It's appropriate today that I used a picture of Carson Sands, who made his pro debut last night, in the UA game from last year. I am going again and still have free tickets to give away if anyone is interested. The first batch will go out this weekend. Send me an email with your name, mailing address, and the number of tickets you would like.
Also I will be on The Game 87.7 live and in studio with Jordan Bernfield and Brett Taylor from Bleacher Nation Sunday morning at 10 a.m.
I will also be at Kane County tonight so if any of you are there, please stop by and say hello.
Let's do the recap...
- Chris Rusin was one of the odd men out when the Cubs brought in their influx of young talent but it didn't affect his performance today. Rusin pitched 7 strong innings, walking one and striking out 9. He has had a solid season at 7-10 with a 3.87 ERA and he has had his usual good control with 2.27 BBs per 9 IP.
- Logan Watkins did his best Alcantara impression with 2 doubles, a walk, his 13th SB, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Watkins has tailed off a bit but is still having a solid season at .271/.351/.389 while playing every position in the field except for pitcher and catcher.
- Javier Baez only had one hit but it was a big 2 run double.
- Kris Bryant walked twice but did not get a hit. Bryant has hit "only" .306 in the last 10 games but has still managed over a 1.000 OPS.
- Chris Valaika went 1 for 2 with a 2-run HR with 2 walks. Valaika is hitting .289/.358/.446 with 9 HRs and like Watkins has played all over the field, though Valaika has only played one (LF) of the 3 OF positions.
- Corey Black had one of his better starts of the season as he did not walk a batter in 7 innings while striking out 8. He allowed just 2 runs but it was enough to saddle him with the loss. Black is 4-6 with a 2.71 ERA. The walks have been high, however, at 4.77 per 9 IP and it is a big reason why his FIP is a less impressive 3.97.
- Addison Russell is starting to make his presence felt. He went 2 for 5 today with an RBI and stole a base.
- Jorge Soler went 1 for 4 ( a rare single) with a walk.
- Christian Villanueva went 2 for 4 and hit his 2nd HR at Tennessee. He's hitting .291/.371/.473 in 14 games for the Smokies.
- Dustin Geiger went 2 for 3 with a walk.
- LHP Austin Kirk had a great 3.1 scoreless inning performance where he allowed just one hit, walked one and struck out 3. But he was sandwiched between a mediocre start from Yao-Lin Wang (3.2 IP, 3 R) and a disastrous finish by Starling Peralta (1.1 IP, 5 R, 3 ER). Peralta took the loss.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI. Vogelbach is hitting .274/.362/.427 with 8 HRs.
- The steady Bijan Rademacher just seems to do something everyday for Daytona. Today he was 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.
- Rock Shoulders contributed with a 2 run double in 4 ABs,
- Duane Underwood has had something of a breakthrough season though he still has plenty of work to do. But the 19 year old is doing pretty well in the MWL. He has about the best arm speed I've seen at Kane this year, though Juan Paniagua is right up there with him. Underwood has improved his control and he did not walk a batter in this 6 inning start, but he still has the propensity to hang pitches up in the zone, allowing 2 HRs. But they were both solo HRs and the only runs Underwood allowed. He also struck out 8 hitters. Underwood is 4-2 with a 2.52 ERA and a much improved walk rate of 3.1 per 9 IP, but a lower K rate of 6.5/9 IP shows why he still needs work. Underwood still works primarily off his 92-94 mph fastball but the secondaries are still inconsistent.
- The ball must have been lively today because the Cougars hit 4 HRs of their own, including one by leadoff man Jacob Hannemann, his 6th of the year. He went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, 2 RBI, and his 29th SB. Hannemann is hitting .270/.338/.405.
- Ben Carhart doubled his HR output with 2 long balls today, giving him 4 on the year. He also walked and is now hitting .287/.341/.386 on the year.
- Kyle Schwarber went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.
- Jacob Rogers went 1 for 4 with his team leading 9th HR of the year. Rogers has had a solid year at 1B, hitting .267/.367/.436 this season.
- Josh Conway made his 5th start as the 2012 4th round pick is finally healthy and pitching well again, particularly with his control where he did not walk a batter and has a 1.84 BB per 9 IP rate. He allowed 1 run in 3 innings and lowered his ERA to 1.84, though a low K rate has his FIP at 4.35. But I don't think anyone should be worried about Conway's K rate. When he's fully healthy confident and they let him lose, he can hit the mid 90s with a wipeout slider.
