Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Edwards returns: Martinez, Caratini have strong debuts; Daytona no-hit

It's rare that all the top prospects have relatively quiet games but that was the case today.  However, a couple of the Cubs most recent acquisitions, Victor Caratini and Jonathan Martinez, had big debuts for Kane County.

At Tennessee, CJ Edwards came back strong in an abbreviated outing.

On the downside, the Daytona Cubs have fallen into a bit of a funk and today they were no-hit by Pensacola's Blake Snell while Tyler Skulina had an FSL debut that he'd probably rather forget.

The recap isn't quite as exciting as yesterday, but a deep system means you can always find a few good performances...

Omaha 6 - Iowa 2

  • Dallas Beeler left the ball up more than he usually does and when that happens he'll give up a few hits.  He gave up 7 hits, including a 2-run HR. and 5 runs overall in 6 innings.  He walked one and struck out 4 but fell to 7-6 with a 3.70 ERA.
  • Matt Szczur continued his solid play with a double and a single, raising his average to .259.
  • Josh Vitters HR'd for the 2nd time in 2 days.  It was his 11th of the year but is hitting just .205 with an OBP of just .265.
  • Just after he finally got his K rate below 30%, Javier Baez struck out 3 times to go right back over that benchmark.  He did walk, which raised his walk rate to a solid 7.5%.
  • Kris Bryant walked twice, singled, and scored a run.  Bryant's walk rate continues to be excellent at 12.5% while he is really cutting down on those Ks.  The rate is down to 27.1%, which is just one percentage more than his career rate.  In the last two weeks, covering 55 PAs, Bryant has struck out just 10 times, a rate of 18%.

Pensacola 2 - Tennessee 1

  • CJ Edwards made his first start for the Smokies since April and was able to last 3.1 innings before reaching his pitch count.  He walked 2 and struck out 5 while allowing just one run on 2 hits.  Edwards has a 2.63 ERA overall.
  • Tony Zych took the loss when he allowed one run in his one inning of work.  He is 4-5 with a 5.44 on the season.
  • Albert Almora doubled and went 1 for 4 overall.  Since his 1 for 18 start, Almora has gone 9 for 27 with 2 doubles and a HR.
  • Christian Villanueva doubled, walked and drove in the games only run.

Pensacola 10 - Daytona 0

  • This game was pretty much a disaster from start to finish.  Tyler Skulina made his debut and managed to pitch just one inning.  He was wild, issuing 3 walks, hitting a batter, and throwing 2 wild pitches.  It led to 3 runs overall.  Could be a case of first game jitters.
  • No hits...in fact, the only hitter to earn his way on base was Chadd Krist, who drew the D-Cubs only walk.

Kane County 8 - Quad Cities 2

  • Jonathan Martinez, who was the PTBNL in the Darwin Barney deal, had an impressive debut.  Martinez worked 5 innings and allowed just 3 hits and did not walk a batter while striking out 2  One of those hits was a solo HR.
  • Jasvir Rakkar has pitched better at Kane County so far than he did at Boise. He went 1.2 innings and struck out 4 batters.
  • Shawon Dunston is keeping a good thing going with 2 more hits, including a double, with a run scored and an RBI.  He is hitting .279/.315/.393.
  • Danny Lockhart did get the call back to Kane and went 1 for 5.  He scored and drove in a run.
  • Ben Carhart went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored.
  • Jacob Rogers pitched in with a pair of singles and a walk to raise his line to .272/372/.450 with 13 HRs.  His first 4 weeks of the season were pretty rough but since then he has hit .300/.387/.518 with 11 HRs.  Rogers, however, is among the longest of longshots as he was a 40th round pick and is going to be 25 this month.
  • Jeimer Candelario has been steady even if he hasn't ever completely broken through this season.  He went 2 for 4 with a double, run scored, and an RBI.  He is hitting just .248 in the MWL.
  • Victor Caratini introduced himself to the Cubs organization with 2 hits and 3 RBI.  Not a bad start for the Cubs new top catching prospect.

Vancouver 5 - Boise 4

  • Erick Leal pitched 5 batters and did not issue a walk but he did not miss many bats either, striking out just 2 and allowing 9 hits, two of them HRs. The RHP acquired for Tony Campana has a 5.02 ERA at Boise.
  • Alberto Diaz had perhaps his best outing of the season with 3.1 innings in which he walked one and struck out 4.  The gave up just one run but that was enough to tip the scales and tag him with the loss.
  • The big blow came from Justin Marra who hit a 3-run HR, his 7th dinger of the year.  Marra is hitting .291/.365/.539.
  • Mark Zagunis doubled, walked, scored, and drove in a run.  Zagunis went o for 6 yesterday so he bounced back nicely today.  He is hitting .310 on the year.
  • The DP tandem of Jason Vosler and Bryant Flete each had 2 singles.  Flete moved over the .300 mark at .308.

