Results tagged ‘ Minor Leagues ’

Cubs Minor League Recap: 7/23/15

Tennessee and Eugene both picked up wins behind late-inning rallies, but the Cubs other minor league affiliates all ended up on the losing side of the ledger Thursday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (52-46)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-8.5)

Iowa dropped its third straight game, falling to Round Rock in the series finale, 3-2.

  • LF Mike Baxter (.292) went 2-for-4 and connected on his first home run of the season, a two-run blast in the third inning to tie the game.
  • CF Matt Szczur (.289) went 3-for-4, drew a walk and scored once. It marked his fifth three-hit game.
  • RHP Felipe Paulino (4.71) tossed a quality start and struck out a season-high eight batters, but took his sixth loss of the season.

Tennessee Smokies (11-15)
Southern League (Double-A)
Third Place (-7.0)

Tennessee scored three runs in the eighth inning to top Chattanooga, 4-1.

  • 1B Jacob Rogers (.200) went 2-for-4 with an RBI (2). This marked his first multi-hit game with the Smokies.
  • RF Billy McKinney (.276) went 1-for-3, knocked a double (19), drove in one (26) and drew a walk.
  • DH Willson Contreras (.316) went 1-for-3 with an RBI (45), a walk and one run scored.
  • LF Jacob Hannemann (.224) went 1-for-3, swiped two bases (14) and scored twice.
  • LHP Rob Zastryzny (4.82) allowed just one run for his second straight game.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (15-13)
Carolina League (High-A)
Second Place (-1.5)

Myrtle Beach dropped its second straight game at Lynchburg, falling to the Hillcats, 7-3.

  • 3B Chesny Young (.353) went 3-for-5, with a double (9) and a run, extending his hitting streak to 12 games (.470/24-for-51). That stretch has included eight multi-hit efforts.
  • LF Kevin Brown (.258) went 1-for-3 and hit a sacrifice fly that scored one (19).
  • C Cael Brockmeyer (.136) went 0-for-3, but drove in a run (9) with a sacrifice fly.
  • RF Mark Zagunis (.284) went 0-for-2, plated his 42nd RBI and drew two walks.

South Bend Cubs (14-14)
Midwest League (Low-A)
T-Fourth Place (-3.5)

South Bend was blanked by Great Lakes, 13-0, after surrendering eight runs in the seventh.

  • SS Gleyber Torres (.317) went 1-for-3 and drew a walk.
  • LF Charcer Burks (.276), 3B Jesse Hodges (.245) and CF Rashad Crawford (.284) each recorded a hit. Crawford has recorded a hit in his last four outings (4-for-13/.308).
  • RHP Michael Wagner (2.61) allowed a season high eight hits and took the loss.

Eugene Emeralds (17-18)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)
Third Place (-3.0)

Eugene scored two runs in the eighth inning to come from behind and top Salem-Keizer, 2-1. The Emeralds snapped a four-game skid.

  • CF Donnie Dewees (.230) crushed a game-winning two-run homer in the eighth inning. All told, he went 1-for-3, swiped a base (3), drew a walk and scored once.
  • 2B Frandy Delarosa (.277) went 1-for-4 and picked up his 10th double. He has recorded a hit in his last four outings and has earned an RBI in back-to-back games.
  • LHP Tyler Peitzmeier (0.00) earned the win and tossed 2.0 hitless innings of relief.

Mesa Cubs (13-12)
Arizona League (Rookie)
Second Place (-2.0)

The Mesa Cubs got out to an early lead but were unable to hold on, falling to the AZL White Sox, 4-3.

  • LF Michael Foster (.394) went 2-for-4, knocked a double, plated one (3) and scored once. This marked his third straight multi-hit game.
  • 2B P.J. Higgins (.500) went 2-for-4 with a double.
  • RF Robert Garcia (.371) went 1-for-4, hit a double (3), drew a walk, swiped a bag (9) and scored once.
  • SS Javier Baez (.333) went 1-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI.
  • 3B Varonex Cuevas (.250) went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 7/16/15

Iowa, Myrtle Beach, South Bend and Mesa all picked up wins for the Cubs yesterday, while Tennessee and Eugene both struggled with the bats. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (48-43)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-9.0)

Iowa opened the season’s second half with a 4-1 victory over the Memphis Redbirds.

  • LHP Tsuyoshi Wada made his second rehab start with Iowa, throwing 71 pitches in 6.0 innings. He walked none and struck out five.
  • RHP Rafael Soriano (0.00) made his first appearance with Iowa, striking out three batters and surrendering one hit in a scoreless inning of relief.
  • LF Junior Lake (.310) extended his hitting streak to seven games (.458/11-for-24), going 2-for-4 with a third-inning solo home run.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva (.261) went 2-for-4 with a double (16) and a run scored.
  • 1B Mike Olt (.219) went 2-for-4 with two doubles (6), one run scored and two RBI (6).

Tennessee Smokies (8-11)
Southern League (Double-A)
Third Place (-8.0)

The Smokies surrendered nine runs on 11 hits as they dropped a 9-2 decision at Montgomery.

  • SS Elliot Soto (.275) reached base three times and scored both of the Smokies’ runs, going 1-for-3 with two walks.
  • RF Bijan Rademacher (.242), C Willson Contreras (.319) and 2B Sutton Whiting (.625) all collected a hit and drew two walks. As a team, the I-Cubs collected nine walks and left 11 runners on base.
  • RHP Starling Peralta (3.00) did not allow any hits or runs in 1.2 innings of relief.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (10-11)
Carolina League (High-A)
T-Second Place (-2.0)

Myrtle Beach scored a run in the fourth inning and held on for a 1-0 shutout win at Potomac.

  • RHP Jonathan Martinez recorded his longest scoreless outing of the season, tossing 7.0 innings with four strikeouts and no walks. He has allowed one or no runs in at least 7.0 innings in three of his last four outings and has won six straight decisions.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.270) went 1-for-4 with the team’s only run.
  • LHP Michael Heesch (1.48) collected his third save of the season, tossing a scoreless ninth inning. He has not allowed a run in his last three appearances (8.2 IP).

South Bend Cubs (11-10)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Fourth Place (-2.5)

South Bend jumped out to a 9-0 lead after four innings and held on for a 10-6 win over Lansing.

  • LF Yasiel Balaguert (.301) extended his hitting streak to 13 games (.396/21-for-53), going 4-for-5 with a double (16), a solo homer and three runs scored. His four hits tied a season high.
  • 2B David Bote (.236) had his third straight multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI (18).
  • SS Gleyber Torres (.308) tallied his 10th game this season with three or more hits, going 3-for-5.
  • RF Jeffrey Baez (.205) went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI (15). He has hit safely in five straight games (.500/9-for-18).

Eugene Emeralds (15-13)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)
Third Place (-1.0)

Eugene mustered just four hits in a 4-0 shutout loss at home against Hillsboro.

  • CF Ian Happ (.269) went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double (5). He is 10-for-25 (.400) in his last six games with four multi-hit efforts.
  • LHP Kyle Twomey has tossed 2.0 scoreless innings in each of his last two outings.
  • RHP Pedro Araujo (3.93) fanned four batters in 2.0 perfect innings of relief.

Mesa Cubs (12-8)
Arizona Rookie League
Second Place (-0.5)

The Mesa Cubs snapped a two-game losing skid, defeating the AZL D-backs, 2-1.

  • CF Robert Garcia (.403) went a perfect 4-for-4 with a stolen base (5), extending his hitting streak to four games (9-for-14). This was his second four-hit game of the season.
  • RF Alex Bautista (.255) went 1-for-4 with his first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the fourth inning that accounted for both of the team’s runs.
  • RHP Dylan Cease has tossed 6.0 scoreless innings across his last two outings. He has allowed just one earned run in 11.2 innings this season, striking out 10 batters and walking four.

Cubs acquire pitching prospect, international slot money from Angels for C Rafael Lopez

The Cubs today acquired minor league left-handed pitching prospect Manny Rondon and international slot number four from the Los Angeles Angels for catcher Rafael Lopez.

Lopez, 27, was designated for assignment on June 27. He batted .276 (43-for-156) with eight doubles, one triple, no home runs and 17 RBI in 46 games with Iowa this season. Lopez made his big league debut with the Cubs last year and hit .182 (2-for-11) in seven games.

Rondon, 20, has gone 3-7 with a 2.94 ERA (38 ER/116.1 IP) in 36 appearances (18 starts) covering three pro seasons in the Angels organization. He was a 2014 Dominican Summer League All-Star when he went 0-5 with a 2.30 ERA (17 ER/66.2 IP) in 14 starts. The 2015 season marks Rondon’s first in the United States, and he made just two starts with the Angels’ rookie league club in Arizona prior to today’s trade.

The left-hander is a native of Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela, and signed with the Angels as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

Cubs name Zagunis, Pimentel minor league player, pitcher of the month for June

The Cubs today named Single-A Myrtle Beach outfielder Mark Zagunis and Triple-A Iowa right-handed pitcher Carlos Pimentel the organization’s minor league player and pitcher of the month for June, respectively.

Zagunis, 22, batted .326 (31-for-95) with 23 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, four home runs, 16 RBI and 14 walks compared to 13 strikeouts in 26 June games for Myrtle Beach. He recorded a .448 on-base percentage and a .537 slugging mark to contribute to a .985 OPS for the month. In nine games from June 10-19, Zaguins hit .439 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs and 11 RBI while posting a 1.209 OPS.

The right-handed hitting Zagunis last month led the Carolina League in runs scored, tied for first in home runs, ranked second in total bases (51) and OPS, third in OBP, tied for third in hits and walks, ranked fourth in slugging, tied for fourth in RBI and tied for fifth in extra-base hits (11).

Zagunis was named a Carolina League midseason All-Star and was tabbed as the league’s Player of the Week for June 15-21. This season, he is batting .313 with 50 runs scored, 15 doubles, four triples, five homers, 35 RBI and 52 walks in 70 games for Myrtle Beach. He has a .446 on-base percentage and a .464 slugging mark.

Selected by the Cubs in the third round of the 2014 draft out of Virginia Tech, Zagunis owns a .302 average with 31 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 67 RBI and 94 walks compared to 84 strikeouts in 127 career minor league contests.

Pimentel, 25, was 4-1 with a 0.95 ERA (3 ER/28.1 IP) in five June starts for Iowa, as he held opponents to a .192 batting average (19-for-99), a .287 on-base percentage and a .212 slugging mark. He walked 14 batters, struck out 22, did not allow a home run and recorded four quality starts, including three outings of at least 6.0 shutout innings.

Pimentel’s 0.95 June ERA led all Pacific Coast League hurlers while his four June victories tied for the league lead. His .192 average against was fourth lowest in the league. He is 6-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 15 games, all but one in a starting role, for Iowa this season. Pimentel has walked 38, struck out 70 and registered at least 6.0 innings in five of his last six starts.

Signed to a minor league deal by Chicago in November 2013 following seven seasons in the Texas Rangers farm system, Pimentel is 51-52 with a 4.06 ERA, one complete game and three saves in 216 career minor league games (147 starts). He has walked 406 and struck out 813 batters, including a career-high 133 in 2013 with Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 6/30/15

Myrtle Beach snapped its losing streak, Eugene rallied for a win, and Mesa secured a victory with a walk-off homer Tuesday. Iowa faltered late, and South Bend’s rally wasn’t enough. Tennessee had the day off and resumes play today. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (40-37)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-10.0)

Iowa got out to an early lead, but was unable to hang on, falling to Round Rock, 6-4.

  • DH Christian Villanueva (.269) and C Kyle Schwarber (.250) each went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
  • CF Rubi Silva (.267) went 1-for-3 with an RBI (27) and one run scored.
  • RHP Dallas Beeler (6.33) tossed his second consecutive quality start, allowing just two earned runs off five hits in 6.0 innings of work.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (1-5)
Carolina League (High-A)
Fourth Place (-3.5)

Myrtle Beach snapped its four-game skid, besting Winston-Salem, 8-4. RHP Jeremy Null drew a no-decision in his first start with the Pelicans.

  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.277) went 4-for-4, plated two (28) and scored once. His four hits ties a career high set on May 20, 2013.
  • 1B Victor Caratini (.242) went 1-for-4 with a double (15) and two RBI (29).
  • RF Mark Zagunis (.312) went 1-for-3 with an RBI (34), a walk and a season-high three runs scored.
  • DH Daniel Lockhart (.227) went 2-for-4 and scored twice, extending his hitting streak to eight games (12-for-30/.400).
  • LF Kevin Brown (.236) went 2-for-5, marking his sixth multi-hit effort.

South Bend Cubs (4-2)
Midwest League (Low-A)
First Place (+1.0)

South Bend’s eighth-inning rally fell short, and the SB-Cubs were topped by Lansing, 5-4.

  • 1B Jesse Hodges (.251) went 3-for-4, crushed a double (9) and drove in two runs (23).
  • SS Gleyber Torres (.320) went 2-for-5 with a double (12), extending his hitting streak to six games (10-for-25/.400).
  • LF Charcer Burks (.279) went 3-for-5 for his fifth three-hit game of the season.
  • 2B Andrew Ely (.248) went 1-for-3 with an RBI (13), a walk and one run scored.
  • RF Kevin Encarnacion (.275) went 2-for-5 and scored twice.

Eugene Emeralds (7-6)
Northwest League (Short-Season A)
T-First Place (–)

Eugene rallied in the eighth inning to top Tri-City, 9-4. The Emeralds took the five-game series, 4-1.

  • DH Donnie Dewees (.333) went 3-for-5 with three doubles (4), four RBI (4), one stolen base (1) and a run scored.
  • LF Eloy Jimenez (.288) went 2-for-4, blasted a solo homer (1), swiped a base (3) and walked once.
  • 2B Frandy Delarosa (.256) went 1-for-3 with an RBI (8), a walk and two runs scored.
  • SS Ho-young Son (.250) went 1-for-4, plated one and scored once.
  • LHP Carson Sands (2.81) earned his first win of the season, allowing just one run (unearned) off three hits and fanning four batters in 5.0 innings of work.

Mesa Cubs (5-4)
Arizona Rookie League
T-Second Place (-1.0)

The Mesa Cubs topped the AZL Mariners, 9-8. Jose Paniagua (.258) crushed a walk-off solo home run to seal the game in the ninth inning.

  • RF Robert Garcia (.346) went 2-for-5 with a triple (2) and scored twice.
  • SS Andruw Monasterio (.200) went 2-for-4 and recorded two RBI (5).
  • 2B Carlos Sepulveda (.265) added two RBI (5), swiped a base, walked once and scored once, despite going 0-for-3.
  • 3B Carlos Jimenez (.357) went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/21/15

It was a rough day in the standings for the Cubs minor league affiliates Thursday, as all four clubs lost. Here are some notes from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (19-20)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Second Place (-7.0)

Iowa dropped the series opener against Tacoma, 5-3. The I-Cubs went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

  • LF Arismendy Alcantara (.238) went 2-for-4, blasted a homer and a triple, plated one and walked once.
  • C Taylor Davis (.358) went 2-for-4 with two doubles and one run scored. It marked his third consecutive multi-hit game (8-for-11/.727).
  • CF Matt Szczur (.327) recorded a double, walked once and scored once to extend his hitting streak to five games (8-for-16/.500).

Tennessee Smokies (22-19)
Southern League (Double-A)
Second Place (-3.5)

Tennessee’s ninth-inning rally fell short as the Smokies dropped the series opener at Montgomery, 4-3.

  • RF Billy McKinney (.320) had his third multi-hit game with the Smokies, going 2-for-3.
  • C Willson Contreras (.305) went 1-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
  • 1B Dan Vogelbach (.328) went 0-for-2, but walked once, earned an RBI and scored once. He has drawn 31 walks over 39 games this season.
  • LHP Jeffry Antigua (3.21) took the loss, snapping his two-game winning streak.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (24-12)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+4.5)

The Pelicans allowed two runs in the eighth inning as they fell to Frederick in the series finale, 4-3.

  • RF Mark Zagunis (.328) went 4-for-4 with an RBI, a double and one run scored. He tied his career high with four hits and extended his hitting streak to 11 games (20-for-45/.444).
  • DH Chesny Young (.480) went 3-for-4, hit a double, plated one and walked once. Young has recorded a hit in every game with the Pelicans, including five consecutive multi-hit games (12-for-25/.480).
  • 2B Daniel Lockhart (.212) went 2-for-4 with one run scored.
  • RHP Daury Torrez (3.86) tossed his third quality start but drew a no-decision after surrendering two earned runs in 6.0 innings.

South Bend Cubs (18-23)
Midwest League (Low-A)
Seventh Place (-6.0)

South Bend allowed a season high 17 runs in the series finale at Lansing. The SB-Cubs’ 17-2 setback marked their fifth consecutive loss.

  • 1B Cael Brockmeyer (.305) went 1-for-4 with a two-run blast in the fourth inning.
  • 2B Andrew Ely (.250) went 2-for-4 and with a run scored.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 5/11/15

Tennessee, Myrtle Beach and South Bend all picked up wins yesterday behind strong hitting, but Iowa fell despite scoring seven against Colorado Springs.

