A bit of news to start the day....
2nd round pick LHP Rob Zastryzny signs
In case you missed it in our comment thread earlier, 2nd round pick Rob Zastryzny signed a deal. We know because he said so himself...or tweeted it, rather.
MLB Daily Dish reports,
"A source has confirmed that the Chicago Cubs have officially signed left-hander Rob Zastryzny to a contract after selecting him in the second round (41st overall) in this year's draft. Zastryzny will receive a bonus of $1.1 million, which is $261,900 less than the assigned slot value for the 41st selection, $1,361,900."
Obviously the underslot signing is good news as it is money that can be used to help pay for overslots like Tyler Skulina, Charcer Burkes, and Trevor Clifton.
As for the scouting report we got, the belief is that Zastryzny can eventually sit 92-93 with a plus change and a solid average breaking ball -- and that he can play up that stuff with pitchability and good command. Zastryzny also works quickly, which sometimes prevents hitters from getting into a rhythm while also keeping his defense on it's toes.
Jorge Soler has mild injury
Also, for those worried about Jorge Soler, it looks like a minor calf strain (h/t @sahadevsharma) and it appears he won't miss much time. He is not likely to go on the 7 day DL at this point.
More thoughts on the Cubs system from Professor Parks
I also had another Twitter chat with Professor Parks who told me that the rough draft of his top 50 prospects contains 3 prospects (Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Jorge Soler) in the top 20. A fourth, Kris Bryant, is around the top 25 range. He also repeated that the Cubs are being considered for as high as the 2nd spot in the overall organizational rankings.
Lastly, he also told me he is probably going to the Northwest League to scout players. The NWL is where Boise plays so it it will be interesting to hear what he thinks of Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood, Shawon Dunston, Jr., Carlos Penalver, and others...
In case you missed it earlier, we talked about some of the international free agents the Cubs are pursuing.
On with the recaps...
Iowa 2 - Omaha 0
- You don't see a lot of 9 inning complete games at the minor league level, but when you work as efficiently as Chris Rusin (93 pitches), you get a rare exception. Rusin was at his best, changing speeds and hitting his spots as he cruised through the Omaha lineup, allowing just 5 hits and one walk while striking out 8. The outing moved Rusin to 6-6 with a 3.06 ERA on the season. His control has been outstanding this season (1.67 BB/9 IP). He's pitching to contact this season and getting good results -- and we may just see him in the Cubs starting rotation after the trade deadline.
- The I-Cubs got solo HRs from Donnie Murphy (6) and Bryan Bogusevic (9). They only had 4 hits overall, but they obviously did not need many.
Tennessee 2 - Mississippi 1
- Another crafty LHP, Eric Jokisch, had a pretty good game as well. Jokisch went 6 innings and allowed just 3 hits and one run. He did walk 3 batters, however, while striking out 3. Jokisch improved to 5-6 with a 3.50 ERA on the year. He has also showed good control, though not as sharp as Rusin (2.6 BB/9IP), but he has missed more bats (7.7 Ks/9 IP).
- Trey McNutt continues to pitch well -- and efficiently. He needed just 10 pitches (7 strikeouts) to get through a 1-2-3 inning. He lowered his ERA to 4.30 after some struggles and the key -- as it has always been, is that he is throwing strikes. He's walked just 2 batters in his last 10 outings (10.2 innings) and his walk rate has creeped under the 4 (3.99 BB/9IP). Hope he keeps it going.
- Tony Zych has also stepped it up in his last 10 outings, putting up a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings and he's struck out 10 hitters in that time, something he hadn't been doing enough of early in the season. He lowered his ERA to 3.10 with a scoreless inning.
- Steady Frank Batista continues to outpitch his stuff. He's not going to overwhelm anybody (5.6 Ks/9IP) -- but he gets results, which Cubs fans would gladly take from their MLB bullpen. He earned his 9th save with another scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 1.97. His walk rate is a solid 2.6 per 9 IP this year.
- The Smokies got offensive contributions from some of their unsung players today. Anthony Giansanti and catcher Chad Noble each had 2 hits and scored a run while Pin Chieh Chen had an RBI. Jonathan Mota had two hits.
Clearwater 9 - Daytona 2
- Not a good start for Zach Cates, who allowed 4 runs in 4 innings. The problem? He walked 5 batters. Cates fell to 6-6 and his ERA rose to 4.48. He has walked 3.5 batters per 9 innings this year after today's performance.
- Javier Baez did not get a hit but stole his 7th base and drew his 15th walk. That may not seem like much, but it does mark his career high. He walked 14 times last year between Peoria and Daytona. The walk rate of 5.5% also represents a career high. He's also increased his walk total each month and already has 6 walks in 50 PAs in June, a 12% rate. Keep it going Javy! If you continue to get more selective, they're going to eventually have to come at you with fastballs that you can hit over scoreboards.
- Dustin Geiger accounted for both Daytona runs with a 2-run HR, his 8th dinger of the season. Geiger continues to surprise this season with his .291/.357/.470 line in a pretty good pitchers league.
- Ben Carhart had a couple of knocks to raise his average to .274 on the year.
Kane County had the day off with the MWL all-star game coming up
- Duane Underwood may have been battling a case of nerves today as he showed a live arm but was battling his control and pitching with runners on base all day. Boise announcer Mike Safford commented that Underwood threw the best fastball he has seen this season. Considering Paul Blackburn hit 93 a few times and closer Mike Hamman has touched the mid 90s, that's encouraging. Safford also commented that Underwood is very deliberate on the mound when compared to Blackburn and opening day starter James Pugliese. The Boise offense was able to bail Underwood out, however, as they roared back to tie the game.
- Orbandy Rodriguez hasn't pitched since 2009, when he was known as Manuel Gil. He fractured his elbow in his second season and the identity fraud was discovered while he was still recuperating and he was released. He's a 6'6", 200 lbs. RHP with good mound presence, but as you might suspect, he's older than his competition. He's a 24 year old pitcher who came into relieve a starter that is 6 years younger than him in the 18 year old Underwood. He didn't fare much better today. He started off with 1.1 scoreless innings but then unraveled, giving up 4 runs in the 6th inning.
- Ethan Elias went 2 innings and allowed one run, walking one and striking out 4.
- Tyler Bremer pitched a scoreless 9th.
- The Hawks got contributions from up and down their lineup, starting with the leadoff man David Bote. Bote didn't get a hit but did walk twice, scored a run and drove in another.
- SS Carlos Penalver is off to a tough start, hitting just .118 to start the season. He was 1 for 4 today with a walk and was struck in the hand with a pitch. Fortunately it appears he was okay as he stayed in the game. Penalver also scored a run.
- CF Kevin Encarnacion singled, walked, and scored a run.
- Yasiel Balaguert continues to hit more like the guy the Cubs thought they were getting last year. He had 2 hits, including a 2-run double. He also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap