Cubs Minors Recap: Baez, Saunders slam Clearwater

Cubs Minors Recap: Baez, Saunders slam Clearwater
Javier Baez (photo by @ericlpauly)

Some minor news today that affects the minor leagues.  The Cubs signed announced they signed 8 players today including 2nd rounder LHP Rob Zastryzny.  All of the others are in the 10th round or later.  They include: 10th rounder Zach Godley, 16th rounder Cael Brockmeyer, 18th rounder Giuseppe Papaccio, 20th rounder Zak Blair, 22nd rounderKevin Brown, 23rd rounder Tyler Ihrig, and 30th rounder Zak Hermans. 5th round RHP  Trey Masek also announced he signed, but then quickly took it down.  He's in Mesa, so it's a matter of time, but it seems the Cubs prefer to make the announcements. I'm good with that.

The Cubs are also pursuing another Cuban RHP, Dalier Hinojosa, but at 27 he probably wouldn't spend too much time in these recaps.  I wrote about him earlier.

On with the recaps...

Iowa 7 - Nashville 0

  • It's been a tough year for Nick Struck after his big season at AA but today he captured some of his old mojo with a 6.2 inning performance that included 2 walks and 3 strikeouts.  Struck is 4-4 with a 5.48 ERA and it's not been a good year for the peripherals either as he has struggled with his control (35 walks in 69.1 innings) and hasn't missed a ton of bats either (38 strikeouts).
  • RHPs Casey Coleman and Eduardo Sanchez each pitched a scoreless inning.  Coleman lowered his ERA to 2.80.
  • Logan Watkins had a pair of singles and drew his 41st walk of the year (13.9% rate) and raised his average to .238, but the excellent walk rate has his OBP at a respectable .347.  It's been a struggle for Watkins this year and he's had the most trouble with LHP, hitting just .190/.301/.316.  He's hitting .255/.366/.400 vs. RHP.
  • Brian Bogusevic went 2 for 3 with a walk and even with a slow start to June (.190), Bogusevic is still hitting .319/.419/.511 on the season, showing power and speed with 9 HRs and 14 SBs in 15 attempts.
  • Steve Clevenger went 1 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI and is hitting .364 since his return from rehab.
  • Dave Sappelt went 3 for 5 with a double and 3 RBI.  He's hitting .261 since his return to Iowa.

Daytona 14 - Clearwater 8

  • LHP Kyler Burke had one of his toughest outings of the season, showing some uncharacteristic wildness with 3 walks in 4 innings.  He allowed 4 runs, bumping his ERA up to 3.60.
  • RHP Yao-Lin Wang continued his solid season at Daytona with 2 scoreless innings.  He did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out 2 to pick up the win and move to 2-1.  Wang has a 2.25 ERA this season with 10 walks and 29 Ks in 28 innings.  Wang works with an 88-92 mph fastball, breaking ball, and a very good change.
  • John Andreoli got on base 5 times today with 3 singles and 2 walks from the leadoff spot.  He also drove in 2 and struck out 2.  He also stole his 21st base.  Andreoli is hitting .325 and bumped his OBP over .400 (.401).
  • Zeke DeVoss had a pair of hits, including a triple, drove in a run and scored 2 runs.
  • Javier Baez only had one hit but it was a grand slam, "no-doubter to dead center" according to @nolejoe, who was at the game. Those watching his walks will be happy as well as Baez drew his 7th walk of the month and 16th of the year. Baez's walk rate is 5.8% this season and this June, Baez is hitting .340/.446/.883 line with 6 HRs and a 12.5% walk rate in 56 PAs in June.  A small sample size to be sure, but that's a glimpse of just how scary Javy can be when he's patient.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI to give him 56 on the season.  It probably helps to be hitting after Baez and Soler (who was off again today with a minor injury) as well as OBP guys like Andreoli (.401) and Zeke DeVoss (.380) at the top of the lineup.  Geiger's biggest improvement this year  has been raising his walk rate (8.7% from 6% last year) and striking out less (down to 16.1% from 23.8%).  Two reason to be wary: his ISO is down slightly (.179 from .215) and his BABIP is at a career high of .327 after .279 and .278 the previous two years, but I think those were too low. All in all, Geiger is a much more well-rounded hitter this year, batting .294/.361/.471.
  • The athletic, versatile Tim Saunders was one of our favorites last year but he really struggled after an injury early in the season.  He has rebounded in June to hit .375/.469/.525 in June and has raised his average to .225 after hitting just .159 in May.  He went 3 for 5 and hit his own grand slam to go with a double and a single.  His combination of speed (20 SBs in 23 attempts) defensive versatility, and good approach (9.9 walk rate) is his ticket to the big leagues.

S-K 9 - Boise 2

  • Hard-throwing Trey Lang's line doesn't look too bad when you look at the 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 4 innings, but he did allow 5 runs -- in part because he walked one of those batters and threw 5 wild pitches in a 3-run S-K 5th.  Lang's out pitch is his slider and it seems he really struggled getting a feel for the pitch in that inning.
  • Shawon Dunston, Jr. was back in the lineup and picked up where he left off with a 2 for 3 day with a walk.  Dunston makes hard contact with quick wrists and hands.  He's off to a .471 start.
  • Keep your eye on 21 year old Kevin Encarnacion, an athletic outfielder with some pop and plate discipline (17% walk rate in the DSL last year).  He had Boise's first RBI of the game, driving in Dunston with a single.  He also drew his 5th walk in 5 games and  is off to a 6 for 18 start (.333).
  • Infielder David Bote hit a solo HR to account for Boise's other run.
  • Jose Dore, once a top prospect with the San Diego Padres, doubled and walked twice.  It was just his second start and he's 2 for 5 overall.  Dore is just 21 and he once ranked among the Padres top 10 prospects because of his athleticism, power potential, and strong arm.

