That is it, folks. It has been a long season, with fewer top prospects competing in the Minors for the Cubs, but it was still a fun ride. The organization did win one title (AZL) and the club's two defending champs (Eugene and Myrtle Beach) both had repeats within reach before falling just shy.
I plan to carry on with prospect coverage throughout the offseason. It will not be on a daily basis as it is through the playing season, but I have ideas for regularly recurring features that should start rolling out in October. Unfortunately, I will not be able to provide the first hand or in-depth analysis of Fall Instructs or the Arizona Fall League that John was able to give all of us in years past, but we will try to keep you in the loop as best we can from a distance.
In the short term I am putting together statistical reviews for the top prospects that I will begin releasing later this week. I will also put together recaps covering the season of each affiliate. Tom still has a handful of interviews in his back pocket, so continue to keep an eye out for those on Mondays. The list of players invited to instructs will be released soon as well, so we'll take a look into those players and the progress we can hope to see from them once it becomes available.
Once again it was looking good for the Emeralds heading into the middle innings only to see victory slip away. Vancouver starter Justin Dillon blew away Emeralds hitters in the first three innings, recording seven strikeouts, but they did manage a few base runners against him, and he exited after the third as he reached his innings limit. Michael Cruz greeted his replacement, Zach Logue, with a solo bomb to right in the fourth to give the Emeralds a 1-0 lead.
With top prospect and staff ace Jose Albertos on the hill, it looked like that lead could stick. Despite anger over the strike zone throughout his outing, a result of the five walks he issued, Albertos was dominating as he carried a no-hitter through four innings. There was no video for the game, but from the radio call the combo of his mid-90s fastball and devastating changeup continued to befuddle Northwest League competition.
Momentum swung in the fifth. After Jose Gonzalez singled to lead of the top of the inning, he advanced to second on a sac bunt, then came around third and headed home on a single by Zach Davis. But left fielder Noberto Obeso gunned him down keeping the game a one run affair. In the bottom of the frame a one-out walk followed by the Canadians first hit of the game, an infield single, set them up with runners on first and second. Albertos got the next man to ground the ball to second baseman Jared Young, but there was no chance for a double play and the only out was at first base. This left two runners in scoring position with Vancouver's number three hitter Logan Warmoth stepping to the dish. Albertos once again induced a ground ball, but once again it found a hole, and both runners came in to score. And that would be the deciding margin.
Neither team would threaten after the fifth as the respective bullpens slammed the door shut. No more hits were recorded and just one runner reached scoring position. It was a fitting end to a Northwest League Championship Series, and playoffs as a whole, dominated by pitching.
- Michael Cruz: 1-3, HR, R, RBI, BB
- Zach Davis: 2-4
- Austin Filiere: 0-2, 2 BB, SB
- Jose Albertos: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 4 K (L)
- Erich Uelmen: 2 IP, 3 K
- Jake Steffens: IP, 2 K
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
All four clubs that participated in the Northwest League Playoffs finished with team batting averages below .200 for the tournament. In the final two games the Emeralds and Canadians combined for just 13 hits. Good pitching? Poor hitting? Bit of both?
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap