Minor League Recap: Loux bombed, Watkins HRs, Kane County offense rolls

Minor League Recap: Loux bombed, Watkins HRs, Kane County offense rolls
Logan Watkins

Barrett Loux and Iowa took their lumps.  The Smokies offense failed to support a strong pitching performance, and Kane County won it's first game as it looks like their offensive is beginning to wake up.  They pounded out 13 hits, though none of them came from their 3 and 4 hitters.

Round Rock 13 -Iowa 5

  • Barrett Loux got the start and the Round Rock Express just rolled right over him with 6 runs in the first.  Loux didn't help himself with uncharacteristic wildness, walking 3 hitters in his one inning.
  • The next two pitchers didn't do much to slow down the Express.  Jaye Chapman was also wild, walking 3 batters of his own over 2.2 innings and allowing 3 runs.  Then came Cory Wade, whose control was fine, but hitters seemed to have no trouble picking up on his stuff.  He allowed 8 hits and 5 runs in just 3 innings of work.
  • Blake Parker finally stopped the bleeding with 1.1 scoreless innings in mop up duty.
  • Logan Watkins is going to have Cubs fans pleading for his arrival if he keeps this up.  He's been an on-base machine as usual and today he added some pop with a double and a home run.
  • Brett Jackson snapped out of his early season funk with a double, single, and 2 RBI.  He did strikeout once and now has 7 Ks in 22 PAs for a 32% K rate.
  • New acquisition Donnie Murphy started at SS and contributed a double and single.  He also scored a run and drove in another.
  • RF Bryan Bogusevic is still hitting and chipped in with a pair of singles, a run scored, and an outfield assist when he nailed a runner trying to take 3rd.

Pensacola 2 -Tennessee  1

  • Dae-Eun Rhee may not ever be the pitcher Cubs fans once hoped he would be before a shoulder injury robbed him of mid 90s velocity, but he still has a good change-up and a good idea how to use it.  It may not be as pretty but it was effective for 4 innings.  He had given up just one hit and one walk at that point, but e ran into trouble in the 5th.  He lost control of the strike zone, started falling behind hitters and walked two of them.  In all ,he lasted just 4.1 innings, allowing just 2 hits and one run before giving way to veteran Brian Schlitter, who ultimately took the loss on an unearned run.
  • Zach Rosscup may only be 90-92 mph with his fastball, but it may as well be 5 mph faster when you watch hitters repeatedly swing late on it.  Once he gets to two strikes -- which can be a struggle with his wavering command, he uses a big, sharp breaking curve to put them away. He gave up a bloop double (on  a late swing, of course) and then struck out the side. 8 of his 9 outs this season have come via the strikeout.
  • Trey McNutt doesn't need any kind of deception to be overpowering.  He just plain throws hard and complements with a sharp, sweeping slider that is a legit out pitch.  McNutt came on to keep the game at 2-1 to give the Smokies one last chance at a comeback.  He did his job with an easy 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout.
  • Matt Szczur continued his hot start as an OBP guy with 2 more singles and another walk.  He has a .480 OBP in the first 5 games.
  • Arismendy Alcantara isn't going to walk his way on much, but he has a knack for making hard contact and finding holes.  He did it twice today with a pair of singles.
  • If you don't know you got the Smokies RBI, then you haven't been paying attention the past couple of years.  It was Justin Bour and he did it with a deep sac fly to the opposite field to score Matt Szcur.

Daytona had the day off.

Kane County 6 - Clinton 5

  • Lendy Castillo was sent down all the way to Class A to start -- which I think is a great idea.  He lost a lot of development time last year and he never really developed his secondaries. Starting will give him the chance to work on all his pitches and allow him more innings to improve his command.  That will serve him well even if he does end up in the bullpen again, which is the most likely scenario.  He pitched well, going 5 innings and allowing just 3 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4.
  • LHP Brian Smith pitched 2 scoreless innings, walked one and struck out one.
  • Justin Amlung closed out the game and pitched the last 3 innings.  He struggled with his command in his first outing and this time he had trouble with the long ball. He gave 2 of them and a total of 4 runs.
  • Gioskar Amaya had a much needed good day on offense.  He had 2 singles, a triple, and a stolen base.  He raised his average on the season to .238.
  • Rock Shoulders got his first start at 1B while Dan Vogelbach DH'd today.  Shoulders remained red hot, getting 2 hits in 5 ABs but actually saw his average drop to .455. Vogelbach did not get a hit but he did drive in 2 runs, one of them with a sac fly.
  • The Kane County team has the unusual luxury of having two good catchers.  In fact, Wilson Contreras and Chadd Krist may be the two best catching prospects in the system.  Krist got the start and the team didn't miss a beat as he doubled twice and singled. He scored 2 runs and had 2 RBI.
  • With Oliver Zapata moving to CF to replace the injured Trey Martin (who replaced the injured Albert Almora), Bijan Rademacher is getting the starts in RF.  He made good today with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Rademacher was selected in last year's draft as a hitter even though many teams preferred him as a pitcher.

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  • fb_avatar

    I'm getting serious Cuban envy of the Dodgers. I really do hate it when insane things like giving $42 million to a guy you've seen take batting practice actually works.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Most people thought it was insane. It's still early, though. I don't think he's quite as good as he's shown so far. We'll see.

    Speaking of signing guys they never really scouted, the Brewers pretty much did that with Norichka Aoki.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Unrelated: have you heard anything on what's up with Roni Torreyes?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He's still at extended spring training, but nobody seems to know why. Was on the TN roster and I figured that's where he'd play, but he's still in AZ. He was a week late to report. Don't know if Cubs are giving him one extra week down there. I guess we'll soon find out.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Only if the Cuban was Mark Cuban and he was owner of the Cubs. That sicko would make it his life mission to be the man to bring the elusive WS to Chicago.

    He knows it would be in his first paragraph on his Wiki page after he's long gone, and that's exactly what that insane in the brain is thinking about these days.

  • As far as the upcoming draft, I still have nightmares about what happened to Mark Prior's potentially "Hall of Fame" career after his arm went dead after a base running "accident" between 1st and 2nd base during a Tony LaRussa's Cardinal game early in his career. When Mark was drafted in 2001 in the 1st round and the 2nd player chosen overall, he was given a 10.5 million contract, the highest amount ever and the most till 2009. According to the baseball world, Prior had perfect mechanics and did just the right arm, leg, and body exercises for many years to develop and maintain his arm under the tutelage of a west coast pitching guru, ie, no worry about arm injury. Andy MacFail and Jim Hendry, everybody in the Cubs organization, all the Chicago sports columnists, and fans were celebrating and laughing at the Twins. The Cubs said that the Twins did not want to spend the money on Prior, so they drafted Joe Maurer as the No. 1 pick in the entire draft instead. How did that work out for us my friends? How about Mark Teixeira, a Scott Boras client, who was in consideration for the Cubs pick and dropped to No. 5 that year because of his agent?

  • In reply to shalin:

    Any player can receive a career destroying injury. It could easily have been Mauer or Texiera instead of Prior. No matter who you pick, it might be the wrong one as far as injuries are concerned.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to shalin:

    I'm pretty sure the "accident" you are referring to was against the Braves. Prior was running the bases and collided with Marcus Giles on his way to second as there was a slow roller hit to Giles. Prior flipped over and landed on his right shoulder.

    Not a dirty play, and not against the Cards.
    I was watching the game on TV, and remember having an "oh sh#@" reaction. I was surprised he stayed in the game.

  • In reply to shalin:

    You're talking about hindsight here. Mauer was not expect to be among the first several picks, much less the first one. If money was not a factor, it would have been Prior first and Texeira 2nd. You just can't predict who is going to be hurt.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to shalin:

    "Cubs said that the Twins did not want to spend the money on Prior, so they drafted Joe Maurer as the No. 1 pick in the entire draft instead. How did that work out for us my friends?"

    You can make the case that it hasn't worked out all that bad. The Twins have already paid Mauer $80M and are on the hook for another $138 ($218M total) thru 2019 and he hasn't quite been the same hitter since he has signed that contract. They haven't won a single playoff game with Mauer. And if they switch Mauer to 1B or LF that contract become even worse regarding its value.

    Meanwhile the Cubs paid Prior around $11M for 42-29 record and rode him to six outs shy of a World Series.

  • I'll tell you how it worked out: Prior got us to within 5 outs of the World Series. Until that injury, Prior was a beast, totally dominant. Injuries happen. There should be no regrets about drafting him.

  • " Until that injury, Prior was a beast"
    The key word is "until".

  • In reply to shalin:

    What - are you saying he was a bad pick because he got injured? Some hindsight there.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    How did you guess my password "cubs1969"

  • In reply to shalin:

    How can any front office account for freak injuries? By their nature, they're impossible to predict.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to shalin:

    What he's saying is to this day nobody has ever bashed the cubs for drafting Prior. The selection was perfect and Prior was on his way to a HOF career as planned. Cubs did their part. No team or person can foresee injuries.....especially to guys who don't have herky jerky mechanics(Chris Sale). You just can't blame the Cubs FO for that. If you want to put some on Dusty, fine. But that's entirely different.
    Its always easy to make posts like this after the fact, but im sure on draft day you were one of the millions who were up in arms that we landed Prior so im not sure what you we're trying to prove here. The only fault of the Cubs was bad luck and having more money than the twins.

  • fb_avatar

    You can't keep your best players in glass display cases. Injuries can happen to anyone. I'm also not sure why you're implying the injury wasn't an accident - I don't remember anyone on the cubs complaining at the time that it was a dirty play.

  • Replies are all red herrings.
    Sometimes sh.t happens, sometimes intentionally, but I guess you would have to ask Mark about that since it could have been a coincidence concerning the sequence of events.

  • In reply to shalin:

    Someone is practicing classic hindsight and denial here. There was no intentional about it. The guy was a stud, then he got hurt.
    It's been 10 years--and even if the injury hadn't happened, and the Cubs had won out, some people would bitch and moan that "It's been 10 years and we haven't done anything...."

