Cubs’ Minor League Daily: Baseball In The Caribbean

The Dominican Summer League is underway, and the Cubs have two teams to watch. There is plenty of talent on both DSL Cubs 1 and DSL Cubs 2, but Cubs 2 definitely has more of the higher ceiling and well known players.

I will not be covering the Dominican Summer League on a daily basis in this space, but I will keep an eye on things and report back any trends as they develop. Among the names I will be watching the most closely are LHP Jose Paulino, LHP Chris Pieters, LHP Frailyn Figueroa, SS Luis Acosta, 3B Mark Malave, 3B Roney Alcala, OF Jeffry Baez, and OF Ricardo Marcano.

Players in the DSL are among the youngest players in professional baseball. Even if we see Jeimer Candelario like performances from a few prospects on the island this summer, do not expect to see those prospects in Chicago any time soon. At best these guys are three to four years away from the majors. In most cases, six years is more likely.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 25 – 30
Iowa led early but fell victim to a really ugly inning that ultimately cost them the game. The final was 11-8.

Rodrigo Lopez allowed four runs in his five innings of work. That’s not a great day, but it looks fantastic compared to what his bullpen accomplished. Ryan Rowland-Smith and Mike MacDougal combined for a total meltdown in the seventh inning. By the time the horror show was over, Oklahoma City has scored seven times and MacDougal was in line for the loss. Scott Maine did pitch a nice, scoreless eighth inning, but by then the damage was done.

Iowa had a good night, scoring eight runs, but with fourteen hits they had chances for more. Josh Vitters stayed hot with his ninth home run of the season, but Brett Jackson is hotter. Not only was Jackson 3 for 5, all three of his hits went for extra bases (two doubles and a triple). He also stole his tenth base of the season. In his last ten games Jackson has an OPS over 1.000. We’ve been waiting all season for him to get going; that wait might finally be over.

Anthony Rizzo made his return from the Sore Wrist Tweeted ‘Round The Blogosphere. He had a typical Rizzo game, 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. Blake Lalli also doubled twice in the game. Luis Valbuena and Ty Wright had two hits apiece.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 24 – 32
Tennessee led early, but they ultimately fell in ten innings by a final of 4-3.

Dae-Eun Rhee pitched well for five and two thirds innings, giving up three runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout. Best of all, his ground out to fly out ratio for the game was 12 to 3. Jeffry Antigua and Brian Schlitter both pitched very well in relief, but Ty’relle Harris had trouble finding the strike zone. He ultimately took the loss.

Jae-Hoon Ha, with three hits, and Rebel Ridling, with two hits, combined to account for half of Tennessee’s hits in this game. Michael Burgess and Elliot Soto both doubled.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 23 – 30
Suddenly the Daytona Cubs have found an offense. They compiled another 16 hits on their way to a second consecutive big win, 10-5.

Eduardo Figueroa and Ryan Searle each threw three pretty good innings, resulting in Searle winning his second game of the season. Knuckleballer Joseph Zeller did not have his good stuff and gave up two runs on four hits in his inning of relief. Scott Weismann allowed two more runs to score in his two innings of work.

John Andreoli and Rubi Silva both had three hits (and both hit a double) in this game. Andreoli also stole his 16th base of the season. Catcher Micah Gibbs enjoyed a two hit night, as did Nelson Perez and Arismendy Alcantara. Alcantara, who doubled and tripled in this game, is now hitting .305. That’s fairly impressive in the Florida State League.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 25 – 31
Peoria compiled their biggest run total of the season en route to a 15-3 blowout win on the road.

Jose Rosario was very, very good. He threw seven innings, struck out ten, walked four, and gave up just three hits. By the time Larry Suarez and Sheldon McDonald arrived to pitch in relief, this game was all but over. On any other night Rosario’s performance alone would have been the headline, but in this game he was just about upstaged by his own offense.

That offense used 14 hits and 10 walks to pound out 15 runs. Javier Baez was 3 for 5 with his first home run of the season… and a well-deserved hit by pitch. Here’s a hint for all the baseball players out there: when your team is up by 13 in the late innings, don’t swing at a 3-0 pitch. Kane County’s manager wanted to be extra sure that Baez learned that lesson, so he went to the mound immediately after Baez swung. The next pitch drilled Baez in the ribs. The pitcher and manager were ejected (and rightfully so) and Baez took his base. Hopefully he won’t need a second lesson.

Pin-Chieh Chen was batting lead off in this game and had an effective if unusual day. He finished 1 for 1 with four runs scored and five walks. He also stole a base. Paul Hoilman nearly matched Chen; he drew four walks.

