Frank Del Valle (Nick Martinez/

Frank Del Vallepitched a spectacular game on Friday in Clearwater. He faced twenty batters over six innings, just two more than the minimum, and struck out eleven of them without allowing a hit or a walk. The only blemishs on his game were the two batters he hit.

Del Valle has been fairly well regarded since he signed with the Cubs out of Cuba, but his results this season have so far been a little mixed. His outing on Friday stands out, though, not just for the eleven strike outs in six innings, but also because his GO/AO checked in at 1.33. That’s his best one game ratio this season and markedly better than his season average. In general a ground ball is a win for the pitcher, so when a strikeout artist is inducing ground balls in addition to missing bats, he becomes very difficult to beat.

But let’s not get too excited by Del Valle just yet. He’s had some very good performances at every stop in his brief minor league career, and he clearly has the potential to pitcher higher in the system, but he’s not a future ace candidate just yet. If he continues to pitch well through the end of the season I think we will have to consider him as a potential No 3 starter in the majors one day, but that day is likely to be no earlier than late 2014. For now, Del Valle will have to be content with battling Austin Kirk for the title of Best Lefty in Daytona.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Good pitching plus lots of hitting equals a 12-2 Cubs win.
Tennessee – Tennessee was the victim of a two hit shutout as they lost 2-0.
Daytona – Frank Del Valle pitched a phenomenal start, and the bullpen made it stand up. The Cubs won 3-1.
Peoria – The bullpen took the loss as Peoria opened the second half with a 5-3 defeat.
Boise – Boise has strung a pair of wins together as they won at home 6-4.
Arizona – The Rookie League team used ten hits to pile on the runs as they won 7-5.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Jay Jackson pitched three innings in relief of Chris Rusin, allowed one hit, no walks, and struck out three. His reliever ERA is down to 1.96. As a starter?
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters pushed his season OPS over .800 with Friday’s 3-4, one double performance. Alfredo Amezaga and Juan Apodaca also had three hits. Rizzo’s three hits placed him a home run short of the cycle.
  • [Tennessee] Dae-Eun Rhee pitched a pretty good game, despite the loss. Both of the runs he allowed came on solo home runs as he gave up six hits, walked four, and struck out two over seven innings. Casey Harman struck out two in an inning of relief.
  • [Daytona] Greg Rohan hit his twelfth home run, a two run shot, in the first inning and that would prove to be all the offense Del Valle and the bullpen would need.
  • [Peoria] Pitching in relief of Jose Rosario, Luis Liria allowed a solo home run in his inning and two thirds of work. This is somewhat notable because that home run was the first one allowed by Liria all season. Pitching entirely from the bullpen, he had thrown more than 31 innings over 20 games before someone finally took him deep. That’s not bad at any level.
  • [Peoria] Paul Hoilman hit his seventh home run of the season to lead the team’s offensive efforts. Dustin Geiger and Yasiel Balaguert both doubled. Javier Baez singled, stole a base, and struck out three times.
  • [Boise] Converted outfielder Matthew Spencer was good in relief (2 IP, 2H, 2K), but Rafael Diplan was better (2.1 IP, 0H, 3K).
  • [Boise] Gioskar Amaya had another great game. This time he was 4 for 4 with two stolen bases. Jeimer Candelario also continued his dominance by hitting his third home run of the season.
  • [Arizona] Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Daniel Vogelbach sighting. The first baseman made his 2012 debut with a 2 for 4 game that featured a double. Fellow 2011 draftee Justin Marra had three hits including a double.

Other Minor League Notes

  • To put Jay Jackson and his Jekyll and Hyde starter vs reliever stats in some kind of context, the only comparable splits I can find belong to James Russell in 2011. As I’m sure Cub fans remember, Russell was awful as a starting pitcher at the beginning of the season, but by year’s end he had emerged as one of the better relievers for the team.
  • If Brett Jackson has been trying too hard and mentally taking himself out of his game lately, as some of us suspect, then Friday’s at bats might be a hopeful sign. For the first time in quite some time Jackson had a multi-walk game. In total he was 1 for 4 with a home run, two walks, and two strikeouts. At the very least it is a step in the right direction.
  • For the first time since May 31, Daytona’s Matt Szczur appeared in a game. He did not play defense (the FSL uses the DH), but he did pick up a hit and draw two walks in in the game.
  • Yesterday I presented the theory that Rebel Ridling had been sent to Daytona so he could get some regular work at first base. So much for that idea. In Friday’s game he was back in left field.
  • I’ve talked from time to time about the increased tendency to steal bases that is being exhibited in the Cubs’ farm system this season, and I am happy to report that that particular trend appears to extend all the way down to Arizona. Four different Cubs had stolen bases in this game. Each had one attempt and all were successful.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 32 – 43.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Second Place: 14.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 1-1
Southern League North Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

High ADaytona Cubs : 2-0
Florida State League North Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

Low APeoria Chiefs : 0-1
Midwest League Eastern Division – Second Place (tie) : 1.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 3 – 5
Northwest League East Division – Second Place (tie) : 1.0 Game Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 2 – 1
Arizona Rookie League – Second Place (tie) : 0.5 Game Behind

  • oswego chris

    Luke…as a reliever, any idea what kind of velocity Jackson is hitting…

  • Ron

    I would say Jackson needs to go to the big club but lately the bullpen has been ok. I really think there are some good arms there for next year. Or have I nor been watching enough?

    • Luke

      The Cubs are loaded with quality bullpen arms.  Building an in house pen will not a problem for upcoming seasons.

  • Ben

    not really on topic but I just looked at Pujols’ stat line for the first time in a while. LAA looks to have a nightmare on their hands with that contract…..I am SO glad that is not the Cubs…really excited to hear about the continued success of Candelario….what is his possible ceiling?

    • Jp

      Luckily the Angels will have Mike Trout for the majority of Pujols’ terrible contract to ease the blow a bit. Soriano wasn’t so lucky, we had nobody like Trout to make us forget about how lousy his contract was…

  • baldtaxguy

    Jackson and no walks – as a reliever, I think that has reported on a number of occasions.  Great to see.

  • baldtaxguy

    Really looking forward to see the results of Del Valle’s next start

  • Boots

    Good to see someone doing well. Generally speaking, Luke or others, are there any of our minor league starters emerging/standing out thus far this season? I am abroad and haven’t been able to follow as closely as I would have liked. Thanks.

    • Luke

      Quite a few, actually.  They most profile as mid-rotation types rather front of the rotation, but there have been good pitching performances all over the system.

  • willis

    Jay Jackson hs shown he is very good out of the pen. Plus he’s stretched so he can be a long reliever as well. His splits are crazy. He’s destined for the pen with the big club and that’s fine. It’s needed.

    Vitters has been great lately. That is so good to see.

  • Kevin

    Luke-Any word on Jorge Soler?

    • Luke

      Brett and I won’t keep anything like that quiet.  You’ll know as soon as we have something to share.  There are no signs of any problems, though.  I think we can expect to see him in Arizona in the near future.

  • PJ

    Took in Chiefs game last night. Rosario their starting pitcher looked much better than his stat line shows. He threw strikes and was very efficient with his pitches. At one point he got 8 outs on 15 pitches.
    I was reminded how ERA can be misleading in the minors. Rosario’s only blemish were a couple of 2nd inning runs until the 7th. He should have escaped that inning unblemished except the field and an unrecorded error cost him the win. With one out Baez fielded a grounder in the hole. When he planted to throw his feet went out from under him. As it was he just about threw the batter out from the seat of his pants. The next batter, though he made solid contact, hit a very catchable line drive to center. Whether it was poor outfield play or he lost it in the off white background of the press box, the centerfielder did not see it And it flew over his head for a triple.
    Baez by the way made a marvelous barehanded play earlier in the game. He looked really good defensively. The entire infield did. Zeek Devoss had a ton of Action and performed flawlessly.

    • Ben

      How was the candy-drop?

      • Luke

        That’s Sunday.

  • Kevin

    Thanks Luke – based on the current situation at the major league level, your posts are actually more important than insignificant talk about how bad the Cubs are in the majors. Other than trade talk it’s mostly Cubs fans expressing their disappointment how things are going.

  • Kevin

    Thanks Luke – based on the current situation at the major league level, your posts are actually more important than insignificant tallk about how bad the Cubs are in the majors. Other than trade talk it’s mostly Cubs fans expressing their disappointment how things are going. The Cubs future will come from the minor leagues. Good ideas, on Brett’s part. to have someone exclusively report on our minor league teams/players.

  • Awesome link
    Boise highlights from yesterday!

  • Joepoe123

    Awesome play at home