Results tagged ‘ Minor Leagues ’

Cubs Minor League Recap: 8/3/14

Tennessee and Boise pitchers got the job done Sunday, while Kane County returned to its winning ways. Iowa was the only team in the loss column. Daytona and Mesa were rained out. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (61-56)
2nd Place (-0.5)

Iowa fell out of first place with a 7-5 loss at Omaha.

  • SS Javier Baez (.260) posted his first multihomer game of the season, going 2-for-3 with two walks and two solo home runs. After hitting a combined 11 homers in 72 games in April, May and June, Baez has 12 blasts in 32 games in July and August.
  • DH Josh Vitters (.212) went 3-for-4 with his 13th double of the campaign.
  • RHPs Arodys Vizcaino (7.62) and Armando Rivero (0.92) combined to toss three scoreless innings.

Tennessee Smokies (22-22)
2nd Place (-0.5)

Tennessee held on for a 4-1 victory over visiting Pensacola despite recording just four hits.

  • SS Addison Russell (.293) went 1-for-3 with an eighth-inning, two-run homer.
  • LF Lars Anderson (.351) went 1-for-3 with a double (4) and two RBI (5).
  • LHP Andrew McKirahan (2.65) allowed one hit in two scoreless innings of relief.
  • RHP Pierce Johnson tossed his third-straight quality start, giving up two hits and no earned runs over six innings. He’s holding right-handed hitters to a .181 batting average (26-for-144) this season.

Kane County Cougars (25-17)
1st Place (+4.0)

Kane County won its third-straight game, beating visiting Quad Cities, 9-5.

  • C Cael Brockmeyer (.305) went 3-for-5 with a sixth-inning, solo blast.
  • SS Dan Lockhart (.276) and 2B Chesny Young (.375) each recorded three hits apiece.
  • RF Jeffry Baez (.258) went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double (14), a triple (1) and two RBI (3).
  • CF Trey Martin (.253) went 1-for-4 with two RBI (28).

Boise Hawks (6-7)
4th Place (-3.0)

Boise limited visiting Vancouver to six hits in a 3-2 victory.

  • RHP Trevor Clifton picked up the win, giving up just one hit over five innings and striking out six.
  • 2B David Bote (.328) went 2-for-4 with a third-inning, solo homer.
  • CF Rashad Crawford (.276) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and his 12th stolen base of the year.
  • RHP Brad Markey (2.84) struck out four hitters in two scoreless innings of relief to earn his second save of the season.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 6/17/14

The Cubs minor league affiliates went 1-2 Tuesday, with only the Short-Season A Boise Hawks picking up a win, but the real news was two well-deserved call-ups. Last year’s first-round pick Kris Bryant is moving up to Triple-A Iowa after tearing up the Southern League, and 2014 first-round pick Kyle Schwarber is heading to Single-A Kane County after just five games. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s action:

Iowa Cubs (34-35)
3rd Place (-5.5)

After jumping ahead 2-0, Iowa surrendered eight runs to lose at home to El Paso, 8-5.

  • SS Javier Baez (.219) hit his 11th homer, a three-run shot with two out in the eighth inning.
  • 1B Chris Valaika (.294) recorded his third multihit effort in his last four games, going 2-for-4 with a 
run, a homer and one RBI (33).
  • RF Matt Szczur (.243) added two more hits, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and a double (8).
  • Jokisch’s 10 strikeouts were his most since he fanned 11 on May 7, 2012, with Daytona.

Tennessee Smokies (33-36)
2nd Place (-12.5)

Recently called up Tennessee Smokies 3B Kris Bryant, LHP Hunter Cervenka, and RHPs P.J. Francescon and Armando Rivero all made appearances for the North squad in the Southern League All-Star Game. Bryant went 1-for-5 at the plate, and the three Smokies pitchers combined to allow one earned run over 2.2 frames. Tennessee OF John Andreoli, 2B Stephen Bruno and RHP Corey Black, as well as Iowa C Rafael Lopez, had been named to the North Division team, but did not compete. Tennessee will resume regular season play tomorrow, hosting Chattanooga.

Daytona Cubs (25-42)
5th Place (-20.5)

Visiting Tampa scored the game’s only run in the top of the first to beat Daytona, 1-0.

  • Daytona managed just four hits in the contest and went 0-for-10 with RISP.
  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.289) was the only Cub to reach base twice, going 1-for-3 with a walk. Both times, he was retired on the basepaths, getting picked off at first and then thrown out stealing.
  • LHP Rob Zastryzny threw his second quality start of the season. His first came in his last start on June 9 at 
Clearwater. He has lost both efforts, despite allowing just three earned runs over 13.2 innings.

Kane County Cougars (45-25)
1st Place (+6.5)

In the Midwest League All-Star game, the Western Division routed the Eastern squad, holding them to two hits and winning 7-0. 3B Jordan Hankins and RHP Paul Blackburn represented the Cougars. Hankins went 0-for-2 filling in at third, while Blackburn did not make it into the game. Kane County will return to action on Thursday at home against Cedar Rapids.

Boise Hawks (4-1)
T-1st Place (–)

Boise hit five home runs en route to a 12-3 victory over visiting Tri-City.

  • 2014 first-round pick LF Kyle Schwarber (.600) extended his hitting streak to five games with 
his third three-hit game of the season, including his first double and two home runs (4). He is tied for the league lead with a .600 batting average and 12 hits. He was promoted to Kane County after the game.
  • C Justin Marra (.417) went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and four RBI (7).
  • RF Jeffrey Baez (.300) led off the game with a homer, finishing 2-for-6 with two runs and two RBI (5).
  • 1B Daniel Canela (.467) went 2-for-4 with three runs and a sixth-inning, solo home run.

 

Cubs MLB Draft Wrap-up: Day Two

The Cubs today completed the second day of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The club thus far has selected 10 players. The third and final day of the draft is tomorrow with rounds 11-40.

The Cubs selected right-handed hitting catcher Mark Zagunis out of Virginia Tech with their third pick, and took left-handed pitcher Carson Sands out of North Florida Christian High School in Tallahassee, Fla., with their fourth selection. In the fifth round, the Cubs selected left-handed pitcher Justin Steele from George County High School in Lucedale, Miss.

Zagunis was recommended by area scout Billy Swoope, Sands was recommended by area scout Tom Clark and Steele was recommended by area scout JP Davis.

Zagunis, 21, batted .330 (69-for-209) with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 39 RBI in 53 games for Virginia Tech this season, his junior year. He walked 32 times (compared to 20 strikeouts), which contributed to a .426 on-base percentage, and stole 16 bases. He was named All-ACC Second Team for the second time in his career and was a 2014 Johnny Bench Award semifinalist.

Zagunis owns a .338 (213-for-630) batting average in three seasons at Virginia Tech, recording a .430 on-base percentage thanks in part to 85 walks and only 74 strikeouts. He has recorded a .979 fielding percentage (17 E/797 TC) primarily at catcher, but has also seen time in the outfield. With 52 career stolen bases, he is just the second Hokie to record at least 50 stolen bases since the school joined the ACC.

Sands, 19, was 11-1 with a 0.58 ERA and one complete game in 14 outings, 12 starts, for North Florida Christian this past season. He struck out 100 in 60.2 innings, good for an average of 14.8 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, while walking just 24. At the dish, the left-handed hitting Sands batted .361 (26-for-72) with 12 RBI.

Sands, who posted a 1.28 ERA while going 7-2 in 11 games (nine starts) in his 2013 junior season, has committed to Florida State University. He pitched for Team USA for three summers, winning a gold medal with the 18-and-under team in 2012.

Steele, 18, was 5-1 with a 0.98 ERA in eight games for George County this past season. He struck out 92 in 43.0 innings, good for an average of 19.3 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He walked just 12 and held the opponent to a .109 batting average while throwing two no-hitters. He was named 5A Player of the Year by state coaches.

Steele went 14-4 with a 1.62 ERA in three high school seasons at the varsity level, striking out 210 in 125.1 innings of work for an average of 15.1 strikeouts per 9.0 innings while issuing just 40 walks and allowing one home run. He has committed to the University of Southern Mississippi.

Through the first two days, the Cubs have selected eight pitchers (five right-handed and three left-handed) and two catchers. Additionally, the Cubs have selected seven college players and three high school players.

Cubs finish first night of MLB Draft with RHP Jake Stinnett

The Cubs Thursday made two selections in the opening rounds of the 2014 Major League First-Year Player Draft. With the fourth-overall pick, the team took left-handed hitting catcher/outfielder Kyle Schwarber out of Indiana University, a player many believe is the best college bat in the draft pool. In the second round, the Cubs selected right-handed pitcher Jake Stinnett out of the University of Maryland.

Stinnett, 22, posted a 2.65 ERA (33 ER/112.0 IP) and a 7-6 record in 16 games, all but one in a starting role, for Maryland this season. In his senior year, he struck out a school single-season record and Atlantic Coast Conference-high 130 batters, good for an average of 10.4 strikeouts per 9.0 innings, and walked just 27. Stinnett also led the ACC in complete games (four) and innings pitched, and became the seventh pitcher in program history to throw a no-hitter when he turned the trick in the first game of a March 1 doubleheader against Massachusetts.

Stinnett began pitching full-time in 2013, posting a 2.83 ERA (20 ER/63.2 IP) in 16 games (nine starts), after splitting time on the mound and in the field—primarily at third base—during his first two seasons with Maryland. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder was selected by the Pirates in the 29th round of the 2013 draft, but he did not sign. Stinnett is a graduate of Rancho Buena Vista High School in Vista, Calif.

The 2014 MLB Draft continues Friday at 12 p.m. CT with Rounds 3-10 and concludes Saturday with Rounds 11-40.

Bryant, Baez land on Keith Law’s updated Top 25 prospects list

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With the First-Year MLB Player Draft looming next week (June 5-7), ESPN Insider Keith Law updated the Top 25 players from his preseason Top 100 prospect rankings Friday. Despite the fact that three players from the initial group have moved on to the big leagues, there were no huge changes. The Cubs landed two players on the list, with third-baseman Kris Bryant—and his 16 home runs—moving up seven spots since the preseason, and Javier Baez falling two spots after a sluggish start.

Here’s what Law had to say about the Cubs prospects. The whole article is definitely worth a read, but you must have an ESPN Insider account to access it.

8. Kris Bryant | 3B | Chicago Cubs (age 22)
Current level: Double-A (Tennessee)
Preseason ranking: 15

Aside from a high strikeout rate (more than 25 percent of his plate appearances), Bryant’s season so far is unimpeachable, as he’s walking, hitting for average, hitting for huge power and improving the second time around the league. We’ll have to see what happens to that contact rate when he gets to Triple-A, though.

9. Javier Baez | SS | Chicago Cubs (age 21)
Current level: Triple-A (Iowa)
Preseason ranking: 7

Speaking of Cubs who don’t make enough contact in Triple-A, here’s Baez, owner of the fastest bat in the minors, striking out in a third of his plate appearances so far this year for Iowa.

When he does square the ball up, he hits it hard, but he’s got work to do to make more contact, especially cutting down on his aggressiveness with two strikes, before he’s ready to come up and take over any position in Chicago.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/29/14

There were quite a few bright spots in an 0-5 day for the Cubs minor league affiliates Thursday. Top prospect Javier Baez continued his rebound with a multihit effort, Arismendy Alcantara hit his seventh triple of the season, and Kris Bryant clubbed his league-leading 16th home run. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (27-24)
T-1st Place (–)

GM 1: Redbirds closer David Aardsma held the I-Cubs scoreless in the top of the seventh inning to close out a 2-1 victory for Memphis in the suspended game from Wednesday night.

  • SS Javier Baez (.229) recorded Iowa’s lone multihit game, going 2-for-3.
  • 2B Arismendy Alcantara (.282) went 1-for-3 with an RBI (26) and his team-leading seventh triple.

GM 2: Memphis LHP Tim Cooney still had a no-hitter going with two outs in the top of the ninth inningbefore Alcantara spoiled his bid at history with a single to left field. The I-Cubs fell, 4-0.

  • Alcantara (.282) extended his hitting streak to five games with the two-out single.
  • RHP Alberto Cabrera (5.48) struck out two hitters in 2.0 scoreless innings of work.

