Results tagged ‘ Tim Wilken ’

Farm Report: Boise looks to rebound in Game 2

Photo by Scott McDaniel /

It was a mistake-filled postseason opener for the Boise Hawks, who dropped Game 1 of their best-of-three divisional series to the Yakima Bears (Diamondbacks). The Hawks committed four errors (SS Marco Hernandez, 2B Gioskar Amaya, 3B Jeimer Calendario and LF Trey Martin) and had a run-scoring passed ball by catcher Willson Contreras, who was needed behind the plate after Carlos Escobar sprained his ankle a week ago.

Albert Almora, the sixth-overall pick in the 2012 draft, led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single, and advanced to third thanks to a stolen base and a one-out wild pitch. But he was stranded there by Contreras and Martin.

Scoring Recap: Yakima took a 1-0 lead in the first on shortstop Hernandez’s throwing error, which allowed a run to score from second. The Hawks came back with a roar in the fourth inning, when Hernandez hit a leadoff triple, Dan Vogelbach and Calendario drew walks, and Rock Shoulders made it count with a grand slam. Yakima scored three to tie it in the sixth inning thanks to an RBI double, a hit by pitch, two walks (one with the bases loaded) and a run-scoring passed ball. In the ninth, Yakima’s Danny Poma legged out a disputed infield single, was moved over with a bunt and then scored on a liner (and Martin’s missed throw to the cutoff man) to put the Bears up for good.

Top Performers: Starting pitcher Pierce Johnson gave up just one unearned run in three innings of work, his longest appearance of the year. He allowed two hits and a walk while striking out two. Unfortunately, the Boise video feed was unavailable while he was on the mound.

After Jose Arias struggled with his control in the middle innings, tall left-hander Nathan Dorris (17th round, 2012) closed things out with three innings of one-run ball. Dorris used a fastball-cutter-curve-change combination and induced a number of easy ground balls with his change against right-handed batters.

Though he struck out three times on the night, Shoulders pulled a 3-2 hanging slider over the right field fence for his third grand slam of the year. He was the Cubs’ 25th-round pick in the 2011 draft and hit for a .250/.342/.447 line in 63 games with Boise.

Tonight’s Starting Pitchers: Taken in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, right-hander Tayler Scott takes the hill for the Hawks. When scouting director Tim Wilken (now a special assistant to the GM) selected the pitcher last summer, he noted Scott’s exceptionally quick arm, athleticism and coordinated delivery. Those attributes could play a big part in his development as he fills out his growing 6-foot-3 frame. Scott was born in South Africa, where he was a promising soccer player. Though he didn’t start pitching until high school, he isn’t as raw as you might expect. He competed well against older guys in the fall instructional league last October, posting a 2.52 ERA in 71.1 innings of work.

He keeps the ball on the ground thanks to a low-to-mid-90s fastball that has some sink. His curveball is developing quickly—he snapped some great ones with Boise this year and has shown good feel for the pitch—and rounds out his arsenal with a change-up.

Yakima’s Daniel Watts was Arizona’s 32nd-round pick in the 2012 draft. The left-hander has a 2.23 ERA in 15 starts this year.

Listen Live: Yakima doesn’t have a video feed, but you can listen to Boise’s Mike Safford on

Watchful Eyes: If you want an idea of how important these youngsters are to the future of the Chicago Cubs, you don’t have to look much further than the crowd. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, SVP of Player Development and Scouting Jason McLeod and Chairman Tom Ricketts were all in attendance.

In an interview with the Idaho Statesman’s Chris Langrill, Ricketts emphasized that there’s daily excitement for this Hawks team.

“I read the scouting reports every morning,” he said. “We’re very excited. There’s a lot of guys from this year’s draft and last year’s draft and international players that have all stepped up.”

—Sean Ahmed

Cubs add Joe Bohringer to head up pro scouting staff

Continuing to bolster the front office with some of the “best and brightest” from around the game, the Cubs today named Joe Bohringer director of pro scouting. His position covers professional players and clubs, both major and minor league, under general manager Jed Hoyer, while Tim Wilken will continue to operate the club’s amateur scouting under Jason McLeod.

Full press release below:

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today named Joe Bohringer (pronounced BOHR-in-jur) as the club’s director of pro scouting, reporting to Executive Vice President/General Manager Jed Hoyer.

Bohringer, 41, joins the Cubs from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he most recently served as a pro scout the last five seasons after joining the club in 2006. Prior to joining Arizona, he served as an area scouting supervisor for the Seattle Mariners for five seasons from 2002-06, first in California and then in the upper Midwest.

The 2012 campaign will mark Bohringer’s 23rd season in professional baseball with major league and minor league organizations. He began his professional career with internships with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates followed by opportunities in team operations with minor league baseball clubs during and upon graduation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Before beginning his scouting career, Bohringer spent three seasons as senior manager of player development for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1998-2001), giving him experience on both the scouting and player development sides.

Bohringer and his family reside in Dekalb, Ill.

2011 draft review: Going on the offensive

Javier Baez

The following is condensed from Chris Gigley’s 2011 draft review for the July issue of Vine Line. Subscribers get monthly updates on the minor leagues, including player profiles and in-depth features on baseball and life down on the farm. (Javier Baez photo courtesy of Aflac All-American Tournament)

After Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken’s surprise first-round choice of right-hander Hayden Simpson last year, he used his first pick this year on a shortstop, Javier Baez, despite having one of the game’s best, Starlin Castro, already in the majors.

“He has such an advanced bat,” Wilken said of Baez. “His ability to play at numerous positions also made him attractive. We’re going to let him determine where he plays.”

Baez’s bat and build profile better at third base, where he could one day slide into the lineup next to Castro. Baez stands 6 feet 1 and weighs 205, and shows the kind of bat speed that has earned him comparisons to former big league slugger Gary Sheffield. The Puerto Rico native moved to Florida in 2005 and still needs to work on his English. The Cubs think his game, however, translates just fine in the U.S. (more…)

Cubs sign top pick Brett Jackson

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgYesterday afternoon, the Cubs signed their top pick from MLB’s 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Cal outfielder Brett Jackson for a reported $972,000, pending a physical.

Jackson is a high-motor guy with a quick bat, strong hands and a near-major league ready body. He boasts plus speed and covers some serious ground in centerfield. He has good instincts, takes good routes to balls and owns a plus arm. His power is above-average, which means the left-handed hitter could
 project anywhere from 12-18 homers a year.

09Base Jackson swing folo 17-MPlowres.jpgWith that, however, comes some swings and misses, as he led the Golden Bears this year in strikeouts, with 68. He makes good contact nonetheless and should hit for average.

In three seasons at Berkeley, Jackson batted .303 with 91 runs scored, 25 doubles, 11 triples, 12 home runs and 85 RBIs in 152 games.

In the July issue of Vine Line, both scouting director Tim Wilken and area scout John Bartsch chimed in on Jackson’s abilities. Neither are worried about the strikeouts and are fully confident that Jackson will be patrolling Wrigley Field’s outfield sooner, rather than later.

“We’re really thrilled we could acquire a player like Brett Jackson,” Wilken said. “He plays the game hard, and we think he has a chance to be a front-line centerfielder and everyday player,” he added. “He has an above-average throwing arm. He’s an athletic centerfielder, a plus runner and has a chance to have some power.”


Said Bartsch: “He’s a hard-nosed player who likes to get dirty and compete. He’s got a short compact stroke with stronq, quick hands. He’s got plus range in all directions, gets good reads off the bat and takes instinctive routes….He looks the part now. He still gets pull happy at the plate. He needs to recognize off-speed pitches better and use the whole field. But he has the tools to play.”

–Mike Huang

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Draft day — Cubs to pick around 7 p.m. CT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgThe magnetic board is ready. Scouting director Tim Wilken, GM Jim Hendry, assistant GM Randy Bush, and all of the organization’s amateur scouts have been packed into a room for over a week.

Yes, it’s the signs of the First-Year Player Draft — when tens of thousands of hours of preparation play out over 50 rounds. Many baseball people consider this their favorite time of year.

The Cubs select 31st this year, in a talent pool with little clarity beyond the first pick. Wilken firmly subscribes to the “best future big-leaguer available” theory, with his successful track record showing little preference between college and high school kids.

Untitled-1.jpgBut Wilken does have a strong preference for athletes, and the farm system has improved significantly in that area since his first draft in 2006. Check out our “Farm Reportdraft preview from the June issue of Vine Line by clicking on the thumbnail at right.

We’ll have Wilken’s comments on the first pick — expected to be made around 7:20 Central –here on the Vine Line blog.

Other can’t-miss coverage

The MLB Network and will televise the first round tonight at 5 p.m. Central, and they have an incredible amount of coverage planned on their 2009 draft page. Scouting reports, interviews, analysis, video … They have just about everything you could need.

Also, don’t miss our draft blowout in the July issue of Vine Line, featuring reports on the Cubs’ 2009 draft picks. We get exclusive access to the team’s amateur scouting reports and profile the first 10 picks, based on our scouts’ evaluation of their tools and makeup. It’s true insider coverage that you can only get from Vine Line.

— Sean Ahmed

Down on the Farm: Cashner Signs with Cubs

Throughout the season, Vine Line Online will speak with players, managers and front-office personnel in the minor-league system. Today, “Down on the Farm” checks in with Andrew Cashner, the Cubs’ first-round draft pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, on signing with Chicago.

Cashner A pitching 1.jpg Yesterday, the Cubs signed Cashner, the 19th-overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. The deal includes a reported $1.5-million signing bonus, around $75,000 dedicated to further education and a guaranteed invitation to spring training next year.

Last year, it took until the Aug. 15 deadline for Chicago to sign 2007 first-round pick Josh Vitters (No. 3 overall), but Cashner did not want to wait that long to make his professional debut.

“I’m ready to get playing,” said Cashner, moments after inking his deal. “My big thing is getting a couple months underneath my belt. If you wait till the deadline then you are starting out at the low end. I want to get there a lot faster than some other people do.”

By starting Rookie ball earlier than many top draft picks, the former TCU Horned Frog puts himself in good shape to possibly get promoted to a higher Class-A team before the season ends. On draft day, Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken was unsure on whether Cashner would be used as a reliever or a starter. However, it seems that the Cubs have made a decision on the role the flamethrower will take.

“The role I am going to be in is closer,” Cashner said. “That’s what I have heard, so I think that will happen.”

As a first-year closer at TCU this year, Cashner was lights out, picking up nine victories and nine saves in 30 relief appearances. He walked 27, struck out 80 and posted a 2.32 ERA in 54.1 innings. Since then the 6-foot-6 Texas native has been “fishing and…mowing pastures,” and he is eager to get back to the game he loves.

“I’m really excited right now,” Cashner said. “I’m looking forward to going out and working out with the team [in Mesa].”

Like many kids leaving college, this will be the first time Cashner is on his own. The 21-year-old is still trying to wrap his mind around the idea of becoming a professional baseball player.

“It probably will sink in when I get into Mesa [Ariz.] on Friday and finally on my own and paying my own bills and stuff like that,” he said. If all goes well and Cashner is able to adjust to life as a professional pitcher, on and off the field, Cashner might some day pitch in Chicago. After witnessing his first game in Wrigley Field on Wednesday night, Cashner definitely liked what he saw.

“It’s a pretty awesome atmosphere,” he said. “No fans leave early. They stay late, and they still stay even after the game. It’s a pretty neat atmosphere here.”

Hopefully, he can experience it as a player next time.

–Zach Martin

Down on the Farm: Andrew Cashner

This isn’t the first time Andrew Cashner has been drafted, but it appears to be the last. The 19th overall pick has been drafted four times. First in 2005 out of high school by the Braves, then in 2006 by the Rockies, next in 2007 by the Cubs and then, finally, again by Chicago yesterday.

Cashner.jpg“It has been a long process,” Cashner said. “I’ve come a long way since high school, and I think this year is finally the first year I have grown into my body and matured in a baseball standpoint….I left high school at 5-9, and I left TCU at 6-6, 190 pounds so I have come a long way.”

Cashner has made tremendous strides physically in the past year, putting on weight and developing a 98-mph fastball and mid-80s power curve that has helped his stock rise from a 29th-round pick last year to a first-round pick 12 months later. The flame thrower attributes his success to a new diet and workout plan that awaited him after he transferred to Texas Christian University in the fall.

“[TCU] put me on a meal plan and a nutrition plan, and I sat down with our nutritionist and gained some weight. Then the strength coach helped me out a lot, and I put on a lot of muscle and got a lot stronger this year.”

Bigger and stronger, Cashner has electric stuff, but it didn’t fully translate into production until Cashner was made TCU’s closer after being a lifetime starter. TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle made the decision because of the lack of depth in the Horned Frogs bullpen.

At first, the move worried Cashner.

“To be frank, [Cashner] wasn’t so sure,” Schlossnagle said. “Most starting pitchers…feel that the pen is a demotion. We tried to convince him that if he can be really good at this, the elite college closers have done really well in the draft, and if they stay in the bullpen, they move to the big leagues real quick.”

It only took one outing for Cashner to be convinced.

“In his very first opportunity against Cal State Fullerton in our second game of the season…he was 97-99 [mph] and needless to say he bought in pretty quick.”

So far Schlossnagle has been right. Cashner was the first relief pitcher taken in the draft, and if he continues to grow as a pitcher, the green ivy of Wrigley Field could be on the horizon.

Tim Wilken, the Director of Amateur and Professional Scouting for the Cubs, couldn’t agree more, but he is biding his time to decide what role the big righty will take.

“I think we are going to let this one take its own pace,” Wilken said. “His delivery is pretty darn sound and is probably one of the better ones in this draft….He is comfortable in what he is doing…but he has started in the past.

“I think he’s got good versatility and can go either way. We are very happy.”

And what does the Texas native know of Chicago?

“I know that Wrigley Field is awesome and that they are in first place, and Lou Piniella is doing a great job with them.”

Couldn’t have been said much better.

Zach Martin