AZL Giants 7 - AZL Cubs 3

  • Alex Santana went 4 innings and allowed 3 walks vs 1 K.  He gave up 2 runs as his ERA went up slightly to 2.96.
  • Tanner Griggs allowed 3 runs in 2 IP to take the loss.
  • CF Kevonte Mitchell continues to surprise with a pair of singles and a walk.  He also singled, scored, and stole 2 bases.
  • Eloy Jimenez doubled and drove in 2 runs in his 3 ABs.  He has tailed off a bit, dropping off to .239



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  • Any chance Tseng starts in AA and Edwards in AAA next year? I know that might be accelerating both a little but it seems like they could handle it and it would be nice to have both closer to the bigs.

  • In reply to sabzali:

    Edwards at AAA maybe but not Tseng at AA.

  • Hanley just crushed Parker's hook....

  • Ramirez couldn't have two different endings in each of the last two games. Last night ended with him so frustrated that he gave his batting helmet to a fan. Tonight ended with the three run jack and a bubble party at home plate...

  • Attended the Iowa game. Thoughts...

    Beeler - not as bad it may look. one bad inning where he gave up 4 runs, 2 on a wind blown homer that just cleared the fence. mostly 90-91, hit 92 when he needed to make a pitch. seemed like he had good command, struggled against the middle of the Omaha order and handled everyone else relatively easily.

    Szczur - led off game with double on first pitch, barely safe on pickoff play, and then was picked off a second later. not a good way to start a game. had another hit his 2nd time up. Made a spectacular diving catch on a ball that was just fair where he came a long way to get it.

    Vitters - crushed the HR, a true no doubter. Worked a walk and worked some other deep counts. Seemed pretty comfortable up there....I would expect better results than what his numbers show.

    Baez - Bad night, didn't care for the strike zone. I get the feeling umpires like to ring him up any chance they get. Overswung a couple of times, esp on breaking balls. Chased a bad one his first time and was called out looking twice around a walk against Casey Coleman. Still, you can tell he has IT. Just oozes confidence, which I can see why that may rub some people the wrong way. Personally, I love it and think it's just what we need. He can get a little lackadasical at times as he did on a routine play where he dropped the ball transferring it to his throwing hand. He recovered and just got the guy. Also made a great play up the middle where he backhanded it and fired to first to get a fast runner. Showed a real good arm. Showed great range chasing flyballs as well. He was right next to Szczur on the aforementioned diving play. He acutally was a bit hurt after that play. Looked like a hammy, but he stayed in. Then he almost made a spectacular over the shoulder play in medium RF on a pop up but couldn't quite hold it. He's not quite ready, but he'll get there.

    Bryant - He's ready. Patient approach, refused to expand, drawing two walks, both on full counts if i recall correctly. Better athlete than I expected. Got to full speed quickly from first on an Olt double. Would have scored easily, but ball went out of play. Hustled hard out of box and legged out a hit on a swinging bunt. Looked quite comfortable at 3B, making the routine plays. Arm is plenty to stay there. Made a great diving stop on a smash down the line. Was a little slow to get to his feet and his throw was just late.

    Olt - Looked good at 1B, made a great leaping catch of a line drive. Also on the Bryant play, he threw home to get the guy at the plate who was coming from 2nd and tried to score when KB threw to 1st. Looked much better at the plate. Lined a double down the line. Did strike out looking another time after working it to a full count but overall it looked like an improvement.

    Soler - didn't start. PH in the 8th as the tying run with 2 outs and 2 on vs Collins, who is still as close to a big leaguer as you will find at AAA (good stuff, throwing 94, nice breaking stuff). Drove a ball foul that was well out of the park, which was impressive. Eventually, he flew out to the warning track. Didn't hit it well, but it really carried. Just an impressive looking athlete. When he walked up there, crowd was like "holy shit". If he can handle the grind of playing every day, i think he can play in the majors any time.

    Lopez - I was impressed with his defense. Blocked balls well and made a great throw to second where it looked to me like he got rid of it extremely quickly. Guy was still safe, but he had a monstrous jump and Lopez almost nabbed him. Approach at the plate seemed good, looked like he struggled against the LH breaking stuff of starter Chris Dwyer and Tim Collins. Seems like he would have value as a second catcher for sure.

    Kalish - walked first two times up and then left 5 on base his next two times vs Collins. Long at bats every time, but no skills that really jump off the page at you. 5th OF is about all you can see at this point.

    Watkins - Hit it hard at least once, if not twice. Moved in to play SS after Soler hit for Soto.

    Soto - played college ball in Omaha. Known for his glove and it looked that way when he faced Collins with the bases loaded and two outs in the 6th. Just overmatched there. Hard to see him rising above AAA, but I guess you never know.

    Rosscup - walked first guy after having him 0-2. Easy inning after that.

    Mateo - throws hard, regularly at 94. Must be straight b/c he wasn't exactly fooling them.

    Fun times, glad I got to see these guys. Lots of Cub fans in attendance, which was good to see. To me, all of the big 3 will make all star teams. We're in really good shape.

  • In reply to cubsker:

    Good stuff, thanks!

    I think your summary of Javier is pretty dead on. He's going to make jaw dropping and head scratching plays both. But if we're patient, after a few more years maturity, he has a ceiling unlike anyone else in our system...

  • In reply to cubsker:

    Really good recap, my friend! Better watch your back, John.

    I've written very similar recaps when the AA Smokies have come to Huntsville the last 2 years. And it's very apparent that once they get over the adjustment, their great skills shine through. I saw Javy's 3 HR game last year, Soler's PH rocket a few weeks back, Bryant's defense, HRs, walks, SBs, ... in late May. Even saw Sczcur get picked off but score when the ball was thrown away during the run down.

    Hopefully, we'll be reading these same recaps at the MLB level this time next year.

  • Ugly line for Ruggiano: 0 for the day with 3 K's and 6 LOB. Seems like he always had 2 guys on base ahead of him. Too bad.

  • How does CJ look physically? I know he added on some good weight during his rehab. Does it show?

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    In reply to Chupacabra:

    Not at all...He pitched well last night however.

  • In reply to Chupacabra:

    He looks about the same. That's just who he is going to be I guess.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I read somewhere that he gained 15 lbs. Muscle is much heavier than fat volume wise so 15 lbs of muscle is not very noticeable just by looks. Though 15 lbs more muscle will make you much stronger. Hopefully he stays healthy and if he gains more muscle that would not be a bad thing.

  • I was at the Iowa game last night in Omaha. Disappointed in the bats. Baez was chasing every curveball thrown at him. Was impressed with Bryant's defense at third, he made some great plays. Soler came in to pinch hit in the 8th and hit the hardest hit ball I've ever seen. It cleared the entire stadium in a small fraction of a second but unfortunately it went foul.

    I'm going back on Tuesday to the game. Hopefully will be better results.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    3 Ks for Baez -- that hasn't happened as often lately. I think it's going to be like that sometimes with him. He'll have games where he will look bad.

    Interesting on Soler, going to have to go back and watch some of that game.

    Hardest hit ball I have ever seen was by Javy Baez in the AFL, he turned on a pitch and hit it on a low line drive that seemed liked it never went more than 10 feet off the ground. It nailed an empty seat down the LF line. The thud was incredible, never seen a foul that had no chance of leaving the stadium get that kind of reaction from the crowd -- and some players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Speaking of hardest hit balls .,.
    there was a story that George Herman Ruth once hit a ball that went between the pitcher's legs and then, rising majestically, over the center field wall.
    Not for a second do I believe that it happened, but it does make a great story. Hey, I heard it from a guy who swears that he was there. Or if he wasn't, his brother-in-law was.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Javier's first MLB ST, he hit a ground ball directly at Dee Gordon @ SS, which he made no attempt to get in front of... He got razzed a bit by fans/teammates/media, etc... Later that day he took to twitter to defend himself and said it was the hardest hit ball he had ever seen. lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I remember that one!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It was hilarious! Dee looked like a little-league'r that was afraid of the ball on that one play.

  • One more observation. I couldn't believe how old Manny Ramirez looks in person. He must have colored his hair when he signed with us because he knew there would be lots of photos. He's 40% gray.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I can't imagine Manny getting old!

  • I ordered a Caratini the other night at the bar and ... I love that the Cubs are looking at league wide difficiencies and trying to capitalize on building that depth. No greater reason for Caratini than the Kurt Suzuki deal. Kudos to the Cubs for trying to build a roster of hitting catchers and power hitters

  • To reinforce the pitching over the next 24 months, I wonder how many TOR pitchers the Cubs target. They have the potential for fielding an inexpensive cost controlled lineup so they can splurge on Pitching. Is it two or three?

  • OT: Vince Scully last night was great (of course) when Schierholtz made that amazingly poor attempt at a bunt. First he says "Shierholtz must be a really good bunter for the Cubs to be bunting here. Shierholtz had 21 homeruns last year." Then "The Cubs must know something about Shierholtz's bunting that we don't." And a short time later. "Shierholtz came into the league in '07 and has three sac bunts in his career." The camera switched to a shot of Ricky R about that time.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    With a very different style, Harry Carry would have made the same point, even as he was moving into his dotage (and something Jack Brickhouse would never do). That Vince Scully is still the best announcer in baseball at 87 is both wonderful and sad, as we won't be seeing his and Harry's like again.

  • In reply to RicksterCubs67:

    I agree. There are a lot of solid announcers... Len Casper is one. So is Pat Hughes. BUT there's not a lot of personality out there these days. Sorta cookie cutter announcers. And the ones that do have some personality are pretty douchey (Morgan, the Brennemans, McCarver). I still miss Harry Carry and getting to listen to Vin Scully these past couple of days just underlines both how amazing he is and how vanilla the current batch of guys are.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    I love listening to Vin. I was watching the game via LAD broadcast and he's probably the only announcer where you can look away and still feel like you saw what happened.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    The Schierholtz bunt fiasco was a combination of pathetic and stupid.
    If you want a PH to bunt in extras, send a starting pitcher up there.

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    John - any insights into what specific changes Bryant is making with his batting approach? Has he moved closer to the plate - like Rizzo - so he can better reach the outside pitch?

  • Who are some candidates for AZ Fall League? I'd think CJ could be a possibility. Pierce'd Johnson, too? With Marco Hernandez & Giosker Amaya being Rule V eligible, they may want an extra look at them. Thoughts? Cheers yo!

  • We can only send 6 total and only one that is rostered below AA. Yet somehow, and I still don't completely understand the loophole or special exemptions we got, we managed to send Bryant, Soler, Almora, and Wes Darvil all of them were at Daytona or below.

    I think that since CJ, PJ, Pineyro, and A Russell are all at AA and have missed time with injuries, they're definitely going to be considered. IMHO, those 4 are the most likely to go, so we can maintain their timeline for development. Hernandez & Amaya both had enough success at Daytona that they may think they can handle the AFL and want to get a look at them there. Then again, they may also want to fast track McKinney. VogelBOMB is a candidate to go too. I also wouldn't rule out a repeat trip for Almora.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    If there are loopholes, Theo & Jed will find 'em! Thanks for your thoughts, HD!

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    There is one player who is only with the AFL team a few games a week (maybe only home games or only weekend games?) That was Almora last year and it is an exception for the one below AA rule, I believe.

  • I typed up a big long post on the iowa game last night. did it not get approved?

  • Pierce Johnson vs. Robert Stephenson today in the Smokies-Wahoos game at 1pm. Should be a good pitching match up, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Ozymandias and Captain America (Russell & Almora) do against a top pitching prospect (#21 prospect and #8 RHP).

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Stephenson has great stuff, but like Pierce has really struggled with the base on balls. For Pierce Johnson, I just want to see him throw strikes. He has been better since coming back from injury, but still some command issues. I wonder if Pierce is a candidate for AFL.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    So far, so good for PJ, no hits, 1 walk, 5 K's through 3 innings...keep it up young man.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    That closes the book on a very good outing for Johnson - 6 IP - 2 H, 1 BB, 6 SO - no hitter broken up in the top of the 6th with a seeing -eye single by the pitcher that found a hole between Villanueva & Russell (you won't hear that very often).

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    ...and Russell answers me with a Homerun in the 1st inning off Stephenson with Almora on base! This kid is a badass.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I still can't believe Beane gave us his top two prospects...

  • Dunston is a guy that is reminding me more and more of Alcantara's rise through the minors. Not a huge prospect at first, but the tools were there. In addition, Mendy seemed to play better the higher up he moved in the minors. He was more impressive in AAA than he was in single A.

    What do you guys think here? Am I off my rocker? I'm not sure Dunston's power can match Mendy, but maybe that will improve, too, like it did with our Mendy.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    If I'm not mistaken, Dunston was a Vandy recruit. I think there's good potential with him, and it won't hurt getting developed in this system!

  • Dunston does not have the power or the speed that Alcantara possesses. He is also not a great defender in CF which really limits his upside. There is just a lot more jump in Alcantara's game. Dunston has definitely made a lot of improvements to his game recently. He appears to have adjusted his swing and is pulling the ball with much greater frequency instead of trying to take everything to LF. This allows him to tap into his gap power more often.

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