Cubs Minor League Daily: Concepcion is Not Forgotten

gerardo concepcionGerardo Concepcion has reemerged.

Before last year the Cubs signed Concepcion to a fairly large contract, then watched him get battered around the Midwest League before he came down with mononucleosis and was shut down for the season. The Cubs moved him off the 40 man roster over the winter, and the lefty had been quietly recovering and rehabbing ever since.

Now in the Arizona Rookie League Concepcion is beginning his rehabilitation tour. The initial outcome was good – two innings pitched, one hit and one strikeout last night – but that came against a young team. As a veteran of the Cuban leagues, Concepcion should be able to handle Rookie League hitters without much difficulty (assuming he is healthy and recovered, of course).

So what should we expect from Concepcion now that he is back to pitching? Not much, really.

When this guy was signed he was billed as a reasonably polished pitcher with the upside of a back of the rotation starter, but who could be able to move quickly up the minor league ladder. In short, replace Concepcion with a college senior taken in the June draft who has the upside of maybe a Chris Rusin and you have a pretty good idea of the best case scenario. Despite his struggles last year, that is not a bad thing to have in the system.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa - Iowa falls to ten games under .500 with this 6-3 loss.
Tennessee - Tennessee led for most of the game, but only the by thinnest of margins. They still won, though, 3-2.
Daytona - Despite piling up twelve hits, the Cubs needed a rally in the ninth to secure a 2-1 win.
Kane County - Kane County has been winning with some regularity of late. They took this one 6-3.
Boise - Two errors did not help as Boise lost this one 7-4.
Arizona - Some very nice pitching carried the AZL Cubs to a 2-1 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Justin Grimm fanned 5 in his 5 innings of work. Along the way he gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.
  • [Iowa] Marcos Mateo struck out 3 of his own in his 1.1 innings of work at the end of the game.
  • [Iowa] Jae-Hoon Ha is starting to heat up. Three of his last five games have been multi-hit outings. That’s a good sign for the young outfielder.
  • [Tennessee] After totally dominating High A over the past few weeks, Matt Loosen has been returned to Tennessee. In his first start back with the Smokies he tossed 5.1 innings, struck out 3, walked 4, and gave up just 3 hits.
  • [Tennessee] Walks were a problem for Jeffry Antigua as well. In his just his second game with the Smokies this season (nearly a month after his first game at that level), he walked 3 and struck out 3 over 2.2 innings.
  • [Tennessee] Javier Baez homered (his 11th for the Smokies), walked (third game in a row), and struck out twice. I suppose it couldn’t all be good news.
  • [Daytona] Ivan Pineyro cruised through 6 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 7 in the process. His Daytona ERA now reads 1.96.
  • [Daytona] Anthony Giansanti doubled as part of his 3 for 4 game. Pin-Chieh Chen finished 3 for 3, and Chadd Krist chipped in 2 singles.
  • [Daytona] Dustin Geiger launched his 11th home run in this win. He finishes July with a very nice line of .293/.414/.435 as the most dangerous hitter in a much depleted Cubs lineup.
  • [Kane County] Add another scoreless inning to the perfect season of Michael Hamann. With one month to go, his ERA remains 0.00.
  • [Kane County] Sheldon McDonald also pitched well for the Cougars. After this scoreless inning his KC ERA is down to 0.87.
  • [Kane County] Jeimer Candelario (his 7th) and Rock Shoulders (his 17th) both homered and had two hits in this one. Gioskar Amaya also had two hits, including his 22nd double.
  • [Boise] Trey Masek was very impressive. The 2013 draftee struck out 5 in his 2 innings of work and allowed a run on 2 hits in the process.
  • [Boise] Yasiel Balaguert hit his 5th home run as part of a 2 for 4 game. Jacob Rogers and Kevin Encarnacion also enjoyed multi-hit games.
  • [Arizona] Kelvin Freeman doubled twice and finished with three hits. His was the only multi-hit game for Arizona, and he had the only extra base hits as well.

Other News

  • First round of voting in Mascot Mania ends at noon today. Vote early, vote often.

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

52 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: Concepcion is Not Forgotten”

  1. ETS

    Any one know where Concepcion’s fastball was sitting?

    1. JoshO

      I had heard on Twitter that it was 89-91

      1. ETS

        Nice. That’s a touch faster than I figured, but maybe twitter is using some optimistic “rounding”

        1. Edwin

          I normally assume that Twitter comments about velocity tend to be high by 2-3 MPH.

  2. Patrick G

    How old is he now?

    1. ETS

      :obligatoryTerribleJokeAboutNotKnowingTheTrueAgeOfCentralAmericanPlayers:

      BR says he was born March 1, 1992

      1. Benjamin

        Wikipedia says February 29th. SO HOW OLD IS HE REALLY??

        1. hansman1982

          AGE-GATE!!!!!!

      2. Benjamin

        Counting number of actual birthdays, Gerardo Conception is 5.

  3. pj

    Game time temperature at Fitch Park yesterday was 104 degrees, with a 1 MPH wind.

  4. cubchymyst

    Daytona seems to be getting a strong pitching performance with almost every start. Hopefully those guys can repeat that in AA next year.

    1. On The Farm

      Sadly I think Daytona is going to be in for a rough year next year. I am sure some of the college 2013 draftees will start at Daytona, but KC’s staff is pretty awful.

      1. ssckelley

        Some of those college arms drafted this year should skip Kane County and go directly to Daytona. IMO, the strength of Boise and Arizona has been the pitching.

        1. On The Farm

          While I am sure some of the 2013 guys will get through, even Johnson spent some time in Kane County this season. I just have a feeling some guys will spent a brief stint in KC. The first half Daytona pitching staff may be on the weaker side is all I was getting at.

          1. ssckelley

            True, I guess it is rare for any pitcher to skip low A. But keep in mind some of these draftees are already in Kane County, if they succeed they may start next season in Daytona. With so much emphasis the Cubs have had drafting pitchers the past couple of years I would hope pitching would be a strength of the low minors.

  5. Oswego chris

    Considering it now seems like the Nats may be going nowhere, that Hairston/Pineyro deal seems like a steal…may be best deal we made…nah, I still say Feldman one…

    1. Jed Jam Band

      Pineyro is a riser in this system. Should finish on everyone’s prospect radar this season. That Daytona rotation is just sick. Johnson, Edwards, Pineyro, Wells, and Black. Man, that’s gonna really help them with their playoff push for sure.

  6. Spoda17

    I had mono when I was a 19… it’s no joke, took me more than a year to be back to 100%…

    1. Feeney

      When I had mono there were a couple of months where I literally couldn’t make it up the stairs and when I did I needed a nap. It took me several years to really move on from that. Every time I got a cold or flu for years after having mono I would feel incredibly tired.

    2. Edwin

      Can you hit 90 on your fastball yet?

  7. Idaho Razorback

    I see Mike Olt is now below “The Mendoza Line.” He will never amount to anything.

    1. Mr. B. Patient

      A few guys at Baseball Prospectus believe Mike Olt is going to be the reason the Cubs trade Baez. I’m not saying Baez wont be traded, just can’t see it being because of Olt. Is Olt the Bryan LaHair of 3rd baseman?

      1. On The Farm

        LaHair was an All-Star every full season he spent with the Cubs, so I hope Olt can put up that kind of production :)

        1. Mr. B. Patient

          You’re optimistic this morning.

        2. CubsFaninMS

          Yes, we can only hope to expect a Jerome Walton-like consistency, right? lol

    2. On The Farm

      And Grimm also only posted a K/IP and allowed 2 ERs, he needs to put up Chris Archer numbers! Garza trade was the worst trade ever!

      (I understand the intent of your post)

    3. Feeney

      Never amount to anything other than being a dude with over 700,000 dollars, a university education and a career playing pro sports? He’s already amounted to more than a crap load of people in this world.

    4. ssckelley

      That is a little harsh.

    5. CubsFaninMS

      Dude. You’re sounding like the drunk, alcoholic father smoking a cigarette with a wife-beater shirt on. Putting things into perspective, Mike Olt has already been wildly successful in his baseball career. The question is, can he help our MLB team? We will see.

  8. Edwin

    Having the upside of maybe a Chris Rusin being best case scenerio does not sound too appealing. Especially when comparing the cost of a college senior in the draft compared to what it cost the Cubs to sign Concepcion. I think it’s a safe bet to place the Concepcion move into the L column and move on.

    1. Jon

      Well, he did net us Soler

      1. Edwin

        I don’t think so.

        1. ETS

          I also tend to not think so, but it might not have hurt.

    2. ssckelley

      Damn, tough crowd this morning!

    3. ETS

      Well, does luke mean an upside of what chris rusin is now or an upside similar to what chris rusin’s upside is. Because the two are not the same.

  9. ssckelley

    I will say this again about Olt, there has to be something else going on. There is no way his OPS should drop .250 between AA to AAA. I could see if it was been A to AA or rookie to A but the talent of the pitching between AA to AAA is not significant, players get promoted directly to the big leagues from AA all the time. Yeah he is struggling right now but evidently the Cubs and “experts” have a different take on Olt and still feel he is one of the top 3rd base prospects.

    Some of you have way to high of expectations of prospects in the minor leagues, they are learning. Just like last night on Baez, it seems like every time he hits a home run a fight breaks out on here about his strikeout rate. Blows my mind!

    1. Ivy Walls

      It is called the effects of concussion. Hopefully he can recover, it was always a risk but the Garza trade was always about gaining pitching inventory.

    2. CubsFaninMS

      We can discuss Baez’s average, K/BB rate, BABIP and whatever else… the power surge he has experienced in his first at bats at AA is special, rare, uncommon. It’s very evident he’s not overmatched, but needs to adjust his approach. Just my thoughts.

  10. Ivy Walls

    I am working on a message post using draft position and signing bonus and comparing it to International signing bonus position over the last two years the compare or place in context how the Intl signings are relative to increasing the Cubs draft spots.

    In my mind the increased activity by the Cubs FO is just another method that Epstein/Hoyer figured out in previous CBA with the compensation FA pick. It goes to the heart of the strategy that more is better than less, more talent, more competition among prospects and use of excess inventory to augment or trade for spot MLB starters.

    They use FA signings more to gain inventory down the line, (Feldman, Hairston, etc.) more than fill long term needs like Jackson.

  11. RoughRiider

    LUKE,
    It’s now been 48 days since Soler has played. Any word on his recovery ?

  12. UCF

    I was at the Iowa game last night….a couple of thoughts:

    Grimm looked pretty impressive. He walked a few, but seemed to have enough stuff to overcome the walks.

    Olt hammered the ball twice w/out getting a hit. His last at bat he hit, what appeared to be a slider, about 400 feet. The opposition caught it right at the wall in deep right center field. Olt made an error on a pretty routine play…that was unexpected.

    First time I have seen Jae-Hoon Ha. He stole the show as far as I was concerned. He is fast, hit the ball well, and made an amazing throw from deep center to gun down a runner.

    Casey Coleman sucked.

    Dave Sappelt threw my daughter a ball….so I guess he was ok last night.

    1. Bilbo161

      Thanks for the first hand notes UCF. Nice to hear your impression. Better than just the box score.

      1. MoneyBoy

        Very much so!! TYVM UCF !!!

    2. Scotti

      Interesting that Ha signed and started as a catcher and is now a plus defender in CF.

      1. Chris

        He was an outfielder in Mesa and Jody Davis attempted the catcher bit for a few weeks. Ha hated it and was terrible and the only English word he knew was the F bomb and he broke us up when he would get stung by a ball. Once they let him return to the outfield he came on with his hitting and still has possibilities. Real classy guy.

  13. Bilbo161

    Nice to see Concepcion back on the bump and looking decent. Hope to see him continue to gain strength and move up the system. Concussions need time to heal too. I’m going to be patient watching Olt. Absolutely no good comes from writing him off just because we are impatient. The Cubs had a really good trade there, even if it was just CJ, Olt, and Grimm. I’m looking forward to adding the one or two PTBNLs. I am looking foreward to seeing some contribution at the MLB level this Fall and next year. CJ will move up quickly too. Could see him late next year the way he is pitching at A+ so far though 2015 may be more reasonable. Pretty rosey picture even with my glasses off.

  14. jpeck

    Just a couple of thoughts from the peanut gallery. I believe Loosen walked 4 and hit 2 more batters. Still only gave up 2 E.R.

    I don’t think you can trade a guy like Baez. Top prospect that gets people excited with explosive power.

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