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Cubs Minors Recap: Daytona clinches title; Boise in first, and Iowa making a late run at playoffs

Cubs Minors Recap:  Daytona clinches title; Boise in first, and Iowa making a late run at playoffs

We focus a lot on individual prospects in these recaps but I have to say that this Daytona team has been one of my favorite minor league teams in recent memory.   They've had stars like Javier Baez and Jorge Soler, yet this is a great team from top to bottom.  They kept it going after losing 4 of their top starters --  Soler, Baez, Stephen Bruno, and John Andreoli and they did it with great pitching, great OBP, speed, and timely hitting.  Everyone contributed and players stepped up when they needed to.  Now that they have reinforcements in the middle of their lineup with Kris Bryant and Dan Vogelbach the sky is the limit.  They may be known for those star players, but it's the kind of all-around team I hope we'll see in Chicago someday.

Good luck to them.

Meanwhile, Tennessee is already playoff bound, Boise is in first place for the second half (20-13), and Iowa is 3 games out with 5 games to play.

On with the recap...

Iowa 5 - Omaha 2

  • Kyle Hendricks got off to a slow start (2 runs in the first inning) and then was lights out the rest of the way.  He allowed just 3 baserunners over the next 7 innings to finish with an overall line of 8 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, and 4 Ks.  He is 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA at Iowa.  It's not smoke and mirrors either as Hendricks 2.41 FIP lines up nicely.  In 34 AAA innings, he has kept the walks down (6) and he continues to miss bats (26 Ks).  Hendricks doesn't need to be protected so it's unfortunate that we likely won't see him this September, but he could make his way to Wrigley by next season.
  • Great play by OF Ty Wright has really helped Iowa down the stretch.  He went 2 for 4 and drove in 3 runs.
  • Mike Olt has been hitting the ball well of late and went 1 for 2 with 2 more walks.  He's hitting .321/.500/.464 in his past 10 games.  It's been a lost season for Olt but it's encouraging to see him finish the season strong.

Daytona 6 - Dunedin 2

  • CJ Edwards pitched 4.1 innings, walking one and striking out 5.  He allowed both runs but kept his ERA at just 1.96 since joining Daytona.
  • Lendy Castillo came on in relief to finish things off with 2.2 scoreless innings and picked up the win because Edwards didn't pitch the necessary 5 innings.  Castillo is now 2-0 with a 3.32 ERA.  He has struck out a batter per inning (19) while walking just 7 in 19 IP.  It's been a nice turnaround for him.
  • Both Dustin Geiger (16) and Kris Bryant (4) each had 2-run HRs.  Geiger improved his line to .281/.366/.458 on the season, an .824 OPS in a pretty tough hitters league.  Bryant meanwhile has shown very little sign of slowing down, hitting .320/.358/.640 without a chance to even settle in yet.  I think once he does, we'll see those walks go up and the strikeouts go down.
  • Ben Carhart pitched in with a 2 for 3 day while Chadd Krist went 1 for 3 with a run scored and an RBI.

Daytona 3 - Dunedin 0

  • The D-Cubs called on swingman Yao-Lin Wang and veteran Ryan Searle for the second game and they combined to shutout Dunedin on just 2 hits.  Wang went 4 innings and allowed one of those hits, walking 2 and striking out 3.  Searle pitched the last 3 and did not walk a batter while striking out 4.
  • Wes Darvill went 3 for 3 with a double and 2 runs scored.  Darvill has hit a combined .270/.344/.385 between the two A ball leagues this year.  Easily his best season as a pro.
  • Bijan Rademacher singled, walked, and drove in 2 runs.  Rademacher has cooled off after a quick start at Daytona, his average is at .256 in the FSL.

Kane County 9 - Cedar Rapids 1

  • Scott Baker had his best rehab start of the year, retiring the first 13 batters before finally allowing an infield single.  It was the only baserunner he allowed in his 5 innings.   He struck out 2 batters.  There is an increasing chance he pitches in Chicago by the end of the year.
  • Jose Arias made his way back to the MWL and had some control issues, walking 6 batters in 2.2 innings.  He did manage to strike out 3 batters and hold the damage to one run.
  • Steve Perakslis finished the game with 1.1 innings, striking out 2 batters and lowering his ERA to 2.88.  He has walked 3.2 batters per 9 innings while striking out just a shade under 7 batters per 9 innings at 6.9.
  • Jeimer Candelario's strong finish continued with another HR and hit his 35th double, good for 3rd in the league.  The Cubs 3B prospect also walked, scored 3 and drove in 3 runs.  Candelario's numbers are beginning to look pretty good for a 19 year old in the MWL.  He has a .254/.345/.400 line with 11 HRs.
  • C Carlos Escobar hit his 4th HR and drove in 2.
  • Willson Conteras went 1 for 4 with a walk (7% rate this season) and is hitting .250/.318/.432 with 11 HRs and 8 SBs (11 attempts).  It's a .750 OPS with some pop and even a little speed -- not bad offense for a catcher, but he'll need to translate that athleticism to more consistent play behind the dish.  Today he played 1B.

Boise 10 - Salem-Keizer 6

  • The Hawks got great pitching in the beginning (3 scoreless innings from Michael Wagner) and at the end (2 scoreless innings and a win  by Carlos Martinez Pumarino), but got roughed up a little in between, though the 1 walk and 4 Ks in 2 innings was an improvement for Juan Paniagua, even if he still gave up 3 runs.  Wagner has a 3.32 ERA in Boise in his first professional season.
  • Another huge day for Kevin Encarnacion, who has torn up the NWL.  A 4 hit day put him at .367 on the season.  He has also shown patience (12% walk rate, .444 OBP) and pop (6 HRs, .560 SLG).
  • 1B Jacob Rogers is finishing the season strong, hitting his 8th HR and raising his average to .287.
  • OF Yasiel Balaguert also hit his 8th HR and is hitting .269 on the year.
  • Perhaps the only person who has been hitting as well as Encarnacion and Rogers is catcher Justin Marra, who has actually been the primary DH.  Marra hit his 6th HR in just 21 games.  He's only hitting .239 but has added an 11.3% walk rate and a respectable .333 OBP.

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  • Great to see success of the new organizational hitting philosophy having such a profound effect across all levels!

    And being an avid watcher of every season of the Amazing Race, great to have the best news of the day with KDJ to be on this season, nice!

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    Loving Kyle Hendricks. Whichever scout found him deserves a promotion. What I think will be interesting is to see how they get him a chance in the majors. The rotation is going to be pretty stacked, but he is pitching so well, it's hard to argue he doesn't deserve a chance.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That was a nice find. Saw where one analyst didn't even call him a prospect (said he was just an org arm) -- yet now the consensus is he can be a 5th or even a 4th starter. Amazing performance this season.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Me too, Mike. You just can not argue with 56 walks in three seasons. He may not have TOR stuff like Samardzija or Arrieta but there's absolutely nothing that would indicate he won't have success at the major league level. I'd be completely okay with him getting a shot at the rotation in camp. At the very least he should be first or second in line. If he and EJax made the same number of starts in 2014 I don't think EJax is a lock to out-perform Hendricks or Rusin. Glad we have both of those guys in reserve and getting better!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Add Scott Baker to the list. I definitely want to resign him for next year. 5 innings yesterday with just 1 hit and 0 walks. Sounds like he is getting healthy again.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Looking at EJax career numbers, I think it was much more likely he outperforms Rusin., Arrieta and Hendricks over a full 2014 season. I do, however, also think it is likely that Hendricks would outperform Rusin and, even more certainly based on his continuous history of inconsistency, Arrieta.

  • In reply to springs:

    I agree with you that EJax should outperform Rusin but its not hard to outperform a 5 ERA. Guy picked a wonderful time to have a career worst ERA.

  • Hey John, obviously Olt has been pretty bad this year, but you really do not see him getting a September call up anyways?

  • In reply to jswick23:

    I'm not ruling it out, I just don't think playing prospects is a priority for them down the stretch this season.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I think Olt might be an exception because of the rush that Bryant is putting on. They need to figure out his future with the team. The Cubs are gonna have a crowd at 3B in another year, maybe sooner. I know you say there will be an outfield position for one of them, but ...I don't know. I'll have to say the FO has turned 3B from a position of need to a possible glut of talent in short fashion

  • Wow! Bryant is just absolutely crushing the ball. It is hard not to get geeked up thinking about what he might do in his career. I think he could turn into an elite prospect in the next year. I listen to the Daytona games so I can catch some of his ABs. I know he is considered an A grade prospect but do you think he has the potential to be a top5 type prospect in baseball in the next year or 2?

  • In reply to Tide23:

    I think he's going to reach the big leagues before he even hits the Top 10.

  • In reply to Tide23:

    Top 5 is a lot. He's going to have to hit a ton for that to happen. I'm just hoping that he hits for power, gets his walks, and can be a solid defender wherever he winds up. Cubs could use that kind of impact hitter.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am probably just getting overly excited because he jumped 2 levels and is crushing the pitching but you are right top5 would be a big jump. I will be excited to see how he handles AFL and AA in the coming months

  • In reply to Tide23:

    The AFL could help his rankings, since the big publications wait until that league is done before they print their top 20s/30s etc. as well as their preseason top 100. A big AFL could get him close. Can definitely see him in the top 20 with a good fall.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I forgot which prospect list it was, but one of them had Bryant right behind Baez. Which at the time placed him as the 11th best prospect. So it all depends on who you ask

  • In reply to Tide23:

    If Baez crushes the ball in the AFL I could see him being top 5 on some lists.

  • So nice to have multiple guys that are going to be considered for the top half of top prospect lists! Hendricks needs his love too. Numbers wise, even career numbers wise he's a top 100 guy. Kinda nice that he's going come out of the proverbial nowhere whenever he finally hits the scene. He's our dirty little secret. That should be his nickname. 'The Secret'.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Stuff-wise, however, he isn't special -- at least not something that's easy to pick up from a scouting standpoint, so he won't be making any top 100 lists. That's not to say he can't have a successful career as a big league starter -- just that he doesn't profile like a typical top prospect.

  • Hey SF,

    I am in LA too and I've been considering a road trip to AZ to check out the top 4.

    I was fortunate enough to have good seats behind the plate to watch Wood pitch a gem against Kershaw. Did you make any games.

    My email is nurick@yahoo.com

    Always enjoy talking to knowledgeable Cub fans.

  • If Olt can emerge as a solid glove, .800 ish OPS 3B, that would be huge. He seems to have the makeup you want when you're building a core. It's also very consistent with their goal of building solid team defense; they're well on their way to that goal, btw. It also gives them positional flexibility with the Big 4 and a little more freedom to make trades, as circumstances warrant. This trade has the potential to be a huge catalyst in the rebuild.

  • If Jorge Soler picks up in the AFL where he left off in Daytona, he will be yet another to get excited about.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Maybe I am jumping the gun, but I already am excited about Soler!

  • In reply to springs:

    Me too, but he has been out for so long.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Very true. We forget that at the time he was hurt, he was looking like the team's best prospect.

  • I like the system teaching on base skills. The his last 5 games Danny Vogelbach has 10 walks to go with 3 hits in 21 plate appearances. Yes on base 13 out of 21. He is a well rounded hitter, no pun intended.

  • In reply to John57:

    I hear ya John! I love this kid and his potential to help the Cubs someday. I think he will be a John Kruk or Jason Giambi type of hitter.

    Regarding his weight. I saw him earlier this year (July) and he is definitely "solid", but not heavy by any means. He only looks big because everyone else around him is so skinny. After all, they are still a bunch of 19-21 yr. olds. Remember how skinny most of us were when we were 19 or 20 yrs. old?

    Man, I miss those days (ha ha)!

