year and he flat-out looks like a major leaguer. The sooner we bring him up and dump DeWitt the better.

  • Kyle

    I’m not concerned about the stat line, but I am concerned about the reports that his fastball was 86-88 mph.

    We paid an awfully high premium for a 20-year-old junkballer.

    • Ryno G

      By all accounts his offseason stuff has been pretty well, at least the first start. While I am worried about the early velocity, it’s not like we shouldn’t have expected it. I expect he’ll live in the 87-89 range for the majority of his career with possibly, hopefully, room for projection. Clearly, Theo and company believe in his projection or they wouldn’t have invested as much money. I think we all just need to back off the ledge for awhile.

      • Ryno G

        Offspeed** not offseason.

      • Kyle

        The hope that maybe Theo and Co. thought they could find some extra velocity on him was the one reason I was optimistic about this signing. If it hasn’t shown up yet, then we’re left with a signing that the rest of the baseball world snickered at.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Remember, Concepcion was never (well, rarely) projected to be any better than a fourth or fifth starter.

        • Cubs Dude

          Yeah come on people. Concepcion is only 19 and pitching in a whole new world give the guy a couple months at least.

          • Kyle

            He’s 20

        • AB

          Unfortunately the Cubs system is littered with guys who are at best #4/#5s, and most of them are at A/A+, which isn’t really saying much about their long-term ceiling.

        • Kyle

          Which is why we’re more being reminded of why the signing came with some question marks than we are creating question marks because of one bad start.

  • Roy9ofWisdom

    “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 ”

    Now you are saying this applies to everyone, or just players Clubs made huge Bonus errors on?

    Nothing like throwing out a former D1 college All American and superior athlete after 10 weeks and a mere 200 plus PA’s in favor of a 25 year old Cuban who is mediocre and better served hacking canestalk.

    Just admit it. This pitcher is a junkballer who did so-so against a bunch of overweight Cuban aging high school talent level players. There are hundreds of the LHP in college baseball that can be signed for a plane ticket and not millions of dollars.

    Pro baseball is messes up.

    • Kyle

      Second-team All American. Let’s not drag down the real All-Americans by lumping in the second-teamers.

      • SirCub

        Can we go a day without somebody posting a youtube video of this dude?

    • AB

      “Nothing like throwing out a former D1 college All American and superior athlete after 10 weeks and a mere 200 plus PA’s in favor of a 25 year old Cuban who is mediocre and better served hacking canestalk.”

      Aren’t you missing out on a Tea Party rally or Neighborhood watch somewhere??

      • Bails17

        You know..your just as bad by lumping all Tea Party people into that stereo type AB…just don’t do it at all and we will all be better off.

  • cubs1967

    I had read on another baseball site; which I won’t name, that the Cubs offer was basically double the next best offer for Concepion; so I think we need to be back on the ledge if he’s getting lite up like a X-mas tree; $8M would of paid for 1/2 of Marshall’s extension and his 2.8 WAR would look alot better for the next 3 yrs. than a kid who can’t hit 90??
    Way too much talk offseason from Ricketts about the payroll being lower (yeah-by 40M since you took over tommyboy); but the baseball operations remain the same; which we know is fortune 500 speak for my mouth is moving but i’m not lying; so the 1st international signing needs to be a home run; not someone who gives up homeruns.

    • Edwin

      I think we should give him more than 6 innings before we judge whether the move was a success or failure. I don’t know what the rest of your post is about.

      • Drew

        I know, guys like this are always clear about the 1st topic they’re bitching about, but then it always seems to tail off REALLY bad into random jargon.

        • Cubs1967

          yeah I know; guys like your 2 can’t read beyond 3 sentences; so I’ll try to keep my posts to 3 periods max.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            In that particular instance, more than one would suffice.

          • Edwin

            You might want to think long and hard about questioning my reading ability. I must warn you, I’m an accomplished storylord.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storylords

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I can’t help but notice that the “Producer/Director” is named Ed. C’est vous?

              • Edwin

                I’m afraid some other Ed had the nerve to be born years before me and create Storylords before I was even born. All I can do is pedal my Bike-O-Tron and dream.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  I’m very, very disappointed.

                  • Edwin

                    You and my parents both.

            • TWC

              Whoa. Storylords?! That gave my deeply buried subconscious a jolt.

        • Ogyu

          I may not agree with everything that Cubs1967 said, but I understood his point and see no need to start a “guys like this” string of attacks. The obsessive need of many at this site to gang up on anyone who voices a critical opinion is really tiresome.

          • Edwin

            I wasn’t trying to attack him. I get his first point about being upset that the Cubs spent a lot of money on a player who seems to be a left-handed version of Hayden Simpson. The Cubs could have used that money on a better prospect, or saved it for future use. However, I don’t understand where he is going with the second part of his post, especially his attacks on Tom Ricketts.

            I agree with you that blindly attacking another person’s post is poor form. I’ll try to do less of that in the future.

  • The Dude Abides

    Everyone on this site was championing this move by Team Theo when he signed let’s let him get 50 innings in before we pass judgment. I’m sure whoever scouted him saw something other than the idea that because he is unknown and young he must be good. It wouldn’t give me any pause at all if I was Theo to throw more big money at Jorge Soler. Unknown young player = great prospect, right???

