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A few weeks back, BN’er Cubbie Blues created a poll on the Message Boards where readers could vote for their Top Ten Position Prospects. That poll proved so popular that Cubbie Blues is back at it, this time for the Cubs’ pitching prospects.

There are twenty pitching prospects in that poll, and you can vote for up to ten. This could be a tougher vote than the position prospects one. Once you get the past the three or four best pitchers there is not a lot of separation between the candidates. The Cubs have a lot of bullpen and back of the rotation candidates, but not many potential front of the rotation starters. Even so, I think you’ll find enough quality candidates to fill out a ballot.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to create a Message Board account and join the conversation. Don’t forget Message Board accounts are separate from your regular Bleacher Nation account.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa managed just four hits in their 6-1 loss.
Tennessee – The Smokies lost a hit-fest by a final of 10-8.
Daytona – The Cubs never led in this 5-3 loss.
Peoria – Peoria picked up a home win by a final of 8-3.
Boise – Ninth inning heroics led to a 6-5 Hawks win.
Arizona – The Cubs scored their runs early, then held on for an 11-8 win.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] There were not a lot of bright spots for the Cubs in this one. Brett Jackson‘s 11th triple is pretty much it.
  • [Tennessee] Zach Rosscup pitched two decent innings in this game. He gave up two runs on three walks (no hits) while striking out five.
  • [Tennessee] Trey McNutt‘s conversion to the bullpen continues. He gave up five hits and two runs in his 2.1 innings of work while striking out three.
  • [Tennessee] Jae-Hoon Ha and Michael Brenly both hit home run number four in this game. Ha’s came as part of a two hit game that also included his second triple.
  • [Tennessee] Justin Bour and Logan Watkins also had three hits in the game. Watkins stole his 18th base of the season.
  • [Daytona] Matthew Szczur finished 2 for 4 with a double and two steals. He now has 32 stolen bases this season. Eliser Bonne also had two steals, giving him 17.
  • [Peoria] Starling Peralta pitched five scoreless innings and collected his third win.
  • [Peoria] Pin-Chieh Chen reached four times on three hits and a walk. While he was on the bases, he stole three of them in four tries. His season total now stands at 23.
  • [Peoria] Paul Hoilman was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a walk.
  • [Boise] For eight innings Jeimer Candelario‘s bat lay silent. In the bottom of the ninth of a tie game, it woke up to the tune of a game winning solo home run (his fifth).
  • [Boise] Bijan Radamacher finished this game 3 for 3 with three doubles. Stephen Bruno also had three hits.
  • [Boise] Eduardo Orozco allowed nothing but a single walk in the final two innings as he earned his first win.
  • [Arizona] The rehabbing Lendy Castillo opened the game with three scoreless innings in which he struck out four.
  • [Arizona] Daniel Vogelbach finished this game 0 for 2 with 3 walks. None of the walks were intentional.
  • [Arizona] Shawon Dunston hit his first Arizona home run as part of a 2 for 6 game. Daniel Lockhart finished 2 for 5 with his fourth triple.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Trey McNutt did not have a good game by any stretch of the imagination, but keep in mind that this is the first time he’s pitched on three days rest. The Cubs have groomed him as a starter until very recently; adjusting to the new routine will take a little bit of time. Once he makes that adjustment,
    he has the stuff to be a very effective late inning reliever. I think that he should move up fairly quickly as a reliever. For now I expect him to arrive in the majors to stay sometime in the second half of next season.
  • Rebel Ridling seems to have gotten his bat back in working order since being sent to Daytona. He is hitting .300/.372/.420 for the Cubs. That’s not quite back to what he did with the Smokies last season, but it is a clear improvement over his struggles early in the year. Oddly, though, he only has one home run with Daytona.
  • Gioskar Amaya was hit in the head during his first inning at bat on Sunday and immediately left the game. He did not appear in Monday’s game, but he is not on the disabled list either. It looks like he is not badly injured and could come back soon. He and Dong-Yub Kim (who was also drilled in the head in that series) are officially listed as day to day.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 40 – 56.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 18.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 12-13
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 3.5 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 11-14
Florida State League North Division – Fifth Place : 4.5 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 10-14
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 4.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 11 – 20
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 8.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 16 – 5
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 1.5 Games Ahead

  • ETS

    I went to the icubs last night with some friends. Maybe it’s my optimism, but Jackson looked solid at the plate. Always a patient hitter, he appears to really know the zone. At this point, I don’t see the k’s going away completely – it’s just not his approach, but I’m more and more confident he can be productive. Plus he’s pretty fast. That triple was a double for most.

  • Leroy K.

    I know this question has probably been answered, but I went about 9 days without Internet so you will have to forgive me for asking but When does Jorge Soler officially start playing @ Arizona?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Still unannounced. He could probably start playing games as soon as next week, assuming they’re going to have him play a bit in the AZL first.

      • Leroy K.

        There is a small chance that Soler can start higher than Arizona?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Not really. His first professional games are almost certain to be with the AZL Cubs. He probably wont’ stay in Arizona long though.

          • leroy k.

            Thanks Brett and Luke, I promise I’m getting back in the loop now :)

  • ETS

    I’m very, very okay with taking alot of time with Gioskar. Even if he feels fine, it’s just the nature of concussions. A very serious injury that only compounds itself if not addressed early on.

  • Stuart M

    What is Vitters’ hitting streak up to now anybody know?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I want to say 15, but that’s just off the top of my head.

      • IOWACUBS

        That is correct 15 game hitting streak and also has hit in 25 of his last 26 games.

        • willis

          That’s damn strong.

  • Cubbie Blues

    With Szczur on the 40-man roster, what are the chances he starts moving up? He seems to be doing pretty well in Daytona. I’d like to see what he does in Tennessee against some more polished pitchers.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d be surprised if he doesn’t see any time in Tennessee this year.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Agreed.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Thanks for the shout out Luke. Remember to vote early and vote often. Credit to Oswego Chris who first came up with the idea to do these polls.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    I am not drinking the kool-aid on Trey McNutt. I was at the game last night, and after the Smokies hitters battlled back from a 7-2 deficit to tie the game, Trey McNutt promptly gave it right back with two runs in the top of the frame. Very deflating to the team as well as the fans in the stands. Trey simply does not look comfortable on the mound. He is pitching entirely from the stretch now (obviously, as a reliever he may be entering with men on base) and the runners capitalized on his slow delivery to the plate with some stolen bases. Trey appears to lack confidence in his pitches these days, as has been the case all year. He did battle blister problems, and the humidity in East TN probably is not helping but I am just not seeing a pitcher whom I picture as a piece of Chicago’s future. I am sorry Luke….the box scores may tell a different story…but what I see out there is a pitcher afraid to lose, rather than trusting his stuff.

    But, if we want to continue to talk about him being a real pitching prospect so that his stock does not fall in the eyes of potential suitors as a throw in candidate for a trade, then I am all for putting a positive spin on his move to the pen. The reality is that he is now a no pressure mop up artist with no real role (remember…he entered the game with the Smokies in a 5 run hole, so he can pitch in a no pressure environment).

    I live on reality street…..and this kid needs a change of scenery in a bad way.

    On the positive side of the ledger, I got my first look at Zach Rosscup last night and I like what I saw. A left with a power arm and tremendous poise (so far). He made the jump to AA from Low A Peoria, and got roughed up in his 1st outing on the road in Birmingham. Last night, he did better, and more importantly than the box scores (from my perspective) was his poise on the mound and command of the fastball. The kid looked pretty good. Someone I am excited to keep an eye on, and definately a left handed arm that can help the Smokies.