  • fb_avatar

    So, if we draft Appel or gray, other teams will be gunning for them so we should just not draft them?

  • If Wood and Prior had not been injured, the Cubs would have been THE powerhouse team from 2001 - 2010, and everyone would be cheering for the McPhail/Hendry team, the best front office in recent history.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    "If" can be the most discouraging and occasionally overused word in the English language.

    But a rotation with Wood, Prior, Clement, and a pre-melt-down prone Zambrano - or substitue in Greg Maddux for a year or two of Clement,... would have been hard for anybody to top.

    Or 'If' only the Bartman incident hadn't happened an Alou has made that catch,....

    Rehashing the past is an almost useless excercise - at least for those parts of the past over which there was no ability to predict a future.

  • Since a pitcher main injuries are to there arm and shoulder
    drafting a hitter he will not likely have these injuries. Or at
    least end there career.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    This is an excellent point and one more reason why some team favor drafting hitters -- if there is one worth taking. Prior was injured seriously, but so was Mauer -- but only Mauer was able to return to being productive.

  • fb_avatar

    Am I missing something here? Marcus? John? People are suggesting we shouldn't draft a pitcher because they might get injured, intentionally or not? And this doesn't happen to pitchers you get from trades and free agency?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Of course. There is always that risk of injury with pitchers. The argument against to me would not be so much not taking a pitcher, but taking a pitcher this high. Like emartinez pointed out, pitchers can get specific injuries that can be career ending/altering whereas hitters have a greater likelihood of surviving them.

    In fact, I believe that if there were a pair of hitters at Appel or Gray's level in this draft, there would have been no question as to which direction the Cubs were going.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. It is an issue of risk.

  • fb_avatar

    Given how well the Carlos Correa-Lance McCullers-Rio Ruiz game plan is working out for the Astros to this point, it wouldn't surprise me at all if they went the same way this year. Since neither pitcher is likely to agree to a below slot deal before the draft, that probably means both Gray and Appel will be on the board. Now we just have to choose right.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That could well be true. It might serve the Cubs well if those guys get off to good starts and reinforce to Houston that they did the right thing.

    As for me, I liked Correa. I'm jealous of the discipline he has relative to Baez, but I didn't see Ruiz as special. Seems like a good hitter at this level but I'd have to see more to see what Astros saw in him. I missed the McCullers start.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Interesting. The Cougar announcers were drooling over Ruiz -- that's why I mentioned him.

    I'm hopeful a healthy Almora will soon shoot past all of them, though.

  • John, talent being equal what factors will determine which hitter
    or pitcher to draft. Choice of 2 hitter or 2 pitchers. Is character
    and makeup that big a factor?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think if you have equal grades on talent then you do consider things like makeup and track record. In the case of Appel vs. Gray, I think Appel wins that one based on those factors if both are graded equally otherwise. Nothing against Gray, on that, but Appel grades exceptionally well on both those factors I mentioned.

  • I agree that it seems riskier to take a pitcher than a hitter with these top picks, especially without a consensus number one. Sometimes I think that the Cubs should just go hitter and take a guy like Meadows.

    When you look at the pitching in the system, though, they definitely lack impact talent at the higher levels. This is what I think to myself when I read John's minor league recaps.

    It's true, sometimes when you pick starting pitching this high in the draft they can get injured like Prior and never really rebound. Sometimes when you pick high, they can come back from the injury like Strasburg. Sometimes when you pick high, you get a David Price. These are all pitchers that are worth the risk.

    The cost of such risk not working out seems lower to me than that of paying market value for front of the rotation pitching on the free agent market. That's not to say that I don't secretly want Price if he makes it to the market...

  • In reply to CGunz:

    It's a good point and it's one the Cubs will have to weigh. The biggest factor to me is simply this: The 3 highest grades in this draft could well go to 3 college arms (Manaea, Gray, Appel). If that's the case, how far down do you go to take a hitter? For the Cubs, as a team with a BPA philosophy, the dropoff from top pitcher to top hitter may be too far in this particular draft.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Desides their numbers our scouts are going to have to judge
    them on other factors in order to make the best choice for the
    organization. There is no bad choice, but we want the best one

  • I am keeping my eye on Watkins at AAA and Szczur at AA. Both right now have OBP of .480. I hope Watkins is the starting 2B in 2014 and Szczur a starting OF in 2015. Oh and I don't expect .480 at the MLB level, but .380 sure would be nice by these two. That would mean alot of RBI opportunities for whoever hits behind them.

  • John,

    Thanks for the updates. Glad to hear Lendy is settling in and getting his confidence & control back. McNutt sounds like AA is helping his cause as well. Maybe this F.O. knows a thing or two about development?

  • It's probably foolish to invest in Wrigley Field renovations. You never know when a meteorite will fall on it while the Cubs first round pick ace pitcher is on the mound crushing far more than the hopes of Cub fans everywhere.

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