Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Schwarber, Vogelbach go deep, MLB Draft Update

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Schwarber, Vogelbach go deep, MLB Draft Update

A lighter day in the minors but still some thunder coming from a couple of the Cubs big bats...

MLB Draft Update

  • The Cubs have now officially signed 21 of their first 22 picks with the lone holdout being Dylan Cease but that should change now that the Cubs have amassed $828,700  in extra pool money with all their under slot signings.  Cease's slot value is $269,500 so the Cubs can offer him $1M without even going into the luxury tax area -- though they have shown they will do that if needed.
  • You may notice that surplus pool money has shrunk by $100.00, that is because the Cubs signed 13th round pick 3B Kevonte Mitchell for $200,000, that is $100K over slot.  The Cubs believe in Mitchell who has great athleticism, arm strength, and raw power.  The Cubs focused on power this year with their hitters, starting with Kyle Schwarber at the top and then two guys with plus power potential in Mitchell and Joey Martarano (21).  The Cubs still may have a shot at one or two more power hitters in OF'ers Isiah Gilliam and DJ Peters.
  • If you're looking for a sleeper pick, I would suggest 18th rounder  RHP Austyn Willis as a possibility.  He was drafted as a 17 year old and just turned 18, so that often bodes well for draft picks in terms of development.  He is also 6'6" (some reports say 6'7") with a projectable frame -- but he already can hit the low 90s, so we are looking at a guy who is going to be able to throw hard with good downward plane and the potential for good secondaries, including a promising curve.  The mechanics are surprisingly smooth for a  tall lanky kid so that bodes well for developing command as he matures.

Tennessee 4 - Jackson 2

  • The good Matt Loosen showed up today and that usually spells trouble for opposing hitters.  When Loosen is commanding his solid assortment of pitches, he can be very effective.  That was the case in this game as Loosen pitched 6 strong innings, allowing just one run on  a solo shot while walking one and striking out 5.  Loosen moved to 4-2 with a 4,73 ERA.
  • The veteran bullpen tandem of Jeffrey Lorick and Frank Batista held the lead for the final 3 innings with Lorick allowing 1 run in 2 innings and Batista pitching a shutout frame for his first save as a Smokie this year,
  • Stephen Bruno went 1 for 4 with a run scored.
  • Christian Villanueva has ably filled the void for Kris Bryant so far.  He won't hit for Bryant's power but he will hit his doubles and play superior defense.  He went 2 for 4 (both singles) with a run scored.
  • Dustin Geiger (double) and Rubi Silva each went 1 for 4 with an RBI while Anthony Giansanti went 1 for 4 with a HR.

Daytona 7 - Dunedin 0

  • The D-Cubs look like a different team so far this second half and hard-throwing (92-94) RHP Jose Rosario joined the party today with 6 scoreless frames, though he did walk 4 batters.  He limited the damage by missing some bats (4 Ks)  and limiting the hit total (3) en route to improving to 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA.
  • LHP Austin Kirk (2 IP, 3 BB, 3 K) Zach Godley (1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K)  helped complete the somewhat sloppy shutout (8 walks, 2 WPs), but hey, the D-Cubs will take it, especially now that their offense is supporting the staff.
  • Albert Almora extended his hitting streak to 7 games with a 1 for 5 day with a run and an RBI.
  • Dan Vogelbach had himself a big game with 3 hits in 5 ABs including his 7th HR.  He also doubled, scored twice, and had 2 RBI.  It's been a tough season for the 1B but he is a tough kid and he's fought through it to put up a .271/.358/.427 line.
  • Rock Shoulders HR'd again, his 5th of the year and is suddenly looking like he might turn things around.  He's hitting just .215 overall but .306/.359/.639 with 3 HRs in his last 10 games.  This entire offense is beginning to look like they did at Kane County last year.
  • Chadd Krist hit his 2nd HR of the season.
  • Gioskar Amaya went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored.  Amaya has had himself a very good offensive season at .289/.374/.371 on the year, that is good for a .353 wOBA and a 122 RC+, nice numbers from a guy who also gives you good defense.

