Cubs Minor League Daily: Lost Season

josh vittersNo, Brett, not that Lost.

With another injury (reportedly a hamstring) hitting just after he came back from his last injury, this season is looking like a lost cause for Josh Vitters. He has not yet appeared in 30 games for Iowa. He has played well when he was healthy, including a very nice OBP around .370 and an OPS over .800, but it is hard to put those numbers into any kind of context when he just can’t seem to stay on the field.

I’m never sure how to evaluate seasons like this. Not all players who get injured are fragile or are going to be always plagued with problems, and in this case Vitters is still young enough to bounce back. Should we just write it off as bad luck? Perhaps.

With any luck Vitters can shake this one quickly and get a few good weeks in as we draw near the final month of the minor league season.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa - The Cubs withstood a ninth inning rally to walk away the 4-3 winners.
Tennessee - Tennessee could not score until the fifth inning, but then they did not stop. The final was a 10-5 win.
Daytona - The Cubs needed to score in the seventh and eighth, but after nine they had the 6-5 win.
Kane County - The Cougars pounded ott an impressive twenty one hits in this 11-8 win.
Boise - Boise gave up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. They lost 5-4.
Arizona - There were eleven total errors in this game, a game the Cubs lost 7-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Jake Arrieta walked 4 and gave up 4 hits in between striking out 8 over his 6.2 pretty good innings.
  • [Iowa] Alberto Cabrera appears to be remaining in the bullpen. He pitched one scoreless inning in this one.
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters was on his way to a nice night, but after going 1 for 2 to start the game he was pulled with an apparent injury. The early report from the local beat writer was that it was a hamstring.
  • [Tennessee] Javier Baez finished 2 for 6 with 2 home runs and 2 strikeouts. Justin Bour and Rubi Silva also homered. Baez has now homered four times in his last three games, and sports a lopsided .229/.260/.614 line so far at AA.
  • [Tennessee] Chad Noble, the catcher with the mustache, drew 3 walks and scored twice in his 1 for 2 day.
  • [Daytona] Ivan Pineyro continues to pile up the strikeouts. He fanned 8 over 6 innings while allowing 5 runs on 6 hits. Jeffrey Lorick struck out 3 more in the final two frames.
  • [Daytona] Wes Darvill stayed hot with a triple (his 5th) and a walk. His last 10 games OPS now sits at .930.
  • [Kane County] Albert Almora finished 4 for 5 with a walk and 2 doubles. Marco Hernandez (with a double) and Willson Contreras (with a home run) also had 4 hits.
  • [Kane County] Rock Shoulders homered (number 16) and doubled as part of his 3 hit game.
  • [Kane County] Armando Rivera struck out 5 and gave up a lone hit in his 2 innings of relief.
  • [Boise] Duane Underwood struck out 4 in his 3 innings of work, and Michael Wagner struck out 3 over 2 innings.
  • [Boise] Outfielder Yasiel Balaguert doubled as part of a 2 for 4 day. David Bote did the same.
  • [Arizona] Jesse Hodges (3B) walked and hit his first home run of the season. That was the only extra base for the AZL Cubs.
  • [Arizona] David Villegas pitched well. Over 4 innings he allowed just 2 hits while striking out a pair.

Other News

  • As a team the Smokies walked eight times against just six strikeouts. Naturally, lots of runs resulted. Unfortunately their pitchers allowed seven walks against eight strikeouts. That’s not such a pretty ratio.

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

60 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: Lost Season”

  1. ETS

    Nice to see almora take a walk and no k’s.

  2. Cedlandrum

    Luke I hope you consider Contreras in your end of the year top 40. Too much potential there to not be in there.

    1. ssckelley

      But only if he sticks at catcher. IMO, while his offensive numbers have improved he has taken a step back defensively.

      1. Cedlandrum

        you are right, but the tools are there. He reminds me of a young Castillo with more offensive upside.

  3. college_of_coaches

    Luke, was there any reason why Blackburn only pitched one inning after starting the game? I ask because he hasn’t appeared in a while.

  4. Believe in 2015

    When will Almora get promoted to Daytona? I would like to see him challenged a bit

    1. ssckelley

      I doubt he gets promoted until late August so he can get his feet wet before (perhaps literally) Daytona makes their playoff run. With the amount of rain Daytona gets this time of year Almora is better off staying in Kane County for now.

  5. When the Music's Over

    Do these guys not stretch very rigorously?

    Also, any idea why Blackburn threw only 1 inning after such a long stretch off? Injury? IP limit?

    1. ari gold

      He had a minor elbow injury so they’re bringing him back slowly

  6. Matt Murton

    My guess is that Cabrera becomes the closer once Gregg is traded. He’s got the stuff, but just needed to get some innings under his belt at AA to build comfort with with his pitches in a wider variety of game situations… Thoughts?

    1. Cedlandrum

      I doubt he comes up to be closer. He may come up for the bullpen, but it is rare that guys come up from minors and are inserted into closer role.

  7. mdavis

    Not sure I understand moving Cabrera to the bullpen. He was pitching very well out of the rotation. Maybe there’s just no room for him right now? i dk

    1. Mak

      Consensus seems to be that their trying limit his innings because of the huge jump from last year. Following that logic, maybe he stretches back out for a few starts in late August or September.

  8. cubchymyst

    Almora has completely dominated low A. If he isn’t moved up soon it has to be because the front office is worried about the ran out in Daytona.

  9. Mikelach13

    Luke,

    Has C J Edwards pitched at Daytona yet?

    1. Cedlandrum

      Suppose to pitch today I think unless he gets pushed back because of rain.

  10. Jp3

    I think Sunday is his debut

    1. Mikelach13

      Thanks!

  11. North Side Irish

    Jesse Sanchez ‏@JesseSanchezMLB 3m
    As expected, teenage RHP Jen-Ho Tseng (Taiwan) has signed with the #Cubs for $1.625M. OF Eloy Jimenez signs next week http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2013/#list=int

    1. On The Farm

      Is this what was orginally reported? Just curious as to the cap implications.

  12. DReese

    Luke, why are you so down on Rock Shoulders? Is there something I am missing about his game? He seems like he has produced very well the past 2 years with a high OBP and SLG but a high K rate. I feel like he could be a quality prospect if he keeps producing like this as he moves up the system. What am I missing?

    1. ssckelley

      I wish he would make more contact, when he does the ball jumps off his bat.

    2. Eric

      300 at bats. 100 k’s.

      1. DReese

        That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have great potential. Brett Jackson is the same but is still on Luke’s top 40. Shoulders is younger and theoretically has more time to fix his problems.

        1. On The Farm

          But Brett Jackson can play better defense, at a more premium position, can steal a base, and has already performed at the A, A+, and AA level.

  13. Rudy

    Do you guys see the whole starting line up for KC starting out in Daytona next year? I dont know who they’d hold back(Candelario?). Seems like it would be a natural progression and nice to keep them together for a 3rd year. I assume it would look like this.

    Willson Contreras
    Dan Vogelbach
    Gioskar Amaya
    Marco Hernandez
    Jeimer Candelario
    Bijan Rademacher
    Albert Almora
    Reggie Golden
    Rock Shoulders

    Where does Bryant fit? KC, Tenn or starts over Candelario?

    1. On The Farm

      I am not sure if there is anyone in this group who has struggled and needs to be held back. I would say all should be in Daytona next year.

    2. ssckelley

      I don’t think Golden, Candelario, or Contreras are ready to move up. Contreras might only because the Cubs are really thin at catchers and Brockmeyer needs a place to play, but it also would not surprise me to see Brockmeyer make the jump from Boise to Daytona next year.

      I think Bryant jumps over Candelario and starts in Daytona next year. Keep in mind Candelario is still very young, only 19 years old.

      1. Cedlandrum

        Candelario is really young, but he has the strike zone mastered and is going to hit 40 or so doubles in KC. I think he moves up. I don’t know if he benefits from staying in KC next year.

        Golden I think moves up too. This year was about shaking the rust off and so I don’t think the results matter too much.

        I think you make a good point about Contreras and needing him in Daytona.

        1. ssckelley

          But the thing is Golden has not been dominating low A pitching, in fact he looks over matched. IMO he needs to show the Cubs something before moving on to a pitching dominate Florida league where it will only get worse for Golden.

          Candelario could get moved along but I think the key is where they place Bryant next season. At some point Bryant should leapfrog Candelario, he is older and should be more developed as a hitter. Since Candelario is still young for the Midwest league, and he has not dominated it yet (although i see your point), this is where the jump could happen. On the other hand they could start Bryant in KC, put Candelario in Daytona, and if Bryant dominates Midwest League he could jump to AA.

          1. On The Farm

            I am not so sure the FO would think Bryant leaping from MWL to AA. The jump from A+ to AA is hard enough.

            1. ssckelley

              I agree, this is why I think Bryant starts at Daytona next year and Candelario gets held back at KC.

              1. On The Farm

                I agree, all signs point to Daytona. Good discussion

        2. jj

          Honestly, the only player who clearly needs to move up is Almora. Noone else is clearly ready for a promotion. Golden although older than his teammates has not produced enough to force a space open at Daytona (he does hit the ball hard). I don’t see the value in Contreras — his skills behind the plate need substantial work and he doesn’t hit enough to offset that.

          1. On The Farm

            I would argue that Amaya and Vogelbach have earned their promotion for next year. They have learned all that they can learn from this level.

      2. Jonathn

        I think Almora should be in line for a promotion this year…though going to Daytona might not mean regular playing time because of the rain

      3. On The Farm

        I think they should push Golden, and I feel like Candelario would be okay with a Daytona start, but I think you are right that Bryant needs to play over him and he will start next year in Daytona

        1. Cedlandrum

          They may decide to keep Shoulders in KC and Have Candelario, Vogelbach and Bryant rotate the DH and positions. I think Candelario could learn to play some first base too.