Iowa Cubs (15-16)
Pacific Coast League (Triple-A)
Third Place (-7.0)

Iowa surrendered a season-high 13 runs in a 13-7 setback against Colorado Springs.

  • LF John Andreoli (.295) blasted a triple (3), drove in two (5), walked once, scored twice and swiped three bases (12). He extended his hitting streak to four games (7-for-15/.467).
  • C Rafael Lopez (.254) went 2-for-4 with a triple, three RBI (8), one walk and one run scored. This marked his second-consecutive multi-hit game.
  • CF Arismendy Alcantara (.231) and 1B Chris Valaika (.233) each recorded a double and scored once.

Tennessee Smokies (16-14)
Southern League (Double-A)
Second Place (-2.0)

Tennessee blanked Montgomery 4-0 to snap a three-game losing streak. The Smokies crushed back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning.

  • 1B Dan Vogelbach (.333) blasted a solo homer (4) in the eighth inning and walked twice.
  • DH Willson Contreras (.330) also hit a solo home run (2) in the eighth and scored twice.
  • 2B Stephen Bruno (.273) had a multi-hit game and plated one (11).
  • SS Elliot Soto (.284) went 1-for-1 and walked a season high three times.
  • LHP Jeffry Antigua (2.95), RHP Michael Jensen (0.61) and RHP P.J. Francescon (0.71) combined for 9.0 shutout innings, giving up just two hits apiece and fanning three batters apiece.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans (20-12)
Carolina League (High-A)
First Place (+1.0)

Myrtle Beach bested Winston-Salem 8-5 in the rubber game of the five-game series.

  • DH Billy McKinney (.340) collected his third straight multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with three RBI (25).
  • RF Mark Zagunis (.294) went 2-for-4, hit a double (6), drove in a run (10), walked once and scored once. He extended his hitting streak to five games (8-for-19/.421).
  • CF Trey Martin (.218) blasted a triple, walked once and scored once.
  • RHP Zach Cates (0.00) picked up his first save, tossing 2.0 hitless innings, walking two and fanning two. He has not given up a run over his last 5.0 innings of work (three games).

South Bend Cubs (16-15)
Midwest League (High-A)
T-Fourth Place (-3.0)

South Bend topped Lansing 7-4 in the series opener at home. Five different SB Cubs players earned an RBI.

  • 3B Jesse Hodges (.247) went 2-for-3 with a solo homer (2) in the sixth inning and walked once. He has recorded a hit in his last five games (7-for-17/.412).
  • RF Yasiel Balaguert (.189) blasted a two-run homer in the second inning to give the SB Cubs the lead.
  • C Gioskar Amaya (.194) went 2-for-3, hit a double (3), drove in one (7) walked once and scored once.
  • 2B Chesny Young (.315) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI (14).
  • LHP Tommy Thorpe (4.60) and RHP James Farris (2.87) combined for 4.0 scoreless innings of relief, giving up just one hit and fanning five batters.

From the Pages of Vine Line: Minor League Prospectus, Part 3 – A Phone Call Away

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Eric Jokisch should be ready to step in and help the big league club in 2015. (Photo by Stephen Green)

As evidenced by the additions of players like Jon Lester and Miguel Montero, the Cubs front office is transitioning from a period in which it focused primarily on bringing in assets to help improve the future of the franchise to an extended period in which they expect to compete every year at the big league level. However, if you were to suggest to baseball president Theo Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer that this transition means they are now less inclined to build through their farm system, they would be quick to correct you.

Just because Cubs fans may finally start seeing wins accumulate at Wrigley Field doesn’t mean the minor league pipeline is suddenly going to go overlooked. In fact, for the second year in a row, the North Siders will have arguably the best system in all of baseball. Boasting the top prospect in the game, an overabundance of high-profile shortstops and a suddenly large group of interesting arms at the lower levels, the Cubs have built the scouting and player development monster they promised to deliver more than three years ago.

In our annual minor league prospectus, Baseball Prospectus’ Sahadev Sharma helps us break down the names to know at all levels of the system. As the month progresses, we’ll unveil player bios on a section-by-section basis. Here is Part 3 of the Cubs minor league prospectus:

Part 1 – The Elite
Part 2 – The Up-And-Comers

A Phone Call Away

While prospects are always fun to follow, no player dreams of a long career in the minor leagues. The ultimate goal for each is to help out at the big league level. Most everyone is aware that guys like Bryant and Russell will be making an impact at Wrigley Field in the near future, but there are other, less-heralded players who could contribute this year as well in a variety of roles.

Dallas Beeler – RHP
Beeler isn’t the kind of prospect who wows you with his stuff, but he still made his major league debut last season after missing much of 2013 with a finger injury. His ability to work down in the zone, primarily with his sinker and splitter, means he has a chance to induce a significant number of ground balls, which could offset the fact that he’ll likely never be a big strikeout guy. And that’s where Beeler must live—down in the zone—if he’s going to carve out a career in the back end of a major league rotation. His modus operandi is relying on his defense while coaxing weak contact from hitters. The big righty is well aware of this fact and does his best to always work to his strengths. He’ll likely enter Spring Training contending for a spot in the big league bullpen.

Eric Jokisch – LHP
Jokisch is often called a left-handed version of Kyle Hendricks, and the comparison works for multiple reasons. Both pitchers are highly intelligent and attended acclaimed colleges (Jokisch went to Northwestern, Hendricks to Dartmouth), both rely more on command than stuff, and both soak up knowledge, using every bit of information they can get their hands on to try and make themselves better at their craft. Jokisch works hard on scouting the opposition, learning hitters’ tendencies and working to expose their weaknesses. While he could find success at the back of the rotation, he has the advantage of being a southpaw, which many believe will allow him to be most effective out of the bullpen. The Cubs, like most teams, could certainly use more left-handed help in the late innings.

Armando Rivero – RHP
Rivero has a solid chance to join a big league bullpen that rapidly improved throughout the 2014 season. He has an explosive fastball that hitters have difficulty picking up, especially when it’s down in the zone. It’s a special pitch with late cutting life, and he combines it with a power slider that’s one of the best breaking balls in the organization. No matter where he ends up, Rivero will likely rack up strikeouts (as evidenced by his 38 percent K rate last season). He also has a change-up that grades out as average or better, leading some to believe he could be a starter. However, he rarely uses it out of the bullpen, and the Cubs have determined that his best role right now is as a reliever. After missing some time following his defection from Cuba, Rivero has moved quickly through the Cubs system. It’s not unreasonable to think he could have a significant impact at the major league level this summer.

Christian Villanueva – 3B
After Villanueva enjoyed an impressive 2013 campaign that had many projecting a bright future, the 23-year-old struggled in his first taste of Triple-A action in 2014 and was eventually sent back to Tennessee when Bryant earned his promotion to Iowa. One thing that will never be in doubt is his glove. He offers plus defense at the hot corner—the type that could garner a Gold Glove or two if the bat ever comes around to the point where he’s getting regular playing time.

However, the bat does leave major question marks, as Villanueva struggled even when sent back to Double-A. He needs to stop giving away at-bats if he’s ever going to live up to the potential some saw after his breakout 2013 season. Either way, his glove makes him a valuable piece, and he could provide some versatility, as he did see time at second base last season and in the outfield in the Mexican Winter League.

Cubs Winter League Recap: 12/29/14

It was a relatively quiet day for Cubs players in the Caribbean, but Junior Lake and Christian Villanueva stayed hot Monday. Here are some notes from yesterday’s winter league action:

Dominican

  • RHP Frank Batista pitched 2.0 innings in the Aguilas Cibaenas 5-1 loss to the Estrellas de Oriente. He gave up two hits and one unearned run, walked one and struck out one.
  • LF Junior Lake went 2-for-4 with two singles and two strikeouts for the Estrellas de Oriente, raising his winter average to .455.

Mexican

  • 3B Christian Villanueva went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the Yaquis de Obregon’s 7-3 win over the Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

Venezuela

  • LHP Joseph Ortiz picked up his ninth hold of the winter campaign, pitching 0.1 scoreless innings in the Tiburones de La Guaira’s 6-2 loss to the Aguilas del Zulia. He is 3-0 in the Venezuelan League with a 2.89 ERA in 18.2 innings.
  • 2B Luis Valbuena went 1-for-4 with a run scored and a strikeout in the Cardenales de Lara’s 7-3 win over the Caribes de Anzoategui.

Cubs announce 2015 minor league managers and coaching staffs

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Marty Pevey returns for his third season as manager of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. (Photo courtesy of Iowa Cubs)

The Cubs announced their minor league managers and coaching staffs for the 2015 season on Wednesday. A majority of the managers are familiar faces, but many of the coaches are new to the organization or to their affiliate. Below are the staffs, broken down by club:

Triple-A Iowa
Manager: Marty Pevey
Pitching Coach: Mike Cather
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Brian Harper/Leo Perez
Trainer: Scott Barringer

Marty Pevey begins his third season as Triple-A Iowa’s manager after serving as Chicago’s catching coordinator for three seasons from 2010-12. Pevey was the manager at Single-A Peoria in 2009, his first season with the organization. He has a combined 31 years of professional experience (13 years as a player and 18 years as a manager, coach or coordinator), and was named the 2009 Midwest League co-Manager of the Year. Joining Pevey at Iowa will be newly hired pitching coach, Mike Cather, who spent 2014 as Triple-A El Paso’s pitching coach in the Padres’ system. Cather enters his 10th season as a coach after six seasons in the Red Sox system and three seasons in the San Diego organization. Originally drafted by the Rangers in 1993, he pitched in parts of three seasons with the Braves from 1997-99. Brian Harper returns for his third season as Iowa’s hitting coach after managing Double-A Tennessee in 2011 and Single-A Daytona in 2012. A former catcher, Harper played 16 seasons in the majors with seven teams. Rounding out the coaching staff is former Cubs farmhand Leo Perez, who begins his seventh season as a coach in the organization and his first with Iowa. Scott Barringer returns for his second season as Iowa’s athletic trainer and his third in the Cubs organization.

Double-A Tennessee
Manager: Buddy Bailey
Pitching Coach: Storm Davis
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Desi Wilson/Guillermo Martinez
Trainer: Shane Nelson

Buddy Bailey begins his fourth-straight season (and fifth overall) as Tennessee’s manager after guiding the Smokies to a 214-203 (.513) mark in the last three seasons. Bailey spent three years as Daytona’s skipper prior to joining the Smokies, compiling a 215-196 (.523) record, including a 2011 Florida State League Championship. This will mark Bailey’s 27th year as a manager and his 10th with the organization. Storm Davis begins his third season with the organization and his second as Tennessee’s pitching coach after serving in the same role with Daytona in 2013. The former right-handed pitcher went 113-96 with a 4.02 ERA during a 13-year big league career. Desi Wilson, entering his eighth season with the organization, returns as the hitting coach for a third year after handling the same duties at Daytona in 2012. The only new member of the Smokies’ staff, Guillermo Martinez, joins as an assistant coach after serving in a similar role last season with Single-A Boise. Shane Nelson rounds out the staff as the team’s athletic trainer for the second-straight year.

Single-A Myrtle Beach
Manager: Mark Johnson
Pitching Coach: David Rosario
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Mariano Duncan/Chris Gutierrez
Trainer: Peter Fagan

Mark Johnson, now entering his fifth season in the organization, takes over as manager of the Cubs’ new Single-A affiliate, Myrtle Beach. He spent the last two seasons as manager at Single-A Kane County, where he led the 2014 Cougars to a 91-49 record and a Midwest League championship after sweeping through the playoffs with a 7-0 mark. Johnson began his managerial career in 2011 with Boise after enjoying a 17-year professional playing career that included 332 major league games with four clubs. Handling pitching coach duties at Myrtle Beach will be David Rosario, who is entering his 11th year in the Cubs’ system and served with Johnson last season at Kane County. Mariano Duncan returns for his third season as the club’s High-A hitting coach after serving the previous two campaigns as Tennessee’s hitting coach (2011-12). The 12-year major league veteran (1985-87, 1989-97) joined the Cubs in 2011 after spending the previous five seasons (2006-10) as the Dodgers’ major league first base coach. Rounding out the coaching staff is Chris Gutierrez, who began his coaching career last season as an assistant coach with Single-A Kane County. Peter Fagan returns to Myrtle Beach as the athletic trainer.

Single-A South Bend
Manager: Jimmy Gonzalez
Pitching Coach: Brian Lawrence
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Jesus Feliciano/Osmin Melendez
Trainer: Jonathan Fierro

Jimmy Gonzalez begins his second season as a manager in the organization, taking over the Cubs’ new Single-A affiliate in South Bend. He made his managerial debut last season with Rookie-League Mesa after serving as hitting coach with the club in 2013. A former catcher, Gonzalez played 14 minor league seasons after being selected in the first round of the 1991 Draft by Houston. Brian Lawrence enters his first season as South Bend’s pitching coach after serving in the same role with Boise in 2014. Lawrence made his coaching debut in 2012 in the Independent Frontier League and spent 2013 as pitching coach of Single-A Lake Elsinore in the Padres system. The former right-hander went 50-63 with a 4.19 ERA during a six-year big league career with the Padres and Mets. Jesus Feliciano moves up to South Bend after serving as the hitting coach last season at Boise in his debut year as a coach. He enjoyed a 16-year playing career from 1998-2013 and saw action in 54 games with the Mets in 2010. Osmin Melendez will serve as an assistant coach after coaching with Mesa last season and managing the Cubs Venezuela rookie league team in 2013. Jonathan Fierro begins his third season as an athletic trainer in the organization after serving in Kane County in 2014 and Boise in 2013.

Short-Season Eugene
Manager: Gary Van Tol
Pitching Coach: Anderson Tavares
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Ricardo Medina/Terrmel Sledge
Trainer: Mike McNulty

Gary Van Tol returns for his third season as the club’s Short Season-A manager, but he’ll take over a new affiliate, the Eugene Emeralds. Van Tol guided Boise to consecutive 41-35 records in his first two seasons, securing a playoff berth both years. Prior to becoming a manager, Van Tol served as bench coach in Boise for five years and has extensive experience as a coach in the college ranks, including as an assistant at his alma mater, Gonzaga. Joining the staff at Eugene will be pitching coach Anderson Tavares, who spent the last two seasons with Rookie-League Mesa. Tavares played in the Cubs system from 2000-05 and worked as a pitching coach with the Cubs Dominican Summer League team from 2007-12. Ricardo Medina enters his first season as hitting coach with Single-A Eugene after two years with Mesa. He has been involved in the Cubs organization since 1999 as a coach, manager or scout. A new addition to the organization, former major league outfielder Terrmel Sledge rounds out the coaching staff as an assistant coach. Mike McNulty joins Eugene as the team’s athletic trainer after serving in the same role last season with Mesa.

Rookie League Mesa
Manager: Carmelo Martinez
Pitching Coach: Ron Villone
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Oscar Bernard/Ty Wright
Trainer: Toby Williams

Carmelo Martinez enters his 18th season in the organization and begins his second stint as manager with Mesa after serving in the role from 1999-2003, and again in 2006. He has a career record of 159-185 (.462) as Mesa’s manager. Martinez previously served as the Cubs’ Latin America field coordinator for six seasons and played in the majors from 1983-91 with the Cubs, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Royals and Reds. Ron Villone begins his fourth season as a coach in the Cubs organization and his first with Mesa. A former left-handed pitcher, he played in all or part of 15 major league seasons from 1995-2009 with 12 teams. Oscar Bernard begins his first season as the hitting coach for Mesa after spending the previous two seasons as the Dominican Cubs hitting coach. Ty Wright joins the staff as an assistant coach after an eight-year playing career, seven of which came in the Cubs system. Toby Williams begins his second season in the organization and his first as Mesa’s athletic trainer.

Dominican Republic
Manager: Juan Cabreja
Pitching Coach: Armando Gabino
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Claudio Almonte
Trainer: Jose Alvarez

Juan Cabreja returns for a second-consecutive year as manager of the Dominican Cubs after previously managing the club from 2007-08 and managing the Cubs’ second Dominican club in 2012. He led the team to a 42-28 mark last season and has a 244-204 (.545) overall managerial record. Armando Gabino enters his first season as a pitching coach in the organization after a playing career that saw him pitch in seven games over two seasons with the Twins and Orioles. Claudio Almonte also joins the organization as the Dominican Cubs hitting coach after managing the Mariners Dominican Summer League team in 2014. Jose Alvarez begins his second season as the club’s athletic trainer.

Venezuela
Manager: Pedro Gonzalez
Pitching Coach: Eduardo Villacis
Hitting Coach/Asst.: Franklin Blanco
Trainer: Arnoldo Goite

Pedro Gonzalez begins his second year as the Venezuelan Cubs manager after going 28-40 in his first season. He will be joined by pitching coach Eduardo Villacis and hitting coach Franklin Blanco. Villacis enters his first season with the organization, while Blanco begins his ninth year with the Cubs and his third-straight season in Venezuela. Arnoldo Goite returns as the club’s athletic trainer.

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