Daily Minors Recap: Richard looking solid at Iowa; A couple of draft picks make pro debut

First of all, thanks to Michael yesterday for filling in on the recaps.  If you missed them yesterday, check them out here.  Among the news yesterday was the debut of Brian Matusz in the AZL.  I was there and he was solid: 90-92 mph FB, mid 80s slider, low 80s CH and a high  70s CB.  The stuff wasn’t as crisp as it had been in his prime, but he is still 29 and just starting his rehab.  It was encouraging in terms of the velocities while the command and movement were ok, but should improve.

Bryan Matusz

On with today’s recap…

Round Rock 3 –  Iowa 2

  • LHP Clayton Richard has been very good since being sent down to AAA.  He pitched 4 strong innings to start the game , allowing just one hit, walking 2 and striking out 3.  The Cubs could certainly use a return to form from their LHP as the bullpen has been overworked and continues to struggle.
  • Meanwhile, recent Cubs reliever Gerardo Concepcion has continued to struggle since his return to AAA.  He gave up 3 runs in the last two innings to lose the shutout and 1-0 lead the team had going into the 7th.  His ERA now stands at 4.45.
  • Cubs prospects keep getting the call to the big club and the Iowa lineup has gone from an offensive force to a team relying on a lot of veterans.  One of those veterans, Matt Murton, hit his 2nd HR of the season.
  • Dan Vogelbach is still here, however, and he is still hitting.  He went 2 for 4, hitting a double and driving in the team’s only other run.

Jacksonville 9 – Tennessee 2

  • Tyler Skulina has hit a bump in the road since a solid start.  He lasted just 4 innings today  in giving up 3 runs and falling to 3-7 with a 4.93 ERA.
  • Jose Paniagua has been getting away with less than ideal fastball command despite his great stuff and numbers on the season, but it caught up today as he allowed 2 walks and 4 hits in 2 runs.  He gave up 4 runs and saw his ERA go over the 2 mark (2.04).
  • The Smokies managed just 5 hits and 3 of them were by OFer Bijan Rademacher, who has quietly had a solid year at Tennessee.  He doubled, scored, and drove in a run in going 3 for 4 and raising his line to .292/.406/.458 on the season.

Potomac 5 – Myrtle Beach 3

  • Trevor Clifton struggled with his command and breaking ball and got knocked around a bit, leaving the game after just one inning when there was a rain delay.  Obviously the
  • James Pugliese filled in for Clifton with 4 solid innings, allowing 2 unearned runs while LHP Tommy Thorpe pitched 3 more innings of one run baseball to really save the bullpen despite the loss.
  • Jason Vosler went 2 for 4, drove in 2 runs on 2 singles.

South Bend 5 – Lansing 3

  • Adbert Alzolay did not walk a batter in 7 innings while giving up 6 hits and 3 runs while striking out 3.  It was more of an Alzolay-like performance than we’ve seen in a while.  The 21 year old RHP with the low 90s FB, cutter, and CB lowered his ERA to 4.33.
  • The SB Cubs got good relief from Dillon Maples, who has been reassigned from Myrtle Beach.  He pitched a scoreless inning and struck out 2.
  • Craig Brooks struck out the side in his one inning.
  • Not a whole lot of offense for South Bend but Tyler Alamo, making a rare start at C, went 2 for 4, doubled, scored, and drove in 2 runs.
  • Eddy Martinez went 3 for 4 scored and drove in a run.  He is hitting .244/.313/.373 on the season with 7 HRs.  It may take a little longer than expected with Martinez but the athleticism is there and the raw power has shown in flashes.

Salem-Keizer 3 – Eugene 0

  • It wasn’t the dominant start he put up in the last game but Jesus Castillo was still pretty solid with 5 innings of 2 run baseball in which he walked just one and struck out 5.   He fell to 1-2 when the team did not give him any support but the rest of his numbers have been outstanding.  He has a 2.40 ERA with 2 walks vs. 19 Ks in 15 IP.
  • Kevonte Mitchell was the lone offensive highlight with a 2 for 3 day that included a triple.

AZL Athletics 4 – AZL Cubs 3

  • LHP Jack Leathersitch had been making good progress but he had all kinds of command issues today.  The ball kept sailing on him and missing the zone by a pretty good margin in walking 3 batters.
  • RHP Erling Moreno didn’t have his best fastball but he had the curve and change working today and, as always, he threw strikes in walking no batters and striking out 7.  He did make a couple of mistakes, however, in his 5 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits to take the loss.
  • A couple of debuts as Connor Myers (27th round pick) started in CF and 21st round pick Sam Tidaback started behind the plate.  Neither got a hit but Myers showed good speed in nearly beating out a routine grounder and showing good range in CF.  Tidaback shows a lot of leadership skills behind the plate and looks like he has the big frame to hit for some power — a trend the Cubs have shown of late with some of their later round catcher drafts.
  • Another 2016 draftee, 17th round 2B/SS Zach Short continues to show a good approach and some pop  from the middle infield position.  He doubled, walked and scored a run.
  • Speaking of pop, Kevin Zamudio has some of that too.  Signed as a catcher, he has played mostly 1B and 3B — and he made a couple of nice plays at 3B yesterday, showing some athleticism, but my guess is the Cubs will revisit the catching possibility  this fall.  He doubled, scored and drove in a run.
  • Rafael Mejia singled and drove in a run in 4 ABs.  He made a nice defensive play at 3B.  Mejia still continues to struggle with his timing on swings, though he has hit better than he did during the spring.


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  • John, with Hatch now signed do you think he gets assigned to Eugene or perhaps South Bend? Or due to his 130+ innings he eases into pro ball by staying in AZ?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    They may bring him down first even if he never formally pitches. Guessing either way he gets a long break after a long season and we probably just see him for a few innings this year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, this front office has a history of giving their newly drafted pitchers, especially those who threw a lot of innings that year (in some cases the most they've ever thrown) a lot of rest after they sign.

    As far as how many picks have signed, the Cubs have all 8 of their top 10 rounds guys signed. 11th rounder, college senior RHP Michael Rucker has indicated he is likely to sign but nothing has happened officially yet.

    The two high-ish picks left to sign are12th rounder Trey Cobb, also a pitcher from Oklahoma State (like Hatch) who announced he's returning to school for his senior season and 15th round RHP Parker Dunshee is still undetermined. Both are juniors. Every other pick through round 21 is signed.

    The 3 guys in rounds 22, 23 and 24, a high school LHP and two 1st year junior college guys have not signed. No indication yet one way or another, but they are considered longer shots because of their options.

    The only other guys to sign were college seniors in rounds 25, 27, 29 and 32 with one 2nd year junior college player who was taken in the 38th round.

    Interestingly, there are reports that 33rd rounder high school RHP Nathan Sweeney will sign but nothing official.

    All in all, that's 21 players who have signed with two more expected to do so.

    A good resource for this stuff is http://ccdt.webs.com

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    A few questions, first John, are you watching the Cubs game. This one you should see, it will cure what ails us.
    Anyway, is Maples now relieving and how many of our draft picks have signed?
    If Vogelbach keeps hitting like this I'll bet he will be part of a deal for a reliever. He's an on base machine and this year he's hitting for power. Any AL team could use him, and the Cubs have show that bringing up players can help right away.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I have been watching. Just a bit less tweeting from me lately, especially on weekends. Good day so far. Contreras really hit that one a mile. And, of course, Kris Bryant is on fire.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I wouldn't trade a near MLB ready hitter for a relief pitcher. Epstein said there is no trade close to being made for a relief pitcher. Just because Vogelbach is hitting well doesn't mean he is going to be traded. He would be great depth for the next couple years.

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    In reply to John57:

    I agree, in general, about not trading a near ready mlb hitter for a relief pitcher unless it is a "difference maker"...as much as that is possible out of the 'pen.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Vogelbach traded to a team for a younger/more athletic "middle-of-the-field" guy. But Vogelbach fits the FO philosophy pretty well. I don't think they are in a hurry to "get rid of him." I think it is his first year on the 40-man roster so we don't "have to" do anything with him this year NOR next year.

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    That's the 2nd time KB almost collided with a teammate. Earlier Baez went out and caught a ball right in front of him and as they were coming into the clubhouse they didn't talk at all, in fact, KB looked kind of pissed at Javy. This time they did collide--I thought that the CF had the right of way, if he called for it then the others would let him have it.
    We certainly don't need any more injuries and Joe has to address this asap.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That wasn't Baez, that was Addy. Baez was playing second. Couldn't have been pissed at him. Javy did go way out in right center once. Addy was actually camped under the one in left. Bryant may be just so soft spoken a kid that nobody hears him. Almora was calling the second one.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Typically CF does have the right of way, but Bryant was slowly drifting, basically just about camped out under the ball, while Almora was on a dead sprint... Almora should have yielded that 1. It's not Contreras or Schwarber out there, it's KB who is a pretty good fielder.

  • NO surprise to be that Brooks struck out 3 batters. Little bulldog. Saw him do that alot against my boys team in college. Know he probably isn't a "prospect", but he has an arm. Was a heck of a little infielder and hitter as well. He played every inning for Catawba. Never came out of the game at all.

  • If the center fielder calls for the ball, the corner outfielder gives way. Doesn't matter if he thinks he has an easier play. Doesn't matter if he DOES have an easier play. If the center fielder calls for it and the corner outfielder doesn't give way, the corner outfielder is at fault.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Unless of.course he doesnt hear him. If thats the case Bryant needs to take some yelling classes

  • In reply to DaveP:

    When both are running for a ball, such as the Schwarber-Fowler collision, yes, the corner gives way to the CF. But trying to hog the ball & running into your MVP caliber team mate on a dead sprint after it's already in the corners mitt does not over rule that guy who was already camped out catching it.. . Maybe on your men's beer league 16 inch team, but not in this situation here....

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Come on Almora was yelling and waving his arms. Bryant wasn't doing either and soft spoken or not you need to scream out there if your going for the catch. If a CF is calling for the ball the corner outfielder needs to peel off. Don't know what the hell your talking about Almora hogging the ball because he is the best fielding OF on the roster and Bryant is a 3b playing the OF.

  • Hoe big is Tidaback? Barry Foote big?

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