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kane county cougarsThe next big summer holiday, July 4th, is right around the corner. Now is the time to make your baseball watching plans, while tickets are still available. Of course you could do the TV thing again this year, or you could make this the year you pack up the entourage and take in a minor league game.

Kane County is just one of many teams holding some sort of special promotion on the Fourth. For a $38 fans get rooftop access to the game as well as all the food they can eat. The menu includes the usual (hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken) as well my personal favorite – a cookie and brownie tray.

Keep in mind that we are in the promotion season.  If you haven’t seen this current Kane County roster in action, you may want to hurry.  I strongly suspect a few of them could be moved up the organizational ladder soon.  On the other hand, some of the 2013 draft class could arrive in Kane County before too much longer as well.  All the more reason to make your plans early.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa
Friday – Iowa opened the weekend with a doubleheader. Game One went to the Cubs 5-4, and Iowa concluded the sweep with an 8-6 win in Game Two.
Saturday – In a battle for first place the Cubs lost to the Redbirds 6-2.
Sunday – Iowa was completely shut down in this 6-0 loss.

Tennessee
Friday – The Smokies opened the weekend with an 8-7 loss at Chattanooga.
Saturday – Saturday saw another loss, this one 11-8.
Sunday – Yesterday proved no better. Tennessee fell 5-2.

Daytona
Friday – The bats were quiet on Friday as Daytona lost 3-1.
Saturday – The Cubs bounced back with a 2-1 win on Saturday.
Sunday – And they closed out the weekend by pulling away late for a 6-1 win.

Kane County
Friday – The Cougars lost this one 4-2.
Saturday – Kane County led this one late, but ultimately lost it in 11 innings 6-5.
Sunday – Sunday’s game also ended in a loss, 6-1.

Boise
Friday – The Hawks kicked off the weekend with a 4-1 win in Spokane.
Saturday – Saturday brought a double header. Game One was a Boise loss, 3-2. And Game Two was much the same, a 4-3 loss.
Sunday – The weekend ended with another loss, this one 8-6.

Arizona
Friday – This game ended in a 6-4 Cubs win.
Saturday – The Cubs gave up some late runs in this 7-5 loss.
Sunday – The AZL Cubs had Sunday off.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins played very well in the doubleheader. His 2 for 3 Game One included a double and his 6th home run. His 2 for 4 Game Two included a double and his 7th home run.
  • [Iowa] Brian Bogusevic, Junior Lake, and Donnie Murphy also all homered in Friday’s Game Two.
  • [Tennessee] Ronald Torreyes tripled in back to back games over this weekend. Last year he struggled in the first half of the season and then exploded in the second. Well, we are in the second half of the season and his explosion is certainly off to a good start.
  • [Tennessee] Second baseman / shortstop Arismendy Alcantara is up to 10 home runs now. Not bad for a guy whose previous career high was 7.
  • [Tennessee] A potential reliever for the 2014 Cubs, Zach Rosscup again struck out the side on Friday. He now has 44 K in just 28.2 innings of work.
  • [Daytona] All three Daytona games included some good pitching, and in all three we saw the pattern of a starter pitching roughly 6 innings and a reliever pitching roughly 3. Ben Wells, Zach Cates, and Kyler Burke were the starters while Larry Suarez, Yao-Lin Wang, and Austin Reed handled the relief duties.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez both homered and stole a base this weekend. He is up to 16 of the one and 8 of the other.
  • [Kane County] Add Carlos Escobar to the list of Cubs’ catching prospects emerging into the spotlight. Escobar has been splitting time behind the plate, but he has produced his share of offense during his games. Over his last ten games (stretching back into late May) he is hitting .333/.385/.556.
  • [Kane County] Albert Almora hit his second home run on Saturday.
  • [Kane County] Through his first 15 games Reggie Golden has been playing quite well. His OPS is a healthy .808, and while the K% is higher than I’d like to see it, it is important to remember that he is facing real pitching for nearly the first time in two years after losing all but a few games last season to a leg injury. A higher K% is understandable in that context.
  • [Kane County] Michael Heesch pitched 6 scoreless inning on Saturday, striking out 6 in the process.
  • [Boise] Jacob Hannemann has arrived in Boise and already has his first double and his first home run. For now, those are his only two hits.
  • [Boise] Shawon Dunston, on the other hand, has hit safely in all 8 games he has played. His 1.021 OPS is the highlight of his line, but the 3 BB and 4 K look pretty good too.
  • [Boise] And then we have Kevin Encarnacion. This switch hitter has an OPS of 1.200 through 12 games thanks to 7 walks, 2 home runs, and 3 doubles over that span. He also has 3 steals.
  • [Boise] Another 2013 draftee, Cael Brockmeyer, is also in Boise. He has only been in two games so far, but the collegiate catcher already has two hits, including a double.
  • [Arizona] Alexander Santana struck out 4 in 4.2 innings of work in his start on Saturday.
  • [Arizona] In just his second game Kevin Brown picked up his first professional triple. He also has a stolen base on his resume.
  • [Arizona] Also playing well in the desert is switch hitting third baseman Mark Malave. In two games his three hits include both a double and a triple.

