Cubs Minors Recap: Maples continues to impress, Edwards allows first HR as a pro

Cubs Minors Recap:  Maples continues to impress, Edwards allows first HR as a pro
Dillon Maples

We had some friends over for some grilling and barley pops yesterday so I'm just getting to the recaps now and in a little while I'll be off again to catch the Kane County game.

I have mailed out many of The Baseball Factory/ Under Armour All-America Game Tickets, so those who requested them should getting the in the next couple of days or so.  I ran out of stamps so I will send out the rest on Monday.



On with the recap...

Iowa 3 - Fresno 0

  • The other day we wondered if Brooks Raley's 40 man roster spot might be in jeopardy but yesterday the athletic lefty said not so fast.  He was brilliant in pitching 8 innings of 2 hit scoreless baseball.  He walked two batters and struck out 3.    When he's on, he's Travis Wood light -- even with the bat and baserunning as he went 1 for 3 with a run scored.
  • Dave Sappelt singled and scored a run in 3 ABs but is hitting just .241 in Iowa.
  • The team's hottest hitter as far as prospects go has been Jae-Hoon Ha.  He's hitting .375 in his last 10 games and .304/.360/.430 in 21 games since the all-star break.  The instinctive Ha, mostly known for his defense, is hitting .263/.315/.391 overall.

Montgomery 10 - Tennessee 2

  • It's been a puzzling year for Cubs 2012 Minor League Pitcher fo the Year Nick Struck who struggled mightily at Iowa and was just sent down to AA, where he put up those excellent numbers last season.  A return to Tennessee didn't seem to bring back the old Struck as he once again had command and control issues, walking 4 batters and allowing 4 hits and 4 runs in 4 innings of work.  He struck out 2.
  • The potent Smokies offense was smothered by Rays pitching prospect Jake Thompson.  The team managed just 5 hits including singles by Matt Szczur, Arismendy Alcantara,  Rubi Silva, and Christian Villanueva.  Javier Baez went 0 for 4.  You know it's a bad day when the hitting star is a veteran utility infielder (Jonathan Mota) who came into pinch hit and tripled in a run.

Daytona 6 - Tampa 3

  • We finally got our second extended look at CJ Edwards and it was a mixed bag.  There were some control issues (4 walks) and Edwards allowed his first HR as a professional, a streak that lasted almost 2 years and over 100 innings.  He had no problems missing bats, however, as he struck out 8 batters and allowed just one other hit.  Edwards has struck out 17 batters in 9.2 innings as a Cub so far.
  • Zach Cates came into pick up the pieces (and the win) and pitched 2 scoreless innings despite 2 walks.  He only allowed a hit and struck out 2.  Cates moved to 9-9 on the year with a 4.33 ERA this season.
  • LHP Frank Del Valle is used most often as a short reliever/closer but today he was extended to 3.1 innings and he held down the fort, allowing just one hit and no runs.  He walked 3 and struck out 4, giving the D-Cubs pitchers 14 Ks overall.  It was a well-earned 8th save for Del Valle and he has a .2.51 ERA overall.  He has an excellent K rate with 59 strikeouts in 46.2 innings  (11.37/ 9 IP) but has also walked 30 batters (5.78/9IP).
  • CF Zeke DeVoss doubled and drove in 2 runs.
  • 2B Wes Darvill went 2 for 5 and raised his line to .248/.332/.385 at Daytona.
  • Excellent game from RF Bijan Rademacher who got on base all 4 PAs with 3 singles and a walk.  He drove in one and scored one.  Rademacher is hitting a solid .283/.333/.424 on the year.

Cedar Rapids 6 - Kane County 0

  • Well, I'm glad I'm going today and not yesterday.  Not a good day at all for the Cougars as they made more errors (3) than hits (2).  Dan Vogelbach and Jose Dore each singled. 
  • The pitcher was Felix Pena who walked 3 and got thumped for 9 hits and 6 runs, though only 2 were earned.  Pena is 4-5 with a 3.97 ERA.  He was an all-start in the first half (2.89), but his ERA is nearly 2 points higher since then (4.88).  It seems many of the Cougars pitchers are wearing down as the season goes on.
  • LHP Sheldon McDonald was still his reliable self with 2.2 scoreless innings and lowering his ERA to 1.29.
  • RHP Steve Perakslis looks like he's finding his rhythm again.  A scoreless inning brough his ERA down to an even 3.00.  The hard-throwing righty has 19 walks and 36 strikeouts in 51 ABs.

Boise 9 - Vancouver 2

  • With all the attention on Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood, and opening day ace James Pugliese, Dillon Maples has quietly become Boise's best starter.  He had his 5th straight good outing and the 4th straight where he walked one or less batters..  He moved to 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA and in his last 5 appearances he has walked 4 and struck out 21 in 23 innings.  When I saw Maples at Kane County he was 91-96 mph with a nasty curve that he had little idea where it was going.  He seemed to be pressing on every pitcher, perhaps trying to hard to throw strikes and not relaxing and letting his improved delivery and natural ability to do the work.
  • Corbin Hoffner continues to look like a scouting find for the Cubs, who selected him out of a Florida community college where he received almost no national attention.  Hoffner is a big bodied pitcher who works 92-93  and commands his fastball well, which alone gives him a chance to succeed.  Secondaries aren't quite as advanced as the FB, but anytime you have above average velo on the FB with good command, that's a nice starting point.  The just turned 20 year old, 6'5", 235 lbs. Hoffner went 4 innings, which if I remember correctly, is the longest outing of his career.  He has the size and command to start, so I'd like to see him get that chance eventually.  Hoffner did not walk a batter and struck out 2, though he did allow a meaningless run in 4 innings.  Hoffner is 2-0 with a 1.26 ERA with a walk rate of 1.76/9 IP and a K rate of  7.82/9 IP.
  • The Hawks pounded 15 hits but the big star was SS Carlos Penalver who went 3 for 4 and hit his first HR of the season -- a grand slam.  He also scored twice.  Penalver was one of my sleepers to watch but had gotten off to a bad start and his hitting just .239 overall but is 9 for his last 18.
  • Kris Bryant went 1 for 4 with a double and walk.  It's feeling like just a matter of time now before he moves up.
  • 20 year old Yasiel Balaguert is also hitting well and had 2 doubles yesterday, giving him 13 doubles in 44 games to go with a triple and 6 HRs.  The big corner outfielder is hitting .278/.356/.486 overall.
  • The Hawks got two hits, an RBI and a run scored apiece from Kevin Encarnacion, LF Rony Rodriguez, C Lance Rhymel, and DH Trevor Gretzky.

AZL Rangers 5 - AZL Cubs 4

  • Trey McNutt made his second rehab appearance and gave up 3 hits in one inning but didn't walk a batter and escaped unscathed.
  • It was the 2nd appearance as well for converted outfielder Johermyn Chavez and his reported mid 90s fastball.  He pitched 2 innings and allowed one run, walking one and not striking out a batter.
  • 12th round overslot Trevor Clifton had a tough go, allowing 3 hits and walking 2 in 2/3 of an inning.  He allowed 3 runs in all.
  • The best pitcher today was 18 year old LHP Carlos A. Rodriguez who went 2.1 scoreless innings, walking none and striking out 5.  Rodriguez has a 7.83 but the polished lefty with solid stuff has a very good 3.03 FIP and has struck out a batter per inning so far this season.
  • It's beginning to look like Charcer Burks may be the Cubs nice find this year as the speedy outfielder singled and walked to raise his batting average to .283 and his OBP to .350 as he's shown a better than expected batting eye and the ability to make solid contact so far.
  • Mark Malave was at 3B this season which I think is his ultimate pro position.  He went 1 for 2 with an RBI and drew 2 walks.  Hes hitting .256 and an advanced approach, including a walk rate of 15.5% has helped the 18 year old put up an impressive OBP of .367.
  • 1B Kevin Brown, C Albert Mineo and 2B Trevor Stevens each contributed two hits.
  • OF Bryan Bogusevic continued his rehab and went 0 for 2 with a walk and a stolen base.  He left the game early but no word as to a reason right now.


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  • Nice to see Maples having some success. Let's hope that continues because he could really be a gem if he realizes his potential.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yes. The stuff is as good as anybody's in the Cubs minor leagues.

  • My apologies to Brooks Raley. Nice rebound yesterday, though I still doubt he makes much of an impact in the Majors.

    I really hope they promote Bryant soon. Eager for him to take another step.

    CJ's K #'s are silly. 17 of the 29 outs he has recorded are via the K.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    CJ is beasty. Mid 90s (touches 98) with natural cutting action. If he commands that pitch all game, it's good night. Can throw that pitch 2/3 of the time and still be successful.

  • Great to see Maples doing better with his command in Boise. Would he go back to KC this year or just focus in on Boise and start out in KC next year? Also, how much influence has DJ been on arms like this? If he has worked some magic already and with the arms he has to work from the draft and trades, it's going to be some good times very soon.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I'm hoping he gets a couple starts at Kane before the year is out, if nothing else to get his confidence up that he can pitch there -- which he absolutely can. DJ is just starting to make his mark but I have to think Maples is a guy that was on his list.

  • Hey John, about CJ Edwards... He gets a pass from me, the day before the game he was tweeting that he was really sick and battling some fever and flu virus.

  • In reply to Caps:

    And he still struck out 8. Not bad.

  • I do love dreaming on good young pitching prospects....if Edwards, Underwood and Maples all reached their potential, wow.

    Of course, that is extremely unlikely. But fun to dream.

  • In reply to springs:

    And you can dream about Arrieta, Paniagua, Johnson and Vizcaino too. The system has some high ceiling guys now.

  • In reply to John57:

    Have to agree. Love the high ceiling arms we have now. Joining the high ceiling position players we have as well.

  • In reply to John57:

    Speaking of Vizcaino, any idea if he will be back this year. Any word on Solar as well?

  • Does Ha get a call-up in September?

  • It's great to see some of the maligned guys starting to put it together... Maples is healthy and throwing smoke, and DSL prospects like Rodriguez and Malave are beginning to produce. With the obvious top prospects the Cubs have, this has to be the deepest farm system in baseball.

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    Watched about an hours worth of video on C.J. Edwards yesterday and man. The stuff he features is some of the nastiest i've seen in a while. He generates a lot of velocity out of that tall skinny frame. I wonder if he could fill out a bit more and add another tick or two.

    He threw a few sweeping curveballs that broke hitters down. Starts off like its going to hit you in the head and then just falls off the table to the opposite side of the plate. Was filthy.

    Really glad to see Maples pitching well. Still very high on him. Still see some #2 potential in there.

  • Your blog is the best around!! I look forward to reading it every time you post.

    I just wanted to give you a shout out!! Keep up the amazing work!!!

  • Given Raley's a LHP w/ some, albeit inconsistent success, and the disappointing year Sappelt has had, I think I might lean towards cutting Sappelt from the 40 man roster before dropping Raley. What do you think John?

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