Cubs Minor League Daily: Bigger Than Baseball

iowa cubs mascotThe Oklahoma City RedHawks are coming to Iowa today. And in a lot of ways, the game is secondary.

The Iowa Cubs are holding a silent auction before and during the game with all proceeds going to Oklahoma City Red Cross, and I only wish they were doing it online so all of us could get in on the action. The gates open at 5:35 PM, so show up early, bid high, and give the RedHawks the warmest possible welcome.

And then watch the Cubs take the field against one of the best teams in the Pacific Coast League. The Tennessee Smokies are also going to raise some money for those in Oklahoma.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa came out on top in a 4-0 shut out.
Tennessee – Tennessee also won a shutout. The final in this one was 2-0.
Daytona – Daytona did not win. They didn’t play in a shutout either. The Cubs rallied late, but lost it 8-4.
Kane County – The Cougars blew an early lead, but it took 14 innings for them to be dealt a 9-8 loss.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins broke out with a home run as part of his two hit game. The only other extra base hit for the Cubs came off the bat of…
  • [Iowa] Chris Rusin, who pitched a six inning shutout. With the wind blowing in at 16 MPH he gave up just 6 H and 2 BB while striking out 4.
  • [Tennessee] Arismendy Alcantara homered (his 6th) and walked twice in this one. And if that weren’t enough, he also stole his 14th base. His May OPS is up to .836.
  • [Tennessee] I hope a lot of you took in the Peanut Free night at Smokies Park, because if you did you got to see another very good start by Kyle Hendricks. 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K. That’s a beautiful line.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli tripled and scored twice on his way to a three hit game.
  • [Daytona] Jorge Soler doubled and had one of the Cubs’ three walks.
  • [Kane County] Albert Almora strikes again. He hit two more doubles on his way to a 4 for 7 day. He also was credited with his first caught stealing. Hey, no one is perfect.
  • [Kane County] Third baseman Jeimer Candelario also had a nice night. He doubled, had four RBI, and finished 2 for 7.
  • [Kane County] Cougar pitching struck out 20 in this game. Dillon Maples (3.2 IP) had 4. Lendy Castillo (5.1 IP) has 9. Jeffry Antigua (2 IP) accounted for 4, and Justin Amlung (2.1 IP) had the final 3.

Other News

  • If you weren’t paying attention to the Kane County game last night, you missed a great game. Don’t forget that you can listen to any and all of the minor league games for free. A link will appear on the team’s website at game time each day, and links to all the homepages of all the Cubs minor league teams are provided in every edition of the Minor League Daily.
  • Speaking of minor league games, you can hop on Twitter and join the minor league conversation yourself. There is an ever growing community of minor league fans on the internet these days, and sometime the Cub prospects even chime in themselves.

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

72 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: Bigger Than Baseball”

  1. Austin

    So, when does Hendricks get bumped to AAA?

    He’s obviously having little trouble with AA hitters.

    1. abe

      I have a feeling after the draft people will get promoted. The cubs brass are a little busy..

  2. Chad

    I’m an Alcantra fan. I believe.

    1. mak

      Me too. Not sure who is the best 2b prospect right now, between him, Amaya, Torreyes and Watkins. Great problem to have, but I’m ready to deal Barney as soon as he gets the average up.

  3. Jp3

    It’s making me giddy watching Almora get off to a hot start, even if it wasn’t for all base hits and doubles its nice to see one of our top prospects start his season off without a K in his 1st 11 ABs, refreshing.

  4. King Jeff

    Go ahead and keep raking Almora, I’ll see you in Daytona in a few weeks.

    1. ETS

      :grumble: I’ve got July 8th cougar tickets (and Cubs/Angels tickets for that Tuesday). Almora better still be there in July!

      1. ari gold

        He needs to show that he can take a walk first. At least it appears thus far, that he isn’t going to have a high K rate.

  5. Jp3

    I’ll be glad in a couple years when some of this talent is sitting at AAA waiting for their turn in the show instead of guys waiting there that were has beens or never weres. I’m spoiled I guess living in Durham NC where the Rays AAA affiliate is, I’ve seen Upton, Longoria, Price, Zobrist, and Moore come through where I swear it feels like we haven’t had a top tier prospect come through Iowa since Corey Patterson.

    1. BluBlud

      I ‘m over in Greensboro. I was thinking about heading over to Durham to catch a game. maybe see Chris Archer and Wil Myers. Wil myers is from Thomasville, and played his high school ball about 10 minutes from my house, at High Point Wesleyan Christian Academy.

      The marlins have a prospect named Viosergy F. Rosa over here in Greensboro that can absolutely crush the ball.

      1. BluBlud

        Nevermind, didn’t realize Myers was called up already.

        1. BluBlud

          Does anyone know if myers is on the big club or still in AAA. I seen stats from where he played for the Durham Bulls and the Rays last night. Maybe I’m reading it wrong.

          1. King Jeff

            Well, the Rays didn’t play last night, so there is part of your problem.

          2. Cedlandrum

            dont know but he has been brutal this year

    2. Josh

      Anthony rizzo????.?

      1. Jp3

        My fault, forgot about Rizzo. Just saying that nobody is waiting in the wings to help the big club significantly.

    3. Joepoe321

      Rizzo?^^

      1. Joepoe321

        Sorry didnt see some1 beat me too it

  6. Idaho Razorback

    Luke: The link to the Kane County boxscore gives me a picture of Katie wearing a shirt that says “You Don’t Know Dick” She’s right, I don’t know dick, I know me some Vajayjay. I would love to see the KC Cougars box score though. Great work as always, Luke.

    1. Jp3

      Haha that’s funny I just clicked on it too! You’re everywhere GOAT!

    2. Jp3
  7. RD

    Any word as to why Baez did not play last night?

    1. BluBlud

      Because they didn’t write his name on the lineup card. ;)

  8. Idaho Razorback

    Thanks Jp3. Wow Albert Almora and a nice job by Lendy Castillo. Rock Shoulders is back to normal. Will be hitting in the .250′s in about a month. I was never impressed with him. He did hit a long homerun for Boise last year in a game at Spokane that I attended.

  9. Richard Nose

    Time to call up Almora.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Why wouldn’t you? He has a 335 wRC+ and is being wasted in the Minors. I am concerned about his walk total though. We are through a quarter of the season and he doesn’t have any.

      1. BluBlud

        If Almora can get 7 hits in every 11 at-bats, who cares about a walk. ;)

  10. Jp3

    Yeah Rock must have looked terrible last night K-ing 5 times in 6 ABs. I’ve liked Vogs better than Rock and figured it only be a matter of time before he passes him in most of the relevant stats. Almora’s progress will be exciting to watch.

    1. BluBlud

      My concern with Vogs is where is the power. He is a natural hitter and will probably have a shit ton of HR’s by the end of the season, but has yet to hit one in nearly 200 PA’s. I don’t think he is driving the ball nearly as much as last year.

      1. willis

        The funny thing about that game, speaking of those two, is that Almora hit a leadoff double in the…10th? Maybe 11th, but regardless. Gamecast had it last night, so Almora is on second, with decent wheels, with Voges, Candalerio and Rock coming up. Got to score, right? Obviously KC has been watching way too much of the big brother team. All three came up, I think two whiffed and one popped out. Sound familiar?

        But, it’s fun following the KC games with a lineup as exciting as their 2-5 now is.

        1. ssckelley

          need Vogs to lay down a bunt in that situation!

          :D

  11. Kyle

    Fast-forward to August 1 prospect list:

    1. No. 2 pick
    2. Soler
    3. Almora
    4. Some guy we got in a trade
    5. Baez

    1. Jp3

      OK, I’ll bite Kyle, who do we have to sell in a trade to get a prospect that can leapfrog Baez into our top 4?

      1. another JP

        Could happen really- Garza + Dejesus + prospects would get us somebody easily in the top four. Heck, look what Maholm brought us last year.

      2. Kyle

        Garza

      3. Rich H

        I am still thinking that Dejesus and Feldman could get us somene like Ventura from KC. Does that put him in our top 4? I do not know but that is kind of the value I see for those guys at this point.

    2. BluBlud

      I don’t think there is a chance Baez drops down to 5 on our prospect list, and probably not any teams prospect list. Soler is playing better then Baez, though they may be neck and neck as of right now. And almora has played 2 games. I still think people will see more upside in Baez and more star potential then either of the other guys. I don’t see him leaving the top spot unless whoever we draft next month is thought of that highly.

      1. Kyle

        I’m not sure you think there’s a chance Baez doesn’t end up in the HOF on the first ballot.

        1. DarthHater

          Maybe, but if Campana is also on the ballot that year, Baez might have to wait.

      2. terencemann

        Baez still has the highest ceiling out of any of the prospects considering he’s got the potential to be a shortstop who can hit 30 home runs. I don’t think anybody is going to abandon him given that he’s 20 and playing in high A which is a difficult level. Baez has struck out a lot less in May than he did in April. He could be making adjustments.

    3. ssckelley

      Kyle I do not think Bryant/Gray/Appel will be the #1 prospect even after this season is over. I still see one of them coming in at #3 behind Almora and Soler. But I do think you are right in dropping Baez, if he does not get his walk/SO ratios in order then many people will not be as high on him.

      Some others I can see creeping up the prospect lists if they keep performing well are Hendricks and Johnson.

      1. Kyle

        I think you could make an argument for Soler, but I have a very hard time imagining them behind Almora.

        If Almora were to enter the draft again this year, I don’t think he’d be in the discussion for the top 2 picks.