Other News

  • Remember Casey Coleman? As a full time reliever this year Coleman has done quite well, and he’s gotten better as the season progresses. I don’t think we should imagine him as the Cubs’ future closer … but is he any more unlikely than Kevin Gregg? Look for Coleman to get another shot in the majors, this time as part of the bullpen, by year’s end.
  • Matt Szczur may have solved Double A pitching. His season line of .297/.368/.391 isn’t bad, but it is his June line that stands out. In 85 trips to the plate Szczur is hitting .342/.425/.434 with 9 walks against 12 strike outs. Should he be promoted to Triple A soon we could potentially pencil in his name as a fourth outfielder in Chicago in the second half of next season.
  • bryan

    Luke any ideas when Soler will be back in action this week?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Not exactly, no, but he is due to come off the DL this week.

      • bryan

        Alright, im hoping this wont take him out of the promotion consideration to AA. Im interested to see how well he does in AA.

  • BluBlud

    Cubs baseball is actually getting exciting. I know the big club is struggling, but the minors are more then making up for it. The guys that are getting close(within the next year) to making their debuts, Watkins, Lake, Szczur, Ha, Alcantara, Rosscup and maybe even Hendricks, are having having some form of success, and the big names behind them, Baez, Soler, Almora and others are showing that they aren’t to far away themselves. I got a feeling the Big Club will be exciting real soon, and probably before the start of the 2015 season.

  • Rebuilding

    Nice to see Kyler Burke throwing well. A little old for Daytona, so could move up soon. Former first rounder acquired from San Diego for Barrett

    • Mak

      Not too old considering he converted to pitching last year. If he gets bumped to AA and pitches well there, Cubs will have interesting decision re 40 man roster.

  • ssckelley

    I know they are the youngest team in the Midwest but seeing all that talent in Kane County losing all the time is starting to get disturbing. We no longer have the small sample size to use as an excuse.

    • Rich H

      Because experience plays such a huge part in the minors wins and losses don’t really matter much. Would you rather have a team of 9 guys that could make the show or a team that has very little upside that will compete at that level? All of Hendry’s minor league teams were competitive that helped us out a bunch didn’t it.

      • ssckelley

        Sure, hitting in key situations or pitching out of jams to win games does not matter at the MLB level. IMO playing winning baseball should start in the minor league levels. I hate seeing the Cubs best young talent getting their butts kicked day in and day out.

        • Hansman1982

          Meh, I think “leaning how to win” is grossly overstated, he’ll, look at Soriano, he played on a LOT of winning teams in his career and that hasn’t helped much the past 4 seasons.

          • ssckelley

            One individual does not make a team. We are not just talking about 1 prospect at Kane County but several of them. I see a team in the top 4 in OPS but among the bottom when it comes to scoring runs and driving in runs. One of our biggest issues at the MLB level is the team getting hits with RISP. Telling me this team is simply younger than everyone else means nothing to me, Cedar Rapids has a couple of pitchers 24 years old but 3 of their best hitters are 19, 20, and 21 (Buxton, Harrison, and Walker) while Kane County’s are also 19, 20, and 21 (Almora, Vogalbach, and Shoulders).

        • Rich H

          At the level we are talking about situational baseball is very limited. It is the same reason why I have seen guys questioning the management at KC. We expect finished products instead we are seeing a training league. Guess what that is why it is low A.

          Have you looked at the roster for KC? They are very green in the bullpen and most of them are organizational filler. Some of the guys are basically just there to see what we got. 4 losses to start the second half when your best pitcher gets promoted is not that bad. Give them a month and it will be worse because 3 of their top position players will be in Daytona.

