Cubs Minors Recap: Cabrera mows down 13; Johnson's Daytona debut

Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks, who are the best run franchise in the city right now.  Hopefully the Cubs can turn out the kind of team that can contend for a title every year.

The Cubs got some pretty good pitching performances today, so maybe they're taking steps in that direction already.  And another pitcher, Daytona RHP PJ Francescon, got the call to AA Tennessee.  Congrats PJ.

Also in the news, Chang-Yon Lim made his stateside professional debut after spending most of the season rehabbing from TJ surgery.

Iowa 6 - Memphis 1

  • LHP Brooks Raley was excellent today in allowing just one run on 4 hits over 7 innings.  He walked just one batter and struck out 4.
  • Not much to speak of on offense despite the 6 runs.  SS Donnie Murphy went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI while Dave Sappelt went 1 for 3 with 2 RBI and a run scored.

Tennessee 5 - Jackson 1

  • Alberto Cabrera was flat out dominant with 13 Ks in 8 IP.  He allowed just 3 hits and one run while walking just 2 batters.  We've been noting Cabrera's solid season here in our recaps all year long and this outing will likely garner him some more attention.  Cabrera is now 7-3 with a 3.53 ERA but his peripherals are even better.  He has struck out 9.2 batters per 9 IP while walking 3.5/9 IP.  His FIP is now under 3 at 2.91.  Cabrera is working at 90-96 as a starter with his slider that has become an out pitch and an improving change, which he doesn't always use enough, according to his manager, but he did mix it in well today.
  • Just for good measure, LHP Zach Rosscup came in pitched a scoreless inning and punched out one more batter to give the Smokies 14 strikeouts on the day.
  • The offense was supplied almost entirely by two players.  The main producer was 1B Justin Bour who homered twice and drove in 4 of the 5 runs.  Backup SS Elliot Soto was the other big contributor with a 2 hit day in which he also walked,  scored a run, and had the only other RBI of the game.

Daytona 6 - Lakeland 5

  • Top prospect Pierce Johnson is now one step closer and his debut in Daytona wasn't spectacular but it was a quality start -- and certainly better than his Kane County debut.  Johnson went 6 innings and allowed 3 runs, 2 of the on a HR, while walking 2 and striking out 6.  Johnson credits the improvement in his change-up and Ron Villone for helping him with his approach on the mound.  You can hear him on Prospect Pulse with Jordan Bernfield.
  • The D-Cubs got solid bullpen work by Frank Del Valle, who went 2 scoreless innings while walking two and striking out 3, and Luis Liria,. who pitched a scoreless 12th for the win.
  • John Andreoli was on base 3 times with a double, singls and a walk.  He drove in a run and drove in another.
  • Tim Saunders hot month continues with another 2 hit day, including a double, with 2 walks and 2 RBI.  He's hitting .226 with a .322 OBP now after hitting .328 with a .425 OBP so far in June.
  • Pin-Chieh Chen has hit well since leaving Kane County.  He more than held his own in AA Tennessee filling for Jae-Hoon Ha, now that he's at Daytona, he's hitting .353 after getting a pair of hits last night.
  • Javier Baez did not get a hit, but we'll note that he walked for the 18th time this season.

Spokane 5 - Boise 3

  • Hard-throwing RHP Trey Lang improved over his last start but still has a ways to go as far as the strikie zone.  He went 4 innings and walked 3 batters, but allowed just 2 hits and struck out 4.  He gave up 2 runs.  Lang works with a fastball that can reach the mid 90s with a slider that's a wipeout pitch when he commands it.
  • Michael Hamman has still yet to  allow an earned run after pitching 2 more solid innings yesterday, though he did allow an earned run.  In 6.2 innings, Hamman (who pitches in the 92-94 range) has 9 Ks vs. just one walk in 6.2 innings
  • Corbin Hoffner, meanwhile, has yet to allow a hit.  He pitched 3 innings and has now gone a total of 6 on the year.  Hoffner doesn't even turn 20 for another month.  He's a big kid at 6'5, 235 lbs and looks like he may have some ability to miss bats at this level.  He struck out 13 last year in 12.2 innings (0.71 ERA) and has 5 Ks in 6 IP so far this season.
  • LHP Matt Iannazzo took the loss after allowing 2 runs in the 11th inning.
  • The big day on offense was supplied by Jacob Hanneman.  Yesterday we said he may need some time to figure it out, but maye it won't be as long as we think.  He HR'd in his last game and last night he doubled twice and singled.  He got off to a slow start and is just now creeping over the Mendoza Line (.208)

