On days like today when the Cubs lay an egg, it's good to have the minor leagues. Mike Moody went to see the Kane County Cougars today. I would have liked to have joined him but luck conspired against me today. We have the next best thing as Mike took some notes.
Some trade news...
The Cubs have traded former top prospect Brett Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league RP Blake Cooper. Despite a solid 3.27 ER in AAA, the 26 year Cooper isn't a top prospect and will likely get lost in the shuffle of hard-throwing Cubs RP prospects. With all due respect to Cooper, there is little doubt that this trade was simply about opening up a 40 man roster spot. Whether that roster spot is used soon on someone like Armando Rivero or Eric Jokisch -- or simply gives them an extra spot to use in September or in the offseason remains to be seen. It may not be that the Cubs did this with an immediate secondary move in mind. It could just be that they went through the process of waiving players and saw a chance for a team to take Jackson off their hands. Nobody needs a change of scenery and a fresh pair of eyes more than Brett Jackson. The Diamondbacks wanted him enough that they claimed him off waivers. They had the 2nd highest priority but the Rockies once again passed. Good luck to him.
Some promotion news...
- Dan Straily is getting the call to the big club for a Saturday start
- Mark Zagunis got a well deserved call to Kane County.
- Ben Carhart made the jump to Daytona, where he actually won a title last season.
- This wasn't your typical Dallas Beeler outing. Only 7 groundball but he had 5 strikeouts. And he gave up 2 HRs. All in all it was an effective outing. Beeler kept the walks down (1) and the 2 HRs translated to just 3 runs, the only 3 he would allow in 6 innings. He escaped with a no-decision. His ERA is at 3.0 for the season.
- Armando Rivero struck out the side in his one inning but not before giving up a HR as well. This one tied the game. Rivero also walked a batter, perhaps the only thing he needs to work on after a sterling season in which he as put up a 1.93 ERA.
- Strong outing from Zac Rosscup to take this game into extras. Two scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 2.17. He struck out 2 and it was his 4th straight outing without a walk. That will be a key for him as he tries to stick in the majors next year.
- Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning, striking out 2 and then Marco Mateo, who has pitched extremely well late in the year, pitched 2 innings and allowed a solo HR in the top of the 12th in what seemed like would be a loss. He walked none and struck out 4. He improved to 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA.
- Jorge Soler went hitless again in 5 ABs. Soler's average dropped to .257 at AAA. It's his first min-funk of the season, so the Cubs will finally get a chance to see how he responds.
- Matt Szczur's solid 2nd half continued with a 3 hit day in which he scored a run and stole his 29th and 30th bases of the season. Szczur is up to .261 on the year with a .309 OBP. Not the year he expected certainly, but he has improved as the season has gone on, hitting .317 in the second half.
- Logan Watkins also went 3 for 6, scored a run, and stole 2 bases, giving him 22 on the year. Watkins has tailed off after a strong start, hitting .260/.325/.365 overall. He has had the mirror image season of Szczur in that he did much of his damage in the first half but is hitting below .200 in the second half. The key hit for Watkins came when he led off the bottom of the 12th with a single to set things up...
- Kris Bryant was scuffling all game, going 0 for 4 with 3 Ks before finally getting on base with a walk and then with Iowa down 5-4 in the 12th, launched his 18th HR at Iowa and 40th overall this year. Its just unfair to ask a team to keep him down for 12 innings. Bryant is hitting .313 with 18 HRs and 43 RBI in 53 PCL games.
- Mike Olt's resurgence has been remarkable. He went 2 for 5 today and hit his 7th HR since being sent down.
- CJ Edwards pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits and 1 walk. He struck out just one batter. The 6 inning outing was the second time he has gone that far into the game in his abbreviated season. It seems to indicate he's 100% healthy again. Edwards has a 2.65 ERA this year, walking 3.85 walks per 9 IP while striking out 8.61/9 IP.
- LHP Hunter Cervenka pitched 2 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. He has a 3.13 ERA on the year. Cervenka has pitched especially well of late, posting a 1.76 ERA in his last 10 outings, spanning 15.1 innings. The solidly built lefty sometimes struggles with his control but has walked just 4 batters in that time frame.
- Frank Batista pitched a scoreless 9th to pick up the win and improve to 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA.
- Albert Almora hit the walk-off RBI yesterday and today he was on the other end, scoring the winning run and going 2 for 4 overall. Almora is hitting just .214 after finishing strong at Daytona. The Cubs may have been aggressive with the promotion but they obviously feel Almora can handle it. He should start 2015 back in Tennessee.
- It's been a tough run in the Southern League for Dustin Geiger too but he got the big hit today, driving in Almora with a single in the bottom of the 9th. Geiger has hit .228 with 12 HRs on the year.
- Jose Rosario allowed just 2 runs in 5 innings to improve to 5-7 with a 5.50 ERA.