- Ryan McNeil has struggled and gave up a solo HR today, but that was it. McNeil pitched 2.2 innings, walking just one and striking out 5. Like Conway, McNeil was drafted early in the 2012 draft (3rd round) but he has also had Tommy John surgery and is making his way back. This was his most encouraging outing since his return.
- David Garner allowed a run in 1.1 innings but the hard-throwing RHP managed to pick up the win as the Hawks came from behind to win. Garner did not walk a batter and struck out 3. Garner has struck out an impressive 17 hitters while improving his control with 4 walks in 10.1 innings.
- LHP Sam Wilson, who has a chance to be a power pitching LH RP finished up with 2 scoreless innings walking none and striking out 3. He is off to a great start at Boise. He has struck out 10 and walked 2 in 8 IP so far, allowing just one run for a 1.13 ERA. He picked up his 2nd save.
- Jeffrey Baez went 1 for 4 with a walk. It's been an impressive start for the thickly built but speedy outfielder. His power speed combo (7 HRs, 13 SBs) and evolving plate discipline (8.6% walk rate) has led to .274/.354/.531 start, good for an outstanding .405 wOBA and 146 RC+. That makes him a well-above average offensive player for his league. I don't think he sticks at CF but that kind of bat can play in the corners just fine.
- Rashad Crawford extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single.
- Mark Zagunis had just one hit but it was a big one -- a 2 run single that put Boise ahead for good in the 7th inning. Zagunis has hit .348/.474/.413 in his first pro season. We will definitely see him at Kane County next year.
- 3B Jesse Hodges had a 3 hit day and raised his average up to .268 after a very slow start. He also has 4 HRs.
- 4th round overslot pick LHP Carson Sands made his pro debut and led a brigade of great performances as the rookie Cubs combined to shut out the Mariners while allowing just 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 14. Sands went 1 1-2-3 inning, walked none and struck out 2 and got the other on a ground out. I think if you were to write an ideal inning for the Cubs that would probably be it. 2Ks, ground out, no walks. I saw Sands in the high 80s but he has since been sitting more in the 90-92 range with the ability to reach 94 -- and he still has projection left. A smoothed out delivery bodes for good command over time. He is a pitcher who made a lot of progress since I last saw him, so the needle is pointing upward here.
- 8th round pick Tommy Thorpe, another LHP, also pitched a 1-2-3 inning in which he walked none and struck out 2. Thorpe is more polished and more of a finesse guy. He didn't wow me when I saw him but it was also not one of his better outings. He is a high 80s type who has to change speeds and hit spots, much like many of the Cubs lefties we have seen the past few years (Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, Eric Jokisch).
- Jesus Castillo, the higher upside half of the Tony Campana deal, was essentially the starter in this one but waited for the 2014 draftees to get their scheduled work in. He went 3 solid innings, allowing 1 hit but walking 2. He struck out 3. Castillo lowered his ERA to 3.27 as he picked up his first win of the season, Castillo is all about projection right now with his change-up being his best pitch and his fastball having the potential to be about average or better (Ben Badler believes it will eventually reach the mid 90s but it is 88-90 now).
- Pedro Araujo went 3 innings and walked 1 and struck out 5 to lower his ERA to 1.13 Araujo is a big pitcher (6'3", 215 lbs) who was very good in a small sample in the DSL last year and has gotten off to an even better start in AZ, walking 3 and striking out 14 in 8 innings.
- Yomar Morel finished up the Mariners with a perfect 9th, striking out 2 and earning his 2nd save. The 6'1", 180 lbs. 20 year old RHP has yet to walk a batter or allow a run in 8.2 innings while striking out 9.
- Emilio Bonifacio is on rehab and he started off with 3 hits in 4 ABs.
- Eloy Jimenez has cooled off and is hitting .258 but he had a good day at the plate with a double and 2 walks. He hasn't been as patient early as teammate Gleyber Torres (who went 0 for 4). All 3 of his walk have come in the last 2 games, however, so perhaps he is headed in the right direction. But hey, he's 17. He has plenty of time to develop.
- C Albert Mineo has been a surprise this year, hitting .359/.457/.462. He was signed as a catcher and he has split time there with other players, He played 1B and went 1 for 2 with 2 walks.
- 13th round pick Kevonte Mitchell and 3B Adonis Paula each went 1 for 4 with an RBI. Those were the only 2 runs of the game. Mitchell was drafted as a 3B but has been playing more OF of late. My guess is the Cubs are more interested in developing that power potential right now.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap