Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs; Watkins, DeVoss show OBP skills; Cabrera dominant

Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs; Watkins, DeVoss show OBP skills; Cabrera dominant
Watkins reached base 5 times today.

Spent most of the day downstate as I proudly watched my niece place first in the state on bars and third in the all-around.  Hope there were gymnastics scouts in attendance. If there is such a thing.

On the baseball field it was that Daytona lineup pounding out 15 hits, grinding out 7 walks and scoring 8 runs en route to their first victory of the season.

Albuquerque 10 - Iowa 6

  • The Iowa pitching was ineffective from top to bottom today, starting with Drew Carpenter's line of 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3W, and one K.  At one point Dale Sveum named him as his probable 6th starter, but I have to think Chris Rusin has leapfrogged him at this point.  The relief contingent of Jaye Chapman (1 IP, 2R), Cory Wade (1.2 IP, 1 R), and Blake Parker (1.1, 2 R) did not fare much better.
  • Logan Watkins looked like a pretty good leadoff hitter today, getting on base 5 times with 3 hits, including a triple, and two walks.  He scored 2 runs.
  • Bryan Bogusevic stayed red-hot with 2 more hits and 2 walks.  In 10 PAs in 2 games, he has gotten on base 7 times.
  • Brad Nelson is getting looks at 3B with the Cubs rash of injuries that have included Ian Stewart, Josh Vitters, and Junior Lake.  He does have the power for the position if he can at all handle it defensively.  He hit 2 dingers and drove in 3 while also drawing a walk.  I don't know about you but I think the Cubs could use a bat like that at 3B.
  • I keep leaving catcher Luis Flores for dead but the guy has 9 lives.  He continues to survive injuries, PED suspensions, and off-years, yet still has enough talent to have muddled his way to AAA.  He had 2 hits today.

Tennessee 8 - Pensacola 2

  • Alberto Cabrera showed how good he can be when he commands his mid 90s fastball, hard slider, and solid change.  He threw 54 of 77 pitches for strikes, walking none and striking out 9 in 6 innings of work.  He did allow 2 runs on 4 hits.  All of those hits were singles and 3 of them -- including one bunt single and one infield single, were given up in  Pensacola's 2 run 2nd.
  • Two things stood out to me when I saw Zac Rosscup's outing this spring with the Cubs.  The first is an utter lack of command, but the second thing was that hitters were not picking up on his 90-92 mph fastball all that well.  When they did swing, they swung and missed.  So it makes you wonder what would happen if he actually threw strikes.  Well, he did that today and he was dominant.  He threw 30 pitches, 21 for strikes and struck out 5 batters in 2 IP with no walks.
  • Trey McNutt finished up with a scoreless inning of his own.  He also did not walk a batter and struck out one.  That makes a total of 15 Ks and zero walks for Smokies pitchers today.
  • Matt Szczur is off to a good start, particularly when it comes to getting on base.  He did it two more times with a single and a walk.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha had a big day with 3 hits, a stolen base, an RBI, and two runs scored.
  • As good as that day was, it may have been topped by Christian Villanueva, who drove in 4 runs with 2 RBI singles and a two-run double.
  • 2012 RBI machine Justin Bour knocked in his first run of 2013 with a double.  He also scored twice.

Daytona 8 - Brevard County 0

  • It wasn't just the bats but the pitching came up big as well today as well.  Starlin Peralta got the start and though he was a bit wild (3 walks and  a HBP), he proved pretty tough to hit. Peralta pitched 4 scoreless innings on one hit, striking out 5.  Good to have him back after nearly losing him to Arizona in the Rule 5 draft.
  • Minor league vet Ryan Searle piggybacked the start and completed the shutout with 5 scoreless innings of his own..
  • Zeke DeVoss was one of my sleeper prospect picks after coming off a tough year.  One thing he did do was see a lot of pitches and perhaps that experience is beginning to pay off this season.  DeVoss singled, doubled, and tripled.  He also walked twice and stole his 2nd base of the season.  DeVoss is also playing CF this year where he has shown a penchant for making spectacular plays and was outstanding on balls in the air as a 2B as well, as the following play from last season will show...

  • Javier Baez hit a HR in his first plate appearance and went 2 for 5 overall with 2 RBI.  The downside was a couple more strikeouts as he continues to be aggressive at the plate.
  • If there is one thing John Andreoli can do as well as anyone in the system, it's get on base.  After putting up a .402 OBP last season, Andreoli shows no intentions of slowing down.  He got on base 4 times today on 3 singles and a walk.  The Cubs hope to see him add a bit more pop to his game this season.
  • The Cubs inserted Ben Carhart at 3B today and showed why I've called him one of the more underrated hitters in the system.  He went 3 for 5 and scored a run.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger didn't get a hit today but it's encouraging to see the aggressive power hitter coax a couple of walks.

Quad Cities 4 - Kane County 1

  •  The best news today was Tayler Scott's performance. He went 6 innings and allowed just one unearned run, didn't walk a batter, and struck out 6.  He was at 87-89 mph and flashed a good breaking ball at times.  I asked Sahadev Sharma, who was at the game, and he said it looked like a slider, though Scott's main breaking pitch is a curve.  Makes me wonder if he either has developed a slider or whether he tightened up his curve and is throwing it with more velocity.  Whatever it was, he was outdueled by Astros 2012 supplemental 1st round pick Lance McCullers.
  • Rock Shoulders has all 3 RBI for Kane County this year.  He drove in his 3rd run of the season with a double.
  • Kane County scattered 10 hits overall, 3 by utility infielder Wes Darvill, who is back from Iowa, and 2 by catcher Chadd Krist.


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  • Any reasoning to why Alberto Cabrera is starting in Tennessee rather than Iowa?

  • In reply to GoFreakingCubs:

    Just a numbers game, probably. Cabrera also dominated AA last year so maybe it helps get his confidence back. Until Vizcaino comes back, Cabrera is the top upper level SP prospect in our system right now, though he is not as close as Rusin.

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    In reply to GoFreakingCubs:

    You could argue AA has more overall talent than AAA but alot of the hitters are over aggressive. Maybe they want ease Cabrera into a starting role and get him stretched out first.

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    Like the performance by the AA pitchers/hitters today.
    If you guys had to choose between Watkins or Alcantara to supplant Barney who would you go with? Alcantara looks like the impact guy while Watkins brings alot of what Barney does intangible wise.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    If you go with top end potential it's Alcantara but Watkins is looking more and more like a sure major league ballplayer.

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    Nice to hear the positive reviews on DeVoss. I remember you saying last year that the OBP was nice but if he didn't get more aggressive and get hits, that would evaporate as he moved up the system. I'm really liking his at bats and hope he continues to improve -- we really need lots of guys who work counts and are tough outs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Sometime there's a fine line between being patient and being too passive. Sometimes DeVoss struck me as the latter last season. It's good to see him continue to draw walks yet go after pitches when he has the chance. He'll need to keep hitting. He looks like he filled out just a bit too. Didn't really have a lot of projection, more of a small-framed wiry type guy, but looks pretty solid this year.

    I really like him in CF too, good speed, good arm...can make the acrobatic play.

  • John: What is the status of Michael Jensen? I do not see him on any A, A+ or AA rosters-was impressed when I saw him last year with Peoria.

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    He's been out since late last season but haven't heard that he's been injured. Not sure. I was under the impression that he was going to be ready to go this season.

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    Question (inspired by Mr. Watkins): what is it mechanically that makes it more difficult to face to a "same handed" pitcher? (i.e., Watkins and DDJ have trouble with lefties, Hairston with righties.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Personally as a RH hitter, I always liked facing LHP because I could see the ball better and it was just easier to keep my shoulder from flying open.

    But a lot of it has to do with reps. RH hitters see plenty of RHPs and make the adjustments, but LH hitters don't see a lot of quality LHPs. Then the problem sort of snowballs because once they struggle vs. LHPs, they don't play...never really get a chance to improve. In the case of a veteran like DeJesus, that's fine, but the Cubs will be better off letting young LH hitters like Rizzo and eventually Jackson and/or Watkins take their lumps up there.

  • Christian Villanueva is the guy that the Cubs should bring up to play 3b. We have numerous guys trying to learn to play it and he already is a accomplished 3bman. I predict that he will also do a better job at the plate. He is the Cubs prospect closest to being ready for the show.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm not sure he's the closest. He played in A ball last year and was solid but didn't exactly dominate. I think he can be a very a good player but let's see how he handles AA first.

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    Is the Geiger move to 1st from 3rd a permanent thing?

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    I think 1B is his long term position. Showed some promising 3B skills as an amateur but struggled a bit last year. He filled out and gained a lot of strength since then but may have lost some mobility there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    might it be possible that Villanueva does a Jim Thome and starts at 3b , then moves to another position? Ive seen where many sc outs seem to consider 2b his best longterm position.

  • Its only a matter of time before he or Lake is ready to play 3rd

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    They'll both need a lot more reps. Maybe by the last month or two of the season for Lake.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    No prospect should be brought up until he is really ready.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree, but Cubs offense at that position this year is going to unacceptable.

  • Here is tonight's stat line. Looks like a wash pretty much.

    Appel vs. USC
    8.2 7 2 2 1 7

    Gray vs. Texas
    6.2 7 1 0 2 8

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Have a bit more info on this and it'll be scheduled to be published tomorrow morning. Some stuff on Appel, Gray, and a few more players -- also includes a full scouting report on Gray.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Whoohoo! I can't wait. This duel has me transfixed.

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    Apparently Theo was at the Stanford/USC game tonight.

  • I went to a College game last night here was the line for the Starting Pitcher.

    8IP 4H 0R 1BB 14K. The pitcher hit 99 a few times through out the game and never went under 94. Remember the Name Michael Cederoth for next year.

  • Congrats on your niece, John! Wow, how exciting is that? Post a video of her if you can. Gymnasts are some of the best athletes there are, IMO.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Thanks, we are very proud of her. Got photos of her on the medal stand, but I didn't take video, unfortunately. I was too busy watching!

  • I really like what Watkins is doing at AAA. He has OBP at .600 right now. Last year he was above .380 for OBP at AA. He is fast, steals bases and is a solid fielder. The Cubs need some grinders who get on base. Once on base their speed causes havoc. It distracts the pitcher and that will help the power guys in the line up.

    I kinda hope Szczur keeps his OBP high too this year at AA. I think with those two guys at the top of the order with all the power guys we have, we will have a team that scores big time. It is good for the offense to be multidimentional and be able to play small ball as well as long ball.

  • In reply to John57:

    I wanted to mention Szczur too as he is off to a good start as well as far as getting on base. Agreed that getting these guys on base is key for a more balanced offense.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yep balance is the key. Couldn't agree with you more. And thank you for these minor league updates. You are doing a fantastic job.

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    Appel: 8-2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO, 108 TP

    Gray: 6-2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO

    Manaea didn't pitch due to a hip injury.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    College update will be up soon.

  • How soon will Vizcaino be back?

  • Brad Nelson as a stopgap 3B might be interesting,... IF he can field the position fairly well.

    Has he ever been tried out at 3B before? Don't really know much about the guy other than his being viewed as Rizzo's emergency backup and having decent power.

  • I see that Paniagua is still stuck in the DR and there is no timetable to him getting his visa. Anyone have any idea why getting a new visa is so difficult? I'm sure he's at the facility doing some training, but he needs to face advanced hitters asap.

  • John....tell your niece and her parents to watch out for these gymnastic coaches........there is an Olympic compound in Oklahoma City that trains thee little girls...........I mean, your niece would have to live with these Eastern European male coaches.....very creepy..........working with them 12 hours a day, six days a week......and then they only pick six girls for the Olympics......your childhood is wasted.....the Olympics may never happen to many of these little girls.....and the Olympic medal is not really life so important to end up on a Wheaties Cereal Box?....or be a dancing contestant on "DWTS" some eight years later after the Olympics?

    Tell your niece to be normal and enjoy her teen years.......and keep her away from those Creepy Eastern European guys who have the big bushy mustache that look like ex-KGB agents.

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    John, where is Jose Rosario starting out the year, I can't seem to find him on any of the minor league rosters.

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