 MWL All-Star Game

  • Dan Vogelbach went 2 for 2 with a double, walk, run scored and RBI.
  • Bijan Rademacher and Rock Shoulders both went 0-2.
  • Tayler Scott pitched 2/3 of a scorless inning (1K)
  • LHP Nathan Dorris pitched 1/3 of scoreless inning.


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  • Why did the Pads give up on Dore so early? And more information on him? Thanks as always.

  • In reply to RTGrules:

    Injuries really stunted his development and he played poorly. Cubs aren't giving him a ton of playing time either. He's going to have to earn it. It's basically a flyer, but one worth taking for the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Wasn't he originally drafted by Jed & McCleod? They must've liked him and saw something to go back and get him.

  • I believe you mentioned Baez would not have been the new regime's pick. Why and perhaps who would've been their pick? Great to see his walk ratio improving.

  • Now that JC Paniagua has made an appearance in a cubs box score - made we wonder of a few other recent international signings: Gerardo Concepcion and Chan Yong Lim from Korea. Heard anything on either? I know that Lim was coming off arm surgery.

  • Wow, 8 Twins prospects including 19 year old Byron Buxton (does not include Twins top prospect Miguel Sano who was at high A and now AA) and 3 Astros prospects including 18 year old Carlos Corea and 19 year old Lance McCullers Jr are on the the Midwest League All-Star team. For what it's worth, here's what the bleacher report says are the top 10 prospects in that league.

  • Remarkably, every Daytona batter had at least one hit, including pinch-hitter Pin-Chieh Chen, and every Daytona starter scored at least one run. That's a team-effort offense (and without Soler) !

  • I'm not surprised the Cubs picked up Dore, after all he was probably scouted and drafted with Macleod's input. Like you said John, he's worth a flyer and not much of a risk.

  • John, I'm sure you get asked this all the time, but do you think Baez is ready for AA? His approach has improved, no?

  • In reply to jh03:

    I'm not John, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night....

    I've probably followed Baez as closely as anyone not related to him or employed by the Cubs. I am a huge fan & believer. Having said that, He could hit @ AA, but he's still working on some things and it's probably best to let him do that right where he's at. He has only within the last few weeks or so begun reaping the rewards of those adjustments. This FO has no reason to rush him, especially at the cost of his development. I think they like the rapport he has with Mariano Duncan in Daytona. We don't want to see him deal with it at the MLB level like Castro.

    Still, I'd be surprised if he wasn't moved up after the trade deadline at the latest. Even if he stays red hot, they may not do anything before then.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks for the response!

    That all makes perfect sense. Great points. I'd really like to see him in AA by the end of the year, that'd be a great sign.

  • In reply to jh03:

    No problem. Something to keep in mind, this is without a doubt, the biggest adjustment Javier has ever had to make; but it could also be the biggest ever going forward. Certainly, there will be other adjustments, and the jump to AA is HUGE. But this new approach is so fundamentally different from getting by on just "raw" talent with the mindset of "see the ball - hit the ball". This transition actually began last fall in AZ. He has assimilated this into game situations fairly quickly. I doubt he takes that long to adjust to AA.

    I suspect once he establishes himself at the AA level with this new approach, his floor will increase so significantly; that you'll see the guru's remove the "bust" from his "Boom or Bust" potential and start speaking of "when" not "if" he makes his mark in the MLB.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I also believe I remember John saying he thought they'd leave him in Daytona almost all year with a call up to AA perhaps towards the very end of the year just so he can keep this progress he's been making for the last month, which really appeals to me. Maybe if he really has turned the page, and is progressing the way this FO wants all our hitters to approach each AB then we'll see him really start mashing at AA pretty quickly after an initial adjustment period.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    They may. Like I said they have no reason to rush him and we've only recently begun to see the results of his adjustments. They have organizational meetings after the trade deadline when they decide who moves where. I expect them to move him up then, especially if he's still red hot.

    btw, he's 1 for 2 with an RBI and another BB so far today... (he did make another throwing error though).

  • Is there a deadline for players to be in AA to be eligible for the AFL(without the exception) or does it just have to be by the end of the season? I would assume the Cubs would like to get Baez and Soler up there for that reason and also possibly one of Bryant and Almora... and maybe Pierce Johnson?

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    This is interesting: Jesse Sanchez has Armando Rivera making his debut for Kane County this week:

    Might this be another sign that Pierce Johnson is on the verge of a promotion?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I was just asking John about him. lol

    This probably has more to do with where they feel Rivera belongs vs. anything with Johnson. Not that PJ won't be moving up soon, but I suspect they'd make these decisions based on their evaluations at EST.

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    Hey John. I am always intrigued on how the newly drafted players fit in the system, which means some guys have to go. Does it make sense to write a story on players who are in danger of losing their spots in the organization or is that too speculative?

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    Soler sent to DL. Hope this isn't one of those Matt Garza injuries that starts minor and keeps getting more serious.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    It's a minor injury. Almost didn't go on DL.

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