- Starling Peralta was impressive in his 2 innings. He did not allow a hit or a run, walked one and struck out 4. Peralta has a 3.52 ERA. Peralta has pitched 71.2 innings this year and has walked a career low 2.26 batters per 9 IP while striking out 9.67 per 9 IP.
- Justin Amlung had a strong outing as he did not allow an earned run in 5 innings while walking just one batter and striking out 2. Unfortunately he did give up 2 unearned runs and that was the difference. Amlung fell to 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA.
- Solid doubleheader for Jacob Hanneman who went 2 for 6 with 2 doubles, a walk, and a run scored. Hannemann has adapted quickly to the FSL, hittiing .282/.325/.385 in his first 20 games.
- Bill McKinney went 1 for 6 between the two games but in the D-Cubs win, had 4 RBI on a double and a sac fly. He also scored a run to take a part in 5 of the team's 6 runs.
- Ben Carhart wasted no time contributing to his new/old team, going 2 for 3 with a double that drove in McKinney in the first.
(Mike's notes in italics):
- Duane Underwood flashed an impressive fastball. It sat between 92 and 94 on the stadium radar gun with some good movement. He generated a lot of weak contact to go with his 4 strikeouts and it was abundantly clear that, in the Midwest League, only Duane Underwood could beat Duane Underwood. Unfortunately, he tried his best. He had no control of the fastball whatsoever tonight. He bounced three up to the plate, one a good two feet in front of the plate. The curveball and change both need work. At times I had trouble telling what was his changeup and what was a hanging curve. He did, however, throw a couple curves with good bite, so he can do it. Underwood managed to go 5 scoreless innings despite the 4 walks but did not factor in the decision. Mike also noted that Underwood touched 95. Considering the stadium gun is often a tick, sometimes 2, slow, that's impressive velocity. Underwood's ERA stands at 2.49. His walks per 9 IP jumped a bit to 3.29.
- Jasvir Rakkar's scoreless streak continued with 2 more innings. He picked up the win to improve to 1-0 with no runs allowed in 11 innings. He has walked 2 and struck out 11.
- Ironically, while Underwood was laboring through 5 innings, undrafted free agent Troy Scribner was shutting down the Cougars on 88 MPH fastballs and good breaking stuff. Only two Cougars made good contact off of him while he was rolling. One was Shawon Dunston who took a fastball up in the zone the other way for a triple.
- The other was Chesny Young. He made hard contact twice and actually broke up Scribner's perfect game in the sixth. He has a very short swing and generates line drives. He can have a long career as a utility man. However,the bat will play better as a utility player with strong defense. Tonight, he stuck out on defense due to his misplays. The first was a snap throw to first after catching a line drive that short hopped first baseman Jacob Rogers and bounced into the stands. The second was a double clutch on a swinging bunt that just allowed the runner to beat the throw. Young went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored and is hitting .390/.400/.492 in 15 games in the MWL.
- The big blow came in the the eighth when Scribner started to tire. The Cubs put runners on first and third after a ringing double by (who else) Young and a single by Carlos Penalver. That set up Trey Martin to turn on a pitch with little on it and deposit it over the left-center field wall.
- Jeremy Null is an interesting pick in the 15th round. At 6'7", he is a tall pitcher who throws a good low 90s two seamer with plane, but needs work on just about everything else, particularly his mechanics, which are rough and cause him to throw max effort. He could probably throw harder with less effort if that delivery is cleaned up. His velo dropped as the season went on, down to the 85-88 range. He had a solid 3 inning performance today, allowing a run but did not walk a batter while striking out 2.
- Trey Lang has had a nice bounce back season. Today he stretched out to 4 innings, allowing 1 run and improving to 4-0 with a 3.30 ERA.
- Undrafted FA Daniel Lewis finished up with 2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one. He has yet to allow a run this season in 5 innings, walking 3 and striking out 6.
- Rashad Crawford walked twice and hit his first HR of the season -- a 3 run shot. Crawford is hitting .275 but hasn't drawn a lot of walks this year, so to see him get two is encouraging. Despite the HR today, he is more of a speed-oriented player than a power guy.
- David Bote doubled and drove in 2 runs.
- 3B Jesse Hodges went 4 for 4 to raise his average to .268. He scored and drove in a run.
- Apparently there was an error yesterday that was corrected after I did my recap. They had Jake Stinnett pitching and allowing 3 runs in 1.1 innings, but it was actually Justin Steele. So Stinnett gets a reprieve of sorts, but didn't fare much better, allowing 4 runs in his 2 innings of work. He got hit hard, allowing 6 hits and striking out just one. He fell to 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA.
- James Pugliese is on rehab and overmatched the rookie level hitters, striking out all 3 he faced.
- Gleyber Torres went 1 for 3 with a walk.
- Eloy Jimenez went 0 for 3 but did drive in one of the two AZ Cubs runs. A recent slump has dropped Jimenez to .231 on the year.
- The other run came on C Tyler Pearson's solo HR, his first as a pro. Pearson is hitting an even .200.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap