Today is the season opener for the Cubs’ new Northwest League Short-Season A affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds. Their color is green, their mascot is an awesome giant neon mash-up between a Sasquatch and a cartoon bear, their logo features a tree-toting Sasquatch, and their just-released roster is loaded with prospecty goodness.
Starting with the pitching, the two biggest names on the roster are probably Carson Sands and Justin Steele. These two lefties were two of the Cubs’ crop of million dollar arms from the 2014 draft, and Eugene will be our first indication of how their future could shape up. A couple of pitchers who have had success in the Caribbean Leagues are also worth noting, including Adbert Alzolay, Andin Diaz, and Greyfer Eregua. Jae-Hoon Ha continues his conversion to the mound in Eugene, and Dillon Maples continues his efforts to harness his very good stuff with more consistent control.
And those are just the highlights. I think this is the best class of SS-A pitching talent the Cubs’ have had since I have been covering their farm system.
The talent continues on the infield. Tyler Alamo was drafted as a catcher, but his potentially big bat now lurks at first base. The middle infield is a really interesting pairing of Frandy Delarosa at short and Ho-Young Son at second. Either, or both, of these have the potential to follow Gleyber Torres as the Cubs’ next great middle infield prospect. Adonis Paula, playing third, has already shown flashes of power. He is also well worth monitoring.
In the outfield we find the very talented trio of Eloy Jimenez, Kevonte Mitchell, and Ricardo Marcano. Jimenez will draw the headlines, but don’t forget about those other two. Mitchell is raw, but he appears to be coming along faster than expected and could yet develop into a very potent bat. The same could be said of Marcano. I’m not sure who plays center of that group (Mitchell, I suspect) but they should be fun to watch at the plate.
This outfield is likely to be reinforced in the near future by a certain couple high 2015 draft picks as well.
The Eugene Emeralds will become a part of the Minor League Daily starting tomorrow with the results of their season opener.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa allowed too many late runs in this 7-4 loss.
Tennessee – The Smokies broke open a shutout in the fifth and never looked back. They won 8-0.
Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach drew one step closer to their first half title with this 5-2 win.
South Bend – The Cubs had some chances, but could not cash them in. They lost 3-1.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] This was not a great game for anyone on the mound. Felipe Paulino allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks over 5.2 innings while striking out 5, and both Gonzalez Germen and Armando Rivero gave up additional runs in relief.
- [Iowa] Arismendy Alcantara walked and tripled (his 7th) for the Cubs. Junior Lake added his first Iowa homer.
- [Iowa] Matt Szczur stole 2 more bases and now has 13 for the I-Cubs.
- [Tennessee] Pierce Johnson allowed no runs on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 4 over 5 innings. He threw 65 pitches and looked pretty good doing it. He may not need much more work before heading up to Iowa.
- [Tennessee] Corey Black turned in another quality relief outing. Over 2 innings he allowed just one hit while striking out one.
- [Tennessee] Bijan Rademacher and Stephen Bruno both finished with 2 hits for the Smokies. Bryant Flete doubled and also had 2 hits.
- [Myrtle Beach] Mark Zagunis tripled and finished with 3 hits and a walk. His triple was the only extra base hit of the day.
- [Myrtle Beach] Jeimer Candelario and Jacob Rogers both finished with 2 hits.
- [Myrtle Beach] Working in relief, the Pelicans got 4.2 combined hit-less innings from Juan Paniagua (2.2 IP, 1k) and James Pugliese (2 IP, 1 K).
- [South Bend] Michael Wagner had a nice day on the mound. Over 3.1 innings out of the pen he allowed 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 6.
- [South Bend] Yasiel Balaguert and Andrew Ely both doubled for the Cubs. Rashad Crawford also doubled as part of his 2 for 3 day.
- I don’t know if Brett will be looking for a hat for this year’s Blogathon or not, but if so, maybe a Sasquatch emblazoned Emeralds beanie would be in order?
- With their four game winning streak, the Smokies have cut into Chattanooga’s lead a little, but they still trail by three and a half games. The magic number for Chattanooga is down to two. Any combination of wins for them or losses for Tennessee that adds up to two eliminates the Smokies.
- Neil Ramirez pitched an inning of rehab for the Smokies. He allowed nothing, and only needed twelve pitches to do it.
- Myrtle Beach still has a three game lead in their division. All they have to do is win and they secure a post season slot. Their magic number is down to three.