Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Schwarber HRs, Hendricks rolls, Baez drives in 4, Norwood signs under slot

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Schwarber HRs, Hendricks rolls, Baez drives in 4, Norwood signs under slot
Kyle Schwarber

I ended up bailing out on Hot Stove Cool Music.  Too many things to juggle yesterday.  I'm sure I missed a great time.

MLB Draft Updates

  • OF Charles White (21) and SS Alex Tomasovich (20) will be joining the Boise Hawks tomorrow.
  • 7th round pick James Norwood signed for $175K, which is almost $27K underslot.  That bumps them to $613,900 below the pool allotment and $883,400 in non-penalty slot money to pay for Dylan Cease and just over $1.3M for Dylan Cease.  They still have to sign their 9th and 10th picks which should be more significantly underslot.  I think when all is said and done they'll have $1.5M.  How much of that goes to Cease, I do not know, but it seems reasonable that the Cubs will have some money left over for 3B Joey Martarano (22) and RHP Brad Depperman (31).

Let's get to it...

Iowa 8 - New Orleans 5

  • Kyle Hendricks is having a strong season and while there have been doubts all along the way as there always are with non-power pitchers, he has proven himself on every level.  Is he an ace?  No. But can he be part of an MLB rotation?  Why not?  He is missing more bats as he moves up and develops and I think he can fit in somewhere at the bottom of the Cubs rotation, perhaps as soon as this season.  Hendricks pitched 7  innings, allowing just one run on 3 hits.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 6.  The numbers this year are very good considering he is in a hitter's league.  He is 8-5 with a 3.55 ERA and a 2.94 FIP.  That is an improvement over his performance last in AAA.  Over two partial seasons at Iowa, he has pitched 128 innings, going 11-6 with an ERA of 3.23.  The time is getting close as to seeing what he can do at the MLB level.
  • A couple of debuts today.  Armando Rivero struck out the only batter he faced while Arodys Vizcaino struggled allowing 4 hits, a walk, and 2 runs in just 1/3 of an inning.  Perhaps Vizcaino got a little nervous when he realized just how close he is to making it back to the majors.  Alberto Cabrera bailed him out to earn his first save.
  • Arismendy Alcantara doubled twice and walked, scoring 2 runs.  He played 2B today but was in CF yesterday, so you wonder if the Cubs are preparing to bring him into the majors and find more ways to get him into the game -- perhaps even similar to Bonifacio's role.  The number I'm watching with Alcantara is the walk rate and the OBP.  We know he can hit, slug, and run but if he can find his way on base more, he can become a real asset to the MLB team.  The walk rate is at 6.3% and the OBP up to .327, both a little less than you want in a hitter's league like the PCL.  On the bright side, it has been trending upward.  Since May 15th (137 PAs), his walk rate is at 9.5% and his OBP is at .365.  If he can sustain that through the trade deadline, then he should be called up -- perhaps even sooner.
  • Welington Castillo is rehabbing and went 1 for 5 with an RBI.
  • Javier Baez never needs a spark but may he has one right now with Kris Bryant in the same lineup.  He went 3 for 4 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI.  Unlike Alcantara, Baez hasn't had a steady trend upward, instead improving in fits and starts.  I'm not as confident he will see time with the Cubs in 2014 right now.
  • Kris Bryant had about the worst game he's had all season, going 0-4 with 3 Ks.
  • Fine game for utility man Logan Watkins.  He played 1B of all places and went 1 for 3 with a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 Runs.  The hit was his 2nd HR of the year.  Watkins has fared much better in his second go round in the PCL, hitting .286/.369/.396.
  • Matt Szczur went 2 for 4 with a double and stole his 12th base.

Tennessee 5 - Chattanooga 4

  • Matt Loosen pitched 5 innings, walked 3, struck out 5 and allowed 2 runs.  Not a bad performance, but not a particularly efficient one either.  The result is the Cubs had to go to their middle relievers early and Jeffrey Antigua lost the lead when he allowed 2 runs in the 6th.
  • Lendy Castillo (1.2 IP) and PJ Francescon (1.1 IP) held the fort for Jeffery Lorick, who pitched a scoreless inning to pick up the win.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha singled and walked twice.  It's been a relatively quiet season for Ha, who is hitting .197.
  • Stephen Bruno went 2 for 6 and is now at .298/.382/.470 for the season.  I wonder if the Cubs would be bold enough to call up Bruno if Alcantara gets called up.  It's no guarantee as the I-Cubs can just slide Logan Watkins into that spot.
  • Christian Villanueva went 1 for 3 and walked 3 times.  Good to see from Christian.
  • C Charles Cutler also walked 3 times, scoring 2 runs and driving in one.
  • OF Rubi Silva went 2 for 5 with a triple and his 6th HR.

Brevard County 9  - Daytona 3

  • LHP Nathan Dorris has struggled with 2 promotions at once -- one to the FSL and one from the bullpen to the rotation.  He pitched well today, though, going 5 solid innings, allowing just 2 runs, walking 2 and striking out 5.  He is at 2-4 with a 5.58 ERA since getting the call to Daytona.  The bullpen let this one get out of hand as Jose Rosario (3 IP, 5 R, 4 ER) and Zach Godley (1 IP, 2 runs) both seemed to struggle with command.
  • Albert Almora went 1 for 5 with an RBI.
  • Dan Vogelbach is still showing signs of breaking out of his season long slump.  He had two more hits today, including a double and drove in 2.  Vogelbach is hitting .269/.355/.417.
  • Jordan Hankins make his debut but went 0 for 4.

Kane County 6 - Cedar Rapids 4

  • Juan Paniagua had been pitching pretty well of late, but he gave up a 2 run HR early, then went 4 scoreless before the Kernels added a couple more unearned runs on in the 6th, both of which scored after reliever Corbin Hoffner was brought into the game.  Paniagua went 5.1 innings in all, walking 2 and striking out 5.  His ERA is 3.26, including 2.64 in his last 10 games.  In his last 5, Paniagua has cut his walk rate down to 2.7 per 9 IP while maintaining an 8.5K rate.  He certainly seems to be making progress.
  • As for Corbin Hoffner, he did not get any runs charged to him as he really settled in after that first inning, not allowing a hit in the next 2 innings while walking one and striking out 2.  He was charged with a blown save but picked up the win when the Cougars rallied.
  • Tyler Bremer continued his steady work with a scoreless inning (1K), earning his 9th save.
  • Jacob Hannemann hit his 2nd HR in as many days with this one leaving the yard over the RF fence.  It was his 4th HR to go with his .242 season.  He has had something of an odd season, hitting 277/.333/.392 combined in April and June and just .194/.283/.279 in a horrific May.  He has slugged particularly well so far in June with 6 doubles and 2 HRs (.476).
  • Kyle Schwarber coninues to smash baseballs even at his new level.  He went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk and his first HR in the MWL, giving him 5 overall in his first 7 games.  He was behind the plate today but Theo Epstein indicated he would play mostly LF the rest of the year -- and that if he continued to hit the way he has, implied they will not slow his ascent by having him learn catching.  He'll be a LF'er -- so really, if you want to see Schwarber sooner (and see him have this kind of success) you can count on him not sticking behind the plate.
  • Ben Carhart caught yesterday and played 2B today as he morphs into a super utility role for the Cougars.  Wherever he plays, he hits and was 2 for 4 today with an RBI.  He's hitting .292/.340/.373.
  • Yasiel Balaguert went 2 for 4 with a run scored while Jacob Rogers also got two hits, including a triple, and scored twice.
  • Trey Martin has slowly climbed out of the hole he dug for himself early on as he shook off rust after missing nearly an entire season.  He had two more hits and is now up to .233 and may be someone to watch in the 2nd half.

Eugene 9 - Boise 5

  • Eric Leal did not build on a solid debut, getting hit pretty hard with 8 base hits, including a HR, and 8 runs overall (6 earned).  He fell to 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA.
  • Rashad Crawford singled, walked, stole his 3rd base and scored a run.  He is hitting .250 in the early going.
  • Kevin Brown doubled twice and drove in 3 runs while scoring 2.  He is one of the Boise hitters who will have to pick up the slack for Schwarber, along with Justin Marra and Jeffrey Baez.
  • Speaking of Justin Marra, he was the DH today and went 1 for 4 with a walk.




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  • fb_avatar

    why do you suppose Charcer Burks got released?

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Why do you think he was?

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    will the cubs 2000 draft go down as the worst in history? Why did Brad Renner get released?

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    I count at least 6 guys who made the bigs from that draft. Certainly wasn't great by any means, but I'd count the much ballyhooed 2002 draft as worse.

    I can't find any news on Renner having been released, though I could understand that a lot more easily than Burks. What's the source of your information on these transactions?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Pierce Johnson will start for Kane County today. No more than 4 innings. Expected to remain in KC for 3-4 starts while the Cubs FO evaluates his progress. Per KC beat writer Kevin Druley.

    CJ Edwards can't be far behind.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    I found this on Renner: most recently he appeared in American Hustle, But Kill the Messenger is set to come out sometime this year. He's also currently in filming for Avengers: Age of Ultron, with Mission: Impossible 5 in pre-production and the as of yet untitled Jason Bourne film announced.

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:

    I think you've got him mixed up with Jeremy Renner.

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    In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    2000 draft was a dream draft compared to Cubs 2005. That one was worst ever. 2010 has the potential to be just as bad, depending on how Beeler works out

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    In reply to Zonk:

    To clarify, not a single player the Cubs drafted in 2005 played for the Club. Only two made it to the majors: Donnie Veal, and Tyler Graham. Total Career WAR: 0.3.

    That's really bad

    For 2010, the best current prospects are Dallas Beeler and Matt Szczur. There's a decent chance neither does much in the majors.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think Beeler will have a moderately successful pitching career. Szczur - if he makes it at all will be a 4th-5th OF for somebody, and probably not for the Cubs unless he makes it to Wrigley this year or very early next.

  • Pierce Johnson will start for the Cougars today per Kane County beat writer Kevin Druley. He says PJ is slated for 4 innings and will likely stay in KC for 3-4 starts as the Cubs FO evaluates his progress.

    CJ Edwards can't be too far behind.

  • Unrelated to Pierce's rehab promotion, I wonder how much longer Paniagua and Skulina will stay in Low-A. Both have pitched well as of late though Skulina remains a little wild. Control is something that can be worked on at Daytona as effectively as Kane County, however, and at there age, it would be nice to see what they can do in High-A. Paniagua will be exposed in the Rule 5 draft after next season (in Dec. of 2015). It would be nice to see him spend some quality time in AA before then.

    Plus, the youngsters on the staff (Tseng, Blackburn, Underwood & Torres) could use the older guys to get out of their way. :-)

  • In reply to Quedub:

    That would give Daytona as interesting a set of starters (Zastryzny, Paniagua, Skulina) as they've had all year.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I think they are two candidates to move up for those reasons you stated.

    However, sometimes I wonder if guys are held back to make them appear further from the bigs and less likely to get selected. I don't think there is any hiding Paniagua's arm, though.

  • Bryant has clearly lost focus and let the promotion go to his head. If he doesn't bounce back today with at least 3 hits, including a couple of HRs, it may be time to begin discussions regarding a demotion.

  • In reply to Eric:

    He went 0-5 in his 1st start at Boise, Should have traded him for Pujols, Ellsbury and Choo.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    His pitch wreck ignition hasn't kicked in yet.

  • In reply to Eric:


  • Bryant is slumping! Fire Theo! Sign so and so free agent who is 36 but can play a mean DH. Blah blah Fanboy Owner.

    Or something like that.

    <3 Chicago Media

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    Let's just all relax and let the powers that be do their jobs.

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    I'm pretty sure the last two posters were being sarcastic. It's good for him to be challenged instead of beating up the competition everyday in AA. IMO will prepare him better/faster for the bigs.

  • I was at the KC game but too busy stuffing my face with food & beer to provide anything insightful. 70 concessions on the 20/80 scale.

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    Two Brothers Ebel's Weiss or Nitro Milk Stout? Either way it's win/win.

  • Over/under on Schwarber being at Daytona, Spetmeber 1?

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    Daytona doesn't play in September.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    Sort of like Chicago doesn't play in October lol

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Then I am taking the under.

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    With Alcantara and Watkins playing all over the diamond, is that a sign that the Cubs will continue to use an 8-man bullpen at the ml level?

    I say that because with only a 3-man bench (excluding the backup catcher), it's critical that you have alot of versatility. Bonifacio provides that now, and seems like they are grooming these two guys to provide that in the future. Watkins is clearly just a bench guy, but if he continues to hit I wonder if he'll get himself on the ML roster, because he can play basically everything except catcher.

    The 8-man bullpen is also clearly working for certain pitchers like Ramirez, who is being handled gently this year

  • Really impressed with the way Schwarber is playing. I think our top 3 prospects are
    1 Bryant
    2 Baez
    3 Schwarber

  • The Norwood signing for $175,000 seems like a very good sign for the Cubs. He was the 79th rated player by BA. That is early 3rd round talent for a very low amount. Looking forward to who else we sign from the draft.

  • In reply to John57:

    Cease could become the best player from this draft and easily could be the best Cub player (though Schwarber is looking Ruthian so far). After Cease and Schwarber, the next group of players that were must sign was Sands, Steele, Norwood, J-Mart and Gilliam. Indeed, I think Gilliam could also turn out to be our best draftee (if you haven't watched his recent batting practice performance, check it out).

    For Sands and Steele, it really is whether they develop from their current ceiling good #3 ceiling to a #2 or #1; they both are players that look like they will develop further, so it is a good gamble.

    For Norwood, he really appears to be on the cusp of being exceptional. In some ways, he reminds me of Arrieta, in that he has very good raw materials and it will depend how well it all comes together. I am not saying that he will put together a nice run like Arrieta has of late (or, for that matter, that Arrieta will be able to continue that run), but he certainly has the ability to be a MLB starter.

  • In reply to springs:

    I agree with you the talent they drafted is very very good. I see Schwarber alone in the top tier. He looks like an impact player. The next tier has the Cease, Sands, Steele, Stinnett and Norwood. Stinnett is very interesting because he basically has only been a SP for one season. He has gotten very good in a short period of time. The hitters Martarano and Gilliam could be absolute studs if they hit their ceilings. And who knows what other Bruno/Remillard type players they have picked. Zagunis looks like a solid not spectacular catcher which is a nice asset to have.

  • In reply to John57:

    Maybe I missed it...did the cubs sign gilliam?

  • I think they should continue with the 8-man bullpen. As you said, it is clearly working. Maybe a new trend will start? It makes a lot of sense because tired arms aren't nearly as effective as a rested one. I'm actually surprised I haven't seen this more often. I'd consider a six man rotation too. Of course it would be extremely hard on the bench.

  • hate to say it because no one beat the play Olt drum loader but I would send him down and have him play 1B at Iowa and get his head and swing back, put him there till Sept call ups and bring up a AAAA guy till AA and the rest get the call , He looks lost at the plate. I like the long bullpen too, really takes the stress off any 1 pen arm and if a starter gets roughed up allows the usage to be limited some on the pen, nice to have a versatile bench to make that possible.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    I think the larger pen (and the quality young arms in it) have had a lot to do with the Cubs having such success in the last month. And if and when one or more of our starters are traded, it's that expanded bullpen that will have to bail out their replacements. It seems weird to carry so many pitchers, but it's just another example of these people thinking outside the box. And it's working.

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    Schwarber is going to make life real interesting for them if he keeps this up. I know they like the playoff experience and everything but is he really gaining anything by having batting practice four times a day?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Imo they could have sent him straight to the Smokies.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think pitchers and teams will adjust to Schwarber and then we will see if he can continue to adjust as well. He hasn't even played 10 games yet, so I doubt there is much scouting on how to pitch him.

  • I think Bryant is gonna take some time to adjust. I feel like home run Derby's always mess up a players swing and timing. So I wouldn't be shocked if this was the norm for awhile

  • In reply to INgold91:

    I agree. I noticed it with golf too when you are part of a best ball foursome when you just use the best ball. It encourages you to swing harder which just messes your swing up. But it could turn out for the best because Bryant will have a little slump to work his way out of.

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    Im on the cougars grounds crew and Schwarber's home run was just a massive bomb. it went over the batters eye in center field and ended up hitting the bp shell, and if google earth is right that would put it between 450-460. its nice seeing some power in the cougars line up for a change.

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    Talked to Theo for awhile at hot stove-he's giddy about Schwarber.

    Team of the future-in my opinion:

    Alancantra cf
    Baez 2nd
    Schwarber lf
    Castro ss
    Soler rf

    I think Almora will be there eventually but this team is just about ready. Schwarber left handed bat is crucial to the balance.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Soler 2nd Baez 6th Castro 7th

    Baez doesn't work the count enough to hit 2nd

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    I'm thinking Ricky won't be calling for many bunts with that lineup.

  • if all the impact bats in your line up make it and reach even close to their ceilings that is a nightmare lineup to face. I mean filthy.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    You also have to consider that Almora, Logan Watkins, Hannemann, Olt, Villanueva, Szczur, Bruno, Vogelbach are also possibly making it in the next couple years too. Nice problem to have.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Their nightmare will be our wet dream.

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    I am sorry to be one of those people that constantly harps on Almora but do you think he repeats in Daytona next year. What would it take for him to get to Tennessee and to steal a line from a previous article "get back on the trail for the fast lane"

    I just saw the response by John and Professor Parks regarding the question of "is Almora's struggles enough to keep him off the MLB top 50 prospect list." Both of them do not seem to put too much stock into a .590 OPS this season. I am in awe of their in-depth knowledge with countless prospects so if they say it is too early to be concerned with Almora they obviously know what the hell they are talking about.

  • In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    I don't think there is anyway Almora doesn't play for Tennessee next year. A change of scenery could be a good thing for him.

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    John, how is Soler's rehab coming along? Do you think he will play much in Tennessee's second half? This is his second season without many plate appearances. Reference Almora, Vogelbach, etc., the prospects will either play themselves to next level or they won't. Folks need to remember that Baez at 21 is very young for AAA and Almora at 20 is very young for High A, so if they start out at the same levels in 2015 they are far from being busts. Bryant is a year older than Baez (technically eleven months), so it should not be a surprise to see more maturity in his approach.

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