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Cubs Minors Recap: Shoulders, DeVoss HR; Candelario with walk off single

Cubs Minors Recap: Shoulders, DeVoss HR; Candelario with walk off single
Zeke DeVoss

Caught another game at Kane County today and saw a much better Pierce Johnson and saw my first victory of the year when Jeimer Candelario hit a walk-off single over a drawn in OF in the bottom of the 9th.

Iowa and Daytona also rallied today, but each team came up short.

Round Rock 4 - Iowa 2

  • Iowa off to a rough start for the second night a row but LHP Chris Rusin quickly righted the ship after some uncharacteristic wildness.  He started the game by walking 3 batters, hitting another, and giving up 2 hits, including a HR by former teammate James Adduci.  Rusin somehow managed to limit the damage to 3 runs.  He settled down after that and threw 5 innings of one run baseball (and walking just one more batter).
  • Zach Putnam and Rafael Dolis each pitched a scoreless inning to keep Iowa in the game.
  • Brett Jackson appears to be emerging from his early season funk and has struck out just once in each of the past 5 games.  Today he added a couple of hits, including a triple, to raise his season average to .280.  He has struck out in 31% of his PAs early in the season.
  • Veterans Bryan Bogusevic and Darnell McDonald also pitched in.  Bogusevic had a double and a walk while McDonald hit a solo HR.

Tennessee had the day off...

Clearwater 5 - Daytona 4

  • There was one encouraging thing about Zach Cates outing and that he showed some command of his breaking ball and good control overall.  In fact, he did not walk a batter and struck out 7 in just 3.2 innings.  The bad news is that he left too many balls up and got tagged for 6 hits, 3 of them doubles.  But there was some bad BABIP luck and a big error by Dustin Geiger as well.  In the end he gave up 3 runs, though only one was earned.  All in all an encouraging outing
  • Solid outing by LHP Sheldon McDonald in that he pitched 2.2 scoreless innings.  He did walk a couple of batters, which isn't ideal for him but he did keep the ballgame within reach.
  • We usually talk about Zeke DeVoss' OBP, speed, or occasional spectacular defensive play, but today the switch-hitting Zeke turned up the power and hit a HR over the LF wall off LHP Nick Hernandez.
  • Tim Saunders went 1 for 2 but the bigger story is that the versatile player was in CF today and injured himself crashing into the outfield wall. He did not stay in the game but left under his own power.
  • Javier Baez tripled and scored a run and I was also encouraged by his last AB, which was a strikeout.  I was encouraged because it came in the bottom of the 9th with Daytona down one run.  Instead of trying to be the hero, Baez worked the count full and then took a borderline pitch that was called a strike --but I like Baez's approach in that situation.  He was trying to get on base.  In the future he'll learn to foul off those kind of pitcher's strikes but for now I'm happy with that AB.
  • Jorge Soler had two more hits, a walk, and a big RBI that pulled Daytona within one.  Soler is off to a great start, hitting .450 with 2 HRs. He has also walked 3 times.
  • Stephen Bruno had a double and an RBI.
  • John Andreoli continues to find his way on base.  Today it was a single and two more walks.
  • Ben Carhart singled, walked and scored a run.
  • Dustin Geiger had a tough day. He had 3 throwing errors and struck out twice, though he also singled.

Kane County 6 - Clinton 5

  • This was a much better outing for Pierce Johnson. He was at 90-93 today and peaked at 96.  It was a rough start, as Johnson gave up  3 singles, 2 of which never left the infield, and a walk. But he escaped with just 2 runs scored and then shut Clinton down the rest of the way.  The outing was a good example why the box score doesnt always tell the whole story.  Johnson's line of 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 W, and 4 Ks look pretty pedestrian but he was let down by some shaky defense and some bad luck with balls in play.
  • LHP Jeffry Antigua came in and his smoke and mirrors act worked again.  He gave up just one run in 3 innings and gave Kane County an opportunity to win the game late.  Antigua is mid 80s with his fastball and his secondary stuff sometimes doesn't break 70 mph, but he gets it done more often than not.
  • RHP Eddie Orozco gave up 2 unearned runs and blew the save but picked up the win when the Cougars scored a run in the 9th.
  • Gioskar Amaya still hasn't found his rhythm at the plate but he's battling and he got a couple more hits today.  He's now hitting .269 on the season.
  • Dan Vogelbach hasn't launched a HR but he is making solid contact.  He had 3 more hits today and is hitting .310 on the year.  Vogelbach also made a nice defensive play on a grounder down the line and that seemed to pump him up far more than any of the 3 hits.  Good to see as Vogelbach knows that becoming an adequate defender at 1B is a big key to his future.
  • Defensively, it was a mixed day for Jeimer Candelario but all's well that ends well. He made two nice defensive plays One play was on a hard smash grounder to his left on which he made a diving stop, then threw to 2nd to start a 5-4-3 double play.  He made another nice play on a slow roller to his left and threw to first on the run to nail a quick runner. On the other hand, he also mishandled a tough play on a hard grounder. It was not an error but a play he should have made. He also had trouble on another slow roller hit right at him again.  That seems to be the biggest area he needs to work on defensively.  At the plate he had two more hits, including the game winning single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th.
  • Rock Shoulders stayed red-hot and hit his 2nd HR of the season.  He also walked and singled and is now hitting .480 to start the year.
  • SS Marco Hernandez is off to another tough start but showed some signs of breaking through today. Like Candelario, he didn't make an error but didn't make two plays that he normally handles.  He did handle all the routine plays, however, and pitched in with a couple of hits and a stolen base.
  • Trey Martin's injury has given Bijan Rademacher an opportunity and he has taken full advantage of it so far. He had two more hits, a double and a hard single up the middle to go with a walk.  He also fired a laser to home plate on a short flyball but the runner wisely didn't try to advance.

 

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  • Where do we want Brett Jackson's strikeout % to be where we could comfortably say his new stance is working and the strikeout issues might be behind him?

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    If I recall correctly, his strikeout percentage was right around 32% in 2012 and this year's is right on par with that. Getting down to somewhere below 27% would be a sign to me that his changes are working. Ideally, I would like to see the Cubs keep him in AAA until he is producing like he can while keeping his K-rate around 25% for a prolonged period of time.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Man, I suppose 27 percent would be "progress," technically; but it still seems like moving a deck chair on the Titanic. It's hard to imagine a player who strikes out that much in AAA managing to hit much better than .200 in the majors. Given Jackson's age (25 in August), it seems to me that he has to demonstrate more dramatic progress than that. He's had periods where the rate dipped down to 20 percent or so, and if he can do that for a month or more, then maybe there will be reason for hope.

  • I had forgotten that DeVoss was a 3rd round selection in 2011. Mistakenly, he had fallen off my prospect radar last season after struggling to hit above .230, until August when (partially BABIP driven) he started to seemingly figure things out and finished with a .248 AVG.

    This year's hot start is meaningless in my book. Stats really don't matter until mid-May or thereabouts, but he is certainly capable of hitting .280+ with an IsoD of .100 or better while stealing 40 bases and playing a good CF (and hopefully, eventually other positions as well).

    Despite his inability to hit is way on base last season, the cube (thebaseballcube.com) with their admittedly clunky rankings algorithm had him as the 5th best hitter in the Midwest League. He's athletic, plays a premium position and at 22 is age appropriate for the FSL. I'll be watching from here on out. He's definitely blipping once again on my radar screen.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Zeke's 2011 numbers were insane. Would love to see him bounce back.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    DeVoss was one of my sleeper picks this year for many of those reasons. I think he's a better hitter than he showed last year and he's got the wiry strength to add some pop. Last night he showed some of pop. Hitting a HR in the FSL in the spring not always an easy feat. We expect guys like Soler and Baez to do it, but DeVoss hitting one was a welcome surprise.

  • Jorge Soler.

    'Nuff said.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Off to a tremendous start. Hope he keeps it up.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    What's really impressed me about him to this point is how good he's been at taking what the pitcher offers him. Not gonna throw a strike? He'll take a walk. He'll go the other way for a single. And if the pitcher makes a mistake he'll happily deposit it in the Atlantic.

    And he seems to just be getting better. Can't wait to see him in Tennessee.

  • Excited to see how Ben Wells and Taylor Scott fare in their 2nd starts today.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Me too. Hope they get that Kane County game in today. Weather is awful.

  • Concerning Mark Prior's first full season in 2003, he only missed 3 starts after his collision right before the all star game with the Braves' Marcus Giles and pitched great the 2nd half of the season. I do recall an incident where Prior hit the ground after the Cards 2nd baseman threw low while Mark was going from 1st to 2nd later in his career which caused a rhubarb. Mark was running the bases a lot because he was a good hitter for a pitcher. Besides shoulder tendonitis, he also suffered from achilles tendonitis, hamstring pulls, and a compression fx of the elbow when one of his pitches was hit back at him in 2005 at 117 mph, yet still pitched well later that year. Mark was a warrior and pitched many games even tho he didn't feel 100%. Some experts still contend that Kerry Wood's and Mark's shoulder problems were due to Dusty Baker overusing both of them, allowing them to throw well over 110 pitches/game. Maybe John should give Mark a call and get his take.

  • In reply to shalin:

    From what I know, I believe both sides would have done things a little differently had they had the chance to do it over again. Well, on second thought, I don't know if Baker would change much, but Prior really seems to have the right perspective right now.

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    Return of the Rademacher.

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    John, I remember last year, to spite Hernandez numbers that you thought he was not too over matched and would come around as he was starting to do before the Baez's premotion. Is he just hitting the ball right at people and having no luck? I noticed he has 3 for 19 on balls in play and only has 3 strickouts.

  • In reply to Kevin:

    Kevin,

    It's funny that you mentioned this because I asked John the exact same question yesterday afternoon at the game. Not only is he not hitting, his defense has just been plain awful. Yesterday's game was by far his best. If I remember correctly, John had Marco ranked the best defensive SS on the depth chart. He's also making throws off his back foot. He didn't do this last year. He would get that ball quickly to the 1B almost in one stride and now he's taking his time and not planting his foot. Not sure what's going on there.

    Okay, back to hitting. John can give you a better analysis than I can but let me get a crack at it. I've been to every game so far and he's obviously not seeing the ball well. He makes contact but the ball is not jumping off the bat like a line drive should. But like you said it's been a combination of bad luck and hitting it right to people. The team as a whole is playing much better so after time I'm sure he'll snap out of it.

  • In reply to WillieG1:

    Actually, Willie, I think you did an excellent job here. Not much to add.

  • In reply to Kevin:

    That's a good observation but from what I've seen it really hasn't been bad luck. The low BABIP is simply due to him not hitting the ball very hard. Even one of his singles was a swinging bunt.

    I'm a little disappointed by Hernandez's play early on. His second straight poor start in the MWL. Maybe he doesn't like the cold?

  • With the major focus on Brett's K rate, nobody seems to have noticed that he hasn't walked yet. Perhaps he is overcompensating by failing to go deep in counts, and swinging at more bad pitches?

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    He was taking bad pitches last night. I think the walks will come. He may be a bit more aggressive in the strike zone than he had been in the past.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Remember too, that he was walking this spring.

  • I know it is still early, but it looks like Soler is not being challenge at Daytona. I see him in Tennessee by end of May

  • In reply to Paris:

    I agree, it is way too soon. But the bosses were VERY impressed this spring. He is clearly ahead of Baez, and I'd bet we see him in Tennessee in a couple months.

  • Man our 2011 draft really produced a lot of prospects within our organization... Gotta believe that we'll strike gold on 1 or 2 of them....

  • At one point during Spring Training I was wondering what happened to Adduci. Seemed like a guy that should have gotten a cup of coffee at one point or another. Glad to see he's still chasing the dream.

  • I gotta keep wondering,... is there any chance that Vogelbach could be made into a passable LF/RF fielder defensively? I'n not talking 'gold glove' level or anything,...

    The more I hear about the guy, the few things I have seen - his bat reminds me of Billy Butler. Good average and plenty of power. Given - it took Butler 3-4 full seasons in the bigs to find regular power. Build is kinda similar to Butler too.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Nope, not a chance....especially in RF. He'd make Soriano look like a GG'er. Definitely a liability.

    I think his only chance of getting up with this Cubs team is a serious injury to Rizzo or NL adopting the DH(my hope). But if he can bring you a solid package then he will have contributed whether he plays here or not.

  • Except Butler has done it in the bigs for several seasons now. As a hitter only, though. Butler can't play in the outfield. Just like Vogelbach can't.
    This question gets asked weekly -- and I've asked it myself. The answer is always No, Vogelbach's a passable 1B at best and a career DH otherwise.
    Also, he's a looong way from the bigs. Let's see him produce at each of the 3 or 4 levels he is yet to experience.

  • Marshall "Bakered".

  • John it seems that there is very little news about Vitters in the recaps. Is he just that defeated at this point where there's no hope for him to ever become even a bench player? Very sad if that's the case.

  • In reply to irishivy75:

    He's been hurt and relegated to pinch-hitting so far. He has fallen quite a bit, though.

  • In reply to irishivy75:

    1 AB at Iowa.

  • I have a question off point, but wonder if someone has some insight. If MLB goes to an international draft, would'nt that make the Cubs Dominican facility irrelevant? Why have the cost of a facility if you are not guaranteed the players in it. I don't know how many teams have Dominiican facilities, but maybe MLB would buy the facility from the Cubs. It would certainly hurt the Cubs if they lost that facility, but it would really hurt the kids that benefit from it. In my view an international draft would only help the current MLB players as more money would go them via free agency or signing with their own club to prevent free agency.

  • In reply to cubman:

    It almost certainly will go to a draft and I agree. It hurts the young kids and helps billionaire owners and millionaire ballplayers.

    I also agree it makes the facility less significant in terms of recruiting -- but remember that it also plays a huge role in helping develop those players. it will still be an asset.

  • New article up, by the way. Sure to draw some interesting opinions. Would like to hear what you guys think.

  • I was in Daytona and have video of Baez's triple. He watched the ball and didn't run hard out of the box. It was to opposite field. I also have Soler ripping his RBI single scoring Baez from third.
    I got many autographs, but not Soler or Baez. When Soler was going to the dugout I waved my ball-holding hand and wished him a nice season. He puckered up and smooched at me. Lol

    A

  • In reply to bwitty:

    I also have video of their bottom of the ninth K's. strike three to Baez was a questionable strike.

  • Okay, this is how my season is breaking down. First if Cubs win, I read about that. If they lose, I come here for the minor league recaps. Thank you John for your reports and insights. Honestly, I hope to read about the Cubs more often than not first. But I have these reports to look forward to.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    That's a good way to do it! Although I have to say Felzz can make you laugh about a Cubs loss. Looking forward to the Daytona, Tennessee, and Iowa games tonight and Kane County's game was... well, interesting.

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