Results tagged ‘ Hunter Ackerman ’

Farm Report: Hawks drop Game 1 of the NWL championship, return home Saturday

Photo by Scott McDaniel /

The wheels came off late for the Boise Hawks in Game 1 of the Northwest League championship series, as they squandered a six-run lead. They’ll look to bounce back tomorrow night when the series shifts to Idaho for the next two games, if necessary.

The Hawks built a 7-1 lead by the top of the sixth inning thanks to an offense that was taking its walks and getting clutch hits. Up 2-1 in the fifth, they added on three runs thanks to a bases-loaded RBI walk by Dan Vogelbach, an RBI single by Jeimer Candelario and an RBI ground out by Albert Almora. Another potential run was lost when Stephen Bruno thrown out at the plate.

In the sixth, Marco Hernandez plated Willson Contreras and Trey Martin with a single. The shortstop Hernandez went 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the game.

After Hawks starter Ian Dickson worked his way out of some trouble in three innings of work, allowing just one run and striking out three, the game was turned over to five relievers with mixed results. Justin Amlung (12th round, 2012) struck out the side with the bases loaded in the fourth. Hunter Ackerman (fourth round, 2010) got two strikeouts in a scoreless fifth but then put two runners on in the sixth for James Pugliese (18th round, 2011). Both scored as the game narrowed to 7-3.

But it all fell apart in the seventh. Vancouver plated seven runs off Pugliese, Hayden Simpson and Rafael Diplan, partly thanks to some mistakes in the field. Third baseman Calendario made a fielding error, and second baseman Gioskar Amaya threw the ball into left field on a grounder that would have ended the inning. Simpson (first round, 2010) suffered from that but also walked two of the three batters he faced. With the game tied at seven, Diplan (international, 2010) allowed a two-run single with the bases loaded and then a wild pitch before getting out of the jam.

Game 2 Starting Pitchers: Pierce Johnson takes the hill for the Hawks. He gave up an unearned run in three innings of work in his first-round start—it was his longest appearance of the year. He’ll be on a strict pitch count again, so expect him to pair up with spot starter Jose Arias again. You can read some of our notes about the Cubs’ supplementary-round pick in last week’s preview.

Vancouver pitcher Roberto Osuna will be one to watch. He was born Feb. 7, 1995—I’ll pause as you do the math. (Yes, he’s 17 years old.) The Blue Jays purchased his contract from the Mexican League’s Mexico City franchise, and he’s been on the fast track since. He’s 6-foot-2, 230 pounds and reportedly sits in the low-to-mid 90s with his fastball. He has limited opposing batters to a .201 batting average in 12 appearances this year (five in the Northwest League) and has struck out 49 batters while walking 15 in 43.2 innings.

His last appearance was on Aug. 26 against Boise—he gave up a run on three hits and a walk in three innings. Baseball America’s Ben Badler has some more details on Osuna, and Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks posted a scouting report last year.

Listen Live: Once again, you can pick up Mike Safford’s broadcast for the Boise Hawks at

Time Traveled: Ah, the glories of minor league life. The Hawks won Game 3 of their divisional series in Yakima, Wash., Wednesday night. They then had to make the five-hour drive to Vancouver, Canada, for Thursday night’s game. Today, they made the 12-hour drive back to Boise for a championship series that resumes tomorrow night.

—Sean Ahmed

Future watch: An early look at a pair of Cubs prospects

Kevin Goldstein, who covers the minor leagues and player development for Baseball Prospectus, joins Vine Line as a contributor in September. He brings decades of experience distilling scouting reports from scouts and front-office types all over the game. Here’s an excerpt from his first Future Watch column:

Interest in prospects continues to grow, and we’ve reached the point where even the casual fan knows something about players like Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Andrew Cashner by the time they arrive at Wrigley. So while known quantities like Brett Jackson get closer to the big leagues, here are a couple players who are years away but could become more recognizable names if their development continues as planned.

Hunter Ackerman, LHP

A 2010 fourth-round pick out of a North Carolina junior college, Ackerman doesn’t have the kind of velocity that lights up radar guns, but he gets as much movement on his 88-91 mph fastball as any pitcher in the system, and has been a groundball machine for the Cubs’ complex-league team in Arizona. He has a surprisingly advanced change-up, and could be in line for a full-season debut next year at Low-A Peoria if he can refine his breaking ball.

Reggie Golden, OF

A second-round pick last year, the Cubs knew that the 19-year-old Golden would be a project when they signed him, as he’s arguably the best athlete in the system but doesn’t have much baseball experience against top competition. After being held back in extended spring training this year to refine every aspect of his game, he’s been one of the most pleasant surprises at Short-Season Boise. His .253 batting average might not impress, but scouts see big progress in the translation of his tools into baseball skills.