Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Vogelbach goes deep...twice; CJ Edwards starts in AZ, more promotions

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Vogelbach goes deep...twice;  CJ Edwards starts in AZ, more promotions

Today was travelling day for all the Cubs promoted players.  We will have to wait for tomorrow to see them play.  We also need to add a couple more to the list.

  • Jacob Hannemann is going to Daytona
  • Jeffrey Baez is going to Kane County

There may still more announcements coming and we will update when and if that happens.

Until then, on with the recap...

Iowa 13 - New Orleans 4

  • Dae-Eun Rhee was very good in 6 innings, allowing walks but just one hit and one unearned run.  He walked 3 and struck out 3.  Rhee is 1-0 with a 3.46 in 13 innings, though he has walked 8 and struck out 6.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa is moving closer to a return to Wrigley after a scoreless inning with 2 Ks.  Fujikawa will have to be placed on the 40 man roster again.  He was removed when he was placed on the 60 day DL.  Considering he will likely be a free agent then their are no real long term 40 man roster implications.
  • Logan Watkins singled, walked, stole his 15th base and scored 3 runs.  Watkins is playing SS now to accommodate Baez's transition to 2B, but in doing so he can potentially increase his own value as a utility player.  His LH bat, good speed, defensive versatility, and solid on base skills give him a shot at a bench role next year, though we will probably see him when the Iowa season ends.
  • Javier Baez got on base 4 times with a double, single, and 2 walks.  The double was a missile shot to dead CF against a strong wind, yet it almost left the yard.  It certainly had enough steam on it to shoot over the CFs ahead despite the wind.  You have to wonder where it would have landed if he had put just a bit of backspin on it and there was no wind.  The 2 walks were also impressive as Baez's rate is at a career high 8% and his line now stands at .253/.316/.470.  The OBP and OPS (.786) represent high water marks on the season.  Baez also drove in 2 and scored 3.
  • Kris Bryant had just one hit but it was a bases clearing double.  Bryant has hit just .237 in the last 10 games but is still getting on base and putting up good slugging numbers.  He had to slump sooner or later, so it will be interesting to see ho he adapts.
  • 1B Lars Anderson has hit well of late and today may have been his best of the season.  He walked, singled, and HR'd, scoring 2 and driving in 3.  Anderson, a former top prospect with the Red Sox, seems to be figuring it out.  In 101 PAs, Anderson is hitting .287/.370/.483 with 4 HRs.
  • OF Ryan Kalish tripled, singled, and drove in 3 runs.

 Tennessee 6 - Mississippi 3

  • Eduardo Figueroa pitched 5 innings and allowed just a run.  He walked 2 and struck out 1.  He improved to 1-1 with a 4.06 ERA.
  • PJ Francescon pitched 2 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to the 4.00 mark.
  • Zach Cates picked up his first save with a scoreless 9th,walking one and striking out one.  It's been a solid year even though he has walked hitters again at AA.  He has pitched 46 innings between Daytona and Tennessee, walking 16, striking out 35, and posting a combined  1.96 ERA, including 1.80 in AA.
  • The Smokies lineup was without Jorge Soler and Albert Almora is not yet there to replace him.  The Smokies also gave Russell a day off. so this wasn't a star-studded lineup, but it was still effective in part because they walked a total of 9 times.  2 of those walks came from Jae-Hoon Ha, who also singled, scored, and drove in a run.
  • Stephen Bruno tripled, singled and drove in 2 runs.  Bruno has cooled off a bit (.211/.231/.237 in his last 10 games) and is hitting .278/.344/.403 on the season.

Daytona 6 - Palm Beach 2

  • LHP Rob Zastryzny continued his strong resurgence with 6 innings of 3 hit shutout baseball.  He did have some unusual control issues, walking 3 and hitting one batter.  He struck out 3.  Zastryzny's ERA stands at an even 5.00.  He did come into the game, however, with a 9.26 K/9IP rate vs. just 2.52 walks per 9 IP.  His FIP was 3.63.  The 91-93 mph velo on his fastball is above average for a lefty and he mixes in a good change, but Zastryzny will have to continue to improve his slider.
  • The D-Cubs spread out their offense but the star was Dan Vogelbach, who hit 2 HRs, including one the opposite way.  The 1B has really improved his overall approach to hitting, a process he started last year at Kane County, when he became less pull conscious and took more of an all fields approach.  He's always had good strike zone awareness so he is become a well-rounded hitter.  The raw power is still there and that will ultimately be the key to his chances at a long MLB career.  He is hitting .272/.359/.433 (.792 OPS) with 11 HRs.
  • Bill McKinney tripled and scored twice.  He is hitting .286/.370/.429 with Daytona in his first 17 games.

Kane County 5 - South Bend 2

  • Duane Underwood stayed hot and we saw a little bit of everything with him.  He was tough to hit (3 hits) though he did make a couple of mistakes (2 solo HRs).  His control continues to be solid (2 walks) and he missed some bats.  Underwood has come in with a renewed energy and he has worked hard after coming into camp a little soft last year.  His fastball command has improved by leaps and bounds while he is gradually becoming more consistent with his curve, though he still tends to hang a few.  He just turned 20 and he is already in the MWL, so he has plenty of time to smooth out the rough edges, but he looks like a real promising pitcher right now.  He is 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA.
  • LHP Gerardo Concepcion threw 3 scoreless allowing just one hit, though he did walk 3.  He lowered his ERA to 3.86.  He also struck out 3 batters.  Concepcion did not miss a lot of bats in Cuba, nor did he do so in his debut season but he is striking out 8.4 batters per 9 IP this year, in part because the velocity has improved and sometimes sits in the low 90s.
  • Jose Arias pitched a scoreless inning for his 3rd save.  The big RHP walked one, struck out 2 and  lowered his ERA to 2.14.
  • Jeimer Candelario drove in a pair of run with a single.  He also scored a run.
  • Cael Brockmeyer doubled twice raising his line to .320/.390/.490 in 157 PAs this year.
  • Kevin Brown slumped for a bit but appears to be on his way back with a 3 for 4 day and 2 RBI.  He is hitting .316 with 2 HRs in 11 games in the MWL.

 AZL Cubs

  • CJ Edwards made his first start since April 20th, pitching 2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 2 before a storm delayed the game.  It's likely he wouldn't have gone much further anyway.
  • Jose Paulino piggybacked the start and pitched 4 scoreless innings.  The AZ Cubs rookie starter started terribly.  He had given up 15 runs in his first 13.2 innings so maybe this outing will be a turning point for him.
  • 12th round pick Tanner Griggs pitched innings.  He has a 91-92 FB that can reach the mid 90s at times. He also throws a slider, which is his best secondary offering, as well as a curve, and a change.  He pitched 2 scoreless innings and has yet to give up a run in 6 innings since turning pro.
  • Yomar Morel, 20, finished up the shutout and extended his scoreless streak at AZ to 10.2 innings.  He did, however, walk his first batter since joining the rookie league.  Morel started at Boise but got hit hard but he has been untouchable in the rookie league.
  • Kevonte Mitchell went 1 for 3 and scored a run, once again playing CF.  Mitchell is off to a nice start, hitting .289, though he has yet to flash any in-game power.
  • Bryant Flete is forcing his way to more and more playing time.  He had 2 more hits, stole his 3rd base and scored 2 runs.  He is hitting .315/.393/.352.  He was replaced by Ho-Young Son who got 2 hits in 2 ABs himself and is now hitting .304.
  • Eloy Jimenez had a 2 run single in his first AB but it would be his only hit.  He finished 1 for 5.  Jimenez is hitting .279 with 2 HRs and has struck out just 16.9% of the time.
  • 1B Roney Alcala was one of the better hitters in the DSL last year but he has really struggled in AZ.  He went 2 for 5 with a double and scored 3, but is hitting just .216 on the year.
  • SS Gleyber Torres has been mired in a slump but a 2 for 3 day with 2 walks could be a sign that is coming to an end..  He has an excellent 13% walk rate on the season, which bumps his OBP to .326 despite a .231 average.  Torres also scored 3 times and drove in a run.
  • C Erick Castillo doubled twice and drove in a run, but also threw out just one of 5 base stealers.


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  • John,

    I like this, I came to read the nightly minors recaps and you had posted the news just seconds before I pulled up the page. Just for me! Lulz.

    1. I thought I read Lars Anderson got bumped down to Tennessee to make room for Olt.
    2. How old is Concepcion? Maybe there's still time for a "crafty-type" lefty to evolve into a useful RP?
    3. Logan Watkins is looking more and more like a potential replacement for either Valbuena or (more likely) Bonifacio in Chicago.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    I am looking forward to seeing how Watkins and Vailiaka fare sometime this September - although IF Boni or Valbuena are traded before then - either could be up sooner.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    If that happened with Anderson after the game, then I missed it. Concepcion is now 22. He missed some development time. Watkins is a utility guy, could be a Bonifacio type player.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think BonaBABIPio is his ceiling. I hope I'm wrong, but I just see a AAA/AAAA player in Watkins.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Quite a few sources with the Anderson to AA news, Olt to play 1B full time. - Sahadev just seems like the best to link. Also Manny to the DL, he's still eligible to coach.

  • fb_avatar

    Every team but the big club gets a W.

  • What's with the "competitive balance" picks? I get the rules, but is the part of the new Reinsdorf collective bargaining agreement? I mean the Cardinals get another pick. And it's the same teams What a joke.

  • In reply to Buzz:

    The top 10 lowest market (population) teams are eligible for one. As you probably know the Cubs are in the 3rd largest market meanwhile St. Louis isn't therefore, even though they are competitive, they can get the extra picks.

  • In reply to Blaise:

    I really do feel they need to reanalyze what constitutes the Cardinals' market. Probably around 2/3 to 3/4 of the state of Illinois (geographically speaking) are Cards fans.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    I wonder if the market size should include whatever a team decides to call it's area in terms of blackouts. Maybe if they did it that way 6 teams wouldn't all fight for Iowa. Just a thought.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    At least one half.

  • In reply to Blaise:

    Here's a question - when two or more teams compete for the same market (population), is the population number divided. Would the Cubs "market" be HALF the Chicago metro area population?

  • Nice!

  • Nice to see Edwards back on the bump. It would be great to see him string together a handful of solid starts at Tenn before year's end. If that carries over to 2015, he could be in line for an early season promotion to Iowa, which would put him back on track to contend for a spot in the rotation in 2016.

  • Zastryzny seems to have turned a corner. He may be part of the next wave if he keeps this up. Pretty exciting to see all these prospects getting coached up in our development plan.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    I'm hoping to make it to Daytona for his next start (Monday/Tuesday). I'm a big fan of Z's. He's still a ways away, but I think he can move quick. Given the injuries that PJ & CJ have had, his timeline has caught up to them a bit. I think they will be considered the next wave of pitching in 2016.

    Ultimately, I think he's probably going to replace T Wood in the rotation, but will be more like Ted Lilly than Travis.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I was able to attend the game last night and got to see how hard HARD Vogelbach crushed the ball all night. He came about 3 ft from another HR as he pulled it just right. Schwarber's average is a little low at Daytona but it doesn't truly reflect how beautiful his swing is and how hard he hits the ball. I haven't looked at his BABIP but it has to be low. The new Big Z looked good. I was sitting down the third base line so couldn't pick out exactly which off speed pitches they were but he changed speeds well and what I think looked like a curve generated a lot of missed bats. Enjoy the games. Billy McKinney looks really good. Smooth swing with some pop.

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    2 questions: 1) why is zastryzny's 91-92 mph fastball velo good "for a lefty" - do lefties not throw as hard as righties in general? And 2) if there is no trade interest for Fujikawa in the next week and considering he'll be gone at the end of the season anyways, might they simply release him when he comes off the DL rather than bother with the 40-man roulette? After all why risk losing one of your 40 for a guy who will only be here another 2 months?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    1. Yes, lefties tend to not throw as hard as righties. Its all about the volume of available talent pools. So many hard throwing RH.

    2. The more I'm thinking about Fujikawa the less likely I think something like that is. I'm really thinking this is the offseason to add a starter. And Kenta Maeda would likely be one of the better options available. I would think it fairly likely he'd command the $20 mill posting fee, meaning several teams will then be negotiating for his services. I think the better we treat his countrymen the better our chances of luring Maeda. That 40 man roster spot isn't critical yet. There are other releasable candidates, and minor trade possibilities in the vein of Scott Hairston last year.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    Well, there is a spot at the moment on the 40-man roster since Barney was DFA'ed. He can always be taken off the 60-day DL and placed on the 40-man roster without another roster move, should the FO wish to do so.

  • In reply to SenatorMendoza:

    I like Maeda because he may give us inroads top sign Shohei Otani (who hit over 100mph in Japan All Star Game and is 19 years old and is also a great hitter, projected by one analyst to become "the highest paid Asian baseball player ever") and Shintaro Fujinami (6'6 20 year old, hit 97mph in high school, sits in low 90s now with one of the best sinkers in the league).

    Maeda likely is a number #4, decent stuff but not good size or movement. He is a top name that could give us some help signing the other stars.

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    In reply to springs:

    I agree. We have to get one of these Japanese starters, and show them how fun it is to live in Chicago and be a winner in one of the best cities in the world.

    Then they can go back home and rave about which may not be necessary as there will be tons of Japanese media around. ( remember the Fukudome day? Multiply that by 3 in terms of media )

    Getting Lester, Maeda, a left handed bat, and a dumpster diver pitcher and the offseason will be am excellent success.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Barney's departure put the 40 man roster at 39 (with Fujikawa and McDonald on the 60 day DL.) So no one would be lost if Fujikawa is added back.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    The article says Zastryzny's velocity was 91-93 not 91-92. Every mph counts.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Yes, what Senator Mendoza said...

  • In reply to SKMD:

    They already made room for Fujikawa by DFAing Barney.

  • The Cubs are making adjustments to Bryant's swing. Which is most likely the cause of this "Slump".

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    In reply to KGallo:

    What's there to adjust, Kevin? I see longterm good from the Starlin and Almora tinkering, I'm honestly curious what they'd target for improvement.

  • In reply to Theo Einstein:

    Just little things not a complete overall of his and Approach.

  • In reply to Theo Einstein:

    When they are done, Bryant will have the ability to induce pregnancies with a simple, well-place swing of the bat.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:


  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    And stop global warming

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Don't all fertile men have that ability? :)

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Good to know stuff like this.. thanks Kevin! Is it an adjustment to correct some of the "swing & miss"? That seems to be the only "flaw" in his game (Maybe its to get him to start hitting some damn triples - lol)

  • In reply to Cub Fan Dan:

    It to reduce some holes. Nothing major.

  • .237 in last ten???? SEND HIM DOWN!!! THIS LEVEL IS TOO MUCH FOR HIM!!!

    My uncle works for KC and spoke with McCloud last night...says McC said more moves to come soon. Wonder if those two are who he meant...

  • In reply to Pappy:

    I could see some of the younger pitching being moved up.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Kevin -- thank you for your insight here. You add immense value to what is already the most in-depth, informative and knowledgeable blog for a die-hard Cubs fan.

    When you say younger pitching moving up, do you mean the really young guys (like Tseng)? I would assume it would be older players like Paniagua's move and perhaps Skulina, Ben Wells, Travis Conway (if he is healthy enough), Trevor Graham, Felix Pena or hitters like Carhart and Rademacher. Not sure I would expect them to move young prospects like Tseng, Underwood or Clifton, even if they are ready (as Tseng almost certainly is).

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Im betting Vogelbomb to AA.. maybe Tseng to Daytona.

  • Underwood ( Kane County) threw the ball consistently between 92-96 and looked good but threw a ton of fastballs, especially early in the game. The two solo homers were dead pull shots by their catcher and many balls were hit hard. He'll be even more effective if he gets them guessing earlier in the game. A couple other hitters started sitting on fastballs too. Looked good though!

  • In reply to Dackkbiz:

    Thanks Dackbiz. That sounds about par for the course. The Cubs seem to be working hard on developing FB command first and foremost, much like the Cardinals do. I know that Derek Johnson values that very much because they can teach the other stuff as they develop, but everything starts with FB command.

  • In reply to Dackkbiz:

    I recall another writer saying the exact same thing about Zastryzny's previous start - he threw nothing but FBs in the first two innings. Is this part of an overall organization-wide approach to have SPs establish their FBs in the first two innings and final score be damned?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    That was something we mentioned here. And yes, we talked about that in terms of developing FB command then too -- even at the expense of getting hit hard. The Cubs think it pays off in the long run. Zastryzny has improved his command much since the beginning of the year and the results are starting to show.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thanks for sharing your insights, John!

    To pursue this a bit more, what MiLB stats need to be taken with a grain of salt because the pitcher is working on a new approach, developing a new pitch, or following the organizational decree to throw nothing but FBs early in the game (I know that is an oversimplification of the decree)?

    We just talked about Underwood and Zastryzny's above. Same thing happened with Loosen in Huntsville last week - he got roughed up in the first 2 innings, had 1-2-3 third and fourth innings, then ran out of gas in the fifth. Probably same with Corey Black?

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    Any stat can be distorted by the factors you mentioned. Usually good stats mean more than bad stats. Good numbers mean he is humming along. When I see bad stats I start looking for other explanations such as those you mentioned but also age relative to average for league, sample size, usage pattern (pinch-hitter, changing defensive positions, etc.). Any time I see a highly touted guy struggling I start digging to see what I can find.

    There is also always the chance that the guy has a "great looking swing" and the "ball just jumps off his bat" but he rarely makes contact (like Pedro Cerrano in "Major League").

  • John - I might have to invest in some Duane Underwood stock! I had forgotten he was only 20 years old (he just turned 20 a couple of days ago), lots of room and time to continue to develop.

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    Glad to see the fingers from Vogel.

    He has quietly had a strong season and I hope he gets moved to Tennessee very soon.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    He probably wants to join Almora at Tennessee so he is going to crank out a few HRs.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I think him and McKinney both have a good chance at moving up to AA before 8/1. They should also be in the mix for consideration to go to the AFL as well.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I hope not...I'm planning on seeing two or three games while the're in Port Charlotte from 8/1-8/4! Lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    McKinney is still 19 years old for another month (Aug. 23), the A's were already moving him very fast... He was only drafted last year out of high school (24th overall)... If he were to make AA before age 20 then that would be nuts. Although he seems to be handling A+ pitching (the bat is legit), I think that Almora's promotion had the added benefit to free up CF for McKinney. I'm convinced that he can be at least an average defender in CF, which would give him added value as an asset and put less pressure on his bat to succeed. It's very possible that although he is moving fast, the Cubs OF could already be set by the time of his arrival (Soler, Alcantara, Almora, Bryant, Schwarber). So with his ability to play all three OF positions competently and with a great bat to matc,h he could either be a stud 4th OF for the Cubs, or a valuable trade chip for pitching if his talent warrants a move to another team.

  • I wouldn't be surprised if Fujikawa is back next year on a very team friendly deal, if his rehab is successful.

  • In reply to couch:

    The Cubs have a $5.5 Million team option for Fujikawa with a $500k buyout which they will no doubt use unless he is called up and is lights out for the rest of the season.

    Interesting note: the team option for $5.5 Million becomes guaranteed if he has a certain number of games finished this year, so unless that number is super high I would think that their is zero chance that he sniffs the 9th inning in a Cubs uniform this year.

  • I am going to DesMoines, to visit a sick relative, on Saturday. Of course I am going to squeeze in a game. Is it wrong that I am more excited about this game than any Cubs game I have attended this year thus far?

  • In reply to Rob Letterly:

    Nothing wrong with that. I will have gone to 4 Iowa games this year and I haven't even considered making a trip to Chicago for a game this season. Iowa has an exciting team to watch.

  • Does anyone have any more detail about Bryant's slump? Is he a BABIP casualty? Is his contact rate down? Is his line drive percentage down? Basically is this just what happens during the course of a season or are pitchers approaching him differently and he's yet to adjust.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ike03:

    Several have pointed out that they are "tinkering" with his swing which usually causes a drop in production. What is being changed no one seems to know but probably something to cut down on his VERY high K rate.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Right but even if he's tinkering with his swing, he may still be hitting the ball hard but just at people.

  • Javier's OPS:

    April: .617
    May: .738
    June: .815
    July: .951

    Last 10 games: .333/.370/.595/.965

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I like that progression. I'm beginning to hope that he gets called up in September to get the kinks out for the start of next season.

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    No doubt in my mind that if they want him up to start the season next year, that would be beneficial for his adjustment.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Me Likey!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thats his track record Hoosier. Always improves and adjusts as he learns, something I like to see.

  • Tribune said Javy Baez had two errors yesterday while playing 2B. Any idea on if they were throwing or fielding errors or what happened there?

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Looks like one of each according to the box score. The throwing error lead to 3 runs.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:


  • I am also going to Des Moines because my daughter is moving there. So we are going to a game Saturday night. Does anyone have an idea who is supposed to pitch? By they way I am so excited about this game I can't stand it.

  • I too am thinking about heading to Des Moines Saturday. According to the schedule posted on their web site because of a make-up game there is a doubleheader.

  • In reply to CyHawk23:

    Yes. There is an afternoon game and a 7pm game.

  • In reply to Johnny Cubfan:

    My bad. Just checked the I-Cubs website and 1st game of duoble header is at 6pm. Straily is scheduled to start. Should be awesome!

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