In a little less than a week, Anthony Rizzo will no longer be able to accumulate a year of service time by season's end. That is undoubtedly a factor in the decision to call him up. The other big factor is that there is nowhere to put him without cutting time from one of the Cubs most productive players, whether it be Alfonso Soriano or Bryan LaHair. The other option is that you put them both in the corners and DeJesus in CF -- and field an outfield with perhaps the least range in baseball.
One thing that can no longer be doubted is whether or not Anthony Rizzo is ready. He is.
Iowa 3 - Albuquerque 2
- Chris Volstad had a solid start and did not fall victim to a big inning. Well, not that big anyway. He did give up 2 runs in the first but shut down the Isotopes the rest of the way, walking 2 and striking out 6 in 6 innings of work. It's likely Volstad gets another crack at the big leagues once the Cubs trade Dempster -- unless the Cubs get an MLB ready pitcher in return.
- Michael Bowden won the game with another excellent outing, striking out 4 batters in 1.2 innings. In his last 4 outing covering 6.2 innings, Bowden has a 0.00 ERA with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts.
- LHP Scott Maine is also red-hot, having posted an 0.79 ERA in his last 10 outings. In his last 9.1 innings, he has walked 3 and struck out 10. He earned his 5th save by retiring the only 4 batters he faced, striking out one
- Alfredo Amezaga hit his 4th HR to give the I-Cubs their first run of the game. He also singled and scored when Anthony Rizzo hit a go-ahead HR in the 7th that was the eventual game-winner. That was Rizzo's only hit of the game, but it couldn't be more timely.
- 3B Josh Vitters had 2 hits (single, double), giving him 6 in the last 2 games. Vitters is once again climbing back toward that .800 OPS mark. He's at .793 (.282/.332/.461). That .332 OBP is especially encouraging in that he is showing some progress, though I would like to see him get it at around .350 before he's promoted, which will likely be in September at the earliest.
- RF Dave Sappelt had a single and a double.
Birmingham 5 - Tennessee 3
- RHP Trey McNutt had another tough outing, giving up all 5 runs that Birmingham scored in just 5.2 innings. It's not a particularly good hitting Barons team, yet they had 9 hits and only 3 strikeouts against the guy many considered the Cubs top pitching prospect when the season started. He's going to have to have a strong second half to keep that distinction.
- Alberto Cabrera finished up with a 1-2-3 inning in which he struck out 2 batters. Cabrera has 9 walks and 43 Ks in 33.2 innings this year. He has a 2.42 ERA and his FIP is 2.31. Chalk this one up to Chris Bosio, who made a slight adjustment with Cabrera's grip to give lots of downward movement and velocity (97 mph) on his fastball this season.
- Logan Watkins had a triple, single and an RBI as he continues to rake after perhaps the worst slump of his career. His average is back up to .259, but more importantly for him, he has his OBP near the .350 mark again.
- Junior Lake was the DH and went 3 for 4, getting his average up to .301 on the year. Lake also has a .356 OBP and is slugging .462. He's continuing to build on the progress he made last year at Daytona and then again in the AZ Fall League. He's still aggressive but his approach is better. He doesn't swing at nearly as many pitches that are well outside the strike zone, though he still gets fooled occasionally with sliders away, especially when he's down in the count. The tools are there for Lake and if he continues to improve his approach, he can still be a starter in the big leagues.
- Solid glove man Elliot Soto was at SS. He has tailed off since an impressive start but did have 3 hits today. The utility IF prospect is batting just .230, however.
The Florida State League and Daytona had another day off from their all-star break.
Peoria 10 - Clinton 5
- The first game, which was supposed to be the conclusion of a suspended game, was cancelled, so none of those stats will count, but they did play the second game. RHP Michael Jensen had a lot of offensive support, though as usual, he didn't really need it. Jensen pitched 5 shutout innings before tiring in the 6th and giving up 2 runs. He didn't walk a batter and struck out 3. Jensen is a legit prospect with a 91-94 mph fastball and a plus curveball. He has a change, but doesn't often need it right now. He's 7-3 with a 2.58 ERA on the season. He has 25 walks and 61 strikeouts in 76.2 innings.
- Addison's little brother RHP Austin Reed had a scoreless inning with one strikeout. Austin doesn't throw as hard as Addison, but plays his fastball up with a very good change. He has a 26 strikeouts in 31.2 innings and a 3.41 ERA.
- LHP Hunter Cervenka came within one out of a 9 inning perfect game, though he did it over 6 separate outings. Dustin Geiger committed an error to end the streak and Cervenka eventually gave up 2 hits and 2 unearned runs, so his ERA actually went down to 0.59.
- Tons of offense today led by Zeke DeVoss who had a single and scored a run.
- CF Pin-Chieh Chen had 2 hits, and RBI, and scored 2 runs. He also stole 2 bases.
- 3B Dustin Geiger looks like a much improved hitter after surprisingly starting the year in extended spring training. He had 2 hits in 5 ABs with a run scored and an RBI. He's hitting .333/.350/.513 in his first 9 games with 2 HRs. Geiger was a 24th round pick by the Cubs in the 2010 draft but he was considered a big sleeper by the Cubs scouting staff. So far this year, it looks like they may have been right.
- Paul Hoilman had a big day with his 6th HR, double and 4 RBI. The big 23 year old 1B is hitting .271/.354/.467 on the year.
- Wes Darvill played SS and had a double, single, and his 8th SB of the year.
- Javier Baez was the DH today and had a single and a run scored. He's at .317 on the year.
- LF Oliver Zapata has really struggled since a very strong start but he got into the action today with 2 hits, including a double, in 4 ABs. Zapata is hitting .241/.318/.309.
- C Sergio Burriel went 2 for 4 with a double, a run scored, and 2 RBI.
Salem-Keizer 4 - Boise 3
- RHP Tayler Scott is one of the more interesting prospects on the Hawks team. As a former soccer player from South Africa, he's an excellent athlete and the Cubs liked him because of his 90-92 mph fastball, innate feel for pitching, potential ability to repeat his delivery, and his projectable frame. Scott could throw harder as he fills out and he should develop good command because of his athleticism. His breaking pitch is a curve, which shows plus potential at times but is inconsistent and average -- at best -- overall right now. His change-up is in the rudimentary stages as he has rarely needed it to this point. As for today, he started with 5 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4.
- Hayden Simpson is back in Boise after struggling at Class A Daytona and did well today for 2 innings. Then the wheels came off and Simpson lost his command. He surrendered a single and 2 walks to load the bases and was yanked in favor of RHP Pete Levitt, who let 2 of the 3 runners score before getting out of the inning. Levitt than gave up 2 singles in the 9th to give way to closer Bryce Shafer, but Shafer allowed both runners to score to blow the save.
- CF Shawon Dunston went 2 for 4 and scored a run.
- 2B Gioskar Amaya went 2 for 3 with a walk. He also had an RBI.
- 1B Rock Shoulders doubled and scored a run.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario had 2 hits in 4 ABs and drove in 2 runs. Candelario is hitting .250 in the early going.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap