Results tagged ‘ Iowa Cubs ’
Zach Putnam pitched well for Triple-A Iowa Tuesday. (Photo by Stephen Green)
The Kane County Cougars captured a walk-off win Tuesday, while Daytona had its three-game win streak snapped and Iowa continued to struggle. Tennessee was off and will host Chattanooga Wednesday. Here are the highlights from Tuesday’s games:
IOWA CUBS (0-6)
Iowa suffered its sixth-straight loss to open the season, dropping a 4-2 decision at Round Rock. The 0-6 mark is the worst start in franchise history.
- LF Darnell McDonald (.313) went 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the second inning He’s hit safely in all five games he’s appeared in.
- RF Brett Jackson (.280) recorded his second-consecutive, multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored.
- DH Ty Wright (.222) went 2-for-4 to snap a four-game hitless skid.
- RHP Zach Putnam (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO) and RHP Rafael Dolis (1.0 IP, 1 H) each worked a scoreless inning of relief.
DAYTONA CUBS (3-2)
Daytona had its three-game winning streak snapped, as the D-Cubs committed four errors in a 5-4 setback against visiting Clearwater.
- DH Zeke DeVoss (.300) went 1-for-5 with a solo home run.
- RF Jorge Soler (.450) extended his hitting streak to five games, including three straight, multi-hit affairs, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a RBI.
- LF-CF John Andreoli (.471) reached base three times, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base. He owns a five-game hitting streak and back-to-back multi-walk efforts.
- LHP Sheldon McDonald (0-1, 3.38) worked 2.2-scoreless innings of relief, surrendering two hits while walking two and fanning one.
KANE COUNTY COUGARS (2-4)
Cougars third baseman Jeimer Candelario smacked a game-winning single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 6-5 walk-off win against visiting Clinton.
- SS Jeimer Candelario (.241) finished 2-for-5 with the game-winning RBI.
- DH Rock Shoulders (.480) extended his hitting streak to six games, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored, a home run and one RBI. He has recorded two or more hits in four-straight games.
- 1B Daniel Vogelbach (.310) recorded his second three-hit game of the campaign, going 3-for-5.
- RF Bijan Rademacher (.294), SS Marco Hernandez (.136) and 2B Gioskar Amaya (.269) collected two hits apiece.
- RHP Eduardo Orozco (1-1, 6.00) picked up his first win of the season despite allowing two unearned runs in the top of the ninth inning.
Josh Vitters will man the hot corner for the Iowa Cubs. (Photo by Stephen Green)
By just scanning down the 2013 Opening Day roster, it’s apparent that the Iowa Cubs have some major league experience. Though the lineup doesn’t include a top prospect of Anthony Rizzo’s pedigree and Jeff Samardzija’s days of shuttling back and forth between Chicago and Des Moines are a thing of the past, this Iowa side has enough talent and experience (17 of the 26 players on the Opening Day roster played in the majors last year) to make things interesting in the Pacific Coast League this season.
Center fielder Brett Jackson will be the centerpiece to this season’s squad. The organization’s No. 4 overall prospect (according to MLB.com) struggled putting the ball in play last season, striking out 217 times combined in Triple-A and in the majors. He spent the offseason reworking his swing, with the hopes of cutting his K total down. If it works, he’ll receive a call-up, or—at worst—there could be an increase in his 15 homers and 47 RBI in 106 Triple-A games from a year ago.
Josh Vitters also returns to the fray after struggling with an August 2012 call-up. He crushed Triple-A pitching last season though, hitting .304/.356/.513 in 110 games, with 17 homers and 68 driven in. He spent much of the offseason working on his patience at the plate, looking to see more pitches and be more selective.
Ryan Sweeney will give the organization a boost as well. The new Cub (signed April 2) has spent seven seasons in the majors, and owns a career .280 average, including hitting .260 with the Red Sox in 2012. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native will get an opportunity to play in front of his home fans before a hopeful return to the bigs.
Much like the other minor league affiliates, the pitching staff doesn’t have a top-level arm. But that’s not to say there aren’t intriguing pitchers.
The rotation boasts three players with 2012 big league experience in lefties Chris Rusin, Brooks Raley and right-hander Drew Carpenter. Rusin’s numbers are the most notable of the three, starting eight games last year and compiling a 6.37 ERA. But during the spring, the 26-year-old surrendered just five runs during 23.1 innings.
The organization’s minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck and Barret Loux both received promotions from Double-A, and round out the rotation. Struck went 14-10 in Double-A Tennessee last year, with an ERA of 3.18 in 155.2 innings, fanning 123. Loux, a former first round pick, recorded a 14-1 record with a 3.17 ERA in 25 starts for Double-A Frisco of the Rangers’ system.
Marty Pevey will take over as manager of the I-Cubs. Here’s the full roster he’ll have to start the season:
Esmailin Caridad RHP
Drew Carpenter RHP
Jaye Chapman RHP
Casey Coleman RHP
Rafael Dolis RHP
Jensen Lewis RHP
Barret Loux RHP
Yoanner Negrin RHP
Blake Parker RHP
Zach Putnam RHP
Brooks Raley LHP
Chris Rusin LHP
Nick Struck RHP
Cory Wade RHP
Josh Vitters was one of the top hitters on the Iowa Cubs this season. (Photo by Stephen Green)
Today we wrap up our tour of the Cubs farm system, which took a level-by-level look at performances the organization hopes to build on in 2013. The Triple-A Iowa Cubs are last in the spotlight.
For those of us who subscribe to MiLB.TV, all eyes were trained on Iowa to start the year. Between Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters, some of the organization’s top prospects could be found just a step away from the major leagues.
In fact, of the 59 players to appear for the I-Cubs this year, 32 appeared in the major leagues at some point this season. And 24 finished the year on a big league roster (though it should be noted that total includes rehab assignments in Des Moines for Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol and Steve Clevenger).
Of course, Rizzo dominated Triple-A until his mid-June call-up, and he more or less became the Chicago Cubs’ best hitter after that. On the other hand, both Vitters and Jackson weren’t able to take off in their major league debuts and, according to Theo Epstein, are expected to start back in Iowa next season.
Lost in the franchise-record 153 transactions was a team that finished in last place, largely because of an offense that finished 15th out of 16 teams.
Still, some specific performances stood out even beyond Rizzo, Vitters and Jackson. Infielder Luis Valbuena showed some pop and patience to go along with a good glove. First baseman Greg Rohan did well in his third stop of 2012. Catcher Welington Castillo once again showed some power, as he continues to develop his good tools behind the plate. And infielder Adrian Cardenas has produced at pretty much every minor league stop.
The Chicago-Iowa shuttle was active on the pitching side as well. Alberto Cabrera has a live arm and was fairly successful in the majors outside a handful of bad appearances. Left-hander Jeff Beliveau could be a key matchup pitcher for the Cubs—and has shown the ability to get righties out too. Rafael Dolis has a great, hard sinker, and his success in Triple-A and lack of it in the majors largely had to do with control. Lefties Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley each made a handful of starts down the stretch in the majors and could be outside challengers for rotation spots next spring.
Overall: 53-87, fourth place, 28.0 GB
Storylines: The Iowa Cubs will be hiring their sixth manager in as many seasons, as 2012 skipper Dave Bialas was one of six minor league coaches who were told their contracts would not be renewed. Bialas had been in the organization for 18 years.
Though the Cubs sit in the cellar of the NL Central with a 25-48 record, it would be difficult to find an uninterested person around Wrigley Field Tuesday afternoon. That’s because elite first base prospect Anthony Rizzo will make his Cubs debut tonight as they take on the Mets.
The 22-year-old fielded questions from the media before taking batting practice, where most of the eyes—and cameras—were on him.
“I’m just going to work hard every day, learn, get better, go through the ups and downs of a baseball player,” Rizzo said.
The slugger was hitting .342 with 23 homers and 62 RBI in 70 games for the Triple-A affiliate prior to his promotion.
Des Moines–I arrived at Principal Park startled to see a huge board in the concourse with the current standings of the North Division of the Pacific Coast League. Even at Triple A, the Cubs were chasing the Cardinals.
The Iowa Cubs entered tonight trailing the Memphis Redbirds by a game and a half. I’m here doing a story for Vine Line following our Triple-A club. I wanted to see what life was like for Triple-A players leading up to the Sept. 1 call up day.
Not only that, I wanted to see what that proverbial minor-league bus ride was like. Thanks to Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita and Iowa Cubs media relations manager Andrea Breen, I was able to somehow weasel my way on to the bus for their Aug. 30 road trip to Omaha.
But before that, I am taking in two games at Principal Park, watching the I-Cubs take on the Oklahoma City Redhawks, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Before the game, I wandered around batting practice saying hi to a bunch of players and coaches. There were a lot of familiar faces, as many of them, like Andres Blanco, Micah Hoffpauir, Bobby Scales, Justin Berg, Jeff Samardzija, Mitch Atkins and Jeff Stevens, have seen big-league action this year. It was almost as if I were watching the Chicago club.
Blanco came over to me and laughed, “Hey, did they send you down, too?”
Hitting coach Desi Wilson was watching behind the cage while catcher Chris Robinson lined a shot to third where Andres Blanco, who has been battling a calf injury, snagged the ball that would have certainly speared teammate Nate Spears.
“There’s baseball going on right now, you know!” yelled Hoffpauir.
Hoffpauir, who had made the big-league club out of spring training seemed to be in OK spirits, but there was a tinge of melancholy.
“How you doin’ Hoffy?”
“I’m doing fine. Things in Chicago good for you?”
“It’s been a little rough, as you might have heard.”
“Yeah, well, it’s still where you want to be, right?”
And that was when it hit me that even though the big-league team was struggling, as a player, the big-leagues was where he would rather be.
Don’t get me wrong; he loves Des Moines, saying “it’s a great city. Quiet. Clean. A lot like where I live now.” But he’d trade it for a ticket back to Chicago in an instant.
The I-Cubs ended up winning 7-4. Robinson’s last game is tomorrow, as he will be going to play with Team Canada. He was voted the team’s MVP.
It’s often a long road for a lot of minor-leaguers to travel, but they do it because playing in the major leagues has been a lifelong dream.
Today at Wrigley Field, some of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs players and coaches just soaked up their big-league surroundings before their game against the Las Vegas 51′s in the second annual Road to Wrigley game.
Last year featured the Cubs’ low Class-A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, including current Iowa hitting coach Desi Wilson, who served as Peoria’s hitting coach last year. He is the only repeat participant, but it doesn’t make the experience any less special.
“I just love seeing how the players respond,” Wilson said. “But it’s great for the fans to see some of the organization’s prospects.”
However, with Iowa just three and a half games out of first in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League’s North Division, the game still is a game–one they must win.
“We try to tell the guys that it is just another game,” said Iowa Cubs manager Bobby Dickerson. “But I’ll tell you what–this is special, and I am going to try my darndest to get as many guys in as I possibly can. Not everyone can make the big leagues. For some guys, this could be the closest they ever get.”
So it probably would be great for the Iowa Cubs to get out to a 14-0 lead by the third inning so Dickerson could sub guys in at will, right?
“Heh, well I wish it were that easy,” he laughed. ”But there are places where I can pick and choose to bring some guys in.”
Last year featured Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg (pictured, left), who managed the Peoria Chiefs and is now the manager of the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies. This year it was Dickerson’s (pictured, right) turn at the helm.
“Heck, this might be the only time I’m up here, but hopefully not,” Dickerson said. “Desi made it up to the bigs as a player. I never did. So I’m just going to enjoy the heck out of this.”
For some Iowa Cubs, being at Wrigley Field was more than de ja vu. They’ve actually been here already this year. I-Cubs like right-handers Justin Berg, Mitch Atkins and infielder Bobby Scales all have seen cups of coffee with the big club this year. Heck, first baseman Micah Hoffpauir–who was optioned Aug. 7 to make room for Geovany Soto–still has his old locker.
Clubhouse attendants Rich Rupp, Gary Stark and Tim Hellmann sheeted off the big-leaguers’ lockers with plastic and ran a steel rod the length of both walls for the minor-leaguers to hang their clothes. I patted Hoffpauir on the back to sort of “welcome” him back.
“So, Hoffy, it’s like you never left! But you can’t use your old locker?” I asked.
“Well, I didn’t want to ruin the delicate plastic sheets in front of them,” he laughed, pointing to his big-league jersey lurking just behind the I-Cubs jersey hanging on the steel rod. “But really it’s not that big a deal. And a lot of these guys have been here before earlier in the year, so for them it’s old hat. But for the new guys it’s great to see their faces as they walk out on to the field. Because [Wrigley Field] is an awe-inspiring place.”
Iowa Cubs general manager Sam Bernabe said: “For the Iowa Cubs organization, the game is extremely exciting. I’ve been in town two or three times in the past couple of weeks and to see our logo all over the place promoting the game, it’s incredible.”