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working on the old scoreboardLadies and Gentlemen, Michael Hamann.

He was not widely heralded, or even widely known, coming into the season, but this right handed relief pitcher for Kane County could be attracting some attention by the end of the season. Through 15.2 innings for Boise (7.2) and Kane County (8.0), this guy has yet to allow a run. Over that span he has given up just nine hits and four walks while striking out fifteen, but none of those of runners have scored.

With just one month left in the minor league season, it is conceivable that Hamann could complete a scoreless season. If you are looking for something to root for this August, Michael Hamann and his quest for zeroes might be a good choice.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa -
Friday – The Cubs tried to rally back, but came up short in a 10-6 loss.
Saturday – The Cubs were shut out in this one, 5-0.
Sunday – A ninth inning rally did not go far enough as the Cubs lost 4-3.

Tennessee -
Friday – Tennessee rallied back in the middle innings, but lost 9-8.
Saturday – The Smokies scored early in this 6-3 win.
Sunday – They made it interesting with three in the ninth, but Tennessee lost the game 8-5.

Daytona -
Friday – Despite being out hit by seven, the Cubs won this one 4-2.
Saturday – Shutting out a Cardinals affiliate is always fun. Daytona won it 6-0.
Sunday – Three wins in three days, all over a Cardinals team. The final in this win was 2-1.

Kane County -
Friday – The Cougars earned a road win by a score of 4-1.
Saturday – But they followed that up with a 4-1 road loss.
Sunday – Kane County finished the weekend on a high note, though, by picking up a 6-3 win.

Boise -
Friday – Boise scored six times in the third on the way to a 9-1 win.
Saturday – In a game that was close all the way, the Hawks lost 3-1.
Sunday – This was another tight one, but Boise came out winners by a final of 3-1.

Arizona -
Friday – Arizona gave up a lot of offense in this 13-4 loss.
Saturday – Two big innings carried the Cubs to a 7-1 win.
Sunday – The AZL Cubs were blown out again, 12-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] New Cub Justin Grimm was shelled in his first start with his new team, but I would not read anything into that. Bad starts happen. Grimm remains a guy with back of the rotation potential, but he could really stand to tune up a third pitch.
  • [Iowa] Chang-Yong Lim has sprinted up the farm system, never stopping for more than 5 innings at any one level, and has now allowed 2 hits and struck out 2 in 2 innings for Iowa. I would not be surprised to see him added to the Chicago bullpen one day soon.
  • [Iowa] Speaking of Iowa relievers, Marcus Hatley could be in line for a September promotion. He has been pitching very well lately. With 12 strikeouts in 10.1 innings and a WHIP under 1.000 for the month of July, he seems to be having no trouble with the Pacific Coast League these days.
  • [Tennessee] After going long twice on Sunday, Javier Baez finished the three weekend games with the following: 2 home runs, 3 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts. The home runs are good and the walks are nice, but those strikeouts have got to come down again.
  • [Tennessee] Kyle Hendricks fanned 6 in 7 innings in the Saturday win. Zach Rosscup again pitched well in relief in that game.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva doubled, tripled and homered for the Smokies as part of his six hit weekend. For the month of July the outfielder is hitting .304/.313/.522. If the Cubs could convince him to take a walk more than once a week (he has 11 for the year) we would likely be talking about Silva as much as we do Alcantara.
  • [Daytona] The Saturday shutout opened with 5 innings from Eduardo Figueroa (6 H, 2 BB, 5 K). Zach Cates threw the next inning (1 H) and Jeffry Antigua finished off the final 3 frames (1 H, 1 BB, 3 K).
  • [Daytona] The best pitching of the weekend likely came on Sunday, though. New Cub C.J. Edwards fanned 8 in just 5 innings of work. Lendy Castillo struck out 3 more in his 3 innings on the hill, and Austin Reed finished off the game for his 3rd save.
  • [Daytona] Dustin Geiger is on a tear right now. He piled up 6 hits over the weekend, including a 3 for 4 performance on Saturday, and has an OPS of .908 over his last ten games. For July that number is a very nice .887. Keep in mind that the Florida State League is a pitcher friendly league.
  • [Kane County] Felix Pena struck out 7 in 6 innings for the Cougars on Friday. Andrew McKirahan, Stephen Perasklis, and Michael Hamann did not allow anyone to score over the final three.
  • [Kane County] Dan Vogelbach raised his home run counter to 15 this weekend. Over the three games he also drew 4 walks and failed to strike out even once. Over his last ten games he has walked 9 times against 4 strikeouts and is hitting .394/.500/.545. I could see him being fitted for a Daytona uniform in the near future.
  • [Kane County] In 129 plate appearances since the All-Star break, second baseman Gioskar Amaya has hit .333/.439/.524. It took him a little longer than I expected to solve Midwest League pitching, but it looks like he may have found they key.
  • [Boise] Rob Zastryzny gave up the only run on Friday, but he also struck out 3 in 2 innings of work. An army of relievers combined to strike out 9 more over the rest of the win.
  • [Boise] Trey Masek kept his own perfect Boise ERA going with 2 innings of no-hit ball on Saturday.
  • [Boise] Dillon Maples is starting to pitch with both consistency and success for the Hawks. He struck out 5 and walked no one in his 5 innings of work on Sunday. Corbin Hoffner was once again excellent in relief of Maples.
  • [Boise] Two of the three hits from Kris Bryant this weekend were home runs. Three of his four total hits with Boise have gone for extra bases.
  • [Arizona] The pitching was excellent for Arizona on Saturday, and much of that credit goes to Anthony Prieto (4 IP, 3 K) and Trevor Graham (2 IP, 4 K).
  • [Arizona] Jeffrey Baez is back with Arizona now, and over the weekend he added 7 more hits onto his resume.

Other News

  • The reason, or part of the reason anyway, for Iowa’s rough western journey is that the Iowa High School State Baseball Tournament is taking place in the home stadium of the Iowa Cubs. Welcome to the double edged sword of the of the minors; great minor league franchises are heavily involved with the community and host events like this from time to time (which is awesome), but being a great minor league franchise means the team sometimes has to make extremely long road trips while they are in the middle of a playoff hunt (which is not awesome at all).
  • Jon

    I’m starting to see why Texas gave up Olt so easily

    • Jackalope

      I get that he offers a lot of defensive value and has substantial power, but he’s quite old (almost 25) and the K-issue is severe. Does seem an awfully lot like the Brett Jackson situation.

      I see CJ Edwards as the centerpiece of the Garza deal with Olt as a buy-low throw-in.

      • willis

        CJ Edwards is the one to hold out for in this, if he can remain a starter it will be looked upon as a very good deal. Grimm is what I expected and Olt has been opposite of impressive since coming over. It’s too early to drop to hard of judgments on those two, but they were struggling and continue to do so.

        Edwards on the other hand-very good first outing. I’m excited to see his potential and would love him to be able to stay as a starter.

        Oh and speaking of Jackson, 0-4 with 2 Ks in Arizona yesterday.

    • Cedlandrum

      It is easy to feel this way, but when a guy starts off the year like he did with the eye problems, sometimes you just chalk it up to a lost season. I actually think he will come to spring next year with some of these issues behind him and it will be a great learning experience. Sometimes it is hard to dig out of the hole. I feel the same for Jackson and Vitters too.

  • cubchymyst

    Alcantara is in a slump right now. Over his last 10 games (41 AB) his slash line is 0.195/0.224/0.317 with 3BB and 13SO. Hopefully he pulls out of it soon and can finish the season strong.

    • Cedlandrum

      I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t regress a bit more down the stretch. He is young and has never played this many games before.

  • Next Year Come Faster

    Do the Cubs have any pitchers that have a ceiling of an ace and if not who has the highest ceiling as a Cubs starting pitcher.

    • Jackalope

      I love me some CJ Edwards. Sickels referred to him as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. I think he could continue to take off as he moves up the ladder.

      • Next Year Come Faster

        Yeah I also heard Maples has a ton of potential if he can put it all together.

    • Andrew

      From what I’ve read, the guys with ace-type stuff are Underwood, Maples, Paniagua, and Vizcaino. Each comes with a huge question mark or two so i wouldnt really bet on any of them getting close to that ceiling.

      • On The Farm

        And I thought I saw that Blackburn has the potential to be a good #2, so hopefully between Blackburn/Underwood/Maples one of our HS arms will pan out

  • baldtaxguy

    Why is the Florida State League considered pitcher friendly? Is it the climate, kind of the opposite of why pitchers have difficulty in Spring Training with the dry AZ air? Not sure why I had not thought to ask this before.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Probably has more to do with the size of the stadiums then the climate, although that could be a important factor.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I believe it’s both. You’ll get some push-back from some science-y folks, but I believe the humidity reduces the speed of the ball off of the bat/the total distance it travels.

        I’m ready to be slapped down, but that’s always been my understanding.

        • ssckelley

          IMO the rain outs would screw with the hitters more than the pitchers.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a factor, too.

            • Cedlandrum

              I found an interesting article about the leagues and data collected.
              http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/minor-league-run-environments/

              • baldtaxguy

                Interesting, thanks for the link, and thanks to all for your responses. When reading the article and the reference to talent, I thought of coaching as well – maybe also the pitching coaching is possibly “ahead” of the hitting and other offensive coaching within and throughout the league, creating a contributing factor, particularly at A+ level. Who knows?

        • Andrew

          I think there is definitely room for debate on this. Yes the humidity makes the air less dense letting a ball travel further with less initial velocity, however it also means the balls are kept in a more humid environment and Colorado has shown how drastic an impact keeping their balls in humid environments has had. Definitely something worth experimenting

          • jt

            I guess you are saying the balls absorb more H2O in humid ambient environment and thus become more heavier.
            Hmmmm…dunno!
            maybe!
            Hmmmm…dunno!

    • Jackalope

      Obviously, lower elevation than some parks than say in the pacific coast league.

  • Jackalope

    Awesome to see a second straight BB-free (and K-heavy) outing from Maples.

  • baldtaxguy

    Luke – random question – Are there any pitchers in the system that are working on a kuckleball pitch? Just curious.

    • Cedlandrum

      They had a knuckleballer last year but he was released in the off season- Joe Zeller. Not sure of anyone else. I’ll wait to see if Luke chimes in.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I’m not aware of anyone now that Zeller is not with the system.

  • Jp3

    Vogs should be moving on up ASAP… He is not being challenged at all, Geiger is no slouch but he cannot hold Vogs back. I guess all the 1st Basemen could move up a rung unfortunately for Nelson… Maybe he could move it up to the big team for some pinch hitting or a trade could always clear it up? CJ Edwards is an absolute stud.

    • jt

      Nelson seems like a nice AAA 1B and short term emergency call up reserve.
      I’ve also been wondering if it is getting to be the right time for The Cubs to let him move on.

    • Cedlandrum

      It is good for Baez to work with a decent 1st baseman in AA. Geiger would at this point probably be better served in LF or as a DH.

  • ari gold

    Enjoy Baez while he lasts, because he’ll be with a different organization next year.

    • Jp3

      What? Who would we trade him for? I just don’t see it because I don’t believe we trade for Price, velocity down and he’s not getting any younger.

      • ETS

        Of the big 4 I would bet that baez is the mostly likely to be traded.

      • cubbie blue thru n thru

        You know price has been probably been the best pitcher in baseball since he came off the DL

        • Feeney

          You mean that 4-1 with 3CG, 41IP, 31H, 1BB, 27SO, and just 8ER is good??

        • Feeney

          Also his FB velocity since he came off the DL is 94.2 which is a tick under his career average. In his two most recent games he’s been at 95 and 94.3 for average FB velocity.

    • Nate

      A new can pop up at any time as a trade possibility and Baez is definitely the most likely of the big 4 gone. Its not a bad thing though. Maybe, if we get really are 2 of the 4 going to be successful in the majors. That’s just the math of the situation. The key is figuring out who and trading the others at their peak value.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Depending how you look at it, the math of the situation is we’ll get 3/4 to become good major leaguers. The success rate for hitters drafted in the top 10 of the draft (ot the equivalent, in the case of Soler), about 75 % make it.In the Cubs case, it may be higher.