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Calling Vogelbach "solid" is being pretty kind. He is a very big young man. Your final paragraph regarding his weight is a double edged sword. Yes, the underdeveloped guys he is playing with makes him stand out more, but you also alluded to the fact that for you (and virtually everyone else), we tend to be in our best shape and it is easiest to keep off weight at that age. Vogelbach has to at the very least maintain if not still improve his current level of fitness to have any chance at staying at 1B. Unfortunately, the odds are it will become more and more difficult for him to do that as he ages and by the time he is will be ready for the majors, his fitness may well be in decline.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Having excess weight and still maintaining a level of fitness are not necessarily exclusive in my book.

    There have been plenty of "heavier" ballplayers, over the years, who have been in incredible shape (fitness-wise) and were able to maintain that high-level of fitness for most of their career. David Ortiz comes to mind. Others like Greg Luzinski, Cecil Fielder, Boog Powell, Willie Horton and Tony Gwynn might fall into that same category.

    These guys maybe weren't as athletic as say a Barry Bonds or Ken Griffey Jr., but the common denominator was, that despite their size, they all had incredible baseball talent.

    Of course I'm not even going to mention the multitude of current pro football players who are pushing 6' 5", weigh 300 lbs. and could probably make you and me look silly running all those drills and bench-pressing 350 lbs. while being able to run a 40 yd. sprint in 5 seconds.

    Vogelbach strikes me as a very disciplined ballplayer who can translate that discipline into the fitness realm as well. I believe he will be "very motivated" to maintain his baseball fitness for as long as he can, in order to get to the big leagues as soon as he can.

    After all, isn't that what motivates many players to get more out of their bodies than they physically should be able to?

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I am going to set aside Gwynn from your list of players, because while he was short and pudgy, he was a very underrated athlete and was a very good basketball player in his prep days as well. He was just a different caliber athlete than the other players you mentioned. Ortiz, Fielder and Luzinski were all only acceptable players as DHs and were for lack of a better term butchers as defenders so in essence I think you are supporting my position more than anything with those guys. Horton and Powell were before my time so I can't speak to them.

    The best modern comparable for him I can think of is Prince Fielder, as he is another guy who is short and we'll go with husky. Prince, even at his peak was a barely adequate first baseman and he was never a guy whose weight was ever near as bad as Vogelbach's was when he was drafted. Vogelbach has already lost 30+ pounds and he still isn't able to match the athleticism Fielder showed. I don't question Vogelbach's committment, I just don't know how much more physical improvement his body is capable of.

    I am actually a fan of Vogelbach as a hitter. He has great instincts and a great eye, as well as the power to kill a mistake. He reminds me of a left handed Billy Butler. But his chances of ever being a contributor on the Chicago Cubs is remote. He is blocked by a superior defender and a guy who can essentially match his power potential as well. Vogelbach will need to become a significantly better hitter than Rizzo to ever offset the defensive difference. Backup 1B are essentially useless in the NL, the only recent examples I can think of are when The Phils had Thome and Howard for a season, and I guess you could use Craig and Adams in STL this year as well, but they hit from opposite sides and Craig is at least capable of faking other positions. Every prospect is a maybe, but at least with the rest of the Cubs prospects I can see reasonable scenarios where they maybe become valuable contributors in a Cubs uniform, but for Vogelbach he is a maybe he becomes trade bait. That isn't insignificant, but it is not something I choose to get overly excited about.

  • In reply to John57:

    Vogelbach is a very good hitter. He is famous for his size and people think he goes up there taking huge swings, but he doesn't get enough credit for how good he is.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    My concern with him is that his thinning out seems to have sapped some of his power, and he can't get by with a minus glove at first without minimum 30+ HR power.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    His I'm a hitter not just a power hitter is what reduces his number of HRs. I don't think that he has lost strength and still has enough lead in his ass to hit the ball a long way.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    One explanation.

    Whatever the cause, the power numbers have to rise. He just can't carry 25 HRs and be on a major league roster.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Well pitchers pitches won't be jerked out of the park even by a roid tempered Robo Slugger so that requires a good approach. I don't know Vogelbombs future, but I'm not betting against him. Rizzo won't be easy to displace, but I liked the idea of Vogelbach being as complete player as possible.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He absolutely can, as long as he is a well rounded hitter. Many FOs would rather have a 100bb (as opposed to 50) per season than an extra 7-9 home runs. So if he can hit for average, carry a good obp and hit 25?? Very valuable to many teams. And he would start on a lot of teams right now.

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    In reply to Josh Sims:

    As a first baseman who is a defensive liability? Strongly disagree. That would play at a skill position, it doesn't for a guy who is 100% bat.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Absolutely, look at the current first baseman stats in the game right now, some are downright ugly, and dont play outstanding defense. Bottom line, you can look all around the game, obp with good slugging will get you paid, period. Adam dunn got paid in the NL and while he hit for more power, vogy should have just as good obp with an equal slugging percentage because he should hit for better average.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Dunn is my example. He's hit 38 or more home runs 8 times in 13 seasons. And the years he didn't reach that were usually injury stories. He was a devastating power hitter. Slugging percentage is nice, but ISO is much more important for bat-only player.

  • Does anyone know why Marra has so few PA in Boise? Did he have a significant DL stint?
    He seems to legitimate offensive potential.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    I think he had a short DL stint, but his limited PAs are likely due to the fact he really wasn't performing much until very recently. 4 of his 6 HRs and 2 of his 3 2Bs have come in his last 6 games. If you remove his last 6 games, he was 8 for 47 (.170 Avg) with 4 BB and 18 K, 1 2B and 1 HR

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    He has had consistent injuries since his career started. Good natural hitter, good approach, and now developing power. But he has to stay healthy and also prove he can stick at catcher -- both are big questions right now.

  • What is the benefit to having Baker pitch in Chicago? To gauge his recovery progress (command/velo) looking forward to next year when we could possibly re-sign him? I just wouldn't want him taking starts from Rusin or Arrieta in September if he won't be back next year.

  • Gotta love Candalerio! Despite he so-so batting average, he is really doing well in the extra-base dept. and taking walks.

    I think the 35 doubles indicates that he will eventually develop more HR power later on. The good BB % is encouraging also.

    I saw him earlier this summer and he consistently worked deep counts on every at-bat and waited for his pitch. I think he will be a big asset (as a hitter) to the Cubs down the road

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    His HR Tuesday was a thing of beauty. He drove a low inside FB out of the park in about 1.5 seconds. It would be great if this meant that he was starting to get some lift on batted balls. I guess we'll know soon enough next year.

  • John, I think most of us feel pretty confident that we won't be in heavy on any Price or Stanton trade action. Given the FA landscape and the priority of our different needs , what type of talent do you believe we'll be targeting in the trade market? It'll be interesting to see what's "out there"? I'm also curious to see if we'll be in the market for any vet contracts where the other team will be eating $. That can be a high risk/high reward tactic for acquiring talent. Jedstein has certainly proven themselves open to all means of acquiring players.

  • I remember the days when we were hyped on just one or two prospects in the pipeline. What a remarkable improvement since the new FO began the rebuilding process, Sure, a number of these guys will flame out, but the depth of our list gives me great encouragement.

    The only downside I can see is the possible instruction our minors coaches are providing compared to what is needed. I've been a big fan of Atlanta's system which always seems to bring up prospects that gets the most out of their abilities and fit into a style of play they seek at the major league level.

  • When Baez and Bryant are top 5 in the NATIONAL LEAGUE over the course of an entire season, Ill be impressed.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Why stop there? Why not wait uintil they add world domination to their CVs before being impressed?

  • John thinking about checking the Cougars at Peoria this weekend, the pitchers scheduled are Jones Saturday, Perry Sunday, Garcia Monday, which would be the best to watch?

  • In reply to firefighter:

    I'll be there Monday.

    If you're looking to see the best Chiefs pitcher, it's probably Friday. Corey Jones has a good fastball that can touch the mid 90s -- it's a good test for hitters at this level. If you can hit a good fastball at his level, you've got a chance. On that front I'd keep my eye on Amaya, Candelario, and Contreras -- and even Hernandez if he is on his game that day.

  • Story on a guy I hope the Cubs go after for next season. Sounds like its going to be a big bidding war with the Rangers, Yankees, and Red Sox all scouting him.

    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/72725/japans-next-big-thing

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