cactusThe roster for the rookie league AZL Cubs is finally set, and this time it has an infield. Not surprisingly, that infield contains a few selections from the 2013 draft.

Mark Malave, a switch hitting third baseman signed out of the Caribbean, is probably the highest ceiling and best known infield prospect on the roster. Kevin Freeman has quite a bit of power, though, and could be a sleeper. I’d keep an eye on Giuseppe Papaccio as well.

Kevin Brown (no, not that Kevin Brown) joins outfield. Brown had some of the most well rounded numbers of any of the 2013 drafted hitters; it will be interesting to see what he can do in a professional league. He resides solidly on the fringe for now, but he is one I will watching a little more closely.

On the mound Cub fans will get their first look at the other end of the Tony Campana trade. Erick Leal, the second youngest pitcher on the roster (behind intriguing lefty Carlos A Rodriguez) is one of the starting pitchers in the AZL Cubs rotation. Daury Torrez, another Caribbean free agent, is also a prospect worth watching closely.

Now that the AZL Cubs season is underway, you can find their box score linked in each of the Minor League Dailies.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa has pulled to within two games of .500 and into a tie for first place with this 6-4 win.
Tennessee – The Smokies rode some very strong starting pitching to a 3-2 win on the road.
Daytona – Daytona was the beneficiary of a shutout in this 4-0 win.
Kane County – The Cougars had more hits, but not more runs. They lost 5-3.
Boise – Boise’s game was postponed by rain. It is scheduled to be made up on Saturday as part of a doubleheader.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs opened their season on the short end of a 1-0 nail biter.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Yoanner Negrin pitched 8 innings in this game, striking out 7 and allowing 4 runs on 9 hits. Brian Schlitter finished the game for his fifth save.
  • [Iowa] Brian Bogusevic lead the offense with a 4 for 4 outburst that included his 14th double.
  • [Iowa] Infielders Junior Lake (3B) and Donnie Murphy (SS) had three hits each.
  • [Tennessee] Austin Kirk picked up his first Double A win of the season with a 5.2 inning 8 strikeout performance. He only allowed one hit, but that was somewhat offset by the four walks he gave up.
  • [Tennessee] Tony Zych, Trey McNutt, and Frank Batista were not perfect in relief, but they held onto the lead. It was Batista’s 10th save.
  • [Tennessee] Shortstop Arismendy Alcantara hit his second triple and drew a walk for the Smokies.
  • [Daytona] Matt Loosen struck out 8 in 6 beautiful innings of 4 hit baseball. Jeffrey Lorick struck out 4 over the final three frames for his first save.
  • [Daytona] His 15th home run highlighted a 2 for 4 day for Javier Baez.
  • [Daytona] And Ben Carhart stayed red hot as well. After this 2 for 3 performance (that included a double), Carhart is the proud owner of a 1.007 OPS for June.
  • [Kane County] Brian Smith got the start for the Cougars. He gave up 4 runs (3 earned) over 5 innings while striking out 4.
  • [Kane County] Dan Vogelbach, Marco Hernandez, and Rock Shoulders all had two hits in this game. They all doubled as well.
  • [Arizona] Erick Leal struck out 5 over 5 innings in his Cub debut. He allowed just 4 hits, but one of them was a solo home run.
  • [Arizona] Not a lot of offense in this one for the AZL Cubs, but it is good to see that they only struck out five times against three walks.

Other News

  • You read that right. The Iowa Cubs are in a tie for first place in the division with the Memphis Redbirds despite being two games under .500. They hold a four game lead over Omaha and a sizable 10.5 game lead over hapless Nashville. Iowa reached first place thanks to the best home record in the division (26-16). In fact, their 26 home wins leads the Pacific Coast League.
  • Idaho Razorback

    I’m gonna do my best to get to the Boise Hawks game tonite in Spokane. We’ve had about 72 hours of nonstop rain up here in the panhandle of Idaho so the game may be a rainout just like last nite.

    • ari gold

      Bring some of that rain to Colorado! We need it bad

  • Jason

    Baez has to be promoted to AA soon I would think.

    • Chad

      Nope. I’m guessing he will stay where he’s at for the rest of the year. They have been adamant about him staying there all year. Let’s not forget he’s very young and is still developing. Soler likely to stay put as well.

      • Jp3

        And he was 2-4 last night with his 2 outs via the K. I think he’s making progress but he seems to be developing nicely lately and I’d hate to ruin that.

      • Eric

        Disagree. If he continues to play well at Daytona I think he gets a taste of AA, similar to his move up to Daytona last year.

        • ari gold

          I think he moves to AA by the end of the year. But I bet not till the beginning of August. He’s showing some improvement over his last 100 at bats, so I don’t think they rush him too fast.

          • willis

            I think sooner than that, maybe mid July. If he keeps up what he’s doing. We’ve seen insane progress which is awesome. If he’s killing it there, why not let him get a whiff of Tennessee?

      • Rebuilding

        Honest question – where have you seen the FO be adamant about Baez staying in Daytona all year? Not saying it didn’t happen, but I haven’t heard that. If he has a July similar to June I would be surprised if he doesn’t get a little AA this year when Alcantara moves up to AAA

        • Coop

          It seems like the FO likes to give the guys a taste of the next level, potentially experience some failure, and thus learn what they need to develop to improve for next season. They’ve done that pretty consistently, bumping guys late in the year.

      • ssckelley

        You might be right about Baez but I doubt Soler stays at Daytona all season as he is older.

  • preacherman86

    IMO, Baez and soler should get a July bump to AA. That bring said its gotta coordinate with other roster moves. If the cubs are able to unload barney, ransom, valbuena, or a couple outfielders so triple A guys like lake and Jackson get the call so guys like alcantera, Villanueva, etc. get the call up as well. One thing is for sure, the cubs aren’t going to end up with 5 good outfield prospects in one level of the farm, same with as, 3b guys.

    • Chad

      The FO is not going to rush anyone. The more ABs they get at each level the better. Baez and Soler are still learning, still striking out too much. Lake has about 50 ABs at AAA and Alcantra may be switching positions, but if not his defense still needs a lot of work. These guys need reps at the lower levels. Rushing them isn’t going to do them any good.

      • BluBlud

        Chad, there is absolutely no way Baez and Soler DOES NOT get promoted at some point in the next 6 weeks. Baez is approaching 350 at-bats at Daytona, more then enough to determine if he’s ready for the next level. I say once he hit 400 at-bat, the Fo will move him up, of course once the space is made.

  • Tim

    Does kris Bryant go to high A or AA once he signs?

    • Jp3

      I think Daytona but who knows. That would be a sick High A lineup with Androlli, Geiger, Baez, Soler, and Bryant. I know this wont happen but Almora get bumped there before everyone else leaves, wow.

    • BluBlud

      I don’t think Bryant starts anywhere below Daytona once he actualy gets assigned. He may get a couple at-bats in Boise after his initial camp, then will be bump up after that.

      • Cedlandrum

        I actually think he will get game action in AZ first and then the bump to Daytona.

    • mdavis

      i think he goes to boise for a couple weeks then maybe Daytona.

      • Coop

        I think Kane County makes a lot of sense – lower level, but close to Chicago – FO can watch over him for a bit, and you can give the Chicago area a little quick exposure. Then, after a short stint, bump him to either High A or AA.

    • Stevie B

      Please excuse my ignorance, and or lack of paying attention as Im certain this has been asked, and answered before.
      What minor league level is equivalent to college ball?

      • IlliniBone

        I would assume Daytona would be equivalent to high level college ball.

        • ChicagoMike702

          But no one considers Univ of San Diego high level college baseball.

          • King Jeff

            They’ve played in 7 CWS since 2002, and play in a conference that sends several schools with regularity. I think it’s fairly safe to say that some think of them as a high level college baseball program.

            • ChicagoMike702

              Well, certainly not elite college baseball. WCC is far behind the likes of the PAC-12 and SEC.

  • BluBlud

    Kelvin Freeman is from my Alma Mater, and played ball in my home town. Was excited when the Cubs drafted him. He might be one to pay attention to. He can crush a baseball.

  • Austin8466

    Is it possible that Lake will be the utility infielder that the Cubs call up once they DFA one of the bullpen guys? He’s crushing the ball and it seems like he can play a few infield spots pretty well.

    • mdavis

      i’d say its more likely clevenger.

  • chrisfchi

    Rock Shoulders, would love to see this kid up for a look near the end of the season. I base this purely on his name.

    • Cedlandrum

      Up like to Daytona? Because that is all the higher he is going this year.

  • mak

    Keep an eye on Leal. Not even 18 yet, and pitched well at EXST. Not a bad return for Tony C. Carlos Rodriguez also has a nice debut, only 18.

  • Marc

    Does anyone think that Lake could be the guy the cubs call up when they decide to send a bull pen arm down? They have no real backup shortstop and Castro could use a rest it would be good for lake too

    • Cedlandrum

      Lake hasn’t played SS this year and my gut tells me it will be Clevenger.