Cubs Minor League Recap: Rizzo with 2 HRs as Iowa, Daytona, and Peoria all have big offensive days

Cubs Minor League Recap: Rizzo with 2 HRs as Iowa, Daytona, and Peoria all have big offensive days

It was an offensive explosion for three of the affiliates as Iowa (13), Daytona (12) an Peoria (7) combined to score 32 runs.  There were 2 HRs from Anthony Rizzo, and one each from Josh Vitters, Justin Bour, and Rubi Silva while Peoria just received a big arm from Extended Spring Training.

Iowa 13 - Fresno 2

  • LHP Chris Rusin started and had another good outing.  He went 6 innings and gave up just 3 hits and one run.  He walked 2 and struck out 5.
  • Esmailin Caridad came in relief and pitched a scoreless inning.
  • Manny Corpas came in and promptly threw a gopher ball.  He gave up a second hit but managed to get out of the inning without any further damage.
  • Blake Parker mopped up and pitched a scoreless inning.
  • Brett Jackson had a triple and 2 walks. He scored 3 runs.  He should have had a 3rd walk, but the ump blew the call, then Jackson chased a pitch out of the zone to strikeout.  Overall, a good day, but he did have 2 more strikeouts.
  • Alfredo Amezaga had 3 hits and is at .317 on the year.  The versatile player was in RF today.
  • Luis Valbuena played 2B and also had 3 hits.  He scored 2 runs.  He's at .319 with an .858 OPS.
  • 1B Anthony Rizzo had a big day with 2 HRs and 6 RBI.  He s now hitting .357 with 9 HRs and 31 RBI.  His OPS is 1.056.
  • 3B Josh Vitters had a nice day with a 3-run double, a solo HR, and a single.  He's still got a long way to go but it's easy to forget Vitters is just 22.  He's at .263 with 2 HRs on the year.  He scored 2 runs in addition to his 4 RBI.

Birmingham 6 - Tennessee 3, 

  • Top pitching prospect Trey McNutt made the start.  He went 3 innings and threw 58 pitches.  Apparently he's on a pitch count, but you'd like him to go at least another inning or so.  He gave up 5 hits, 3 ER, walked one and struck out one.
  • Australian import Ryan Searle relieved McNutt and struggled with his command, walking 3 in 2 innings.  He gave up one run.
  • LHP Jeffrey Antigua pitched 2 scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 3.06.
  • Casey Weathers pitched one inning and gave up one run. He didn't allow a hit, had one walk, and struck out one.
  • Junior Lake went 0-4 but did walk, his second in 3 games.  It's early but Lake also increased his walk rate in the AZ Fall League, so perhaps this is a trend worth watching.
  • CF Jae-Hoon Ha had a pair of hits, including a double, to bump his average up to .260.  He's only slugging .336 on the year, however.
  • 1B Justin Bour hit his 5th HR of the year to go with a .254 batting average.  After a slow start, he's coming around but he looks to have a long swing to me and I wonder if these kinds of ups and downs are going to be par for the course.  Bour had a great first half in Daytona last year only to tail off badly in the second half.  Still, he's a big guy with some serious power and he's starting to hit at a more advanced level, so he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now.
  • C Luis Flores had a big day with a double and 2 singles to give him 4 hits in 10 ABs so far.  Flores is returning from a long suspension for PEDs.  At the time, it looked like he was having something of a breakout year in 2011, hitting .270 with 7 HRs in just 102 ABs.  Before then he'd had 7 HRs total between 2008-2010.

Daytona 12  - Charlotte 4

  • RHP Matt Loosen got the start and pitched 5 solid innings and allowed just one earned run.  He walked 2 and struck out 4.
  • Former first round pick Hayden Simpson piggybacked the start and pitched 4 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 earned).  He walked one, continuing this trend of throwing more strikes.  He allowed 5 hits.  Not as dominant as his last outing, but after some of Simpson's early outings where he was just getting thumped, I'll take it.  Baby steps.  He actually earned the save in his one and lowered his ERA to 6.41.
  • Matt Szczur had a double and a walk.  He scored two runs.  It was Szczur's 16th walk of the year.  He had 26 all of last year between Peoria and Daytona.
  • SS Arismendy Alcantara had a single, a walk, and 3 RBI on the day.
  • Rubi Silva continues his good start.  The versatile athlete played 2B in this game and went 2 for 6 with a 3-Run HR.  He's batting .315 on the year.
  • DH Nelson Perez is still red-hot.  He went 2 for 4.  He's hitting .432 in his last 10 games and is slugging .730.  He's hitting .327 on the year with 5 HRs.  I don't think he'll be in Daytona much longer.  The 24 year old held his own at AA last year for a half season and looks to have improved his approach a little this season with 19 walks after just 26 all of last season.  This seems like a familiar theme for Cubs prospects this year.
  • LF John Andreoli had 2 hits and 2 walks.  He now has 20 walks on the year and is hitting .317.  His OBP is now .455.
  • 1B Richard Jones may be breaking out of his season long slump.  He had 2 more hits today to raise his average to .207.  The power hitting 24 year old has yet to HR, however.
  • RF Elieser Bonne went 1 for 3 on the day and is hitting .264 on the year.

Peoria 7 - Quad Cities 2

  • RHP Jose Rosario had something of an odd line.  He went 5 innings and gave up 10 hits, but managed to limit the damage by walking none and striking out 5.  He allowed 2 ER.
  • RHP Luis Liria pitched 2 scoreless innings, walking 2 and striking out 2.  I wasn't all that impressed with Liria when I went down to see Peoria play, but he's getting results.  He has a 1.98 ERA on the season.
  • The Cubs called up Charles Thomas from extended spring training and he pitched 2 scoreless innings while walking one batter and striking out 3. Thomas is an interesting guy as he is 6'4", 250 lbs and was a 10th round pick, rating as one of the better power hitters in the Cubs 2009 draft as a 1B.  He also threw 94 mph as a two way college player.  After an unsuccessful .176/.235/.277  season in Peoria in 2010, Thomas switched to pitching.  He had mixed results last year in Boise.  He had a 4.35 ERA and averaged over a strikeout per inning...but he also averaged over a walk per inning.  At last glance in extended spring training, Thomas had pitched 8.2 innings walking 3 and striking out 9.  The Peoria Chiefs have some serious power on their pitching staff between Thomas and Kyler Burke, another converted power hitter.
  • On to the real position players...Pen-Chieh Chen played LF and led off.  He had a hit and 2 walks.
  • CF Taiwan Easterling continued his hot streak with 2 hits in 6 ABs with 3 RBI.  He's hitting .319 in his last 11 games.
  • 3B Wes Darvil had a triple and a single in 5 trips.
  • 1B Paul Hoilman extended his hitting streak to 21 with a single.  That streak ties the franchise record. (h/t MiCubs)
  • C Rafael Lopez had a double and 2 walks.  The 24 year old has hit .244 since returning from the DL and is at .266 on the year.
  • OF Oliver Zapata went o-4 although he walked once and scored 2 runs.  He's now down to .244.  After a hot start.  He's now hitting .081 in his last 10 games.
  • SS Marco Hernandez had a single and a walk.  He also scored a run.  After a nightmarish start, Hernandez is picking up the pace, albeit very   slowly.  He has hit in 5 of his last 6 games and is batting .261 in that time.  There's still a long way to go but at least the 19 year old doesn't seem so overmatched lately.


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  • Great info. (As usual.) Making me salivate for the callups.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Thanks Carne...especially can't wait for Rizzo and Jackson. Rusin, Valbuena making a case as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, is there anywhere to see video of Rizzo's homeruns??? I looked at but had no highlights from that game, but tons from various other games... @Carne, i'm salivating too about Rizzo..Nice to see Vitters have a great game too, I got a feeling there's gonna be a lot of buzz surrounding this Cubs team in the next few months with all the kids coming up and the dead weight getting shipped's a nice feeling

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli: would be the place to go if there were any highlights. Rizzo's second HR was a bomb. It was launched deep over the right-centerfield wall. He doesn't hit many cheap ones.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I started my mlb tv package at the very end of spring training, so I really haven't seen Rizzo or Jackson play. For me, it's gonna feel like Christmas. Reminds me of how during spring training I kept thinking, "I'm looking forward to seeing this LaHair guy play." Ha.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Rizzo alone is worth it and Jackson, even with the low average, is an exciting player. I'm just worried soon that there will be nobody left in Iowa worth watching. They'll all be in Chicago by July or so.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe some good deals will replenish it for your viewing pleasure. :)

  • After watching the Cubs struggle to consistently put runs on the board, I'm getting ready for Rizzo to show. To me, this would seem to be the end for Soriano. In years past, he was the worst outfielder I've ever seen (except throwing). He's actually improved this year. What were the former staffs doing with him to make him better? I thought he was one of these athletic freaks who got by on talent, worked hard, but just couldn't put it together upstairs. He's showing you can work with him. He's been making some nice plays in left field this year.

    Nonetheless, if Rizzo comes up, LaHair would have to go to LF. Having more LH thunder in the lineup is exciting. I'm wondering if he'll come up during the interleague series games.

  • In reply to Greg Shuey:

    I'm guessing July because the Cubs are getting close to the point now where they may as well wait and delay his service time clock. Cubs need to move Soriano too, which won't be easy.

  • It's pretty awesome what Rizzo is doing. If you took a Major League All-Star and sent him to AAA, I reckon he'd be putting up approximately the same numbers Rizzo is. Now, that doesn't mean Rizzo is a ML All Star -- he could just have a hot bat. On the other hand, he was doing about the same thing in Spring Training, so now it's been more than two months.

    All the same, I'm sticking to my original prediction that he gets called up in a month, in time for interleague play. That'll give us time to move Soriano and give LaHair an audition in LF.

  • In reply to Taft:

    That makes sense from a position standpoint, but I think if they get that close to delaying his service clock, they're not going to jump the gun a couple of weeks early. I wouldn't be surprised to see somebody come up though. Maybe if Jackson gets hot, I'd have to check but I think he can come up earlier.

  • Hey John. Great writeup as usual. With the Cubs scuffling in the long ball area, it got me thinking about Dan Vogelbach. Any news on where is is and how he's doing?

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    In reply to LarryBiitner26:

    The Cubs roster has Vogelbach listed on the Arizona League team. The AZL doesn't normally start play until mid-late June, if I recall correctly. I think that's also the team the Cubs use for extended spring training for players coming off injuries, etc., so while they aren't playing games that count, they normally do play intersquad games and simulated games to get playing time.

  • In reply to LarryBiitner26:

    Thanks! Vogelbomb has been struggling down in extended spring training. Last I checked he was hitting less than .200. I think he'll start in Boise in June.

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    Nice game today, good pitching and a well placed hit by LaHair.

    Am I the only one who looks at Dolis' delivery and sees almost all arm and very little use of his legs to generate power? By putting all the strain on the shoulder/elbow, that's an injury waiting to happen, and if I recall correctly, he's had Tommy John surgery before.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    I just did my impression was that LaHair hit it there on purpose. I was at the game and that hole was huge.

    Dolis has a very simple motion and I think that's by design, since it's one he can repeat easily and help his command. But agreed, not a whole lot of drop and drive going on there. Not much deception to that delivery either. So far it works for him.

  • John any word on Javier Baez? Still all quiet on the Soler front? And one more question, is there anywhere on the net to research how the prospects in EST are doing?

    Love these updates thanks for helping us keep up!!

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    Nothing on Soler from what I've heard. It's been awfully tight-lipped since Van Dyck wrote that the Cubs had already signed him.

  • In reply to Bilbo Baggins:

    Thanks! Baez will go to Boise sometime in June when the SS Northwest League starts. Hopefully he hits his way to Peoria by the end of the year.

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