 Wisconsin 3 - Kane County 2

  • Another strong outing from Tyler Skulina who has quietly pitched well behind more highly touted prospects Jen-Ho Tseng and Paul Blackburn.  Skulina went 5 strong innings, walking just one and striking out 5.  He allowed just one run but did not get the needed run support.  His ERA fell to 2.63 on the year.  The peripherals aren't a good, though Skulina has slowly raised his K rate to about 7 per 9 IP.  The walks, however, are just a shade under 4 per 9 IP.
  • Zack Hermans started the 6th, got the first guy to ground out and then the wheels came off.  He walked the next two hitters then hit the 3rd to load the bases.  The Cougars brought in Corbin Hoffner who immediately did what he was brought in to do -- induce groundball contact -- but aggressive baserunning by the Rattlers allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score on a groundball to 1B Ben Carhart.  Hoffner wound up pitching 2.2 scoreless, hitless innings but was charged with a very tough luck blown save.  Hoffner lowered his ERA to 3.79.
  • Not much offense but Jacob Hannemann continued to be a force at the top of the lineup with a single, walk, and 2 stolen bases to give him 23 on the year.  He also scored one of the 2 Cougars runs.  Hannemann is hitting .251 with a .701 OPS overall but has been especially good in June, hitting .311 with an .881 OPS.
  • Kyle Schwarber hit his 2nd HR at Kane County and his 6th overall in 11 games as a pro.  His numbers so far look like something you'd see in high school.  Through 11 games he has hit .513 with a 1.1063 slugging percentage.

Boise 8 - Spokane 5

  • Losing Schwarber took the air out of Boise's fast start but the offense picked up the slack today.  There is still enough talent here to make a run at yet another NWL playoff berth.  Tyler Ihrig rebounded from a poor start last time out and pitched 7 solid innings, allowing 3 runs.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 5.
  • The Cubs need to get better overall production from Jeffrey Baez.  He did hit his 2nd HR today but went 1 for 5 overall and is still hitting just .176.
  • Mark Malave's return should be a shot in the arm and he contributed a 2 for 4 day with a  run and an RBI.  He is still not catching and played 1B today.
  • LF Kevin Brown should provide a steady presence in the lineup and he went 2 for 5 today with his first HR.  He's hitting .320 overall.
  • Not many standouts today because everyone pitched in their part.  Every Boise hitter had at least one hit and everybody scored at least one run with the exception of  OF Charles White, who made up for it with a 1 for 3 day with a double, walk and an RBI.


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  • I hope they have extra money to spend after they sign their 6 pick.
    The draft is the life line for any team

  • Maybe a 2-fer where both Cease & Gilliam split the extra bonus money.:)

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    Cease will take most of the money and deservedly so. I think Gilliam is an interesting prospect, but he is not on Cease's level as a prospect.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Cease was #77 prospect. What's that...early third round? Our 3rd round was a slot of $715,000. If that isn't enough what do you think Cease should get considering he would have gone in the first round if not for the injury. The injury risk and medical/recovery care should be worth some savings for the Cubs. The question is how much? Even if we could save just a few 100K we could probably add one or two more of the late rounders.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    The only reason Cease was ranked 77th was because of his injury. Prior to getting hurt he was talked about as being a 1st round talent, maybe even as high as the mid-1st round.

    My uneducated expectation is that he'll sign for around 1.3 million.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks Quedub. So still late first round money. I'm still hopeful but such is the way.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    I've seen posts/stories where Cease was rated as high as #15 in pre-draft publications back in October 2013. So $1.5M would be less than what he was projected to earn, but an awful lot to turn down and bet on yourself in a year or three.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    First, as Quedub points out, before the injury Cease looked like a first round talent and was consistently ahead of Aiken and Kolek.

    Second, and more importantly, it doesn't matter whether Cease was #7 or #77 or #1077, all that matters is the dollar amount at which he will sign. Seeing as how he always has the option of (a) going to community college and coming out next year; or (b) going to a D1 school and coming out in 3 years, he has a ton of leverage in these negotiations.

    It is also possible that Cease already has a Bryant-like agreement and will receive the remainder of the Cubs' bonus amount, subject to a hard floor, like $1.2MM or something to that effect.

  • In reply to JB88:

    Cease is good but I never saw him rated higher than Aiken or Kolek. Maybe it happened but I never saw it.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think I saw someone claim that in a post on either here or Bleacher Nation, so I probably shouldn't have accepted it as gospel.

    I just looked back at Baseball America's pre-draft rankings from October 2013 and he was rated No. 35 then (and definitely behind Kolek and Aiken). I didn't find any other publications ranking him higher than either, so I'll stand down from that comment.

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    Really happy with Villanueva's production since going down to Tennessee. I have a hard time seeing him playing for the Cubs at this point but he's a personal favorite of mine. If he can continue this kind of hitting when he gets another chance in AAA next year, he could be a very valuable piece in trade.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    He (Villanueva) has the misfortune of being stacked behind the likes of Olt (although that doesn't appear to be panning out has hoped), potentially Baez, Bryant, currently more than servicable Valbuena in Wrigley, and with several other 3B potentials breathing down his neck.

