Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Black throws 5 no-hit innings; Geiger HRs

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Black throws 5 no-hit innings; Geiger HRs
Corey Black

Following an emotionally exhausting Cubs win, here is your minor league recap...

Memphis 8 - Iowa 5

  • LHP Eric Jokisch had a rough outing.  He threw strikes, he just wasn't fooling anyone.  Jokisch allowed 8 hits in 5 innings including 2 doubles and a HR.  Jokisch struck out just 2 and did not walk a batter.  It's one of those days.  As much as you don't want to see him get pounded, at least he made the Redbirds beat him.
  • RHP Marcos Mateo has quietly pitched well the past two seasons though he hasn't thrown a lot of innings.  The injury plagued Mateo was almost lost to the D'Backs this past offseason as a Rule 5 pick and while he's about to turn 30 in a week, this isn't a man among boys situation.  Mateo has legitimately good stuff, he was just never able to stay healthy or throw strikes consistently as a younger pitcher.  It may be too late for him at this point in his career but Mateo isn't going down without a fight.  If he keeps pitching as well as he has the past 2 seasons, maybe he gets a chance somewhere.
  • Matt Szczur went 1 for 4 and scored a run and drove in another.
  • Josh Vitters singled and scored a run.
  • The Cubs signed Chris Valaika this offseason for two reasons.  One is that he can play all the infield positions and the other is that he can hit a little more than your average utility type.  Valaika singled, walked, and hit a 3-run HR, his first of the year.  He's hitting .318.

Tennessee 6 - Chattanooga 5

  • It seemed impossible that the Cubs could find a taker for Alfonso Soriano, even taking on the bulk of that big contract, but the Yankees did.  And while Soriano has hit a lot of HRs for the Yankees in the past 2+ months, the Cubs managed to get themselves a pretty good pitching prospect in Corey Black.  Tonight he pitched 5 no hit innings, walking 3 and striking out 2.  Not great peripherals but Black was able to limit hard contact.  He's a small pitcher and he doesn't have the kind of easy heat that Arodys Vizcaino does, but he has great arm speed and a fastball that can sometimes reach the upper 90s.  It remains to be seen if he can stick as a starter but he has the full repertoire to do so if he can maintain velo deep into games.
  • Frank Batista pitched a scoreless inning though he lost the no-hit bid for the Smokies.
  • One pitcher who gets lost in the conversation of Cubs reliever prospects is LHP Hunter Cervenka, who has good velo (90-93 mph), a hard slider, and has added a cutter as a third option.  I can see him as a LOOGY type down the road.  He pitched a scoreless inning today without allowing a hit.
  • The Smokies lost the shutout when poor defense (error by Kris Bryant and 2 from SS Jeudy Valdez) led to 3 unearned runs off of PJ Francescon and then the Smokies lost their lead when closer Armando Rivero ran into some trouble in the 9th, walking a hitter and then allowing a game tying 2-run HR.  Rivero did strike out two but the walk and the mistake pitch was all it took.  The Smokies would come back in the bottom of the 9th to win the game for Rivero.
  • Stephen Bruno had just one hit in 5 ABs but it was a big one.  His single in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded was the game-winner.
  • Kris Bryant went 1 for 3  with a walk, something he has done with the kind of regularity we were expecting from the patient hitter.  He's only hitting .227 in the early going but he does have a .393 OBP to go with his 2 HRs.
  • Back in the days before Theo Epstein, the Cubs picked a young 3B out of Florida named Dustin Geiger in the 24th round and signed him to an over-slot deal.  The Cubs felt they had a real steal here.  Geiger showed good hands and a strong arm to go with some bat potential.  Like many kids drafted out of high school, Geiger filled out and outgrew his original position, so he has since moved to 1B, where the burden for his bat increased.  So far, Geiger has responded, hitting for power in the MWL and then improving his all around approach at Daytona last season.  This year, perhaps, we will see Geiger show both aspects of his offensive game.  It certainly seems like that power is there, he hit his 3rd HR to go with a single and a walk.  He's hitting .321 to start the season.
  • OF John Andreoli had just one hit but it was a double in the bottom of the 9th and he eventually came around to score the winning run.
  • Before Jeudy Valdez committed two key errors that helped the Lookouts comeback, he hit the big 3-run HR that gave them the big lead to begin with.

Tampa 5 - Daytona 1 

  • Swingman Yao-Lin Wang got the start and went 5 solid innings, walking one and striking out 6.  He gave up 2 runs and that was enough to tag him with the loss.  Wang throws his FB anywhere between 89-93 but he plays the pitch up with a very good change-up.
  • It was another struggle for Daytona on offense.  Star CF Albert Almora had a double in 3 ABs and is hitting .313 on the year.
  • Jeimer Candelario singled and scored the D-Cubs only run.
  • Bijan Rademacher continued his Emilio Bonifacio-like start with a 2 for 3 game that also included a walk.  He's hitting .500 (7 for 14) to start the year.
  • Marco Hernandez is off to a good start.  Tonight he went 1 for 4 and drove in the only run for Daytona.  He's hitting .273 to start the year.

Kane County 6 - Lake County 4

  • This is a big year for Daury Torrez, who has had a lot of success in the DSL and AZ Rookie League.  He's making the jump to Kane this year and after a solid start his first time out, he struggled with the long ball in this outing.  He allowed 3 runs, accounting for all 4 of Lake County runs.  2 of those HRs came in the second but Torrez pitched well enough the rest of the game to pick up the win.  He went 5.1 innings overall, walking 2 and striking out 2.
  • Another solid outing for LHP Nathan Dorris who pitched 2.2 innings of shutout, one-hit  ball.  He didn't walk a batter and struck out 3.
  • Closer Zach Godley closed the game by striking out the side.
  • Lots of offense today and it started with the second hitter, Carlos Penalver.  Penalver is mostly known for his defense and good speed, but this year he's added some offense to his game.  He had a 3 hit day, scoring 2 and driving in one.  He is hitting .313 on the year.
  • C Ben Carhart doubled, scored a run, and drove in 2, one with a sac fly.
  • RF Yasiel Balaguert is having another strong season after his poor debut two years ago. He tripled, singled twice, scored, and drove in 2 runs.  Balaguert has very good bat speed and an improving approach at the plate, though he can be fooled by good breaking balls.
  • Jordan Hankins went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.  He is one of the players who the Cubs are moving to catcher but he's mostly played 3B so far.  He's hitting .200 on the season.
  • Shawon Dunston walked and scored a run.



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  • Late nite for you John. I'm really encouraged by Penalver, only 19 and off to a good offensive start. And Black with a hitless outing but only 2 k's.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Penalver is looking good -- get to see him live today at the game. Odd no-hitter for Black in that he had more walks than Ks.

  • Just got back from the bar out here on the West coast and forgot how much I love the minor league recaps! Even sprung for the extra $25 for the MiLB.TV this year, basically to watch Javy and Alcy. Looking forward to Sunday. My buddy Albert is working the dish in Memphis and I've asked for the umpire's scouting report on some of the guys. He's already told me that he loves working Hendricks' games and also that he's yet to see a guy come out of his shoes like Baez. Here's hoping he doesn't have to ring Javy up! Looks like he probably will at least once though...

    Good stuff as always, John!

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thanks Ben! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  • I thought that Kane County would loaded up with pitching and defense this year. I am pleasantly surprised at the bats at Kane County. Do you think with Carhart's experience at high A that he will advance quicker this year despite his somewhat new catching skills? He played a little 3B the other night.

    I was going to go to the game today, but the rain in the area has postponed my first trip to the park. I would love to go see Skulina, Blackburn, and Tseng pitch. Maybe week after next will be better for weather. Also, Duane Underwood has arrived in the area but he has not been added to the Cougar roster as of yet.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    I think Carhart's advancement back to Daytona is purely based on his ability to catch. He's shown signs of handling it well but he's also made mistakes -- which is expected. They know he can he can survive at the FSL level with the bat.

  • Hey John, just a correction here... Kris Bryant went 1 for 3 with a line drive single to LF.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Thanks...not sure why I messed that up. Maybe it was the late hour ;)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Haha! It happens, I'm just trying to help out.

  • Glad you devoted some space to Geiger today. Still a young guy at 22 playing at AA. He hit 17 HR's in a pitchers league last year at Daytona. Seems to have grasped the concept of pitch selection as his walk rate is excellent.

    Not sure what his future holds and if it will be with this organization, but he has to have some value, especially if he continues this kind of development.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He's played well and he's improving as an all-around hitter. You have to like the way he responded to this new organization and new philosophy. I think he's got a shot to be an MLB 1B, probably not a star, but I can see him putting up .270, 20 HR type numbers with around an average walk rate and good defense. That could start for a lot of teams.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    He's always been over shadowed by Baez, Bryant, VogelBOMB, etc... But he's actually a legit prospect, that can play all 4 corners. He's a bit stretched at RF & 3B now, but still better than Vitters, etc... The other thing I noticed in watching him @ Daytona last year, he is well liked and respected by his teammates. The confidence they have in him was evident to me.

  • Geiger looking good again this year and another good outing for Concepcion today. Maybe he'll be a worthwhile prospect with a full year of action... Paniagua doing better also.

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