Results tagged ‘ Kane County Cougars ’

Minor League recap: 7/2/13


Alberto Cabrera and five other Smokies were named to the Southern League All-Star team. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs minor league affiliates went an impressive 4-1 on Tuesday, with Iowa, Tennessee, Boise and Mesa all picking up wins. Daytona had the day off. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s action.

Iowa Cubs (44-42)

Iowa recorded nine extra-base hits in a 6-2 victory over visiting Memphis.

  • SS Donnie Murphy (.264) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a double (11), a home run and two RBI (32).
  • 1B Brad Nelson (.266) logged his second-straight multi-RBI game, going 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI (50).
  • 3B Junior Lake (.324) recorded a season high three extra-base hits, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, adouble (8) and two triples (2).
  • LF Ty Wright (.250) was 2-for-4 with a double (4) and two RBI (10). He’s hit safely in four of his last five games.
  • RHP Casey Coleman (2.82) and RHP Marcus Hatley (5.17) combined for 2.2 scoreless innings of relief.
  • Yesterday, LHP Chris Rusin was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Team and was called up to Chicago.

Tennessee Smokies (7-5)

Tennessee outlasted host Montgomery in a 13-inning affair, beating the Biscuits 4-3.

  • RF Matt Szczur (.298) extended his hitting streak to nine games, going 1-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base (18). He’s hitting .372 (16-for-43) with four doubles, six runs scored and eight RBI during the streak.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva (.248) went 2-for-6 with a double (21), a home run and two RBI (40).
  • C Rafael Lopez (.253) clubbed his fifth home run of the season, going 2-for-5 with the homer and two RBI (22).
  • RHP Yeiper Castillo (1-2, 4.60) struck out two while tossing 3.0 scoreless innings of relief to earn his first win.
  • Yesterday, six Smokies were named Southern League All-Stars: INF Arismendy Alcantara, INF Christian Villanueva, C Rafael Lopez, OF Matt Szczur, RHP Alberto Cabrera and RHP Kyle Hendricks.

Kane County Cougars (2-10)

Kane County mustered just five hits in a 5-3 loss at Wisconsin. The Cougars have lost four of their last five games.

  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.247) went 1-for-4 with two runs scored, a home run, two RBI (28) and one stolen base (1).
  • SS Marco Hernandez (.258) extended his hitting streak to four games, going 1-for-3 with a walk and one RBI (24).
  • CF Albert Almora (.343) went 1-for-4. He’s hitting .464 (13-for-28) against left-handed pitching.
  • LHP Sheldon McDonald (0.00) tossed 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. He hasn’t allowed a run in his first three appearances with the Cougars (7.0 IP).

Boise Hawks (11-8)

Boise won its sixth-straight game with a 10-5 victory over host Salem-Keizer.

  • 2B David Bote (1-for-4, BB, 2 R, HR, RBI) and 1B Jacob Rogers (1-for-1, R, HR, 3 RBI) each hit a home run.
  • C Lance Rymel (.235) went 1-for-3 with two walks, a season-high three runs scored and two RBI (5).
  • 3B Dan Lockhart (.296) logged his second-straight, multihit game, going 2-for-5 with a double (2) and two RBI (5).
  • RHP Orbandy Rodriguez (1-2, 6.75) worked 2.0 scoreless innings, earning his first win of the season.
  • RHP Tyler Bremer (1.93) recorded the final six outs for his second save.

Mesa Cubs (6-5)

Mesa won its fourth-straight game, defeating the visiting AZL Brewers 6-4.

  • SS Giuseppe Papaccio (.313) went 2-for-4 with a double (1) and a career-high three RBI (6).
  • LF Kevin Brown (.280) registered his second-straight multihit game, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and oneRBI (2).
  • RHP Marcos Mateo (1-0, 0.00) struck out the side in the fifth inning and recorded the victory.
  • RHP Erick Leal (0.75) allowed an unearned run on four hits in 2.0 innings of relief, converting his first save.

Six Cougars selected to MWL All-Star Game

The Kane County Cougars entered the 2013 season as one of the youngest squads in the Single-A Midwest League. Apparently, age hasn’t been a factor, as six Cougars—Nathan Dorris, Felix Pena, Bijan Rademacher, Tayler Scott, Rock Shoulders and Dan Vogelbach—were all named to the Western Division All-Star team on Wednesday. This marks the most All-Stars from Kane County since 2009.

Reliever Dorris has been a solid contributor out of the bullpen, posting a 2.52 ERA in 14 appearances and striking out 25 batters over 25 innings. He was drafted in the 17th round of last year’s draft.

Right-handed starter Pena has spent some time on the DL this season, but when healthy, the 23-year-old has posted a 2-0 record with a 2.11 ERA over 38.1 innings. The Cubs acquired him as a non-drafted free agent prior to the 2009 season.

A Johannesburg, South Africa native, Scott has started 10 games for the Cougars this season. He has a 2-2 record with a 4.56 ERA over 53.1 innings. The right-hander was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.

Designated hitter Shoulders leads the league in home runs with 12 and was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Month in April. His .884 OPS is sixth in the league largely thanks to a .505 slugging percentage. The Cubs drafted him in the 25th round of the 2011 draft.

Rademacher’s .310 batting average leads the Cougars for all players with more than 100 at-bats. The outfielder also has five doubles and 15 RBI on the season. He was drafted in the 13th round of the 2012 draft.

Vogelbach will serve as the starting DH for the Western Division. The hulking first baseman has nine homers, fourth in the MWL, as well as 39 RBI. He has an .807 OPS to go along with his .282 average. Vogelbach was selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft.

The game will be played on Tuesday, June 18, and will be hosted by the Dayton Dragons.

Almora transferred to Kane County


(Photo by Jason Wise)

Albert Almora has always felt most comfortable when he’s on a baseball diamond. For the first time during the 2013 regular season, he’ll get that opportunity.

The Cubs’ 2012 first-round draft pick was transferred to Single-A Kane County on Wednesday after missing the first portion of the season with a broken hamate bone in his wrist. The sixth overall pick of last year’s draft entered the season as the organization’s second-best prospect and minor league baseball’s No. 33 overall prospect, according to Baseball America. The publication also lists Almora as the best hitter for average and the best defensive outfielder in the Cubs minor league system.

After signing with the Cubs in early July, he split time between the Arizona Rookie League and Short-Season Boise. In 33 combined games, the outfielder hit .321/.331/.464 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 12 doubles in 140 at-bats.

Almora joins an impressive list of former first rounders to play for the Cougars including Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Joe Blanton.

Hof Off the Presses: May issue featuring the Cubs core


Please don’t judge me, but …

I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan. Look, there wasn’t much I could do about it. I moved a lot when I was younger and lived in Atlanta in the early ’80s. With each subsequent move, I was able to follow the Braves because of TBS.

Here’s what I remember about the Braves from my younger days—1981 was a miserable, strike-shortened year; 1982 was a blast until the postseason (a phenomenon I didn’t realize would repeat itself throughout my adulthood); 1983 was solid; and then depression set in.

The Braves were 80-82 in 1984, and that was by far the best it would get until the franchise began its unprecedented run of regular-season success in 1991. The late ’ 80s saw a wretched slide that reached its nadir in 1988, when the team went 54-106.


So why am I recounting this sad chapter from my childhood? I see a lot of similarities between what the Braves were doing in the late ’80s/early ’90s and what the Cubs are doing now.

In 1990, the Braves went 65-97, good for last place in the NL West, 26 games behind the Reds. In 1991, they shocked the baseball world by winning 94 games and getting all the way to Game 7 of the World Series. Since then, they’ve been one of the most stable and consistently excellent teams in pro sports.

But the Braves’ worst-to-first run didn’t come out of the blue. In fact, the team probably wasn’t as bad as its record in 1990. If you look back at the roster, it included names like Steve Avery, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Mike Stanton, Ron Gant and David Justice. All those players had some important things in common—they were young, untested, and between the ages of 20 and 25.

When we talked to Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein for our January issue, something he said resonated with me.

“There are two ways to really improve your team in a hurry from one year to the next,” Epstein said. “One is sign impact players or bring in impact players from outside the organization. The other is to have a wave of young talent that’s approaching their prime years at the same time.”

The Cubs might not shock the world this year, but they’re building that wave of talent—players who can grow together, win together, lose together, and ultimately figure things out together as they move into their prime years.

One of these waves is at the major league level now in Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson. Epstein calls these players the “Cubs core.” And the organization is developing another strong group in the low minor leagues with high-ceiling players like Javier Baez, Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Pierce Johnson and Dillon Maples.

In the May issue of Vine Line, we talk to the Cubs core about what it means to them to play in Chicago and how they plan to turn potential into major league success. One thing is clear—no matter what the record said at the end of 2012 or what it says right now—these guys do not buy into the presumption that the Cubs are years away from winning.

We also check in on the new minor league affiliate that is helping develop the next wave of top talent. After eight years with the Peoria Chiefs, the Cubs switched their Midwest League affiliate to Kane County, located about 40 miles from Wrigley Field’s doorstep. There are huge benefits to having a farm team nearby, and the Cougars and Cubs both hope to take advantage of that in 2013 and beyond.

Finally, we look at the other side of the Cubs equation—the fan base. This season, the team has developed an advertising and marketing campaign based on the fierce dedication and undying passion of the best fans in the game. We talk to the stars of the new ads and the Cubs front office to find out how it all came together.

To read these stories and more, pick up the May issue of Vine Line, on sale now at select Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line today. And you can follow us on Twitter at @cubsvineline.

Here’s to a brighter future.

—Gary Cohen

Cubs minor league recap: 4/9/13


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 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 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.


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.

Cougars announce Opening Day roster


2011 Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo will start 2013 with the Kane County Cougars. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The Cubs made their fair share of organizational changes during the offseason, from roster transactions to the proposal to restore Wrigley Field. But one of the bigger moves this winter was partnering with the Kane County Cougars as the club’s new Single-A affiliate. The Cougars play their home games in Geneva, Ill., roughly 40 miles west of Chicago, which gives fans a chance to view the future of the organization up close.

On Tuesday morning, the Cougars announced their Opening Day roster, and it’s full of high-upside talent that Cubs fans should (and now can) keep an eye on.

First baseman Dan Vogelbach headlines the squad’s roster, along with a trio of exciting young infielders in Jeimer Candelario, Gioskar Amaya and Marco Hernandez. Vogelbach, a 2011 second-round pick, is viewed by many as the best power hitter in the organization.

Pierce Johnson, a right-hander the Cubs selected in the supplemental first round of the 2012 draft, could be one of the organization’s best young arms. Lendy Castillo, a 2011 Rule 5 pick who got into 13 games last year for the Cubs, will also start 2013 with Kane County.

Here is the full roster manager Mark Johnson will have at his disposal when his squad opens up on Thursday:

Justin Amlung RHP
Jeff Antigua LHP
Jose Arias RHP
Lendy Castillo RHP
Ian Dickson RHP
Nathan Dorris LHP
Michael Heesch LHP
Pierce Johnson RHP
Eddie Orozco RHP
Felix Pena RHP
Stephen Perakslis RHP
Tayler Scott RHP
Brian Smith LHP

Yaniel Cabezas
Willson Contreras
Chadd Krist

Gioskar Amaya
David Bote
Jeimer Candelario
Marco Hernandez
Rock Shoulders
Dan Vogelbach

Pin-Chieh Chen
Trey Martin
Bijan Rademacher
Oliver Zapata

Prospectus Preview: Down the Pipeline, Jeimer Candelario


(Photo courtesy Boise Hawks)

The Cubs front office—and Midwest fans of the team—already are planning to wear out their odometers on day trips this spring. Located about an hour west of Wrigley Field, the Class-A Kane County Cougars will feature a host of legit prospects, many of whom starred for the ultra-exciting Boise Hawks last summer.

One player expected to start there is Jeimer Candelario, just one of more than 60 players covered in Vine Line’s annual Minor League Prospectus. The issue will hit newsstands in February, and single issues are available by calling 800-618-8377. It’s an exhaustive rundown, perfect for Spring Training and beyond. And if you’re heading to the Cubs Convention this weekend, make sure to stop by the Down on the Farm panel Sunday at 9 a.m., hosted by broadcaster Dave Otto and Vine Line Managing Editor Gary Cohen.

Ht./Wt.: 6-1/180
B/T: S/R
Born: 11/24/93 in New York, N.Y.
Acquired: 2010 Non-Drafted Free Agent
Tools: HIT, POW
2012 STATS (Short-Season): .281 AVG/.345 OBP/.396 SLG (71 G)

Barely the age of the typical high school draft pick, the 18-year-old Candelario held his own against college-age competition in the Northwest League. He’s a big-framed, stocky kid who can really swing the stick, and he has a chance to be a special hitter. If you’re willing to spare the expectations, he’s a bit like Pablo Sandoval in that he’s a switch-hitter who hits for average, has man strength and will try to stick at third base. But Candelario’s defense needs work, as he battled inconsistency in the field for the Boise Hawks. Most promising may be his surprisingly advanced plate approach. He plays the game under control and with a real rhythm to his work in batting practice. He’s one to keep an eye on in his first year of full-season ball. 

Other players featured in this section: Infielders Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Gioskar Amaya, Marco Hernandez and Dan Vogelbach; catcher Wilson Contreras; outfielder Trey Martin; and pitchers Dillon Maples and Ben Wells.

Plus, tidbits on IF Ronald Torreyes, RHP Jose Rosario, RHP Austin Reed, IF Carlos Penalver, RHP Tayler Scott, RHP Michael Jensen, OF Jeffrey Baez, IF Zeke DeVoss and OF Pin-Chieh Chen.

Sean Ahmed