        -Almora and Bryant are known for their work ethic and good approach to hitting.
        - Baez, K’s and all, has adjusted to everything thrown at him, and has generation type power.
        -Soler. Cuban hitters have a descent success rate, his athletism and plate discipline should give him a chance.

    • ssckelley

      The Cubs better be getting one heck of a player in return if they trade Baez. He is flying through the minors and is pounding the ball at each level. If he sticks at shortstop the Cubs are going to have one heck of a hitter at a position not known for power.

      For those that will immediately respond about his strikeout rate I would like to remind that he has started every minor league level with a high rate of stikeouts and then made adjustments.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        A gree the haul better be big. But what scares me? Is Baez this organizations version of Theo’s Hanley Ramirez?

        • gocatsgo2003

          A guy that gets traded for a future World Series MVP (Mike Lowell) and a crucial part of the rotation that kept Boston competitive for a long time (Josh Beckett)? While it was clearly a situation in which the Red Sox sacrificed the future to win in the short-term, I sure as heck know that we would all be basking in the glory of a World Series win too much to care if the same turn of events occurred on the north side.

          • Mr. B. Patient

            I didn’t say it would be the wrong move, just seems eerily similar to me. The timing would be a little different now, because I believe This team is not one good position player and one ace pitcher away from being WS contenders, but in a year or two, maybe.

            Disclaimer: After 50 + years of watching mostly bad Cubs teams, I have followed the minor leagues, and tend to get very attached to our prospects. That, and I love me some long ball.. So I would be very sad to see any of the current top 4 get traded.

            • On The Farm

              I thought Theo was on his hiatous from baseball when the Boston FO struck the Han-Ram deal?

  • ETS

    It doesn’t help that Iowa is one of very few states that has summer baseball.

    So many good things in this one report… (now if javy could just cut down the k’s!)

  • Deacon
    • Jackalope

      155 lbs. He looks emaciated. I feel like I read that he’s tried hard to gain weight with little success.

      • mdavis

        yup i read that also. wish i had that problem.

      • Austin8466

        There was a story about a Florida State QB a couple years ago with the same problem. It can actually be a health issue and there are specific diets designed to counter the “illness”.

      • Jp3

        Yeah, tell him to get a kegerator like me, I’ve had no problems gaining weight. Get him on the Marmol diet, that dude packed it on a lot this offseason.

        • CubsFaninMS

          I think a case of tank-ass just might help C.J. pitch in triple digits. I second the Marmol diet!

    • Clark Addison

      Ryan O’Malley, Edwards’ pitching coach in the Rangers’ system, pitched a shutout in his Cubs’ debut about 3 or 4 years ago. Then faded back into obscurity.

  • Die hard

    Is Bryant at 3B?

  • Pingback: Getting to Know C.J. Edwards and Other Bullets | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

  • Cubswin

    I played iowa high school state baseball at the triple a cubs field from 2008-2011 it’s a ton of fun and our 4A championship game drew a huge crowd. Probably does suck for them but its a great experience for us!

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Video of Baez’s second HR yesterday. Man, does the ball jump off his bat!

    http://m.milb.com/video/29242897

  • DougS

    Luke,

    Keep up the great work… I look forward to your updates from the farm clubs!

    You used a phrase in today’s update when talking about Dustin Geiger, that I have heard many times, but really don’t understand it entirely…. “Keep in mind that the Florida State League is a pitcher friendly league.” My interpretation of what you said indicates that Geiger’s feat should be considered even MORE impressive, because of the league being pitcher friendly. Obviously, there is something about the Florida State League that gives pitchers a bigger advantage, but what is that advantage? Do the umpires historically make the ball / strike calls in the pitcher’s favor? Does it have something to do with the stadiums in the league?

    • Cedlandrum

      Doug go up the page a bit there is a link that explains this very question.

      • DougS

        Ahhhh….. thanks, Ced! (never mind, Luke)

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