If you haven’t already, please check out Stephanie’s interview with top prospect Ian Happ.
Just a reminder to check the Cubs Draft Tracker for updates on draft signings. With the all-star break ending, we may get some announcements tomorrow, though it will not involved top pick Thomas Hatch.
The Cubs added a lot of pitching in that draft but it was a 17 year old they signed last year from Mexico who wowed the crowd last night, but more on that in the recap…
- It has been a tough year for but Jack Buchanan has pitched well at times. That was more or less the case today as the veteran limited the damage from 4 walks by striking out 7 hitters and allowing just 3 hits. Despite the so-so command, Buchanan allowed just one run and lowered his ERA to 4.67.
- Felix Pena surrendered a solo HR to make things interesting but that was the only blemish in 2 innings. Pena did not walk a batter and struck out two to put his ERA at 2.86. The peripherals are even better. Entering this game, Pena’s FIP was 2.66, in large part the result of his 11.02 K/9 rate vs. 2.76 BB/9 IP rate.
- Veteran Joel Peralta picked up the save with a scoreless inning.
- Mark Zagunis continued his solid AAA play with a walk and a double. He is hitting .347/.431/.551 on the season.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach anchors Iowa’s strong middle of the order in that clean up spot and he has been incredibly consistent all year. He doubled and scored a run. He is hitting .302/.422/.557 with 12 HRs overall this year.
- Jeimer Candelario makes it a solid middle 3 and he went 2 for 4 with a double to raise his line to .333/.473/.619.
- It was the unsung part of the lineup that did most of the damage, however. Dave Frietas doubled, singled, walked, scored, and drove in a run while Matt Murton and Munenori Kawasaki (double) each drove in a run.
- There is a conga line of starting pitchers at Eugene and the latest is 6th starter Pedro Silverio, who throws about 92-93 with a good breaking ball. He struggled a bit with control today, walking 4, but he did pitch around that with 5 innings of 3 hit, one-run ball. He struck out two as he earned the win.
- Alex Santana has a live arm but there is a lot of effort in his delivery and his command suffers for it. He walked 3 batters in 2 innings but just one hit — and most importantly no runs.
- Jared Cheek and Tommy Nance each finished up with a scoreless inning.
- There are a few scouts down here who think 22 year OFer Robert Garcia has a chance to be a big league outfielder. He’s a polished player with good athleticism and feel for the barrel, can play all 3 OF positions well, and has plus speed. With DJ Wilson getting the day off, Garcia was the spark at the top of the order He singled, walked twice, stole two bases, and scored 3 times.
- 19 year old Andruw Monasterio is a solid all-around SS with a good approach and some athleticism to go with a mature makeup. He tripled and singled today and is hitting .286/.345/.519 in the early going. He has struck out a bit more but Monasterio is looking to drive the ball more and it may take some adjustment as he showed good feel for contact last year.
- Matt Rose is finding his stroke again at Eugene. He doubled, scored, and drove in 2 runs.
- Jose Paniagua has some power and is working on being more patient at the plate He singled twice today and drove in two runs.
- The Eugene lineup is productive but it features an unusual amount of corner infielders. First we have the aforementioned Rose and Paniagua, there is also Chris Pieters (1 for 4) and Wladimir Galindo, who went 2 for 4.
- 23 year old catcher Tyler Payne is a solid receiver and has given Eugene tremendous production from the bottom of the lineup. He went 3 for 4 and is hitting .455 through the first 6 games.
- 2B Yelier Peguero singled, scored, and drove in a run. The 18 year old is off to a .273/.333/.500 start.
- The star of the day was Jose Albertos, who started in the 94-95 range, then sat at 96 in his second inning, before touching 97 twice and topping out at 98 in the 3rd. He’s being stretched out so he tired a bit in the 4th, dropping back into that mid 90s range. He does it with a simple, repeatable delivery and without max effort, so while he isn’t physically imposing, there is a good chance he can stick as a starter. He relied heavily on a change-up with some sink (81-82 mph) as his secondary pitch as he did not have a feel for his curveball (77-78 mph), which I have seen flash plus in previous outings. He is about as far down the chain as you can be, so there is a lot road ahead — and therefore a lot of risk, but when it comes to high ceiling Cubs pitching prospects, Albertos has to be in the conversation. Great scouting find for the Cubs as he was relatively unheralded as an amateur. Oh yeah, the game. He pitched 4 innings, allowed a broken bat single, struck out 7 and did not walk a batter until he started to tire in the 4th.
