Results tagged ‘ Logan Watkins ’
Mesa’s winning ways continued into the weekend as the Solar Sox downed Salt River 7-5 on Friday and outslugged Peoria 11-8 on Saturday. In both games, Logan Watkins’ bat played a pivotal role.
On Friday, Watkins doubled in the top of the second and scored a batter later on a Brian Ward (Orioles) single. He also reached base on a single in the fifth to go 2-for-5 on the day.
Rubi Silva finished 0-for-4 with a run scored.
No Cubs pitchers threw on Friday.
In Saturday’s matchup, Watkins’ bat really got going. He singled in the third inning and then hit his first homer of the fall on a solo shot to right field in the fifth. In the seventh, he singled again, scoring Jonathan Schoop (Orioles) from third. Three batters later, Watkins scored from third on a George Springer (Astros) single. He finished the day 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Matt Szczur also contributed in Saturday’s victory, going 2-for-5 with a single, a double and a run scored.
Dae-Eun Rhee got the start and went two innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and two walks. He struck out two.
The Cubs host Salt River on Monday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
The Solar Sox let a three-run lead over Phoenix slide into a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth, but Mesa got a run back in the bottom of the frame and held on for a 4-3 victory Thursday afternoon. Outside of Tony Zych, however, it wasn’t the most exciting day for Cubs farmhands.
Zych kept his solid fall going with two scoreless innings of relief. The righty surrendered just a pair of hits and walked none.
Matt Szczur went 0-for-1 with a pair of walks. Logan Watkins was 0-for-4 but reached on a fielder’s choice and crossed the plate as the eventual game-winning run. Rubi Silva pinch-ran for Aaron Westlake (Tigers) but was forced out on a fielder’s choice.
Cubs minor league pitcher of the year Nick Struck got roughed up in his 1 1/3 innings on the hill. He retired the side in order in the seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth. The leadoff hitter singled and the next batter drew a walk. After a flyout to right, Grant Green (Athletics) homered to center to tie the game.
Mesa heads to Salt River Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
It was an offensive struggle for Mesa Tuesday afternoon, as the Solar Sox fell 7-0 to visiting Surprise. The team managed just six hits in the losing effort.
Cubs minor league player of the year Logan Watkins, who replaced the injured Javier Baez on the Sox roster, recorded his first hit of the fall season with a single to right in the fifth. He also drew a walk to finish the day 1-for-3. Matt Szczur singled in the seventh for his only hit in four at-bats.
Fresh off of earning the victory in Saturday’s Rising Stars Game, rightly Tony Zych pitched a scoreless eighth inning, retiring the side in order.
Mesa heads to Scottsdale on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 local time.
How the Cubs have fared:
Tennessee Smokies infielder Logan Watkins was named the organization’s 2012 Minor League Player of the Year. (Photo by Rodger Wood)
Today we continue our tour around the Cubs farm system, taking a level-by-level look at performances the organization hopes to build on in 2013. The Double-A Tennessee Smokies are next in the spotlight.
For all the talent we’ve written about in the lower levels of the Cubs system, it was the Tennessee Smokies who featured two full seasons from the organization’s Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year.
Two nights ago, infielder Logan Watkins and right-hander Nick Struck were honored by Jason McLeod and farm director Brandon Hyde in a pre-game ceremony at Wrigley Field. Watkins was a 21st-round pick out of high school in the 2008 draft, and he’s shown a consistent ability to get on base throughout his minor league career. This year, he hit for a .281/.383/.422 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) and collected 76 walks in 588 plate appearances. His 13 percent walk rate was three percentage points higher than his already lofty career standards, and his slugging percentage was nearly 50 points higher despite having roughly the same batting average. In other words, it was a career year.
Of course, Watkins’ skill set is broader than just patience. He has versatility in the field—spotting at shortstop and center field in addition to second base—and the speed to rack up double-digit triples and stolen bases. He bats left-handed too. A 23-year-old sleeper to track as he likely moves to Iowa next year.
Struck also is turning out to be a late-round sleeper. A 2009 39th-round pick out of an Oregon community college, Struck emerged as the Smokies’ ace a season after he split time between three levels (A, AA and AAA). His 155 innings led the team, and he finished with a 3.18 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Just as importantly, his hits and walks allowed ticked down from a year ago, while his strikeouts climbed to just over seven per nine innings.
Struck isn’t a high-ceiling type—in other words, someone with a high-90s fastball or a wipeout breaking ball—but he’s succeeded with poise, pitch ability and a versatile four-pitch mix. He turns 23 this month and also is likely to wind up in Iowa next season.
First Half / 35-35, tie-second place, 7.0 GB
Second Half / 37-33, tie-second place, 4.0 GB
Storylines: This is a team that the Cubs front office hopes will develop some future contributors in Chicago. Matt Szczur struggled in his first taste of Double-A, but he has the toolset to hit for average and use his speed on the basepaths and in the outfield alongside Brett Jackson. Right-hander Trey McNutt has had mixed success since his breakout campaign two years ago, but this summer, the Cubs found a new home for his plus fastball and power breaking ball in the bullpen. Shortstop Junior Lake also is smoothing out rough edges, but he has a ceiling that few prospects in the higher levels can match. Outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha deserves special mention after a successful all-around campaign including a home run in the Futures Game.