Tennessee Smokies (26-27)
2nd Place (-10.5)

Tennessee lost its fourth straight one-run game to host Huntsville, as they fell 4-3.

  • 3B Kris Bryant (.347) went 1-for-4 and clubbed his Southern League-leading 16th homer of the campaign. Bryant has now homered in three of his last four games and is hitting .406 (41-for-101) with 28 runs, six doubles, 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 27 May games.
  • 2B Wes Darvill (.232) and 1B Charles Cutler (.330) each had two hits apiece.
  • RHP Joe Gardner has allowed just one run on three hits in two starts with the Smokies (11.2 IP).

Daytona Cubs (20-31)
5th Place (-17.0)

Visiting Palm Beach recorded 11 hits in an 8-1 victory over Daytona.

  • DH Chadd Krist (.226) recorded Daytona’s lone multihit game, going 2-for-4.
  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.315) went 1-for-2 with a walk and his 12th double of the year.
  • LF Zeke DeVoss (.189) went 1-for-2 with a walk and drove in his sixth run of the campaign.

Kane County Cougars (36-18)
1st Place (+6.5)

Kane County had its four-game winning streak snapped in a 5-0 loss at Clinton.

  • DH Ben Carhart (.297) reached base four times, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk.
  • C Cael Brockmeyer (.350) posted his second three-hit game of the year, going 3-for-4.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.246) went 1-for-4 and has now hit safely in five of his last six games.

From the Pages of Vine Line: The Cubs’ recent draft trends

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Kris Bryant visits Wrigley Field shortly after the Cubs made him their top pick in 2013. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Major league scouting directors tend to be vague when asked about their draft strategies leading up to the big day in June. They generally offer some variation on the same theme.

“It is the simple answer of picking the best guy available,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting. “We’ve made no bones about trying to get as much pitching as we can. But in the last two drafts, we’ve taken position players with our first picks, because we felt Albert [Almora] and Kris [Bryant] were the most impactful guys for us at those draft positions.”

The 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft will take place next week, from June 5-7. Though McLeod and his staff have consistently gone after the best available players with their top picks—regardless of need—they have shown a few common tendencies that might inform their decisions this year.

Since 2011, the year before the current front office took over, the Cubs have trended toward college selections. That year, 40 percent of the players the team picked came out of college. Last year, 55 percent of draftees played college ball. Meanwhile, the percentage of high school players drafted has decreased from 42 percent in 2011 to 27.5 percent in 2013.

Second, right-handed pitchers have dominated the draft board. Nearly 40 percent of the players selected by the Cubs in each of the last three drafts were righties. Under the Epstein/Hoyer regime, the Cubs have picked 38 right-handed arms, 20 of them from college and seven from junior college.

But the Cubs’ right-hander-heavy drafts may be less a function of preference than of consistent depth at the position. And this year is no exception. According to Baseball America, there are 19 right-handed pitchers among the top 50 draft-eligible players for 2014.

McLeod also added that pitchers in general are easier to project.

“You walk into a ballpark and see someone with fairly clean mechanics who’s throwing 90-94, and you’re pretty comfortable recommending him,” McLeod said. “Hitters, especially high school hitters, take more investment. You have to see them on multiple occasions and in the right circumstances before you can say that, yes, you think this guy will hit at the next level.”

Of course, drafting players is only half the battle. Signing them takes just as much work. A year ago, the Cubs signed just 60 percent of their draft picks. The prior season, the team had better luck, inking 81 percent of players selected.

The good news is the organization has gotten better at signing premium talent. In 2011, 17 of the club’s first 20 picks signed, followed by 18 of 20 in 2012 and 19 of 20 last year. Plus, the Cubs signed every one of their top 10 draftees in 2013—a crop that includes hot prospects Bryant, Tyler Skulina and Jacob Hannemann.

The team has also shown a knack for getting quick returns on draft investments. Seven of the organization’s top 20 prospects, according to MLB.com, were selected in 2012 or 2013.

“The last few drafts have had a few no-doubt guys,” McLeod said in late April. “This year, the draft is deep, but we’re still waiting on players to step to the forefront. We’re pretty wide open in terms of who we’re looking at for that top pick.”

