Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs, puts up solid ABs; Skulina (7.1 IP) and Dorris combine for no-hitter

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs, puts up solid ABs; Skulina (7.1 IP) and Dorris combine for no-hitter

Good to see Edwin Jackson pitching well.  Kudos to our writer Adam Brown and @Joe_MLB_MAN, who wrote a guest post on the Cubs right-hander  Both posts were bullish on EJax and he is beginning to prove them right.

Meanwhile, the Cubs got another outstanding performance just 40 miles outside Chicago and could things finally be coming together for Javier Baez and Albert Almora?

Round Rock 7 - Iowa 6

  • Dallas Beeler had a great first outing, then a horrible second start, so maybe it's fitting that this one fell somewhere in between.  Beeler went 5.1 innings, walking 2 and striking out 6, but he did allow 3 runs.
  • Eduardo Figueroa had gotten off to a good start but this time he lacked good control, walking 2 and allowing 3 hits and 3 runs to take the loss.
  • Alberto Cabrera only gave up one hit and one walk, but he did allow a run plus 2 inherited runners to score, resulting in a blown save.  Cabrera started the season well, but has cooled off a bit of late and has seen his ERA shoot up to 4.74 and his FIP was a sky high 6.14 entering this game.
  • Arismendy Alcantara is getting his batting eye back, walking twice and now has walked 4 times in his last 11 PAs to get his walk rate over 5%.  He still has a ways to go to get it to last year's levels but he's starting to see the ball well. He hasn't had any trouble hitting the ball with authority this year and tonight he went 1 for 2 with a double, his 13th of the year.  He has a .479 slugging pct. and a very good ISO of .204.  On top of all that, he stole his 9th base.  If Alcantara can continue to increase his walk rate and get his OBP closer to an average range (.330 to .340, currently it's back over .300 at .309 ) then the Cubs will have that dynamic offensive player they were hoping for when the season started.
  • Javier Baez also appeared to be seeing the ball very well today, hitting his 4th HR and drawing a walk.  He worked the count well all day, which was encouraging to see.  It's a little thing but I liked that when he came up in a game situation late in the game, Round Rock had a conference on the mound.  It seems that Javy is still feared and I imagine the conversation went something like, "Don't give this guy a 1st pitch fastball because he'll put it into orbit."  So they didn't -- and Javy took the pitch, which appeared to be a breaking ball on the outside corner.  Good pitch, hats off to the pitcher but I also like that Javy seemed to know that was coming and didn't force the issue. He ended up having another solid AB but unfortunately it ended in a strikeout.
  • Logan Watkins continued his solid season in his new role as a super sub type player.  He doubled, singled, scored a run, and drove in another.  He is hitting .304

Mississippi 8 - Tennessee 3

  • Matt Loosen followed up a poor start with a solid outing, allowing just 2 hits, but one of those was a 2 run HR and Loosen didn't help himself when he walked 4 batters, but all in all he kept things close, allowing 3 runs in 6 innings and leaving with the score tied.
  • Usually you can rely on PJ Francescon to bridge the gap and then let the Smokies offense pummel the other team's middle relievers but today it was the reverse.  Francescon gave up more runs today (5) in 1.2 innings than he had all season (3), raising his ERA to 2.88 from 1.16.  In some ways we could have expected it, Francescon had been outpitching his peripherals all season and it finally caught up to him.
  • C Charles Cutler hit a 2-run HR and drew a walk.  The Smokies backup catcher is hitting .308/.425/.446 on the season.
  • Kris Bryant continues to be remarkably consistent this season.  He singled, walked and scored a run.

Daytona 11 - Ft Meyers 9

  • A wild game as Tayler Scott started with 4 scoreless innings before the wheels came off in the 5th.  Scott allowed 5 runs and was unable to finish the minimum 5 innings to qualify for the win.  It's hard not to like Scott -- great makeup, athletic, nice curve -- but you just wonder if he will ever miss enough bats.  I'm hoping he does.
  • Michael Jensen has a pretty good curve as well to go with a good approach as well.  I haven't seen him pitch since I saw him in Peoria before his TJ injury. Back then he was throwing low 90s with a big breaking curve that missed a lot of bats.  I'd be interested to know how his stuff looked if you were at the game.  Jensen is certainly getting results, including today when he pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to pick up the win.  Jensen is 2-1 witha 3.44 ERA with 6 walks and 17Ks in 18 IP this season.
  • Three singles and 3 RBI for the speedy Zeke DeVoss.  He is struggling to hit in Daytona after a fast start in Tennessee this season, hitting just .200 in the FSL after dropping to .120 in AA.  DeVoss is a smart player with a great approach and a flair for the spectacular on defense, but his hit tool just hasn't come around.
  • Gioskar Amaya had 3 more hits and raised his line to .322/.406/.370 walking 13 times vs. 14Ks.  Great approach, great contact skills but Amaya has struggled to hit for power in the spacious FSL ballparks.  He did show some pull side power at Kane -- may be a candidate for a strength program?  The kid can hit and has a good glove at 2B.
  • Two more hits for Albert Almora who also made a spectacular diving catch in CF (h/t @JoePietrzyk) as things seem to be clicking on all cylinders for him lately.  He's hitting .317/.364/.488 in his last 10 games.
  • Pin-Chieh Chen came in to sub for Bijan Rademacher who came out of the game after one PA (a walk) and did a pretty good impression, getting a walk, triple, single, RBI, and 3 runs scored.  No word as to why Rademacher left the game.  UPDATE: Caps tells us he was hit in the elbow by a pitch, finished the inning but then was taken out of the game.
  • Dan Vogelbach doubled twice and drove in 2 runs.  He has shown some signs the last 3 games that he could be getting on track, but we'll hold off for now until he does it for a longer stretch.
  • Chadd Krist is the guy you want behind the plate to handle your pitching prospects so when he hits, it's a nice bonus.  He doubled, singled, walked, scored 2 and drove in 2.
  •   Jeimer Candelario is looking to find his groove this season and did get 2 hits, including a double, and a walk.  Candelario is hitting just .180 but has walked 19 times and shown flashes of extra base pop (6 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR).

Kane County 3 - Quad Cities 0

  • Tyler Skulina was brilliant today, pitching 7.1 innings of no-hit ball before reaching his pitch count.   He walked 2 and struck out 5. Mauricio was at the game and tells me that Skulina was 88-91 with a decent curve, but that he didn't have a consistent arm slot and so-so command.  That's remarkable in it's own way.  If he can pitch this well when he's not at his best, I would love to see what he can do when he is. 
  • Nathan Dorris came on in relief and closed the deal with 1.2 no-hit innings of his own, giving Cougars the combined no-hitter.  Dorris retired all 5 batters, striking out 2 of them.
  • It's a good think the pitchers were dealing because the Cougars managed just 5 hits of their own.  Jacob Hannemann did not get one of those hits but he managed to contribute with 2 walks, a run scored and an RBI on a sac fly.  Hannemann had gotten off to a promising start but has struggled and has dropped down to .210/.304/.312 on the season.
  • Carlos Penalver singled and drove a run.  He also stole his 11th base of the year.



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  • I'm wondering how much Almora's dad being sick and all affected his game. I know they are close, and he seemed to struggle while he was in the hospital. Good to hear that his dad came out alright, and it seems like Almora is coming around.

  • In reply to HailSzczur:

    It is possible. The timing sure seems to indicate that.

  • John... Rademacher got hit in the elbow by a pitch, he ran the bases but was subbed for in the next half inning... So that may have been the reason.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Awesome. Thanks Caps.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Well, maybe not awesome ;) -- hope he is ok, but thanks for letting me know

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lol no problem, I hope he's alright too.

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    I didn't make it to the game tonight so I didn't get to see Jensen, but I will be there tomorrow and Sunday. I'll definitely relay anything interesting!

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    Tomorrow and Monday, rather.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    Great! Looking forward to it.

  • John.... Jensen didn't have shoulder surgery, he received Tommy John

  • In reply to cubbies44:

    Yeesh, yes he did. Thanks. Not sure why I put shoulder surgery there.

  • I think if Alcantera can put together 4 or 5 weeks like this week. I think we could see him in chicago by the end of june. Hopefully he ends up being a guy we can count on for years to come with power,speed & switch-hitting.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Possibly, I don't know if I'd categorize Alcantara as the kind [of guy who would skip a level, and I'm not sure if 4-5 weeks of good play will be enough.

    I can see August, after the trade deadline.

  • By july:

    bonafacio CF
    lake LF
    rizzo 1B
    castro SS
    kalish RF
    olt 3B
    alcantera 2B
    castillo C

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    Yeah, if we are lucky we can talk a AA team into a box of batting practice balls for Schierholz and Barney.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Must be why RR keeps running Schierholtz & Barney out there, hoping to get something out of them. Barney has started to heat up but Schierholtz not yet.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Exactly. The return on Nate and Barney will be minimal which is why I wouldn't mind an outright release after the trade deadline if nothing happens.

    Barney holds the most value because of his defense but Nate really offers you nothing if he is hanging around .200 with no power.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I agree, we are losing with Barney,Schierholtz & Valbuena. I would much rather lose (possibly win) with Lake,Kalish & Olt in the lineup.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Not sure about that. Given that it's taken him several weeks to show the first signs of resuming his patient approach in Iowa, my guess is the front office wants to see him sustain that success deep into the minor league season.

    Speaking of 2B who are suddenly clicking, Barney's posted an .802 OPS over the last six games. As he rounds into shape, he'll attract more interest in the market. But even after we deal him, Watkins is in first in line for that promotion. Personally, I'd be surprised to see Alcantara before September.

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    In reply to Taft:

    Watkins isn't even starting for Iowa. He's being used as a super sub, primarily in the OF.

  • Ya thats probably right. I just love Alcantera's upside and I am getting impatient.

    I still see that effortless monster HR he hit in the futures game and I cant wait to see that in Chicago.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    He is an exciting player. Speed, surprisingly strong, and a better approach than say, Junior Lake -- I'm looking forward to the day he is ready to play at Wrigley too.

  • Off topic but I read that Cashner just hit the 15 day DL with discomfort and inflammation in his right elbow. He is having an MRI tomorrow but he said he wasn't worried about the ligament. I think they all say that. Whats up this year with all the elbow issues?

  • In reply to lets go cubs:

    I believe pitchers developed their current repertoires to survive during the Roid Monster Era. You needed some really nasty stuff to get those blown up hitters out.

    When the hitters shrunk back down to normal size, pitchers became dominant. But it's real hard on the ol' elbow.

  • In reply to lets go cubs:

    Hopefully it is not the dreaded TJS. I like Cashner but he is hurt almost every year. I am pleased we got Rizzo for him.

  • Personally, I was never worried about Baez figuring out AAA pitching and if anything, this early slump is !). reminiscent of last year's let-down out of ST and 2). probably the best thing that could have happened to him. It will help ensure & sustain his success at the MLB level when he gets there because he's never been challenged like this before...

    I dont see A.A. in wrigley before Sept.

    Why does everyone assume Babip Bonfacio (thanks for that name Felz!) will be here post trade deadline? He signed on a 1yr MiLB deal right? He's an UFA at the end of this year, right? I mean we might re-sign him, but I can also see Epstoyer maximizing his value to a contender at the deadline. I'd think he holds more trade value than anyone else not named Shark....

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    There is one reason (and one reason only) that I would like to keep him. He plays 5-6 different positions AND switch hits. That gives enormous flexibility to the manager. If his slash line at the end of the year looks like .285/.380/.400 he will turn that into a 3-year deal for MUCH more than he is worth. I would rather see what we can get for him in trade.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think Hammel has good trade value too.

    I agree with you that Alcantara won't be up until Sept. He needs to get his work in. Watkins probably will get first shot.

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    In reply to John57:

    John, I don't think we'll see Watkins anytime soon. He's not even starting at Iowa. More like a super sub and has been playing a lot of outfield too.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    He is a utility prospect at best right now. His best shot is if Cubs trade Bonifacio, Barney and gets a chance to show what he can do off the bench.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And not longer after I say this he pulls off an 11 pitch walk. Still a utility type but some value in that.

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    FWIW, Watkins has played just 4 games at 2B this year and 20 in the OF. He's also played 7 at SS and 1 at 3B.

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