Cubs Minors Recap: Hendricks, Johnson, Peralta all have strong outings; Bryant, Vogelbach HR, Geiger HRs twice

Cubs Minors Recap: Hendricks, Johnson, Peralta all have strong outings; Bryant, Vogelbach HR, Geiger HRs twice
Yasiel Balaguert

So maybe the Cubs have some good arms after all...

Kyle Hendricks had no issues adjusting to AAA, Johnson mowed down FSL hitters in between the raindrops, and Starlin Peralta was a little wild, but nobody was digging in -- and you could probably say the same thing about Paul Blackburn.

Iowa 2 - Fresno 1 

  • So technically when you move up another level to AAA, one step from the majors, the hitters should be more advanced and your margin for error should get smaller.  Somebody forgot to tell Kyle Hendricks.  Hendricks went 7 innings in his debut and gave up just one run, and even that was unearned.  He walked just one and struck out 5.    Meet the new league, same as the old league.
  • Alberto Cabrera has to be a relief guy for now and today he kept the dominance going with a scoreless inning, as did Brian Schlitter, who picked up his 14th save.
  • The I-Cubs got 4 hits, but that was more than enough.  One of those hits was a solo shot by Brad Nelson, #17 on the year.  Jae-Hoon Ha pitched in with an RBI single.

Tennessee 9 - Montgomery 8

  • Eduardo Figueroa made his second Tennessee start and it didnt' go as well as his first outing, but it was good enough in this slugfest.  Most of the slugging came against Figueroa himself, who allowed 3 HRs, which accounted for 4 of the 5 runs he gave up.  He walked 2 and struck out one.
  • Tony Zych was the key reliever.  He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings which was just enough to keep the Biscuits from getting close enough to make their late inning comeback meaningful.  Closer Frank Batista survived two walks and a single to allow 2 runs, exactly the amount allowable for him to pick up his 15th save.
  • CF Matt Szczur hasn't been tearing it up of late but he broke out today with a 4 hit day including a double and his 3rd HR of the year.  He also stole his 21st base and scored 4 times.  The big day raised Szczur's line to .283/.349/.374 on the year.
  • 2B Arismendy Alcantara hasn't played this many games in his career so he got a couple of much needed days off.  Today it paid off as he had a pair of singles and a walk along with his 26th SB of the season.  He's tailed off a bit, hitting just .234 since June, but Alcantara still has a respectable .269/.345/.441 line on the year.
  • OF Rubi Silva had a pair of doubles and stole his 13th base on the year.  Silva's strong season continues and he's hitting .289/.309/.488 on the year.
  • In case you are wondering, Javier Baez went 1 for 5 with an RBI and 2 errors, giving him 9 at Tennessee so far.

