Who says the Cubs system lacks pitching? The Cubs got big performances from 3 of their top pitching prospects today.
We also got a bit of good news today as we found out that 3rd round pick Jacob Hanneman will be back playing on Monday (h/t John C.)
Full slate today so let's get right to the recap...
Albuquerque 4 - Iowa 1
- Barrett Loux had been pitching well of late but that was not the case today. He was in trouble from inning one, when he gave up 2 runs and also gave up a HR to former Cub Ian Stewart. Loux was pretty much in trouble all day. walking 4 and allowing 6 hits. In all he went 4.1 innings and allowed all 4 runs. He fell to 4-4 with a 4.52 ERA on the year.
- Superb performance by the bullpen as 4 different relievers combined to shut the Isotopes down on just 1 for the rest of the day. LHP Jeffry Antigua (1.2 IP, 1K), Marcus Hatley (1 IP, 1K), Eduardo Sanchez (1 IP, 1k) and Brian Schlitter (1 IP) were the stars of the game today. Hatley has been a bit wild this year (14 W in 18 IP) but what's encouraging for him is that he has figured out a way to miss bats. He's always had pretty good stuff -- a fastball that reaches 95 and a hard curve, yet he always seemed to get hit more than he should have. That has not been the case at Iowa, but he does need to tighten up the command.
- Not much offense again for Iowa. They scored their lone run on Brad Nelson's triple and Junior Lake's sac fly. Lake has cooled off considerably, however, and is hitting .289/.335/.458 -- which is really closer to what we should expect anyway.
Tennessee 4- Jackson 1
- Alberto Cabrera's great season continues. He's been remarkably consistent all year but his results are now starting to match his peripherals. Cabrera worked at 91-96 mph (h/t @linaresricky, who was at the game today) and went 7 innings allowing just 3 hits and 1 walk. The one hit was a solo HR which was the only run Cabrera gave up. He struck out 3. Cabrera is 9-3 this year with a 3.20 ERA. He has pitched 112.2 innings, striking out 107 and walking 39.
- Tony Zych and Zach Rosscup have become a good right-left combo in the Smokies bullpen. Zych has pitched well except for a bad May (5.06 ERA) and has lowered his ERA to 3.22 but the peripherals have been average. He's walked 17 batters in 36.1 innings and while he throws in the 92-94 range and can touch as high as 97, he hasn't struck out as many batters as you might think (26). Rosscup's stuff isn't quite as good but his numbers have been better all around. He picked up his 3rd save to go with a 2.08 ERA. His control has been so-so (3.89 W/9IP) but he continues to miss a ton of bats, striking out an even 14 batters per 9 innings. Rosscup is usually around 90 mph with his FB but he creates good deception and gets some late swings. Both pitchers threw a scoreless inning.
- Arismendy Alcantara had a 3 hit day, all singles, with a walk. He also score a run, drove in 2 and stole his 22nd base. Alcantara is hitting .281/.355/.480 on the year. His 37 walks is more than he had the previous two years combined.
- That huge sigh of relief you heard came from Javier Baez after he got his first hit since his first AB in AA. He still went just 1 for 5 for the day and is hitting .087. He struck out twice but only has 6 overall in 23 ABs -- so he doesn't seem overmatched and should start to turn things around soon.
- Reader Ricky L. also told us that Rubi Silva showed a cannon from RF, nailing a runner at home.
Daytona 2 - Lakeland 1
- If you haven't done so already, it's offically okay to start getting giddy about Pierce Johnson. It was one thing to dominate MWL hitters but he's doing it now at the adv. Class A level and it's beginning to look like he could start next season at AA. 6 strong innings in which he walked just one and struck out 4 propelled his to his 2nd victory in 3 decisions. He has a 2.86 ERA with 18 Ks in 22 innings so far. Haven't heard on his stuff in Daytona but in Kane County Johnson was often somewhere between 90 and 96 mph, a pitch that he can also cut for more movement and balances with a power curve and a change. He's an aggressive pitcher and goes after hitters -- and certainly has the stuff to get away with that approach. If there's one thing he can improve on, it's refining his command. But he's a young pitcher in his first full pro season, so that could come with experience.
- I liked Austin Reed when the Cubs tabbed him in the 12th round of the 2010 draft as an overslot signing. At the time he was more known as a guy with an advanced change and a projectable fastball. When I saw him reach Peoria last year, that velo had come to fruition as Reed was pitching in the mid 90s. Despite his good stuff, however, Reed seems to get hit more than he should and can be wildly inconsistent from game to game. That was not the case today as he pitched 3 dominant shutout innings, walking none and striking out 3. His ERA dropped below 5 (4.87) as he has not allowed a run in his last 11.1 innings. He's averaged almost 3 innings per outing in that streak, somethiing he's capable of doing because he does have 3 solid pitches.
- The D-Cubs offense has taken a major blow because of injuries and promotions so they've had to rely on different hitters stepping up everyday. Today it was the bottom of the order as DH Taiwan Easterling and C Taylor Davis each had a pair of hits. Easterling doubled and scored a run while Davis drove in one of Daytona's two runs. Ben Carhart drove in the other.
South Bend 6 - Kane County 1
- LHP Brian Smith got knocked around for the second straight game. He showed better control (1 walk) but gave up 11 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings to fall to 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA. Smith generally works 89-91 with a curve and a change.
- Another day, another multi-hit game for Albert Almora and while I don't think the Cubs should be rushing anyone, it seems that Almora has re-adjusted since a short slump last month. He makes contact extremely easily and I would like to see how he does when he has quality pitching to challenge him. I would like to see him make the jump to the FSL at some point this season perhaps to start the month of August.
- Jeimer Candelario had a pair of singles to get himself up to .251 on the year. The numbers haven't shown it this year, but will be a good learning experience for Candelario. His pitch recognition skills continue to improve and he has flashed occasional power, which should come more consistently over time. For the second straight year he has held his own in a league in which he is one of the youngest players. And while he's made a few more errors than he'd like, Candelario has improved at 3B to the point where one evaluator I spoke to said there's no reason why he can't stick there.
Vancouver 6 - Boise 0
- 2nd round pick Rob Zastryzny made his second appearance and per Boise announce Mike Safford, he was 89-92 mph with a 75 mph curve. We'd heard from Safford last time about Zastryzny's nasty change-up so we've heard of at least 3 pitches in his repertoire despite pitching just 2 innings so far. He did not allow a run and struck out one.
- James Pugliese took the reins from there and was done in by one bad inning in which he gave up 4 runs to take the loss. Pugliese was partly done in by his own error which led to two of those runs being unearned. He also walked 2 and struck out 3 as he fell to 2-3 with a 3.30 ERA.
- 8th round pick LHP Sam Wilson pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.
- Corbin Hoffner got back on track with 2 scoreless innings, walking none and striking out 3. The 6'5" Hoffner has pitched 17.2 innings, walking 6 and striking out 18. his ERA is at 2.04.
- A short-handed Boise team really struggled on offense today but they did get a pair of 2 hits games. The first is by 2013 draft pick Cael Brockmeyer and the other was by 2011 overslot pick Trevor Gretzky, who was in LF today. Gretzky also doubled and raised his average to .257 on the year in 10 games. It was just his 2nd double of the year as Gretzky hopes to grow into more power as he matures physically.
AZL Cubs 6 - AZL Padres 2
- Juan Paniagua made his stateside debut and pitched 3 shutout innings and walked none while striking out 4. Paniagua is too advanced for this league and was slated to start in Boise this year, but I'm not sure he can't handle Kane County right now. Paniagua brings easy heat out of an effortless delivery. He throws a slider and a change, though both pitches need work right now.
- 2013 draft pick Zak Hermans picked up his first pro win by going 2 perfect innings in which he struck out 3.
- Speedy OF Rashad Crawford got off to a horrendous start but is hitting .308 in his last 8 starts to bring his average up to .216. He went 2 for 4 today with 2 triples, a walk, and his 8th SB.
- Another speedster, CF Jeffrey Baez went 1 for 3 with a double and 2 walks. He stole his 12th base of the year. Baez is hitting .241 but has shown excellent patience with 10 walks to bring his OBP to .371.
- Zak Blair had 3 more hits, a walk, and 2 RBI. He's now hitting .367, showing a tremendous ability to make contact (2 strikeouts in 56 PAs), patience (7 walks) and some doubles power.
- Yasiel Balaguert had 2 doubles and an RBI while 1B Kelvin Freeman added 2 singles.
- Josh Vitters is finally on the way back and started at 3B, walking once but going 0 for 2 overall.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap