So Jake Arrieta is having no trouble with AAA hitters and he didn't have much with MLB hitters either in his one start with the Cubs. So when will we see him again? Well, the answer has to do with service time and the Cubs can avoid Super 2 status and losing a year of control if they make sure he is on the roster for less than 52 days. A good guess is that we'll see him on the homestand that begins August 12th against the Cincinnati Reds.
Meanwhile Javier Baez is maturing at the plate and learning pitch recognition and that's scary for the rest of the league.
“I’m working with Desi (Smokies hitting coach Wilson) on recognizing the pitch,” Baez said. “If it’s not my pitch, I’m not hitting it.”
“We worked on seeing breaking balls off the [pitching] machine and that kind of helped Javy with his timing, seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand,” Wilson said. “We’re trying to get him to understand to be patient and selective and look for your pitch.”
Just be glad you're not a pitcher in the Southern League right now.
Let's get on with the recap...
Iowa 8 - Tacoma 4
- Jake Arrieta was pretty close to unhittable today in just 5 innings of work. He allowed 2 hits, one of them a bunt single and struck out 11 -- including 6 in a row at one point. Arrieta has a 3.29 ERA overall at Iowa and has struck out 19 batters in his last two starts. See you in Chicago soon, Jake.
- Alberto Cabrera had his second straight rough outing but this time it was the long ball. Cabrera pitched 2 innings, did not walk a batter, and struck out 3 -- but he did allow 2 solo HRs.
- Chang-Yon Lim pitched a 1-2-3 inning and we could see the fireballing sidearmer soon as well. He has allowed one run in 5 AAA innings, walking one and striking out 4.
- Jae-Hoon Ha looks like he's beginning to adjust to AAA pitching. He went 3 for 5 today with a double, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI. Ha still isn't lighting it up with a .252/.299/.378 line but he's making progress. He's 10 for his last 23 with 3 doubles and a HR.
- Speaking of picking up the pace, Mike Olt had 2 hits, including a triple and a ground-rule double. He drove in 2 runs. Perhaps this was the game Olt needed to get on a roll and perhaps get a look this September.
Jacksonville 10 - Tennessee 4
- A.J. Morris was having great success as a starter when he was first transitioned to that role but has struggled in his last 3 starts. This past start may have been his worst as he lasted just 1.1 innings and allowed 7 runs. In his last 3 starts he has gone 8.1 innings and allowed 18 runs (15 earned) while walking 5 and striking out 4. He has a 5.25 ERA overall.
- LHP Jeffry Antigua is now in AA and pitched 3 scoreless innings. Have arm will travel. Antigua has very likely reached his ceiling as a pitcher and the Cubs are finding him to be an extremely useful pitcher in their organization, able to pitch at any level at a moment's notice. His stuff is fringy 84-87 mph fastball, slider, and a good change-up that I've seen as slow as 59 mph -- though he often slows his arm speed when he throws it. There's some deception to his delivery as he throws it across his body and it's been working against minor league hitters. Whether he'll ever get a chance to try his smoke and mirrors act against MLB is in question, but Antigua has done everything the organization has asked of him.
- Brett Jackson went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. He's hitting .261 in his first 7 games at AA and he's struck out 6 times in 24 PAs, which is a small sample, but an improvement so far.
- Javier Baez went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI. He raised his line to .243/.306/.586 with 11 HRs in 27 AA games.
Clinton 11 - Kane County 1
- 4th round pick Tyler Skulina made his full-season A ball debut and may have had a case of the jitters. He went 3 innings and allowed 3 hits and 2 walks, which resulted in 3 runs scored.
- Steve Perakslis pitched a scoreless inning at the end of the game, but then it was too little too late as Jose Rosario walked 5 and allowed 7 runs in his 3 innings of work. After showing some promise early on, Rosario now has a 7.36 ERA at Kane County.
- Not much offense for Kane County. They got an RBI double from LF'er Jose Dore and a 3 for 3 game from 3B Guiseppe Papaccio.
Boise 10 - Everett 5
- Skulina wasn't the only 2013 draftee who struggled today, 2nd round pick LHP Rob Zastryzny had one of those days. He walked just one and struck out 5 in 2.1 innings, but also allowed 5 hits, including 3 doubles, which led to 4 runs.
- The Hawks did get great work from two other 2013 draftees: 8th round pick LHP Sam Wilson and 10th round pick Zach Godley each went 2 scoreless innings, striking out 3 without walking a batter. Wilson got a win for his efforts, his 3rd, and has yet to allow a run in 13 innings. He has walked just 4 and struck out 17. Godley, meanwhile, has allowed just one earned run in 15 innings (0.60 ERA), walking 3 and striking out 15.
- Jack-of-all-trades David Bote is filling in for Shawon Dunston in CF and did a pretty good impersonation, singling twice, walking, and scoring 2 runs. Bote is hitting .239/.324/.374 with 5 HRs at Boise.
- Kris Bryant has undoubtedly found his rhythm now. He had 3 more hits, including 2 doubles and is now hitting .292/.352/.583 with 3 HRs in just over 50 PAs. I'm hoping that maybe we will get to see him in Kane before the year is out.
- 23 year old Rony Rodriguez was signed out of the independent Canadian-American Association. His age and size (5'11", 210 lbs) doesn't lend to a lot 0f projection, but the Cubs may have seen something in him because he has been getting quite a bit of playing time early on. He made it pay off today with 2 HRs -- his 2nd and 3rd of the season. He's hitting .244/.326/.427 in 24 games so far this season.
- 2B Jordan Hankins had himself a nice day, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks and a HR -- his first as a pro. He drove in 2 and scored 2. The 13th round pick is hitting .240/.306/.310 on the season.
AZL Cubs - AZL A's
- Rehabbing RHP Ryan Searle pitched an inning, allowing 3 runs (2 earned). He walked one but also struck out the side.
- The 24 year old Orbandy Rodriguez is probably a little old for the league but he has been away from the game for awhile because of a fraud incident -- a mistake that was pushed on him by an unscrupulous agent. Rodriguez has a decent FB, often in the low 90s but he's hit as high as 94. He struggled to a 1-2 start with a 6.10 ERA at Boise, but he has yet to give up a run in AZ over 8 innings in which he has walked 2 and struck out 13. Perhaps he gets another shot at Boise.
- Daury Torrez is probably my favorite pitcher in the Cubs AZ complex. The just turned 20 year old has a big frame at 6'3", 200 lbs (up from the 170 at which he was originally listed). He sits at 90-93 with his FB, throws a hard slider, and a solid change -- and he commands all 3 pitches. He went 3 more scoreless innings today but his ERA is deceptively high at 4.50. Torrez has often dominated in the first 3 innings or so of his appearances, only to run out of steam and give up runs in his last inning of work. Today he was limited to 3 IP and allowed just 2 hits and one unearned run. He did not walk a batter and struck out 4. He now has 4 walks and 30 Ks in 30 IP. His FIP is 2.47.
- 7th round pick David Garner has some talent but has been inconsistent so far. The Cubs are hoping to tap into that talent but up until today, they haven't gotten great results from Garner, who came into the day with a 10.80 ERA. He had his best outing of the season with 2 scoreless innings.
- 12th round overslot signing Trevor Clifton who allowed a single and walk, but pitched a scoreless inning. He also struck out a batter.
- 3B Jesse Hodges singled, doubled, and scored 2 runs.
- DH Kelvin Freeman singled twice and scored a run. Freeman is hitting .291 on the year but only 4 of his 23 hits have gone for extra bases (all doubles). Considering his size (6'5", 245) and position (1B/DH), the Cubs will expect he hits for better power down the road.
- SS Francisco Sanchez has the opposite issue. He's only hitting .216 but over half of his hits (11 of 21) have gone for extra bases (174 ISO). He went 1 for 4 with a triple, a run scored, and an RBI today.
- 9th round overslot OF Charcer Burks hada pair of singles and is now hitting .260 on the year. Burks didn't get much notoriety out of high school but was a late riser when teams got to see his quick hands and wrists to go with his overall athleticism.
- Mark Malave was at 1B today and singled, walked twice, scored, and drove in a run. The 18 year old from Venezuela is holding his own, hitting .258 and has shown great patience with 11 walks in less than 80 PAs. The power isn't there yet, but the advanced hitter does have plenty of natural strength, so it's a matter of him tapping into that power during games. That will probably come with experience.
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