Results tagged ‘ Pierce Johnson ’

Riding the Bus (Cubs Minor League Reports): April 11, 2016

Riding the Bus Header 2016

MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2016

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Full Box Score

Finally!  Nice to see Iowa finally get into the win column, and they did so by mashing the baseball all over the field in a 9-1 victory over New Orleans.

At the Plate:

  • John Andreoli was productive out of the lead-off spot; he went 1-for-3 with a double, two walks, three runs scored, and a stolen base.
  • Arismendy Alcantara went 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base in the win.
  • Javier Baez had a solid rehab appearance; he went 1-for-3 with his first dinger of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach continued his scorching start; he went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, his second double of the season, and a run scored. He is now hitting .421 on the season.
  • Willson Contreras is just as hot; he went 4-for-5 with his second double of the season, and four RBI’s.
  • Albert Almora continues to show a better approach at the plate, he went 0-for-3 but walked twice, and scored a run.

On the Mound:

  • Pierce Johnson got the start and struggled a bit with his command, but worked around trouble. Johnson tossed three scoreless innings, giving up two hits while walking three, and striking out five.
  • Felix Pena picked up the win out of the pen; he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out three.
  • Brandon Gomes was good once again; he worked two scoreless innings while striking out two.
  • Armando Rivero bounced back from a rough start to 2016; he worked a scoreless inning while striking out one.
  • Miguel Mejia was touched up a bit; he worked one inning, giving up one run on two hits while striking out one.

Tenn4-11

Full Box Score

Missed opportunities were the name of the game for Tennessee as they went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position en route to a 5-4 loss to Mobile.

At the Plate:

  • Bijan Rademacher is red hot in 2016; he went 2-for-5 and is now hitting .500 on the season.
  • Chesny Young is opening some eyes in the early going; he went 2-for-4 with his second dinger of the season, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Billy McKinney is starting to heat up; he went 2-for-5 with an RBI, and a walk.
  • Victor Caratini was 2-for-3 with his first double of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Mark Zagunis was productive near the bottom of the order; he went 3-for-4 with his second double of the season.

On the Mound:

  • Tough day for Jen-Ho Tseng, and he was awesome. Tseng had to leave early after being hit by a comebacker, before that he worked three scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking one, and striking out four, no update on his condition.
  • Michael Jensen struggled in relief; he worked 2.2 innings, giving up three runs on two hits while walking two.
  • Corey Black was much better out of the pen yesterday, but he picked up the loss. Black worked two innings, giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Andury Acevedo worked 1/3rd of an inning, giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while walking two.
  • Josh Conway worked a scoreless inning while walking one, and striking out one in the loss.

MB4-11

Full Box Score

A thriller in Myrtle Beach last night as Ian Happ ripped a game winning walk-off double for the Pelicans, they scored three times in the ninth to beat Winston Salem 5-4.

At the Plate:

  • The Pelicans walked 11 (!) times last night, so that will be a common stat mentioned here. Rashad Crawford went 1-for-4 with a walk (see?), his first stolen base of the year, and a run scored.
  • Gleyber Torres has struggled in the early going, he was 0-for-4 in this one but walked once, and had two RBI’s.
  • Ian Happ as mentioned above was the hero; he went 1-for-5 with his second double of the year, and two RBI’s.
  • Yasiel Balaguert has been great this year; he went 1-for-2 with two walks in the win, he is now hitting .389 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Jake Stinnett got the start and picked up a no decision; he worked five innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits while walking two, and striking out three.
  • Ryan McNeil was awesome out of the pen; he worked three innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking one, and striking out four.
  • David Berg picked up his first win of the season by working a scoreless ninth inning.

SB4-11

Full Box Score

More walk-off drama in South Bend as Eloy Jimenez launched a walk-off homer to end a wild one with South Bend beating Bowling Green 7-6.

At the Plate:

  • Donnie Dewees is red hot to start 2016; he went 2-for-5 with his first double of the year, and two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .353 on the season.
  • Eloy Jimenez walked off as mentioned above; he finished the night 1-for-5 with said dinger, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Eddy Julio Martinez had another good night; he went 2-for-4 with his first homer of the year, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Ian Rice had a solid game; he went 1-for-1 with a double, an RBI, two walks, and a run scored.
  • Bryant Flete has been amazing so far this year; he went 2-for-3 with a double, and two runs scored. He is now hitting .625 on the season, wow.