Daytona 11- Clearwater 0

  • It's nice to report a Daytona game in which one of their top two starters was able to actually pitch more than an inning.  Pierce Johnson went 5 today and did not allow a run, gave up just 2 hits, and struck out 6.  The only blemish was 3 walks and that's something Johnson has struggled with a bit more at Daytona (3.75 walks/9IP) than he did at Kane County (2.84 walks/9 IP), but he's still striking out around a batter per inning and he's 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA at Daytona.  He's 9-6 with a 2.90 ERA overall.
  • LHP Kyler Burke came on in relief and pitched 3 innings of one hit ball.  He walked just one and struck out one.  Burke is 4-0 with a 3.50 ERA and has yet to give up a run in a relief role, though that's only 3 appearances and 6 innings.  He also has a 1.64 ERA vs. LH hitters vs. 4.32 against RH hitters.  At a quick glance and given his age (25), Burke's future may be in the bullpen.  Perhaps he's ready to a promotion to his home state of Tennessee.
  • As we mentioned when he was a member of Kane County, Armando Rivero has been all kinds of nasty lately and he didn't miss a beat in Daytona, pitching a 1-2-3 9th, striking out 2 of the batters.  Now that he's in a short relief role, which is where I always thought he fit best, he could move very quickly.  Rivero has reportedly touched as high as 96 in this new role.
  • Daytona walked 10 times as a team yesterday and LF Anthony Giansanti drew four of those free passes.  He also singled and scored 3 runs.
  • RF Bijan Rademacher was the DH today and he has cooled off a bit with the bat, but is still holding his own in the pitching friendly FSL.  He went 2 for 5 today with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI and is hitting .260/.308/.406 at Daytona.  Rademacher is a nice hitter and a good athlete out in RF, but there are reports of him hitting 95 off the mound in college.  He's 22 so he's still got time to see if he can develop the power they'd like from a corner outfielder, but I wonder at what point the Cubs start approaching him about a switch to the mound.  He hasn't failed at a level like Kyler Burke or Johermyn Chavez have, so I imagine it's not as clear cut at this point.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger found his power stork again and hit 2 HRs with 5 RBI.  He also walked and scored 3 times.  Geiger seemed to struggle a bit with the loss of teammates Jorge Soler and Javier Baez hitting in front of him but he has begun to look like his old self again.  He's hitting .287/.369/.459 with 13 HRs as a hitter and has driven in 76 runs.  I mentioned in the 1B piece earlier that I think Geiger still has a shot to make it as a 1B if he can develop 20 HR power and continue to hone his defense.  He's not going to put up gigantic numbers but a solid all-around approach that includes a 10% walk rate and good situational hitting may make up for some of that.

Kane County 7 - Burlington 0

  • Starlin Peralta is rounding into form but still hasn't found that control that caused him to take that leap forward last year.  But when a guy is capable of a mid 90s fastball (peak 97) and is coming at you downhill from his 6'4" frame -- and adds a little uncertainty with a bit of wildness, I don't imagine it's easy to dig in if you're a hitter.  Peralta pitched 5 innings of one hit ball and walked 5 hitters en route to his second win at Kane County.  Peralta has yet to allow a run in 13.2 innings but has walked 10 batters while striking out 11.  He's getting there but better control has to be the next step in his comeback.
  • Justin Amlung has a polished 4 pitch repertoire but it's hard to say any of those pitches are dominant.  He has been most effective in that long relief role and that was the case today as he pitched 2.1 innings of one hit ball today.  He has a 4.24 ERA.
  • Nathan Dorris pitches with an 87-88 mph fastball and a big slow (low 70s) curve.  When he commands both pitches, he's tough out of that relief role.  He went 1 scoreless inning and struck out 2.   Dorris has a 3.35 ERA on the season.
  • Gioskar Amaya left the game early and as of this writing I havent' found out why or how serious it is.  Marco Hernandez came into hit for him while Giuseppe Papaccio moved over to 2B.  Hernandez went 2 for 2 while Papaccio went 1 for 3 with a double, RBI, and run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach hit his 17th HR of the year, a 3 run shot in the 3rd that put the came out of reach for Burlington.  Vogelbach continues to have a solid, but not dominant year as he has worked on refining his approach this season.  I think it will pay off even more next season -- but for now Vogelbach has still been very good with a 282/.360/.453 line.
  • C Neftali Rosario made an appearance.  Some of you may remember Rosario as the most talented and highest drafted catcher out of a class that also included current catching prospects Rafael Lopez and Justin Marra.  Rosario hasn't been able to remain healthy but he's still just 20 years old, so it's not too late for him to catch up, but like teammate Reggie Golden, he has missed a lot of development time and will have to work hard to make up for it.

