Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant, Almora HR, some good pitching, and I spend an inning in the radio booth

I had myself quite a day today.  It started innocently enough.  We were headed to see our first Kane County game of the season.  The weather was going to be in the mid 70s and I was intrigued with Juan Paniagua, a pitcher I have only seen in instructs.

On the way there, however, some metallic chunk of something came off one of the cars in front of me and I ran over it with my front left tire.

"I hope that didn't puncture the tire.", my wife said.

"Oh, it's punctured.", I replied.

And gradually the car pulled toward the left and the dreaded rhythmic thud of my shredded tire thumping against the road made it conclusive.  Just a few miles from the stadium, we had ourselves a flat.

Eventually we got it fixed and were back on the road.  I missed the first inning of the ballgame but a couple innings later I got an invitation to join Wayne Randazzo in the broadcast booth.

Now, if you haven't listened to Wayne Randazzo, you should.  You can stream it on the internet for free via Tune-In, which can be accessed through the team's website.  He's knowledgeable, professional, and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  I have little doubt there are good things to come in his future.  As far as announcers/radio personalities go, he's a legit prospect.

Anyway, I took Wayne up on his invitation and joined him in the booth for an inning.  It was an exciting experience, something I had dreamed of doing since I was a kid.  It totally made up for the ominous start to my day, so I can't thank him enough.

If I find an audio of the inning, I will post it.  For now you'll have to settle for my recap...

Iowa 5 - Memphis 0

  • Tsuyoshi Wada is off to a tremendous start and he was absolutely dominant today, striking out 10 and walking none in 6.2 scoreless innings.  I haven't been that high on Wada since the Cubs signed him but suddenly I'm a bit intrigued.  It's only been two starts, but he's overmatched his opponents each time.  He's 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA with 1 walk and 18 Ks in 13.1 innings.
  • Marcus Hatley had a horrific spring but he's been excellent since joining Iowa.  He pitched another scoreless inning and he's now pitched in 4 games, covering 5.1 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 9.  I know there are some scouts who like Hatley, so the Cubs have been giving him every chance to succeed -- he is off to a good start and may put himself in the picture if he keeps it up.
  • Brian Schlitter, recently sent down to make room for Chris Rusin, finished off with a scoreless inning.  The future is uncertain right now.  The Cubs could keep Rusin, recall Schlitter -- or perhaps bring back Blake Parker.
  • Brett Jackson had the kind of game we once expected he'd have consistently -- 1 for 3 with 2 walks, and an RBI -- with no strikeouts.
  • Arismendy Alcantara went 1 for 3 with a walk, SB, run scored, and an RBI.  It's the kind of Alcantara line we've come to expect since he had his breakthrough in Daytona two years ago.  He can fill up a stat sheet with is ability in every phase of the game.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha returned from the DL and played LF late in the game, but did not have an offical AB.
  • Logan Watkins singled and scored 2 runs.

Tennessee 5 - Chattanooga 1

  • Ivan Pineyro went 5 strong innings, allowing just one run on 3 hits.  However, he did walk 3 hitters and has now walked 6 batters in his first 9 innings.  That's uncharacteristic for him and not something he can sustain if he expects to continue to have success at the upper levels.
  • Veteran Ryan Searle came on in relief and pitched 2 scoreless innings to pick up the win.  He struck out 3.
  •  Kind of typical Zeke DeVoss day when things are going well for him.  He tripled, walked, and stole his 3rd base of the season.  He also drove in 2 and scored one run.  DeVoss had gotten off to a good start but has since dropped off a bit and his hitting .188.
  • Stephen Bruno is slowly finding his rhythm after a slow start.  Two more hits put him at .233 for the season but Bruno is capable of much more than that.  He's making a big jump after skipping Kane County 2 years ago and then missing much of the season in high Class A Daytona last year.
  • 3B Kris Bryant doubled and hit his 3rd HR of the season, it was a solo shot.  Bryant has rather quietly had a solid start to the season, putting up an OBP of .405 and a slugging pct. of .654.
  • C Rafael Lopez doubled twice and walked while also scoring a run.
  • RF John Andreoli doubled and stole his 4th base of the season.

Daytona 7 - Tampa 1

  • A much better start from Rob Zastryzny who walked just one batter and struck out 5 in 5.2 innings of work.  He allowed just one run (on a solo HR) to pick up the win. Zastryzny has a 4.66 ERA after two starts.
  • Zach Cates seems comfortable in his new relief role and pitched 2.1 more scoreless innings, striking out 2.  Cates has not allowed a run this season in 5.1 innings and surprisingly, has not walked a batter.  He certainly has the stuff to be a bullpen arm in the bigs, but it's always been the control that has been a question.
  • Another hard-throwing RHP, Steven Perakslis finished off with a scoreless inning.
  • Bijan Rademacher's hot start landed him in the 2 hole today and he took advantage of it by scoring a couple more runs, though he only went 1 for 5.  He's still hitting .421 on the year.
  • So how long will Albert Almora stay at the Daytona level?  I suspect not for long if he keeps playing like this.  After an 0 for 9 start, Almora has gone 12 for 28 (.429) and is hitting .324 overall.  He had a double and his first HR of the season today.  He also stole his first base.  Almora drove in 3 and scored 2.
  • Dan Vogelbach singled and drove in 2 runs.
  • I've singled out Marco Hernandez as my sleeper to watch this year on this Daytona team and so far he's making me look good, though it's way, way early.  A 3 hit day put Hernandez at .346 for the season.  He also scored a run and had an RBI.

Kane County 9  - Lake County 8

  • Juan Paniagua looks like he's filled out a bit but was still showing that easy, athletic delivery that had the Cubs impressed enough to sign him for 1.1M as an IFA.  He was at 92-93 (touched 94) today and showed a nice low 80s slider that was a swing and miss pitch today.  If there was something I didn't like from Paniagua is that he struggled with his release point at times and left the ball up.  Most of the time he got away with it, though that probably won't happen as he faces better hitters.
  • I was pleasantly surprised with LHP Gerardo Concepcion who was primarily in the 87-89 range with his FB, though he did touch 90 mph.  It was more than I expected after his long lay off.  He showed the ability to mix in a change to RH hitters and spun a few nice curves vs. the lefties.  I have to admit I had lost faith in Concepcion but he looked much better than he did when I saw him pitch as a member of the Peoria Chiefs.
  • Scott Frazier had a real hard time today repeating his delivery and was all over the place, often missing the strike zone by a wide margin as he walked the only 3 batters he faced.
  • Carlos Penalver was my favorite player today.  He showed a good eye at the plate -- he's very focused in every AB.  He's not a big kid but he does make contact and is willing to take a walk.  He's a real good base runner and uses his good speed aggressively on the bases.  Today he walked, singled, and stole his 4th base, scoring 3 runs overall.  He's hitting .306 on the season.  I was most impressed by his defense, however.  He has a sort of fluid athleticism, flows through the ball and makes strong, effortless throws.  He's a SS, no question in my mind, though I didn't get a chance to see him make a tough play.
  • Yasiel Balaguert had 2 more hits to raise his early season average to .359.  He makes loud contact, even on a single.  Once again, however, he had trouble with breaking stuff and anything off speed, often getting out in front of the pitch.  He's a dead red hitter right now and he'll get enough at this level to put up some good numbers, but he'll have to keep working on hitting pitchers who possess good secondaries.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers showed a smooth glove at 1B, making a nice play on a force out though they could not turn two on the play.  After seeing Paul Hoilman, Rock Shoulders, and Dan Vogelbach the past two years, you could see the difference in athleticism.  He didn't do to badly at the plate either, getting an RBI double and then a big 3-run HR to left-center field.
  • It was tough to get a good look at Shawon Dunston but he showed the good eye you'd expect and we got to see him turn on the jets on a triple down the RF line.
  • David Bote played 2B and had himself a nice game.  He has an athletic build at 5'11, 185 lbs. and has a little more strength than you might expect, hitting a HR over the LF wall.  He also singled in a run in the first.  Additionally, Bote made a nice play in the field, showing solid range to his left when he made a sliding stop and a quick throw to first.




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  • fb_avatar

    Almora also struck out. For the second time. All season.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yeah, he's pretty good.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We will don the jersey soon!!!

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    You beat me to it, but that's what I can't get past as well. 2 strikeouts in 37 at bats is insane.

    And to top it off, those 2 both came on great days. A 5 for 6 Day, and a 2 for 5 (with a double & homer).

    A SO should cancel out on a day that good.

    Almora is out of control. This has been a slow start to the minors season (as far as BAs at least). But obviously not for Almora.

    I agree with John that he should be promoted soon.
    It may be crazy early but when you're hitting virtually everything you see, why not?

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    He struck out?! THATS IT! HES A BUST, TRADE HIM NOAW!!!!!!!!

    Kids a stud.

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    Did I miss something with Baez? It doesn't appear he has played since Friday and there is not a peep about it anywhere on the Internet that I can find.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I was wondering the same thing.

    I heard an interview with Hoyer the other day and he had a comment I thought telling. He was saying he thought it could be a positive because it can allow him to stop trying to make it to the majors and get back to putting up good numbers in Iowa.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    He had the same issue when he went to Daytona last year. Tried to swing his way out of there. After he settled down he took off.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    He played through a bad back on Thursday. I'm guessing it's that.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I was listening to the game today and they said he twisted his ankle two days ago

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Thanks mmu.

  • Rusin to Iowa...Blake Parker gets his chance.

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    I suspect it's just random noise/BABIP because he isn't striking out but check out Almora's righty/lefty splits. They are absolutely nuts. .667/.160

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yes, its early, really small sample sizes right now.

  • Getting pretty excited about Penalver. Yet another middle infielder with great promise, both on offense and defense.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Looks like a good little player. One of my favorites this year.

  • what is the word on arrieta? one or two more rehab starts?
    then parker will head back down.

    what will be interesting will be early june when vizcaino & fujikawa are ready. IMO if Veras and Villanueva get hot they will be traded.
    hopefully wright gets going as well so he can be moved to bring up rosscup.

  • I read where hoyer personally scouted kolek.

    I think kolek would make it to the bigs sometime in 2016 maybe a year later than a college arm. That being said if Rondon is available I would take him for sure.

    What are the dates for the draft?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Actually, I think it was Theo who went to see him.

    Lots of intrguing arms out there. Cubs are going to get a good one. Part of me wants a college kid for the sole reason they would get to the bigs quicker, but that is obviously not the objective.

    Regardless, we will be adding a good arm to the system in June.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    MLB Draft is June 5th.

  • One question regarding Almora. His K rate is crazy good, but you can also look at his BB rate, which is atrocious. It is 0%.

    Now is it atrocious because when he swings at a pitch he is so good that he makes contact and puts it in play or is it because he isn't taking pitches and working counts.

    I haven't seen any AB's but has anyone seen or heard anything in regards to his approach this season so far?

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I've seen Almora live many, many times and he does work counts but if you throw him a strike early in the count, he's going to jump on it. The pitch recognition is there, though, which indicates that walk rate will increase in time as pitchers improve their approach with him and work more carefully.

  • John, did you fix your own tire? For some reason, the imaginary John at I have built up in my head from reading Cub's Den would have fixed his own tire, then rationalize the positive experience that came from that flat tire.

    I don't want to talk about what the imaginary Felzz would do to the Cardinal he found stealing from his bird feeder even though there is sign posted that clearly states that no cardinals are allowed.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Haha! I wish I would have had the chance. We have a 2013 car and some of these newer models don't come with a spare. They come with a tire repair kit. But when we pulled over it was obvious the tire was beyond repair. It was completely shredded. So rational me figured out where the nearest tire store was, saw that it was just 1/2 mile away and calculated the low risk of driving there on a severely damaged tire outweighed the costs of a tow truck ;)

  • In ExST (Rehab assignment) Pierce Johnson: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 8 K, 1 PO, 4/1 GO/FO, 66 pitches (52 strikes)

    Also in ExST, our top 2 IFA signings:
    Gleyber Torres, SS: 2-2 (1B, 3B, R, RBI)
    Eloy Jimenez, DH: 1-4 (E-5, F-9, K, 1B, CS)

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Most important stat in that line is 52 strikes. He's obviously going to overmatch kids down there, but encouraging that he had that kind of command after missing time.

  • Gray and Bryant are both in AA right now. Here are their lines

    Gray ERA 12.15 AVE .414 WHIP 1.95
    Bryant .269/.406/.654/1.060

    Looks like Theo/Jed/Jason made the right decision.

  • In reply to John57:

    Gray still needs to further develop that change up or teams may stack their lineups with LH hitters to try and neutralize that slider. He's a bigger risk than it seems at first glance.

  • If Almora wants to play on my fantasy team, he is going to have to do something about his hair do.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Haha! That's from last year at Kane. A bunch of guys did it and I have pictures of guys like Candelario, Shoulders, etc. with faux hawks. But yeah, not a good look for him.

  • Baez going to 7 DL with ankle sprain, which he did during fielding practice.

    I don't think this is the worst thing in the world for him. Needs to slow down and re-focus. He gets so amped up and wants to get to Wrigley one 500 ft HR at a time. Not the way to do it. Maybe the week off will renew his perspective.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Has Soler come off the 7 day DL yet?

  • In reply to John57:

    No, I think they're going to be cautious.

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