    But - as you point out - surplus value at any position can be flipped for value at a point of weakness. Perhaps to get another decent OF or pitching prospect or to raise the return value in a trade?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yea I wonder how to explain his AAA performance at the plate. Was it just the more advanced pitching? More breaking stuff and better control by the pitchers like with Javi?

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    It was probably a bit advanced for him. I'm not sure he wouldn't have started in Tennessee again this year if Bryant hadn't forced the issue.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I totally agree Mike. Villanueva is such a unique player that I could still see him being a DeRosa type down the line (I know that he did not do very well in a small tryout at 2nd.). He plays plus defense at 3rd and has gap power now with a walk rate that is getting better. He might have a serious future as a have glove will hit type he just needs time. Not every prospect is ready for AAA at 23 or even 25. There is still time for him to be a solid contributor I just think that the Cubs are not going to be the place for that to happen.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    Too many moving parts at 3rd in this organization to predict much but a trade piece, but I remember a guy of the recent past who was a doubles machine too, not a HR hitter, and an outstanding defender. That was Grace @ 1B. Of course, Grace hit for average along with that, but there is definite value to be had with this kid.

  • And Hanneman stole home!

  • The longer they wait to trade Jeff the less they can get. Trading him
    in Dec. in not a good option

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    The longer they wait before July 31, the more they can get. Barring injury.

  • Looks like Schwarber also gunned down 2 runners and stole a base himself. I definitely see a hybrid role in store-where he can provide pop from the catcher position during high leverage (playoff) types of games-DH when needed, and outfield a good portion of the time.

  • What are the chances of Gioskar Amaya getting a promotion to AA next year? Or will they let him play a few games at Daytona before moving him up? Seems like he's been playing well enough to warrant that promo.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    He's already playing well at Daytona, so I think the chances of him getting promoted to AA next year are pretty good.

  • The guys who can hit from the left side are doing pretty well right now.


  • In reply to John57:

    I might be a bit cautious about AA. Hes hitting,350 RH and .250 LH. But they have beeb rising. Vogelbomb appears like hes starting to adjust to his offseason weight loss, Hanneman I havent seen enough of, Schwarber just looks like a hitter. If just 2 of these guys reach the majors by 2016 the lineup will be awesome.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I would agree with that. By 2016 I could see AA and Schwarber in the majors. I would guess 2017 for Hannemann and Vogelbach. They all are prospects and could still fail but they are all raking right now. :)

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    In reply to John57:

    AA will likely be in the majors at some point next year (maybe this year?). Schwarber is a maybe for 2016. We haven't seen much of him. Hanneman and Vogelbach are stretching things for 2017. Hannemann is doing well but is 23 years old in A-ball. Vogelbach is behind Rizzo and, by all accounts, nowhere near Rizzo defensively. I think Vogelbach is destined to be the centerpiece of a trade to the AL where his very good offensive upside will be best put to use (and they may be in the majors in 2017).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I agree Vogelbach is no where near Rizzo defensively. Who is?, maybe Goldy of Arizona, but Vogelbach could be on the bench, there could be DH in the NL by then, Rizzo could get hurt, who knows what could happen. I just think Dan could be ready in 2017.

    As for Hannemann, he barely has played a full season of baseball since HS. That is 5 years. He played one college season (around 60 games I am guessing) and some games last year at Boise. With that little amount of playing time he is doing well. If he has 2014, 2015 and 2016 years in the minors to hone his craft, I don't think it is unreasonable that he could make the majors in 2017. He could move fast because he is physically mature and talented.

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    Hey John, I got a stupid question. The money that the kids get in the draft. Is that number an annual salary or just a signing bonus? Do they make a salary? How does it work? Thanks! Still love your blog my friend.

  • In reply to mblum876:

    Not John, but those numbers are a bonus. All draftees make a modest salary depending on what level they're playing at. And it is modest--so much so that many of the players at the lowest levels of the minors (eg, Boise) are sponsored by locals.

  • John I would absolutely love the Cubs to sign the guys you mentioned: DJ Peters, Gilliam, Mitchell and Martarano while balancing it with Cease's signing. That would be fantastic.

  • I wonder if Dylan knows Whitson. If nothing else that is why he should sign. He really doesn't know what his future health will be or if he will get back to his old self. I'd take the guaranteed money and let the Cubs help me in the prospective surgery/recovery.

  • Man, Schwarber hits again. A double, a single and a walk with 2 runs scored and one batted in. He's now hitting .455 in Low-A after batting .600 at Boise. I wonder if he's headed to Daytona soon.

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