The Boise roster, recently announced, has already come in for some discussion around these parts, but that is not the final roster to be announced. Starting up about the same time as the Boise Hawks will be the AZL Cubs of the Arizona Rookie League. That roster has also been announced, more or less.
I say more or less because I do not think that roster is entirely accurate. Josh Conway is listed as active, for example, but he is not expected to pitch this year due to ongoing issues with his elbow. Despite those occasional omissions we can still get a very good idea who we will be watching in the early part of the Arizona season.
And as was the case with Boise, the biggest stories will be on the mound. Anthony Prieto and Ryan McNeil, two of the youngest pitchers in camp, are two of the better young pitching prospects in the farm system. They are many years from the majors and have a lot of work to do as they develop, but these are names we will hopefully be talking about a lot for the next half decade or so. Unfortunately McNeil, like Conway, is currently recovering from an elbow injury, and may not pitch again this year.
Keep an eye on pitchers Chad Martin and Carl Lang as well. Neither is a prospect likely to be ranked in the Cubs’ system, but both are solid sleepers with some upside.
Behind the plate the man to watch is Albert Mineo. This left handed hitting catcher has the distinction of being the youngest player in camp right now (although he is not lacking in experience). His line from his single season in the Dominican Summer League is far from impressive, but it is somewhat impressive that he was brought to the states as an 18 year old despite having just 17 games of experience in the Caribbean. I’m not sure what exactly the story here is, but I look forward to finding out.
In the outfield the names to watch are Jeffrey Baez, Rashad Crawford, and Garrett Schlecht. And on the infield we have a problem. There are no infielders currently listed. Hey, I said the roster wasn’t entirely accurate yet. Look for the Cubs to flesh out the infield slots soon, likely with some of the players taken in the 2013 draft.
[Brett: No Carlos Rodriguez or Daury Torrez, yet. Hmm. They were a couple of young pitchers who'd stuck around longer than usual in the States while others headed back to get ready for the DSL or VSL. Kind of thought/hoped they were going to get a Rookie League shot.]
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – There was a lot of late scoring in this game, but the Cubs came up short 8-5.
Tennessee – There was a good game in Mobile yesterday, but it ended with a 3-2 Smokies loss.
Daytona – The game was postponed due to wet grounds. Will someone please build this team a dome?
Kane County – Most of the scoring came early in this game, and even though the Cougars had more hits, they had fewer runs. It ended with a 7-6 Kane County loss.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Brett Jackson homered, walked, and struck out twice. Ian Stewart also homered and walked in what may he his final game for awhile.
- [Tennessee] The Smokies had 10 hits in this game, but only a double by Christian Villanueva went for extra bases.
- [Tennessee] Matt Szczur had a nice game (2 for 4) from the lead off slot. Arismendy Alcantara played both SS and 2B (not at the same time – he’s not that awesome) and stole his 16th base.
- [Tennessee] Over 6.2 innings Eric Jokisch struck out 7. He gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and one home run. All in all, not a bad start.
- [Kane County] Another big game from Jeimer Candelario. He finished 3 for 5 with 2 doubles. Over 10 games in June Candelario is hitting .429/.478/.643.
- [Kane County] Marco Hernandez has also been quietly getting hot. After this 2 hit game he has an OPS of .900 over his last 10 games.
- Shawn Camp pitched one scoreless inning on a rehab assignment in Kane County.