You might have heard something in the news about Hurricane Isaac, the giant watery behemoth that is currently soaking the Gulf Coast as it slowly crawls north to lift the drought in the Midwest. Needless to say, hurricanes are not good for baseball. Generally when one of these storms hits, baseball teams clear out for less dangerous fields.

And that is exactly what the New Orleans Zephyrs have done. The schedule said they were to play Round Rock at home this week. The Pacific Coast League decided to move that series to Texas. Starting Friday, however, the Zephyrs are scheduled to play the Iowa Cubs in New Orleans. Home plate in the Zephyr’s home stadium is just 3.5 miles from the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. That’s nothing to a hurricane, especially one that is supposed to produce a lot of rain like this one. That stadium is going to get very, very wet before this thing is over.

Now for the difficult questions. How long does it take to rehabilitate a baseball diamond after a Category 1 hurricane passes over head? How fast can a grounds crew prepare a baseball diamond that received as much as twenty inches of rain in a matter of hours? Can they have they have the stadium ready for play at 7 PM on Friday? That sounds like a tall order.

With all due respect to the grounds crew in New Orleans, I strongly suspect the Iowa – New Orleans series will be moved, quite possibly to Iowa. Should that happen, Iowa fans could get one last unexpected chance to see their beloved Cubs. Fans in that area should watch for an announcement by Thursday afternoon and make some tentative plans to visit the ballpark this weekend, just in case the series is moved to drier conditions up north.

Best wishes to those who find themselves being visited by Isaac. Hurricanes are never pleasant, but here’s hoping this one is more gentle than most.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa had trouble turning hits into runs in this 7-3 loss.
Tennessee – Tennessee ended their home season with a ten inning 6-5 win.
Daytona – Daytona. Rain. I think you see where this is going. After yesterday’s postponement they’ll try the doubleheader again today. I wish them luck.
Peoria – The Chiefs gave up three in the ninth to lose this one 4-1.
Boise – Boise kicked off their final home stand with a 7-3 win.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs back into the playoffs with a 6-4 home loss.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Despite ten hits, the only Cubs’ scoring in this game came from Alfredo Amezaga. He drove in all three of the Iowa tallies, two of them on a home run.
  • [Tennessee] Frank Batista blew the save in the ninth, but he came back out in the tenth and picked up his second Double A win.
  • [Tennessee] Michael Brenly went 3 for 4 with his 6th home run for the Smokies.
  • [Tennessee] Logan Watkins won the game with his tenth inning home run, his seventh of the season.
  • [Peoria] Jorge Soler walked twice and scored the Chiefs only run. Through 15 games in Peoria, his OPS is a very respectable .861.
  • [Boise] Pierce Johnson struck out three over the first two innings while allowing one run on three hits.
  • [Boise] Jeimer Candelario and Gioskar Amaya both homered for the Hawks. Between them in the batting order was Stephen Bruno who doubled as part of his three hit night.
  • [Arizona] Garrett Schlect finished 4 for 4 with both a double and a triple and three runs scored to lead the Cubs’ offense. He also stole his eighth base of the year and picked up an outfield assist at first base. I think it is safe to say that this was the best game of his career.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Ben Wells pitched again last night for Peoria. You may remember that Wells started the season with the Chiefs, but his season apparently ended when (it was reported) he had Tommy John surgery. Or did he? As noted the last time around in the Minor League Daily, it turns out that the Cubs decided to rest Wells for a few months to see if things would clear up before actually putting him under the knife. Apparently it worked, with Wells pitching for the second time yesterday on regular rest. Hopefully he can throw a bit more in the offseason, and be in a position to have a full, regular year in 2013.
  • It will be interesting to watch Boise’s attendance numbers this weekend. They have had trouble luring fans to the ballpark all season, and now that Boise State football is about to get underway I can imagine those troubles getting worse. On Tuesday night the Hawks drew just over 1700 fans despite it being their final home stand of the season and that the Hawks had clinched a trip to the playoffs. If fans won’t come out to watch a prospect laden, division champion, playoff bound team like the Hawks, what will they go watch? The answer, I suspect, is college football. Weekend games do tend to sell better than weekday games, so we will find out in a few days.
  • The AZL Cubs finished the regular season half a game behind the A’s. Even though they did not win the division, they are still playoff bound as the Wild Card team.
  • SouthernCub

    I can tell you guys this from living in this area, Iowa will NOT be playing a game in NOLA any time soon, 8-12 ft of flooding in a lot of areas.

    • Luke

      It’s possible that the PCL could try to find a neutral site closer to New Orleans, but I sort of suspect that New Orleans fans are going to be a little too busy to go to a baseball game this weekend anyway. Iowa seems likely.

  • ssckelley

    Good to see Jeimer get another home run, I think it has been a while since he last hit one. Are there any concerns over his lack of power numbers?

    • Luke

      Not at his age. The power will come.

  • ssckelley

    Since Peoria’s season will be coming to an end and both Boise and the Arizona team is in the playoffs, will Soler get sent back down to play on one of these teams?

    • Luke

      Doubt it. He’ll likely head back to Arizona and continue to work out, train, etc. in preparation for next season. I’d not be surprised to see him finish 2013 in Tennessee.

      • Brett

        Levine has apparently heard rumors that BOTH Soler and Baez will, indeed, play in the AFL. That would surprise me.

        • Spriggs

          If both Soler and Baez go, how do they get around the AFL rule that a team can only have 1 player from below AA? The rules are stated on the AFL web site. My guess is that it would have to do with Soler being a “foreign player”?

        • North Side Irish

          I thought the AFL only allowed each team to send one player below AA?

          • ssckelley

            No, each club can send 2 below AA.

            • Spriggs

              This is taken directly from the AFL web site:

              Each Major League organization is required to provide six players subject to the following requirements:

              All Triple-A and Double-A players are eligible, provided the players are on at least a Double-A level roster no later than Aug. 1.

              One player below the Double-A level is allowed per Major League team.

              One foreign player is allowed, as long as the player does not reside in a country that participates in winter ball, as part of the Caribbean Confederation or the Australian winter league.

              • ssckelley

                Perhaps they trimmed the rosters back as they used to be 35 (7 from each team).

                • Brett

                  It’s still seven, but only six are “really” on the team – you can also have one additional guy on the taxi squad.

                  • ssckelley

                    I wonder if that “taxi squad” player can be from below AA.

                • Spriggs

                  I think there is a spot for each team to put a guy on the “taxi” squad. So maybe that’s where 7 comes from. Taxi squad guys can only play on designated days (Beliveau was on it last year) – last year it was Wednesday and Saturday.

                  • Brett

                    Jinx, buy me a Coke.

              • Luke

                I could be wrong, but I don’t think Haiti plays winter ball, so Soler would qualify under the international exception.

                Baez would count as the one player below Double A.

                Baez going does not surprise me at all (if it happens), and Soler hardly any more than Baez.

          • Brett

            There’s some exception for international players, too, but I’d be a phony if I pretended I fully understood it at this point.

            • ssckelley

              Foreign players are allowed but still count towards the numbers each team can send. If there were any additional exceptions then the rosters would be bigger than 35. Each team can send 7 players and 2 of them can be below AA, foreign players are allowed as long as they are not on their native countries protected player list.

              This will be a great experience for both Soler and Baez as they should see some pretty good pitching.

      • ssckelley

        I would think playing in a minor league playoff atmosphere, seeing live pitching, would be better experience for Soler than working out in Arizona.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    Well the Smokies concluded the home season last night with a bang, as Logan Watkins walked-off with a 10th inning blast over the right field berm and off the black wind screen on a 3-2 pitch for the victory last night!! What a shot.

    I have been bragging on Logan Watkins all season long for his professional approach, no-nonsense hustle and doing all the little things it takes to help a team win a ball game. Last night was no different. The box scores wont show it, but it was his effort in the top of the 8th inning which really was the most impressive.

    With a man on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs…..and the Smokies leading 5-3, the Mobile Bay Bears batter smashed a line drive above Logan Watkins head, but he was able to get a glove on it to prevent it from going into the RCF gap….a run scored….but Logan never gave up chasing the ball and as the runner from 2nd base tried to score the tying run, Logan fired the ball to the catcher Mike Brenly plate who tagged the runner out and the 3rd out was recorded. This huslte play, and never say die attitude kept the Smokies in the lead. The Smokies did nothing in their half of the home 8th and we went to the 9th where closer Frank Batista promptly gave up a homerun to tie the score at 5. UGGH. extra innings. A double switch in the 9th to prevent the pitcher from having to hit moved Logan Watkins to Center Field for the 9th and 10th inning. The kid is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. Mobile failed to score in the top of the 10th…..and the Smokies had the top of the order coming to bat in the home half of the 10th.

    Szczur, Watkins and Ha were scheduled to bat. At that point, I felt pretty good about our chances and even told my girlfriend that Logan is going deep for a walkoff. After Szczur grounded out on the 1st pitch, it was Watkins turn. What an at bat. Count was 3-2 and Logan was founling off some tough pitches to stay alive. Then on what seemed like the 10th pitch of the at bat, Logan Watkins sent a fastball middle in; up and out for a walk off BLAST and the victory.

    Sorry for the long post…..but as a Logan Watkins fan, there was simply no better way to end the home season than to see this guy do what he did all game long (and all season long).

    Today is Logan’s 23rd birthday……and he got the party started early last night!!


    • Spriggs

      Wow… what an ending! Great way to end the season for Logan Watkins.

    • Jeanie Watkins

      Brandon- Thanks for all the postive comments on Logan all season long. I wish I could have meet you while I was in Tennessee in June. As Logan’s mom, and living so far away it’s nice keep up and read all the nice things you have to report. Logan is not only a great ball player he is also a great young man/son. We are all so proud of him. Thanks so much!!!

      • Cedlandrum

        Very cool.

      • Brett

        Thanks for sharing that, Jeanie. We’re all looking forward to seeing what’s in store for him.

      • Brandon – AA Correspondent

        It was my pleasure to get to watch him and get to know him a bit this summer.

        Selfishly, my only disapopintment was that he did not swing bats with his name engraved on the barrel this season. He swung the “Pro-Stock” bats this season; not a personalized bat. The clubhouse shop sells the player’s broken bats and I collected several this season. Never once did a Logan Watkins bat make it up to the shop (believe me….I checked every day). Probably speaks to his no-nonsense nature, and not wanting to draw attention to himself.

        I wish him the best, and will be following his career moving forward. He is a class act.


      • Flashfire

        Just glad we have a front office in place now that really values his skills. Hopefully I’ll get to see him come to Nashville with the ICubs next year. Or maybe he’ll already be in Wrigley by then.

      • Richard Nose

        Cool stuff all around!

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent

    Tony Zych will be playing in the Arizona Fall League. Great news for this promising 22 year old. I really like what I have been seeing from him this season in TN.

    • Luke

      Zych could be a factor in spring training next season. I don’t think he’ll make it out of the gate, but he could easily be up before the end of 2013.

    • Richard Nose

      Have the others been named yet?

  • Mark

    Is the AFL for promising prospects, like Zych, to get more exposure vs ” better players “?

    • Scotti

      The AFL is, in theory, for teams to send their top, near ready prospects to compete against other top competition. In reality each team uses it for differing purposes. Very few top pitching prospects get sent unless they need more innings. Top relievers do go as teams don’t usually worry about reliever abuse (teams are obsessed with IP and pitch counts). FWIW, Zych is a very legitimate prospect.

  • Curt

    Ryan Braun over trout seriously no way no how, Braun is a cheater and should hve been suspended, trout in every way Braun a little better power but thts it.

  • Cubbies4Life

    Thanks for the heads-up on the ICubs/NOL series, Luke! I would LOVE to see one more game this season!

  • Njriv

    Mama, there goes that man Logan Watkins.

  • fromthemitten

    “we’re gonna need a bigger tarp”

  • fromthemitten

    also considering classes were canceled at the college I went to in Mississippi that is 100 miles from the gulf I’m pretty sure they’re screwed