          1. On The Farm

            I would agree that Shoulders needs to stay. I would be hesitent to move Candelario off 3B until you absolutley have to.

            Just wingin’ it.
            Daytona
            1B-Vogelbach (heard is D is actually coming around)
            2B-Amaya
            SS-Herandez
            3B-Bryant
            LF-Rademacher
            CF-Almora
            RF-Golden

            KC
            1B-Shoulders
            RFHannamen
            CF-Dunston
            LF-Gretzky
            And should see some 2013 arms along with, Underwood, Blackburn, and Maples.

            1. ssckelley

              Looks good except for Gretzky, I doubt he ever get past short season leagues. I think Balaguert gets promoted before Gretzky.

              I think Jacob Rogers will be in KC next season as well.

              1. On The Farm

                Yeah I don’t have as good a feel for the Bosie team, but I knew Dunston and Hanneman were doing well. It seems like if Cubs fans want to see exciting hitters they should watch KC, if they want to see exciting pitching they should watch Bosie.

      4. mak

        Candelario’s numbers justify a promotion in my opinion. And Golden’s age, full recovery from surgery also points to a recovery.

  14. On The Farm

    Arrieta looks like he struggled a bit last night. I am really looking forward to his start in the dobule header next week and I just hope he doesn’t struggle on his first shot back in the bigs. A postitive note is that it will come against the brewers.

  15. Cheese Chad

    I’m hoping Cabrera is doing the bullpen thing to limit his innings. He is still expected to be a starter long term, correct?

    1. Brett

      Yes, and I’m pretty sure that’s all that’s happening.

  16. auggie55

    Was really pulling for Vitters, who seemed to be hitting well after returning from a previous injury. The way things are shaping up with the Cubs it looks like his only chance now is as a back up 1B -OF.

  17. someday...2015?

    Tweet from @Swingline39 retweeted by @CubsDen

    @CubsDen As a comparison, across top prospects, Baez’s 25HR is 2nd only to Joey Gallo and Miguel Sano with 26 apiece.

    I knew Baez had power but he’s far surpassed what I expected from him this year.

    1. cub2014

      Can you imagine a power infield someday of:
      Rizzo Alcantera Baez and Bryant. I know
      Castro is still here (unless he is traded?)

  18. jt

    Projected 3B’s: Valbuena, Ransom, Lake, Olt, Vitters, C. Villanueva, Candelario, Bryant, perhaps Baez.
    Some from this group just has to be considered trade fodder. For example, C. Villanueva is good and is getting better. If packaged with Marco Hernandez what kind of catching prospect would they bring back? I’m not saying that is going to happen. But it doesn’t seem to make sense not to trade a lot of the guys on the farm that we have been following.

    1. On The Farm

      Prospect for prospect trades rarely happen.

  19. RoughRiider

    Looks like Vitters will be playing winter ball, assuming he’s healthy enough to do so. I’m pulling for him. He’s had a lot of health issues over the years in the organization that just keep popping up and it’s not just one area. He’s had leg, back, rib cage and hand injuries. Hopefully it’s been bad luck and not a continuing theme.

    1. Lou Brown

      I hope he does end up playing winter ball to get his reps in. He is young enough and has hit well enough, I still think he can end up at least the right side of a platoon at ML level.

  20. JUICED1

    I just saw CJ Edwards starts Sunday for Daytona. Can’t wait to see how he does there. Daytona has a couple solid pitching prospects now.

  21. CubsFaninMS

    …and just as an interesting comparison…

    Joey Gallo, A+ BB Rate = 10%, K Rate = 38.5%

    Miguel Sano, AA BB Rate = 13.9%, K Rate = 26.4%
    A+ BB Rate = 11.9%, K Rate = 25.1%

    Javier Baez, AA (Smokies) BB Rate = 4.1%, K Rate = 34.1%
    A+ (Daytona) BB Rate = 6.2%, K Rate = 23.1%

    1. Rudy

      Small sample in AA but I could see his walk rate increase a bit natuarally as he keeps gaining his reputation for crazy power. Pitchers are going to have to be more careful.

    2. cub2014

      junior lake minors BB rate – 6% SO rate-20%
      majors BB rate -3% SO rate-15%
      they will be throwing him less strikes can he adjust?

      1. cub2014

        Junior’s start is now historic all the way back
        to 1900 according to espn

      2. gocatsgo2003

        I’m waayyy too lazy to look it up myself, but would anyone have a line drive rate for Lake in the minors? I would wager it would be pretty high, indicating that he makes decent contact when he does.

  22. King Jeff

    Any word on Jacob Hannemann? He was pulled from the game last night with a left leg injury.

  23. Chris

    Good to see Wes Darvill coming around with the bat–smooth as silk infielder who will make the bigs as long as he can hit a bit. Gold Glove kid from Canada that we gave some decent bucks right out of high school who has Jeter qualities in how to win games. Go see him play.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.