Pitching powered Iowa, Tennessee won in walk-off fashion, and Mesa fought back to claim a victory Tuesday. Daytona and Boise both lost, while Kane County had the day off. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:
Iowa Cubs (55-48)
1st Place (+1.5)
RHP Dallas Beeler spun seven shutout innings in his fifth consecutive quality start, as the I-Cubs blanked visiting New Orleans 1-0.
- CF Matt Szczur (.246) scored the game’s only run on a bases-loaded walk with SS Chris Valaika (.289, 48 RBI) batting.
- LHP Zac Rosscup (2.49) and RHP Blake Parker (1.29) completed the shutout with a perfect inning each. Rosscup earned his eighth hold, and Parker earned his league-leading 21st save.
Tennessee Smokies (16-16)
T-2nd Place (-1.5)
Tennessee beat the Mississippi Braves 8-7 with a walk-off ground-rule double from CF Jae-Hoon Ha (.219) in the 10th inning.
- 1B Charles Cutler (.333) had three hits, including a two-run homer, and three RBI (34).
- C Luis Flores (.231) and PH Dustin Geiger (.224) each added homers of their own.
- RF Jorge Soler (.415) went 2-for-4 with a run and his 22nd RBI before being promoted to Iowa after the game.
- RHP Frank Batista (2-0, 0.89) tossed two scoreless frames to earn the win in relief.
Daytona Cubs (18-12)
1st Place (+1.5)
Daytona managed three runs on 10 hits, falling to host Palm Beach, 9-3.
- RHP Juan Paniagua suffered the loss in his first start since joining Daytona from Kane County.
- CF Albert Almora (.283) went 2-for-3 with a run, a solo homer (7) and three RBI (50). After the game, he was promoted to Tennessee.
- 3B Wes Darvill (.278) went 3-for-4 with a run, his ninth double and his third stolen base.
- RF Billy McKinney (.283) extended his hitting streak to five with his fourth multihit game in his last eight. He finished 2-for-4 with his fourth double.
Boise Hawks (0-1)
T-3rd Place (-1.0)
Everett AquaSox pitching shut down Hawks hitters, allowing just three hits, as Boise lost in Everett, 6-0.
- RF Jeffrey Baez (.267), C Mark Zagunis (.341) and LF Charles White (.200) recorded Boise’s three hits, all singles. Jeffrey Baez was later called up to Daytona.
- Hawks hitters recorded five walks, including two each from Zagunis and 2B Chesny Young (.354).
Mesa Cubs (12-11)
3rd Place (-2.5)
Mesa returned to action with a 7-6 comeback win over the visiting AZL Dodgers. The Cubs entered the bottom of the seventh trailing 6-1 and won on a walk-off RBI double from RF Eloy Jimenez (.286).
- Jimenez paced the offense, going 3-for-5 with a solo homer to tie the game in the eighth and the walk-off double, bringing him to eight RBI on the season.
- CF Kevonte Mitchell (.286), 1B Roney Alcala (.188) and 3B Adonis Paula (.222) each added two hits.
- RHP Adbert Alzolay (2-1, 6.52) surrendered four earned runs over three frames of relief to earn his second win.
Jorge Soler is one of the many reasons the Cubs have the top farm system in the game, according to ESPN’s Keith Law (Photo by Stephen Green)
ESPN insider Keith Law unveiled his midseason top five farm systems Tuesday, and, based off his prospect rankings from earlier this month, the baseball world shouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs at the top of the list. The organization has three prospects in the top eight of Law’s individual rankings in Kris Bryant (No. 1), Addison Russell (No. 4) and Javier Baez (No. 8). And Cuban import Jorge Soler checks in at No. 38.
Along with that quartet, Albert Almora, C.J. Edwards and Pierce Johnson have all generated buzz and graced various prospect lists in the past year. But the farm system goes even deeper than that.
Here’s some of what Law had to say about the Cubs system:
I know Cubs fans have heard this before, but just wait ’til next year, because this club is going to get good in a hurry, at least on the run-scoring side of the ledger. The system already had the minors’ best collection of high-end bats, and it added several more during the past seven weeks, including the fourth-best prospect in the minors in shortstop Addison Russell, who came over with promising left fielder Billy McKinney in the Jeff Samardzija trade with the Athletics.
The Cubs also added catcher/left fielder Kyle Schwarber with the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft. It’s a pick I think was an overdraft in part due to doubts he will stick at either position, but he has raked so far in limited at-bats, mostly against younger competition. They used the savings on Schwarber’s bonus to grab several high-upside high school arms later in the draft, including right-hander Dylan Cease, whose elbow ligament injury might require Tommy John surgery but who was seen as a top-15 pick talent before his injury. Cease has a fastball that can touch 100 mph and at times a plus breaking ball.
Most of the successful arms in the system this year have been pitchers at low-Class A Kane County, particularly undersized Taiwanese right-hander Tseng Jen-Ho and 2012 draftee Paul Blackburn, which means the Cubs probably won’t get the starting pitching help they need from their system in the next year or two. Fortunately for them and their fans, they have the bats to trade to acquire pitching from outside the organization.
Rounding out Law’s top five were the Twins, Astros, Mets and Pirates.
Daytona’s offense was dominant Monday, while Boise won despite only four hits. Iowa, Tennessee and Kane County couldn’t get it done, and Mesa had the day off. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:
Iowa Cubs (54-48)
1st Place (+0.5)
Iowa couldn’t overcome an early four-run deficit, falling at home against New Orleans, 5-4.
- 2B Javier Baez (.251) extended his hitting streak to 15 games (.306/19-for-62), going 1-for-4.
- 1B Lars Anderson (.277) went 1-for-4 with a seventh-inning, two-run homer.
- In his first Triple-A rehab appearance, RHP Kyuji Fujikawa (9.00) allowed a run on two hits in the eighth inning.
Tennessee Smokies (15-16)
3rd Place (-2.0)
Tennessee’s three runs in the bottom of the ninth weren’t enough, as they fell to Mississippi, 4-3.
- CF Jae-Hoon Ha (.219) went 1-for-5 with a three-run homer in the ninth inning.
- LF/RF Jonathan Mota (.243) posted his second-straight three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a run.
- RF Jorge Soler (.410) recorded his seventh multihit game, going 2-for-3.
- RHP Tony Zych (4.63) struck out three hitters in two scoreless innings of relief.
Daytona Cubs (18-11)
1st Place (+1.5)
Daytona recorded 11 hits in a 9-6 victory over host Palm Beach.
- 3B Jordan Hankins (.254) went 1-for-3 with a fourth-inning, three-run blast.
- LF Rock Shoulders (.222) reached base four times, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a home run.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach (.271) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI (51).
- RHP Michael Jensen (5-4, 2.56) earned the win, and RHP Starling Peralta (3.72) picked up the save.
Kane County Cougars (19-11)
1st Place (+2.0)
Kane County managed just five hits in a 3-1 loss at Great Lakes.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario (.248) went 1-for-4 with a fifth-inning, solo home run.
- RF Kevin Brown (.265) went 3-for-4 with his second double of the campaign.
- RHPs Zak Hermans (3.60) and Michael Wagner (3.19) combined to toss three scoreless innings of relief.
Boise Hawks (22-16)
T-1st Place (–)
Boise defeated visiting Salem-Keizer, 7-6, despite being outhit, 13-4.
- DH Justin Marra (.318) went 1-for-3 with an eighth-inning, solo blast.
- PH/C Dan Canela (.304) went 1-for-3 with a double (9) and a game-high three RBI (23).
- LHP Sam Wilson (2-0, 4.05) earned the win, and RHP David Garner (4.15) picked up the save.
The Cubs kick off their first homestand of the second half with 10-games against the Padres, Cardinals and Rockies at Wrigley Field from July 22-31. The team’s throwback uniform, promotional giveaways, specialty food and beverage offerings, and entertainment will all mirror the sights and sounds of the 1970s as part of the season-long celebration of the ballpark’s 100th birthday.
