Cubs’ fans in search of something to look forward to saw a lot to like in Sunday’s Arizona Cubs game. The first three pitchers in that game were three of the youngest and best pitching prospects in the farm system.

Dillon Maples finally made his long awaited professional debut in a one inning start. He had a little trouble, but no more than I would expect from a guy in that situation. He was followed by Ryan McNeil, who pitched 1.2 innings, and then by Paul Blackburn, who pitched 2.1 innings.

All three of those guys are going to spend a lot of innings in the minors over the next few years. They will struggle mightily at times, odds are good they will probably be injured, and no doubt many Cub fans will label all three of them a bust at some point or other. Despite that, all three have the potential to be a quality major league starting pitcher. They may not reach that potential (odds are they will not), but the potential remains. When the Cubs’ farm system once again begins to produce high quality pitching, I think at least one of these three pitchers will be among the headliners.

That future is a long way off, though. The Cubs have a lot of games to play before this particular wave of talent arrives.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The game went into extras, but Iowa lost 6-3 in ten.
Tennessee – The Smokies had Sunday off.
Daytona – The Cubs enjoyed a rare offensive outburst in this 12-7 win.
Peoria – The Chiefs scored ten times on twelve hits in this 10-6 win.
Boise – The Hawks won a 1-0 shutout.
Arizona – The Cubs had their chances to score more runs, but ultimately lost 7-3.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Esmailin Caridad pitched another two good innings of relief. Batters are hitting just .167 off right hander since the All-Star break.
  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters both had a stolen base in this game. For Jackson, it was his 24th. For Vitters, it was his fourth.
  • [Iowa] Welington Castillo hit his fourth home of the season and his second in the past week.
  • [Daytona] He has only been in Daytona for 12 games, but catcher Rafael Lopez has already hit two home runs. His second was a two run shot that came in the ninth inning.
  • [Daytona] Elieser Bonne and Ronald Torreyes have both been hot lately, and both continued that success with three hits each in this game.
  • [Daytona] It was a high scoring Daytona game, so you know I’ll start talking about steals at some point. Eliser Bonne picked up his 19th steal on the season, but that accomplishment was blown away by John Andreoli. Andreoli collected three steals in the game (two of them were steals of third) to reach 40 on the year. And he still has a couple of weeks to play. This guy could realistically finish the season with more than 50 steals.
  • [Peoria] Yao-Lin Wang‘s conversion back into a starting pitcher continued in this game with a four inning performance. Wang allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out one.
  • [Peoria] Larry Suarez struck out three and walked two in his 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
  • [Peoria] Dustin Geiger has power, there is no doubt about that. He hit his 11th home run in just 43 games on Sunday.
  • [Peoria] Pin-Chieh Chen had a great game. The speedy center fielder reached base five time on three hits and two walks. He is hitting .309 in the second half of the season.
  • [Boise] Ian Dickson pitched the first five innings, gave up three hits, and struck out four. Hunter Ackerman completed the shutout by allowing one hit and striking out six over the final four innings.
  • [Boise] Gioskar Amaya was the hero again. The second baseman gave the Hawksthe lead with his fifth home run. He also collected his eighth stolen base. Rock Shoulders was the only other Hawk to have two hits in the game.
  • [Arizona] Dillon Maples allowed a run on two walks and no hits while striking out one in his one inning professional debut.
  • [Arizona] Ryan McNeil allowed a run on four hits while striking out three in his 1.2 innings. Paul Blackburn recorded the next seven outs while giving up just two hits and striking out two.
  • [Arizona] Jorge Soler‘s first career double was the Cubs’ only extra base hit.
  • [Arizona] Trevor Gretzky, Carlos Penalver, and Albert Almora all had a stolen base in this game.

Other Minor League Notes

  • James Adduci is off to a very good start in Iowa. The left handed hitting minor league veteran outfielder has an OPS of .953 through 16 games at that level.
  • Today begins Brett’s 30 consecutive hours of blogathon magic. Best of luck with that Brett, and just in case you need some extra baseball to keep you awake, remember that the radio feed for all the Cubs’ minor leagues from Boise on up are streamed for free on line. Unfortunately the Hawks are off tonight; they often play past 1 AM Eastern time.
  • And while I’m at it, let me add a special thanks to those of you that donated all the funds (and more) that it will take to keep the servers running for another year. Once again, you have proved that we have the best community on the Internet right here at Bleacher Nation.
  • [Brett: And, while I’M at it, a big thanks to Luke for all he does. He’s a huge part of this place, and we’re all thankful.]

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 42 – 67.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Fourth Place: 22.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 15-20
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 6.0 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 16-21
Florida State League North Division – Sixth Place : 6.0 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 15-20
Midwest League Eastern Division – Sixth Place : 6.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 4-2
Northwest League East Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 20 – 10
Arizona Rookie League East – Second Place : 1.0 Games Behind

  • Mysterious4th

    I know its very early but how’s almora’s plate approach looking?

  • B_Scwared

    Luke, how is Vitters’ defense coming along? If that is now the big holdup for him getting promoted, I’m curious to see if he’s making strides.

  • Wilbur

    Just a few random observations after going to the Chiefs game Friday night.

    Baez looks like a Big Ten running back versus a baseball player: not the thick thigh, bruiser type; but the speedier, breakaway guy.
    When he.hits the ball, it just sounds more solid and jumps off the bat a lot faster than everyone else.
    He fields his position very smoothly and there’s no wasted effort.

    If you didn’t know he was the best player for Peoria, just watching him for a few innings would have made that point obvious.

  • donnie kessinger

    There is a lot to be excited about in the lower levels. It will be interesting to see these first year guys develop through the organization. I hope we have a few who are on the fast track!

  • Beer Baron

    Speaking of the Cubs pitching prospects, what is the lastest on Juan Carlos Paniagua (or whatever his name is now)? Unlike Maples, McNeil, or Blackburn – Paniagua is 22 and seems closer to major league ready so in theory he would be the first of that bunch that we see in Chicago. Do you know if he had been playing anywhere prior to signing with the Cubs, or is this a case like Soler where he has been off for an extended period meaning this is essentially his spring training?

    • Brett

      I haven’t heard, but I’m certain he was going to require a Spring Training-like experience. He could even be doing it in the DR first, maybe pitch a few games with the DSL Cubs, and then come to the States late in the season. I wouldn’t expect to learn too much about his future this year.

    • tim815

      As best as I understand, International signings are ‘on ice’ until Instructs in November. He can begin working then, and will be assigned (Daytona?) then. Correct me if I’m wrong, as I don’t know.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    Smokies return home tonight and find themselves 6.0 games back. THey went 3-6 on the 9 game road trip (exactly what I said could NOT happen if we were going to remain in contention). A fourth consecutive southern league playoff appearance seems doubtful, but if there si 1 thing I know about minor league baseball……anything can happen. Smokies play 20 of their final 35 at home, so here’s hoping that tonight’s double header against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos starts off on the right foot. This is the first time that Pensacola comes to town. Looking forward to seeing Jim Riggleman (manager of the Blue Wahoos) and speedster Billy Hamilton.

    I am happy to see that Matt Szczur has been called up (although I wish it was under different circumstances). Looking forward to seeing him in person. My guess is that he stays the remainder of the year, and also spends 2013 in TN as well. Our OF ranks have been thin, and Nelson Perez has been in the dog house….so I think Matt will see plenty of ABs the rest fo the way.

    Juston Bour seems to be the constant producer in the Smokies offense….he is playing well and perhaps may be packing his bags for Iowa very soon.

    Best of luck to Brett tonight….I’ll be following the blog-a-thon on twitter in between innings of the double header from Smokies Park as well as posting observations from tonight’s Smokies games.

    bhowes34 on twitter.

    • Brett

      Great stuff (and thanks) Brandon.

  • Jackalope
    • cubmig

      Thanks for the link Jackalope. Nice compilation by Sickels to give context to the Vitter profile. It keeps surprising me that he is only 22. I guess that’s what all the coverage of him does……..age him in our mind. I will be looking forward to his eventual turn in the bigs. He certainly deserves the chance LaHair is getting to prove his on-field worth—–no matter what his D numbers currently “say”.

  • fortyonenorth

    I’m thinking about trooping out to Kane County to catch the Chiefs at the beginning of September. What are the odds Baez will still be on the team?

  • ETS

    anyone have a speed gun on maples? I’d be very interested if there are any scouting reports from AZ floating around.