Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs, Underwood improves, LHPs Rusin and Heesch keep rolling

Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs, Underwood improves, LHPs Rusin and Heesch keep rolling
Logan Watkins is starting to put his bad start behind him.

There's a lot of minor league news today including promotions, a story on Paul Blackburn, and the Cubs international free agency plans, so I decided to cover it early instead of doing it all in the recaps.  In case you missed it, here's the link...

For those looking for Felzz's recap, he's out catching the Social Distortion concert so he'll be a bit late with it.  We may not see it until tomorrow.

One more note.  New signee RHP Scott Frazier, as expected, will play for Boise.  Whether that has an effect on Paul Blackburn and a possible promotion remains to be seen.

Iowa 5 - Omaha 1

  • LHP Chris Rusin had another strong, pitch-to-contact type outing in which he threw strikes and worked efficiently.  In all,. Rusin went 7 innings and allowed just one run -- walking one and striking out two to move to 7-7 with a 3.27 ERA.  Since a rough start in April, Rusin is 6-5 with a 2.64 ERA with just 1.32 walks per 9 IP.  He's looking like a good bet to get a starting spot after the trade deadline if the Cubs don't acquire MLB ready pitchers.
  • Logan Watkins had a 4 hit day, all singles, as he drove in a run and scored another.  Watkins big day but him back over .250 for the season (.253) and the nice thing was that some of it was against a lefty starter (2 for 3) where Watkins has struggled.  He's still hitting just .219 against southpaws even after the two hits.  He's hitting .270 vs. RHP.
  • Dave Sappelt went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored to raise his average to .270.

Tennessee game was suspended

Daytona 12- Tampa 6

  • RHP Yao-Lin Wang got a rare start and didn't seize the opportunity, failing to show his usual solid control with 4 walks and did not strike out a batter even though he came into the game averaging over a strikeout per inning.  He allowed 4 runs in 2.2 innings.
  • RHP Austin Reed had another great performance as he continues to try and rebound from an awful start to the season.  He pitched 3.1 innings of one hit ball with no walks and 5 Ks.  With the big day and the recent improvement, Reed is closing in on a 7 K/9 IP rate -- something that seemed out of reach earlier.  He's been averaging about a strikeout per inning in his last 6 outings, though he continues to struggle with consistency. He has a 5.49 ERA overall.  When I saw Reed as a Chief visiting Kane County, he was hitting 95 mph with a solid slider and change -- yet he seemed to get hit more often than he should.
  • Eduardo Figueroa finished the game with 3 innings of 2 run ball and earned the save.
  • CF Zeke DeVoss stayed red hot with another multi-hit game (2 for 5) with a walk, a HR and 4 runs scored.  DeVoss continues to climb back toward respectability and is now hitting .248/.390/.361.  DeVoss also stole his 16th base.
  • Once upon a time, Wes Darvill was considered a steal and a bit of a sleeper prospect but never really lived up to that billing.  He's having one of the best runs of his career right now in Daytona.  He's hitting .274 after going 2 for 5 with his first Daytona HR and he's hitting .274/.375/.400 overall -- and between Kane County and Daytona he's hitting .299/.393/.424.  He's still just 21 and his good athleticism and defensive versatility may make him a useful utility guy down the road.
  • SS Javier Baez went 3 for 6 with a HR, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored.  Baez is hitting .273/.333/.545 with 17 HRs so far this season.  After his HR, the next batter Dustin Geiger was hit on the helmet and no clear word on whether that was intentional.  For his part, Baez was reportedly not show-boating after the HR.  Geiger seemed to be okay after initially being dazed.
  • OF Bijan Rademacher made his debut and got a couple of knocks.  He gets reunited with teammate Baez.  In an interview a few weeks back, Rademacher told us Baez hit the ball harder and farther than anyone he's ever seen.

Beloit 2 - Kane County 0

  • LHP Michael Heesch continues to pitch well, allowing just one run in 7 innings of work.  Unfortunately that one run was enough as Heesch fell to 3-6 but still has just a 3.52 ERA.  Heesch walked just one and struck out 3.  He has walked just 1.98 batters per 9 IP this year, working quickly with an 88-91 mph FB, slider, and change.
  • Dan Vogelbach has been seeing the ball well of late and got 2 more hits to raise his average to .278.  He's hit  10 for his last 20 though he hasn't shown his usual power (one double).  He's hitting .278/.346/.443 overall with 11 HRs.

Boise 5  - Eugene 4

  • Duane Underwood still hasn't had a great outing but he did show some improvement today in that he did not walk a batter and allowed just 2 earned runs in 4.1 innings.  He also struck out 3 batters  Overall in 12.2 innings, Underwood has walked 4 batters while striking out 10, so there is some hope that he can keep improving on that and hopefully cut down on the number of hits -- 18 in those 12.2 innings.
  • OF Jacob Hanneman tripled. singled and scored a run in 4 ABs and is up to .268 to start the season.
  • OF Shawon Dunston, Jr. doubled and walked twice to raise his line to .341/.420/.477 on the season.  He has walked 6 times in 50 PAs for a 12% walk rate to start the season.
  • Jacob Rogers singled in the winning run in the 10th and also added two walks.


Cubs Affiliates Scoreboard/Box Score



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  • Tennessee Smokies are coming to town starting tomorrow for 5games. I will be at 3 of them (at least) I will let you know how they look. I enjoyed the writeup about Underwood in It is nice to possibly have another breakout candidate among the pitching prospects.
    Excellent to read that Baez raked tonight!

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Awesome. Looking forward to it.

  • John, I was going to ask you about Darvill. He was very young when drafted and a Canadian kid, seems reasonable to expect he could be a bit of a late bloomer. Do you think he could still have some promise as a potential OBP/speed table setter-type? How is his INF defense?

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    He was a kid the old regime really liked and they pushed him quickly. Maybe too quickly. He's a versatile athletic player with a good approach and a decent stick. I'm thinking more utility type. He's been playing well this year.

  • Curious what happened in the D-Cubs game. I know baez took exception to getting plunked yesterday. There's been growing sentiment that he feels somewhat targeted. (get used it to it kid, if you want to be the man).

    I see in the boxscore that the Tampa pitcher & two coaches got tossed after Geiger got hit.

    I have to pick my girl up at the Sanford airport at 10pm tomorrow night. I might just catch the first cpl hours of the game tomorrow in Daytona.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Let us know if you do. I'm sure, Baez is getting frustrated. He's been plunked 11 times -- the same as last year, so I can't blame him.

    I'm kinda excited to have a player or two in the future that rubs other teams the wrong way. One of them is Baez and the other is Willson Contreras. Ironically both are very nice guys off the field too.

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    FYI, Almora will on MLBNR's Minors and Majors with Grant Paulson on Sunday morning between 8 and 10.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks for the heads up Michael.

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    What's a decent walk rate? We always see numbers, but what does a 12% walk rate mean in the Cubs analytics system these days?

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    In reply to Stomper90:

    That's an excellent walk rate in anyone's system.

  • In reply to Stomper90:

    8% is the MLB average walk rate.

  • In reply to Stomper90:

    It's an excellent rate, well above MLB average - but it's an early sample if you're talking about Dunston. He does, however, have much better plate discipline than his father did.

  • Does anybody know what happened in the bottom of the 9th at Kane County last night...? Vogelbach ground out, didn't run it out completely, the throw was errant and he then made first followed by a commotion that he wasn't given out, with the Snappers manager disputing the call...

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    I missed this particular game. Was out for a late dinner.

    Anybody there? Or listen to the game?

  • John, Ive wanted to ask this about Underwood. The rap on him coming out of HS was that he wasn't the same pitcher with runners on base as he was with no one on. Does this appear to be wheres hes at now?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Yes, he's had a huge issue with men on base this year. He's allowed over half of them to score. Not sure if it's problems out of the stretch or he's just trying to overthrow in that situation, but does seem to struggle with men on.

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