[Brett: I'm running around this morning with The Little Boy to various doctor things, so Bullets and morning posting will likely be delayed for a little bit.]
There is as much interest and excitement surrounding the Cubs farm system this spring as there has been in a long time, and it does not all revolve around Baez and Bryant. If you want to tap into the awesomeness that is minor league baseball first hand, then take a look at this map to find a minor league team near you. Even if it isn’t a team that plays for the Cubs, or that plays against a Cubs affiliate, minor league baseball is still an absolutely wonderful (and rather affordable) time.
If you want to follow along with the Cubs’ organization, though, you can always listen to the radio broadcasts of all the games via the Internet for free (and legally). Each day the audio feed is linked from the home page for each team, and the home page for each team is linked each morning here in the Minor League Daily (in the “Scores From Yesterday” section below). Alternatively, you can pull up this website which lists all the line scores for a day’s worth of games along with the MiLB.TV (if available) and radio feeds.
The best way to enjoy a game is at the ballpark, but joining Twitter is fun as well. I’ll have more recommendations on who to follow as the season progresses, but here are six to get you started: me (@ltblaize), Brett (@BleacherNation), the Iowa Cubs (@iowacubs), the Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball), the Daytona Cubs (@daytonacubs), and the Kane County Cougars (@kccougars).
You can also find plenty of minor league watchers here on Bleacher Nation most evenings, both on the main page and over on the Message Boards.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa picked up their second win of the year, 4-1.
Tennessee – The Smokies rallied late, but came up short. They lost 3-2.
Daytona – An early lead did not last as Daytona fell 5-4.
Kane County – Kane County had the day off.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Tsuyoshi Wada had the standout performance of the night. Over 6.2 innings he allowed one run on 3 hits (including a solo homer) and a walk while striking out 8. Neil Ramirez and Blake Parker each fanned a pair in relief.
- [Iowa] Brett Jackson lined a hit into the right field corner for a triple, and later on reached on an infield single and stole second. He also walked. It’s only one game, but it was good to see.
- [Iowa] Christian Villanueva hit a three run homer, his first of the year.
- [Tennessee] Dustin Geiger singled and homered, his second. Jeudy Valdez also had two hits, including a double.
- [Tennessee] Even though he limited the damage to three runs, Matt Loosen was not particularly effective in his start. Ryan Searle, Hunter Cervenka, and Tony Zych combined to throw three hitless innings of relief behind him.
- [Daytona] Two hit games came from Jeimer Candelario, who included a triple in his, and Rock Shoulders, who had a double.
- [Daytona] Rob Zastryzny struck out 6 in his 4 innings of work, but he also allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks.
- On the scoresheet Javier Baez did not have a great day. He finished 0 for 3 with a walk and no strikeouts. On film, though, he made very hard contact on a couple of pitches, including one that he took to the backside of the warning track in dead center. On a different day that ball would have been gone. The walk came late in the game and basically consisted of Baez refusing to chase pitches low and on the corners. As 0 for 3 days go, it was a good day.
- There are two stories in the Daytona bullpen worth highlighting. One, of course, is Arodys Vizcaino. Once a pitching prospect ranked among the best in the game, now he is coming back from two years of arm problems. So far his stint in the warm weather of Florida is going very well, and he tacked on a hitless inning with a strikeout yesterday. The other story is Zach Cates. Cates, you’ve probably forgotten, was the other guy in the Rizzo trade. He’s always been a power pitcher, but he has also been held back by his control. It’s early yet, but including his performance yesterday he’s up to three scoreless innings with three strikeouts, no walks, and two hits. That sample is so small it barely qualifies as a trend, but it is something to keep a close eye on over the coming weeks. If he has tamed his control issues, he could have an impact at the back of a bullpen.