Cubs' Minor League Daily: Another Great Start By A Lefty

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Cubs’ Minor League Daily: Another Great Start By A Lefty

Chicago Cubs
Frank Del Valle (Nick Martinez/

Frank Del Vallepitched a spectacular game on Friday in Clearwater. He faced twenty batters over six innings, just two more than the minimum, and struck out eleven of them without allowing a hit or a walk. The only blemishs on his game were the two batters he hit.

Del Valle has been fairly well regarded since he signed with the Cubs out of Cuba, but his results this season have so far been a little mixed. His outing on Friday stands out, though, not just for the eleven strike outs in six innings, but also because his GO/AO checked in at 1.33. That’s his best one game ratio this season and markedly better than his season average. In general a ground ball is a win for the pitcher, so when a strikeout artist is inducing ground balls in addition to missing bats, he becomes very difficult to beat.

But let’s not get too excited by Del Valle just yet. He’s had some very good performances at every stop in his brief minor league career, and he clearly has the potential to pitcher higher in the system, but he’s not a future ace candidate just yet. If he continues to pitch well through the end of the season I think we will have to consider him as a potential No 3 starter in the majors one day, but that day is likely to be no earlier than late 2014. For now, Del Valle will have to be content with battling Austin Kirk for the title of Best Lefty in Daytona.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Good pitching plus lots of hitting equals a 12-2 Cubs win.
Tennessee – Tennessee was the victim of a two hit shutout as they lost 2-0.
Daytona – Frank Del Valle pitched a phenomenal start, and the bullpen made it stand up. The Cubs won 3-1.
Peoria – The bullpen took the loss as Peoria opened the second half with a 5-3 defeat.
Boise – Boise has strung a pair of wins together as they won at home 6-4.
Arizona – The Rookie League team used ten hits to pile on the runs as they won 7-5.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Jay Jackson pitched three innings in relief of Chris Rusin, allowed one hit, no walks, and struck out three. His reliever ERA is down to 1.96. As a starter?
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters pushed his season OPS over .800 with Friday’s 3-4, one double performance. Alfredo Amezaga and Juan Apodaca also had three hits. Rizzo’s three hits placed him a home run short of the cycle.
  • [Tennessee] Dae-Eun Rhee pitched a pretty good game, despite the loss. Both of the runs he allowed came on solo home runs as he gave up six hits, walked four, and struck out two over seven innings. Casey Harman struck out two in an inning of relief.
  • [Daytona] Greg Rohan hit his twelfth home run, a two run shot, in the first inning and that would prove to be all the offense Del Valle and the bullpen would need.
  • [Peoria] Pitching in relief of Jose Rosario, Luis Liria allowed a solo home run in his inning and two thirds of work. This is somewhat notable because that home run was the first one allowed by Liria all season. Pitching entirely from the bullpen, he had thrown more than 31 innings over 20 games before someone finally took him deep. That’s not bad at any level.
  • [Peoria] Paul Hoilman hit his seventh home run of the season to lead the team’s offensive efforts. Dustin Geiger and Yasiel Balaguert both doubled. Javier Baez singled, stole a base, and struck out three times.
  • [Boise] Converted outfielder Matthew Spencer was good in relief (2 IP, 2H, 2K), but Rafael Diplan was better (2.1 IP, 0H, 3K).
  • [Boise] Gioskar Amaya had another great game. This time he was 4 for 4 with two stolen bases. Jeimer Candelario also continued his dominance by hitting his third home run of the season.
  • [Arizona] Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Daniel Vogelbach sighting. The first baseman made his 2012 debut with a 2 for 4 game that featured a double. Fellow 2011 draftee Justin Marra had three hits including a double.

Other Minor League Notes

  • To put Jay Jackson and his Jekyll and Hyde starter vs reliever stats in some kind of context, the only comparable splits I can find belong to James Russell in 2011. As I’m sure Cub fans remember, Russell was awful as a starting pitcher at the beginning of the season, but by year’s end he had emerged as one of the better relievers for the team.
  • If Brett Jackson has been trying too hard and mentally taking himself out of his game lately, as some of us suspect, then Friday’s at bats might be a hopeful sign. For the first time in quite some time Jackson had a multi-walk game. In total he was 1 for 4 with a home run, two walks, and two strikeouts. At the very least it is a step in the right direction.
  • For the first time since May 31, Daytona’s Matt Szczur appeared in a game. He did not play defense (the FSL uses the DH), but he did pick up a hit and draw two walks in in the game.
  • Yesterday I presented the theory that Rebel Ridling had been sent to Daytona so he could get some regular work at first base. So much for that idea. In Friday’s game he was back in left field.
  • I’ve talked from time to time about the increased tendency to steal bases that is being exhibited in the Cubs’ farm system this season, and I am happy to report that that particular trend appears to extend all the way down to Arizona. Four different Cubs had stolen bases in this game. Each had one attempt and all were successful.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 32 – 43.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Second Place: 14.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 1-1
Southern League North Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

High ADaytona Cubs : 2-0
Florida State League North Division – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

Low APeoria Chiefs : 0-1
Midwest League Eastern Division – Second Place (tie) : 1.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 3 – 5
Northwest League East Division – Second Place (tie) : 1.0 Game Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 2 – 1
Arizona Rookie League – Second Place (tie) : 0.5 Game Behind

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Author: Luke Blaize

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