History and the current talent pool may suggest the Cubs will take a right-hander with their top pick. But the only certainty is McLeod’s assertion that the front office will select the best players available when they are on the clock.

—Chris Gigley

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/28/14

The Cubs minor league affiliates had a rough day yesterday, going 1-3 overall. But the Kane County squad extended its winning streak to four games, and Kris Bryant continued to mash at Double-A Tennessee. Here are the highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (27-22)
1st Place (+0.5)

GM 1: Memphis scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Iowa, 1-0.

  • CF Arismendy Alcantara (.282) went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to four games.
  • RHP Dallas Beeler was dealt the loss despite tossing his second-career complete game. He owns a1.35 ERA (2 ER/13.1 IP) over his last two starts.

GM 2: The second game of Iowa’s doubleheader at Memphis was suspended in the sixth inning due to rain. The game will resume today with Iowa trailing, 2-1.

Tennessee Smokies (26-26)
2nd Place (-9.5)

Huntsville recorded its third-straight, walk-off win over Tennessee with a 2-1 victory in 11 innings.

  • 3B Kris Bryant (.349) reached base five times, going a perfect 4-for-4 with a run, a walk, a double (14) and his league-leading 15th homer of the campaign. He’s hitting .412 (40-for-97) with 27 runs, six doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 26 May games.
  • RHP Arodys Vizcaino (3.24) struck out two hitters in a scoreless eighth inning of work.
  • LHP Hunter Cervenka (1.42) lowered his May ERA to 1.35 (1 ER/6.2 IP) with 2.0 scoreless frames.

Daytona Cubs (20-30)
5th Place (-16.0)

Visiting Palm Beach recorded 16 hits in a 7-2 victory over Daytona.

  • C Willson Contreras (.267) posted his sixth multihit game in his last seven, going 2-for-4 with two RBI (11). He has raised his average 76 points over the last seven games (.191 AVG on May 19).
  • 2B Gioskar Amaya (.308) went 2-for-4 with his sixth double of the campaign.
  • RHP Stephen Perakslis (5.47) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief.

Kane County Cougars (36-17)
1st Place (+7.5)

Kane County won its fourth-straight game, beating host Clinton, 7-1.

  • 2B Daniel Lockhart (.251) went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and his 10th double of the year.
  • CF Trey Martin (.208) posted his second-straight multihit game, going 3-for-4 with a run, a double (5) and one RBI (17).
  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.246), LF Shawon Dunston (.262) and DH Ben Carhart (.284) each had two hits.
  • RHP Zak Hermans (1-0, 3.12) struck out four hitters in 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win.

 

Baez named PCL Player of the Week

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Javier Baez’s early-season struggles have been well documented, but the 2011 No. 1 draft pick looks to be returning to his dominant form. The Cubs top prospect, according to MLB.com, has been named Pacific Coast League Player of the Week for his efforts from May 19-25.

During the week, the slugging shortstop hit .400 (12-for-30) with six doubles, three homers and eight RBI. He also extended his now-11-game hitting streak. Baez is currently hitting .225/.287/.437 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with seven homers, nine doubles and 25 RBI.

He is the third-consecutive I-Cub to receive a weekly award, as left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin and right-hander Kyle Hendricks both won Pitcher of the Week awards earlier in the month. Fellow left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada claimed Pitcher of the Week honors during the season’s opening week.

Baez is the first Iowa position player to claim the award since Welington Castillo did it in June 2011.

I-Cubs’ Hendricks named PCL Pitcher of the Week

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

Cubs prospect Kyle Hendricks was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for his efforts from May 12-18.

The 24-year-old had one of his finest performances as a member of the Cubs on May 15, when he fanned a career-high 11 batters and walked none over eight innings in a 2-0 I-Cubs win. On the season, he is 4-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 54 strikeouts, the third-best strikeout total in the league. His 9.72 K/9 ratio ranks fourth.

Hendricks was acquired by the Cubs on July 31, 2012, as part of the Ryan Dempster deal. He is currently the Cubs 15th-ranked prospect.

This is the second-straight week an Iowa pitcher has nabbed the honor. Hendricks is the third I-Cubs pitcher to get the award this season, joining last week’s winner Chris Rusin and Tsuyoshi Wada.

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