The All-Star parade continues. The Double A Southern League named their All Stars yesterday, and there will be some Tennessee players enjoying the game in their home park. Only four Smokies made the list, but two of them should be encouraging for Cub fans.

James Adduci and Justin Bour will take the field for the North Division, and relievers Frank Batista and Kevin Rhoderick will be available in the bullpen. Given the troubles the Cubs have had in Chicago, it is good to see relief pitching prospects doing well enough to earn this sort of recognition. The best bullpens tend to be home grown, and both of these guys could be part of a pretty good Chicago pen in a year or two.

Fans in the Eastern Tennessee area might want to take a trip to Smokies Park on June 19 to watch the All-Star game. The Smokies have a great stadium, and I can’t think of many better places to be in the summer than watching great baseball in the mountains.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 25 – 33
The Iowa Cubs were off on Wednesday. They will be home for their next three series, though, starting tonight. And this first series is a tough one. Nashville comes in for six games, all to be played in just four days. Make up games have forced a doubleheader on both Friday and Saturday. Since the Cubs’ next off day is not until June 18, I would not be surprised if some emergency pitching help was shipped into to Iowa from elsewhere in the farm system.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 27 – 33
Tennessee is starting to string wins together. It’s probably too late to get into the first half hunt, but the Smokies could be players in the second half of the season. They won last night 3-2.

Trey McNutt threw 94 pitches, but thanks to four walks that only got him through five and two thirds innings. He allowed three hits and struck out three in his scoreless outing. Jeffry Antigua allowed one run to score in his two thirds of an inning of work. Kevin Rhoderick pitched another scoreless inning, although he did allow two hits and a walk. Frank Batista allowed a run to score, but still picked up his eighth save by recording the final five outs.

The Smokies had just five hits in this game, and two of them came off the bat of Justin Bour. Logan Watkins did not have a hit, but he did have two walks and scored a run. Rebel Ridling also had two walks. Once again, the Smokies used their speed to make the most of their offense. James Adduci, Ridling, and Watkins all had a stolen base in this game.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 26 – 31
Daytona keeps up the winning. Fantastic pitching led the team to a 4-0 win.

Matt Loosen continues to impress. He picked up his fourth win of the season by shutting down Bradenton over five and two thirds innings. Loosen allowed just three hits while striking out six. Eduardo Figueroa struck out three while preserving the shut out through another two and a third, and Scott Weismann was flawless in the ninth. Combined, the Cubs pitchers allowed three hits, one walk, and struck out ten.

John Andreoli led the offense with three hits, including his second triple of the season. Taylor Davis doubled. The Cubs did not have a lot of opportunities, but they were 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

Great pitching. Timely hitting. I think I can get used to this kind of baseball.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 27 – 32
Peoria also had some great pitching on Wednesday, and like Daytona they have crept to within five games of .500. The final in this well pitched win was 4-0.

Gerardo Concepcion won for the second time in his young career. He pitched five and two third innings, struck out four, walked four, and allowed just two hits. All in all, he had a very nice game. So did Starling Peralta, who finished off the sixth and pitched the seventh. Austin Reed came in for the eighth, but he got into trouble in the ninth. Fortunately Yao-Lin Wang was able to collect his sixth save and preserve the shut out in the process.

Javier Baez had three hits, as did Tawinan Easterling. Baez tripled (his first); Paul Hoilman and Zeke DeVoss both doubled in the game. DeVoss had just that one hit, but thanks to a walk he was able to score twice.

  • Leroy K

    Nice to see Concepcion had a good game.

  • ETS

    I’ll be at the iCubs tonight, tomorrow, possibly saturday and I think a couple of the day games next week. I’ll let you know if I see anything that box scores don’t capture.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Gerardo “Rico Suave” Conception! Finially, a well pitched game.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He’s had a couple good games, now.  When he doesn’t walk a bunch of guys, he’s been pretty good.

