This Week In The Minors: Three In, Two Out, One Unknown

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This Week In The Minors: Three In, Two Out, One Unknown

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

jim mora playoffsThe Iowa Cubs did what they could, but despite winning the must-win games, they have been eliminated from postseason contention thanks to Omaha winning one game too many. The best the Cubs can do now is finish in a tie for second.

Meanwhile, Daytona and Boise have both punched their playoff ticket and will be joining Kane County in the post-season.

That leaves Tennessee.

And that also leaves the question of call-ups. We know Kris Bryant is not coming to Chicago, but that does not mean there won’t be any callups in September. After the system survey, we will look at a few candidates for promotion.

Iowa Cubs : 72-70

A three game winning streak has given the Cubs a chance to spoil the season for Oklahoma City, but they cannot catch Omaha. One of the best and most prospect-filled seasons the Iowa fans have seen in a long time will not stretch into the playoffs.

Tennessee Smokies : 33-34

A losing streak at the worst possible time dropped the Smokies into a first place tie, and that is where they remain. A rainout yesterday means two of the three remaining games will be played today. And since Tennessee is sending C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson to the mound, there is a real chance they could clinch the second half division title and the resulting playoff slot before the day is out.

Daytona Cubs : 40-27

Daytona clinched the second half division title this week and is now locked in for a trip to the post-season.

That trip starts on Tuesday at home against Dunedin (Toronto affiliate). Dunedin won the division in the first half, but in the second half they have not played well. They are 10.5 games behind the Cubs, have lost four in a row, and are just three games over .500 at home. That lines up well for Daytona, the best road team in the division, who will have to win at least one game of the best of three series on the road in order to advance.

Kane County Cougars : 45-23

The 90-win Cougars won the division in the second half and are, without any question, the best regular season team in the 2014 Midwest League.

But we still don’t know who they will face in the playoffs. Their opponent for the best of three opening series will be the wild card team from the second half in their division, but that could be either Peoria or Wisconsin. Wisconsin leads by a game with two to play.

Regardless of who the other team turns out to be, Kane County will open their playoff hunt on Wednesday at that team. They return home on Thursday and will conclude the series on Friday (if necessary).

Boise Hawks : 18-18

Boise holds a three game lead in the overall standings with two games play, and that means they have locked up a trip to the post-season.

The Hawks should welcome Hillsboro to town for the first of a best of three playoff series on Tuesday. The rest of the series will be played in Hillsboro.

Arizona Cubs : 9-19

The Cubs limped to the finish line with just one win in their final week. Their season is now over, and they finished with just twenty two total wins. That’s good for second worst in the Arizona Rookie League.


Junior Lake will likely make his return to Chicago in September, but he may have a hard time finding at bats now that both Arismendy Alcantara and Jorge Soler are in the outfield.

Josh Vitters, currently on the disabled list, is on the 40 man roster and is therefore a candidate to come up should he be healthy enough. The same can be said of Mike Olt.

Of those not on the 40 man roster, the only position players that I could see the Cubs bringing up would be catcher Rafael Lopez or outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha, and I don’t expect to see either of them in Chicago this fall (both are Rule 5 eligible, by the way). Lopez is a good candidate to compete for the Cubs backup catcher job in spring training next year, and for that reason I could see the team wanting to take an early look at him in the majors. Ha is one of the best defensive outfielders around, but the Cubs may have issues playing all their outfielders as it is. Adding Ha to the roster in order to sit him on the bench does not appear to be likely.

There could be a number of pitchers on the way, though, including some currently not rostered. Some of those on the 40 man roster already may be shut down due to the amount of innings they have pitched rather than be brought to Chicago, but barring that I suspect they will all come up. Those rostered pitchers are: Dallas Beeler, Blake Parker, Chris Rusin, Brian Schlitter, Dan Straily, and Arodys Vizcaino.

That means, at long last, we may finally get to see Vizcaino pitching in the majors as a Chicago Cub. That is something a lot of fans have been looking forward to ever since the Cubs picked him up from the Braves two years ago.

Of the non-rostered pitchers, while I can make a strong case for Marcos Mateo, the only two I think could be rostered and brought to Chicago are Eric Jokisch and Armando Rivero. Jokisch, a lefty, has been the best pitcher in Iowa not named Kyle Hendricks pretty much all season and should be in the mix for a starting job in spring training next season (he’s also Rule 5 eligible). Rivero is a reliever with electric late inning stuff who could very well be the Cubs setup man or closer a year from now. He has the potential to be a big part of the Cubs future bullpen, and for that reason I suspect the Cubs will strongly consider calling him up. He has 65 innings (and 100 strikeouts) under his belt already, though, so the team could play it safe and shut him down instead.


Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.