I want to start this piece by thanking all those who have told me recently through the comments, twitter, or email that they appreciate these minor league recaps and the occasional mini-profiles on the prospects. Great to hear because I like doing them!
After a big offensive day yesterday by the Cubs affiliates, there was a struggle to score runs... except for Anthony Rizzo and the Iowa Cubs. First baseman Paul Hoilman set a Peoria Chiefs franchise record today by hitting in his 22nd straight game.
Fresno 8 - Iowa 7
- Rodrigo Lopez started and pitched 3 innings and allowed 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs. He struck out 3.
- Frankie "Pecho" De La Cruz piggybacked the start and pitched 3 scoreless innings. He gave up 3 hits but it was somewhat deceptive because two of them were swinging bunts at Josh Vitters. De La Cruz has pitched very well in a swingman role down at Iowa. He could have some value as a younger version of Rodrigo Lopez down the line as a versatile arm who can give you innings in relief and make an emergency start when needed. His ERA is 2.22 on the year. He has pitched 8 straight scoreless innings and has given up just 1 run in his last 13 innings.
- LHP Jeff Beliveau came in and had his good stuff. Hitters weren't getting good swings on Beliveau and his deceptive motion. He hides the ball well and has a hitch in his delivery. He throws in the high 80s, but hitters react as if he's throwing 95 mph. He pitched one perfect inning and struck out 2. He would have had the win as he left the game up 7-2, but then the next two pitchers did their Kerry Wood/Carlos Marmol impression.
- RHP Frank Batista came in and gave up a hit and then left a fastball up in the zone that 3B Brock Bond launched over the CF wall for his first HR of the year. After allowing an infield single, Batista was yanked. Batista gave up 2 earned runs but did not retire a hitter. His ERA in AAA is now 7.94.
- LHP Scott Maine got Batista out of trouble in the 8th with a scoreless inning, but then imploded and made his own trouble in the 9th by allowing a single and 2 walks to load the bases with one out. The next batter hit a broken bat single to make the game 7-6. He then fell behind 3-1 on Todd Linden before he hit a game winning double.
- Anthony Rizzo hit an opposite field 2-run shot to give the I-Cubs a 3-2 lead. Rizzo also had two walks.
- Luis Valbuena was the other offensive star, going 2 for 2 with 2 walks. He was on base with a double when Rizzo hit his HR. Valbuena has a .333 batting average and a .902 OPS on the year. Valbuena has moved to 2B since the promotion of Adrian Cardenas with Matt Tolbert getting more starts at SS. Tolbert had a hit in 4 PAs and is hitting .286 on 56 ABs this season.
- RF Alfredo Amezaga had 2 more hits and scored 2 runs. He is at .328 on the year.
- C Blake Lalli has struggled a bit in AAA after a red-hot spring. He's hitting .189 but had a double and 2 RBI on the day.
- Utility man Jonathan Mota had his first hit in AAA this year and made it count -- a pinch-hit 3 run HR to CF to put the game seemingly out of reach.
Birmingham 4 - Tennessee 1
- Dallas Beeler once again gave up plenty of hits (8 in 4.2 innings), while not striking out a whole lot of batters (2). Beeler's stuff --90-93 mph fastball, curve, and a nice change, should be missing more bats than it has so far this season. His strikeout rates at the lower levels were much higher than they are now, but so far it hasn't translated to AA. He's still just 22 so perhaps that will improve over time. In this outing, Beeler gave up 3 runs and moved to 0-2 with a 3.89 ERA on the year.
- LHP Casey Harman pitched 2.1 perfect innings and struck out 2. It was his best outing since being promoted to AA and lowered his ERA to 3.48.
- RHP Alberto Cabrera pitched one inning and gave up a solo HR to Seth Loman. He walked none and struck out two.
- The Smokies had just 4 hits and 2B Logan Watkins had three of them, one of which was a double. He's having a good start in AA with a .286/.363/.403 line.
- OF Michael Burgess had the other hit and is at .239/.297/.413 for the year.
- 3B Matt Cerda had 2 more walks and has 13 walks in 55 PAs. Despite a .238 average, he has a .418 OBP and an .871 OPS.
Charlotte 5 - Daytona 1
- RHP Zach Cates was...well, not very good today. He pitched 5 innings and allowed 8 hits and 4 runs. He walked 2 and struck out 2. He is now 0-5 with a 10.55 ERA. The FSL is considered a pitcher's league, partly because of the bigger ballparks, so this make his numbers even more baffling.
- Daytona had just 2 hits, both of them by SS Arismendy Alcantara.
- Matt Szczur had a walk (17th on the year after drawing 26 all of last year) and scored the only run of the day for the D-Cubs.
- John Andreoli drew his 21st walk and Nelson Perez had two walks and has now tied Andreoli for the team and organizational need.
Beloit 2 - Peoria 1
- Kyler Burke got the start and pitched well again, but wound up giving the game winning run in the 7th. He went 6.1 innings, gave up 6 hits, and 2 ERs. He once again showed good control with just one walk. He struck out 4. Burke moved to 0-2 on the year but has a 2.41 ERA.
- Austin Reed relieved Burke and pitched 2.2 scoreless innings. Reed has a high 80s to low 90s fastball, a nice change, and a developing breaking ball.
- 2B and leadoff man Zeke DeVoss went 1 for 4 on the day. He's hitting .252 on the year but has a solid .346 OBP.
- CF Taiwan Easterling continues to rebound from a disastrous start. He went 2 for 4 with a double and is now up to .233 on the year.
- 3B Wes Darvill had a double in 4 ABs.
- 1B Paul Hoilman extended his now franchise record hitting streak to 22 games with a triple and a single. He scored the lone Chiefs run.
- It's good to see Oliver Zapata break out of his funk with 2 hits today.