So I was hyping up that new Daytona infield which includes top 20 prospects Javier Baez, Ronald Torreyes, Arismendy Alcantara (DL), and Christian Villanueva. The first two are 19 years old, while Alcantara is 20, and Villanueva just turned 21 six weeks ago. So what do they do? They go a combined 0-11. Baez went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.
We were celebrating a good friend's birthday last night, so here's the rest of the somewhat belated recap...
- LHP Chris Rusin looked like the guy we saw early this season, hitting spots, changing speeds, and simply throwing strikes. If he had done' this consistently the past month or so, we may have seen him in Wrigley by now. Rusin went 7 innings, walking one and striking out 8. He allowed just one run.
- As well as Rusin pitched, he did not get the win. That went to Michael Bowden, who pitched a scoreless inning to lower his Iowa ERA to 3.07.
- CF Brett Jackson got on base twice today with a single and a walk while stealing his 27th base of the season. Jackson continues to work on some adjustments at the plate but so far he's struggled to adjust. He struck out two more times. The thing with Jackson that gives you hope is his work ethic and overall mental makeup. He's going to keep working at it and there have been stretches where it's worked for him, but these kinds of things tend to go in fits and spurts and I believe it'll just eventually click for Jackson. He'll always strikeout some and he may not challenge for batting titles, but the hope is that he can cut down those strikeouts enough to allow him to showcase the rest of his game.
- Not many struggles for Josh Vitters this year, at least not at the plate. Last night he delivered a big 2 out, 3-run HR in the bottom of the 8th to put the game out of reach. It was Vitters 17th HR of the year, one short of his career high. It's been a season of career bests for Vitters as he set a personal high for doubles (32), total bases (213), RBI (77), and walks (30), and even tied his high for SBs with his 6th. There's still a month to go in the season. The only downside to his day? Committing his 23rd error of the season.
- RHP Nick Struck has had a strong season and today he picked up his 12th win with 5 innings of work in which he gave up 3 runs. The 5'11, 22 year old Struck is a bulldog on the mound and I can see him impressing manager Dale Sveum with his aggressive approach the way Blake Parker did last spring. Struck has an average fastball but he goes right after hitters with it, throwing strikes and forcing the opponent to try and put the ball in play. Struck has a 2.61 walk rate this year vs. 6.90 Ks per 9 innings. That has translated to a 3.77 ERA (4.07 FIP) on the year. He's a bit shorter on the mound, but his approach plays up his average stuff and he has a shot at a 5th starter role at some point, but I think he'll make a pretty solid reliever.
- Frank Batista finished up with a 2 innings save, though he is appearing to be human lately, allowing 2 runs to raise his ERA to a still very solid 1.82. He's had some luck, however, as his FIP is a much higher .378, the second straight season where he's "out-pitched" his FIP by a large margin.
- LHP Casey Harman started the 2nd game and went 3 innings, giving up just one run but poor outings by RHP Casey Weathers (1 IP, 4 walks, 3 runs) and RHP Kevin Rhoderick (1.2 IP, 4 runs) spelled doom for the Smokies. Weathers took the loss.
- CF Matt Szczur continues to struggle since his promotion to AA, going 1 for 8 and dropping his average to just .152.
- SS Logan Watkins also had a slow start in AA but he has done nothing but hit, get on base, and be generally productive ever since June rolled around. Since June 1st he's hit .333/.432/.468. In this double-header he went 2 for 6 with 2 walks and 4 runs scored. For the year he's hitting .283/.371/.406 with 20 SBs. He's had future utility tag put on him for a while, but he's a better offensive player than Barney was at this stage and he's a solid defender as well with better speed.
- Junior Lake is gradually making the transition to 3B as he played both games of the double-header at that position. It didn't affect his bat as he went 3 for 7 with a walk on the day. He scored 3 runs and drove in 2. Lake is hitting .292/.344/.430 on the year that includes 7 HRs. He also stole his 16th base.
- Justin Bour has had a very productive season as the big 1B continues to hit better as the season goes along. He was the offensive star, going 4 for 5 with 3 walks, 2 HRs, and 5 RBI. Bour is hitting .301 with 14 HRs and 91 RBI on the year. His approach is solid, helping him post a .369 OBP and his slugging numbers have risen to .478. Unfortunately, he plays the one position where the Cubs are set for the next decade...and no, he can't play anywhere else except for DH. His future may lie with another organization.
- OF Michael Burgess was 3 for 6 with 2 walks, 2 doubles, and 2 RBI.
- Matt Loosen has been a very successful pitcher for most of the year but that was not the case today. He went just 2 innings and gave up 7 runs (4 earned). The 23 year old RHP is still 10-4 with a 3.33 ERA.
- We mentioned the poor day at the plate from the Cubs trio of IF prospects, but they did get some offense from lesser known players. Organizational player Rebel Ridling hit a HR while Cuban OF'ers Rubi Silva, 23, and Elisier Bonne, 25, combined to go 4 for 8 with 2 RBI. Bonne also had a double and his 23rd SB of the year. Both players are considered more as extra OF'er prospects.
- C Rafael Lopez went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored. He's hitting .290/.333/.478 since his promotion.
- Knuckleballer Joseph Zeller didn't have the ball dancing too much today. He gave up 8 hits in 3.2 innings that led to 6 runs (5 earned). His ERA is still a solid 2.72 at Peoria.
- Larry Suarez has pitched pretty well since I last saw him in Peoria and he got hit pretty hard. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings and struck out 3. He's had scoreless outings in 7 of his last 8 appearances, a stretch that covers 13 innings. His ERA is 2.08 in that stretch but 5.40 overall.
- My initial impression of Luis Liria was that I was not impressed. He had a max effort delivery, inconsistent command and didn't maintain the same arm speed on breaking pitches. He then went on a hot streak and I doubted myself (but haven't gotten a chance to see him pitch again). Well, Liria has been plummeting back to Earth for a while now. Three walks in one inning led to two runs, pushing his ERA to a very pedestrian 4.56 ERA on the year.
- The Javy Baez less offense sputtered today. The lone run was produced by C Chadd Krist's 2nd HR of the year. He went 2 for 4 overall and is hitting .303/.365/.500 since joining Peoria 18 games ago.
- Lanky 20 year old RHP Tayler Scott had another strong outing, moving to 4-1 with a 1.71 ERA on the year. His FIP (3.47) suggests he hasn't been quite that good, but it's still been a surprisingly solid season for the raw, but intriguing pitcher from South Africa. Today he went 5 innings and gave up one earned run, walking one and striking out 2.
- LHP Matt Iannazzo bounced back big today. He went 2.2 scoreless innings and struck out 4, though his ERA is still 13.50 on the year.
- Nathan Dorris threw a scoreless inning in his second appearance for Boise. The 6'3" LHP has a 1.38 ERA between AZ and Boise.
- Stephen Bruno, normally a 2B, got some work in CF and LF today as perhaps the Cubs try to find a way to get him to Peoria, who could use a bat with Baez promoted, but have leadoff prospect Zeke DeVoss at 2B, Tim Saunders at SS, and Dustin Geiger at 3B. Bruno went 2 for 4 with a double and 3 runs scored. He's hitting .325/.393/.448 on the year.
- 3B Jeimer Candelario went 1 for 4 with a double, walk, an RBI, and a run scored. He's hitting .287/.357/.416.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI and is hitting .381, though he has just 1 HR in 42 ABs. I don't expect that to continue.
- LF Dong-Yub Kim is still moving on up, both in terms of BA which is now at .250 and in the lineup, where he batted 6th last night. Kim has been a good power hitter for Boise (5 HRs, .205 ISO). He's a sleeper down there and he's beginning to produce now that he's had some steady playing time after battling injuries in his brief pro career.
Arizona had the day off
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap