The hitting star of the day isn't even with an affiliate...yet. Javier Baez is raking down at extended spring training. Lucky for all of us, we have AZ Phil at The Cub Reporter to keep track of game stats. As far as the full season players go, the prospect with the biggest day was Matt Szczur, who had a much needed 4 hits to break out of his season long slump.
On the mound, Peoria prospect Michael Jensen continues to pitch well. He is now 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA. Meanwhile, Trey McNutt had his typical inefficient, but effective outing.
Missed this yesterday but Robert Whitenack is making his way back in extended spring training throwing 2 scoreless innings (27 pitches), while Gerardo Concepcion got knocked around a bit (3.1 IP, 6H, 5ER, 3BB, 5Ks)
As far as the games go, at Iowa, the AAA Cubs scratched out a win against Texas top pitching prospect Martin Perez while AA Tennessee was no-hit for 7 1/3 innings.
Iowa 3 - Round Rock 2
- Casey Coleman had his best outing of the young season, though he was still a little wild. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and walked 3 to go with 4 hits. He gave up just 2 runs to lower his ERA to 4.11.
- Really enjoy watching Jeff Believeau pitch. He hides the ball by his waist at the outset then has a slight hitch when he brings it back behind his body. Hitters just don't seem to pick him up and time him well and his 88-91 fastball gets on them in a hurry. He's an aggressive pitcher who throws strikes. He pitched 2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and walk while striking out one. His ERA in the early going is at 1.29.
- Blake Parker relieved Beliveau with one out in the 8th and stranded a runner. He did get into some trouble in the 9th when he gave up a single and walk before getting out of the jam to save the game.
- Tony Campana had a hit and walk plus 2 steals. He was also caught stealing once. For the year he's 8 out of 11 in stolen bases.
- Brett Jackson (.277) had a hustle double on a groundball up the middle, 2 walks and a stolen base. Looked today like pitchers were staying away from Jackson and trying to work the outside corner. It's a fine line because if they miss, Jackson is disciplined enough to lay off those pitches and draw the walk, much as he did today.
- Welington Castillo threw out a runner stealing but also had a passed ball. On offense he continues to show improved patience. He walked 2 more times to give him 6 in 33PAs - an 18% walk rate- to go with a .478 batting average.
- Dave Sappelt had a triple and drove in a run.
- Josh Vitters is no longer finding the holes and the patient approach has been missing of late. He's still at .316 for the season after an 0 for 4 day.
Huntsville 5 - Tennessee 2
- Trey McNutt started and gave up his first run of the season in a tough first inning where he gave up 3 hits, but held Huntsville to just one run. He gave up just one hit the rest of the way before reaching his pitch limit. All told he pitched 4 innings, gave up 4 hits, and one run while walking one and striking out 3.
- LHP Jeffrey Antigua had a rough outing, giving up 4 runs in just 2 innings to put the Smokies in a 5-0 hole before RHP Frank Batista closed the door in the 7th.
- Hard throwing Alberto Cabrera came in and pitched a scoreless inning with one walk and 2 strikeouts. His ERA is at 2.70.
- The Smokies were getting no-hit until OF'er Michael Burgess broke it up with one out in the 8th inning. He singled up the middle and then scored on Jonathan Mota's double.
Dunedin 6 - Daytona 3
- LHP Eric Jokisch started and went 6 innings. He have up 6 hits and 3 walks that added up to 4 runs and a loss. He struck out 7.
- Tony Zych has had an up and down start to 2012. Today he gave up 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk over one inning. His ERA is at 4.50.
- Matt Szczur broke out of his slump in a big way with a 4 for 5 day. He raised his average 79 points to .214.
- Greg Rohan isn't considered a prospect, but he's a good minor league hitter. He had a single, a double, and a HR. He chipped in 2 RBI.
Peoria Cedar 6 - Rapids 2
- Michael Jensen continues to impress in his first full professional season. An unheralded late round overslot signing, he's looking more and more like a nice find for Tim Wilken and his staff. He's not a big pitcher but he he has a low 91-93 mph fastball and a plus curve. Today he went 6 innings and gave up just 3 hits and one walk.
- RH reliever prospect Austin Reed gave up his first run of the season but had a solid outing overall. He pitched 2 innings and struck out 3. His ERA is at 1.69. Reed throws a low 90s fastball but uses his good change to make it look faster.
- 1B Ryan Cuneo is a little old for low Class A ball at 23, and this is his second season in the league, so he's not really considered a prospect, but he has hit well to start the season. Tonight he hit 2 HRs and drove in 4 runs.
- Catcher Rafael Lopez is a even older at 24 but his good defense at a premium position make him a prospect. He's not a bad hitter, but at his age there isn't a whole lot of projection left. He'll hit at this level, but as he moves up he'll face pitchers that are as advanced and mature as he is, so he's unlikely to sustain his offensive performance. There's a chance he may hit well enough to be a backup at the MLB level. Tonight he had 2 more hits to bring his average to .379. He also scored 2 runs.
- SS Marco Hernandez is really struggling and while it's early, you have to wonder if he's ready for full season ball as a 19 year old. He skipped Boise but so far he's hitting .135 in Peoria. Meanwhile, top prospect Javier Baez (who'll play SS for the foreseeable future) is mashing in Extended Spring Training according to AZ Phil. Baez went 4 for 5 and hit for the cycle. He also stole a base and made a spectacular play in the field. Baez has been working on not overswinging. He doesn't need to because he has such tremendous natural bat speed that he makes hard contact without effort. So far it looks like it's paying off. In 4 games, he's 9 for 15 with 3 HRs, 3 triples, and 2 doubles. He also hit a HR off Paul Maholm on the last day of spring training in an intrasquad game.
- 2B Zeke DeVoss (.279) had a hit and scored a run while 3B Wes Darvil (.225) had a triple.
- Outfielder Oliver Zapata had his second big day since being called up from Extended Spring Training. He hit his 2nd HR and drew 2 walks.
- 1B Paul Hoilman had a pair of doubles.