Boise 7 - Vancouver 5

  • Paul Blackburn had a similar outing to Starlin Peralta in that he was a little wild, but effective.  He limited the damage to one run by allowing just 2 hits in 3 innings.  He also struck out one.  We haven't seen the same Blackburn that we have from the first couple of starts when he was hitting 95 and throwing strikes, so I wonder if the minor injury that kept him out of a few starts, is still affecting him a bit.
  • I'm getting cautiously excited about Duane Underwood's performance of late.  He still has a gaudy 5.54 ERA but he pitched 3 no-hit innings and walked just one batter.  He struck out 2.  He has still been inconsistent but he's shown flashes in 2 of his last 3 outings of starting to tap into that tremendous talent.
  • Jose Arias moved one step closer to a return to Kane County with a scoreless inning at Boise.
  • 3B Kris Bryant seems to be settling in quite nicely at Boise now.  He hit his 4th HR to go with a walk and 2 runs scored.  Bryant is hitting .294/.362/.627 -- just under a 1.000 OPS.  If you erase that 5 strikeout debut the way Bryant seemingly has from his mind, he's hitting .326/.377/.696 (.1073 OPS) with a 9.4% walk rate and a 17% strikeout rate.  Not bad, not bad at all...but it's still just over 50 PAs.
  • OF Yasiel Balaguert is having himself a fine year at Boise after tremendous struggles last year as he transitioned into a new culture after a bit of a layoff from baseball.  He looks to be in better shape this season and seems to be looking more and more like the hitter the Cubs thought he could be as perhaps one of their better under the radar signings out of Cuba.  He hit a huge 3-run HR that turned out to be quite necessary as the Boise late inning RPs struggled to close the door.  It was Balaguert's 6th HR of the season.  He also doubled and is hitting .273/.352/.474 on the year -- and he's still just 20 years old.

Cubs Affiliates Scoreboard/Box Scores


Filed under: Uncategorized


Leave a comment
  • I have a question for anyone who has watched a lot of Smokies games over the last month.
    Can anyone explain Javy Baez's home/road splits? It seems too large to just be a BABIP luck thing. Is Baez trying to hard at home? Does he abandon his approach? Does Smokies park not fit his eye?
    I'm just curious.

  • In reply to djriz:

    He had the same issue when he started out in Daytona. Not sure. Could be that he settles down more on the road. Smokies park not an issue, it plays well enough for hitters.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks John.
    I would have guessed it's more of a baseball 'maturity' thing. trying too hard to impress the home fans. (or, with such a small sample size, his 1 for 20 start in AA could have come mostly at home, which would explain everything).

  • In reply to djriz:

    Just coincidence?.... If he was pressing to "impress the home crowd" as you say. He would have stunk it up in JAX as that was his homecoming and he may never get to play in JAX again....

  • Are you sure about Baez's line? I was pretty sure I saw a tweet last night that he singled in one of the later innings of the game.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Thanks. He did single. My mistake. I wrote that part of the recap last night and I added that in from memory without checking to see he had one more AB.

  • John,

    I read that a below .500 team put in a waiver claim on Mark DeRosa (who was pulled back by the Jays). He fits what the Cubs need now, plays many positions especially 3B, great clubhouse guy, inexpensive and easy to cut if it doesn't work out, a fan favorite, and It would be easy to move someone off the 40 man roster. Do you know if it was the Cubs?

  • In reply to Rock:

    I don't think it was but I don't know for certain. The pattern has been that any waiver claims the Cubs make will be to get a look at younger players who could be role players moving forward.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I live in Las Vegas and don't get to see too many Cubs games due to feeds and they are so difficult to watch but I was shocked to see LA and Cardinal fans seem to out number Cubs fans (at least vocally) at Wrigley. I'm with you on looking at younger players but I would cut not so young Ransom or Murphy (who had a out of body week) in a heart beat and pay pennies for DeRosa if it put a few more Cubs fans (especially the women who dug him) in the seats.

  • In reply to Rock:

    Opposing fans can be loud, a vocal minority. Some want to make their presence felt at the park, so they are more likely to wear team colors and cheer loudly. I went to an LA game and there were quite a few there where we were sitting, but they didn't really come close to outnumbering Cubs fans. At least not in our section.

    As for DeRosa, this front office hasn't been in the practice of making moves for fans. They have consistently done what they felt was best for the organization long term. If that includes DeRosa, it will only be because they think he can help more than Ransom and be a better long term solution than Murphy. He'd have a better chance of unseating Ransom, but even then it's because he can play the OF -- something the Cubs need right now, and not because he'll make fans happy. Even then it might be a longshot, but DeRosa's RH bat and greater versatility make it possible.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rock:

    I feel like Donnie Murphy is auditioning for a bench spot next year. It's handy to have a cheap, disposable UT type, gives you flexibility. Murphy has some ML experience, so might be a good fit in that role.

    Ransom and DeRosa are kind of the same guy right now, it would be redundant

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Agreed. Murphy is a guy they're thinking about as a veteran utility guy going forward, so I think he definitely stays.

  • fb_avatar

    I wonder what the plan is for Bryant. Is he ready to move to Kane County?

    He'll be 22 next year, and Cubs also need to leap him past Candelario. Bryant's development is priority, but Jemeir is a good prospect too, but JC is young and a repeat of A-ball wouldn't be a bad thing. Thus, Bryant needs to be tracked to A+ by start of next season, IMO.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think that plan makes the most sense given Candelario's age and the fact he didn't completely master A ball. It's reasonable to think it would be a half season solution. That is, Bryant could be at AA by mid-season and you promote Candelario, assuming he continues to hit as well as he has of late.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello: that end, I think the Cubs need to seriously consider sending Bryant to Kane County this August, to sample that level. If he isn't totally overwhelmed, ticket him for Daytona in spring '14.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I don't think he'll be overwhelmed by Kane County and as much as I'd like to see him there, I'm not sure there is much to learn about that whether he does well or not.

    But hey, I'd be thrilled if he did go!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Bryant most likely will see Daytona to start the year with Candelario staying at Kane, but hoping for a quick promotion for both of them. Remember Bruno skipped and went to Daytona. But as writing this, I forgot that Kane started this year so maybe they want a more up close look at him. Plus maybe they want to help you out John so you can see him. Because they may not think about the fans as much, but they respect you and want to make you happy. LOL

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I'd add that a midseason promotion for Bryant would also help avoid some of the Daytona weather. That said, I also would not be at all surprised (or upset) to see him start in Tennessee, especially if he has a nice spring training.

  • In reply to JB88:

    I'd be stunned if he started the year in Tennessee.

    Even if he has a great spring training, I think he'll start in Daytona, although it may speed up how quickly they promote him to Tennessee.

  • Szczur showing some power! Nice!

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    Always good to see that from him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    Has Szczur had a good year though? His prospect stock was already dropping, due to concerns about power. Now, he hasn't stolen alot of bases this year either. He's 23, not old but not exactly young for AA.

    We'll probably keep him on 40-man and promote to Iowa for '14, but have to wonder if he'll reach his ceiling of a 4th/5th OF

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think Szczur has established himself as a good defensive CF'er, which adds to his value. I'm not sure everyone was sold on that before but this year he has cemented his value there.

    That said he doesn't have the kind of extra base power you like for a first division starter and his unorthodox swing suggests he won't hit for power consistently despite good strength in his forearms and wrists.

  • Behind Bryant, is Balaguert the 2nd best hitting prospect in Boise?

  • In reply to fsufrenzy911:

    I'd say so, yes. Whether he can hit enough to be a corner guy is still in question, but as far as best hitter regardless of position, it goes Bryant then Balaguert at Boise.

  • I personally think Bryant could move up now. If they wanted they could play him in both the OF and 3B.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    I suspect you're right about moving up now -- apparently he just missed a second home run last night. But I think the Cubs will treat him like Almora last year and just get into shape in Boise. Next year the serious push for Wrigley will begin. I think he'll probably be similar to Junior Lake and stay at third until there is no reason not to move him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I outlined above the reasons I think they need to move him a little more leap him past Candelario

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Is Bryant ticketed for the AFL?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KGallo:

    The other issue which may be non-trivial in the decision making is they want Buckner to have another couple weeks with the kid.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's a great point!

  • So many exciting prospects to follow in the Cubs' system right now (even with Soler and Almora hurt at the moment).

  • I am wondering what level Bryant will start at next year. Maybe high A? And beond that, what to you think his time table to the big leages will look like?

  • Jed Hoyer needs to send Jon Daniels a really nice bottle of scotch. Or Jack Daniels. And send his wife to a nice spa. Or his mistress. Or both.

