The 2011 Peoria Chiefs were not a very good baseball team, and based in part on that I did not expect much from Daytona in 2012. Unfortunately, I was apparently right. The Cubs’ High A franchise finished the year with an overall record of 58-74, the second worst in the league.

Surprisingly, however, the Cubs stacked up fairly well against the rest of the league in several key categories. They were right at the league average in terms of average age, so we can essentially dismiss that as being a significant factor for or against the Cubs. Their team OPS of .712 was good enough to finish fifth in the twelve team league, and their team WHIP of 1.354 ranked seventh.

So, if the Cubs were league average in age and ranked in the middle of the pack in both pitching and hitting, how did they finish near the bottom? In short, I don’t know. Their 64 home runs ranked next to last in the league (although their .381 SLG ranked fourth), but their league leading 201 steals and 50 triples should have largely offset that. And the Cubs were fourth in the league in terms of runs per game with 4.54. The pitching did allow 4.55 runs per game (ninth in the league), but even that should have resulted in a winning percentage close to .500. In fact, if we do the math for Daytona’s Pythagorean Winning Percentage based their 599 runs scored and 600 runs allowed we find they should have finished with a winning percentage of .499. That would have left the Cubs ranked sixth in the league, not next to last.

I think we can blame some of the Cubs’ struggles on the weather; they played in a lot of doubleheaders this season, and they had a lot of long breaks due to consecutive rain outs. That is not something any team will handle easily. Toss in a dose of bad luck and a sprinkling of bad defense (third most errors in the league), and I think we can make some guesses about what happened to those missing wins. Still, this team performed better than their final record showed. Despite anemic number in the wins column, Daytona actually had a decent year.

Scores From Yesterday

Tennessee – This game was tied at three at the end of the seventh, and it stayed tied at three until the top of the 15th. The Smokies won the marathon by a final of 7-3.
Daytona – Daytona wrapped up their season with a 3-2 home win.
Peoria – The Chiefs’ scored first but ultimately lost in ten innings by a final of 5-4.
Boise – Boise had Sunday off. They open the 2012 playoffs today at home against Yakima.

Performances of the Day

  • [Tennessee] Dae-Eun Rhee gave up a single run over six innings in his final start of the season, but a rough day by Tony Zych cost him a chance at the win.
  • [Tennessee] Fortunately for the Smokies, the bullpen was there to save the day. Brian Schlitter went to the mound late and did not leave for three innings. Casey Harmon followed that effort up with four shutout innings of his own.
  • [Tennessee] Junior Lake managed just one hit in this extra long game – a three run homer in the top of the 15th that gave the Smokies the lead for good. It was his tenth homer of the season.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Cerda does not get enough credit in this column. The smallish infielder had another three hit game on Sunday after which his average was .264. His OBP, on the other hand, was an impressive .394. In the second half of the season that number climbs to .408.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez wrapped up his 2012 regular season by hitting two home runs. His fifth inning shot put the Cubs on the board and his seventh inning bomb tied up the game. He finished the season with four High A homers.
  • [Daytona] Ryan Searle allowed four hits over six innings and the Daytona bullpen threw three no hit innings to lock up the Cubs’ win.
  • [Peoria] Starling Peralta walked three, allowed three hits, and struck out eight in 5.1 innings of work.
  • [Peoria] Jorge Soler led the Chiefs with three hits, including his third home run … which you can see here, courtesy of BN’er Jeremy.
  • [Peoria] Pin-Chieh Chen stole two more bases and now has 36 for the season.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Ronald Torreyes‘s 2012 season could be subtitled ‘A Tale of Two Halfs.’ In the the first half of the season he hit a very disappointing .221/.284/.302. In the second half, however, we got to see the impressive hit tool that has made him a prospect worth following. His second half line finished at .302/.364/.459.
  • Two Daytona Cubs made the 2012 Florida State League All-Star Team. Right handed starting pitcher Matt Loosen joined speedy center fielder John Andreoli on the roster. Loosen currently projects as a possible No 3 starter in the majors, and Andreoli has potential in center or as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Both players should advance to Tennessee to start next season.
  • OCCubFan

    What was Daytona’s record in one-run games and extra-inning games? That might explain the 8-game differential between expected and actual number of wins.

  • 100 Years of Tears

    I was at the Chiefs/Cougars game last night and Soler’s homer was just a bomb. My buddy has been the PA announcer there for the last 15 years and he said it’s the biggest homer he’s seen there.

    • 100 Years of Tears

      And Peralta throws some heat. Too bad he imploded with a triple-wild pitch (score)-triple-wild pitch (score)-double-wild pitch (to 3rd)-sac ground out (score)- sequence to blow his 3-0 lead.

    • Chris

      I was there too. It was definitely a bomb. Can’t wait to see this kid hitting bombs like that out of Wrigley. He also had 2 smash singles. He looks the part to me. Starling Peralta was impressive for almost 5 innings. He ran into trouble the second time through the order, but I think it was a symptom of him losing a little control. He worked in the low to mid 90’s the entire game. Not a bad outing. Hopefully he moves quickly once he gets to Daytona. They need more viable pitching prospects.

      • Ash

        Any guesses on how far that ball went? It’s 335 down the line there, and from where I was sitting it looked like that ball cleared the trees behind the food deck. I have a feeling it would have been out on Waveland if it had been Wrigley.

        The thing that really stood out about Soler to me, is that when he swings he’s making contact. I don’t even remember a swinging strike (except a couple of fouls) the whole night. I can’t wait to see if that holds up through High A and AA next year.

        • 100 Years of Tears

          That food deck is at least 30-40 feet deep and he put it into or over the trees behind the deck. He also foul ball with home run distance. I bet the HR would have been deep in the bleachers if not out on Waveland.

          • CubbiesOHCubbies

            My initial reaction was at least 450 feet. It was 335 down the line and that ball cleared the patio area and the trees behind that. It was still 30-40 feet high when it cleared the trees. It was an absolute bomb. And his two line drive outs were hit very hard too, just right at the outfielders. His two singles up the middle were his two “softest” hits of the game and even hey we’re struck well. I really hope the cubs take Kane county as their farm team next year. With some of these kids from Boise moving up I would love to see Almora, Gioskar and Vogelbach more often.

    • Brett

      Gotta love easy power. Can’t teach that.

  • willis

    Dude that was a bomb. Sad to see most of the minor league teams’ seasons over. But it seems that the big boy prospects finished with a bang.

    Question is where they are all assigned next season. I think Soler bumps at least to Daytona, maybe even TN. Baez may start at Daytona but he’ll be at TN very quickly. I think Szczur starts in TN but heads to Iowa rather quickly. Almora and Vogelbomb hopefully get to Peoria off the jump. Same with Candelario (SP?)

    As far as pitchers, I have no idea. I do think Struck and Jokisch get to Iowa. Which will be a big test for them.

    Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

  • chirogerg

    Luke, you left something out from the Smokies game. Brenly the younger had a great game. He went 2-for-5 with 2 walks and two baserunners were cut down on his watch, including BILLY HAMILTON, who was thrown out only 15 times before Brenly nabbed him in 171 tries!

    • chirogerg

      I think that warrants some praise

  • stillmisskennyhubbs

    The entire Florida State League had a lot of rainouts, and most of the teams played a fair amount of doubleheaders. I don’t think anyone can single out the Daytona Cubs, or the Daytona weather, as a reason for the performance. The entire league had similar conditions.
    I do seem to recall a fair amount of bullpen failures, but I don’t have any data.
    Also, a lot of the “stars” weren’t with the team the whole season.

  • Tim

    Being that Soler is on the 40 man roster, is there any chance theyll bring him to wrigley just to work with the major league coaches?

    • Chris

      I would say none. He’s very raw. Clearly he’s talented. But he’ll probably end up in instructional leagues or winter league when the season ends to get ABs. Plus he still doesn’t speak any English, so I’d imagine he’ll spend part of his offseason learning to speak the language. There is a slight chance he’ll be in the ML camp during spring training, being that he’s on the 40-man roster, but he’ll probably start 2013 in Daytona, with Baez. At least 2 more years in the minors. But he hit a homerun last night that makes me feel like he’ll be well worth the wait.

  • Tim

    yeah i was at the game . i figured he would start in daytona next year. and i heard hes going to instructional league, i just didnt know when that starts. i am looking forward to seeing soler almora castro rizzo and baez playing together though..

  • Fastball

    The Cubs are flush with middle infielders and outfielders in the minors that have to be viewed as assets who can be traded for needs in pitching. Players like Jr. Lake should be marketed to teams that have pitching rich farm systems. Nobody has the perfect farm system we have no pitching in the higher ranks that project as starters or bullpen quality. As soon as we come to terms that our players in the minors that are pitchers above A ball are at best average the better off we are. Theo and Jed have had a year to evaluate and I am sure they have made that conclusion. Otherwise they wouldn’t have used nearly every draft pick on pitchers. 3 years from now we should not be rummaging the scrap heap looking for pitchers to fill out a AAA roster or to provide pitchers for our bullpen. I don’t know how many trades can actually be accomplished with our younger infield and outfield prospects. One thing I worry about is that We as Cubs fans fall in love with these guys but are they really that good? Are they comparable to the talent in other systems? I don’t know about all that but when your farm system is negatively inferior and you have that Tag placed upon it Theo and Jed have some serious selling to do. The reason so many scouts and other talent evaluators have been brought on is to scout our players, amateur players and players in other systems for possible trades. I expect this to be a very busy off season with many trades that don’t impact the Major League roster right away.

  • Fastball

    If I am Theo and Jed I am scouting teams with needs like the Braves at 2B. Dan Uggla is on the downward side of his career. It’s teams like this that might need a Logan Watkins in exchange for a very good pitcher who could impact the Bigs next season. We are in good shape up the middle for a while so move those players in trades this off season. There are going to be additional defectors etc. At this point its team to have prospective deals on the whiteboard and have those target players identified. If they haven’t been then get a spy inside the Rays front office and find out who they want for bullpen pitchers this off season and get to them before Freidman does.