On the Mound:

  • Adbert Alzolay got the start and was roughed up a bit; he worked five innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits while striking out five.
  • Craig Brooks provided some much needed relief; he worked two innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Michael Wagner picked up the win out of the pen; he worked two innings, giving up one run on two hits while walking two, and striking out one.

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Spring Gameday; March 4, 2016 (Lineups, Broadcast Info)

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Baseball during the day is so very nice, even if it doesn’t count yet.  Pierce Johnson takes the mound for the Cubs today as they open their home portion of the spring schedule.  Here is how they will line up, I believe the game is on MLB.tv with a subscription, and Cubs.com has the audio.

  1. Fowler CF
  2. Zobrist 2B
  3. Heyward RF
  4. Baez 1B
  5. Victorino DH
  6. Russell SS
  7. La Stella 3B
  8. Ross C
  9. Perez LF

SP – Pierce Johnson

On a personal note, Pierce Johnson is one of my favorite players, rooting hard for him.  Go Cubs!

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Cubs Top 30 Prospect Rankings Unveiled by MLB Pipeline

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Some of my best memories at this blog have been writing and reporting about the Cubs minor league system because of how good it has been.  Leading up to last year it was really the only thing to get excited about as the Major League team was subpar at best.  Now the Cubs are World Series favorites, and the prospect rankings are not as top heavy but the talent is apparent throughout.  That’s part of what makes this year so fun, winning at the major league level and still seeing a tremendous amount of organizational talent in the system.

Here’s how MLB Pipeline breaks it down (link to the list)

  1. Gleyber Torres – SS
  2. Willson Contreras – C
  3. Ian Happ – 2B/OF
  4. Duane Underwood – RHP
  5. Albert Almora – OF
  6. Billy McKinney – OF
  7. Jeimer Candelario – 3B
  8. Dylan Cease – RHP
  9. Oscar de la Cruz – RHP
  10. Eloy Jimenez – OF
  11. Pierce Johnson – RHP
  12. Donnie Dewes – OF
  13. Bryan Hudson – LHP
  14. J. Wilson – OF
  15. Eddy Martinez – OF
  16. Carl Edwards Jr. – RHP
  17. Justin Steele – LHP
  18. Mark Zagunis – OF
  19. Ryan Williams – RHP
  20. Dan Vogelbach – 1B
  21. Trevor Clifton – RHP
  22. Jake Stinnett – RHP
  23. Carson Sands – LHP
  24. Jen-Ho Tseng – RHP
  25. Victor Caratini – C
  26. Christian Villanueva – 3B/1B
  27. Corey Black – RHP
  28. Jacob Hannemann – OF
  29. Brad Markey – RHP
  30. Josh Conway – RHP

I really can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to keep an eye on all the arms that are on this list.  I really feel like there are a number of pitchers on this list that are close to making a major impact in the system, and eventually on the big league roster.  Duane Underwood (#4), Pierce Johnson (#11), Carl Edwards Jr. (#16), and Ryan Williams (#19) all have a great chance to be pitching on the North Side this year.  I mentioned that the prospects near the top of this list might not have the same allure as a Kris Bryant, or Anthony Rizzo but they are players who will be part of the next wave of big league talent.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Willson Contreras (#2) sees time with the Cubs this year as the backup catcher, or splitting time with Montero/Schwarber depending on what day it is.  Please don’t sleep on Albert Almora, a healthy 2016 will go a long way to seeing if he is indeed the CF of the future for the Cubs.

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Afternoon Delight: Dominant Bullpen on the Horizon?

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The bullpen is a tricky thing, from year to year guys come and go, and every once in a while a team boasts a dominant bullpen relatively out of nowhere.  Off-season acquisitions, and power arms marinating on the farm are usually catalysts for such success, but injuries, and unforeseen ineffectiveness can derail the pen quickly.  Given the large number of variables that go into predicting the success of a bullpen it’s usually an exercise in futility, but here goes…  The Cubs’ bullpen has a chance to be dominant (They all do!  You’re screaming), well, let’s just look at the options, shall we?

The Cubs have a solid core group of guys coming back this year, which could point to a reasonable amount of success in 2016.  I base this mostly on the fact that the Cubs had the 8th best bullpen ERA in the Majors last year, and names like Brian Schlitter, Rafael Soriano, Edwin Jackson (wasn’t too terrible in this role), Gonzalez Germen, and Phil Coke were members of said pen.  To be fair, guys like Trevor Cahill, and Travis Wood exceeded expectations in rather unfamiliar bullpen roles last year, and it wouldn’t be crazy to think that they will come back down to Earth a bit.  The fact remains though, the best arms out of that Cubs pen are back this year, and there really is no reason to expect a significant drop in performance.  Let’s break down the possible bullpen roles, yes, despite the crazy competition that will be taking place this spring.

Closer – Hector Rondon

Set up – Pedro Strop

Set up – Justin Grimm

Middle Relief – Adam Warren (acquisition) (Rotation Chance)

Middle Relief – Rex Brothers (acquisition)

Middle Relief – Neil Ramirez

Long Relief – Travis Wood

Long Relief – Trevor Cahill (Rotation chance)

On paper… on paper, that looks pretty darn good, and obviously as I write this I’m using the most optimistic thoughts as possible.  A big key here is the health of Neil Ramirez, he was outstanding in 2014, and parts of 2015 when he wasn’t battling back from injuries, a healthy Ramirez goes a long way towards a great 2016.  Adam Warren proves to be an upgrade over guys that the Cubs had to turn to last year in tough spots, like Jason Motte (again, ignore the injuries for the sake of this conversation).  There is also a chance that Warren will have an opportunity to win a rotation spot, but guys with flexibility are all the rage for Joe Maddon.  Rex Brothers, who was dominate in 2013, and struggled mightily in 2014, looks to bounce back, and if he does proves to be another rather large upgrade.  Young arms like Carl Edwards Jr., Duane Underwood Jr., and Pierce Johnson could also make an impact in the Cubs pen this year despite being starters while working their way through the organization, save for Edwards Jr. last year.

The talent pool is better than last year, and the depth is better as well, those two things put the Cubs in a good spot to start the spring.  If injuries pop up, like they absolutely will, the Cubs are in a better position to handle them, and still might have a few new additions that could surprise during camp, and win a job.

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Spring Training Recap; Three of a Kind, Dingers that is

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FULL BOX SCORE

The Cubs remain without a victory so far this spring, but let’s be honest, today is all about the power showcase that was displayed.  In the 4th inning Jorge Soler, Javier Baez, and Kris Bryant went back-to-back-to-back, how is that even possible??  Three straight dingers is odd enough, but THOSE three guys doing it when fans were clamoring for just that, crazy.  Travis Wood found too much of the plate today as he surrendered seven hits in just three innings of work while giving up four runs, two earned.  The rest of the Cubs offense started to kick it into high gear today as they pounded out twelve hits, hopefully that is a sign of things to come.  Everyone who pitched today struggled, except for Pierce Johnson, he worked two scoreless innings.

THREE BOMBS!

 

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Cubs Falter Late (Twice) but Dingers Everywhere!

cubs-giants-3-5-15FULL BOX SCORE

The young Cubs provided the fireworks early against the Giants before the bullpen couldn’t find away to get outs, and blew a 5-0 lead en route to an 8-6 loss.  It was a lineup that had Cubs fans buzzing, Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Kyle Schwarber, oh my.  It was Schwarber who did the heavy lifting as he jacked a grand slam in his first at bat, giving the Cubs an early 4-0 lead.  The Cubs pitching made that hold up early on as Jacob Turner, and Pierce Johnson were on top of their game, Johnson was particularly impressive.

At the plate:

  • Kyle Schwarber was the star at the plate going 1-for-3 with said grand slam.
  • Jorge Soler hit a number of balls hard, he finished the day 1-for-3 with a run scored.
  • Billy McKinney came on late and went deep, he finished the day 1-for-1 with an RBI.
  • Kris Bryant went 0-for-2 with a walk, and a run scored.
  • Addison Russell was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
  • Albert Almora didn’t start but finished the day 2-for-2, good to see.

On the mound:

  • Jacob Turner got the start, and battled command early, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out one.
  • Pierce Johnson was outstanding, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while walking one, and striking out one.
  • Corey Black struggled, he worked one inning, giving up one run on one hit while walking two, and hitting Hunter Pence, breaking his forearm, ouch.
  • Hunter Cervenka was worse, he was only able to register one out, he gave up five runs, four earned, on four hits while walking two.

cubs-as-3-5-15FULL BOX SCORE

A tie.  The Cubs and A’s tied today.  Mike Olt got the offense off and running early as he blasted a two-out, two-run bomb.  Unfortunately that was all the Cubs could muster as they went scoreless the rest of the way while scratching out only five hits.  The pitching was outstanding as Travis Wood, Neil Ramirez, and Drake Britton, among others, shut down the Athletics offense.

At the plate:

  • MIKE OLT!  Olt finished theday 1-for-2 with a home run, and two RBI.
  • Chris Coghlan was 1-for-1 with a run scored.
  • Newcomer Miguel Montero was 1-for-2 in the tie.

On the mound:

  • Travis Wood got the start, and was flawless.  Wood worked two scoreless innings giving up no hits, walking none while striking out two.
  • Neil Ramirez was stupid good per usual.  Ramirez worked one scoreless inning while striking out two.
  • Drake Britton was pretty good in his first audition for a bullpen spot.  Britton worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.
  • Gonzalez Germen had the plate jump around a bit, but he was fairly effective.  Germen worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out two.

 

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Riding the Bus; Cubs Minor League Reports (4/22/2014)

Riding the Bus Header

TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014

Iowa 4-22-14

Full Box Score

It was all Iowa today as they built a 10-1 lead over Round Rock by the fifth inning en route to a 10-3 cake walk.  The I-Cubs sprayed the ball all over the place as they pounded out twelve hits to improve their record to 10-9 on the season.

At the Plate:

  • Chris Coghlan was the poster child for the “Cubs Way” today as he went 1-for-1 with four walks, a double, two RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Arismendy Alcantara is making an awful lot of noise lately, he was 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, two RBI’s, a double, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Javier Baez is starting to heat up at the plate, he was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Chris Valaika has been destroying Triple A pitching, he went 3-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, a double, and a run scored, he’s hitting .340 on the season.
  • Luis Flores is pounding the baseball this season, he was 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI’s, and three runs scored.

On the Mound:

  • Eric Jokisch was very good today, and was rewarded with his first win of the season.  Jokisch worked seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while walking none, and striking out eight.
  • Marcus Hatley continued his brilliance out of the pen, he worked a scoreless inning, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Marcos Mateo cleaned things up tonight, he worked a scoreless inning, while walking one, and striking out one.

Kane County 4-22-14

Full Box Score

The Cougars looked to be sailing right along to a 5-2 win when things got dicey in the ninth inning.  The Snappers scored twice and had the tying, and go ahead run on base before the Cougars escaped with a 5-4 win.

At the Plate:

  • Carlos Penalver has had an impressive start to 2014, he was 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored in the win today.  He’s now hitting .302 on the season.
  • Ben Carhart had another solid game, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
  • Yasiel Balaguert was productive again today, he went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and an RBI, his 15th of the season.
  • David Bote joined in on the double fun as well, he was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Paul Blackburn was solid once again as he moved his record to 2-0 on the season.  Pauly worked 5.1 innings, giving up one run on five hits, while walking two.
  • Nathan Dorris did a solid job out of the pen but did get touched up a bit.  Dorris worked 2.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit, while walking two, and striking out three.
  • Jose Arias started the ninth, and couldn’t finish this one off.  Arias worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, while walking two, and striking out two.
  • Zack Godley came on and cleaned up the mess as he struck out the final batter of the game to pick up his third save of the season.

Daytona 4-22-14

Full Box Score

2014 has been frustrating for Daytona, they took out a seasons worth of frustration on the baseball tonight.  The D-Cubs pounded out seventeen hits while scoring eighteen runs to embarrass Clearwater 18-5, I’m sure that felt good.

