Cubs’ Minor League Daily: The Candy ‘Copter Comes Again

If you have not yet made the trip to Peoria to watch the Chiefs play, then June 24 might be the day to change that. In addition to a great ballpark and some fine baseball from some of the Cubs’ best prospects, including shortstop Javier Baez, Sunday’s game will feature additional fun and insanity for the whole family. For example, the first one thousand fans under twelve will receive a special Peoria Chiefs Build-A-Bear.

And for the rest of the fans, June 24 is another Candy Drop. For those who may have missed it earlier in the season, the Peoria Chiefs’ Candy Drops are quite literally nothing less than pounds and pounds of candy being dumped out of a helicopter onto a crowd of frantic children swarming in the outfield. I remain in awe of the brilliant mind that came up with this promotion, and I only regret that I will not be there to witness the madness in person.

Not convinced? Check out this three minute video of candy drop madness from a similar promotion at another minor league stadium. It’s almost enough to make me wish I was twelve again.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Iowa offense did not show up in this one, and the result was a 6-2 loss.
Tennessee – The Smokies were very impressive as they opened the second half of the season with a 3-1 win.
Daytona – Led by some great pitching, the Cubs won again by a score of 3-0.
Peoria – Peoria was off on Thursday. The open the second half this evening at home.
Boise – The Hawks had to rally in the ninth, but they did win the game 5-4.
Arizona – The bullpen struggled as the AZL Cubs fell 5-1.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] On the mound, relievers Ryan Rowland-Smith and Jeff Beliveau probably had the best day. The two combined for two and a third hitless innings, but they had just one strikeout between them.
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters hit his eleventh home run of the season. Brett Jackson, back in the leadoff spot, doubled and struck out twice.
  • [Tennessee] Nick Struck kicked off the second half of the schedule with a brilliant pitching performance. He struck out seven in six innings and allowed no runs save a solo homer. His season ERA dropped to 3.90.
  • [Tennessee] Junior Lake was 4 for 5 with a double and a run scored to lead all Tennessee hitters. Justin Bour was right behind him with three singles and a stolen base.
  • [Daytona] Austin Kirk spread four hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings, and he was rewarded with his third win of the season. Ryan Searle and Jeffrey Lorick were equally effective in relief.
  • [Daytona] With a home run, two hits, and a walk in this game, it seems Ronald Torreyes is continuing to turn his season around.
  • [Boise] James Pugliese started the game and pitched five pretty good innings, but the winning pitcher was Hayden Simpson. Simpson was dominant as he allowed one run on one hit and one walk while striking out seven in four innings.
  • [Boise] Jeimer Candelario enjoyed another big game as he went 3 for 4 with a walk and his second home run of the year.
  • [Boise] For many players, triples are harder to hit than home runs. Gioskar Amaya does not seem to have that problem. The Boise season is only a week old and he has already belted a trio of three-baggers.
  • [Arizona] Young-Il Jung started the game and gave up just a hit and a walk while striking out three in three innings.
  • [Arizona] The Cubs’ offense struggled to score runs, but Ben Carhart and Timothy Saunders both had good games. Both players finished 2 for 4, Carhart with a triple and Saunders with a double, and Carhart also drew two walks.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Yesterday’s news that Rebel Ridling had been demoted to Daytona was a surprise to many of us, but I think there may be an explanation that makes some sense of it. Rebel Ridling is primarily a first baseman, and as a first baseman he put up some good numbers with Tennessee last season. He was due for a promotion to Iowa until the Cubs traded for Anthony Rizzo. Rather than let Rizzo block the progression of all first baseman in the system, the Cubs chose to double up on first basemen in Double A by promoting Justin Bour to play first while Ridling spent more time in the outfield. The result was a marked decline in Ridling’s production. The answer? Ridling goes to Daytona where he is able to once again play first on a daily basis while he gets his bat going again.
  • Last season Logan Watkins got off to a dreadful start, but made the necessary adjustments and put up very nice numbers for the rest of the year. This season, he might be doing that again at the Double A level. After hitting just .242 in April and .219 in May, Watkins’ June average now stands at .375 with an OBP of .500. Getting on base in the core of Watkins’ game. He’s not a big power threat (although he does have three home runs and four triples), but he is a true lead off hitting candidate for the Cubs. If Darwin Barney should leave Chicago, Watkins might be his heir apparent.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 31 – 43.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Second Place: 14.5 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 36-35

High ADaytona Cubs : 31 -38

Low APeoria Chiefs : 35 – 34
Midwest League Eastern Division – Third Place (tie) : 9.0 Games Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 2 – 5
Northwest League East Division – Second Place : 1.0 Game Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 1 – 1
Arizona Rookie League – First Place (tie) : 1.0 Game Behind

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

77 responses to “Cubs’ Minor League Daily: The Candy ‘Copter Comes Again”

  1. oswego chris

    Junior Lake is starting to look like the real deal….Vitters at only 22 also looking good…just wonder if he can play 3rd in bigs…because as 3b he’s a prospect, as an OF or 1B….meh…

    1. Brett

      Yup – if Vitters can’t start at 3B in the bigs, he’ll be fortunate to be a decent bench bat. (That’s not a criticism, by the way.)

    2. Jack Weiland

      Agreed on Lake … I’ve been very happy with his season.

    3. djriz

      How about Vitters as a ‘placeholder’ type player? In 2013/2014 he plays 3rd while we wait for Baez to be ready. In 2015 he plays LF while we wait for Almora to be ready to push Jackson to Left. Then he either is good trade bait, or assumes the Jeff Baker role.

      This would be a cheap way to fill out the roster with decent production while we wait for the ‘stars’ to arrive.

      (I still think he can be a productive pro)

  2. Jp

    I never tought I’d be saying Vitters is due a callup before BJax… It appears Jackson is the one regressing. He’s got 20 K’s in his last 39 ABs! He striking out at a 50% clip, anyone know if he’s got an injury he’s playing through? Or have pitchers just got a good scouting report on him and their exposing the holes in his swing?

  3. Jp

    The only phrase I can think of right now is, “Straight ball I hit it very much but Jobu no help with curve ball”.

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  5. ETS

    I thought Daytona’s record was reset? Isn’t it the FL league teams that play 2 half seasons?

  6. Jack Weiland

    I’m quickly approaching Baez levels of excitement on Candelario right now.

    1. Chris

      I’m hoping he’ll get bumped up to Peoria before the season is over. I’d love to be able to see him in person the last weekend of the MWL season in Kane County.

    2. Norm

      He was one of my favorites last year for the sole fact that he had more BB’s than K’s.

      1. Noah

        Quite honestly, barring, say, Pierce Johnson getting sent straight to Peoria and tearing up MWL hitter, if Candelario can keep up these numbers for the remainder of the season, he would have to seriously be considered as possibly the Cubs’ 6th best prospect after the big 5 (Rizzo, Baez, Almora, Soler, Jackson). Although they’ll be the big 4 at most at that point.

        1. Richard Nose

          God I love it all. Just wish we had some bigger pitching prospects. Gotta think those will be coming in thr form of a trade. Id be willing to turn Jackson and a veteran into a beast pitching prospect (and more) at this point.

        2. Serious Cubs Fan

          I’m going out on a limb and saying Jackson will never be a star and won’t be the player that some people think he can be. Just to much negative in his game that will hold him back. I think he can be a decent player in the majors but I don’t think he’ll ever be an allstar. I see him as batting avg .265-.280 / .315-.330 OBP / .420-.440 Slugging. Those aren’t bad numbers by any means but I don’t think he’s going to the huge impact player thought he could be at one point. He will have great intangibles though of being a leader and slightly above avg defensive CF. It might be to early to speculate and I know me saying this is going to tick some people off but that isn’t that far off reality though. But I hope he turns out to be great allstar though

          1. hansman1982

            you are right that he will never be a star – maybe an All-Star game or two during his peak years but I think his ISOD will be higher than that. Looking at probably a .260/.350/.425 type hitter which is valuable at CF considering he plays + defense.

        3. djriz

          I’m going to keep Lake and Vitters ahead of him (at this point) but for a guy who won’t be 19 until December, Candelario shows a ton of promise.
          So being a legit top 10 prospect is impressive.

          1. Jack Weiland

            McNutt and Maples should be in the convo too, I guess. And Castillo and maybe Szczur?

            Certainly top 10, though, and certainly a guy to be very excited about.

          2. Jack Weiland

            And that’s top 10 in a pretty good system. Nobody is going to do a midseason farm ranking, but I have to imagine the Cubs have moved safely into the top 15, and probably even the top 10 right now.

            1. djriz

              Easily top 10 system if, BIG IF, a few of this years pitching draftees show promise.
              Systems without many pitching prospects are generally penalized in the rankings.

              1. Jack Weiland

                Where did Law have the Cubs?

                1. Noah

                  I think 20. My recollection is most publications had them right around 20, but BA had them higher at 14. Law would have Almora as the Cubs’ No. 1 prospect, at least immediately post-draft (I don’t know if a couple more weeks of Baez playing at a high level have changed that).

            2. hansman1982

              I think Law did a mid-season prospect ranking a week or two ago. It would be nice if someone like BA had a more dynamic rating system where once a month they shifted the teams around based on promotions, performance, draft, etc…

            3. Jonski

              Im curious were Blackburn,Johnson will fit among our top prospects…I would have to agree that our system is in the top 15 and moving up with every signing.

              1. Kyle

                Top 20 but not top 10 for both.

                1. Jonski

                  Still good to see us getting some arms in the system.I was going by system rankings as far top 10 then edited to top 15 ,but other then the disagreement a while back about Rizzo and Jackson you seem to no your shit so I will take your word for it.

  7. rbreeze

    I’d like to see BJak settle into a Jim Edmunds type player.  Decent average, 20 to 30 HR’s a year and a guy that most opposing fans hate.

    1. Norm

      Gee, is that all :)

      1. Noah

        Yeah, I don’t think people realize Jim Edmonds is a borderline Hall of Famer. You might as well say that you’d like to see Javier Baez settle into being Mike Schmidt, Albert Almora settle into being Willie Mays, Jorge Soler settle into being Hank Aaron, and Anthony Rizzo settle into being Lou Gehrig.

        1. JB88


    2. DocPeterWimsey

      I think that people hated Edmonds for the 25 minutes he spent each year standing at home plate watching his 25 homers leave the yard.

      1. Spriggs

        And for diving at balls that he could have easily caught upright. And for all that hopping around in the box after his swings – or check swings. ouch

        1. North Side Irish

          I always hated the diving out of the way of inside pitches like they were coming at his head. Between that, the posing at home plate, and the unnecessary diving catches, he was quite the drama queen. Well, actually, LaRussa was the queen, Edmonds was the Drama Princess.

    3. Carew

      My life would be made if that’s who he turned into. He just wouldnt be able to make a diving over the shoulder catch :)

    4. Jack Weiland

      I would be THRILLED with this.

  8. North Side Irish

    John Sickels at Minor League Ball led off with Baez in his notes and had a lot of the usual things to say. Also has a video of Baez working the count well…before getting hit by the pitch. Worth checking out to see the bat speed.

  9. Serious Cubs Fan

    Any update on how hard Hayden Simpson was pitching yesterday? Did he get his velocity up around 92-94mph? He needs to stretch out back to a starter and up that velocity to be able to get hitters out.

  10. Cub Gone Wild

    My guess is that Jackson has gotten completely outside of his game. With Rizzo and Vitters hitting for power he is trying fit into that group whether he will admit to it or not. He hasn’t been the focus and he’s not used to that either. I would say sending the boy home for a break is the best thing that could happen to him. Once Rizzo is gone he will likely settle down a bit. He’s not used to be second or third fiddle in the group. Kids like him have a hard time mentally when they aren’t the top dog everyone is looking at. It’s a sign that he may never make it because if he does get to the majors he will be a very small fish in a big pond. He won’t be the Man and he needs to learn who he is and what he is. He also needs to find some mental toughness. AND if he is trying to do too much his swing has probably gotten very long and his timing is so out of whack he can’t hit the ball of a tee let alone out of a pitchers hand right now. He needs a new girlfriend and a week in the Bahama’s most likely. Those two things right there will fix a lot.

  11. Patrick

    That picture looks a whole lot like Modern Woodmen Park, the home of the Single-A Cardinals affiliate Quad Cities River Bandits

    1. Brett

      Could be. The pictures are often merely exemplary, and – insanely enough – the candy drop thing is apparently not just a Peoria Chiefs thing.

      1. Brett

        Then again, now that I think back, I’m pretty sure I got that picture using a video straight off the Peoria Chiefs’ site about the event (the first time). I suppose they could have been using footage from the Quad Cities.

  12. When the Music's Over

    Any idea on what’s wrong with Ben Wells?

  13. Jp

    Tommy John surgery

    1. Serious Cubs Fan

      Wow thats really disappointing. I feel like a lot our pretty young pitchers get hit with serious arm injuries or just freak injuries. Robert Whitenack, Ben wells, Marcos Mateo, Mike Harkey (1990), we all know kerry wood and Mark Prior back in the day, and anyone remember Angel Guzman (He was just so promising and when healthy he had filthy stuff). Bad luck for to many years.

  14. TSB

    Brett Jackson has gone from being an all-star to being a bum-of-the-month, and he hasn’t even played one game in the Bigs! What going to happen to Rizzo when he doesn’t get five hits in his first four at bats (I know, impossible, but that’s what some cub fans seem to demand); how long will it be before he is a nobody,that should be traded for prospects?

  15. BT

    I was at the last candy drop. If I ever get off my lazy ass maybe I’ll post the video. It was a bit surreal. I will add that as a bonus, a large contingent of the Peoria Cubs spent a few minutes after the game handing out candy to the kids as well, also posing for pictures and being cool dudes in general. It’s a good time if you can make it.

    Then I had to spend the 2 hour drive home listening to Humber pitch a perfect game.

  16. Patrick

    Just making sure, I am a huge Cubs fan currently working for the River Bandits. It’s great to be in baseball but tough when it’s a Cardinals affiliate. Love the site!

    1. Brett

      Thanks – and good luck to you on the process.

    2. Puma0821

      Hey my nephew works/interns there too this year. Do you know Brice?

  17. Jschroeder

    Luke: I live in Yuma, AZ, and we have an independent league team. A few times a year one of the boosters who owns a flight school flys over in a small plane and drops a bunch of dollar bills out the window to a group of kids on the outfield, quite the sight!!

  18. chirogerg

    I’m so glad to hear about Calendario, Amaya, and especially Hayden Simpson being “dominant”

    1. Brett

      Well, strictly speaking, Simpson was dominant.