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Cub fans in Memphis had a great time on Tuesday night. In addition to the barbecue and Elvis impersonators, they got to watch the Iowa Cubs take very extending batting practice at the expense of the Memphis Cardinals.

Of course, Cub fans in Daytona didn’t have such a bad night either. The Cubs lost the game, but it took extra innings to settle the affair.

Cub fans in Cincinnati just got all wet.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 10 – 14
Cub fans rejoice! The Memphis Cardinals were blown out by the Iowa Cubs by a score of 13-4. The game wasn’t even that close.

Jay Jackson struck out six over five innings and picked up the win. The Cubs’ bullpen allowed just one run over the remaining four innings.

The offense pounded out twenty hits, including four doubles and a home run. Brett Jackson led the way with four hits (and two doubles), but he was far from the only multi-hit Cub. In fact, of starting the position players, only catcher Juan Apodaca and first baseman Anthony Rizzo had just a single hit on the night. Apodaca offset his lack with two walks. Rizzo, on the other hand, walked just once and struck out twice.

Among the prospects in the starting lineup, Dave Sappelt went 3 for 6 with a double and a home run, Adrian Cardenas was 3 for 5, and Josh Vitters was 2 for 5. Even Jay Jackson collected a hit, a run, and an RBI.

On a night like this it is probably best to take all of these results with a grain of salt. When any team has twenty hits in a game, I think more blame lies with the pitchers than credit with the hitters. Even so, hopefully this will be the game that kicks players like Jackson and Vitters into a hot streak.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 11 – 15
Tennessee led early, but the bullpen let it slip away. The final score showed a 6-5 Smokies loss.

Brooks Raley pitched six solid innings and left with the lead. Kevin Rhoderick held that lead, but Brian Schlitter had a rough night and let it slip away. Jeffry Antigua was nearly perfect in the ninth.

Logan Watkins and Michael Burgess both homered as part of their two hit nights. Justin Bour also had two hits, and Jae-Hoon Ha smacked a double. In all Tennessee finished with twelve hits and were 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 7 – 18
Daytona took this one into the tenth inning, and then the bullpen gave out. The Cubs lost in extras 7-3.

Austin Kirk struck out four in his eight good innings of work, but Larry Suarez blew the save in the ninth and then lost the game in the tenth. For the season, Kirk has an ERA of 1.69. Opponents are hitting just .194 off the left hander. Another few games like this one and the Cubs should consider sending Kirk to Tennessee.

The Daytona offense managed just five hits, including a triple by Rubi Silva and doubles by Nelson Perez and Arismendy Alcantara. Daytona made the most of their chances, though, and were 1 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 10 – 15
Peoria had a day off on Tuesday.

  • Cliffy

    Some sad Cubs news. RT @BoiseHawksRadio: Twitter reports indicate that the Cubs released former Hawk, Pierre LePage today- one good guy!!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s a big bummer.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I saw on his Twitter feed last night that he was heading home, but he didn’t mention the reason.  He had been rehabbing an injury in Arizona, but I don’t know that there was any connection.

      • hansman1982

        Ya, the worst tweet of all was where he mentions the taxi driver grilled him the entire way to the airport about playing for the Cubs. That would sting a bit. Seems like a geniunely good guy.

        • Cedlandrum

          Well that sucks. I like the kids game. Really though there was no where for him to go. In some ways it is good that the Cubs let him rehab on their dime before they released him. He should catch on quick somewhere else.

  • http://bleachernation Allen

    Is anyone else concerned that every one of our minor league teams are at least 4 games under 500? They have a combined record of 38-62. Thats a whopping 24 games under 500! Ive read repeatedly how much talent we have in the minor leagues and how the future of the Cubs is in the minors yet none of the teams are very good. We are supposed to have a lot of our talent in single A yet Daytona has the worst record. Luke should I be worried?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Not Luke, but I’d be more concerned about the individual performances of the top guys rather than the team records.

    • gratefulled

      No.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Minor League wins and losses don’t really matter, but … yes. If it continues across the board, and the losses deepen, then it could suggest an overall lack of talent.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I think if we ran the numbers… which I haven’t… that we’d find that minor league team records correlate more strongly with team age rather than team talent level.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That would be a very interesting study. Never seen anything like that before. Seems like it would require a big ass database that someone else has already populated…

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Checking the age end of the equation wold be easy by time consuming.  All the data is right there Baseball-Reference.  Checking the talent end would be tougher.  I think someone would have to go through every roster of every team in the study and add up the career major league WAR for all players on the team (players who were derailed by injury will skew the results, but not badly I hope), and use that WAR as a measure of team talent.

