dillon maplesDillon Maples was one of the most promising prospects to come out of the Cubs’ loaded 2011 draft, but he did not reach a full season league until 23 months after he was drafted. After dealing with delays and minor injuries for his first two years in the system, Maples finally made it to Low-A with Kane County on Sunday. The results from his first start were not earth-shaking, but he was fairly effective. Over five innings he gave up three runs on six hits while striking out two and walking none. The important thing, though, is that he takes the ball again every five days as part of a regular rotation. At the start of this season Maples had just 10.1 professional innings under his belt. More than anything else right now, he just needs experience.

Scores From The Weekend

Friday – The Cubs finally escaped from Colorado after this 11-1 loss.
Saturday – And they promptly celebrated their escape with a 4-1 win in Reno.
Sunday – They coughed up a late lead on Sunday, though, and took a disappointing 9-8 loss.

Friday – A ninth inning rally fizzled just short as the Smokies lost 5-4.
Saturday – This time it was the Smokies that withstood a late rally and came away with a 5-4 win.
Sunday – How do you start a road trip? How about a 5-0 shutout win. That worked for Tennessee on Sunday.

Friday – It rained. No game on Friday.
Saturday – It rained some more. No game on Saturday.
Sunday – This was a scheduled day off for the Cubs. Knowing Florida, it probably rained anyway.

Kane County
Friday – The Cougars won both halves of a doubleheader on Friday. Game One lasted 10 innings and ended in a 2-1 Kane County win. Game Two lasted just the regular seven and ended in a 4-1 win for the Cougars.
Saturday – Despite being outhit, the Cougars won 7-4.
Sunday – This game also went into ten innings, but this time it was Kane County who came up short. They lost 7-6.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] The Iowa starter who held Reno to a single run on Saturday was Guillermo Moscoso. Moscoso’s pick-up was not highly touted (though Brett was pleased), but this season he has struck out 16 against 5 walks in 16 innings of work. His early season ERA of 1.69 is quite good for the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League. Keep him in mind as a bullpen option / swing man in Chicago should one or more starter be dealt in the coming months. As we’ve discussed previously, he has had some major league success before (just not in the state of Colorado).
  • [Iowa] Casey Coleman is also continuing to pitch well for Iowa as a bullpen guy, especially against right handers. His ERA against righties is 2.70 vs 5.06 against lefties.
  • [Tennessee] The big story for the Double A weekend was once again Kyle Hendricks. On Sunday he carried a shutout into the seventh inning and walked away the winner after giving up 4 hits and recording 4 strikeouts. His ERA is down to 2.63.
  • [Tennessee] I don’t feel like I’ve said enough nice things about Zach Rosscup lately. This lefty, also known as ‘that other pitcher in the Matt Garza trade’, has yet to be charged with a run this month. Through 6.2 May innings he has allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out nine. For the season he has an ERA of 1.08 (0.75 against right handers).
  • [Tennessee] Matt Szczur had a huge weekend. On Friday he went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and one steal. Saturday he picked up two more hits and two more steals (giving him 12 for the year), and on Sunday he doubled as part of his 3 for 5 day. He’ll wake up this morning with a line of .287/.365/.372.
  • [Kane County] Here’s another outfielder who had a nice weekend. Bijan Rademacher was hitting seventh on Friday when he went 2 for 4 in Game One and 1 for 3 (HR) in Game Two. On Saturday he was 1 for 4 with a walk, and on Sunday (batting second) he finished 0 for 2 with 3 walks.
  • [Kane County] Tayler Scott struck out six over 5.1 innings on Friday in Game One. Scott does not quite draw the headlines of some of the other pitching prospects in the system, but he is not someone you should forget about. He has quite a bit of potential.
  • [Kane County] Felix Pena struck out six over six innings as the starter in Game Two on Friday.
  • [Kane County] Rock Shoulders is up to 8 home runs now, and the eighth was a grand slam on Sunday.

Other News

  • Brett Jackson returned from the DL on May 9th, and since then he has not exactly looked like Brett Jackson. Not at the plate anyway. Granted, it has only been four games, but he has just two strikeouts against one walk over those four games. He is still driving the ball, though. Two of his seven hits have been doubles. Four games are only four games, but this stretch is a positive sign for Jackson. Hopefully he keeps it up.
  • Iowa is playing in Reno now, and Reno is the new home of former Cub fan favorite Tony Campana. Campana already has nine steals this season, but the problems that plagued him with the Cubs have not abated in the Diamondbacks’ system. He is hitting just .235/.262/.259.
  • Ron

    Great work as always Luke!

  • @cubsfantroy

    Any word on if Maples slipped in the shower after the game and hurt himself?

    • Spriggs

      I think he came down with mono after the game and then cracked a bone somehow when he tried to over compensate for something or other. He might miss one start. Nobody seems worried.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett


    • Timothy Scarbrough

      I read this, and tried to convince myself it was a joke for 30 seconds, before hurriedly googling it. Well played.

  • Jonathn

    I wonder if our minor leaguers as a system are taking more walks this year than last? It definitely seems like it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Especially in Low A. The guys who have seen nothing but the new Cubs Way appear to be walking at a higher rate.

      But that is just an observation, not a study. I could be wrong about that.

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        Well… On the milb team site they have 144 walks in 34 games. That is 4.24 (rounding up) per game. In 140 games last year they had 368 walks. That is 2.63 (rounding up). I know it is a short sample size, but that is a huge difference that can’t be chalked up to small sample size. If it was a half of walk per game ok. But, that is over 1.5 per game more. Luke you were correct.

    • AA Correspondent

      I have noticed a concerted effort at the AA level as well to work the count for a walk.

      • Jp3

        AA Correspondent, any word on Ha yet? Nice to see Szczur getting on base again. He was pretty good in April but was wretched at the beginning of May though.

        • AA Correspondent

          Ha has been at the home games and appears to be itching to get back in there. Not sure if he is traveling with the team, but I’ll find out this weekend. If I had to guess, I think he is another week away. IMO…..he was and is our best OF’er. I am not sure where his power has disappeared to…..that is what will keep him from the big leagues. He has the defense and is a decent base runner; but he is not a true speedster (Campana, Szczur, Watkins). He has to be able to go deep in order to stick in the big leagues and for some reason, his power numbers are not there yet. The Smokies need Ha and if he returns and heats up, I think he goes to AAA first (ahead of Szczur).

          Justin Bour is still also a couple of weeks away (cracked wrist). He is wearing a removable splint and still shows up to games to root for his mates. He told me “2 more weeks” and then I expect a rehab stint perhaps in AZ just to get his swing back. This team has missed his leadership and production.

          • Jp3

            Thanks man, great to hear the insight.

          • Spriggs

            You put Watkins in a “speedster” class with Campana and Szczur? Is he really that kind of player? I hadn’t seen or read anything about his game that would put him there.

            • AA Correspondent

              He has pretty good speed and more importantly is a SMART baserunner. He can go 1st to 3rd with the best of them…..

              Szczur is faster, but Watkins is a better baserunner.

              Campana was the best of the 3.

  • Cedlandrum

    Early in the season, some of the guys who you would want to walk and who had been known for a good eye were not walking. Well a few are now. Dan Vogelbach has walked 17 times now against 18 K’s. Which is pretty good for a slugger.

    Szczur has now drawn 15 walks against 19 K’s.

    The one who is still struggling is Amaya and he has been awful 6BB against 35 SO in 135 Abs. Yikes.

    • Spriggs

      I really hope he comes out of this in a hurry. He’s surprised me very much in the way he’s been struggling in A ball. Never saw this coming … the abundance of K’s over walks, and really the lack of walks.

      • Cedlandrum

        I agree, it is almost depressing. He needs to turn it around pretty quickly.

        • Spriggs

          It truly is. I was/still am really high on this kid.

  • David

    What’s the major league projection on Hendricks?? #2 starter, #3? Reliever? Closer? What are his strengths? Weakness’? Has he moved up to the Cubs top 20 prospects???

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      No 3, maybe a 3/4 guy.

      If I were to rewrite the Top 40, he’d be in it. I’m just not sure where he would be.

      • terencemann

        Luke – you should start using the Jason Parks line that top prospect lists are a snapshot and subject to change at any time 😉

    • Cedlandrum

      Probably a 4/5. He has excellent control of his fastball and has a slider as well as a change up. I have read contradictory reports on his MPH on his fastball. Some say high 80’s, while others claim he now sits in the low 90’s. So not sure what to think of that. The latter would lead him to be more of a 3/4.

  • On the Farm

    I thought I read that Tayler Scott gave up his first professional ball HR this weekend. He has been mighty impressive in that feat.

    • Cedlandrum

      That is really impressive. First in 106 innings. Crazy.

    • Scotti

      True. 106.0 IP and 1 lonely HR.

  • ssckelley

    Good stuff as always Luke, but no mention of Jeimers first home run of the season for Kane County?

  • AA Correspondent

    Well the Smokies finally eaked out a home win in game 5 of the homestand on Saturday after dropping a heartybreaker on Friday night. Let me tell you….the Birmingham Barons can hit and play very solid defense. It’s no wonder they are in first place and rattled off 11 straight wins. Hate to say it…but the first half title appears to be heading to Birmingham in the Southern League’s North Division.

    Matt Garza pitched at Smokies park Saturday night and that was a lot of fun to watch. His command was decent and he was in control of his pitches. Not sure he is MLB ready…but another rehab start is in the works. Most impressive were his emotions during the game. He was battling to win out there and even at the AA level, he was chirping to the umpire and visibly upset when the manager came to get him after reaching his pitch count. He wanted to win, and I like that.

    A bonus for the weekend was the discovery of Logan Watkins’ 2012 game worn Smokies home jersey for sale in the clubhouse. Needless to say, I am now the proud owner of this jersey, and hope to have it signed at Wrigley in September when I make my first trip. I believe Logan Watkins will be up and starting at 2B by then.

    Glad to see the Smokies started the 1st game of their 10 day road trip in Jackson on the winning track. The family and I will road trip down to Chattanooga to catch Saturday and Sunday’s game against the Lookouts. Looking forward to that as well.

    • Spriggs

      That’s cool about the Watkins jersey. Good luck getting him to sign at Wrigley (hope he’s starting by then!).

  • David

    Sign Garza next? Who agrees?? Cubs discount of 4 years at $12mill per?? I’d do it, let’s win now!

    • ETS

      Extend Travis wood!!!1!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Considering the relative risks and rewards, I’d take that deal today. Big risk, but Cubs could be getting a huge discount. I don’t see why Garza would do it, though. In his mind, he’s healthy, and is on the verge of being the top starting pitcher available on the free agent market. Again, in his mind. So I couldn’t blame him for having no interest in an extension.

      • ssckelley

        I think if the Cubs approached him with a deal in the 15 per year range Garza would have to think long and hard about it. Garza has got to know with the injury problems he has had teams are not going to want to lay down a huge contract, and a draft pick, to take a chance on him.

        I would not rush into offering Travis Wood a long term deal yet as he cannot become a free agent until 2017. We need to see more sustained success before throwing a bunch of money at him. If he keeps performing like he has arbitration will get him paid.

        • Eternal Pessemist

          I hope they don’t give him 15M per year. I doubt he is worth that with his injury track record. Only time will tell. A bad deal w/ Garza could be the undoing of the cubs for years to come.

          Also, he has only shown potential for most of his time, with results being so-so. I would rather have the cubs load up with huge bats to overcome the runs given up by an average Cubs pitching staff. This might be a cheaper and safer path to success.

  • On the Farm

    Question, I am going to a KC game this weekend and I was wondering what the odds are that they keep Maples to a 5 day rest before he starts again? I counted out and Friday is five days from his last start but there is a DH on Thursday night so I wasn’t sure if they would pitch him during the DH in Peoria or give him his rest since he is still coming off injury.