      • JB88

        Someone associated with the Chiefs tweeted that Conception had been asked to work on his fastball rather than using his change or slider and that he’d be dominating A ball if he could use those pitches. I actually was really encouraged to read that, if slightly discouraged that his FB was such a weak pitch.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          That would be REALLY awesome if true. Got a link by chance?

          • Cedlandrum

            It was tweeted by Sahadev Sharma last night. https://twitter.com/#!/sahadevsharma

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That is AWESOME to hear, and also very believable.

              • hansman1982

                I wonder why the fastball is such a weak pitch.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Well, to be fair, even a great pitcher, throwing exclusively fastballs, could struggle.

                  • hansman1982

                    I worded that poorly.

                    Does he have problems with velocity, control, movement?

                    I understand that, basically, he is working on his third pitch. Howveer, this third pitch happens to be a pitch that experts believe should be your #1 pitch so he is going to have issues being statistically effective for a while.

                    The good news is that, it seems, once he gets it harnessed he should be able to explode since he has two pitches that pitchers normally have to develop.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Yeah, you got me – obviously we know that he doesn’t have great velocity (high-80s, low-90s). But that’s about it.

                    • hansman1982

                      get him to the long-toss station!!!!! Wait, that is a no-no now. God forbid you train for a marathon by running 15 miles, nope just 2 mile jaunts and then wonder why you get hurt on mile 20.

                  • Kyle

                    The velocity isn’t there, and apparently he has trouble controlling it. Listened to the Peoria game on the radio last night, and he did a fairly good job of inducing weak contact, but he wasn’t as consistently in the zone as he should have been. Even when he got guys out, he was using a lot of pitches and falling behind in counts.

                    I suspect he has some deceptiveness and late movement that’s inducing the ground balls and pop-ups, but especially in A-ball, you have to be able to miss bats. These aren’t MLB caliber fielders behind you, a lot of balls in play are going to be hits.

                    I saw that tweet too and was very, very encouraged. It could just be coach speak and sticking up for his player, but it’s plausible and gives me something to grasp onto.

              • JulioZuleta

                Yep, saw that Sharma tweet. Great news and explains A LOT.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            I saw it too somewhere. I think Twitter…

            • Jeremy

              Saw this last night and it makes a lot of sense like all of you have been saying. He is making progress and this is probably his best start since coming to the states. Actually his last two starts have been good so he is making progress. I think this kid is gonna be a solid starter.

  • Randy

    Bass seems to be killing it offensively. Maybe this is a sign he could move up fairly quickly. Does anyone know how is defends is doing?

  • weis21

    FWIW, it’s been reported the Chief’s manager was asked about Conception and he said he’s really working on his FB, if he threw just CH & SL, he’d dominate low-A. Something to hang your hat on, at least.

  • Jp

    Who is bass? I will say if you meant Baez you might be on to something or a good nickname;). Kick his ass SeaBass

    • Steve

      “Whose the dead man who hit me with the salt shaker???”

      • Randy

        Oops ya meant Baez. Darn auto correct. Does sound good kick his ass SeaBaez!!!

  • oswego chris

    How hard does McNutt throw?…I am thinking he may soon be bullpen material instead of a starter…so true about good teams developing their own bullpen…if you can’t develop guys who can throw 2 pitches..then you are not doing a very good job…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      McNutt can hit the mid 90s.  He’s got two good pitches already, his fastball and breaking pitch, but I think he’s still working on a change up.  If he can polish off that third pitch, he’s got No 2 starter potential.  If he can’t, he’ll make a very good closer candidate.

      • oswego chris

        thanks Luke..that’s good to hear..

      • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

        McNutt is steadily falling down the prospect ranks, IMO

        • hansman1982

          ya, his peripherals are closer to his 2011 season than 2010 season. Now that could be because he is specifically working on XYZ to polish that third pitch but I am starting to get nervous.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            His peripherals are awful.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            McNutt’s season numbers and his season peripherals are almost meaningless right now.  He spent the first several weeks of the season under limitations resulting from problems with blisters on his pitching hand.  It has only been in his past couple starts that he’s been handling anything close to a normal work load.

            He could be much, much better than his season numbers and peripherals show (especially if the blisters limited what pitches he could throw).  He could also be much, much worse.

            We’re going to need a few more weeks of data before the stats will tell much of anything either way.

          • Drew7

            Yeah…hes not striking guys out, but hes also not giveing up a ton of hits (his H/9 is way down from prior AA years, at least) either. It’d be nice if he can turn it around and be a servicable MOR guy, but I’d take an above average 8th or 9th inning guy if not.

        • Cedlandrum

          I’m wondering if he isn’t throwing one of his pitches. His strikeout numbers are way, way down. He isn’t giving up much, but isn’t striking anyone out. WHIP is acceptable 1.26. ERA is quite good. BAA is only .206. So he is pitching good, but his SO/9 are way down from 2010

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            It’s conceivable that he’s just been lucky, no?

            • Cedlandrum

              Well he certainly has been lucky. His FIP 5.11 and his BABIP were .221 after 10 starts. He obviously just had another good start so those numbers are not entirely accurate but you can get a look.

              Still the question I have is, where did the strikeout pitch go. Did he lose a feel for the curve because of the blisters?

  • Idaho Razorback

    Is there not a photo of Conception in a Cub uniform yet?

    • hansman1982

      my mind just saw Idaho and photo in the same area and thought photo was potato

  • Jared

    i know its early in his minor league career but im really starting to get excited about javier baez!

    • Chris

      I watched all three games the Chiefs played against the Kane County Cougars over the weekend and Baez is the real deal. He was making solid contact at the plate the whole series. What was more impressive is his SS play. With all the talk of him having to move to 3rd eventually, I was pleasantly surprised at the range he displayed, diving for balls in the hole and throwing guys out accurately across the diamond. He made it all look easy. Best of all, he’s got the MLB logo tattooed on the back of his neck, just like on the back of an MLB jersey.

      • Kyle

        Baez is legit. I’ve been a tiny bit skeptical of him in the past (well, just a bit less hyped than others, anyway).

        But after a brief period of adjusting to full-time pro ball, he’s begun to dominate mid-A as a 19-year-old. Just not being overmatched at that level at that age would be impressive, but he’s making solid contact all over the field. The kid can hit professional breaking stuff with little effort. At his age, that bodes incredibly well for his ability to move up the levels.

        What I’ve seen in the field from him, I’m still skeptical that he can stick at SS, but I won’t say it’s impossible that he might. It’s close. And he’s going to be an excellent defensive 3b if he can’t.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          If he sticks with the Cubs and Castro is not moved, Baez winds up on third anyway.  I don’t think anyone is projecting him to have Castro’s defensive ceiling.

          Now if Castro or Baez is traded it could be a different story.

          • King Jeff

            He’s got that intensity in the field and strong arm, he just reminds me of a third baseman. He has looked pretty good at short so far though.

            • Chris

              I agree with all the follow-up comments. My only point regarding Baez staying at SS was that after reading extensively about him having to move over, seeing him play over there so well was impressive. Obviously, with the roster constituted as it is, he’ll probably have to move with Castro entrenched. But they might as well leave him at SS for awhile. SS prospects are always worth more than a 3B prospect, unless they are stud power hitters. I’m not advocating trading him or anything like that, but say 2 years down the road you have Vitters/Lake/Alcantara all competing for 3rd or 2nd, with Castro at SS, maybe he’s a trade chip for a good pitcher. If he’s still playing SS, he’s more valuable, in theory.

  • Jp

    I think we’re referring to Baez as “Sea-Bass” from now on if that’s ok with everyone. I think he’s earned the nickname with his build, and attitude. I think I can see him starting a bench clearing brawl in about 3 years with the crosstown Sox after staring down a 450 ft homer off Jake Peavy and telling him he’ll do whatever the f&$@! he wants. Mark it down because it’s going to happen. Also I think when a player like Sea-Bass is on someone else’s team I think he’d be called a jerk but when he’s on ours I think he’s just a fierce competitor.

    • Ogyu

      With a “Shark” and a “Sea Bass” on the squad, all the Cubs would need would be a “Dr. Evil”…

  • Jp

    Hmmm I like it, sounds like a closer’s nickname maybe or maybe Jackson with his propensity to to go 4-4 and hit for the cycle or 0-4 with 4K’s and earning the golden sombrero. What do you think?

  • JP

    Luke, great work on providing these Minor League updates. However, I am finding it a big PIA to easily keep track of the true “prospects” in all affiliates (Torreyes, Sczcur, Jackson, etc.).

    I can go to baseball reference and find stats for an individual player. And same for an entire affiliate (but in both cases, you need to know who the true prospects are). I keep getting excited about a dude with seemingly good numbers only to see he is a AA bench player with just 20 PAs or an A-ball 29 year old.

    And I can’t figure out how to use the data to figure out who the true prospects are (only llowed to sort on 1 columns, so I am unable to find all players with BA over .290 who are under the age of 23 with over 100PAs, etc.).

    What I want is to see a list of the true “prospects” stat lines by affilliate:
    A+, Daytona
    Ronald Torreyes, Age 19, .202/.286/.557/etc.
    Player B, Age 21, .xxx/.xxx/.xxx/etc.

    Do you know where I can find this information?

    And if it is not out there readily available for folks who don’t have an hour per day to peruse and manipulate data to get that info, I was wondering if you would be able to fill this gap in information?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Didn’t Baseball Prospectus come out with a tool just like this a little while ago? Anyone remember what I’m talking about?

  • JulioZuleta

    Baez video: Pretty good stuff.

    Biggest impression: Great athlete, too many moving parts in his swing. Upper level pitching will exploit it. Very fixable but still needs to be addressed.

    • Cedlandrum

      I would agree with about every other player, but his bat speed is so electric that I think if he didn’t have all that going on he would be out on his front foot too often. So I guess what I am trying to get at is that it works for him, but not most. I think he will be fine as long as he doesn’t continue to swing at everything.

      • Kyle

        He’ll swing however the #$#% he wants :)

        • MaxM1908

          It will be very interesting to watch his progress up the ranks. The last thing we need is another player with 10 strikeouts for every walk. I will say that his bat speed looks impressive. Thanks for sharing the video, Julio.

    • Jeremy

      His swing is beautiful, but yes lots of moving parts, easily fixable though like you said. He won’t lose bat speed with mechanical fixes.

  • Jeremy

    Nice to see that McNutt is building up some stamina with the number of innings he is going each start. I would like to see him possible reach 7 on his next one. He has looked very good as of late. Any chance we see a promotion for him this summer?

    As far as Baez goes, the kid is on a tear. Hopefully he can keep it up. I want the Cubs to do the exact opposite of what they did with Vitters. Let him dominate at a level for a while before promoting him. Lets be less aggressive and let him develop properly. In regards to his D at SS that was being discussed earlier, I think we are forgetting that as he fills out and gets bigger he is going to lose some range plus he doesn’t have the defensive ceiling Castro has. I think 3B is the ideal position for him but I almost would love to move him to 2B. I think he could be a Robinson Cano type with better D and a better hit tool.

  • Ben Peoria Cubs Fan

    I was at last night Chiefs game. Conception was throwing all his pitches. His fastball seems hard enough. He struggled with control especially in the first inning. The first “hit” he gave up was a slow bouncer up the middle that may have been an out if DeVoss would have played it a bit more aggressively. In the same inning Baez got a homer call on another grounder. It was an error. Baez did show good range on a few plays but did bounce a few to first that were picked up nicely by the first baseman Hoilman. Baez roped the ball with each of his hits being very hard hit liners.

    • TWC

      I really love all the first-hand eye witness reports that these Minor League Daily posts bring out.  Thanks, Ben in Peoria (and everyone else in TN and IA), for taking the time to fill us all in.

    • Jeremy

      Ben, thanks for the report. What would you say was the average fastball speed for Conception?

  • Ben Peoria Cubs Fan

    90ish but I had no jug?

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