iowa cubs mascotThey may not compare to an Anthony Rizzo Jedi bobblehead, but the Cubs farm system has a couple of nice promotions coming up soon. On May 12 the Cubs will be wearing replica Iowa Oaks jerseys, representing the original name of that franchise (they became the Cubs in 1981 when they affiliated with the North Side). Then on May 24 the Iowa Cubs will be giving away Javier Baez jersey-shirts to the first 1000 fans. That’s a Saturday night game against a pretty good Round Rock team, so expect the ballpark fill up quickly. Get there early.

May 17 is the annual Kane County Halfway to Halloween game. Show up in costume, parade on the field, trick or treat at the ballpark, and enjoy some fireworks. In between all those festivities, you can also watch a very good and very talented Kane County team play some quality Low A baseball.

And if you are going to be in Tennessee at the end of the month, make plans to visit the Smokies on May 31. The Tennessee Smokies are wearing throwback Cubs jerseys for that game, and then auctioning those jerseys off as soon as the game is over. If you want a chance to own one of the first Cubs jerseys to be worn by Kris Bryant, break out your money bags and head for the ballpark.

If he is still in Tennessee on May 31, that is, because that is no sure thing. He could be an Iowan by then.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa - Game One was a low scoring affair, but Iowa won it 1-0. Game Two was pretty much the opposite in every way, and the Cubs lost 8-6.
Tennessee - The Smokies staged a five run rally in the ninth to put this game away and lock up the 7-2 win.
Daytona - Daytona was rained out.
Kane County - Four errors did not help as the Cougars lost Game One 5-2. Game Two went a little better, but Kane county still lost 5-4.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] The shutout in Game One was pitched by Tsuyoshi Wada, or at least the first 5 innings were. He gave up a walk, 2 hits, and struck out 8. Marcus Hatley and Blake Parker finished things off with an inning each.
  • [Iowa] Matt Szczur singled home the winning run in Game One (his only hit in that game), and then singled and walked in Game Two.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez was 0 for 1 with 2 walks in the first game (one of those was intentional), and finished 1 for 3 with 2 steals and 2 runs scored in the second contest. After walking just 6 times through April 26, Baez now has 4 walks in his last 3 games.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Loosen struck out 8 over 5 innings for the Smokies, allowing just one run on 3 hits and a walk in the process.
  • [Tennessee] P.J. Francescon continued his excellent season with 2 nearly flawless innings. He allowed a single walk as he lowered his ERA to 1.17.
  • [Tennessee] Kris Bryant struck out twice, but he also went 2 for 4 with a walk. Wes Darvill also had 2 hits.
  • [Tennessee] Catcher Rafael Lopez doubled, walked, and finished 3 for 4. His early season OPS is up to 1.026.
  • [Kane County] The Cougars managed to play 14 innings without coming up with a single extra base hit. Only Cael Brockmeyer and Daniel Lockhart managed 2 hits on the day.
  • [Kane County] They did steal a few bases, though. Trey Martin swiped a pair, leaving him at 6 for the year. Jacob Hannemann stole his tenth.
  • [Kane County] Game Two featured an interesting pitching pair in Juan Paniagua (4.2 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 K) and Gerardo Concepcion (1.1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Had they pitched well, it would have been a neat story.

Other News

  • Facing Kane County in their second game was Kohl Stewart, one of the highest ceiling young pitchers in the game and the No 4 prospect in the Twins organization. The Cougars got to him for three runs in 5.2 innings.
  • It isn’t a subject we talk about often (fortunately), but minor league drug suspensions do happen. Baseball America has put together a very nice list of all the suspension so far this season, a list that will stay up to date as the season wears on. So far that page is free of any Cubs logos; let’s hope it stays that way.
  • WernerT

    So what will they do with Wada? Is his ST disaster the only thing that is keeping him from being called up and at least put in the pen?

  • Thiscantbegood

    First off if the Cubs moved him to the bullpen right now that would make 4 lefties in the bullpen way more than they need. Also, Jake Arrieta is back so they will be sending a guy down on Saturday when he makes his first start. Hopefullly Neil Rameriz stays in the bullpen, I love watching guys from the Texas Rangers trade play (Olt, Grimm and Rameriz).

  • abe

    How did Beaz have two runs scored in the 2nd game if he only had 1 hit?

    • Fishin Phil

      He walked twice.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      He probably reached on an error.

      The 2 walks were in the first game.

    • SamuraiJock

      Fielder’s choice?

      • perry4234

        He was Hit By Pitch in the second game so he reached twice in 4 ABs and scored both times. He also stole two bases while being on only twice.

  • ssckelley

    Again I wonder how long Lopez stays at Tennessee, this is his 2nd tour of AA and he is 26 years old. It does not appear he is being challenged at AA and with no real catching prospect blocking him at Iowa I cannot see a good reason to not promote him. He has also thrown out 10 out of 20 base runners.

    • AA Correspondant

      Lopez is clearly leading the Smokies in the early going and there is no doubt that he probably can/should be in AAA. I believe in spring training there was a numbers crunch and it came down to playing every day (majority of the starts) in AA or being in a 3 man rotation in AAA. With the Daytona young pitching coming up, I believe Manager Buddy Bailey wanted/requested/received a veteran catcher to help them along and that is exactly what he has done. It has been a real pleasure watching Rafael Lopez play in TN this season, and I must say he is throwing the ball SO MUCH BETTER than last season. His hitting is outstanding. Not since Robinson Chirinos was in TN have we seen a catcher who could catch, throw and hit so well. Former Smokies Robinson Chironos and Steve Clevenger are in the big leagues now too. I don’t think Raphael Lopez lasts the month of May in AA…but if he does, he is clearly one of the Smokies representatives in the Southern League All Star game in June (in Chattanooga). He’s having a fine season so far and it would not at all surprise me if he is on a big league roster next season.

      • college_of_coaches

        Hey, have you been able to see Loosen pitch at all? And if so, how has he looked?

  • Head and Heart

    So Baez says he needs to be more patient and take more walks and then he goes out and draws 4 walks in 3 games? That’s pretty encouraging. Maybe showing that aggressiveness and not a bad eye were to blame for early struggles at AAA? Showing an ability to make adjustments and an ability to be coachable as well?

    He also hit a dinger. So some positive re-enforcement for him as well. You can be patient and work walks and still hit bombs.

    If he learns to lay off pitches out of the zone then he will see more of them in the zone. And we know what happens to pitches in the strike zone when they meet Javier Baez’s bat. The ball loses.

    • JCubs79

      I’d argue Baez has already proven numerous times that he’s very coachable. Especially at AA last year. His manager was raving about the adjustments he made over the course of the season IIRC.

  • itzscott

    I’d like to see the Cubs stretch out Ramirez in case Samardzjia’s traded since it looks like there’s enough talent in the minors to bring up to replace Ramirez in the bullpen.

  • ssckelley

    With Wada dominating AAA hitters I wonder if the FO is not looking at an early trade for either Hammel or Shark. Keeping Wada down at Iowa is looking silly.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Ya, I’d imagine that Wada is getting close to his opt-out date. He should be confident that he would get called to the big league rotation by the end of July but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind cashing in on a big league deal somewhere before then.

      • bnile1


        “I’d imagine that Wada is getting close to his opt-out date”

        I don’t know when that is, but there is no reason to do anything till then. There’s no spot in the rotation, and in the pen he’d be pitching a couple innings a week right now. Better to keep him stretched out and ready to start when the opening arises through trade, injury or demotion(Jackson?). Now when we get to that opt out date, then better the pen then losing him outright.

    • Jason P

      As good as Wada’s been, I think there are still huge questions as to whether his stuff will play at the big league level. In some ways, his domination of AAA is only expected — he dominated Japan, and the NPB is thought to be a step or 2 above AAA.

      I’m all for giving him a shot if a spot opens up, but I don’t necessarily think we should scramble to trade a starter to open one up.

      Of course, if that starter traded is Villanueva, I wouldn’t have a problem.

      • Fishin Phil

        I agree with Jason on this one. Wada left a very bad impression with me this spring. I’m OK with giving him another shot, but I’m in no big hurry.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Typically I see the highest level Japanese league compared to Double A, not a step or two above Triple A.

      • ssckelley

        Oh no, I did not mean to suggest forcing a trade. But if a good deal comes along if I was the FO knowing I have Wada dominating AAA would make me a little more comfortable trading this early. Then again perhaps teams are inquiring about Wada, it would be a minor deal but better than just letting him walk.

    • Brocktoon

      It’s going to look sillier when Jake Arrieta pitches like Jake Arrieta

      • ssckelley

        Jeez, I hope not…..damn you Brock! I know it is a long shot but I am hoping Arrieta emerges to be that stud everyone though he would be as an Oriole.

        • Brocktoon

          Obviously I’m hoping for the same, but the time everyone thought he’d be a stud is getting pretty damn far away in the rearview mirror, and his 50 innings with the Cubs last year was certainly uninspiring.

  • CubsFaninMS

    I’m impressed with Rafael Lopez. He’s putting up quite a season in Tennessee. He should be considered for a promotion to Iowa soon and may be a good 2015 candidate in a backup role. I can’t see him surpassing Castillo talent-wise. Consider this… he’s never had a K rate over 18.3% (except in very small sample size), his BB rate always hover around 10 to 12%. His OBP has consistently remained in the .340 to .380 range. Those aren’t “Top 10 prospects” numbers obviously, but that’s a very good OBP for a catcher.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I like Lopez’s chances to emerge as a backup catcher. Being a left handed hitter, he seems like a good compliment to Castillo.

      • AA Correspondant

        Agreed! He’s a big league capable catcher. No doubt. As a left handed backup……he’d be a fine addition.

  • DarthHater

    The only upcoming promotion parade I’m interest in is the parade of prospects being promoted to Chicago.

  • COWA

    Why not call up Alcantara? He’s killing it in Iowa, and has good speed?
    Send down Olt

    • JCubs79

      He’s not exactly killing it…He’s been alright. Still has a 25% K rate. He needs more time at Iowa still.

    • bbmoney

      Besides the golden sombrero yesterday at least.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like Alcantara, but that second game yesterday was rough.

      • bbmoney

        It was no platinum sombrero like Bryant’s last year. So he’s got that going for him at least…..which is nice.

        • Brocktoon

          If he follows this up the way Bryant followed up his, I’ll take it.

    • 70′s Cub

      I like to see Olt play it out until the super 2 date at which time the FO can make the decision. I don’t see the room in the Cub system for a OLT move down. Alcantara up “July” after the Cub clear 2nd base roster space “Barney”

    • Jed Jam Band

      I like Alcantara, but he’s got things to work on. Remember, he has less than a season under his belt at his new position, so there is that, too. I think he has a good chance to maybe even be called up before Baez, simply because I think it is more likely we see Barney traded than anyone else in the infield.

  • jammin502

    I am disappointed. With this article title I thought there were players getting promoted.

    • DarthHater

      This is Luke’s version of “gotcha” journalism. :-P

  • t_glov9

    I faced Kohl Stewart last year and I will tell you the kid is amazing. Our team lost 3-2 against them..he’s a hell of a pitcher

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