Three teams made the postseason, two reached their Championship Series, and one won the title.
Not bad, farm system. Not bad at all.
The Cubs minor league franchises treated fans to some great postseason baseball this year, particularly those fans in Florida who watched first hand as the Daytona Cubs collected yet another Florida State League title. The Cubs sent a very impressive collection of talent through Daytona this season, but it would be hard to find a better team than the one that finished the year celebrating on the field.
Tennessee had looked like the best team in the Southern League for most of the second half, but I think they lost too much from their starting rotation. When Kyle Hendricks and Alberto Cabrera went to Iowa the Smokies lost two of their best and most reliable starters. Even though Neil Ramirez later arrived to help fill that void, it wasn’t quite enough. Ultimately the Smokies needed a little more pitching as they bowed out in the first round of the Southern League playoffs.
And then we have Boise. The Hawks are becoming regular postseason contenders in the Northwest League, but this was team that lacked the top of the farm system star power we saw in Daytona and Tennessee. What it did not lack, though, was talent. It may not be talent that we are all familiar with (yet), but this was a deep roster with some players on it who will be contenders for consideration in future Top 10 lists. They took the Championship Series to a final Game Three, but they just couldn’t push across the runs needed to take home the title.
Scores From Yesterday
Tennessee - The Smokies squandered their chances in this 7-4 season ending loss. The four errors didn’t help either.
Daytona - Once again Daytona got some incredible pitching as they secured the 2013 FSL Championship with this 4-0 win.
Boise - Not enough offense and too many errors doomed Boise to a 5-0 loss.
Performances of Note
- [Tennessee] Matt Szczur had another good day at the top of the lineup. He finished 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. That double was the Smokies only extra base hit, except for…
- [Tennessee] … the two run homer belted by Javier Baez. It was the only hit of the game for Baez.
- [Tennessee] Arismendy Alcantara finished 2 for 5 with 3 strikeouts. Christian Villanueva (2 for 4) had the final multi-hit game.
- [Tennessee] On the mound, Neil Ramirez had a rough day. He lasted just 3.1 innings and gave up 5 runs on 5 hits with 3 walks.
- [Tennessee] Matt Loosen, on the other hand, pitched quite well. He did give up 2 runs (one earned) on 3 hits over 5.1 innings, but he struck out 7 in the process and walked no one.
- [Daytona] I have a hard time wrapping my head around just how good the pitching has been for Daytona in these playoffs. Yesterday it was C.J. Edwards who pitched 5 innings of one hit ball, walking 2 and striking out 3.
- [Daytona] Ryan Searle followed that up with 4 no hit innings of his own, including a strikeout.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach (with 3) joined Chadd Krist and Wes Darvill (with 2 apiece) as the only Cubs with multi-hit games. No one managed an extra base hit, and the lone walk went to Kris Bryant.
- [Boise] Michael Wagner (3.1 IP, 2 R, 3 H) and Matt Iannazzo (2.2 IP , 1 H) kept the game close through six innings, but Zack Godley let the game get away a bit late.
- [Boise] Rony Rodriguez had the only extra base hit for Boise, a double.
- Daytona played in six post season games this season, won five of them, and four of them were shutouts. Four shutouts in seven calendar days alone would be a tremendous feat at any point in the season, but in the playoffs it verges on the ridiculous.
- Don’t forget that when we opened this season the big question for the farm system was the lack of pitching. Arodys Vizcaino, if he came back healthy, was the presumptive top pitching prospect with only Pierce Johnson as a serious challenger for that crown. Now? Pierce Johnson might be the second best pitching prospect in Daytona’s rotation and yet is still a very solid candidate to be in the Cubs Top Ten. Suddenly the Cubs do not look so pitching-poor anymore. They do not have many potential aces yet, but they do have some potentially potential aces developing in the low minors. The turn around on the pitching front in the farm system this year is nothing short of remarkable.
- With all the games over with, my attention now shifts from writing daily about the games to analyzing the stats, the prospects, and the system as a whole. A lot of good things happened in the minors this summer, and I look forward writing about those good things after the World Series is over. Thanks for reading this season; I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
- And one more Congratulations to Tennessee on making the playoffs, Boise on claiming runner up status in the Northwest League, and Daytona for winning the 2013 Florida State League Title.