Cubs Minor League Recap: Coleman, Jokisch pitch gems; Francescon slows down Quad City offense

Cubs Minor League Recap: Coleman, Jokisch pitch gems; Francescon slows down Quad City offense
Casey Coleman

There's been some maneuvering around the Cubs organization of late.  As you know Adrian Cardenas has been promoted to Chicago while Junior Lake was activated from the DL yesterday.  That chain of events included Jonathan Mota promoted to AAA.  Mota is more of a utility man prospect and is not on the 40 man roster, but he did get an invite to spring training, so it isn't out of the realm of possibility he could get a shot if an emergency arises, though he'll be competing with Luis Valbuena and Alfredo Amezaga for that kind of opportunity.

On with the recap...

Iowa 1 - New Orleans 0

  • Casey Coleman was dominant today.  He pitched 7 innings, gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out a career high 9 batters in outdueling Alex Sanabia.  He also had one of two Iowa hits on the day, hitting a double high off the wall to break up the no-hitter.
  • The other hit of the game was a broken bat, opposite field single by Josh Vitters.  It was a key hit as it came in the bottom of the 8th with the speedy Brett Jackson on first.  Jackson easily made it to third, then scored on a balk for the only run of the game.
  • Scott Maine came in and pitched the last 2 innings, allowing no hits and walking one while striking out one.  He got the win to move to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.96.

Tennesee 4 - Birmingham 2

  • The Smokies had 6 hits but they also had 8 walks, and that was enough to support Nick Sruck's solid outing.  He went 6 innings and gave up 5 hits and two runs.  He walked 2 and struck out 3.  He is 4-2 on the year with a 3.49 ERA.
  • RHP Marcus Hatley came in and allowed the inherited runner to score, but then settled down to pitch 2 innings without giving up any runs.  Encouragingly he had no walks and 2 strikeouts.  The outing lowered his ERA to 3.68.
  • Kevin Rhoderick came in to get his 4th save of the year with a scoreless inning.  He struck out one.
  • SS Junior Lake had a single, a walk and a stolen base.
  • His DP partner Logan Watkins had a single and walked twice.
  • CF Jae-Hoon Ha also had two walks and now has 11, as many as he had in almost twice as many games last year.
  • 1B Justin Bour had a single and a walk.
  • DH Rebel Ridling finally got off the schneid with his first HR of the year.  He had 20 last year in Tennessee.
  • RF Michael Burgess had a single, a walk, and a run scored.
  • C Michael Brenly has been hitting the ball well lately.  He had an RBI double and his average has crept up to .225.

Daytona 6 - Jupiter 2

  • Eric Jokisch actually may have topped Casey Coleman's sterling performance.  The lefty went 7 innings and walked none and struck out 11.  He allowed just 4 hits.
  • CF Matt Szczur had 3 hits, including a double.  He also drove in a run.  After a horrendous start, Szczur is at a muc more respectable .256/.354/.372 on the year.
  • SS Arismendy Alcantara had a hit and a walk.  He's at .282 on the year.
  • DH Nelson Perez is red-hot.  He went 2 for 2, including a triple, with 2 walks and is now 8 for 11 in his last 3 games.  He's hitting .319 on the year with 4 doubles, 4 triples, and 5 HRs.
  • LF John Andreoli went 1 for 4 with a run scored.  His OBP is in the .440 range and he has showed good defense and decent speed this year.  Right now he looks like a legitimate 4th outfielder prospect.
  • 1B Richard Jones had himself an RBI triple and a walk.  It's been a tough year for Jones who hit .309/.362/.538 with 24 HRs last year at Peoria.  He's hitting .196 on the year and has yet to go deep.
  • RF Elisier Bonne had a hit and an RBI in 4 trips.

Peoria 7 - Quad Cities 5

  • PJ Francescon wasn't dominant but he did slow down the Quad Cities offense just enough today.  He pitched 6 innings and gave up 4 runs, though only 2 were earned.  He gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks to go with 4 strikeouts.  He picked up the win to go to 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA.
  • LHP Sheldon McDonald was called up from Extended Spring Training where the 23 year old was a man among boys.  He had 11 innings and given up just one run.  He had 1 walk and 17 strikeouts.  In his first outing for Peoria, he pitched 2 no-hit innings but gave up one unearned run on a walk, wild pitch, and throwing error by 3rd baseman Wes Darvill.  McDonald isn't really a considered a prospect at this point so he'll have to pitch very well to get attention.
  • Darvill, by the way, now has 11 errors on the season as he rotates from 3B to SS to 2B.  At the plate he had 2 walks and scored a run.
  • LHP Jeffrey Lorick came in for a scoreless inning and his 4th save.
  • 2B Zeke DeVoss went 1 or 5 with a run scored.
  • Taiwan Easterling got the start in CF and scored 3 runs.  He had a double and a single in 5 trips and raised his once abysmal batting average to .213.  He's hitting .308/.372/.436 in his last 10 games.
  • 1B Paul Hoilman had a big day with 3 hits, including his 3rd HR of the year, and 5 RBI.  That now gives him 24 RBI on the season.  Hoilman has been very productive and the 23 year old could be in line for a promotion to Daytona if an opportunity arises.  Daytona 1B Richard Jones has really struggled at .193 with 0 HRs.  The Cubs could then move either Dan Vogelbach or Rock Shoulders to Peoria, though neither has distinguished himself in extended spring training.  The guess here is that Vogelbach probably goes to Boise when the short-season Northwest League commences in June.
  • Remember that hot start by Oliver Zapata?  Well, it looks like ancient history lately.  He struck out twice, giving him 20 in just over 90 PAs.  His average is down to .256.  Zapata is still just 19, however, so we should expect some ups and downs.  Here's hoping this downswing ends soon.
  • Another 19 year old, SS Marco Hernandez, had a hit in 4 ABs and scored a run.  He's had better ABs lately.  I think if he hits .250 this season, the Cubs should consider his season a success, even though he may have to repeat the level.


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  • Are the Cubs committed to Coleman as a starter? He was fairly impressive in ST coming out of the pen and I remember reading that they were considering him there. As a starter, he seems like a 5 inning kind of guy, but his stuff would play OK the first time through the lineup. Seems like he could make a decent middle relief option who could give 2 innings.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Agreed. I think he's depth right now but ultimately he's probably a reliever. He throws harder there and he knows how to pitch a little. Command is inconsistent so just a bit of a better fit in the bullpen, in my opinion.

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    What possible reason could their be to keep Maine down in AAA any longer? The guy has nothing to prove down there and started look like a future closer up here.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Not enough room on the roster and he has options. Eventually he replaces Kerry Wood or Shawn Camp, but for now the Cubs will stick with veterans.

  • John, any news about Reggie Golden? Seems like he's been out for over a couple weeks, now.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    I think they're going to be very cautious with him because it's a hamstring issue and it's a chronic problem he's had for the past 2-3 years.

    Wouldn't be surprised to see him out for another 2-4 weeks.

  • John, what do you know about the scouting report on Scott Weismann? It seems interesting that a guy drafted that late would seem to be able to progress to AA and hold his own there in his pro debut (although, of course, it's early).

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Low 90s fastball, slider. Can touch 93. As someone who stayed through his senior season, he's an advanced arm but he pretty much is what he is. He doesn't project to get bigger or stronger, so as he goes to face more advanced hitters, he's not expected to get a lot better.

    He's the kind of guy who's going to have to prove everybody wrong every year. He'll have an uphill battle. Usually college seniors taken in the late rounds are considered organizational filler.

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