There is no news on the Jorge Soler front, but he is not the only international prospect we should be keeping an eye on. The summer signing period will be here before you know it, and it will bring a whole new crop of young talent from Latin America into the Cubs’ farm system. According to, outfielder Gustavo Cabrera is the prize of this year’s class. Jonathan Mayo says he has been compared to a young Justin Upton. Cabrera would look good in a Cubs uniform, but he is far from the only talented player waiting to be signed. Looking over that International Top 20 list, I would be happy to see any of them added to the Cubs’ farm system.

As is almost always the case with Latin American signings, these are teenagers who are likely to be four or five years away from the majors, at least. We cannot expect to see anyone who signs a contract with Cubs to arrive in the United States, let alone in Wrigley field, for a year or so. Patience is always a virtue when it comes to prospects.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 18 – 23
On Saturday the Iowa Cubs were shut down in a rare case of a dominant pitching in the Pacific Coast League. The Cubs managed only three hits on their way to a 6-1 loss.

Chris Rusin gave up three runs in six innings, far from his best work this season, and earned his third loss. Mike MacDougal again struggled in two innings of relief. Esmailin Caridad finished the game off by allowing a home run in the ninth.

Iowa’s three hits were delivered by Iowa’s three best prospects. Brett Jackson tripled (and scored the Cubs’ only run), Anthony Rizzo doubled, and Josh Vitters singled. Other than four walks, that was it for the Iowa offense in this game. This is not a team that is prone to prolonged hitting slumps, though. I would not be surprised to see the bats back to full strength within the next game or two.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 19 – 24
It was a very close game for the Smokies, but it was a game they won. The final was 3-2.

Dallas Beeler finally picked up his first win of the season. Despite giving up eight hits in his five innings of work, he held the Braves to just two runs. Marcus Hatley pitched two innings for the hold, and Alberto Cabrera pitched two innings for his third save of the season.

The Smokies found enough runs to win, but they left a lot more on the bases. Junior Lake got his first hit of the road trip when he singled and stole his third base of the season. Jae-Hoon Ha drove two doubles and walked once. Justin Bour also doubled as part of his two hit night, and Rebel Ridling reached base four times with two hits and two walks.

Rebel Ridling, playing in left field, helped preserve the game by cutting down a runner at home.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 16 – 24
With the exception of the fifth inning, Daytona played a very good game. Unfortunately that fifth inning counts, and it results in a 5-3 Daytona loss.

Eric Jokisch did not make it out of that disastrous fifth inning and was dealt his fourth loss of the season. Ty’relle Harris picked up four outs in relief of Jokisch. and then handed the game over to Ryan Searle who pitched an effective final two innings.

Matthew Szczur, batting third in the order, carried the Daytona offense. He hit his first home run of the season, his tenth double, scored two runs and drove in two. He has definitely rebounded from a slow start to the 2012 campaign. Right now, he is as hot as any hitter in a Cub uniform.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 19 – 24
Peoria had a big inning, but Cedar Rapids had a bigger one. The Chiefs kept this game close, ultimately losing 7-6.

Kyler Burke had a rare bad game for the Chiefs, but his defense did him no favors. He made it through five innings and allowed six runs (three earned) on eight hits. Sheldon McDonald took the loss by allowing one run in two innings of relief. Yao-Lin Wang pitched a scoreless final frame.

Catcher Taylor Davis made his case to fill in for injured and promoted catchers further up the farm system by drawing two walks and smacking both a double and a triple. Paul Hoilman‘s two hit game also included a double. Pin-Chieh Chen, batting ninth, scored two runs and drove in three as he went 1 for 3 with a walk. That one hit was a three run homer, his first of the season.

  • Spencer

    I know it doesn’t matter much (or at all) but its kind of disappointing all the minor league teams have losing records.

    • Brett

      I am disappointed by it, too.

  • KWAH-dee

    What is the big holdup with Soler? I’m out of the loop here.

    Now this…But Soriano, 36, refuses to sit, refuses to complain and refuses to let it alter the way he goes after balls during a season in which he’s experiencing a defensive rebirth. Take: Why can’t Soriano look at himself like Woody and just call it a career and payback the Cubs the remainder of the contract. It’s not like you can’t live off of that much money. Make a deal Ricketts. This is why the NFL and their system dominates when it comes to contracts. What I’d do for a salary cap in MLB.

    • Pat

      I don’t see the team giving Castro or LaHair extra money for over performing their contracts. Why would they expect the players to give money back for underperforming theirs? Plus, giving up 2 million is a little different than giving up 50 million.

    • Brett

      In fairness to Soriano, his May line is .310/.365/.569 – best on the team.

      As for Soler, no one knows for sure. By most accounts, he’s still waiting on residency approval in the Dominican Republic, which is a precursor to MLB free agency.

      • http://i Cory

        Brett his May slash line gas been great but do you happen to know his #’s since switching bats? I can’t seem to find the date be made the switch or I would figure it out myself thanks.

  • Rob

    I understand batting your best hitter third, but Matthew Szczur is not a middle of the order kind of hitter. I really hope this is a temporary move because he needs to get as much experience at the top of the order as possible. He should not be counted on to drive runners in; he should be the guy patiently setting the table, reaching base, then causing havoc on the bases.

    That said, if he keeps hitting the way he has been after his slow start, he could be ticketed for Tennessee at some point midway through the year.

    • Luke

      Szczur has been leading off virtually all season long. He isn’t the only potential lead off hitter on that roster, though. I imagine the Cubs just trying to get a few other players a little experience in that role.

      I’m not sure but that Szczur won’t be a #2 guy in the majors anyway.

  • TrueblueCubbie

    “Mike MacDougal again struggled in two innings of relief”

    So, why did we sign him again? He isn’t the same pitcher he was a couple of years ago, that is why LA let him go.

  • Kevin

    Im in favor of contracts full of bonuses based on performance. This will take care of both sides; 1) a player having a great year receives more with bonuses than what a regular contract would pay and 2) an under performer get his true value based on poor performance. This is a win win situation for both sides. Corporate America is getting very tight and it’s time MLB owners follow the same pattern.

  • cubchymyst

    With the international restrictions that start this summer, anyone have a guess about how many of the impact guys the Cubs will be able sign from Latin america. If Soler gets pushed back far enough is it possible that he will be the only one we get (if we get him) without hitting the spending limit.

  • Big Joe

    I agree, Kevin. But….that’s a hard sell to prospective free agents, and to talented guys on your current roster, that you’re looking to keep. Insentive-laden contracts are usually reserved for older guys trying to make a comeback, or young guys that have failed to live up to early hype. In my estimation, the closest thing to what you’re suggesting are the team/player “option year(s) that are tacked on to the end of a contract. Play well, and you’re picked up…play poorly, and you’re not. In a perfect world, a salary cap would already be in place in MLB. I fear the MLBPA will never let that happen. I tend to agree with you, but recognize the chances of anything similar happening, as remote, at very best.

  • Dane

    Is there a reason why Soler isn’t listed on the International Top 20? Does he not qualify? Where would he fall on the list?

    • Brett

      I reckon most folks assume he’ll sign before July.