Wes Darvill had a four hit game and Anthony Giansanti had a pair of hits. Yasiel Balaguert and Yaniel Cabezas both doubled in the game. Not to be outdone, Taiwan Easterling hit a home run of his own.

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation. He can be found on Twitter as ltblaize.

52 responses to “Cubs’ Minor League Daily: Baseball In The Caribbean”

  1. Deez

    Hey, it’a not Baez’s job to get himself out, It’s the pitcher’s job. These unwritten Baseball rules are out of hand.

    1. Mike

      Correct. That’s ridiculous.

    2. Brett

      There is a matter of sportsmanship to consider – baseball doesn’t have to be entirely cutthroat when the win is assured. And, even if you don’t agree with the “rule,” you better learn it if you don’t want to get plunked again and risk injury.

      1. gabriel

        I couldn’t disagree more here in terms of “sportsmanship” for 1 reason: Javier Baez is trying to make his living playing baseball.

        If he does something big with that pitch, it makes him look better. All of a sudden maybe we’re talking about Baez’s 2 jacks from last night. If this were MLB or maybe even AAA I’m with you, but in low-A ball everyone is still fighting for survival and anything you can do to try to improve statistically could be vital to your career longevity.

        1. Brett

          Being a good “sportsman” can be vital to your career, as well, I’m quite certain. If you add that tool to your belt, you can make more money, and play more years, especially if you don’t become a super-duper-star.

          1. Brett

            Also, I don’t know about you guys, but, given that baseball is a sport driven by the fans, all things equal, I’d rather cheer for a guy I liked, rather than one I view as a jerk.

            (I don’t view Baez as a jerk, mind you. Just making the overall point about sportsmanship.)

            1. gabriel

              I definitely agree with this, but as you said its waaaay too early to tag Baez as a “jerk.” I also agree that sportsmanship is important to be sure, but I don’t agree that this should be a sportsmanship issue in the first place considering its A-ball and Baez needs to produce.

            2. Hansman1982

              For me it’s more about plays that could lead to injuries when making decisions about what to do when the games a blowout. 1 run game it’s ok to take out a 2b on a dp or plow into the catcher at home. 13-0 regardless of the inning, not so cool. Otherwise do what you need to do to get on base

              1. Brett

                So, in a way, on that thinking, it was even less OK to throw at Baez, since the game was out of hand (and it could cause injury).

                1. Hansman1982

                  To me what that coach did screams sore loser.

                  Waaa, we are getting slobberknockered so you need to keep your bat on your shoulder.

                  1. JulioZuleta

                    That coach should be suspended 10 games. Real big of some Low-A wash-out coach to make his pitcher throw at a teenager. It wouldn’t have bothered me if Baez got hit, but the fact that the manager made it so obvious disgusts me.

                    1. Brett

                      To be clear: I definitely agree that the manager’s move was ridiculous and punishable.

                  2. Cooper R

                    Obviously the ejections were warranted but either way it’s showing up the other team. You don’t steal, swing at 3-0, bunt for hit, etc. in a game where you’re up that big. I think it was actually a good thing for Baez, and he’ll learn to be more of a pro (and was benched for today’s game for what happened last night).

                    1. Steve

                      I have to say anyone who disagrees with the “unwritten rules” are probably just the kind of people who wanted dodgeball stopped, or supported the “no kid left behind” project.
                      It’s unsportsman-like to do what Baez did, and he paid the price.
                      Nothing else to see here, move on.

        2. jwilson

          I agree. Nobody should get mad at a hitter for putting one in the stands, on any count. Does anyone get mad at a pitcher for striking out a batter in the 9th in a lopsided game? The manager shouldn’t be pissed at Baez, he should be pissed at his pitching staff for allowing the runs, at his offense for not scoring, and himself for managing a (insert 4 letter word) game. Quit blaming others for your failures, it’s pathetic.

    3. Samuel Aldridge

      If it’s a part of the unwritten code of ethics for baseball, then shouldn’t it have been
      the responsibility of a more seasoned manager to give Baez the take on 3-0 rather
      than putting it on a 19 yr. old kid in his first week of full season play? Those concepts
      are archaeic and inane.

  2. When the Music's Over

    Is Caeser injured?

    1. Roughriider

      Yeah.
      A bunch of Senators stabbed him on March 15th.

      1. Steve

        Hahahaha…. good stuff right there…

  3. mark

    Question: Is Szczur nursing any injuries? I believe this is the second time he’s sat for at least two games. Hard to see that: top prospect, on the 40 man, all-star in his league…sitting?

    Good to see Jackson and Vitters seeming to be focused.

    1. Brett

      He hasn’t been DL’d yet, so it must be the kind of thing the Cubs are hoping will clear up in a day or two.

  4. mark

    Heh. Baez has a knack for pissing people off, everywhere he goes, doesn’t he?

  5. Professional_High_A

    I was at the Iowa Cubs game and after seeing Jackson play its no wonder so many people see him as being the next big thing. Every time he hit the ball he absolutely drilled it. Also Tolbert had two ABs where he fouled off close to one million pitches and did a great job of making the other pitcher earn the out.

    1. Mrp

      Yeah, Jackson looked as good as I have seen him all year last night. The really nice thing is that a couple of those hits were with two strikes. He also seems to be jumping on first pitches more often now and not letting pitchers get ahead by taking advantage of his very patient approach. He has definitely made an adjustment.

      1. Professional_High_A

        I am in OKC looking for an apartment, If you are going to be at the Monday or Tuesday Games let me know.

  6. R.E.S

    Seems to me if your team had given ten walks you would be doing them a bigger favor swinging 3 and 0. Could be interesting how that series plays out.

    1. Melrosepad

      I agree. If they can’t hit the plate you are doing them a favor with potentially putting the ball in play at least.

  7. Bill

    I disagree Luke and Brett. Why not just instill a slaughter rule like in tee ball? Did kane County throw in a white flag? Did they forfiet and not try to score the last 2 innings? Baez is paid to hit.. let him hit! I love the agressiveness and McDonald should have nailed someone the bottom of the 9th. I do believe in that unwriteen rule.. you throw at mine intentionally, you will get thrown at yourself.

    I was at the game. Baez’s homerun was mashed. Also, played very well in the field. Rosario was dominant. I am not sure what the Cubs still see in Suarez.

    1. Brett

      Setting aside the sportsmanship thing, with a 12-run lead, late in the game, and a pitcher who’s just throw three balls (when he’s obviously just trying to throw strikes), it may have been the right STRATEGY to take. I believe Baez was given the take sign, for what it’s worth.

    2. Chris

      Listen, I was at the game last night and before he was drilled I wondered out loud why he would swing 3-0 with a 13 run lead. Regardless of your thoughts on the unwritten rules of baseball, they had a rally going with runners on base and a wild pitcher trying to throw strikes. You take 3-0 in that situation EVERY time. Plus, any time Baez can get a lesson in humility at the cost of some bruised ribs, I’m fine with that. He’s a young, cocky kid, with a ton of talent. But he needs to be a smart player too. I don’t know if it was related, but he got the day off today until an injury in the 6th inning pushed him into the game. What does he do on his first at bat? First pitch he CRUSHES to dead center for a long home run that tied the game. That’s how you respond to getting drilled by the other team. Top that off with some outstanding play at SS, I don’t believe Mr. Baez will be in Peoria for very long. He was extremely impressive in the two games I watched him in person. And if he learned anything from that beaning, even better.

  8. mark

    “I don’t view Baez as a jerk, mind you.”

    So you don’t want to be just one of a crowd? My understanding of the tag “attitude problem” that has accompanied him throughout his short career is that that’s code for: jerk. Doesn’t mean he isn’t a super talented jerk. There is no lack of those at the top. Admiring his HRs in XST, like he was in the majors was another part of his act that rubbed many the wrong way. Talking trash to opposing managers was another.

    Well, he’s young. He doesn’t have to stop being a jerk, just stop wearing it on his sleeve. I’m sure cracked ribs are not what Theo and Co. are looking for from him at this point.

    1. Can't think of a cool name

      Admiring you home run = jerk
      Talking trash to opposing managers = jerk;
      Taking a swing at a pitch with a 3-0 count does not equal jerk

      And if we’re talking unwritten rules, did the Peoria manager throw at a Kane County player when they were up?

      1. mark

        In fairness to Baez, he hasn’t reached Bryce Harper levels yet.

        Here’s a recent and glowing appraisal of Baez.

    2. Brett

      Yeah, I view him as young, for now. That’s all.

  9. oswego chris

    Swinging at a 3-0 pitch with the score 15 to 3 is akin to throwing a pass in football when you are up 40….

    now if it’s early in a game where the wind is blowing out and you are gonna need a ton of runs then it’s a different story

    the blame here lies on the Chiefs coaches who should have made him take, or addressed it so that the Cougars pitcher and manager knew he did it on his own….maybe there is bad blood between the Chiefs/Cougars…but if it was late in the game..there is no excuse…

  10. David

    These unwritten rules are for meatballs. These are professional players.

  11. LEO L

    THe unwritten rules is part of the fun of baseball

  12. Ryno G

    Just in case some of you don’t follow Kevin Goldstein on twitter, he raved about Baez, his bat speed, power, etc. said he was sold. The most interesting part though was he said Rosario looked “pretty damn good. Biggest surprise of the night.” And then added that he was throwing 92-93, with a plus slider, and average change. Very, very promising.

  13. Kyle

    It is s developmental league. It is asinine to expect players to change their approach because of the score.

    1. Mrp

      Yeah, that AB is no different then any other AB. I’d want him to work on whatever he has been told that he needs to work on regardless of the score.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      For any guy without a starting MLB job, isn’t he going to be looking at each AB as part of the audition?

      One thing I would add is that it’s impressive that Baez could hit well in that situation.  When there is absolutely nothing on the line, many guys relax: and a relaxed person cannot react quickly enough to hit a baseball in high school, never mind minor leagues.  I.e., instead of knocking it off for the night, he was continuing to audition.

      On the other hand, well, I’m sure I would have been pissed off had I been on the other team…..

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  15. ferrets_bueller

    ” Here’s a hint for all the baseball players out there: when your team is up by 13 in the late innings, don’t swing at a 3-0 pitch. ”

    ….what the hell?

    I don’t know where some people grew up, or what they were taught…but we were always told that its very poor sportsmanship to go up there and take a walk where you’re winning by a large amount.
    You go up there, and swing at anything close, to get the game over.

    1. King Jeff

      That’s what I was always taught in high school. We had several blowouts and it was always considered more bush league to go up there and take a bunch of pitches than it was to go up there and swing away. I actually think that this is the first time I’ve heard of someone getting upset at someone for not taking a walk in a blowout, especially with the bases empty.

      I just saw that Baez is not in the lineup today. Does anyone know if that some sort of disciplinary reaction or just an off day?

      1. Cooper R

        I’ve read it was disciplinary…also in high school kid’s struggle to throw strikes way more. I think at a higher level some guys are expected to at least be able to hum a fastball down the middle on a 3-0 count. That being said you don’t take a monster hack at it when you’re up that big. It wasn’t a matter of avoiding a walk it was trying to put one in the seats when the game’s pretty much over.

  16. berselius

    I hate those run differential unwritten rules. They can complain about Baez taking swings when they take the rest of the game off and don’t swing at any pitch the rest of the game themselves.

  17. Chris

    Luke, I went to yesterday’s and today’s KC Cougars – Peoria Chiefs games and I thought I’d share some thoughts with you. Baez is clearly the real deal. His late inning entrance into the game after last night’s incident showed that he didn’t let anything bother him. A game tying 2-run homer that he absolutely crushed to dead center and 2-3 outstanding plays at SS made me feel I spent my money well buying tickets to those games. Rosario’s performance was oustanding Saturday night. Kyler Burke on the other hand… I wonder if they can put him back into the OF… He wasn’t fooling anybody and it didn’t appear he was throwing hard enough to be a left reliever in the big leagues. The radar at the stadium was probably inaccurate, but he didn’t get above 87 on any pitch I saw. I came away more impressed with Taiwan Easterling. His stats don’t show it, but the ball jumps off his bat. He’s more of a toolsy player than I realized and I think he’s got a shot to be a decent player if he works on hitting the breaking stuff. One of your favorites, Oliver Zapata had a nice line drive homer to RF in today’s game. He didn’t stand out otherwise, but I could see him as a 4th OF type. Pin-Chieh Chen is lightning fast. If he can get on base he’ll be a nice threat to steal every time. RP Felix Pena was throwing hard, 92-93 on the gun in the stadium for a few pitches.

    1. calicubsfan007

      Could they beat the MLB Cubs if they played against each other now?

    2. Jeff

      Kyler Burke played 5 minutes from where I live, I was worried when he made the switch to pitcher, bet his clock is ticking.

    3. rcleven

      Good report Chris. I was there too and we pretty much saw the same ball game. Berke’s best pitch today was his change. Fast ball didn’t impress at all. Baez is going to be the real deal. Very smooth and fluid in the infield doesn’t rush and has a cannon for an arm. Was also impressed with Giansanti at third. Hope he is ok after taking one off the chest. Darvil was a big disappointment defensively.

  18. Jeff

    Thanks Len, that’s it!! The Cubs have just been off balance today, good to know. I thought they just played like shit myself. Couldn’t hit a pinata without the blindfold on.