The Tennessee Smokies wrapped up their season on Sunday. For the season the Cubs’ Double A affiliate finished with a record of 71-68 and in third place in the North Division. That’s not bad considering the Smokies were one of the youngest teams in the league.

Other than their age, the Smokies did not have any exceptional or standout statistics. They finished somewhere in the middle of the pack in most offense categories, somewhat worse than that in most pitching categories, and nearer the bottom of the league on defense. Given that the Smokies gave up more runs (614) than they scored (587), they actually did very well to finish the season above .500.

Even though they finished with a winning record, this does count as a down season for Tennessee. This is a team that is used to making the playoffs; a third place finish is not what the fans have come to expect. Fortunately, next season should be better. Between the players I expect to return to Double A to start 2013 (Szczur, Cerda, Silva) and the players I expect be promoted into that level (Loosen, Andreoli, Whitenack, Francescon), the Smokies should have the players they need to contend for a first half title. We’ll have a better grasp on things after spring training, of course, but I think Tennessee fans can spend a winter comfortably dreaming of many wins to come in 2013.

Scores From Yesterday

Tennessee – The Smokies played an all around good game as they closed out their season with an 8-1 win.
Peoria – The Chiefs scored four times in the fifth inning on their way to a 6-2 win.
Boise – The Hawks led 4-1 for a time, but it did not last. Boise lost their playoff opener at home by a final of 5-4.

Performances of the Day

  • [Tennessee] Recently acquired catcher Anthony Recker doubled, homered, and drove in four in his final minor league tune up.
  • [Tennessee] Austin Kirk allowed a single run over 5.2 innings and finished the season with a Double A ERA of 3.09.
  • [Tennessee] Jae-Hoon Ha had two hits, including a double. Matt Cerda also enjoyed a two hit game.
  • [Peoria] Pin-Chieh Chen finished his season with his tenth triple, part of his two hit game.
  • [Peoria] Yaniel Cabezas homered for the first time as a Chief this season. He finished with two hits and three RBI.
  • [Peoria] Ben Wells did not pitch especially well in his two innings of work, but the more important thing is that he was healthy enough to pitch at all. Wells, a quality pitching prospect, should report to Daytona next season.
  • [Boise] Rock Shoulders did his part. The slugger with the best name in the minors accounted for all of the Hawk’s runs with a grand slam in the fourth inning. That was his only hit in four at bats.
  • [Boise] Marco Hernandez tripled and singled in this game, and Albert Almora stole a base. Unfortunately, other than the Shoulders grand slam, Boise was unable to get any sort of an offense going.
  • [Boise] Pierce Johnson allowed just an unearned run to score in his three innings of work, but the bullpen did not fare quite so well.

Other Minor League Notes

  • If the Boise Hawks are going to advance to the next round of the Northwest League playoffs, they will need to win twice in Yakima starting tonight. Fortunately the Hawks have been a very good road team in the second half of the season (13-6), and Yakima has not fared quite so well at home (8-11). It will be an uphill path for the Hawks, but they do have the talent to get the job done.
  • elephanthole

    Luke, with the minor league schedule coming to an end who had the best year as a starter and will you be doing a write up of all the leaders soon?

    • Luke

      I’ll be doing all sorts of season wrapups in the coming weeks.

      Best year as a starting pitcher would likely be one of Jokisch, Kirk, Jensen, Loosen, or Francescon (and maybe a couple of others). I don’t want to declare a winner from that group quite yet, though.

  • elephanthole

    Thanks Luke, and great job covering the minors.

  • Brandon – AA Correspondent


    Thanks for the great reporting all year long on all levels of the Cubs minor league system. This daily update has been a staple of my day and I look forward to even more next season.

    Hopefully, you’ll welcome my contributions and recaps of the TN Smokies AA affiliate.

    I agree with you…..the Smokies should be better next season. Regardless…..i’ll be there supporting them every step of the way.


    • Luke

      I’m always glad to have first hand reports from any of the farm teams. Your Double A reports have been an unexpected and welcome addition to my daily columns.

  • JJ

    Soler had a nice play – on a single to RF he picked the ball up, saw the batter rounding first and threw to the first baseman to tag the batter out diving back to the base. Other than that, never saw the cougars test his arm. He reached 3x, hard single, walk and hbp. Chin (sp?) had nice range in center, zapata threw out a runner at home, and Timothy Saunders looked good overall, though he bobbled one ball at third.

  • João Lucas

    Luke, do you think Torreyes will start next season with the Smokies?

    • Brett

      Not Luke, but, assuming Watkins is promoted to AAA, and Silva is done moonlighting as a second baseman, there would be a nice void at second base that Torreyes could fill. The question is whether the Cubs think he’s ready – he was quite good in the second half at High A, but he’s still very young.

      • Flashfire

        He trailed off in August pretty substantially, too. I’m as high on Torreyes as anyone on the site not named “Brett Taylor” — and perhaps higher on Torreyes even then him — but I don’t see any harm to letting him start in Daytona to see what he does in April, with the knowledge that if he starts like a house on fire there’s an org guy in Tennessee ready to move for him.

        • Brett

          Ha. I didn’t realize until now that I probably am the highest person on Torreyes around here. That will either prove to make me a genius, or a dope. You, too.

          • Flashfire

            Given my track record, the latter. Sorry, man.

  • Njriv

    Hey Luke where do you see Paniagua starting next season?