Cubs Minors Recap: Baez, Martin HR, Torreyes hot, 1st round supplemental Blackburn makes his debut

I'll be making the drive down to Peoria tomorrow to see the Chiefs take on Bowling Green.  Looks like I missed a humdinger today.  Baez hit a HR and Peoria got a dramatic win in the bottom of the 10th.  In other games, first round supplemental pick Paul Blackburn made his debut, as did sleeper draft pick RHP Justin Amlung.  In Boise, Trey Martin is beginning to establish himself as a player to watch while Ronny Torreyes has started to look like the hitter the Cubs thought they were getting....

Omaha  7 - Iowa 1

  • Randy Wells may be nearing the end of his Cubs career.  He went just 1.2 innings, giving up 7 runs in the 2nd inning.  Casey Coleman cleaned up with 5.1 scoreless innings, but by then the game was lost.
  • Alberto Cabrera bounced back with a scoreless inning.
  • Not much offense for Iowa.  Dave Sappelt drove in the only run and went 1 for 4.  Josh Vitters doubled and Brett Jackson singled and walked.

Tennessee 4 - Jackson 2

  • TRHP Dae-Eun Rhee had a solid outing, going 5 innings while giving up just 2 runs.  He walked 2 and struck out 6.  Rhee moved to 6-4 with a 5.21 on the year.
  • RHP Tony Zych went 2 scoreless innings.  He showed his usual good control (no walks) and swing and miss stuff (3 strikeouts).  Zych should be the first player from the 2011 draft class to make it to Chicago, possibly as soon as next season.
  • Like Zych, RHP Marcus Hatley can bring the heat, able to touch the upper 90s on occasion.  His slider is a bit more refined than Zych's, though he doesn't have the same command.  Hatley went 2 innings and also struck out 3 batters.  He walked one.
  • RF Michael Burgess continued his surprising season, hitting his 10th HR while also drawing a walk.  Burgess has a solid .274/.348/.461 line on the season.
  • C Juan Apocada, who turns 26 tomorrow, had the big hit, a 3-run HR.

Palm Beach 9 - Daytona 6

  • LHP Austin Kirk had some rare control issues, walking 5 batters in just 6 innings, though he managed to limit the damage to just 2 runs (1 earned).  He struck out 4.  Kirk has a 2.59 ERA on the year with a walk to strikeout rate of 34 to 64 in 107.2 innings.
  • Relievers LHP Jeffrey Lorick and RHP Brian Schlitter combined to give up 7 runs over 1.1 innings.  Schlitter took the loss as Daytona blew a 6-2 lead in the last two innings.
  • The good news on the game was the continued resurgence of Ronald Torreyes.  The 19 year old SS/2B had 3 more hits, scored 2 and drove in a run.  Torreyes has hit well for the past 6 weeks.  Since June 1st, Torreyes line is .318/.392/.481.  His average is still just .246 with a .680 OPS, but it's come a long way from where it was the first two months of the year.
  • C Rafael Lopez is just 5'9" and is already 24 years old, but he has solid catch and throw skills and has hit well in Peoria and in the first few games since he's been promoted to Daytona.  He went 2 for 4 and is at .292/.365/.389 on the season.  His ceiling is that of a backup catcher.

Peoria 9 - Bowling Green 8

  • RHP Michael Jensen is having a solid year overall (8-3, 3.53 ERA) but has struggled a bit lately.  He gave up 6 runs in 5 innings today, walking 4 batters.  He has a 5.75 in his last 8 starts.
  • Closer Yao-Lin Wang pitched a scoreless 10th and earned his 3rd victory when the Chiefs scored in the bottom of the inning.  The 21-year old Wang has a 3.19 ERA on the year with 12 walks and 39 Ks in 36.1 innings.
  • 2B Zeke DeVoss had a solid day with 2 walks and a double, scoring 2 runs.  He also stole his 22nd base on the year.  DeVoss is still struggling with the bat at .237 but has a very good OBP of .361.  His OPS on the year is .707.
  • CF Taiwan Easterling had a double and single, scoring a run and driving in 2.  Easterling has shown some signs of breaking out, but is still hitting just .242 on the year with a .669 OPS.
  • C Chadd Krist had 3 more hits in 6 ABs as he continues to defy expectations at the plate.
  • SS Javier Baez was 2nd on Baseball America's latest prospect hot sheet.  BA said, "The Cubs passed over several college arms to draft Baez with the ninth overall pick in 2011, and he has not disappointed in his first full season as a pro. Batting .308/.374/.526 with seven homers through 37 games, the Puerto Rico-born shortstop has hit safely in each of his last eight games and has homered in two of his last three. Despite just average speed, he has also stolen 14 bags this season. With bat speed that has prompted comparisons with Gary Sheffield and Hanley Ramirez, Baez has tremendous upside and could move quickly through the minors, especially if he continues to produce like has at the plate."  Baez has improved on his line since then as today he hit his 8th HR to go with a triple and a single.  He now has a line of .319/.385/.560.

Boise 9 - Vancouver 3

  • RHP Ian Dickson got the start and went 4.1 giving up 2 runs.  He walked 2 and struck out 4.  RP Pete Levitt came in to relieve him and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for the win.
  • 2B Gioskar Amaya is looking like one of the best pure hitters in the Cubs organization and continues to thrive as a 19 year old in the NWL.  Tonight he tripled, singled, and walked and scored all 3 times.  Amaya is hitting .306 and is slugging over .500 on the year.
  • SS Marco Hernandez had 2 doubles to raise his average at Boise to .253 and his slugging pct. to .389. He also drove in 3 runs.
  •  Rock Shoulders has been overshadowed by fellow 1B and 2011 draftee Dan Vogelbach, but Shoulders is beginning to find his groove in Boise.  He had a double, single, and a walk.  He has shown power and a tremendous batting eye, walking 17 times in 95 PAs.  His line on the year is .244/.379/.474.
  • There are some big names in Boise but a sleeper to keep your eye on is CF Trey Martin.  He's a rangy, fluid athlete with plus speed and the chance to have some power while playing good defense.  Martin hit his 2nd HR at Boise, tripled, and drove in 4.  He's hitting .288 with a very solid .442 slugging percentage.  Between AZ and Boise this year, his line is .346/.384/.531.

Arizona Rookie League

  • Two of the Cubs most polished SP prospects from this year's draft made their debut.  Starting the game was RHP Paul Blackburn, who was a supplemental 1st round pick and the Cubs 3rd pick overall.  Blackburn gave up a leadoff HR in his only inning of work and then settled down to keep it at one run,  He did not walk nor d strikeout a batter
  • RHP Justin Amlung isn't as well known and his upside isnt quite as high, but he was a successful pitcher at the University of Louisville.  I consider Amlung to be a bit of a steal in the 12th round as he works with a low 90s fastball that can touch 94 and complements it with two average pitches (slider, change).  He's not going to be a star, but he has back end rotation potential.  Amlung retired all 6 batters he faced, striking out 2 of them.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez-Pumarino is probably the least heralded of the Cubs 4 Cuban signees and of the 3 who have played, he has started at the lowest level.  Martinez-Pumarino went 3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, walking none and striking out 4.  The 21 year old is a big kid, listed at 6'4, 230 lbs. and throws in the low 90s.  He has a 1.65 ERA so far at AZ, walking 6 and striking out 16 in 16.1 IP.
  • CF Shawon Dunston, Jr. struggled in Boise and then struggled upon his demotion to AZ. Today he broke out a bit with 2 hits and a walk, scoring all 3 times.
  • 2B Daniel Lockhart has been hot of late and tonight he got 3 hits, including a double, and a walk.  He also scored 3 runs.  Lockhart, 19, is a 5'11", 165 lbs infield with good athleticism and plays with great energy and instincts.  He's hitting .343 on the year and has shown some patience (7 walks) and surprising pop (.493 slugging).
  • 3B Timothy Saunders continues to annihilate AZ pitching.  He had 4 more hits today, including his 3rd HR, and drove in 5 runs.  He's hitting an incredible .493 on the year.
  • Well, 1B Dan Vogelbach did not HR today but he did hit his 11th double, singled, and drove in 4 runs.  Vogelbach is hitting .367.  He has 18 extra base hits, including 6 HRs in 79 ABs.
  • Jacob Rogers was the last player the Cubs picked in this past draft (40th round) and the 22 year old DH has hit AZ pitchers quite well, batting .450 and slugging .775.  He had 3 hits, including a triple, and scored 2 runs on the night.
  • SS Carlos Penalver tripled and drove in 2.
  • LF Garrett Schlect is rebounding after a slow start, getting 2 hits and a walk today.  The 19 year old Milstadt, IL native is hitting .222 but a good batting eye has his OBP at a more respectable .333.  He has yet to develop power, but Schlect has good size 6'2, 190 lbs and an advanced approach at the plate, so that power has a chance to develop over time.


Leave a comment
  • Baez is just a beast. I realize it's early in his career but, as Cubs fans, we're usually using that caveat to explain underperformance.

    John, do you think Demp gets moved before his next start? Would the acquiring team require an MRI, as part of a physical?

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Baez can flat out hit and hit for power. He's athletic and he can run. The only thing I'd like to see is more plate discipline,but I don't want to quibble too much. He looks like an impact guy right now.

  • fb_avatar

    Any chance Baez gets promoted before end of year? Vogelbach is playing unreal.. Nd hoping for Soler and Almora to start soon.

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    I don't think so, I think he has a chance to get to AA by next year though.

  • fb_avatar

    I know its only Low A but boy it sure does look like Javier Baez can straight mash.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    He just flat out crushes the ball at times. Even a few of his outs have been to the warning track.

  • Rumour has it that Almora is in Peoria right now. Nothing on when he'll debut.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    I saw that tweet. I'll be in Peoria tomorrow and I'll hit the park early. If I see him, I'll let you all know.

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    I think he may have been in Peoria Arizona. I'm pretty sure the AZ Cubs played at the Peoria Sports complex last night.

  • It's really exciting to see all these position player prospects playing well at or near the same level--Baez, Amaya, Geiger, Candelario, then Almora and possibly Soler going to Peoria, plus maybe Vogelbach moving up at some point. Wow--that could be a very nice crop of position guys coming up all around the same time. You have to like what Krist has been doing with the bat, as well, so far. And it will be interesting to see what Saunders does when he moves up.

    Hopefully, we can bring back some good pitching prospects in the deadline deals and a few of our own homegrown guys can take some steps forward, as well. Some of these guys like Jokisch and Loosen look better than advertised.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    I'm surprised at how well Krist and Saunders have hit, but they're a bit older. Still, .493?? That's insane. He probably needs to move up soon.

  • fb_avatar

    It would be nice if we jostled some prospects around to be on the same team.

    It would be great for fans to see an infield on Vogelbach, Amazya, Baez, candelario/geiger and an outfield with Almora and Soler.

    The Yankees have a team that seems to have nearly all of their best prospects. Their single A team has 5 or 6 of their top prospects. Actually, nearly all of them were just promoted to High-A the beginning of this month.

    I could see that helping their development, with others coming along and improving with them.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Would be great to see them all on one team. Especially Peoria, since that's the park I'm closest too!

  • fb_avatar

    john - having not discovered Cubs Den until last fall, I sure enjoying following these minor league reports. I used to try to keep track of how their prospects were doing, but didn't have time to look them all up individually, so this is great.

    Also, I don't remember new draftees getting into games this early in the past. That's because of the earlier signing deadline in the new CBA, correct? If so, I'd say that's at least 1 good thing to come out of that. It's nice to see these guys get into games this early. Seems we used to have to wait until the following spring to see what we had.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to brober34:

    by the way, I'm getting really excited about Baez. I hope the new FO isn't too patient with him - I know they don't like to rush people. The previous guys would probably be fast tracking him. Something in between would probably be about right.

  • In reply to brober34:

    I think Hendry would have started him in Peoria and then had him in Daytona by now. Then again, maybe part of the reason Baez is doing so well is because of that extra instruction he got in AZ.

  • In reply to brober34:

    Thanks Brober, that means a lot. I work pretty hard on these (though it's a labor of love!)

    The early play of the draftees is very much related to the new CBA, and totally agree that it's at least one good thing that came out it.

  • John,
    Haven't posted for awhile, but I guess a person can''t really say "thank you" enough. I read every article and comment and so much enjoy and appreciate each one. Thanks to you for all your hard work and "Thanks" to the posters for their comments and for keeping the verbal flow at a respectable level. I've been a Cubs fan since 1957 and this "rebuilding year" has been a most enjoyable and educational season for me. And I owe that enjoyment to Cubs Den.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    Thanks Moonlight...maybe I'll see you again in Kane Cty for that last series with Peoria!

  • I enjoyed your link to the Baseball America hot sheet. I saw that below their top 13, they enthuse about some other players, including Arismendy Alcantara. They write that Alcantara's minor league season "may be an even more promising development" for the Cubs than Anthony Rizzo's time in Iowa was, as Alcantara's hitting was more unexpected. That's probably an exaggeration, I know, but it was still fun to read.

    On a broader note, I'd like to say that I discovered this blog in January and I'm still in awe of the quality of the analysis and information I get from the contributors. This blog has contributed a lot of enjoyment to my life, no exaggeration.

  • Rough to see Jensen have another tough outing. I had high hopes watching him from the first start of the chiefs season and it seemed like he was destined for big things early on. Any thoughts on where you see the kid progressing in the future?

Leave a comment