- Rehabbing lefty Jack Leathersitch showed a 91-92 mph FB and a sweeping curveball that showed two plane break. He has a 3/4 arm slot and looks like he has the potential to be tough on LH hitters.
- LHP Eugenio Palma throws 91-92 mph but does so with a lot of effort. I think he can get better balance and line toward the plate as he seems to drift toward the 3B side in his motion and ends up a little open and having to come across his body. There is some arm strength there, but wondering if they can clean it up a bit. He pitched 2 scoreless innings.
- This one got a little close as the D’Backs rallied for 4 runs in the 9th of Tanner Griggs, but veteran Luis Aquino came in to get the last out and the save.
- The AZL offense is more scrappy than brawny or even speedy. There is some pop in the middle of the lineup as Gustavo Polanco is a strong kid with power. He singled, scored a run, and drove in another but his hardest hit was a line drive to deep CF.
- Kevin Zamudio is another strong kid and he drove one deep to LF-CF for a double and scoring the first two runs. He tends to chase, expecially up in the zone, but makes hard contact when he squares up. His HR yeserday and the double today are probably the two hardest hits for the AZL Cubs this year.
- The only draftee to officially sign, 7th round catcher Michael Cruz showed some polish behind the plate but had a rough day as a hitter as he fouled a pitch or two off his leg early — but he connected in the 8th for a double and an RBI, the first of his pro career
- 3B Rafael Mejia is in the interesting but very raw category that you don’t rank or hype, but just sort of take note and hope he develops. He has the best athleticism and frame among their middle of the order hitters but he is the furthest behind and really struggled making contact in extended spring training as well as Opening Day when he struck out 4 times. He made some kind of adjustment today as he displayed some ability on a single in which he got his hands in nicely to fight it off. Later, he drove a double to LF-CF that rivaled Zamudios doubles in terms of sound, distance, and I’ll guess, exit velocity. Hopefully he has figured it out at the plate.
- Edgar Rondon played well in the field and went 1 for 3 with an RBI. He and double play partner Jhonny Bethencourt are real grinders with some athleticism. Bethencourt has the better bat and has been getting the reps at SS, but Rondon is a guy that’s fun to watch because he gives it full effort on every play.
- Ruben Reyes went 1 for 3 with an RBI.
- SS Rafael Narea singled twice and walked. The Cubs brought Narea to AZ this spring and he is a good defender with some speed and contact oriented approach.
- OF Jonathan Sierra singled, walked, and scored a run. There is more raw power than game power right now, but Sierra’s approach has his OBP at .407, much of that on the strength of 10 walks (17% rate) and 3 HBPs — but his bat has come around of late. He has hit .344 in his last 9 games.
- 20 year old 1B Luis Hidalgo continues to do the heavy lifting for DSL 1. He hit his 4th HR in 9 games.
- The DSL 2 team got a solid start from Carlos Ocampo, who pitched 5 innings, walked one and struck out 5 in allowing just one run. Ocampo is 17 yrs old with a 6’2″ projectable frame.
- Aramis Ademan may not be tearing it up at the plate, but he continues to find ways to contribute. We’ve talked a lot about his defense, which has plus potential, but Ademan has the chance to be solid across the board in other areas. The hit tool will play despite the .212 start and he has an advanced approach with 12 walks vs. 8 Ks and a .379 OBP. He has also stolen 5 bases in 6 attempts.
- Catcher Miguel Amaya played 1B today, both because he needed a break and because he has been hitting like a 1B. He got two more hits, including a double, scored, and drove in 2. Amaya is hitting .311/.426/.467 with a HR in the first 13 games.
- The relatively unheralded 17 year old 2B Fidel Mejia has been among the team’s best players. A single, double, and walk has his line at .415/.467/.491, though he is not a player I have had the chance to observe personally.
- Speedy CF Fernando Kelli, 17, gave the DSL 2 team a spark from the 9th hole. He singled, walked twice, stole his 7th base and scored twice.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap