venezuelaThe Venezuela Summer League has been underway for about two weeks now, and that means the Cubs new Venezuelan team has about a dozen games under its belt. Sample sizes are still small, but we can start to get an idea how the prospects are beginning to shape up.

Keep in mind that we are relying too heavily on numbers to gauge both the VSL and the DSL when it starts up soon. The best way to evaluate prospects is to mix numbers with videos, scouting reports, expert analysis, and a regular dose of first hand impressions from people who know both the players and the league. From the Caribbean leagues we get the numbers and not much else. The best prospect in baseball history might be on the page in front of us, but if he starts out in a slump we would not know it. And on the other hand, someone who appears to be wrecking the league now could simply a player on the very fringe of prospecthood who is playing out of his mind. Sometimes looking at ages can help us sort out these categories, but not always.

The biggest name on the roster is probably Ricardo Marcano. Marcano was one of the Cubs’ higher profile non-Cuban Caribbean signings in recent years, and so far he is putting up a nicely mixed bag of stats. His line of .205/.321/.295 is notable only for the high IsoD. And sure enough, he is tied for the team lead in walks with 8. He is also tied for the team in league in strikeouts at 12.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for power potential, take a glance at Delbis Arcila and Miguel Rico. Both already have four home runs this season, and along with Arnaldo Calero are the only players on the roster to slug over .500.

Francisco Carrillo is the clear standout on the pitching side in the early going. He has struck out 13 through 11.1 innings while giving up just one walk. Jesus Castillo and Greyfer Eregua are right behind him with 11 each.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Four in the third were all Oklahoma City needed to beat the Cubs 4-3.
Tennessee – Two runs in the bottom of eighth proved to be the difference as the Smokies won it 8-6.
Daytona – Daytona had the day off.
Kane County – A big eighth inning rally snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as the Cougars won 8-4.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] A double and two more walks for Brian Bogusevic.
  • [Iowa] Hisanori Takahashi did not allow a hit in his two innings of relief, but he did walk three. Brian Schlitter (recently promoted from Tennessee) allowed two hits in his two innings, but struck out three.
  • [Tennessee] Ronald Torreyes hit his first homer of the season as part of a two hit day.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Szczur also had a good day with a single and two walks. Arismendy Alcantara singled, walked, and stole his 15th base.
  • [Tennessee] He has had some rough innings this season, but this was not one of them for Tony Zych. He picked up the win by throwing two innings of one hit ball to finish the game.
  • [Kane County] His 6th home run came in that big eighth inning, but for Dan Vogelbach it was only part of a three hit day.
  • [Kane County] Gioskar Amaya singled, walked, and stole his 7th base. Jeimer Candelario doubled and walked.

Other News

  • The Smokies totaled 6 walks against 5 strikeouts. That sort of ratio makes me happy.
  • No, really, Daytona had a scheduled day off. Memorial Day is one of the best baseball watching days on the calendar. How in the world does any team at any level have a day off on Memorial Day? This should be a day for doubleheaders and picnics at the ballpark, not bus trips and empty stands.
  • Brian Schlitter, as noted, has gone to Iowa, and so has Marcus Hatley. Replacing them in the Tennessee bullpen will be Hunter Cervenka moving up from Daytona. Lance Rymel, last seen on the Boise roster, has also been assigned to Double A, as has catcher Chad Noble from Daytona. Jair Fernandez, catcher, has been released.
  • Albert Almora did leave the game early with an apparent leg injury, but he seems to be mostly ok. The injury is being referred to as a “tight hamstring,” not a pull, and his removal from the game was apparently precautionary. There will be an additional evaluation today (routine in these cases, no need for conspiracy theories). If that goes well he should be back in a few days.
  • Die hard

    Almora in shape but not baseball shape? Was doing any outfield drills while out?

  • The Dude Abides

    interesting read with observations on our lower level teams, good & bad.

    • Sandberg

      Wow, they really hate Soler.

    • Brett

      While I don’t doubt the writer, I’m skeptical of scouts who dump all over Baez and Soler in favor of talking about how amazing Andreoli, Carhart, and Saunders are.

      • Ron

        It sounded to me like they wanted to get the bad stuff “in print” to effect their overall value knowing they wouldnt trade for the other guys.

      • BABIP (MichCubFan)

        I like how they have bad things to say about how the younger guys play, but have good things to say of the guys who are 22 or 23 years old and a little older for the league.

        Of course the older guys out of college are going to be more mature.

      • Spriggs

        I have to be skeptical of this. If the only positive thing someone has to say about Soler is his defense, they have an axe to grind. In all the games I’ve seen Soler play — maybe 15 or so — I never saw him glare at an ump once. I also saw a guy who got along great with his teammates.

        • Luke

          This is more in line with what I’m hearing as well.

      • Luke

        So an opposing scout doesn’t like the way the Cubs are teaching players to take at bats, eh?

        I wonder how much of these scouting perceptions are colored by that old school vs new school viewpoint.

    • Sober LaRussa

      eek, sounds like someone is sad-pants that they didn’t get soler or baez…

    • Kyle

      Protip to the writer: If a crotchedy old man with stupid opinions tells you he is a scout, it’s not rude to get his information and check his credentials later.

      • Drew7

        No kidding. This is my favorite:

        “One NL scout felt that Jae-Hoon Ha was an “excellent” prospect, but that the Cubs probably won’t give him a chance.”

        • tim815

          Tough to give a guy “a chance” when he’s injured.

  • BluBlud

    It seems that the minor league shifting is slowly starting. I reckon this is just a the start. I think We’ll start to see guys move up, such as Soler, Andreoli, Szczur and few others. Maybe even Vogelbach, and Alcantara has never had more then 300 AB’s at any level, so he may be a couple months from moving himself. If Baez stays the new course and shows for a couple months that this is the real him, I suspect he can get back on the promotion train before the end of the year also.

    • BluBlud

      Either way, I suspect the 2014 ST will be exciting. Baez and Soler should return, Almora could be there. Vizcaino also. I also suspect Watkins, Torreyes, Alacantara, Szczur, Vogelbach, Bour, Villanueva, Silva and Ha. I’m sure i’m missing a few names, but this team should start getting pretty exciting over the next 2 years or so.

    • Cedlandrum

      I think you are right we are seeing that natural evolution of movement. You will see the relievers move first as the team releases some guys or you have call ups. Then June 1 you will see some veteran AAA guys get released and guys that are more organizational filler will be moved around to fill those spots. Around the Minor League All Star break is when you start to see some guys who are performing well move the chain. I suspect about the middle of June we will see guys like Solar, Pierce and Szczur move up a level. After that guys will be a bit more fluid.

    • Kyle

      It’s only moving slowly by the standards of fans who seem to expect absurdly quick promotions for anyone who puts up an .800 OPS week.

      • Cedlandrum

        Yep. I do recon much of the clamoring about moving is because the big league team is so awful, because most of the guys that people are clamoring for could really use the time where they are. I really don’t care to see Vogelbach, Baez, Almora, or Alcantara moved. They all need the work. 3 of the 4 are new to their league and the 4th has had trouble adjusting to his league.

        • Cedlandrum

          I say all this because I hate to see what happened with Vitters happen to these guys. Every time Vitters looked like he was figuring some stuff out he would get moved up and he would struggle. It is good to challenge them, but it is also good to let them develop at a natural pace too.

  • farmerjon

    Will pierce johnson be pitching wednesday in qc? He pitched friday but kc had a double header saturday, figuring he is set to pitch every 5th regardless…anyone know for sure?

    • Luke

      Fifth day, not fifth game. Doubled headers in the minors generally result in a start-by-committee approach for one of the games.

      • farmerjon

        Thanks luke, I figured so much, but wanted some verification…hope to post some pictures and thoughts this week!

  • North Side Irish

    Keith Law just posted his updated list of Top 25 prospects in the minors…Soler at #21. Law was impressed with his ability to draw walks, but disappointed in his arm/defense.

    The good news, only two Cardinals on the list…and three Pirates…and two Reds in the “Also Considered” list…but no Brewers.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Huh? How is it good new that beside us, 7 of the top 25 prospects in the game are in the NL Central?

      • North Side Irish

        it’s really not…