Cubs Minors Recap: Johnson dominates; Cubs sign 4th Rd pick RHP Tyler Skulina; Video of Reggie Golden HR

Cubs Minors Recap: Johnson dominates; Cubs sign 4th Rd pick RHP Tyler Skulina; Video of Reggie Golden HR
Pierce Johnson

The Cubs officially signed 4th round pick Tyler Skulina to $800,000. Slot is just over $477K.  Jim Callis of BA describes Skulina as a potential frontline pitcher, featuring a 91-96 mph fastball with a tight slider clocked in the 80-84 mph range.  His command is inconsistent.  Callis also said that, other than 2nd Rd. Pick Rob Zastryzny, Skulina has the best shot to remain a starter of the pitchers the Cubs drafted this year.

We have a video for you as well, courtesy of @shadowsofwrigley. It's Reggie Golden's monster HR.

Now let's get to the recap...

Omaha 3 - Iowa 1

  • Guillermo Moscoso pitched 5 innings and walked just one batter and struck out 4, but did give up 3 runs.
  • The I-Cubs got 4 scoreless, no-hit innings of relief by LHP Hisanori Takahashi (1 IP, 1W, 1K), Michael Bowden (2 IP, 2K), and Marcus Hatley (1IP, 1K).
  • The I-Cubs drew a tough assignment in top Royals pitching prospect Yordany Ventura.  A HR by Edwin Maysonet accounted for their only run.  Brett Jackson and Junior Lake each had singles.

Mississippi 4 - Tennessee 1

  • AJ Morris is actually doing a better job starting than he has in relief this year.  He threw 4 one-hit, scoreless innings though he did walk 3.  He also struck out 5.  Morris has a 4.08 ERA overall, but has a 1.32 ERA in 3 starts.
  • Yeiper Castillo looks like he may have lost his starting spot and instead piggybacked Morris' start, going 3 innings of one run ball.  He walked one and struck out 3.
  • OF Rubi Silva had a 3 for 4 day, including a double, and scored the team's only run.  He's hitting .273/.300/.492 on the year with 9 HRs.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva went 2 for 4 and raised his line to .261/330/.427 on the year with 5 HRs.

Kane County 4 - Wisconsin 2

  • In what I think may be his last start for Kane County, Pierce Johnson pitched 7 shutout innings, walking 3 and striking out 5.    He allowed just 4 hits.  Johnson finished the first half of the season with just a 5-5 record but did have a 3.10 ERA with 22 walks and 74 strikeouts in 69.1 innings.  Johnson was hitting 93-94 mph in the 7th inning (h/t @TommyECook)
  • Steve Perakslis continued his string of good outings and once again got a save opportunity, earning his 3rd save with a scoreless inning.  He walked one and struck out one and lowered his ERA to 2.97 on the year.
  • Albert Almora had a rare hitless day and in fact, hasn't had in a hit in his last 7 ABs to lower his average to .402 on the year.
  • Dan Vogelbach and Gioskar Amaya each singled and walked.  Amaya also scored a run.  Vogelbach is hitting .265/.338/.442 on the season with 11 HRs.
  • Rock Shoulders went 2 for 4 and hit his 13th HR of the year.  He has cooled off since his red-hot April but is still hitting a solid .264/.367/.489.
  • Backup catcher Carlos Escobar went 2 for 3 with a double, run scored, and RBI.
  • Reggie Golden hit the big HR featured above.  He also tripled, scored a run and drove in 2.  Golden hasn't looked a whole lot like a hitter who played just 7 games at Boise last season.  He's hitting .295/.340/.523

Boise 8 - Eugene 2

  • Boise got their 3rd straight scoreless outing by a starting pitcher.  This time it was 22 year old RHP Loiger Padron, who went 4.2 innings pitched and struck out 3.  He did walk 3 hitters, however.  Duane Underwood tries to keep the streak going tomorrow.
  • Last year's Cuban signee Carlos Martinez-Pumarino went 1.2 innings and allowed a run to score.
  • One of my favorite sleepers on this team, RHP Michael Hamman has taken over the closers role.  He hit 94 again today on the gun and was getting swings and misses with it again.   He earned the save with 1.2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 2.
  • Kevin Encarnacion is another sleeper on this team after spending a couple of years in the DSL.  The athletic Encarnacion went 2 for 3 and showed his good approach with a couple of walks.  He also scored a run.  Encarnacion also got his 3rd SB of the year.  He's hitting .364 after 3 games.
  • Yasiel Balaguert made a great running catch the other day and today he hit a bases-clearing triple -- I'm really becoming convinced he's in better shape than what I saw in Peoria last year.  He had the reputation of being a pretty good hitter in Cuba but did not show that at all last year.  This year he's been hitting the ball well in BP and using his legs to make plays.  Balaguert also singled, scored a run, and drove in a total of 4 runs.
  • C Lance Rymel went 1 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI.
  • Shawon Dunston, Jr. singled, scored a run and doubled off a runner at first.  Dad must be proud that junior used his arm to make a play.  Happy Father's Day!