  • MichCubFan

    Yeah, not time to get worried yet. He is going to need some time to get comfortable and to get rolling. And 87-89 would worry me more from a righty, but it is a little more acceptable from a lefty. He is going to have to adjust to baseball in the US and that means location, location, location along with working on his changeup and breaking stuff.

    The thing that bummed me out the most about him is that he ended up being 20 years old instead of 18 or 19.

  • Guancous

    It is May 1st. Let’s wait until the guy learns English at the Sesane Street level before concluding he will never adjust.

  • Edwin

    Luke,

    If you had to choose a minor league hitter and minor league pitcher of the month, who would you choose, and why?

    Also, who’s stock is rising, and who’s stock is falling so far?

    • Cedlandrum

      Not Luke but the pitcher who is rising and who had the best month in my mind is Chris Rusin. To do what he is doing in the PCL is pretty great. Rizzo for the hitter.

      Honorable mention to Brooks Raley and Adrian Cardenas.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That sounds awfully similar to a month end article I might be working on.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Katie,

    I will be at the Cubs – Reds games this week. Live in Dayton. Keeping an eye out for the hotties from Cubs Nation. They are always there in Cinci. Can’t wait to get into Let’s Go Cubbies and piss off the Reds fans. Why they get pissed I don’t know. If it wasn’t for the Cubs fans showing up for Reds games they would never make payroll. Reds fans don’t show up and support their team. Gauranteed that there will be more Cubs fans at the Great American Ballpark than Reds fans. The vendors outside the stadium wish that the Reds played the Cubs everyday. When we are in town is the only time they make any money. Go Cubs… We have to win this series so I can tell everyone I know that is a Reds Fan to Pound Sand. I will have my W flag flying in my office. Ha… And Hooray for the Hotties at the Ball Park…

    • necusfan

      Is this satire that I’m not hip enough to get?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      We’s purdy in Ohio.

    • Diesel

      I’ll be one of those cubs fans numbering the reds fans today. I have two days off and can’t go home so I guess I have to go to Cincinnati and watch the cubs. Bummer huh? Anyone else going to be at the ballpark today?

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Interesting baserunning in Iowa…Rizzo with a caught stealing of home (I think because Cardenas was in a rundown) and Travis Wood, somehow, stole third base…just weird.

  • Puma0821

    Luke,

    Couple questions for you. Is there any word on who replaced or will be replacing Edgar Gonzalez in Iowa? Any chance it’s Lake? Also, is there any update on Golden?

    Edit: Looks like Iowa is currently going with 14 pitchers(who is Daniel Berlind?) and 11 position players but I have to assume this is just temporary.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Last I heard on Golden he had gone to Chicago to have the knee checked out.  I have not heard anything definite about the outcome of that visit.

      I’m not sure the Cubs are in any hurry to replace Edgar Gonzalez.  Cardenas will continue to get the majority of the starts at second, Vitters at third, and Wright in left field.  If the Cubs do send another infielder to Iowa, Jonathan Mota is much more likely than Junior Lake.  Lake still needs half a season or so of Tennessee before we can think about moving him to Iowa.

  • mark

    I have to say, like a lot of people I’m intrigued by the idea that the Cubs may have caught a break and could put Cardenas at 2B, Barney as super middle IF sub, and DeWitt…

  • djriz

    Luke,
    Any scouting report on Xavier Batista? Where did we get him from? How old is he? Is he sleeper type or high ceiling guy?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Xavier Batista?  Where did that name come from?

      He was signed by the Cubs out of the Dominican Republic a few years ago and has bounced between the DSL and the Arizona Rookie League.  He started as an outfielder, but last year the Cubs played him quite a bit on first base.  He’s a fairly tall player who (by the stats) seems to have plenty of patience at the plate, but his numbers are not otherwise striking.  I suspect he’ll develop more power as he fleshes out his 6’3″ frame.

      His DSL numbers are good enough that I’d expect him to get a crack at Boise eventually, but he is buried beneath a mountain of first base talent in the Cubs’ system.  If the Cubs still see him as a potential outfielder that will likely be his path of progression.  He is 20 now; Boise would be about right for him based on age.

      I haven’t heard much about him this season; I assume he is in extended spring training, but I’m not sure of that.

      • RoughRiider

        Batista is playing LF & RF in extended, Not a the same time. He hit a 3 run HR last Friday. In 11 games he’s hitting .375 with 2 HRs and 10 RBIs.

      • djriz

        Yes, he is ExST and basically leads the Cubs in hitting down there. “The Cub Reporter” did a blog with ExST stats. I know it’s Arizona, and the sample size is small, but I love seeing a stat line like this:

        XAVIER BATISTA (LF-RF):
        375/428/656 (11 GAMES- 35 PA) – 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R, 2/4 BB/K, 1 HBP, 1 GIDP, 1 SB (0 CS)
        DEFENSE: 1 ERROR, 2 OUTFIELD ASSISTS

      • djriz

        Sorry, meant to say thanks!

        Luke, thanks!

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  • Mike

    Travis Wood is probably the fastest base runner in the Cubs organization, the guy has tremendous speed, great athlete. Needs to get more consistent pitching though, has good stuff, heck he took a perfect a game into the 9th against the Phillies a couple years ago.

    • TWC

      Somewhere, Tony Campana is giggling hysterically.

      • Cedlandrum

        So is Matt Szczur, Dave Sappelt, and a host of other guys. Wood does have good speed, but come on.

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