Cubs Minors Recap: Vogelbach HRs; Pugliese, Loosen with strong outings

Cubs Minors Recap:  Vogelbach HRs; Pugliese, Loosen with strong outings
James Pugliese

First, a few promotions/demotions to report:

  1. OF Bijan Rademacher gets a well deserved promotion to Peoria.
  2. LHP Hunter Cervenka will get an equally well-deserved promotion to Daytona
  3. OF Isaac Garsez replaces Rademacher at Boise.
  4. OF Yasiel Balaguert got moved down to Mesa.  He struggled in Peoria so the demotion was warranted, but I wonder if any consideration was given to the fact that former Cuban junior team teammate Jorge Soler will be activated soon.
  5. SS Eliot Soto, more of a defensive specialist, was demoted to Daytona.

New Orleans 7 – Iowa 2

  • Chris Volstad is still struggling down in AAA.  He gave up 7 runs (6 ER) in 5.2 innings.  He has a 5.55 ERA in Iowa.
  • In 5 PAs, CF Brett Jackson had a double, a single....and no strikeouts.  It was good to see and hopefully it's something to build on.  He also stole his 22nd base.
  • 3B Josh Vitters is still hitting.  Two more singles today and the game's first RBI.  He's at .302/.355/.503 on the year with 13 HRs.
  • RF Dave Sappelt had 2 hits, the first off of another lefty which brought his line against southpaws to .325/.362/.442 which comes out to an .804 OPS.  Sappelt has also hit .327 in the month of July so far.

Jackson 9 - Tennessee 2

  • Nick Struck's string of starts in which he gave up one earned run or less came to an end today at six.  The RHP gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in 5 innings.  He walked 2 and struck out 2.  His ERA is at 3.60.
  • RHP Frank Batista did well in a non-save situation, going 2 scoreless innings while walking none and striking out 2.  Batista lowered his AA ERA to a microscopic 1.13 on the year.  His FIP is at 2.77 so he may regress somewhat, but there's no question he's done an outstanding job and is perhaps starting to change the perception that he's a fringe prospect.
  • RHP Tony Zych and his big fastball make for a much more typical relief prospect.  He pitched a scoreless inning to finish the game.  He walked one and struck out one.  He has a 4.26 ERA with 3 walks and 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings so far at Tennessee.
  • Junior Lake was back at SS today and had a single and a walk today.  The walk was his 19th, equaling his total for last season in 56 less games so far.  His career high is 35 and he has a shot at that.
  • 2B Logan Watkins had single and his 9th triple of the year, enough to bring his slugging percentage over .400 on the year.  He's also hitting .282 with a .371 OBP.
  • CF Jae Hoon Ha had a double and a walk as he inches closer to a .700 OPS.  Ha has shown a better ability to take walks and it seems as if he's finding his power stroke of late.  His July slugging percentage is .478.
  • 1B Justin Bour and 3B Greg Rohan once again did what they do in runs.  Bour has 72 RBI on the year and Rohan has 74 across two levels.

Daytona 6 - Charlotte 1

  • Matt Loosen keeps getting it done despite less than overwhelming velocity (89-91 mph fastball).  He went 7.1 innings and allowed just one run.  He walked 3 and struck out 6.  His ERA is 2.79 but his FIP is a bit higher at 3.73 -- and it's actually close to what it was last year in Daytona, when he put up more pedestrian results (2-3, 4.42 ERA).  The difference this year is that the BABIP against him is .117 lower.  Loosen will likely get a promotion soon to AA where he pitched briefly last season.
  • CF Matt Szczur had a 3 hit day, scoring 2 and driving in 2.  He raised his line to .281/.380/.397 on the year.
  • Well, well, turns out 2B Ronald Torreyes can rake a little bit after all.  Two more hits for the 5'7" , 19 year old infielder puts him at .253 on the year, but .321 since June 1st.  Small sample size, but I suspect this is the real Torreyes.

Boise 5 - Yakima 0

  • James Pugliese pitched 5 innings of one hit scoreless baseball, lower his ERA on the year to 3.31.  He walked 2 and struck out 5.  Pugliese's best pitch is a 90-93 mph two seam fastball, which he used to get 8 groundouts.  Only two of the outs against Pugliese were hit in the air.
  • LHP Michael Heesch went 2 more innings without giving up a run and stretched his scoreless and walk-less streak to 8 innings.  He has also struck out 11 batters.
  • Are you on the Trey Martin bandwagon yet?  Martin, CF, got on base all 5 times as the leadoff man today.  He has 3 hits, including his 3rd Boise HR, and 2 walks.  He also stole his 4th base.  Martin's line is .302/.343/.476 at Boise after hitting .448 in AZ to start the year.
  • SS Marco Hernandez is also hitting well of late.  He had two more hits and his average now stands at a more respectable .266.  I still have faith in this guy.
  • 1B Rock Shoulders is starting to really pick it up on offense.  Two more hits and walk but his line at .261/.393/.466.  He also advanced to the 2nd round of the moniker madness tournament.  I've noticed that they're using his nickname "Rock" instead of Roderick, so I'm thinking he's got a legit shot right now.  He goes up against Goose Kallunki.  Two more Cubs, Taiwan Easterling and Jae Hoon Ha, also advanced.

Arizona Rookie League

  • Ethan Elias got the start today but went just 2 innings and was hit around some with 5 hits and 2 runs.  Only closer Chad Martin held the Mariners scoreless in the 9th to preserve a 6-5 victory.  Steve Perakslis got the win with 3 innings of work, though he did give up 2 runs.
  • Shawon Dunson, Jr. is finally starting to hit.  He had his 3rd consecutive 2 hit game to get over the mendoza line (.214).  He also walked.
  • Dan Vogelbach hit his 7th HR of the year and also contributed a triple, his 2nd of the year.  Vogelbach has a line of .360/.423/.779.  That's an OPS of 1.202 if you don't feel like doing the math.  One has to wonder when he'll get the bump to Boise.  Shoulders is hitting well there, but the league does use a DH, so they can alternate.
  • RF Yasiel Balaguert had a double and walk in his AZ debut.


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  • fb_avatar

    Soler and Almora coming within the days I hope... Too anxious for these guys.

  • In reply to Colman Conneely:

    You and me both! It's got to be getting close.

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    Perhaps the FO thinks if they leave Vogelbomb in Arizona all summer he'll lose more weight through sweating. Seems a logical as any other reason I can think of for why he's still there.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Maybe, like Rizzo, there are certain goals he needs to reach? I can't imagine what they might be. He probably deserved to start in AZ after he struggled in extended spring training, but it looks like he's figured things out now.

  • fb_avatar

    Also good to see Matty start to pick it up again after a quiet couple of weeks.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    He's another guy who might be in line to move up, because of his age and improved approach.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    And awsomeness!

  • John, I'm just not optimistic about Vitters so far. There's no way to really know if he'll be a good major leaguer, but his bad defense, his free swinging (and weren't their reports last season of him refusing to listen to his coaches) do not seem to fit in with Theo's Big Plan.

    I have no idea if Vitters will continue to develop. But based on his current numbers, if he has the identical dropoff between the PCL and the majors that Bryan LaHair did, he won't stick.

    Bryan LaHair's batting average and OPS last season in the hitter-friendly PCL were .331/1.070; vs his avg/OPS this season in the bigs: .280/.860-- That's a dropoff of .051 and .210, respectively.

    If Vitters were promoted to the Cubs and had an identical dropoff, then his MLB batting average would be .251 and his OPS would be .648--On offense, that would be worse than Darwin Barney.

    Maybe Vitters wouldn't have the dropoff that LaHair has had, but as a free swinger, couldn't we expect a pretty big dropoff? Do you think Vitters has the potential to be an above average MLB third baseman on offense? He'd have to be significantly above average on offense to make up for his subpar defense, wouldn't he?

  • In reply to baseballet:

    We can expect a dropoff from Vitters, but he's also a better natural hitter than LaHair. That said, big league pitchers should be able to exploit his aggressiveness more than minor league pitchers have.

    Vitters had a reputation of being too laid back early in his career and perhaps hard to reach sometimes, but the reports last year were good, that teammate Brett Jackson was and is a huge influence on his work ethic.

    I don't believe plate discipline is necessarily just a desire, I think part of the ability to recognize pitches is natural. Vitters struggles with it at times. I was told they haven't lost hope and think he can still learn -- and it seems that at times he has shown flashes (and he does have a career high in walks this year, although the total is modest). I think he's trying but I just don't believe it comes natural to him yet, so I agree he'll struggle in the majors. My thought on him was that he'll be a "late" bloomer, but I don't think he'll ever be a star. The best you can hope for is a .280 guy with 20 HR power, an average walk rate, and average defense. That seems like his ceiling to me at this point.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John. Maybe he can be a capable "placeholder" type starter who fills the roll for a few seasons until the Cubs can promote or acquire someone better. If he can hit 20 HRs and become an average defender, that's not bad at all.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    No problem....but keep in mind that's the most optimistic scenario I have for him.

  • John, what does Greg Rohan's future look like? I know he's 26 years old, so he can't be considered a prospect, but he's been proving this year that you don't mess with the Rohan.

  • In reply to SFToby:

    Ha! Nicely played.

    Rohan's age is a big issue. We have to consider that he was raking against players about 4 years younger than him at Class A Daytona and now that he's moved up to AA, he's cooled off a bit and hitting around .250. He's a productive player and he's hit everywhere he's gone, but I'd wait to see how he does in AA first. The jump from A to AA is considered the biggest jump in the minors.

  • Thank you John for the informative site, it definitely is making this rebuild much more enjoyable! Do you have any info on status of Arismendy Alcantara? I was at the Daytona game Friday and he was not suited up, on Sunday he was suited but did not play and has not been in the box score since. His numbers have been solid all spring.

  • In reply to bsmith:

    Your welcome and thanks for the kind words. I think Alcantara suffered a minor injury of sorts and that's the reason Eliot Soto was sent down there. I'll try and find out more.

  • John,
    Where are the trade rumors? I need my fix man!

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    Just posted about 5 minutes ago.

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    Trying to keep track of all the prospect names. I am this close to creating an Excel spreadsheet :)

  • In reply to Kevin Heckman:

    Haha! I'll probably round them up more in the offseason when we put out lists for each level, maybe by position, and of course, an overall list.

  • John

    Looks like Tim Saunders got promoted 3 levels, rookie to A+ Daytona. All you have to do it seems is bat .493

  • In reply to John57:

    And be 22 years old :) He was a man among boys. Good to see him get the call. He may just be replacing Alcantara who is hurt, with Soto filling in until Saunders could get there.

  • In reply to John57:

    And thanks for that info, by the way. I missed that one, although I was curious why Saunders wasn't in the Boise lineup or why Soto was demoted. Now it makes more sense.

  • I'd love to see VBomb, Candelario, Soler, and Almora in the same lineup soon. Here's to hope!

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