Fantasy baseball has become as much a part of the baseball fan experience as peanuts and complaining about the umpiring, but despite the decades of growth and success enjoyed by fantasy baseball, there still does not seem to be a good way to include the minor leagues.

And I think I like it that way. Anyone who plays fantasy baseball sometimes winds up in that uncomfortable position of watching a favorite real team – such as the Cubs – face off against a pitcher that needs to do well in order to ensure a fantasy baseball win. Because the minor league game has little to any impact on conventional fantasy baseball, that is not a problem for a fan of the farm systems. In that small respect the game is a little more relaxing and easier to enjoy.

My own feelings on the subject aside, I think it is inevitable that minor league systems will somehow be harnessed into the fantasy machine and become an integral part of the scoring. Maybe leagues will be set up in which each owner drafts a minor league team as well as a major league one and receives points for both. Or perhaps fantasy owners will be able to select and receive points for an entire farm system in the same way some fantasy football leagues allow owners to select entire defenses. Regardless of the actual mechanism, I think that day is coming. As the fantasy game continues to improve on its mimicry of the real thing, it seems inevitable that the minors will become a significant factor in the near future.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa fought this game into the tenth inning before they lost it 5-1.
Tennessee – The Smokies dropped another game they needed to win. The final was 7-2.
Daytona – The downside of the Florida State League reared its head again on Wednesday as the Cubs’ regularly scheduled game was rained out. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader today, Mother Nature permitting.
Peoria – The Chiefs also dropped a game in extra innings. Their contest lasted 14 frames and ended with a 9-8 Chiefs’ loss.
Boise – Boise scored in the top of the first and never relinquished that lead as they won 8-6.
Arizona – On yet another terribly hot evening in Arizona, the Cubs won 5-2.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] For nine innings Ryan Rowland-Smith, Blake Parker, and Jay Jackson kept the Cubs in the game. Unfortunately they had to play ten, and that one did not go so well.
  • [Iowa[ Dave Sappelt and Matt Tolbert both doubled, and that was just about the extent of the Cubs’ offense.
  • [Tennessee] Junior Lake doubled as part of a two hit night, and Matthew Szczur hit his second Double A triple to lead the Smokies.
  • [Tennessee] Casey Weathers, Tony Zych, and Frank Batista each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Tennessee.
  • [Peoria] Yao-Lin Wang struck out ten over six innings while allowing just three hits. One of those hits was a solo home run; despite that, this was a very good start.
  • [Peoria] Paul Hoilman and Timothy Saunders both homered for the Chiefs. Saunders also stole two bases.
  • [Peoria] Zeke DeVoss finished 3 for 7 with two runs scored and his 32nd stolen base.
  • [Boise] Rock Shoulders played left field in this game. He also hit his seventh home run. Daniel Vogelbach, playing first, hit his fourth.
  • [Boise] Gioskar Amaya scored three times from the lead off position, doubled, and stole his 11th base.
  • [Arizona] We have a Dillon Maples sighting! The young right hander struck out three in two scoreless innings of relief. Chad Martin and Corbin Hoffner also pitched two scoreless innings.
  • [Arizona] Shawon Dunston hit his third Arizona triple as part of a two hit game. David Bote had a three hits that included two doubles.

Other Minor League Notes

  • I’m a little late to this party, but: Congratulations Rock Shoulders on winning Minor League Baseball’s Moniker Madness. Rock Shoulder officially has the best name in the minors (but you knew that already). One of these days he will hopefully have the best name in the majors.
  • Congratulations to Cub fans, including you, for doing Chicago proud. You voted early and often in the Moniker Madness balloting, and Shoulders won the final round easily with 60% of the vote.
  • Over on the Message Boards, BN’er Rated Rookie has started a pretty good list of some of the best performing Cubs’ prospects in the Dominican Summer League. Be sure to head on over, check it out, and add your thought to the conversation. Don’t forget that the Message Boards require a separate log in account from the main website.
  • King Jeff

    I’m actually on my way to Daytona now, going to see both games today. Thank you for the storms yesterday!!!!!

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    in my experience the minor leagues has a pretty significant effect on Fantasy Baseball….here’s how: KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. I have been in the same Fantasy League for 13 years and trust me…wining our league is more about the pride of thrashing your buddies more than anything else. That being said, real time knowledge of what’s happening in the minors helps you be “first to the trough” when these players actually arrive in the show (or maybe even earlier).

    During this year’s draft…..I actually drafted Bryce Harper and Mike Trout knowing full well that I would have to stash them away for 2 months (at least). But….more realistically, knowing that Trevor Bauer was coming soon allows for a waiver wire pick probably a few weeks earlier than necessary. I also grabbed Rizzo in May and stashed him…..and capitalized on his hot start and flipped him for Mark Trumbo (to a team who was out of the hunt) in a trade as I push to try an win.

    Watching the minor leagues in earnest this season definately helps on the MLB Fantasy side. So far…I have found it to be a pretty good advantage.

    • Luke

      I agree with everything you just said, and I do the same thing. I still think that eventually… and soon… though, that minor leagues will start contributing directly to the point totals. I’m just not sure how that’s going to happen.

      But following the minors gives you an edge, no doubt about that.

      • SirCub

        Well, if minor league points counted, it would certainly help your team!

  • Fishin Phil

    Luke, September call up season is coming quickly. A couple of questions for you in that vein:

    Who the heck is left to call up?

    Who do you predict is most likely to come up for the proverbial cup of coffee?

    • Luke

      Chris Rusin. Jay Jackson. Maybe Junior Lake.

      • AB

        I wonder if Caridad will be called up too. He’s pitcing like he’s finally recovered from his elbow problems.

  • fortyonenorth

    Lots of Tweets on Almora’s game-ending catch: “RT @dsmaples: S/O to @albertalmora for making one of the sickest catches I have ever seen”

  • Luke

    Fantastic picture, Brett.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    Well last night’s Smokies game was a tough one to watch…but here are a few positive thoughts and observations:

    Dallas Beeler go this first base hit of the season (a 62 hopper up the middle). The bench went nuts and even got the ball from the umpire. Pretty funny. Then Matt Szczur tripled and watching Dallas run those bases was great….he was leaking oil around 3rd and finally scored. The team joked that the Oxygen bottle was needed. He promptly went back out and gave up 3 runs. Uggh…..we were cooked.

    Matt Cerda is playing great defesne at 3rd base since being recalled from Daytona.

    Junior Lake finally hit a breaking ball hard for an RBI. He had 2 hits and looked pretty good last night.

    Tom Ricketts was at the game. Took time to meet with the team, and even took time to talk to myself and a few other season ticket holders. It was great to chat with him, and watch him sit in the stands amongst the crowd and just enjoy a hotdog/beer and a baseball game with the fans. Good stuff. He noted that there are 12 former Smokies on the Cubs roster and he says that we need to get used to seeing that. They are committed to internal development and promotions through the minor leagues.

    Jae-Hoon Ha returned to the lineup last night. You may recall he has been on the DL since the Jacksonville series where his face collided with the outfield wall. He appears to have recovered well, and it was great seeing him back out there. Matt Szczur moved to RF for this game.

    Justin Bour is a legit MVP candidate, but his stiffest competition is Hunstville Stars 1B Hunter Morris. Mr. Morris helped his own cause last night by going deep for a 3 run HR in the 1st. Justin’s night was quiet. These guys have very similar stats…..and it is going to be very close. Hard to imagine an MVP on a last place club, but Justin Bour has been a great surprise this season. * Side note is that in the Southern League All Star Game…yours truly caught Hunter Morris’ only homerun in the HR derby. Hoping to get that ball signed tonight.

    Speaking of Justin Bour, I would not be surprised to see him rewarded with a September cup of coffee in Chicago. I know it seems crazy…..but I believe the brass inside the organization is pleased with his development and leadership and may reward him with a cup of coffee. This thought is shared by an exeutive inside the Smokies organization. Take that for what it’s worth.

    The Smokies are cooked as it relates to the playoffs. It appears the boys are playing out the string. It’s a sad reality…..but it is what it is.

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  • MichCubFan

    The only way i see the minor leagues involved is with a keeper type of thing where you select a prospect or two.

  • SirCub

    It would be incredibly awesome to have two separate rosters, and be able to move prospects between them as they’re called up. Maybe the minor league roster has more keepers? And you might want to do two separate drafts as well… I;m not sure. But it would be really cool!

  • Windy City Misfit

    I play on a Dynasty Keeper Legue .. We have 14 managers and we keep every player from year to year .. so the only way I can get a impact player without giving one up is to pay attention to MiLB. Most everyone keeps 4 spots open for prospects unless they are making a run at the championship Then they drop em and try to get a few extra whatever.. I currently have Profar, Teheran (I still belive), W.Myers and Skaggs.

    It makes it a little bit more fun/frustrating then normal fantasy. Bottom line, Luke .. don’t forget about us keeper leagues.

  • Stinky Pete

    I made a league like that with Yahoo one year, just as an experiment. Ten people with two teams each. Then you can move all of your good folks to one team as you chose.

  • Jack Weiland

    Huge fantasy nerd, and I disagree minor league stats will start factoring into the scoring. There are too many variables (callups, trades, etc) that have too great an effect on those numbers.

    I think what you will see are more minors crazy leagues with insanely huge rosters. My league has a three tiered minor league system where each of the 20 owners can own up to 21 minor league players. And I’ve seen leagues that are much deeper than that.

  • Flashfire

    Remember how people thought the Dodgers were crazy for paying $42 million for Yasiel Puig? Check out the numbes he’s putting up so far. They must have known something.

  • GeorgeHermanLaHari

    I am in a dynasty league where you keep a full minor league system. We are actually in the middle of our amateur draft right now. I have taken Soler and McCullers from the Astros so far.

  • EB

    Okay Luke, I know he has a great name, but what is the scouting report on Rock Shoulders?

    • chirogerg

      that’s a question for Luke’s Corner on the message board

  • chirogerg

    We may have missed out on Yasiel Puig: he’s hitting .407 and was 2-3 vs. AZL Cubs yesterday