daytona cubs logoThree 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.

Other News

  • 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.
  • Aaron

    Now we can just wait until October 8th and the beginning of Fall league.

  • THEOlogical

    Great work Luke. Love reading your articles, as well as Brett’s. Looking forward to seeing how our farm system is viewed by you, after a full season and the trades and promotions.

  • Tom G

    Great coverage this season Luke, you and Brett do a wonderful job! Awesome site! Go CUBS!!!

  • Rich

    Is there any references / stats to organization’s farm teams success and any translation to the major league club years later ?

    Obviously it helps to have a great young farm team..just curious if anyone has connected those dots.

    • On The Farm

      There might be some correlation, but then again look at how prospect heavy Kane County was for us and they were probably the worst team in the Midwest League. Since experience at a level plays such a big factor, most of the really really good players end up only spending half a season for one club or another, and repeats at the lower level especially is pretty common, I would lean toward no.

      Obviously if you have that many teams in the playoffs it probably means that the talent in your organization is spread pretty evenly, if guys can get called up and someone else can step right into their shoes.

      • ssckelley

        I can’t help but wonder if some injuries to recently drafted pitchers did not have an impact on that team. The lineup was solid in Kane County but the pitching suffered, especially after Pierce Johnson was promoted.

      • Rich H

        I agree that because of the ages of players in some leagues that talent and wins in the minors do not seem to match until we get to the higher levels. When you get to AA or AAA level and these youngsters start showing how high thier floor is that is where winning in the minors with prospect heavy teams seems to corrilate into big leagues success.
        There is still a problem with looking too much at the W/L record in AAA though when it is stocked with mostly roster overruns and AAAA talent.

        • CubbieBubba

          Agreed. I also seem to remember the cubs having something of a winning tradition in aa-aaa for the past few years, especially under Ryno, and that certainly didn’t translate into big league awesomeness.

      • Luke

        KC was pretty much the worst pitching team, but their offense was ranked fourth by OPS+ and R/G last I looked.

        That was a young, prospect heavy team, but the prospects were nearly all in the lineup instead of on the mound.

        • On The Farm

          Right, sorry I left out where the talent was. My point on the Kane County issue was that there are some really interesting and good bats down there, but even with Johnson in the first half they were a “bad team”. I guess what I should have said is that in order to have a good minor league team, you have to have good pitching and good hitting, and the problem most organizations run into is that that usually its really rare to have both located on one team (except our Daytona team). So while looking at Daytona next year you will see some really good positional talent, you may see a drop off from where they were this year because the pitching wont be as good as it was this year (even with the 2013 draftees).

          • CubbieBubba

            or particularly in Kane County’s case, having a catcher that doesn’t lead the league in errors would also help make for a good team. It wasn’t just the pitching, it was letting the other team steal 2nd, then 3rd, then score on passed balls that did them in quite often.

    • ssckelley

      Good question, I have not statistics to back it up but it always seems that success in the lower levels means more than AAA. I have seen Iowa have some great seasons using players that were veteran fill in and 4A type players. It always seemed like Iowa did good the years the Cubs had a horrible farm system. Success in the short season and rookie leagues seems to have a reflection on how well they drafted and signed international players. The Cubs doing well at AA and A+ is encouraging, those 2 levels are usually the meat and potatoes of your farm system. Hopefully Kane County will be improved next season.

  • ABQ Rich

    Great job this season Luke, I looked forward to reading every day.

  • mdavis

    Thanks for the hard work this season Luke, appreciated.

    Definitely feeling a lot better looking at our pitching. Edwards is a beast, Pierce Johnson was outstanding this year. Hendricks was terrific. Zastryny (sp?) Skulina look promising. Blackburn was pretty good. And Vizcaino gets back on the mound this fall.

  • ETS

    Black, Edwards, Pineryro combined for 28 innings, 0 runs, 27 k’s in post season play. None of them were on the roster to begin the season.

  • Spoda17

    Great work all season Luke. I really enjoy your posts; they are very well written and have a ton of high quality information. Very nice job, thanks!

  • Hack Wilson

    Great job, Luke. I am really looking forward to the off season analysis of Cub prospects.

  • Brett

    Much love to Luke on another great minor league season of coverage. Balancing a wide variety of audiences (not everyone is a prospect hound, but lots of folks want to hear about the Cubs’ minor leagues), digging into analysis on the fly, and popping out quality coverage day in and day out (not to mention the fantastic Sunday pieces) is no easy task. Luke makes it look so easy that you almost forget how much goes into it.

    Great, great work. We all appreciate it.

    • DocShock8


    • Danny Ballgame

      Yessir. Great job Luke.

    • miggy80

      Luke must be doing something right. I never would of thought I would schedule my evenings around the Boise Hawks, Daytona Cubs, and Tennessee Smokies playoff games.

  • auggie55

    There was some very interesting reading on Cubs Den this morning. Theo was at the Daytona and one poster sat 2 rows from him and asked him a number of questions concerning where certain players would start out next season. A lot of the posts started over 3 hrs ago in the subject of “Cubs Have Decisions to Make This Off Season”, but I noticed he is back posting under today’s “Minor League Recap”.

  • True(ly) Blue

    Great job, Luke. I read all of your posts with interest and I look forward to your analysis of the last season.

  • MightyBear

    Thanks Luke. As usual, another stellar performance with the Minor League reporting. You do great, great work. Thanks again.

  • Napercal

    Thanks for these updates Luke. Between my father and me, we have invested almost 125 years into the Cubs. Your reports have brought light to an otherwise (and all too common) dismal season.

  • Le Cubs

    Hey Luke when will you and the other scouting agencies come out with there cubs and top 100 list? I know it’s in the offseason but is there a month around when that happens?

    • Luke

      Baseball America will release their schedule for the Top 10s later this fall, but the book that has the Top 30s will publish early next year.

      Baseball Prospectus and will also either announce a schedule later this fall or just start pushing out the updates in the November – February window.

      The Bleacher Nation Top 40 Winter Edition in all it’s 7,000+ word glory (based on the 2013 version, anyway) will probably hit around the beginning of spring training. Keep that schedule in light pencil for now, though.

  • TheMagicman

    Thanks Luke for the great coverage this year. I know you are very busy, but it would be kind of cool, like every day or every other day, you analyze an individual prospect, with their stats, outlook cor next year, stuff like that. It’s just a suggestion. Thanks again

  • Jackson Scofield

    Both DSL and VSL made the postseason as well.