        1. Noah

          There’d be a strong argument for Appel being the top prospect in the system upon signing due to how close he is to ready to contribute in the Majors. I think where Bryant or Gray would be could be more independent on how Baez/Soler/Almora do.

          Considering I think that Appel is going to be the guy the Cubs pick, my guess is that the Cubs top 4 will look like this next year: Appel, Soler, Almora, Baez. But really the latter three could go in any order. If Baez continues to limit his Ks or he improves his walk rate (or both), he jumps a good bit. All four will be unanimous Top 100 prospects ion baseball, and likely unanimous Top 50.

        2. ssckelley

          You might have me convinced on the pick being #2, over Almora, because the more I think if the Cubs take Appel there is an outside shot we could see him at Wrigley in September. With the grades they are giving Bryant he could push Soler as the Cubs top prospect. I don’t see the Cubs rushing Gray as he is not as polished as Appel and could start at a lower level.

          I think a lot will come down to how long they wait to sign and start playing right away.

          1. When the Music's Over

            Are there any 40 man implications to giving someone like Appel a short MLB stint in November? Can you put him on the 40 and then simply pull him given he was a recent draftee? I know he doesn’t have to be protected in general for a few years, but not sure how it works if you put him on and then want to remove him?

            1. ssckelley

              But unless he was performing very poorly I don’t think the Cubs would need to remove him. I also would not be surprised if being on the 40 man roster and even a September call up is negotiated. For a guy like Appel it will be in his best interest to start accumulating service time as quickly as possible.

              1. When the Music's Over

                Was more about having the luxury of one extra slot to protect someone else.

            2. Norm

              Can’t take him off without the risk of losing him.
              I agree with ssc…a chance it’s negotiated to make an appearance, but these things are not allowed in contracts, so it would be an under-the-table handshake agreement.

              Otherwise, next June at the earliest.

              1. BluBlud

                I’m not sure about that not being allowed. I believe Szczur negotiated that he be put on the 40 man after a period in his contract when he signed.

                1. Kyle

                  New CBA since then.

    4. Norm

      I think Baez will still be ahead of the guy the Cubs get in trade…but otherwise, I agree. Appel will be #1.

  12. Kenster

    Who do you see Almora compared to a big leaguer once he’s done developing? Given his size and 5 tool skills do you think if everything goes perfect and at absolute best he can become an Andrew McCutchen type or is that a stretch?I love what I see from McCutchen.

    1. ssckelley

      That might be a good comparison but maybe with a little less power. But I am not sure on what Almora’s ceiling is for power, especially since we just found out he played last year with a broken bone in his hand.

  13. Kyle

    I have a hard time settling on a projection for Hendricks.

    He’s not particularly young for his level, he doesn’t have a great pedigree. When people talk about him, the first thing they say is his command, and I usually consider that a mark against a prospect (it frequently means he doesn’t have MLB quality stuff). The strikeout totals aren’t eyepopping. Basically, he has nothing that I look for in a pitching prospect.

    On the other hand, he’s not old for his level either, his strikeout rate isn’t that bad, the peripherals in general are super solid. He seems to be regarded as having multiple MLB offspeed average pitches (not just projected to be average, but already MLB average). Nothing wrong with all that.

    I guess a big question is his velocity. Some reports have it in the low 90s, some say he works mostly in the high 80s. That’s a biiiig difference at the MLB level.

    1. Brett

      Sounds like he has to hope to be Carlos Villanueva or (good) Randy Wells.

    2. Cedlandrum

      the velocity reports are all over the board

    3. Norm

      I’m thinking #4…not quite as good as Travis Wood (not 2.24 ERA Travis Wood, but the 3.80-4.00 FIP Travis Wood)

      1. Kyle

        That would be lovely and I can’t flat-out say that his profile doesn’t support it. It’s just so hard for me to get behind a minor leaguer without an obvious plus pitch.

  14. TonyP

    Randell Delgado is stinking up AAA through 10 starts. Wouldn’t it be something if Hendricks turns out to have a better career…..

  15. Ralph

    Looks like Maples is still trying to stretch out (3.2 IP). I saw his last start in Cedar Rapids. He started off the first 2+ innings throwing 92 mph and flattened out to 87 mph going into the third.
    Saw Pierce Johnson the following night, and that kid has some nice off speed stuff. He had some very good Twins prospects off balance all night. Looks like his change-up is a definite out pitch, which bodes well for his polish at a young age. His fastball sat at 91 mph through all 6 innings. I sat behind the Cougars dugout that night, and between every inning as Johnson came into the dugout, he looked at his teammates against the railing and said to them “must be the stache.” … Johnson has a nice hipster stache going…. hope the luck continues for him tonight.
    Don’t know how Almora’s leadership will change the dynamic of the team, but Dan Vogelbach seems like the vocal leader of the club right now… which is good to see in any top prospect.

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