AZL Angels 13 - AZL Cubs 3

  • A couple of pitchers of interest. The first is Chang-Yon Lim, whom the Cubs signed this offseason knowing he'd miss most of the season recovering from TJ surgery.  Today was his first appearance and  he started the game, presumably to make sure he got proper warm-up.  So Lim pitched an inning and allowed 3 hits and 2 runs.
  • The other intriguing arm is the undersized LHP Carlos A. Rodriguez, who was very effective last year in the DSL as a 17 year old.  Rodriguez likely made the jump because of his advanced command and feel for pitching to go with solid stuff (high 80s FB, curve, slider, change).  Today was a tough day, however, as he allowed 3 runs, all in the 7th inning as the Angels broke open a 3-3 tie.
  • 1B Xavier Batista went 1 for 2 with a double, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and a run scored.
  • 2013 11th round pick Jordan Hankins made his debut at 3B and had a single in 3 ABs.

 

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  • fb_avatar

    HAWKS!

    Nice to see Cabrera doing well.

  • In reply to Cubs 27:

    Woohoo! That was unbelievable. Was at a rowdy Hawks bar by my house and it was quiet for a bit, started to perk up again with about 3 minutes to go and the place exploded for the 2 goals. It was incredible.

    Agreed on Cabrera. He's looking legit right now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John , your right about the Hawks being the best-run franchise right now. I remember during the Wirtz ownership days, where Sports Illustrated had them the worst-run franchise in all of professional sports, so its good to see them a winner.

  • I am unfamilar with Alberto Cabrera. Is he prospect material or just a filler? Does he profile as a starter or is he more likely a reliever if he excels and makes it to MLB?
    Thanks for the article!

  • In reply to Tide23:

    He was a starter for the first 6 seasons of his minor league career but struggled despite having a good FB and a nasty slider when it was on.

    The Cubs converted him to a reliever last year ,and he did very well in the minors (4-1, 3.11, 74 Ks against only 14 BB) but struggled with wildness when called up. Outside of the walks, his peripherals in Chicago were quite good (6.6 hits per 9 and 11.2 Ks per 9). So Theo and Co. decided to give him one last go as a starter, and this season has been his best so far.

    He's 24. If he continues to pitch like he has in June, he should see time in AAA in the 2nd half. Depending on how he does in the PCL, he will be given a shot to win the 5th starter spot next year in spring training. Still a ways to go, but so far, the decision to move him back to starter is paying off.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    If he keeps doing what he did yesterday I could see him up with the Cubs this year after we possibly trade 3 SPs.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tide23:

    One thing to keep in mind on Cabrera; he'll be out of options next season. For this reason, Cubs really must promote him to AAA before long as a starter, to see if he can stick.

    Next year, he can't ride the Iowa shuttle; he has to either stay all season in Wrigley, or be exposed to waivers

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think they'll give him all summer between AA & AAA, then bring him up in Sept when rosters expand and give him 4-5 starts at MLB.

    Even if he fails as a starter (I'm thinking he'll stick though) he's a better BP option than some on the 25man right now so I don't think keeping him off of the Iowa shuttle is that big of an issue. I'm just hoping he sticks as a starter.

    No way they expose him to waivers.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    He's a prospect. I ranked him around 15 or so, ahead of Kyle Hendricks. He has a chance to be either a starter or a reliever. He has the big, durable body and the fluid delivery you like from a starter. He's got 3 solid pitches. Out of the pen he throws harder more consistently (95-97) and would have two plus pitches out of the pen. We'll probably see him in Chicago again this year.

  • Johnson FB 91-93, SL 77-80, also threw a cutter, and a change. Slider command seemed off, but the D-Cubs radio guys raved about his pickoff move. Guy was pretty clutch actually, 2nd inning man on 2nd and 3rd no outs, gives up 1 run on 5-3 groundout and then promptly K'd the next two batters.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    All in all, a solid debut for Johnson. I usually take the first couple games at a new level with a grain of salt, so he acquitted himself fairly well.

  • In reply to Furiousjeff:

    Johnson got called strike 3s on (at least) 3 of his 4 Ks in the 1st and 2nd inning. The radio announcers said he was painting the corners.

  • Nice to see that Lim is throwing. I think his TJ surgery was less than a year ago, last August or thereabouts. He was a setup man and sometime closer for the team in my Tokyo neighborhood, the Yakult Swallows. Fujikawa is better, but we'll need to find middle relief from a volume of candidates if we're going to have a better bullpen next year.

  • In reply to TokyoCraig:

    TokyoCraig--what can you tell us about Lim in terms of his stuff? This is the first time I remember hearing about him...

  • Looks like Hannemann is warming up. I think he is going to move fast. He is already 22 years old, he doesn't need to physically mature much and he is talented. There is a reason Theo gave him a signing bonus of 1 Million.

  • I am not too familiar with Corbin Hoffner. He has pitched 9 innings this year and has only given up 1 hit and 2 BBs with 8 KKs. Is he a prospect we should be watching?

  • The Blackhawks aren't the only Chicago team with a remarkable comeback last night. The D-Cubs were down three and on their last strike, but tied it in the ninth, then won it in the 12th on Pin-Chieh Chen's surprise bunt single with two outs. Exciting times !

    http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130625&content_id=51675104&fext=.jsp&vkey=recap&sid=t450

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Sweet!

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    Cabrera was one of my sleeper guys and I was more excited than most about his transition back to starting. He always had the stuff, 3 quality pitches, and big frame to be a mid-top rotation guy. Command was always his downfall so when he improved in that area last year I kept thinking "try him as a starter again" and that's what happened.

    With no Appel or Gray now Cabrera is the pitching prospect with the highest ceiling at the upper level. He will be in the rotation next year, my hunch.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    John and I talked about this a bit last year. One of the things Theo/Jed is adamant about doing, is increasing players value when possible. With pitchers, the best way to do that is keep them as a starter, until they prove they can't start. Then the closer, etc...

    Cabrera's got that heavy 2 seam FB and nasty slider. But his change is average at best. I cringe at the description of "3 quality pitches". IDK if thats true. He needed to improve that changeup and his command. At 3.5 walks per nine, he's improved to "average" control. No idea how his change has developed this year. But his command is trending in the right direction. I think he's got a good chance to stick in the rotation. Worse case scenario, his stuff plays up in the pen. It's not like we don't need the help there too.

    I'm curious if anyone knows how he's fared the 2nd & 3rd time through a lineup vs. the 1st? IDK if he can stick in the rotation at the MLB level without that changeup. Even if it's only average, he's got to be able to command it so they can't just lock in on a FB and ignore his slider.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think developing consistent command is the key. As long as the change is consistently average, his other two pitches are plus and that an average change will be all he needs to keep hitters, especially LH hitters, honest.

    When he's commanding all 3, as he was last night, he's a legit power starter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. Any feedback about his change?

  • fb_avatar

    Well put, John, and I agree. The Blackhawks are the best run franchise in Chicago. Congratulations, Blackhawks.

  • In reply to Raymond:

    The Blackhawks story is amazing. To think that five years ago, we were a punching bag for the Wings, you couldn't watch the home games on TV and no worthy free agent wanted to come here. I hope the Cubs story will be just as amazing.

  • In reply to Raymond:

    That's where we want the Cubs to be.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The sooner, the better. 2015?

  • BREAKING NEWS...............

    Boston Bruins are now saying it was Bill Buckner who was in their net last night that let those 2 Hawks goals go by in the last minutes of the game.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Was Bill Butler a 6'9" 265 fellow with a Russian name? Did he wear number 33?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Bill Buckner is a standup guy who always gave it his all, especially when he played for the Cubs, and had to take a half-hour before each game to tape his damaged ankles so just he could walk and run.
    He is also the Cubs' Hitting Coach in Boise, for which we might be thankful. The guy knows hitting and coaching.
    No, he's not Zdano Chara, a Slovak with guts and ice-savvy, but an aging body. He's not Tuukka Rask, a Finnish goalie with poor defense in front of him.
    What they all have in common is playing to the best of their abilities, despite facing unfounded criticism for being on teams that lost.

  • Congratulations to Scotty Bowman, his staff, and the players for a job well done. Just like so many Blackhawk fans, I had my doubts about Bowman and want to say I was wrong. The superstars that he kept , the veterans that he added, and his 2011 draft of the manchild Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, and a few more that are likely to be regulars from that draft is truly amazing. Also, I watched the videos last July at Johnny's Icehouse of 18 year old Teuvo Teravainen, the Hawks' first round pick last year. He stood out like a sore thumb and showed that he was a man among boys even tho he's only 5'11'' and 185 lbs right now. Scotty said he was clearly the best player on the ice and I agree. He seems to be a great stick handler like Patrick Kane with the speed of Jeremy Roenick. Let's hope the Cubs can win the World Series in a few years!

  • In reply to shalin:

    Insert Stan, gm, and his father, Scotty, head of scouting in place of "Scotty"

  • I had my doubts as well, but he has proven me wrong. It will be interesting to see if he resigns Bickell and if he would actually CBO Hossa. I now have faith that he will make the correct moves.

    Like the Cubs farm, I'm intrigued by the Hawks farm, the 2011 and 2012 draft class could make them contenders for the next decade.

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