Cubs Minors Recap: Rizzo, Vitters hit HRs, Raley solid in loss, Jensen bounces back

After a mentally exhausting Cubs game we can take solace in some good performances by prospects today.  Anthony Rizzo hit his 11th HR while Bryan LaHair got his first action in the outfield in Milwaukee.  Of course, the Cubs had little choice, but it was not hard to look ahead and wonder what it'll be like if the Cubs decide to put the two big left-handed hitters in the lineup together...

Iowa 6 - Fresno 5

  • Travis Wood got the start and was shutting down Fresno for 4 inning before running into a little trouble in the 5th and 6th.  Overall, it wasn't his best effort, but with Iowa's offense going HR happy again, it was more than enough.  He went 6 innings, gave up 8 hits, and 3 runs.  He walked 2 and struck out 6.
  • Jay Jackson pitched in relief for the first time this season.  He struck out the side in his first inning for work and went 1.2 scoreless innings overall before giving way to Jeff Beliveau, who got the last out of the inning.
  • Blake Parker came in and had a rough 9th.  He gave up 2 runs to bring Fresno within one before striking out Culberson to finally retire the side.  It was his 4th save of the year, but it wasn't pretty.
  • 1B Anthony Rizzo went 2 for 4 and hit his 11th HR of the year.
  • 3B Josh Vitters is starting to heat up a little.  He hit a double and his 3rd HR of the year.  He still doesn't take pitches, but at least he's making harder contact lately.  He's now hitting .278 but has just a .313 OBP and his slugging pct. is at .416.  All of those numbers have gone up, but the latter two need to keep improving before he gets any consideration.  My guess is that, barring an injury, he doesn't get to Chicago until rosters expand in September.
  • Minor League veteran OF Ty Wright also homered and had two hits.
  • 25 year old catcher Juan Apodaca, who started the year in AA, got three hits to raise his average to .348 since being promoted to Iowa.

Jackson 2 - Tennessee 1

  • Brooks Raley was locked in a pitcher's duel with last year's #2 overall pick Danny Hultzen.  He pitched as well or better than the top prospect, who was a little wild.  Unfortunately, Raley had one bad inning where he gave up 2 runs.  He walked 1 and struck out 7.
  • Marcus Hatley came in and had his good mid 90s fastball and sharp slider.  He pitched 2 strong innings, walking one and striking out 3.
  • Junior Lake did not get a hit but walked twice.  He was caught stealing for the 3rd time in just 4 attempts.  On this particular attempt, however, it was a missed call by the umpire.   Lake has hit just .222 since coming off the DL, but oddly enough he has 4 walks in 5 games.
  • 2B-SS Logan Watkins played CF today.  Watkins has played OF in the past and it figures to help him make the team someday as a utility man if he doesn't cut it as a starter.  This isn't a case of throwing him out there and hoping the ball doesn't get hit there, however.  Watkins can  run well and play a pretty good CF. He also has a solid arm.  At the plate he went 0-3 with a walk.
  • RF Jae Hoon Ha went 1 for 4 and scored the only run of the game on 1B Justin Bour's RBI double.
  • The 3 other hits were from  Nate Samson, who was at DH.

Peoria 6 - Beloit 2

  • RHP Michael Jensen bounced back from a shaky start to go 5.2 innings of 1 run baseball.  He walked one and struck out two to earn the win.  He moves to 4-2 on the year with a 3.23 ERA.
  • Recent callup Sheldon McDonald bridged the gap to closer Jeffrey Lorick with 2.1 innings of solid relief.  He did give up one run.  Lorick earned his 5th save with a scoreless inning in which he struck out 2.
  • 1B Paul Hoilman continued his hitting streak with an RBI double.  The streak now stands at 24 games.  His current line is .306/.360/.521 and I'm wondering now at what point the Cubs will consider promoting Hoilman to Daytona.  He's old for the Midwest League and I'd like to think the team would like to see what he can do against more advanced pitching.  The one thing he hasn't shown a lot of so far, however, is HR power, which has been his biggest strength both in college and in his first season as a pro.  He has 3 HRs on the year.
  • SS Marco Hernandez continued his resurgence with a 3 hit game to bump his average to .182, though it is .316 in his last 10 games and .385 in the past seven.  When I had seen Hernandez's numbers earlier in the year, my assumption was that he was overmatched. But when I saw him play recently, I didn't find that to the be the case at all.  He looked like he belonged and if anything, he was one of the few guys who really stood out that day from either team.  I think he's going to be fine.  You can read my first hand impressions of Hernandez at this link.
  • Cuban C Yaniel Cabezas broke out today with 3 hits and 2 RBI.  Cabezas is hitting .176 on the year.


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  • It is time to get Ruth and Gehrig in the same lineup. Rizzo looks like Josh Hamliton. I know Theo and Jed must have plan in the oven. I hope that it includes an improved bullpen in Chicago.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    It's getting close on Rizzo, but I think they'll wait as long as they can.

  • Curios: What is considered acceptable, good, and great, for difference between batting average and OBP?

  • In reply to bruno14:

    I don't know if there's an acceptable difference. If a guy hits .350 but just has a .375 OBP, you take it happily. However, you get on base is what's important -- but you do want the approach to be good, but if a guy is hitting that well, you take it and don't complain :)

  • oops - make that curious...

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    My only question is weather or not that rizzo will hit in the majors. If Brett Jackson is struggling in the minors i hope that doesn't translate to the majors at all. As far as Vitters goes, if he is unwilling to take a walk then in my mind he can take a walk away from baseball.

  • In reply to Larry:

    He just doesn't know how to do it, in my opinion. I don't think he understands how pitchers are approaching him. He's probably also a little stubborn and not willing to give up what got him to this point -- trouble is that what worked in high school or Class A won't work in the majors

  • The Cubs put Marmol on the DL and bring up Coleman, a right-handed starting pitcher. Makes no sense to me. They could use another lefty in the 'pen.

  • Ha! By coincidence, I just wrote an article explaining why...

  • Is it too early to call for a new GM?

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