    "1B Dustin Geiger found his power stork again...". Is that like a rally monkey? Might we be seeing these at Jackie Robinson ballpark this season? (Sorry John, couldn't resist)

    Also curious when or if we will see Bryant at Kane County. Screw sample size. He's ready.

  • In reply to CoolerbytheLake:

    I like the Power Stork image. Reminds me of the fable about babies. "Geiger swings...and he delivers again !"

  • fb_avatar

    John: Too early to finalize, but what 3 prospects do you think emerged had the largest or most surprising progression this year? What 3 do you think regressed the most, or just failed to advance?

    Off the top of my head, I might vote;
    3 UP: Pierce Johnson, Alcantara, Hendricks
    3 Down: B-Jax, Starlin Peralta, Dillon Maples

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Zonk:

    Alot of people may ask "Where's Baez?", and he's progressed a ton, but he was also a top prospect heading into this year, so he's probably only slightly exceeding those lofty expectations. I was aiming more for "Surprises". The expectations for Hendricks were NOT lofty, so he's blown that away. Makes sense?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I don't think PJ is that surprising. I would add Rubi Silva to that lsit though.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I like your list. It's actually hard to pick just 3 with surprising progression. I would add Cabrera and Lake to a list of 'Exceeds Expectations' prospects.
    I would also switch out Maples and replace him with McNutt. The fact that Maples pitched more than 10 innings is a plus in my book.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm not sure how Pierce Johnson belongs on the Up list. What exactly did he do that raised concerns? He has pitched pretty much to expectations this season. Especially since they were conservative with him and started him in KC when he probably should have been in Daytona the whole time.

    I think Lake or Cabrera would be better candidates for that list.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Sorry, that should have said what did he do last year that would make this year be a surprise?

  • John, assuming we don't sign a FA closer this winter, who is your bet to be our closer next year? I know you like Cabrera as a SP, but he -- along with Strop -- appear be best candidates. No?

    Geiger is only 21 and seems to be progressing nicely, if under the radar. He's 6'2", 180 lbs, so he's not a hoss. And he BR/TR. Is he limited to being a 1B? Any chance he can play OF or elsewhere? With Rizz and Vogs, does Geiger have a future with this organization?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Nondorf:

    I think Geiger is an RBI machine. He was drafted as a 3B but was moved over to 1B. I liked what I saw when I watched him play but ultimately I think he ends up being part of a trade package in a future trade. He's a good organizational guy to have as insurance, imo.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    They'll have Fujikawa as well, assuming he comes back healthy.

  • In reply to Nondorf:

    I was surprised to see that Cabrera couldn't get above 92 MPH last night at the I-Cubs game. I thought he was mid to high 90's especially in relief. Anyone else notice that? Any cause for concern?

  • fb_avatar

    It's kinda funny, if you look at the top 3 picks this year, the one whose stats have been the most "eh" is Mark Appel, and the most outstanding, Jonathan Gray.

    Yes, I get small sample size, and I still would rather have Appel than Bryant, etc., etc., but it's still remarkable how baseball works out sometimes.

  • fb_avatar

    I don't get why Cabrera isn't starting.

    It's not like there's anything special about the Iowa rotation.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Limiting his innings. Last year he was a reliever, no sense in potentially injuring a guy in AAA.

  • If you were to vote for Cubs MILB Players of Year right now who would you choose? I'd find it tough not to go with Javy Baez and Kyle Hendricks.

  • fb_avatar

    We got another that thinks Baez ultimately ends up at 3B.

    Jim Callis ‏@jimcallisBA 17m

    Baez most likely. @JordanS10: Bryant olt or baez as the 3rd baseman of the future for the #Cubs

  • Hey John,

    I was at KC Cougars game last night and Amaya looked like he might have pulled his hamstring while trying to beat out his single in the 1st inning. He was limping but stayed in the game and actually had another at bat but it must have tightened up on him and Amaya was removed for Marco Hernadez

  • Kyle Hendricks is my favorite farmhand this year. If pitchability was a tool it seems as though his is a 7.

Leave a comment