            And that would take a whole lot of time and effort.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m not worried.  The Cubs consistently have one of the younger teams at about every level.  Instead of teams loaded with minor league veterans, the Cubs have prospects of some degree at nearly every position on nearly ever team.  That means teams full of players who are still learning how to play.

      In general, I think you’ll see the Cubs’ farm teams play better in the second half than in the first half thanks to the experience curve evening out a bit.  In most leagues there will be a first half division winner and a second half division winner.  Even if the Cubs don’t compete for the playoffs in the first half, they still have a whole new half to make it happen.  If I remember right, the team that beat Tennessee for the Southern League championship last season was a team that had a very rough first half and a very good second half.  It happens, especially I think with younger teams.

      The Cubs do have a lot of talent in A ball… Low-A, not High-A Daytona.  The Daytona Cubs are largely the Peoria Chiefs of last season, and Peoria was not very good last season.  Daytona is the full season league team that I did not expect that much from this year.  Tennessee and Peoria both have a pretty good shot at making the playoffs in the second half.  Iowa has a tougher hole to climb out of, but Iowa’s veteran pitching (namely Wells and Wood) has been disappointing this season.  The offense and bullpen are good enough to make a run.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I expected Daytona to be weak this year, but I thought Tennessee and Iowa would be strong, overall. Peoria was always going to be dependent on where certain prospects started out.

        • Cedlandrum

          I agree 100% I thought Iowa and Tennessee would be good because of the lineups and the pitching staff. I thought Daytona would hit more then they have with Szczur, Torreyes, Nelson Perez, and some of the other not as known guys like Rohan, Bonne, and Jones.

          there pitching has been what I expected. Some good some bad. Their bullpen hasn’t been as good as I had hoped.

          Now Peoria, has some good young talent who are just struggling. Marco Hernanez is having a tough go. DeVoss isn’t performing as well as I thought he might, but then I thought he might dominate so it was probably overly aggressive hype on my part. But I have hope for this team. There are some good young guys like Yang, Chen, Golden, Easterling and others who will get better.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            DeVoss got off to a pretty slow start, but he has started to pick things up lately.  He isn’t dominating quite yet, but his recent performance has been better than his season numbers show.  I’d say a promotion to Daytona in June or July is still a distinct possibility for him.

  • Edwin

    Luke,

    I like Kirk a lot, but this year his K’s seem to be down. Is this a concern going forward? His other seasons have been fine, so maybe it’s just early in the season.

    Also, I noticed that the Daytona Cubs pitchers are last in K/9 and have the worst BB/9 in the league. Yikes.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m seeing Ks down for a large number of Cub pitching prospects… and I’m wondering if its coaching.  I suspect the Cubs are trying to get their pitching prospects to work on the pitches that will induce ground ball outs and therefor shorter innings at the major league level rather than just trying to strike out everyone they see.  There is a certain logic to that thinking.  A strike out inducing fastball in the Florida State League could be a misshapen blob on Waveland Avenue in the major leagues, but a changeup with good downward movement could induce a one hopper to third at both levels.

      It’s too early for me to say concretely that the numbers back that up, but it does seem to me as if pitchers are getting more ground balls and fewer strikeouts across the Cubs’ system this year.  I know the hitting coaches are changing their focus; I’d not be surprised if the pitching coaches are doing so as well.

       

      • Edwin

        That makes sense. Maybe it is just more of a transition thing. I just think at some point, Cubs pitchers need to get strikeouts. It’s hard to be a successful big league starter or reliever if you’re only striking out 5 per 9 innings.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Kirk’s GB rate (sample size be damned), has actually seen a slight dip this year.

  • OkieCub

    I’ve lived in or near a minor league city all my life. It’s never about wins and losses at this level. Pitchers are allowed to go that extra inning and get themselves out of trouble. They’re working on pitches, similar to spring training. Hitters are also working on different things.

    • http://bleachernation Allen

      okie i am also an okie living in tulsa. where are you at?

  • mark

    Among Cardenas’ very likeable stats: he has 8 BBs and only 4 SOs in 84 ABs.

  • mark

    Arismendy Alcantara had another error. He has 12 errors so far and the rest of the Daytona team has 19, no one else having more than 5.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Other than a few hitters at AAA (Jackson, Rizzo, W. Castillo, Cardenas–I guess), the Cubs still don’t have many (if any outside of perhaps Szczur, who has had a real slow start) impact position players anywhere from Peoria on up. And outside of a few encouraging players from Peoria -> Tennessee, the SP hasn’t looked all that much better. At this point, like last year, it seems that we are still stuck getting excited over our players’ random nice daily performances, rather than a great month. Its real easy to cherry pick 2-4, 2 RBI days and then ignore the next two games that combine for 1-8.

    Also, I get that minor league players are working on stuff, but at some point, real results have to arrive. That statement starts off having credence, but when the results don’t arrive, it quickly becomes a stale excuse. As Luke has alluded to, maybe its an age thing.

    All that said, I really hope the next five months are much better than the first month, especially if we expect this franchise to turn around sooner rather than later.

    • Edwin

      I agree. When I look at the Cubs minor league system, it’s hard to see many future regulars.

  • Puma0821

    I dont totally agree, a lot of our better prospects aren’t officially playing games right now… Lake, Golden, Baez, Vogelbach, Candelario, Amaya, Maples ect…

    • When the Music’s Over

      Almost that whole list of players is eons away. Its just disappointing to see such a massive gap between the few very solid guys at Iowa, and for the most part, Boise.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        There aren’t many (if any) future stars in Tennessee, but there are some potentially quality players.  Ha projects a nice defense-first fourth outfielder.  Watkins could be the guy that pushes Barney off second and wouldn’t be a bad fit at the top of the order.  Jury is still out on Michael Burgess.  He was on the very fringe and about fall off the charts altogether, and then he started hitting Double A pitching.  Cerda is a bat looking for a position; he’ll likely have a nice career as an offensive utility guy in the majors.

        While none of these guys are likely to make any All-Star games or singlehandedly turn around the franchise, it isn’t hard to imagine them being valuable parts of winning Cub teams.  The future stars are the most exciting to keep track of, but the future average players are very valuable to team when it comes time to balance the budgets.

        • hansman1982

          It really does seem like Hendry was drafting trying to ensure he got the 4-5 average guys from the farm, hope for 1 breakout Castro/Soto/Jackson type to be above-average to great and use free agency to get the 3-4-5 hitters and staff aces. Not the worst way to go (see White Sox where they just refused to draft useful players) but not the best way to go.

          I think the Cardinals are the prime example of it’s not how much you spend but having a great organization to recognize and develop the talent you can afford. Could be that spending an extra $1-2M a year on your coaches/scouts/trainers/etc… is more valuable than spending $1-2M a year more on the players you draft.

        • When the Music’s Over

          I agree. This fits right in with what I was saying. Outside of a few guys, the Cubs Peoria->Iowa is chock full of utility infielders and fourth outfielders. Very little in the way of impact players. It’s all just very unexciting.

  • willis

    That was a good time last night in Memphis. BTW, it’s the red birds, not the cardinals, but whatever. They suck regardless.

    Cubs came out of their shoes swinging and the junk baller in the first inning and never looked back. Jackson at times looked strong, at other times mediocre. I was kind of peeved he didn’t get a chance to come out for the 6th to try and lock up a quality start. He had plenty left.

    Jackson has looked really good at the plate these last two games. Vitters looked good last night too. One of his outs was a rocket blast right at the 3B from Memphis. He made solid contact all night and played ok at third. Made an error monday and nothing dashing last night, but overall it seems his D has improved.

    I like Cardenas. A lot.

    And FWIW…an old friend, Caridad, was touching 96 on the stadium gun last night. That was good to see. He looked damn good in his inning of relief. Cubs were really high on him a couple of years back before his injury. He was flame throwing last night.

    • willis

      I should say, the first Jackson I talk about is Jay, the second is Brett.

  • JulioZuleta

    I was just checking some stats, Chris Archer has pitched 26 innings and has more BBs than Ks (21/20) and a whip of 1.67. Hak Ju Lee has an OBP of .319. I know it’s early in the season and they, especially Lee, are young for their leagues, but they don’t appear to be the All-World prospects that everyone thought at the time. Sell high gentlemen. It’s really starting to look like we could get a somewhat significantly better package for Garza than we gave up.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well, or the Cubs end up with a flame-out pitcher and a struggling infield prospect by this time next year…

      • JulioZuleta

        No possible way. Cubs prospects do not flame out. Imagine how awesome we would be if our lineup consisted of Bobby Hill, Jason Dubois, Josh Vitters, Felix Pie, Corey Patterson, Hee Seop Choi, Ryan Harvey and Luis Montanez with a rotation of Mark Prior, Bobby Browlie, Luke Hagerty, Mark Pawelek, and Grant Johnson, with Donnie Veal as the Closer, Hayden Simpson as the long man. We gave up on all of them wayyyyy tooo early.

        Speaking of Hee-Seop Choi, what were you doing when he got his concusiion, Brett?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Haha. I only now remember sharing that story…

  • Drew

    Brett’s streak of “using a picture of Brett Jackson with a giant plug in his mouth” continues!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I guess I didn’t really think about the plug … I just like that picture of him.

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