UPDATE 10:50 AM: 4th round pick RHP Tyler Skulina has been promoted to Kane County. Skulina may have the best raw stuff of any pitcher the Cubs drafted this year and has a chance to stick as a starter. The Cubs knew he had that great arm and power repertoire, but the fact that he's been throwing strikes has to be very encouraging. Skulina just pitched yesterday so we may not see him on the mound for a few days, but it's exciting news that he has progressed this quickly.
In other promotion news, RHP Juan Paniagua is going back to Boise along with OF Kevin Encarnacion while OF Jose Dore is also getting a promotion to Kane County.
Dore was acquired from the San Diego Padres in a minor deal this past offseason. Once a toolsy overslot draft pick, Dore hasn't been healthy enough to develop and showcase those tools. The lefty hitting Dore has quick hands and a strong arm in the OF. He's shown some good patience at Boise and perhaps the Cubs think he's ready to handle higher level pitching despite the .200/.284/.356 start with 2 HRs at Boise. In his defense, he has been somewhat unlucky with a .242 BABIP.
Paniagua has struggled with his control and will try to right the ship at Boise. Encarnacion is an exciting player but I'm not in love with his swing and I wonder if his hit tool will translate at the upper levels especially since I'm not sure he will retain his speed with his body type, which is a little thick in his lower half.
Brett Jackson got the call from rehab, but it was to AA, not his familiar AAA Iowa squad. Perhaps the Cubs are trying to get him going again. Jackson had some success at Tennessee in the past.
OKC 4 - Iowa 3
- LHP Brooks Raley pitched 6.2 solid innings, allowing just 2 runs. He walked 3 and struck out 2. Raley got a no-decision when the I-Cubs rallied to take the lead in the 8th. Unfortunately they gave it right back and then some.
- Flame-throwing RHP Henry Rodriguez was the guy who lost that lead, allowing one run in the 8th and then another in the 9th.
- Logan Watkins doubled, singled and scored a run. He's hitting .246/.338/.386 on the year with 8 HRs and 10 SBs in 9 attempts.
- Ty Wright did his part to try and win this game. He initially tied the game in the 4th with his 3rd HR game, then hit the go-ahead RBI single in the 8th.
Tennessee 8 - Birmingham 4
- Another great start for Dae-Eun Rhee blanking the Barons on 1 hit for 6 innings before making his one big mistake in the 7th -- allowing a 2 run HR after a one out walk. Rhee has pitched extremely well since returning from his injury, moving to 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA, walking 7 and striking out 18 in 25.1 innings in AA.
- Arismendy Alcantara bounced back after a bit of a slump (2 for 28) with 3 hits and 4 RBI. He also walked. Alcantara dipped under an .800 OPS last night but his .273/.346/.456 line has him over by 3 points again.
- Javier Baez went 0 for 4 but walked for the 7th time in 93 PAs. That's a 7.5% walk rate. I can live with that if he can sustain that short sample until he reaches the majors. He has exactly doubled the amount of walks he had last season with 28 between Daytona and Tennessee.
- 3B Christian Villanueva went 2 for 4 with a run scored and he's been working his way back up after a slow April. July may be his beast month yet as Villanueva has hit .312/.340/.570 with 6 HRs and .284 with 13 HRs since April. He's hitting .266/.318/.460 with 14 HRs overall.
- Brett Jackson was the DH and went 1 for 4 with a run scored.
- In what's a very good lineup, catcher Rafael Lopez has generally batted 9th but he's no easy out. Lopez doubled, singled, and walked today, scoring 2 and driving in 2. Lopez has the same OPS as 3B Villanueva (.777) as he's hit .245/.343/.434 with 8 HRs on the year. Lopez is the Cubs best catching prospect at the upper levels and projects as a backup in the majors.
Ft. Meyers 5 - Daytona 0
- Though he's struggled so far in his rehab, the Cubs moved the process along, moving Scott Baker up to advanced Class A Daytona where he made the start today. it may have been his best performance so far as he allowed just one earned run in 3.1 innings. He walked 2 and struck out 2. He still has a long way to go, but at least that's progress.
- Pierce Johnson piggybacked the start and while he allowed 6 hits and 3 runs in his 4 innings, he did strikeout 7 while walking two. Johnson has a 2.90 ERA while striking out 28 in 31 innings.
- Zeke DeVoss had a single and 2 doubles as he raised his line on the year to .250/.399/.363 on the year.
Peoria 14 - Kane 1
- Jose Rosario got absolutely thumped today, taking one for the team as he made it to 4.2 innings despite allowing a whopping 13 hits, 4 walks, and 13 runs. Rosario fell to 0-7 with a 6.71 ERA
- Undrafted free agent Al Yevoli, who was signed out of the indy leagues and has a 90-92 mph fastball, slowed down the assault by allowing just one more run in 2.1 innings.
- Dan Vogelbach tied Rock Shoulders for the team lead in HRs with 16. He did not get another hit on the day but is hitting .290/.364/.463 on the year.
Spokane 5 -Boise 2
- 4th round pick Tyler Skulina had his longest stint of the season, going 3 scoreless innings, walking none and striking out 2. Reports out of college is that Skulina struggles with his command but he's walked just 3 batters in 15 innings so far. He's struck out 10, but he does have the kind of stuff to add to that. He has a 1.20 ERA.
- Boise rallied to tie the game at two but lost it in extra innings. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino did a good job of holding the game tied for 2.1 innings but started the 10th in hot water. An error and two singles gave Spokane the lead and chased Pumarino from the game. The other two runners would come around the score to put the game out of reach for Boise.
- The Hawks managed just 2 hits all game and one was a double by Kris Bryant who doubled in a run and then came around to score to tie the game. Bryant also walked. He's now hitting .185 with 2 HRs. He has struck out just 3 times in 6 games after striking out 5 times in his first game.
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