The Dominican Summer League has been underway for about a week now, and while it is still much too early to start getting excited about any players or drawing any early conclusions about the Cubs’ wealth of talent in the league, there is no harm in checking up on this particular crop of hopeful prospects.
Kelvin Encarnacion, an outfielder with apparent five tool potential, is the early story this season. Through seven games and 21 ABs he has compiled a very impressive line of .381/.606/.762 with eleven walks and just six strike outs. He also has a triple, two home runs, and four steals in six attempts. The switch hitting outfielder will turn 21 in November. That is older than many of the prospects in this league, something that should be taken into account as we continue to watch his numbers.
On the mound, I like the early results from Daury Torrez. The right hander turns 19 today, and so far he has allowed just one earned run (a solo homer) in ten innings of work. He has struck out seven, walked no one, and is inducing ground balls at a healthy rate. All of those are good signs for a young starter and mark Torrez as one to keep an eye on.
Chris Rusin continues to move his name up the Cubs’ pitching depth chart. This time he threw seven innings and gave up two runs on six hits and struck out two. Looking past his basic line, we also see that he needed just 93 pitches to complete his seven innings, and that his ground out to fly out ratio was a very robust 12-2. If Rusin continues to prove that he can be an efficient pitcher who works deep into games and generates a ton of ground ball outs, he is going to get a chance to show that skill set at the major league level.
Several Cubs’ had good games, but Brett Jackson led them all. Jackson was 2 for 4 with a walk, three runs scored, a two run home run (his eighth) and his twelfth stolen base of the season. Anthony Rizzo also had an excellent day. Two of his three hits were home runs, giving him twenty for the year.
There was some concern that Rizzo’s wrist injury would be the sort of injury that could sap his power for some time. Considering he is hitting .412 and slugging .765 for the month of June, and considering that he has three home runs and three doubles so far this month, I think it is safe to say that his power is still intact.
Like Rusin in Iowa, fellow lefty Eric Jokisch is continuing to impress in Tennessee. Jokisch threw seven and a third innings and allowed a single run on three hits and a walk. He struck out three. Also like Rusin, Jokisch was effecient (97 pitches) and posted a very nice GO/AO ratio (10 – 4). This is exactly want I want to see out of this guy.
Alberto Cabrera had a definite good/bad kind of game. He did record the final five outs, and he did strike out four of the five batters he retired, but he also gave up a run on four hits.
With just five hits and three walks the Smokies did not have many chances on offense, but they made the most of what they had. Nate Samson had two hits and scored twice to lead the team. Eric Jokisch even helped his own cause with a sac fly and an RBI.
Austin Kirk pitched six innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out two. Scott Weismann could not keep the Yankees in check, though, and gave up two runs in two innings despite striking out three, earning his first loss of the season.
After a brutal start to the season, it looks like Ronald Torreyes is really heating up. Thanks in part to his 3 for 4 game on Sunday, his season average is up to .222. After hitting just .137 in May, his June line currently reads .394/.432/.515.
Torreyes also stole his fifth base of the season in this game. Rubi Silva, playing center field for the injured Matt Szczur, stole his third.
Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 31 – 32
The Peoria Cheifs are one win away from becoming the only team in the Cubs’ organization to have a record of .500. A great effort by a group of pitchers led the Chiefs to a 4-1 win on Sunday.
Starling Peralta started the game and allowed four hits over three innings while striking out two. Then Austin Reed took over and pitched three shut out innings while allowing just two hits and earning the win. Felix Pena threw two shut out innings of his own, and Yao-Lin Wang struck out one to secure his eighth save.
Oliver Zapata was given a chance to bat lead off in this game, and he responded with a 3 for 4 performance that included a run scored and his ninth stolen base of the season. Taiwan Easterling reached four times on two hits and two walks, and Paul Hoilman smashed a three run homer to secure the margin of win.
In addition to Zapata’s steal, Easterling stole his thirteenth bag, Baez swiped his fifth, and Darvill took his seventh of the season.