This homestand’s special event is Cubs Girl Scout Night on Monday, July 28. The team has worked with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana to host the special event for Girl Scouts, family and friends, with attendees receiving a commemorative Cubs-themed Girl Scout patch. In addition, $3 per each ticket sold will be donated back to the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
On Sunday, July 27, the Cubs will wear a popular throwback, light blue road uniform from 1978 to honor the Cubs of the late ’70s. The Cardinals will participate as well by wearing 1978-inspired throwback uniforms.
Fans coming to the ballpark will have the chance to collect unique promotional items at various games of the homestand, beginning with a special Cubs Wine Tote presented by E&J Gallo Wine for the first 10,000 adults 21-and-over on July 22. On July 24, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Cubs T-shirt. On July 25, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Jack Brickhouse bobblehead with an audio chip of Brickhouse calling Ernie Banks 500th home run. On July 26, the first 10,000 adults will receive an Ernie Banks replica statue. The first 5,000 children on Sunday, July 27, will receive a ’70s Throwback Cubs Magic Baseball. The following evening, 5,000 fans will receive a Northwestern football magnet schedule when they depart the ballpark, while attendees of the Cubs’ annual Girl Scout Night will receive a commemorative Cubs-themed Girl Scout Patch. On July 29, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Mobile Device Power Bank, and the first 10,000 fans in the ballpark July 30, will receive a Cubs T-shirt.
Specialty Food Offerings:
Levy Restaurants continues its decade-inspired menu at the Decade Diner, located inside Gate D near Section 142. The 1970s homestand features a Kraft Breaded Chicken Parmesan Sandwich with herb-breaded chicken breast, house-made marinara sauce and melted Kraft Provolone Cheese, served on a toasted hoagie roll. Fans can also try the Classic Tuna Melt homestand special, which includes Levy Restaurants’ signature tuna salad served on toasted rye bread with aged Kraft Cheddar Cheese and sliced tomatoes.
The Decade Dogs stand near Section 123 is serving the 1970s Pulled Pork Dog, a Vienna Beef hot dog topped with pulled pork, barbeque sauce and coleslaw. The Pulled Pork Dog is available all season.
Adults 21-and-over can enjoy a Cooperstown Iced Tea, made with Captain Morgan’s Ready-to-Drink Long Island Iced Tea Mix. The cocktail is a variation on Long Island Iced Tea, which surged to popularity during the ’70s.
Wrigley Field hosted noteworthy baseball and non-baseball events during the 1970s, including Ernie Banks’ 500th home run and the Chicago Bears’ last game at Wrigley Field.
In 1970, Mr. Cub Ernie Banks connected for his 500th home run off Pat Jarvis to help beat the Braves, 4-3. He would end his career with a franchise-record 512 home runs.
Seven months later, in the Bears last game at Wrigley Field, Jack Concannon passed for four touchdowns and ran for another in a 35-17 victory over the rival Green Bay Packers.
On a frigid day in April 1972, Cubs rookie Burt Hooton threw a no-hitter in his fourth career start to beat the Phillies, 4-0. He was the first National League rookie in 60 years to throw a no-hitter. Five months later, Milt Pappas nearly threw a perfect game, as he retired the first 26 Padres batters. He ended up walking Larry Stahl with two outs in the ninth on a questionable ball-four call, but he retired the next batter to complete the impressive no-hitter and beat San Diego, 8-0.
On May 14, 1976, Dave Kingman of the New York Mets hit the longest home run in Wrigley Field history, driving the ball more than 500 feet. The ball traveled down Kenmore Avenue.
On July 28, 1977, the Cubs and Reds combined to tie the National League record for most home runs in a single game with 11. The Cubs beat the Reds, 16-15, in a 13-inning classic.
Tickets for the Padres, Cardinals and Rockies remain available at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
July has been pretty good to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. For starters, fans voted the 24-year-old into his first career All-Star Game earlier this month. Then, despite getting swept by Arizona over the weekend, he was named the NL Player of the Week for the period ending July 20.
Over the three-game set, Rizzo hit three home runs, tallied 14 total bases and recorded a 1.273 slugging percentage to go along with four RBI and five runs scored. On the season, he’s hitting .281/.384/.522 (AVG/OBP/SLG) and is tied with the Marlins Giancarlo Stanton for the NL lead in homers with 23, already matching his career high.
The Cubs are off Monday before resuming action Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.
Tennessee snapped a small losing streak, and Daytona piled on the hits to pick up a victory Sunday in a full slate of minor league action. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league games:
Iowa Cubs (54-47)
1st Place (+1.5)
Iowa had its three-game winning streak snapped, falling 4-3 in 12 innings at Round Rock.
- LHP Chris Rusin pitched seven innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out five.
- SS Javier Baez (.252) extended his hitting streak to 14 games (.310/18-for-58), going 3-for-6.
- DH Chris Valaika (.291) and 1B Lars Anderson (.278) each had two hits.
- RHPs Armando Rivero (1.29) and Arodys Vizcaino (13.50) combined to toss three scoreless innings.
Tennessee Smokies (15-15)
T-2nd Place (-1.0)
Tennessee snapped a two-game skid with a 10-3 win at Huntsville.
- SS Addison Russell (.262) went 2-for-4 with two homers (including a fifth-inning grand slam) and a career-high six RBI (8).
- Rehabbing 2B Emilio Bonifacio (.250) went 4-for-5 with a run scored.
- RHP P.J. Francescon (9-5, 4.15) allowed a run in 2.1 innings of relief to earn the win.
Daytona Cubs (17-11)
1st Place (+0.5)
Daytona recorded 15 hits in a 9-1 victory at Palm Beach.
- RHP Felix Pena picked up the win, going seven strong, giving up one earned run and striking out sevenl.
- CF Albert Almora (.281) went 4-for-5 with two runs scored.
- LF Kyle Schwarber (.350), SS Marco Hernandez (.285) and 1B Rock Shoulders (.215) all had two hits apiece.
- RF Billy McKinney (.275) went 1-for-5 with a double (2) and a game-high three RBI (13).
Kane County Cougars (19-10)
1st Place (+2.0)
Kane County dropped its second-straight contest, falling 9-5 at Great Lakes.
- 1B Jacob Rogers (.269) went 2-for-3 with a first-inning, two-run homer.
- C Cael Brockmeyer (.315) went 2-for-4 with a double (7) and one RBI (29).
- LHP Michael Heesch (2.66) struck out six hitters in 3.1 scoreless innings of relief.
Boise Hawks (21-16)
2nd Place (-1.0)
Boise recorded just three hits in a 6-1 loss against visiting Salem-Keizer.
- RF Jeffrey Baez (.273) and SS Jason Vosler (.340) each had a hit.
- 1B Dan Canela (.303) went 1-for-3 with a walk and one RBI (20).
- RHP Ryan Williams (0.00) struck out three hitters over two scoreless innings of relief.
Mesa Cubs (11-11)
3rd Place (-3.0)
The Mesa Cubs fell by a score of 8-2 at home against the AZL Angels.
- CF Kevonte Mitchell (.263) and SS Bryant Flete (.298) had two hits apiece.
- 2B Andrew Ely (.348) went 0-for-4 but picked up his third RBI of the season.
(Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
For our annual July All-Star issue, Vine Line set out to find the most valuable player from each 10-year span in Wrigley Field’s history to create a Cubs All-Star team for the ages. There are hundreds of ways to go about this, so we simplified things by using the baseball statistics website Fangraphs to find the player with the highest Wins Above Replacement total for each decade.
Wins Above Replacement, better known as WAR, takes all of a player’s statistics—both offensive and defensive—and outputs them into a single number designed to quantify that player’s total contributions to his team (though for pitchers, we used only their mound efforts and excluded offensive stats). For our purposes, a player received credit only for the numbers he posted in each individual decade and only for the years he was a member of the Cubs.
In the final installment of our 10 Decades, 10 Legends series, we look at the eccentric and exciting Carlos Zambrano. Though it might come as a surprise to some to see Big Z on the list, he had very solid numbers throughout the 2000s.
1910s – Hippo Vaughn
1920s – Grover Cleveland Alexander
1930s – Billy Herman
1940s – Bill Nicholson
1950 – Ernie Banks
1960s – Ron Santo
1970s – Rick Reuschel
1980s – Ryne Sandberg
1990s – Mark Grace
2000s – Carlos Zambrano, 26.5 WAR
Say what you will about Carlos Zambrano’s time on the North Side. Sure, some of his most memorable moments in a Cubs uniform occurred inside the dugout, including a scuffle with teammate Michael Barrett in 2007 and a few notable run-ins with the beleaguered Gatorade dispenser.
But at the beginning of Big Z’s career, he was an animal on the bump as well. The hard-throwing Venezuelan made his debut in August 2001 and became a workhorse soon after, logging five consecutive seasons with 200-plus innings from 2003-07. During that time, he made three All-Star teams, finished in the top five in Cy Young voting three times, led the NL in wins in 2006 and earned MVP votes in 2004.
The right-hander was the only NL pitcher to win 13 or more games each year from 2003-08, and he served as the Cubs’ Opening Day starter from 2005-10.
Zambrano’s finest effort in a Cubs uniform came on Sept. 14, 2008, when he tossed the club’s first no-hitter in 36 years, striking out 10 batters and walking one in 110 pitches against the Astros. By the end of the 2000s, his numbers had slipped dramatically, and he was out of the game at age 31.
A vast majority of the Cubs’ top prospects put on a show in their respective minor league games Thursday, despite the six clubs going a combined 3-3. Iowa, Tennessee and Kane County all were winners while Daytona, Boise and Mesa were all on the losing end. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:
Iowa Cubs (52-46)
1st Place (+0.5)
Iowa recorded its eighth shutout of the season, beating host Round Rock, 7-0.
- Dallas Beeler pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out four to pick up his sixth win of the season.
- 2B Javier Baez (.244) made his first start of the season at second and went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and three RBI (58).
- 3B Kris Bryant (.337) went 3-for-5 with a second-inning, solo home run.
- CF Matt Szczur (.244), RF Brett Jackson (.214) and SS Chris Valaika (.291) had multi-hit games.
- RHP’s Marcus Hatley (3.00) and Armando Rivero (1.50) each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.
Tennessee Smokies (14-13)
T-1st Place (–)
Tennessee held host Huntsville to just four hits in a 4-1 victory.
- RHP Corey Black fanned eight batters over six innings, giving up one earned run to grab the win.
- SS Addison Russell (.229) went 2-for-4 with a fourth-inning, solo home run.
- RF Jorge Soler (.415) went 1-for-2 with two walks and a sixth-inning, two-run blast.
- 3B Christian Villanueva (.274) went 1-for-4 with a ninth-inning, solo home run.
- 2B Emilio Bonifacio (.000) went 0-for-4 in his second game as part of a big league rehab assignment.
- RHP Frank Batista (0.98) tossed a scoreless ninth frame for his fifth save of the campaign.
Daytona Cubs (15-10)
T-1st Place (–)
Daytona dropped its second-straight game, falling at home against Fort Myers, 7-5.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach (.274) went 2-for-3 with a ninth-inning, two-run homer.
- LF Kyle Schwarber (.333) went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- SS Marco Hernandez (.290) and 3B Jordan Hankins (.255) each had a hit and one RBI.
Kane County Cougars (18-8)
1st Place (+2.0)
Kane County scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to defeat host Lansing, 3-0.
- RHP Duane Underwood pitched six scoreless innings, striking out three.
- 1B Jacob Rogers (.264) went 3-for-5 with a game-high two RBI (38).
- DH Ben Carhart (.282), C Will Remillard (.291) and LF Trey Martin (.239) all had two hits apiece.
- LHP Gerardo Concepcion (2-2, 4.17) tossed three scoreless innings of relief to earn his second victory.
Boise Hawks (19-15)
2nd Place (-1.0)
Boise had its four-game winning streak snapped, falling to visiting Spokane, 12-5.
- RF Jeffrey Baez (.282) went 1-for-5 to extend his Northwest League-leading hitting streak to 20 games (.356/31-for-87). His season average has risen from .164 to .282 over the course of the streak.
- SS Jason Vosler (.325) went 3-for-4 with one RBI (7).
- C Mark Zagunis (.352), 3B Jesse Hodges (.260) and DH Justin Marra (.320) had two hits apiece.
Mesa Cubs (10-9)
3rd Place (-1.5)
- RF Eloy Jimenez (.262) went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
- 1B Roney Alcala (.095) and 2B Ho-young Son (.235) each had one hit.
- RHP Jose Arias (0.82) struck out four hitters over three scoreless innings of relief.
Only Boise was able to muster a win on Wednesday, scoring five runs late in the game. Tennessee, Daytona and Kane County all fell, while Iowa and Mesa had the day off. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:
Tennessee Smokies (13-13)
T-1st Place (–)
RHP Matt Loosen allowed six earned runs over four innings as the Smokies fell to host Huntsville, 6-4.
- Rehabbing IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio started in center field, going 0-for-4 from the leadoff spot.
- RF Jae-Hoon Ha (.217) went 2-for-3 with three RBI (32).
- 1B Charles Cutler added two hits, walked and scored two runs in his sixth multihit game in 12 July contests.
- LHP Jeff Lorick (4.57) and RHP Zach Cates (2.00) combined for four scoreless frames of relief.
Daytona Cubs (15-9)
T-1st Place (–)
Daytona managed one run on seven hits off Fort Myers pitching. The visiting Miracle won 5-1.
- RF Billy McKinney (.313) recorded his second-straight multihit game, which included his first double since joining Daytona.
- 3B Wes Darvill (.255) went 1-for-4 and knocked in the lone Daytona run, his 11th RBI of the 2014 campaign.
Kane County Cougars (17-8)
1st Place (+1.0)
Kane County fell behind 8-0 to host Lansing, eventually losing by a final score of 8-4.
- Kane County managed seven singles from seven different hitters. Each of the four runs was knocked in by a different player: C Ben Carhart (.278, 35 RBI), DH Cael Brockmeyer (.291, 23 RBI), SS Carlos Penalver (.220, 30 RBI) and RF Shawon Dunston (.247, 22 RBI).
- The team hit 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
- RHP Zak Hermans (3.91) provided two scoreless frames of relief. Nine of his 12 relief outings have been for more than three outs.
Boise Hawks (19-14)
2nd Place (-1.0)
Boise tallied two runs in the seventh and five in the eighth to win at home, 8-4, over Spokane.
- OF Jeffrey Baez (.285) went 1-for-5 with a run, a double (6) and an RBI (28), extending his Northwest League-leading hitting streak to 19 games (.366/30-for-82). His season average has risen from .164 to .285 over the course of the streak.
- CF Rashad Crawford (.328) recorded his second-straight multihit game, going 2-for-5 with two RBI (20) and a stolen base (8).
- C Justin Marra (.312) also notched multiple hits, including his team-leading 12th double of the year.
- DH Calvin Graves (.273) finished 1-for-4 with two runs and two RBI (3). He has hit safely in each of his three games with an at-bat since joining Boise.
- LHP Tommy Thorpe (1-0, 0.00) delivered two hitless frames of relief for his first professional win.
- RHP David Garner (2.38) followed with a hitless ninth to earn his second save.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
During Sunday’s MLB Futures Game, which pits the top international prospects with the best American talents, Cubs prospect Javier Baez ripped a home run in the sixth inning to put the World Team ahead. As the Puerto Rican-born shortstop rounded rounded third, his Iowa Cubs teammate Kris Bryant (representing the U.S. Team) applauded his efforts. Baez finished 1-for-2 with the homer, while Bryant went 0-for-3 with a walk.
After a slow start to the season, Baez has picked up the pace. He wrapped up the first half hitting .240/.305/.449 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 14 homers at Triple-A Iowa. In 92 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Bryant is hitting .346/.444/.701 with 31 homers and 81 RBI.