Cubs Minor League Daily: First Weekend Edition

jorge soler peoria chiefs cubsThere was a lot of good baseball played in the Cubs’ farm system this weekend, particularly in Daytona. The High A Cubs won some games in impressive fashion, and No. 1 prospect Jorge Soler was a big part of that scoring. Kane County wound up in extra innings on both Saturday and Sunday, but this is a team that is still looking for it’s first win. Meanwhile, up in Double A the Smokies were demonstrating a mix of prolific offense and effective pitching that could produce a pretty good season.

And then we have Iowa. It isn’t just that Albequerque beat the Cubs three times over the weekend (and thirteen in a row going back for practically ever), it is more that none of the games were particularly close. I think things will get better for Iowa, but right now it seems that very little is going right for this team.

With twelve games to cover today, it will take even more impressive exploits than usual to appear in the Performances of Note section, but the farm system left me no shortage of candidates. If you want all the details, though, be sure to click through to all the box scores below.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa -
Friday – Another big inning sunk the Cubs in this 10-6 loss.
Saturday – This one got away late, and it ended in an 8-3 Cubs loss.
Sunday – The Cubs found a bit of offense late, but that only narrowed the margin to a 7-3 loss.

Tennessee -
Friday – The Smokies used 12 hits to pull away for an 8-2 win.
Saturday – It took twelve innings for the Smokies to find their offense, but the result was a 9-1 win.
Sunday – The Smokies rallied late, but could not quite come up with enough. They lost 5-4.

Daytona -
Friday – Two pitchers combined on a three hit shutout as the Cubs won 8-0.
Saturday – Don’t look now, but Daytona may have a pretty good pitching staff. Three pitchers combined to strike out 12 in this 4-2 win.
Sunday – Daytona is starting to look like the best ticket in the organization. The Cubs won another blowout, this time by a final of 9-0.

Kane County -
Friday – Ten hits only turned into one run for the Cougars. They lost 4-1.
Saturday – If you like offense, you loved this game. Kane County lost in eleven innings by footballish score of 13-10.
Sunday – Another extra inning game in Kane County, but again it was the Cougars who came up short. The final in 13 was 3-1 against KC.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins reached base five times on Friday thanks to three hits (including a triple) and two walks. He cooled off a bit over the weekend, but, thanks to his ability to draw walks, he was still able to get on base at least once in all three games.
  • [Iowa] Ryan Sweeney opened his Iowa career by doing a pretty good Anthony Rizzo impression. Three hits on Saturday were followed by two more on Sunday, including a home run. Sweeney is currently batting .883 (aren’t early season numbers fun?).
  • [Tennessee] With three hits on Friday, three more on Saturday, and one on Sunday, Jae-Hoon Ha put to rest any fears that he might get off to another slow start. Matt Szczur, who reached base twice in each of those games, is not too far behind him on the stat sheet.
  • [Tennessee] Remember Zach Rosscup? He was the other pitcher who came back to the Cubs in the Garza trade. Now recovered from elbow surgery, Rosscup is a member of the Tennessee bullpen. He struck out five in two innings on Friday night. For now, at least, he has my attention.
  • [Tennessee] Alberto Cabrera did pretty well on Friday himself. In his return to the starting rotation, the right hander struck out nine over six innings while coughing up just two earned runs. The next night Eric Jokisch struck out seven in his six innings of work.
  • [Daytona] Starling Peralta and Ryan Searle each tossed 4+ innings of a three hit shutout on Friday. They combined to strike out eleven while issuing just three walks (all by Peralta).
  • [Daytona] Not to be outdone, the Saturday pitching staff of Austin Kirk, Yao-Lin Wang, and Frank Del Valle struck out 12 (half by Del Valle) as each hurler tossed three innings.
  • [Daytona] Have I mentioned that Daytona has some pitching? On Sunday, P.J. Francescon struck out six in five innings of one hit ball. Yeiper Castillo (3K, 2 IP), Luis Liria (1 IP) and Austin Reed (1 IP) completed the Cubs’ second shutout of the weekend.
  • [Daytona] With five hits, including two home runs, over the weekend, Jorge Soler seems to be having no trouble with High A. With seven hits, including a triple, speedster John Andreoli is just about keeping pace with the more highly touted Soler.
  • [Daytona] It’s early, but, through 17 plate appearances, Javier Baez has yet to draw a walk. He does have a homer, though.
  • [Kane County] So far this season the best slugger on the Cougars has not been Vogelbach, it has been 1B/LF Rock Shoulders. The lefty slugger currently has a line of .471/.500/.706 with just four strikeouts in 18 trips to the plate.
  • [Kane County] Fellow outfielder Oliver Zapata is at it again. Last season this guy appeared almost out of nowhere, tore up the Midwest League for about a month, then faded. He picked up five hits, including a triple and a homer, over the weekend. Hopefully this is the beginning of a true breakout performance.
  • [Kane County] Tayler Scott took the mound for the Cougars on Friday, and the results were encouraging. He allowed one run (unearned) on four hits over six innings while striking out six.

Other News

  • Josh Vitters made his season debut as a pinch hitter on Sunday. It is probably safe to expect him to get back into regular action as the Cubs head for Round Rock.
  • I recently wrote that the Cubs do not have a much in the way of catching prospects currently in the farm system. Naturally, the Cubs’ catching prospects promptly opened the season by going on a hitting binge. Chadd Krist (KC) has an OPS of 1.417, Willson Contreras (KC) is right behind him at 1.271, and Micah Gibbs (Daytona) has jumped out to an OPS of 1.250. I’m not recanting anything yet, but if these guys are still hitting when June and July roles around I may have to rethink the lack of catching on my Top 40.

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation. He can be found on Twitter as ltblaize.

18 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: First Weekend Edition”

  1. #1lahairfan

    When do you think Andreoli will get to AA?

    1. BluBlud

      Andreoli will have the opportunity to move up early this year, due to 1) his age, 2) he’s pretty decent hitter with great patience, which is the type of hitter this FO likes and 3) he already has 500 AB at A+. I think if a spot opens, he’ll be one of the earlier promotions.

  2. JR

    So it looks like the Cubs AAA team is going to be worse again than the Major League Team. It doesn’t look like the reinforcements are coming anytime soon. Damn…

    1. ETS

      It’s the nature of AAA. It’s really just the MLB club’s waaaay extended bench, in case someone gets injured. The “prospecty” types you might not want to bring up in case of an injury because it might hurt their development (psychologically if they don’t perform well, o rmaybe they won’t get consistent ABs). The super star prospects jump from AA to the pros. Castro has yet to play an inning of AAA in his life.

      1. JR

        No I hear ya ETS. But there are lots of really good prospects who do spend time in AAA. There are a lot of the top prospects in baseball there this year. I agree that a lot of guys skip that level all together. I also think that the Cubs having the worst AAA team in baseball 2 years in a row is not a good thing at all.

        1. ETS

          I agree with you with the exception that I think you might be putting too much stock in AAA record.

  3. ETS

    Great to see Krist off to a good start. There’s not much stopping him from shooting up the system other than himself.

    1. Rcleven

      Really like Krist too. Really tore it up when he first went to Peoria last yeas but tailed off toward the end.

  4. Jay

    I’m more excited to see the minor league updates. I hate to sound pessimistic here but I grew up & currently live in Braves country > it was a bad weekend for Jay! However, I believe in the ‘process’. Keep us moving in the right direction, Theo! Thanks for all you do, Brett!

    1. ETS

      Brett deserves thanks (at times ;) ) but the minor league reports are all Luke.

      1. Jay

        How dare I make such a mistake!! My apologies, Luke! Thank you both for all you do to keep us updated on all information Cub related. What did we do before Bleacher Nation??

  5. another JP

    If Soler continues to pound Florida League pitching and does the same in Tennessee it’ll be interesting to see if he makes the Cub roster next spring and bypasses AAA. When he gets promoted in May/June he’ll be one of the youngest guys in AA.

  6. Tommy

    If Sweeney can get his BA up to .900, I think he might be ready for the bigs.

    1. Brett

      Pfft. Not if his OBP is just .910.

  7. TampaCubsFan

    Is it Friday yet?? Daytona Cubs at Tampa Yankees 7PM!!!!! Looking forward to seeing Baez, Soler and the “best ticket in the organization”!!!!! Thanks Luke and Brett, cause 2 years ago before finding this site, I wouldn’t even had cared :)

  8. Maximum Terror (aka: Carlos Marmol)

    Got to see the Daytona Cubs this weekend, very impressed w/ some of the pieces we have. Wind was blowing in Saturday night (15-20MPH) at “The Jack”. Sunday in Viera was perfect.

    Soler hit a HR into a 15-20 MPH wind, very impressed w/ his power. Also, has a cannon in RF. Very patient at the plate. Much faster than I thought he would be, good base running, 1st to 3rd right in the LF’er face on a single.

    Baez had a poor weekend, 3 errors. Looked like he was showing off, very erratic in the field. Would gather pause then throw this wild zoom ball, trying to throw as hard as possible. Didn’t hit the ball hard all weekend, well, a few hard liners foul. I was lucky to get one.

    The bullpen Saturday night was awesome…Wang and Del Valle, strike throwing machines.

    Attendance on Thursday was over 4000 and on Saturday it was over 3000.

    Troubling fact, Soler and Baez signed zero autographs. Gibbs and DeVoss were more than gracious.