boise hawksThe Northwest League has entered the All-Star break, and a very Cubs-studded break it will be. Eight Boise Hawks made the South Division All-Star team this season, and four of them were named starters.

Catcher Lance Rymel (the second Cub catching prospect to make an All-Star team this season), first baseman Jacob Rogers, outfielder Yasiel Balaguert (listed as a DH), and infielder Daniel Lockhart (now with Iowa) were all named to the starting lineup. Coming off the bench will be outfielder Shawon Dunston, infielder David Bote, and pitchers James Pugliese and Tyler Bremer.

This is not an All-Star lineup loaded with name recognition and star power, but there are some very intriguing prospects to watch here. Balaguert is likely the best prospect in the bunch, but Dunston (a speed first outfielder with pretty good on base abilities) and the two pitchers may not be far behind.

Balaguert will help kick off the mid-season festivities as a part of the Home Run Derby.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa lost it in the bottom of the ninth, 6-5.
Tennessee – Tennessee loses another game in Jacksonville, 6-4.
Daytona – The rained out doubleheader gave Lakeland a chance to move up a game on Daytona in the standings. The Cubs still lead by three and a half.
Kane County – Kane County gave up six run in the seventh inning as they lost 12-4.
Boise – Boise is off for their All-Star break.
Arizona – Arizona rallied for three in the seventh and won it 4-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] The wind was blowing straight out in Tacoma, and it showed early. After struggling through the first two innings both starting pitchers settled down. Iowa’s Justin Grimm finished by striking out 8 over 6 innings. Casey Coleman gave up a solo home run and struck out 2 more over the remaining 2.1 frames.
  • [Iowa] Darnell McDonald doubled, homered, and finished 4 for 5 as the Cubs lead off hitter. Brad Nelson also homered.
  • [Iowa] Daniel Lockhart stole his first Triple A base and finished 2 for 4 in his second Iowa start.
  • [Tennessee] Hunter Cervenka and Tony Zych pitched well in relief for the Cubs. Matt Loosen did not pitch so well in the start.
  • [Tennessee] John Andreoli doubled and finished with 3 hits and his 9th steal. Javier Baez doubled as part of his 2 hit day and stole his fourth base for the Smokies. Rubi Silva also had a pair of hits.
  • [Kane County] The Cougars managed just 4 hits in their blowout loss, and only two of them, including a double by Carlos Escobar, went for extra bases.
  • [Kane County] The other extra base hit was a home run off the bat of Jeimer Candelario. It was the 8th of the season for the third baseman.
  • [Arizona] Touted catcher Tyler Alamo drew a walk and finished 0 for 2. Alamo is still looking for his first professional hit.
  • [Arizona] Infielder Mark Malave hit safely in his fourth straight game. Over his last ten game Malave is hitting .308/.438/.308 with 6 walks and 6 strikeouts.

Other News

  • Lately Baez has been showing a strikeout rate closer to 25% than 33%, and although the sample sizes still make conclusions tough to draw, that is a positive sign. The talent is there for this guy to make the adjustments, but I think at each stage of his promotion path he will just need the time to make those adjustments. That includes his eventual promotion to the majors (should he get that far). Fans may want to bail on him if he strikes out 40% of the time (or more) in his first month or two, but the Cubs are going to need to be patient.
  • Daniel Lockhart, recently promoted from Boise, made his second straight start for the Iowa Cubs last night. It will be interesting to see what the Cubs opt to do with Lockhart the rest of the season. If Logan Watkins stays in Chicago then Iowa will need a second baseman, but I would not be surprised if the Cubs prefer to leave Arismendy Alcantara in Tennessee where he can get some postseason experience. I suppose that could leave the door open to keeping Lockhart with Iowa the rest of the season, but I would find that a little surprising. Odds are better, I think, that Lockhart will head back to Boise when Iowa heads east. Anthony Giansanti or Elliot Soto could be candidates to jump up to Iowa to finish off the year, should such a move prove necessary.
  • wvcubsfan

    Any idea how much of Grimm’s troubles were the wind? Also any truth to the rumor that Grimm’s mechanics are being overhauled?

    • Luke

      Hard to answer the first question, but when I see two starting pitchers both struggling in the same innings and then settling down about the same time, I tend to think weather conditions may have played a role. It could have just been coincidence, of course.

      Not sure on the mechanics overall, either. Some tweaks would not surprise in the slightest, though.

  • ssckelley

    Can anything be read into the fact that both Vogelbach and Almora were not in the lineup last night? They headed to Daytona?

    • Luke

      Not impossible, but I haven’t heard anything to that effect yet. If that is the move, we should see an announcement from one or the other team sometime today.

    • On The Farm

      I noticed that too, when KC tweeted their lineup and that was my first thought. I think its possible considering Almora just got a day off less than a week ago.

      • Andrew

        According to North Siders Report on Twitter, he saw Almora tweak his back taking swings on the on deck circle Sunday. He should be back in the lineup as soon as possible.

    • AWP

      I noticed that Almora was not in lineup Saturday, was pulled after 2ABs on Sunday and wasn’t in the lineup again Monday. I’m hoping he’s not injured again.

    • Coop

      Noooo! I am headed out from California on Friday and going to the Cougars game – I want to see Almora and Vogelbach!

      • scorecardpaul

        I agree, I know I’m being selfish, but I will be at the game Saturday with my family and I would also like to see both of them.

        • Mr. B. Patient

          Go early. American English is playing a free concert. Us old guys think they are great.

  • Hee Seop Chode
    • Spriggs

      Interesting. The link doesn’t work for me, but is this the same guy who came up with SF about 7 or 8 years ago? I have no idea how he has been doing the last few years or where he’s been. Last I knew he was in the Indians system. He looked very promising as a young kid coming up with the Giants. I saw him in the fall league and the rookie leagues and he showed a lot of power and was pretty fast for kind of a big guy.

      • MichiganGoat
      • Hee Seop Chode

        From the Tribune’s article:

        “Neal began his career in the San Francisco Giants’ organization and was a Class-A California League All-Star in 2009 and Double-A Eastern League mid-season All-Star in 2010. He was dealt to Cleveland midway through the 2011 season for infielder Orlando Cabrera.”

        • Spriggs

          Nice. I forgot all about this guy and figured he was just out of baseball. I thought he looked very talented hitter. He played in the AFL the same year Castro and Vitters were there (2009?).

  • Rebuilding

    With Boise off until Thursday might as well move Bryant to where he’s going to finish the year. He seems to have figured the Northwest League out

  • Rebuilding

    Baez with 7 walks in his last 10 games and 11 in 115 ABs at AA. If he can keep a walk rate near 10% then a K rate of 25% is far more tolerable (and with his power out him at a superstar level)

  • On The Farm

    How do the Bosie All-Stars get selected? I was surprised to see Rymel be selected to the team and not Brockmeyer. As far as I can tell Brockmeyer’s offensive stats look better.

    Hopefully Rymel, Brockmeyer, and Alamo are the start of something good for catchers in the organization.

    • ssckelley

      Rymel being selected over Brockmeyer surprised me as well. Brockmeyer has hit better and has thrown out more runners attempting to steal.

      Also don’t forget about Remillard, another bonus catcher the Cubs signed in the draft. He has yet to play. It appears the Cubs are taking steps to improve the catcher position. Hopefully Alamo will start hitting soon, but it must be a challenge as he is not getting consistent playing time.

  • Ivy Walls

    Baez and Alcantara are being coached and groomed to play together.

  • Casey Turner

    I was at the game when he got pulled on Sunday. He hit a ball out to center and started pulling up lame.. They pulled him after the AB and he went to the clubhouse..

  • Casey Turner

    Almora that is.

  • carmelo

    Almora has a slight groin strain.

  • http://Bleachernation Lou Brock

    Announced today that Almora has a hip flexor strain and will miss a few more days.

  • willis

    Baez is just off the charts right now.

    • willis

      9 for his 14 at the plate with 4 doubles & 5 RBIs with multi-hit games in each of the last 4 contests. And a couple SBs I think. Ridiculous.

  • Rudy

    Wow, that was a blast! 4 for 4 with two doubles and two singles.

    • brunsmk

      Thought it was gone from the look of the swing. Must have just missed it.

  • Kramden

    Erik Jokisch is tossing a no- hitter for Tennessee tonight. Didn’t he already pitch a no hitter this season or was that someone else in the organization?

  • Chris

    Curious, how do you guys watch the minor league games?