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  • fb_avatar

    John, are you hearing anything on Bryant? All of these overslots are starting to get a little scary.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There is no way they don't sign him. I haven't really heard anything about Bryant lately outside he will get signed.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Agreed. He'll sign.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He'll sign. Nothing to gain by going back to school -- and a lot to lose.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I never worried about Bryant not signing, he will, maybe niht right away , but he will sign.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I was wondering the same thing but don't think Bryant will get the full slot considering Appel and gray were under slot. The Cubs won't mess this up unless Boras is unreasonable. He would get less in a stronger draft next year. And we just may get more with the compensatory pick.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I have to think the Cubs have some basic parameters in place and have a general idea of how much they want to spend. If you think about it, if Bryant signs for $6M, that's 1.7M to spend on other picks. That's easily enough to pay for Clifton and Skulina

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That is .7M to spend on overslots :)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    One thing to keep in mind is the Cubs have over $500,000 to spend in their 105% allowance. So the first $525,000 or whatever the exact number is, doesn't need compensation from a top pick but the team can spend it without any future damages (draft picks, etc.)

    I know that there is a lot of debate over how good the team does in this rebuilding process. I'm a Cubs fan so I want them to win, and losing games like yesterday sucks horribly. But it is hard not to acknowledge just what an edge it is to suck. MLB needs to rethink this whole thing. You get a better shot at elite talent, your draft pool is bigger, it is easier to get players well under your slot for your first pick because the chances of the player getting more in the future are extremely low, your 105% "slush fund" is greater because it is a % of total money, and you get more international money to spend.

    The difference between the first and second pick and say even the 7th and 8th is tremendous. There is just far too many advantages to sucking, and in the end that isn't good for the sport. To the Cubs credit it seems like they have at least tried to field a decent MLB team. Houston, and Miami literally appear to be doing everything they can to get a top two pick.

  • In looking at the stats of the different leagues are the following asssumptions accurate:

    Iowa- Hitters league
    Tennessee- pretty balanced between hitters and pitchers
    Daytona-slightly Pitchers league
    Kane County- Pitchers league
    Boise-Hitters league

    Which of those are wrong and which are correct? If I'm right, it helps explain why Amaya may be having a harder time and Vogelbach isn't putting up ridiculous video game numbers like he did in boise (not that he's having a bad season, just not great either).

  • In reply to Andrew:

    It's pretty accurate. In general the FSL and MWL are considered pitching leagues -- but Daytona is more hitter friendly than most FSL parks. The PCL is a hitting league, though Iowa is one of the least hitter friendly (relatively speaking). NWL is generally considered a hitters league.

    It partly explains the down years, but Javier Baez tore that league up. Vitters had his best year there. I do think both Vogelbach and Amaya will both improve in the 2nd half.

  • fb_avatar

    Giddy about Johnson's velo. The 2012 draft is looking like a goldmine....

    Almora making baseball look easy
    Johnson dominating all year
    Underwood consistently mid-90's like we hoped
    Blackburn throwing a 93mph 2-seamer which is the equivalent of a 95mph 4-seamer
    Conway and McNeil were throwing well before injury
    Bruno was raking at one point

    Not bad for the Theo regime's first draft.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    It really does look like a good draft at this point. Even some of the more minor picks. Michael Heesch looks solid, Chadd Krist could be backup catcher. Nathan Dorris has been good. They got a couple of minor league closers in Perakslis and Hamman, both mentioned in this recap. Bijan Rademacher has been hitting all year. Saunders and Carhart already starting at Daytona.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Does look good, but who can't really assess a draft until 5 or 6 years later. One thing for sure, some of these guys won't make it; we just don't know which ones

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Don't forget Bijan Rademacher and Chadd Krist who are playing much better than anyone expected.

  • Hey everyone,

    Sorry about the quality of the Golden HR video, for whatever reason the ball becomes far less clear after uploading to youtube. If you can't see it, it hit smack-dab in the middle of the 5/3 logo at the top of the advertisement. Ball was crushed

  • In reply to Tommy Cook:

    Wow. That's quite a blast if it hit that 5/3 sign. It is hard to track, though.

  • In reply to Tommy Cook:

    I can attest to the location. I was in the right field lawn seats and Golden absolutely smoked it.

  • Following Cubs minor league games day in and day out you can lose sight of the forest for the trees. This guy's red hot, this guy's slumping. What does it all mean? Usually nothing. The end of the season numbers aren't even the final arbiter as these guys are developing and growing. A player could struggle all season, have a breakthrough in August, be poised to take it to the next level the following year but if you went by his numbers, you'd probably write him off as a prospect. That is why I'm so grateful to John, Kevin and all the other contributors to CubsDen that provide insight and scouting reports. The numbers, hot streaks, slow starts, etc., only give us half the picture.

    After enough games have been played, it's nice to take a step back and get an accurate sense of the system. I like what I see. But now it starts all over again with Boise and Mesa starting up and the draftees coming in. As a diehard, it's difficult not to get excited about Paul Blackburn's performance. I have to keep telling myself that it's just one game and we don't really have accurate reports on his velo yet.

    What a great time of year to be a prospect follower. Top prospects entering into the middle of a maturing season and fresh blood full wonder joining in mid-stream. This just got exponentially better.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks Quedub. I think it's very important to know what these players can do. The fact that Johnson is holding near peak velocity late in games is huge, for example.

    The Eugene scoreboard gun had Blackburn at 91-93 mph, by the way. It has also clocked Hamman at 94. Both of those numbers seem reasonable based on what I know of the two players.

    I'm really curious now to see how Skulina does. Callis was raving about him. One of my favorite picks and definitely my favorite after the top 2 right now. there's still work to do, but lot's to work with.

  • Carlos Escobar is a guy I really want to see more of. I've only seen him twice (he is the backup catcher), but both times he has made really hard contact. The first time I saw him, I was looking down at my scorecard in his first at bat, and my head whipped up at the sound of a ball exploding off the barrel of the bat and into the right-centerfield gap. Hoping I get to see more of him in the second half

  • In reply to Tommy Cook:

    I haven't seen Escobar yet. I think Contreras is the man there, but nothing wrong with having two good catchers there if he turns out to be a good player as well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Escobar was pretty impressive. Put a charge in the ball each time up. Seemed to have a pretty controlled approach at the plate as well. Obviously only one game, but he had a nice one.

  • I think Skulina will become able to start just needs some time.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    To work on his control, yes?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    And his change up.

  • fb_avatar

    Sounds like Alfonso Soriano lost it after the game today. Loud crash in the shower followed by some heat in his conversation with reporters. (See the Trib's site.)

    Sveum may be on the verge of losing the team. Marmol really needs to not pitch again.

  • Hey John why do you think it was Johnson's last start with KC? Have you heard anything about him getting a promotion soon?

  • In reply to Caps:

    It's the all star break, so it would make sense for him to be called up now due to his age and the fact that he has pitched well.

  • In reply to Caps:

    No inside info. I just think he should be there. It's the AS break. The Cubs moved some arms up from Kane and Daytona, respectively. Johnson not participating in the all-star game...just little stuff and my speculation.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Got it, I hope you're right... And like gocubsgo states, he might be a little older for A ball and he's done even better than what numbers imply... If you remove his first start of the season, he's done a terrific job and still has velocity.

  • how many more starts for Feldman and Garza before they get traded?

    Also Garza, Feldman, Gregg, Dejesus, Sheirholtz, all get traded... anyone i'm missing?

    Also Go Spurs! and Blackhawks!

  • In reply to Nik0522:

    I'm sure it will be closer to the all-star break, so maybe a half-dozen each. Would like to see them make a deal as early as possible, though. Not convinced Schierholtz gets traded.

  • fb_avatar

    Did anyone else see Carlos Rodon pitch today against aginst UNC? Holy Shit.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to James Knott:

    I didn't see it, but I did listen to it. He was absolutely nasty out there. However, even if the Cubs had a chance to draft him (which they won't), it's doubtful that they would because of their draft philosophy.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Why because they prefer position players? They were going to take Appel if he was there this year. I think they would have no problem taking Rodon if he falls to them next year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    They might have taken Appel, but I don't think it was a given, and thanks to Houston, we'll never really know. Rodon would have to leave no doubt in their minds that he was absolutely the BPA for them to take a pitcher. This is a front office that plays the odds, and they knew the odds of Kris Bryant being a bust were a lot less than the odds of Jonathan Gray being a bust, but it's all mute at this point. The odds are the Cubs will not be in a position to draft Rodon anyways.

    Here is the first Mock Draft for 2014.

    I think it's possible Miami will draft ahead of Houston, but I don't know that it's a lock that Bede would be the number one overall pick if the draft were held today, and keep in mind, a lot will change between now and then.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    Mayo has a good article on 2014.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think, if he's available, the Cubs would be ecstatic to land Tyler Beede next season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think they'd take him but, as you say, there's absolutely no way they beat out the Marlins for that "honor." They are a special kind of awful.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    The Cubs certainly feel (along with the rest of the baseball world) that a college hitter is a much safer bet than a college pitcher, and much safer than a high school pitcher.

    But circumstances right now are that the Cubs could not afford to fail with their pick this year. Not only was it the second pick overall, but also they are trying to fill what has been an empty system, especially at the higher levels.

    Next year will be quite different, if the current crop of draftees and overseas signees turn out as well as last year. The system will be one of the better ones in baseball, not only in having a substantial number of impact players becoming close to being MOB ready (Baez, Almora, Soler and Bryant) but also in the depth of their system, with solid, if not spectacular prospects at all levels.

    If that situation exists next year, the fear of their first pick becoming a failure will not be so substantial, and they might look more to need than they did last year. I think they will continue to take the best player available, but by next year, pitchers may well win ties.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Didn't catch it but I heard. We were all out BBQing, having beers for Father's day. He's the reason the Astros are trying so hard to lose. Kind of funny that the White Sox won't let them.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Marlins seem to have trumped them this year. Which is funny, because they have more talent.

  • fb_avatar

    @ Kevin Gallo: Any thoughts on IU's Kyle Schwarber in regards to the 2014 Draft. His skills as a hitter seem obvious, but I'm wondering if his knees are going to let him stay at catcher. Is he someone who should be on the Cubs' radar as they prepare for 2014?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I am not should of he can stay behind the plate. I think he is athletic to play the OF though. I will be taking a ready hard look at him during the season though.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I do think the Cubs will look at him and he is one the players I will be keeping a close eye on since I am moving to Indianapolis in 10 days.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Why are you moving to Indy from Cali?

    Will you be covering Northern IN too? I will be calling some HS & JuCo games up there next year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Hoosier, have you ever been to Cali? Other than the weather, it ain't got much to offer. It's basically Illinois with nice weather.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That is why I am moving. Also it gives me the centralization to cover more area to scout.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:


  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I will get covering all over including some trips down to fla.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    Indy eh? I'm just two hours South.

  • Off topic, but don't look now, a couple of the teams that are "going for it" this year are starting to put it together. Toronto now 5.5 games out of the AL wild card. KC 4 games out of the WC and 5 back in the AL Central.

    Now if the Dodgers can just close the gap a bit in the NL West...

    More buyers the better.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Wish the Phillies would put together a run to keep Cliff Lee off the market.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think the Phillies would have to eat a good chunk of money for a team to take Lee. He has a huge contract. He also has trade veto rights to 21 teams, providing potential for both current and future trade headaches.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    That's good to see. Those are the types of teams that will really be willing to deal.

  • You have mentioned who the Cubs might bring up to replace DeJesus while he's on the DL. I agree that Sappelt has not done especially well at Iowa. Why not bring up either Lake or Szczur and play whichever one against lefthanders consistently while DeJesus is out? Both are on the 40 man roster and there wouldn't be pressure since either would be expected to return to the minors when DeJesus comes back. Both have done well so far this year, albeit Lake has only been playing for a few weeks. I think that it would be worth giving them a taste of the bigs and seeing how they might do.

  • In reply to Vito23:

    Neither of those guys are really ready to hit MLB pitching. Lake has sat the whole season with an injury so I don't think they're going to want to bring him up into a situation where he won't play everyday and get the ABs he needs. Szczur also needs reps before he's ready for MLB. The FO doesn't work with the same kind of curiosity we do as fans because they know even if they bring those guys up for 20 ABs and they do well, it's too short a sample size to mean anything one way or another. In the long run, getting reps and continuing to develop does them more good.

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