Daily Cubs Minors Recap: The Dunston saga; Pena, Blackburn solid; Ho-Young Son surprising with bat

Well, this was an interesting night.  There was a bit of a buzz on Twitter when Kane County Cougars outfielder Shawon Dunston left the dugout twice.  Once right after the anthem and then again after the first inning.

With the timing of the Jacob Turner waiver claim and Dunston looking like a pretty fair return for the recently DFA'd pitcher, it seemed like too much to be a coincidence.

Well, it was a coincidence.

It turns out that Dunston was ill and simply left the dugout to...well, avoid yakking in it.  Per Peoria Chiefs beat writer Dave Eminian (@icetimecleve)

KC's Shawon Dunston Jr left game in 1st inng bc of a call-up -- from his stomach, if you know what I mean. He was just ill, but fine now.

So, there you have it.  But the way Dunston has been playing of late, it would not have been surprising if another team had been interested -- or if he had been promoted to Daytona.

On with the recap...

Tennessee 5 - Mobile 0

  • Felix Pena had a strong outing for the Smokies, walking 2 but striking out 8 in 5.1 innings to drop his ERA to 4.87.  It was his first win at the AA level.
  • The Smokies got great relief from 4 different bullpen arms.  Andrew McKirahan had the longest stint with 1.2 scoreless innings.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 1.  The lefty has established himself as a legit bullpen option for the future and is yet another player who may need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.  He has a 2.41 ERA with 3 walks and 16 Ks in 18.2 innings.
  • Pin-Chieh Chen went 2 or 5 with a double, RBI, and 2 runs scored  He is hitting just .234 for the Smokies.
  • Addison Russell just keeps rolling along.  He doubled, singled, and walked, driving in a run and scoring another.  The walk was his 3rd in the last 8 games as he has not drawn many since joining the Cubs. That was a strength with the A's organization and we presume he has the same plate discipline, so the fact he is beginning to draw walks again shows a return to what is normally patient approach.  He has only walked 5.3% of the time since joining the Smokies but he does have an 8.3% rate overall.  Not bad for a 20 year old in AA but that should probably go up as he continues to get comfortable.  He is hitting .295 with 8 HRs in 27 games with Tennessee,
  • Christian Villanueva drove in 2 runs with a single.

Clearwater 4 - Daytona 0

  • Juan Paniagua was unable to build off his last great start, lasting only 4 innings.  It was walks and the long ball that got him today as he walked 3 and gave up 2 HRs, leading to 4 runs and his second loss at Daytona.
  • The D-Cubs were getting no-hit by Jessie Biddle, who was rehabbing and was at AA earlier this year,  Biddle is a good prospect and apparently overmatched the younger D-Cubs for 5 innings before exiting on pitch count.  Bill McKinney finally broke up the potential combined no-no with a single with one out in the 8th.  Kyle Schwarber added a double in the 9th for the only other hit.

Kane County 4 - Peoria 2

  • Paul Blackburn looks back on track with 5 solid innings of one run baseball.  He walked just one and struck out 5 to improve to 9-4 with a 3.21 ERA.  He has walked just 2.3 batters per 9 IP, but his K rate has been just over 6 per 9 innings.
  • Jose Arias pitched 3 brilliant innings in relief, allowing just 2 hits and no runs while not walking a batter and striking out 5.  Arias improved his ERA to 1.77.  He has struck out 11.3 batters per 9 IP while walking 3.8/9 IP.
  • Tyler Bremer found himself back at Kane County after a stint in Daytona.  He picked up where he left off with a scoreless inning to pick up his 12th save. He struck out 2.
  • Trey Martin took over for Dunston in the leadoff spot but played CF.  He doubled and scored a run in 3 ABs.
  • C Victor Caratini went 0 for 2 but walked twice and scored twice.  He is hitting .267 since joining the Cubs.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario went 3 for 4 and scored a run.  It raised his line at Kane County to .255/.290/.447 with 5 HRs.
  • RF Jeffrey Baez seems to be getting in a groove now.  He went 2 for 4 with an RBI and raised his average on the year to .262.

AZL Reds 10 - AZL Cubs 4

  • 17th round pick Michael Knighton made his debut and allowed 2 runs in 1 inning.
  • Jesus Castillo continued his solid season with a 3 inning performance in which he allowed one run.  He walked one and struck out one, lowering his ERA to 2.95.
  • Neil Ramirez had his first rehab start, pitching an inning and allowing 2 runs, one earned.
  • Kevonte Mitchell has been steady all season.  Today it was 1 for 4 with a walk.  He is hitting .305 and for a player deemed to be raw, he has shown a solid approach at the plate.  The walk was his 10th of the season in just 92 PAs, a walk rate of about 11%, putting his OBP at .394.  He also stole his 10th base.
  • Ricardo Marcano went 2 for 4 and raised his average to .275.
  • Ho-Young Son was mostly known for his defense and speed as an amateur, but the Cubs sleeper IFA signing has proven to be better than advertised with the bat.  The SS went 3 for 4 with a run scored and 2 RBI.  Son did show off some of that speed, stealing 2 bases to give him 8 on the year.  He's hitting .310 and has shown some patience with 5 walks in 47 PAs.  His OBP is a robust .383.




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  • I was tired of Rusin in Spring training, tired of reading his recaps here, now I'm tired of him at the major league level....DFA him already.

    As always thanks for the recaps and side notes!

  • In reply to Buzz:

    I don't think Rusin is going to be around for the long haul.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Only fools Rusin

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I'm going to have to ask you to leave, SIR. *points*

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    In reply to Giffmo:


  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Angels will fear to "retread" him

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    It'd be better if he wasn't around for the short haul either. Too many pitchers who fit his profile will be available this off season if necessary.

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    In reply to TheRiot2:

    With Rusin it's more about the value than talent right now. When he gets more expensive or starts clogging a 40 man spot you will see him moved.

  • In reply to Restless:

    that maybe right now if cubs get turner

  • In reply to Buzz:

    Rusin has served his purpose the last couple of years. Jokisch and Beeler will take over that role beginning next season.

  • As the a cubs gain more success and start drafting lower I see the importance of the raw guy being greater. That is where potential impact players will have to come from rather than from the top of the draft. The hit rate will be lower. So it's nice to see Mitchell or Crawford show up in the posts and the player development system start to bear fruit

  • Apparently a "Spammer" got through,..... Uggg! Hate these guys/gals.

  • Yeah, and I just have to call 800-555-5555 to claim a previously unknown inheritance!

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    In reply to cubs1969:

    Don't forget to leave all your personal information as well.Then again maybe the Russian hackers have all that out there already.

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    There's a report out that the cubs put in the lone claim on Hamels. What would it take to get him? Would the cubs have to include one of their top 5?

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    In reply to Restless:

    If they take on his entire contract I would say no freekin way. It'll be interesting tho too see where he winds up and at what price.

  • In reply to Restless:

    I don't see any way that it happens right now. I can't see the Cubs including any of the Bryant, Soler, Russell trio and I don't see Philadelphia accepting a deal without them. Hamels is not going to go in a waiver deal. Philadelphia does not need to be any hurry to move him. They can regroup and look to trade him in the offseason once they can reopen the process to all teams. Hamels would be a good fallback option for contenders that miss out on Lester or Scherzer.

    The Hamels situation is different then the rest of the Philadelphia roster. Hamels is younger and more effective than their other players. Howard is a lost cause. Utley and Rollins have 10-5 rights and have shown little indication that they are willing to waive it. Lee's gigantic yearly salary at his age (and now injury) make him impossible to move without Philadelphia eating a huge portion of it. Papelbon is the same, minus the injury factor. Byrd was really the most movable piece they had.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Appreciate the insight.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I see everything you have written here as an absolute support for the Cub's front office's work to shed long & unwieldy contracts, and create huge amounts of roster and payroll flexibility.

    Even when Howard was healthy and mashing a few years back - that contract seemed crazy - let alone the one that Lee is on.

    Even worse than the combo of contracts that the Cubs had Zambrano, Ramirez, Lee, Soriano, and Bradley on,.... at least most of those guys were still useful players at the end of those contracts (Bradley being the exception there of course).

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I beleive Hamels will have 10/5 rights after this season. When did he come up 05 or 06?

  • Was at the Kane County game in Peoria last night. Blackburn looked decent, not great but good enough. 93 mph cheese with an impressive breaking ball around 82. A couple of great defensive plays, I believe in the 4th, by the two middle infielders (Lockhart and Penalver) saved his bacon. He exited after 5 innings and 66 pitches to record the win. KC scored all of its runs against Peoria starter McKnight. Barraclough came in relief and make the Cougars look silly at the plate, mixing heat and off-speed pitches nicely. All three outs in his one inning of work were punch outs and I think the first two were of the Special K variety. Wind was blowing in for much of the night. There were a few rides to the track, including Baez and Caratini, but no one got anything out of the yard. 3B Candelario not only went 3-for-4 at the dish, he made a great diving play and throw to first late in the game to help shut down a Chiefs rally.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    I like the 93! Thanks lb! I appreciate the details.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sure thing, John! My pleasure. Blackburn was consistent at 92-93.

  • Did anyone else see the interview with Bryant on MLBTV yesterday? He was chosen #4 overall prospect. The kid is very grounded, humble and thankful for what he's been able to do and actually thinks his defense has seen more progress than his bat. Also had nothing but great things to say about Baez as a teammate.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Yes, Bryant made a half dozen tough plays the other night against the Stormchasers. A couple were of the variety where one might expect a tall 3rd baseman to expose a hole. He started two double plays. Kris is easy to spot in warm-ups as he is the one a head taller. He contributes in many ways on the field.

  • Kaplan confirming that the Cubs are the lone team to claim Cole Hamels on waivers... So d owe think Philly will cut an acceptable deal or are we just blocking another NL central team from landing him?

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Are we really at the point yet where we need to be worried about blocking other teams?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I don't this as a blocking move either. I think the FO sees it as a way to potentially add a frontline starter without having to give up any prospects. The chances are slim, but there is always the chance the Phillies ownership orders Amaro to cut payroll and they simply allow the Cubs to take on the contract, or the Cubs get them in a poor bargaining position to work out a trade without including any of Bryant, Russell or Soler. It is pretty much a no lose situation for the Cubs. Worst that can happen is Philadelphia holds on to him and if the Cubs are still interested in the offseason they can reopen discussions.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I doubt that it is the intent. i.e., I believe their intent to actually acquire him. But if they do not, then yes; they have successfully blocked others from doing so.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Phillies have to know it's time to rebuild.. So I say offer a handful of hitters ranked between 10 and 30 (include Olt) . Take on the salary. I know they were asking for the moon but no harm in trying.

  • In reply to rsanchez11:

    They're not going to take a bunch of spare parts. He's going to command more than what we got for Shark...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yeah reading that now. I think it's possible without Russell if they like some of our guys. Our top 20 would be top 10 for other people.. Maybe Almora, McKinney, vbomb, Olt and Villanueva.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You never know. Our 10-30 prospects are a lot better than most (all) other team's 10-30. It can't hurt to try. Don't forget, we have Theo doing our dealing.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    This thing got stuck in the spam filter for a bit...

    Also, I should correct myself. Kaplan reporting that a Philiadelphia sports radio host confirming it was the Cubs.

  • What's the probability on Dunston vomiting and being traded at the same time?

  • In reply to wastrel:

    1) All kinds of things er, come up in trading season.
    2) Dunston's Dad could really pick up / chuck that ball.
    3) Like most Cubs fans, Shawon Jr. had a belly full of losing.

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    Kap and his source on The Game right now

  • I agree we shouldn't trade Alcantara, Baez, Soler, Bryant or Russell. I'd also include Vizcaino and Rivero, who could become a dominant bullpen combo (or potentially for Vizcaino a MOR). And I wouldn't want to include high upside youngsters like Tseng, Underwood or Clifton, whose long term value might be high but current value is pretty low due to uncertainty (particularly for Underwood and Clifton).

    That said, Hamels turns 31 is December and is owed a lot of money for a team that needs an influx of young talent. I think a package based on Almora, Edwards and Vogelbach (along with two mid-levels, like Grimm and Bruno) should be our offer and might get it done. If they would prefer, I'd substitute Rondon and Junior Lake in the deal and take out one of Almora or Edwards.

    Is this comparable value to Hamel? Not right now. But possibly might be good 3 years from now and the Phils don't have lots of bullets ready to go to remain a contender.

  • In reply to springs:

    I forgot...I'd also offer Olt if they are interested. Thinking it further, Edwards, Almora, Straily, Olt and Lake is my offer.

  • In reply to springs:

    No way Almora is part of the deal. I could see Straily, (or maybe Pierce Johson), Olt and Lake, and a high impact bullpen piece, (Vizcaino, Ramirez, Rodon, etc). - plus the inherent salary relief as a package that might work. But for a 31 yo, very expensive pitcher-I don't see the benefit selling off top 5 minor league talent.

  • Maybe it's the Cubs sticking it to the Phillies over the rule 5 fiasco... Blocking any trade for Hamels on the off chance they get him at the same time... And yes, blocking him from being traded to the Cardinals, Brewers or Reds is bonus & good move. Yes they can trade him to any of those teams in the offseason, but they could also trade him to the rest of the league by then as well...

  • Whatever happens, I want the Phillies eating some of this contract if a trade were to happen. This is a salary dump and no way would I allow them to escape without them losing a pound of flesh.

    I love that for the first time in my memory, the Cubs are positioned to take advantage of other teams financial mismanagement. The Braves and Yankees did this so well in the '90s to the rest of the league. Pay backs a bitch.

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