Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

Jorge Soler has been promoted to Peoria. This move is neither terribly surprising nor all that remarkable. Before Soler was a workout wonder in the Dominican Republic and Haiti he was playing professional baseball in Cuba, and Cuban baseball is quality league. He was only in Arizona long enough to get acclimated being an American professional and to playing baseball everyday again.

Now that Soler is in Peoria, he is the best slugging prospect on that team. Dustin Geiger can put up a solid claim to that title, as can Paul Hoilman, but neither of them project the power potential of Soler.

So what about the rest of the farm system? Who is the top slugging prospect at each level?

  • Greg Rohan wins in Iowa, virtually by default. Ty Wright and Blake Lalli are the only other serious candidates.
  • In Tennessee, I’ll take Michael Burgess over Junior Lake and Justin Bour. Lake has the higher overall ceiling and Bour has shown he is capable slugging with the best of them, but I like Burgess by hair.

  • Javier Baez wins in Daytona (with an honorable mention to Rebel Ridling).
  • Soler, as I mentioned, carries the slugging torch for the Chiefs.
  • In Boise there are a couple of good candidates. Jeimer Candelario, Rock Shoulders, and Daniel Vogelbach are probably the top three contenders, and of that group I’ll take Vogelbach. Candelario is probably the best hitter of the three, but Vogelbach may have more effortless power than anyone else in the system.
  • That leaves Arizona where the promotion of Soler means Albert Almora wins it easily.

That is not a bad list. A few months ago I was writing about a lack of true sluggers in the Cubs’ farm system. It is still a thin area, but the team has done a nice job of addressing it.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Iowa Cubs had Thursday off. On Friday they begin a western road trip with a stop in Las Vegas.
Tennessee – Thanks to more excellent pitching the Smokies won 5-3.
Daytona – There was a doubleheader in Florida on Thursday, and the Cubs carried the first one by a final of 5-4. Daytona could not find their offense in Game Two, though, as they fell 7-1.
Peoria – Peoria scored in the top of the ninth to take away a 5-4 win.
Boise – Boise picked up a win on the road by a score of 3-2.
Arizona – The Arizona Cubs had a day off.

Performances of the Day

  • [Tennessee] Nick Struck gave up a run on two hits while striking out seven over seven innings.
  • [Tennessee] Matthew Szczur hit his first Double A home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning. He also walked twice and stole a base.
  • [Tennessee] Jae-Hoon Ha finished this game 1 for 1 with a double and four walks.
  • [Daytona] In Game Two Kyle Hendricks pitched three innings and struck out three in his first start as a Cub. Kyler Burke and Hunter Cervenka struggled in relief.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli stole two more bases in Game One and now has 49 for the year. Christian Villanueva and Javier Baez each had a stolen base as well.
  • [Peoria] Knuckleballer Joseph Zeller gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks. Jeffry Antigua and Larry Suarez completed the game in hitless fashion.

  • [Peoria] Zeke DeVoss reached base three times, hit his fifth home run, and stole his 33rd base of the season.
  • [Boise] Tayler Scott gave up eight hits over five innings, but thanks to no walks and six strikeouts he limited the damage to just two runs.
  • [Boise] Daniel Vogelbach hit home runs number five and six in this game.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Lendy Castillo started for Tennessee yesterday, but he only pitched the first inning. I think that answers any lingering questions about his role when he gets back to Chicago. He will be headed back to the bullpen.
  • Matt Szczur has the potential to be the Cubs’ center fielder in 2014 or so, but on the Smokies he now plays right. Jae-Hoon Ha, as I have said before, is the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs’ farm system. Now off the disabled list he was right back at his slot in the middle of the outfield. I suspect the Cubs will rotate those two through all the outfield slots since there is a very good chance they both will wind up as defensive minded fourth outfielders rather than consistent starters for the Cubs, but of the two there is not much doubt that Ha is the better defender.

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