          • ssckelley

            I am not worried to much about the pitching, I see some of the same things you do. What concerns me are the Cougars ability to get on base, hit home runs, but unable to drive in runs. I don’t expect this team to be competing for the Midwest League championship but I had hoped they could win more than 43% of their games with all that talent.

      • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com T C

        yep. and a lot of the losses are due to the bullpen, which isn’t exactly full of promising arms. wins and losses don’t mean jack at this level.

  • Jp3

    What’s interesting to me about Szczur’s splits righties and lefties is in 200 ABs against righties he’s hitting .310 and lefties only .260. I know BA is an outdated stat somewhat but in righty lefty splits its normally the other way around.

  • Die hard

    Coleman has the requisite Bellyfire … That’s a plus

  • Jp3

    Bellyfire gif.

    [img]http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/DonDraperBukes.gif[/img]

  • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com T C

    I *love* Carlos Escobar. Granted, of the 10/12 Kane County games I’ve seen, he’s only played in two, but in each one he has absolutely demolished a baseball. The first time I saw him, I put my head down to fix a scorecard because, hey, backup catcher at the plate, nothing special. My head whipped up at the sound of the ball coming off of his bat as he lined one into the right centerfield gap. The second time I saw him, he lined a hard line drive off the top of the wall in straight-away left field.

    I haven’t seen nearly enough of him to know much about his overall game at the plate, but there is some serious pop lurking in his bat

    • Brian

      Saw him behind the plate Friday night. Didn’t show strong throw on couple steals by QC River Bandits small sample size and all. It was great seeing all of the prospects compete, Cubs(Almora, Vogelbach, Amaya, Shoulders, ect. and Astros(Correa 1 overall last year).

  • Believe in 2015

    I’m going to the Kane County game on the 4th of July. Any idea of who might be pitching that Thursday? I’m so excited

  • Sarah

    Luke,

    Do you think Logan Watkins will be on the MLB roster this year either with a Darwin Barney trade or September call ups?

    • cubbie blue thru n thru

      not luke, but I doubt you’ll see anything more than a September call up for Watkins. i don’t see Watkins being more than a bench player at this point, if you cant hit AAA pitching more than likely you aren’t going to hit major league pitching

      • Sarah

        That’s a good point. To be honest, I have only been closely following him this season. However, I like his Barney like defense abilities and just hope his bat doesn’t go the same way…

        • Cubbie Blues

          “To be honest, I have only been closely following him this season.”

          Better watch out, they have laws on that kind of stuff. :P (I guess I’m in a snarky mood.)

          • Sarah

            Haha, I read and re-read that comment a few times before I hit submit to check for any errors and innuendos. Missed the most obvious one.

  • JayPaul

    I absolutely love the background story on this Kevin Brown kid. Not to stand up for “the Hawk” here, but this is what I feel he was talking about w/ TWTW. Guys like Brown and Almora exude this natural love for the game, the first ones on and off the field every inning. These are the guys who inject the rest of the team with with confidence and passion above and beyond the norm. As a former pitcher, taking the field with guys with those intangibles gave me added confidence when I took the mound that those intangibles would in fact help fill out their box score line and also help not fill out mine. I LOVE having guys like this in the system to root for, especially given their other skill sets. If there are others like this in the system that I’m not aware of, I would also love to see them gain acknowledgement for it.

    • Cubbie Blues

      Wouldn’t the last guy off the field every inning be the LF or RFer depending on which dugout they have? If they don’t beat the other guy off the field they certainly couldn’t have TWTW since they would have been walking off the field and there is no walking on a baseball field when you have TWTW.

      • JayPaul

        Read as : as outfielders they almost always beat there fellow teammates to their dugout or to there positions. I think you almost said the exact opposite of that, which wouldn’t describe these players what so ever.

        • Cubbie Blues

          I did say the exact opposite. I was just having a little fun with TWTW, Jay.

          • JayPaul

            Right on….Sundays are my Saturday….I’m still a little groggy ehhhh hungover.

  • Austin

    I was wondering if anyone had a good roster on MLB the Show 14? I’ve been looking around at them but havn’t seen a complete good one. Just some that are good at certain aspects.

  • willis

    Heading down to see the Cubs-Birds tonight, hopefully it’s better than last night’s debacle. I’m ready to see Lake mash a little. Raley going tonight for I-Cubs.

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