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tennessee smokiesThe draft is over. Analysis of the draft has just begun, though, and the steady stream of draftees signing their first contracts will make sure that 2014 draft stays in the forefront of the conversation until we are well into trade season.

But the draft itself is over, and that means we have unofficially moved into the next stage of the minor league campaign: shuffle season. For the past two months or so the minor leagues (Stateside, anyway) have consisted of the four full season league teams whose highlights appear every morning in the Daily. In a few days, though, two short season league teams begin play. The Short Season A Boise Hawks start their season on Friday (the 13th, if you’re one of those superstitious types), and the Arizona Rookie League AZL Cubs get started on June 21. These two teams will also be covered in the Daily when their seasons get underway.

But first they need players.

Some of those players will come from the prospects who were left in Extended Spring Training. Some will come from the draft. And some will come from the full season league teams. Look for the Cubs to start shuffling the rosters of the full season league teams this week with part of that shuffling including the assignment of a few players to Boise.

Kane County will likely see the most allocated to the Northwest League, but I don’t think they will lose more than a handful. Any player who has been struggling badly, or who has been playing in a part time role but who the Cubs may want to have playing more regularly is a candidate for a trip out west. No one really comes to mind in the first category, but on the second list I could see catcher Cael Brockmeyer sent to Boise to catch every day (unless Will Remillard is promoted to Daytona, which is also very possible). Daniel Canela, a first baseman who has appeared in fourteen games, could join him.

Kane County and Boise will not be the only teams affected by shuffling, though. This is also the time of the year when we see an uptick in promotion/demotions among the four full season squads. Tennessee probably has the most candidates who look ready to move up (with John Andreoli and Kris Bryant at the top of the list), but the Cubs will need to find spots for them to play in Iowa, not to mention replacements for their positions in Tennessee. Bijan Rademacher could move up to Double A to replace Andreoli, should he be promoted, but replacing Bryant at third is tougher. Recalling Wes Darvill to Tennessee is one option. Demoting Christian Villanueva is another, but not one I like very much. Playing Mr. Everything Anthony Giansanti at third could help bridge the gap, should the Cubs decide they want Bryant moved to Triple A. Of course, leaving Bryant in Tennessee for a little while yet is a valid option as well.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa
Friday – Pitching carried the day in this 2-1 win.
Saturday – Three errors hurt the cause in this 5-1 loss.
Sunday – Iowa hurlers pitched a shutout as the Cubs won 3-0.

Tennessee
Friday – Tennessee claimed a shutout on the road and won 4-0.
Saturday – Make that two road shutouts as the Smokies won this one 5-0.
Sunday – Tennessee tied this one up in the ninth, but lost in walk off fashion 6-5.

Daytona
Friday – A huge seventh inning carried the Cubs to this 10-7 win.
Saturday – It was not a good day in High A as Daytona lost 8-0.
Sunday – The Cubs mounted a huge rally, but lost to lowly Clearwater anyway. The final was 8-7.

Kane County
Friday – The Division Champion Cougars had three big innings in this 12-5 win.
Saturday – The Cubs held off a late rally by Cedar Rapids to pick up the 5-2 win.
Sunday – The Cougars led early, but then the bats went quiet. They lost 3-2.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Javier Baez hit safely in all three games this weekend and finished with 5 hits, including a double and his 8th home run. He also walked one and struck out 4 times.
  • [Iowa] Arismendy Alcantara finished the weekend with 3 hits, including his 8th triple. He walked twice and struck out twice.
  • [Iowa] Chris Rusin pitched 8 very strong innings on Friday, allowing just one run on 6 hits while striking out two over 8 innings. Blake Parker finished that game off for his 12th save.
  • [Iowa] Dallas Beeler tossed a nice game of his own on Sunday. The big right hander need an even 100 pitches to last 7 scoreless innings. He allowed 5 hits and a pair of walks while striking out 5. Parker picked up save number 13 in that game.
  • [Tennessee] Friday’s shutout was brought to you by Eduardo Figueroa (3.1 IP), P.J. Francescon (2.2 IP), Zach Cates (1 IP), Hunter Cervenka (1 IP), and Armando Rivero (1 IP). All told the Smokies army of arms gave up 6 hits, 4 walks, and struck out 8.
  • [Tennessee] Dae-Eun Rhee was the star of the shutout on Saturday. He threw just 79 pitches over 7 innings and allowed 5 hits and a walk while striking out a pair. Jeffrey Lorick and Arodys Vizcaino finished off the game.
  • [Tennessee] Kris Bryant struck out once this weekend, on Sunday. He now has 9 strikeouts in his last 10 games.
  • [Tennessee] You didn’t really think that was they only Bryant highlight, did you? The Smokies offensive juggernaut of a third baseman also picked up six more hits including three doubles and two home runs. He now has 21 homers on the season, not mention an OPS of 1.177. That OPS is still rising, by the way.
  • [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach is about as hot as any hitter not named Bryant right now. After his 5 hit weekend that featured a double and homer number 5, the Cubs first baseman has a line of .371/.488/.600 in his last ten games.
  • [Daytona] With 5 hits in his last 4 games, Albert Almora is starting to show signs of breaking out again. He’s been a very streaky guy so far this season, and that streak has been just about all negative of late.
  • [Kane County] Jordan Hankins finished the weekend with 8 hits, 5 of them on Saturday. Two of those hits went for two bases, and he now has 13 doubles on the year.
  • [Kane County] Ben Carhart collected 6 hits over the three games, including his first homer of the season.
  • [Kane County] Juan Paniagua struck out 9 over 6 good innings on Saturday. He allowed just 3 hits and 2 walks.
  • [Kane County] On Sunday Paul Blackburn gave up 3 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings despite allowing just 3 hits and a walk. He notched 4 strikeouts.

Other News

  • Even though keeping Bryant in Tennessee is an option, it isn’t an option I like very much. I will be in Iowa for the Cubs games on Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21. I would love to watch Bryant and Baez in the same lineup that weekend, but I can’t do that if Bryant isn’t promoted. So, Cubs, the Double A All-Star Game is on June 17. How about you promote Bryant on June 18th so he will be in the lineup for Iowa on the 20th? I can’t think of anything wrong with that plan, can you?
  • Speaking of Bryant, his 21st home run bounced off the scoreboard in Jacksonville. Even the Jacksonville announcer was impressed.

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