    Ty’Relle Harris started for the Smokies last night and looked very uncomfortable as a starter. I am hearing rumors that he is being considered for promotion to AAA because of the likely influx of AAA arms to Chicago in the coming weeks. Last night’s performance did not help his case, but I believe the brass in the organization like his poise, and as a roster filler in AAA I believe he has the maturity and poise to succeed at that level. I just don’t think you can expect much more than that. I definately think he is much more cut out for the bullpen. Great guy…..just not a great starting pitcher. But I do applaud the need to fill in as we try and figure out where our next starting pitcher will come from (thanks to McNutt’s disasterous season).

    Finally, I am starting to HATE the Jackson Generals (Mariners). They are stacked. They are big, strong, have pretty promising arms, and simply win games. Last night saw some dramatics as 2 Generals were ejected and there was plenty of chirping on both sides. Junior Lake got into a staring contest after striking out late (again) and I believe that tonight’s game will be more of the same. Thankfully, tonight is the last time we have to see them in TN (before the playoffs) and it would not surprise me if we see even more fireworks between these teams. I don’t believe these teams like each other at all, and after a few hit batsmen and a couple of behind the back pitches last night, I think this rivalry could see one more exciting night. Hopefully no one gets hurt…..but if a Generals pitcher throws another ball behind Mike Burgess’ back, I don’t think Mike is going to take it lightly.

    Brandon
    bhowes34 on twitter

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Luke seems to be Mr. Optimism on the Cub prospects. Nothing wrong with that, of course,

      • Dumpgobbler

        Yea I cant seem to love some of prospects as much as luke does. I think we have some nice pieces, but we could do with some more improvement.

  • Adam

    I’m not understanding why Raley is an “iffy” prospect. Is it because he is already 23 yrs old and doesn’t throw gas? He’s essentially now the leader on the AAA pitching staff in terms of consistent quality starts. In his first 10 AAA starts, he only really has 2 poor outtings. I think the ability for him to get outs and keep his team in the game is all we need. I guess if by prospect we’re talking about guys who could anchor the Cubs staff one day, I’d agree. But he definitely has the makeup to be a quality 4 or 5 starter.

    • AB

      The upside for Raley ius that he hasn’t been a fulltime pitcher very long. He’s definitely made alot of progress this year.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He’s definitely in the group of potential 4/5 starters. His stock is viewed as down in a lot of circles because at one time he was seen as a potential No 3 guy.

      I’m not that high on him at all. While he is a decent potential 4/5 guy, the Cubs have a lot of players who fit that description that I think have a better shot. Raley’s curve is good weapon, but I’m not convinced he has the other pitches to go with it.

      If I had to do the comparison thing, I’d probably list him as a potential Casey Coleman.

  • MightyBear

    Logan Watkins in the write up again. Man he’s on fire. He may force their hands and move to the next level.

    • Drew7

      That would be really nice. I think he possesses an above-average glove as well. Maybe if Barney gets traded, Cardenas could get another shot, giving Watkins a little time in AAA to close the year out.

  • djriz

    Okay, since it seems to be minor league pitcher day, I have some questions for those in the know.
    -at the lower levels, it seems that starters get very few innings. not all the time, but more often than not. Is this a pitch count thing? A way to get more pitchers into the game?
    -same question about this ‘biggyback’ thing? Pitch count?
    -Blackburn only pitched 1 inning in his debut. I’m sure they want to break kids in slowly, but why have a pitcher go through all the prep for 1 inning?
    -7 inning starts seem to be rare. Wouldn’t we want more of our starters to go 7 innings to see how they do an extra time through the opponents line-up? Isn’t that a key to starting?
    I guess I just don’t know the FO’s strategy with pitchers. I am all for protecting pitchers as much as possible, but it seems they may be too protective. (this does not count 2012 draft picks, I understand the need to limit innings with them).

    • Chris S

      I often wonder the same thing… Good question.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      You see a lot of shorter outings in the minor leagues due to pitch counts. You do not often see a starting pitcher in A ball (SS, Low, or High) throw more than 90 or so pitches in a game. That’s one of the biggest reasons for shorter outings.

      And that’s also gives us an indicator to watch for. Pitchers at those levels who consistently pitching through six or seven innings are probably inducing more weakly hit balls for outs and are probably not wasting many pitches. That’s likely to be a good thing as he moves up the system.

      Piggybacking is usually done in the lowest levels (not sure I’ve seen it above Peoria this year). Basically, starting pitcher one is on a pitch count. When he hits his count, he comes out and starting pitcher two comes in. Sometimes the closer will finish the game, sometimes not. Ideally, the team just uses the two starting pitching prospects and rests the bullpen. It is purely a way to manage workloads and get an additional pitcher starters innings.

      Remember that players taken in the 2012 draft have already put in quite a bit of work this season, particularly pitchers. The Cubs are likely to give them a little experience as a professional, just enough to let them see what they are up against, and then shut them down. Don’t be surprised if no pitcher taken in the 2012 drafts tosses even 40 innings this season. That’s fairly normal.

      Arizona is a little different in that there are just so many players on that roster that need some occasional work. I wouldn’t read anything into short outings at that level.

      You should see more 7ish inning starts at the higher levels. Pitch counts go up in Double A and Triple A. That said, teams need to have pitchers who can consistently go that deep. The Cubs have a few of them, but not many, not at that level. Iowa in particular seems to lean very heavily on the bullpen.

      • djriz

        Thanks, Luke.

        I admit that I’ve always paid much more attention to hitters than pitchers and didn’t know if this was a ‘Jedstein’ thing or what happens all over the minors.

        1 question I forgot. It seems that our MiLB K rate has significantly decreased this year. Is this a function of our pitchers having down years or is it the new ‘pitch to contact’ theory of our FO?

  • rcleven

    Who is this Krist in low a ball? Seems to moving quickly thru the system and having success.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      2012 draftee, college senior, not thought to be a serious prospect. But I suppose we’ll see about that.

    • North Side Irish

      9th round pick this year as a college senior. Great defensive reputation who wasn’t expected to hit much at all. Cubs drafted him for signability purposes and pool savings. They signed him for $10K, which was about $110K under slot. Definitely a surprise so far.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He’s probably moving quickly because he was a college senior. Experience counts.

      I’d wait to see how he does against Double A pitching before I get too excited.

  • Drew7

    Good to see Bruno off to a strong start. You’d expect that from a 21 yr old in Boise, but still encouraging.

  • WNebCub

    just ready for some more trade rumors today!

  • Derrick

    With Rizzo in Chicago to stay what happens with Justin Bour? Seems to be the forgotten/Unnoticed guy among Cubs prospects but having a really nice season.

    Luke, Is it possible to do write up with scouting reports on some the younger international arms we have in the system that we don’t know about?

    • Noah

      Justin Bour isn’t a significant prospect. He was never a big part of the Cubs’ plans, and was never legimately viewed as a Big League starter. Considering he’s horribly unathletic and can only play 1B or DH, odds are he is the Iowa Cubs’ 1B until he can become a free agent.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Bour might have a limited future as a platoon DH somewhere, but that’s about it.

    • Brandon – AA Correspondent

      Bour is an RBI machine…..so was Bucky Jacobson. I root hard for the kid because he is a good hitter. But do I see MLB starter in the cards?? Not so sure.

  • WNebCub

    OffAirOnPoint on twitter

  • cubsin

    Minor league pitchers in general are young and more likely to have arm problems, so they are on pitch counts consistent with their age and experience. It’s not a Cub thing, it’s a baseball thing.

  • cubsin

    Luke, how about a weekly (or bi-weekly) feature on the kids in the DSL?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’ve checked in on them a couple of times already this year, and probably will do so again this weekend or early next week.

      I’m reluctant to do so with any regularity because, in all honestly, there are only a few players in the league that are ever going to make it to the US, and they aren’t necessarily the ones putting up the numbers in the box scores. I’ll keep monitoring that league and highlighting players who stand out to me, like Jeimer Candelario did last season, but I’m not sure there is much benefit in covering it more extensively or regularly than that.

      It is something I’m keeping in mind, though.

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