Thanks to the Ryan Dempster trade chatter and the signing of Juan Carlos Paniagua, the professional debut of the Cubs’ $30 million dollar outfield prospect Jorge Soler was almost pushed out of the headlines.

Soler, officially listed at 6’3″ 205 lbs, was the DH in the AZL Cubs game last night. He batted three times before being replaced by Ben Carhart and finished his game 0-3. He made contact all three times, but none of those balls left the infield.

It would have been awesome had he hit six grand slams in his first game as a professional, but reality doesn’t write Disney scripts. The important thing from last night was not his production (or lack thereof), but simply that he was in uniform, in a game, and facing real pitching in an actual game situation for the first time in about a year.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs managed to score just one run on 10 hits in this 9-1 loss.
Tennessee – Tennessee kept it close, but ultimately lost 4-3.
Daytona – The Cubs led briefly, but only briefly. They lost 8-3.
Peoria – The Chiefs scored in the first two innings, but did not score again as they lost 4-2.
Boise – The Hawks fell in a 2-1 pitchers’ duel.
Arizona – The Cubs played three innings of free baseball before finally losing 4-3 in twelve.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] The pitching was shaky in this game, but that’s to be expected when the scheduled starter is scratched at the last minute. Frankie De La Cruz had the best night on the mound with three scoreless innings.
  • [Iowa] For the third consecutive game Dave Sappelt finished with two hits, including a double.
  • [Tennessee] Jae-Hoon Ha had another pretty good game in this one, finishing 2 for 3 with a walk and his eighth stolen base.
  • [Tennessee] Kevin Rhoderick faced six batters in his 1.1 innings of relief. All four outs came via the strikeout.
  • [Daytona] Matthew Szczur hit his fourth triple and stole his 33rd base as part of a three hit night.
  • [Daytona] Ronald Torreyes doubled in his 2 for 4 game. The young second baseman has multiple hits in five of his last six games. He also stole his tenth base.
  • [Peoria] Javier Baez made his first of what is sure to be a great many starts as the number three hitter in this game. I think he likes it there. When the game ended he had his seventh double, his ninth home run, his 17th stolen base, and his 22nd RBI.
  • [Peoria] Yao-Lin Wang, who had been closing, started this game. After five outs knuckeballer Jospeph Zeller came and and pitched the next 5.1 innings. Despite giving up seven hits in that span, Zeller limited the damage to a single run.
  • [Boise] Ian Dickson allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out six in the first five innings of this game. Hunter Ackerman pitched the rest of the game, striking out four.
  • [Boise] Stephen Bruno had both of the Hawks’ hits, including a double. He also drove in Gioskar Amaya for the team’s only RBI.
  • [Arizona] The Cubs had some pretty good pitching in this game, starting with 2012 draftee Paul Blackburn. Blackburn got the game off to a decent start (3 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout) before handing the ball to Carlos Martinez-Pumarino for four innings of no hit ball. Martinez-Pumarino walked two and struck out five.
  • [Arizona] Shawon Dunston and David Bote both tripled. Those triples were the Cubs only extra base hits.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Josh Vitters had Thursday off. More than likely he had the day off because he was just coming off a 16 game hitting streak and could probably use the break. However, given all the trade rumors swirling, it is not impossible that there is something more to it. There has been little if any chatter surrounding Vitters so far, but you never know.
  • Trey Martin has been in the shadow of Shawon Dunston since they were both drafted, but this season the young center fielder has emerged as a clear prospect in his own right. He gave an interview to the blog High Heels and Highlights that is worth a read. It turns out he really likes Zaxby’s. So, if any you Daytona or Tennessee fans out there decide to take a cross continent road trip to see the Hawks play, pick up some Zaxby’s before you leave the South and Trey Martin might be happy to see you.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 41 – 58.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 17.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 12-15
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 4.5 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 12-16
Florida State League North Division – Fourth Place : 5.5 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 10-16
Midwest League Eastern Division – Sixth Place : 5.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 12 – 22
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 8.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 18 – 6
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place : 1.0 Games Ahead

  • Jackalope

    It’s official–he’s a bust.

    • cjdubbya

      Trade him for prospects. PROSPECTS PROSPECTS PROSPECTS.

  • ETS

    When does Almora start playing?

  • yield51

    I’ve noticed that you haven’t included a link for Trey Martin’s BR page the past few posts. Not sure of the reason, but here it is

    • Brett

      It’s name related. The links are automatic, and if you don’t type the name the same way BR does, it doesn’t get linked. And when a guy uses a nickname, like Trey does (his real name is Darien), it can take time for the linking mechanism to catch up.

  • elizarudi15

    I asked Casey Coleman at the Iowa game last night if he was heading to STL tomorrow (today) and he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled. Another game note for Iowa, Brian Esposito, a catcher, pitched an inning of relief to “save the bullpen arms” according to “the bullpen”. It was a pretty ugly game.

    • ETS

      twice this year I have I have seen position players throw. Once was a Blake Lalli who was relieved by Alfredo Ameziga and the other time was just Alfredo.

    • Brett

      Thanks for that, eliza.

  • Turn Two

    For anyone looking to temper enthusiasm on the Dempster scene, there is an article in the la times posted on the trib that says the reason the Dodgers are so hot on Demp is because of how easy it is to get him. Essentially saying the Dodgers are out on Rollins and Headley (too clearly less valuable players than Demp) because they have multi year deals and the teams want so muc in return for them. He notes that they dont want to give up quality pitching. If Demp isn’t worth as much as a struggling Rollins…we ain’t getting much.

    • Brett

      That’s not what the article says.,0,1307245.story

      The Rollins bit is about how expensive his *contract* is, not about how expensive he’d be in trade.

      • dabynsky

        And it doesn’t say that they think Dempster will be cheap. The article says that the team lacks high quality prospects and teams are more interested in prospects than cash (both of which are true and effect a Dempster trade). It also says that they are reluctant to pay the price for Headley because then they wouldn’t have the pieces to trade for pitching.

        Again we aren’t getting Zach Lee for Dempster, but we are going to get a prospect or two with some upside.

      • Turn Two

        Doesn’t it make clear that they are willing to spend a lot of cash, but it is the prospects that they do not want to give up?

        • dabynsky

          That could be read as them not willing to give up Zach Lee who is their one true blue chip prospect which we already know.

          • Jonski

            Well the Dodgers are trying to steal Dempster and im still pissed at the return for Lilly and Theriot.Gould doesn’t do it for me if you read the scouting report he sounds just like a Randy Wells type.They don’t want to part with Reed in any part of the deal .I understand Lee, but then we should have are choice of 2 prospects say from Reed down .The very idea that 9 or 10 teams want this guy should net us 2 decent prospects.

            • dabynsky

              Part of the reason so many teams want Dempster is because right now he is definitively on the market unlike just about all the other starters which are well maybe if we fall out of it. Dempster has value, but 11 starts of Ryan Dempster isn’t going to restock the farm system.

              • Jonski

                I agree 100 percent I guess what im sayin is that if we have to take Gould no matter what then we should have a shot at Reed again I agree were not getting Lee for Demp and another thing to consider is Reed Johnson or maybe a Jeff Baker could be in that deal so they need to add another prospect maybe a Scott Van Slyke.In the end Garza is the trade we have to get right as everything else traded is going to be lesser prospects.

  • CubFan Paul

    “and facing real pitching in an actual game situation for the first time in about a year…”

    I thought Soler was playing in live games in the Dominican/Haiti this past year. I’m almost certain we had that news at some point, because some media/fans were worried about rust.

    • Luke

      He was playing, but I don’t think he was playing in games that counted. If I remember right, it was more of a spring training type game than a game than an actual game that meant something.

  • Other JP


    Why do I see so many SP pitching 3 innings and leaving the game (i.e. Paul Blackburn)? A lot of Luke’s updates show that we pull SP after 5 innings or 4 or even 3 innings.

    Are there more pitchers per each minor league team, so have to pull them early to see/use other pitchers?

    Honest question.

    If so, I wonder if that negatively affects pitchers in any way (we want them in the bigs to pitch 8 innings, but in minors they are getting 5 max)?

    • Brett

      Young pitchers are on VERY strict pitch count limits.

      • Luke

        Especially in the very low minors (Arizona and Boise). Those pitch counts start to rise as through the A ball teams, and by Tennessee starting pitchers tend to have pitch counts similar to what you see in the majors. Not surprisingly, you see more 7 inning starts in Double A and Triple A as well.

  • baseballet

    Luke, what’s your feeling on Josh Vitters at this point as a potential starting third baseman for the Cubs? I suppose one cannot predict what his dropoff on offense would be if he were promoted from the hitter-friendly PCL to the Cubs. But if his dropoff was identical to LaHair’s then that would leave Vitters with a worse batting avg and OPS than Darwin Barney. Wouldn’t Vitters have to hit above average as a major league third baseman in order to make up for his subpar defense?

    • Luke

      You can’t assume LaHair and Vitters would have the same drop off. They are two very, very different sorts of hitters.

      Vitters projects as a solid, league average type hitter at third. His defense still needs work, but it isn’t so bad he needs to put up All-Star numbers to make up for it. Keep in mind as well that he is still quite young for Triple A. Bot his bat and his glove are going to continue to improve.

  • When the Music’s Over

    I can’t believe we are knocking on the door of August and Maples still hasn’t thrown a professional pitch. I know he was “injured”, but that’s a full year of lost development. Sounds like the Bears of the past few years where they draft guys and then “red-shirt” them for a year.

    • dabynsky

      Two completely different models of player development. As far as Maples goes, I thought when they drafted him they were going to have to completely retool his delivery. He is on a throwing program now. It is concerning but there is plenty of time for a 19 year old kid.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Trust me. I know. I was being sarcastic. Just frustrated.

        On a side note, the Bears were also red-shirting mid-round draft picks because of ineffectiveness, not because they were just trying to get them to develop.

        • dabynsky

          I am well aware of the Bears poor draft record under the previous GM as well. I know it is frustrating that perhaps the highest ceiling arm in the system has yet to throw a pitch, but this isn’t something that is really that unexpected yet.

          • When the Music’s Over

            Yeah, just worried that even another minor setback pushes the kid back from real competition until May 2013 or beyond.

    • Luke

      If the Cubs are worried about a loss of development time, they can get him into the instructional league or into some form of winter ball. So long as he’s healthy, that’s not too hard of a problem to solve.

      • When the Music’s Over

        Is he healthy, or is he not? I find it somewhat odd that a “minor” elbow injury has kept him out for 4+ months. Maybe the Cubs are completely retooling his delivery. If that’s the case, it would make more sense.

        • Luke

          I have no doubt that the Cubs are working on his delivery right now as well

          All reports I have heard say he is now healthy, has been pitching just fine off a mound in practice, and that he should be taking the mound in an AZL Cubs game sometime in mid-July.

  • Other JP

    Theoyer must HATE our pitching in the minors when you consider after taking over, they COULD have brought up some RP/SP from the minors to fill holes.

    Instead they:
    –Signed Maholm and Lopez
    –Added Lendy Castillo
    –Added Manny Corpas
    –Traded for T Wood and Volstad (had to trade Zambrano and Marshall)
    –Added Shawn Camp
    –Picked up Michael Bowden
    –Claimed Jairo Asensio
    –Traded cash for Justin Germano

    I am sure I am missing a few, but MY GOD they think the pitching in our minors is SO BAD, they would rather sign re-treads from other systems to la on the major league club.

    That sucks………..means we’re poopy.

    • dabynsky

      And unfortunately Theo and Jed were right about the pitching in the upper minors.

    • Luke

      That really only applies to the pitchers in Triple A who had enough experience and were far enough along that they could be considered candidates to join the major league roster.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Great nite in the minors. Every team lost.

  • willis

    Zaxby’s is off the chain awesome. They’re all over the place down here. I blast it often. And they have seasoned crinkle fries (sweet) along with the best Texas toast. I advise eating there if any of you are around these redneck parts.

  • fromthemitten

    Martin’s got a good head on his shoulders Zaxby’s is some damn fine chicken