At the Plate:

  • Pin-Chieh Chen is turning into a weapon out of that lead-off spot, he was 4-for-5 with a walk, three RBI’s, two triples, a double, and four runs scored, yikes.
  • Tim Saunders was solid yet again, he went 2-for-2 with two doubles, a walk, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Bijan Rademacher never stops hitting, he was 2-for-5 with two doubles, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored, he’s hitting .365 on the season.
  • Rock Shoulders went insane today, he was 3-for-5 with a grand slam, a walk, two doubles, four RBI’s, and four runs scored.
  • Gioskar Amaya made his long awaited return to the lineup tonight, and was awesome.  Amaya went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and four runs scored.
  • Marco Hernandez made some noise from the nine spot, he was 2-for-5 with a triple, three RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Taylor Scott was the beneficiary of the offensive onslaught tonight, as he picked up his second win of the season.  Scott worked 5.1 innings, giving up three runs, on earned, on four hits, while walking three, and striking out one.
  • Stephen Perakslis was really good out of the pen, he worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, while striking out three.
  • Austin Reed got mop up duty in this one, he worked two innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while walking one, and striking out two.

Smokies 4-22-14

Full Box Score

Pierce Johnson made his long awaited Double A debut tonight, and things were going just fine until the 5th inning.  The Barons scored eight times to erase a 1-0 deficit on their way to crushing the Smokies 14-3.

At the Plate:

  • John Andreoli had another solid game out of the lead-off spot, he went 2-for-3 with two walks.
  • Kris Bryant is rolling, he was 3-for-5 with a double, and a run scored in the win.  He has now reached base in eighteen straight games, and is hitting .311 on the season.
  • Taylor Davis was good from the nine spot, he went 2-for-4 with two RBI’s, he’s hitting .429 on the season.

On the Mound:

  • Pierce Johnson made his 2014 debut, and it had some good, and some bad.  Johnson worked four innings, giving up three runs on four hits, while walking four (bad), and striking out five.  I think he was a little too amped up for this start, the command was spotty at best.
  • Ryan Searle wasn’t much better out of the pen as he worked three innings, giving up six runs on six hits, while walking one, and striking out three.
  • Jeff Lorick suffered the same fate as the others, he worked one inning, giving up five runs, three earned, on three hits, while walking two.

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Cubs land 7 players on MLB.com Top 100

Last night MLB Network aired a special to unveil the MLB.com top 100 prospects for 2014, and the Cubs were all over that list.  It was fun listening to the likes of Jim Callis, and Jonathan Mayo gush about how many good, young players the Cubs have waiting in the wings.  A total of seven players graced the list, here is a breakdown of each player, and some analysis.

** Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools — 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average (MLB.com/Prospects rating scale)

Pierce Johnson Top 100

#100 – Right handed pitcher, Pierce Johnson (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Johnson was drafted in the supplemental round of the 2012 MLB Draft, 43rd overall by the Cubs.  2013 was Johnson’s first full professional season, and it was impressive.  Johnson pitched over two levels and actually found more success with Daytona which was the higher level.  Overall for 2013 Johnson went 11-6 with a 2.74 ERA while starting 21 games and appearing in 23.  In 118.1 innings Johnson only allowed 109 hits, 5 home runs (5!), while walking 43 and striking out 124.  I mentioned more success at Daytona, with the D-Cubs, Johnson worked 48.2 innings allowing only one home run with a sparkling 2.22 ERA.

Arismendy Alcantara Top 100

#89 – 2B/SS, Arismendy Alcantara (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Alcantara seemingly came out of nowhere in 2013 but in reality the talent has always been there it was just a matter of everything coming together at once.  With a brilliant 2013 season Alcantara cemented his status as the Cubs second baseman of the future, and will probably be seen on the North Side this upcoming season.  Alcantara played all of 2013 with the Smokies at the double A level and really showcased his all around game.  In just under 500 at bats Alcantara hit .271 with a .352 on base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage which was good for an .804 OPS.  Couple those on base numbers with the 31 stolen bases he had and he becomes a legitimate threat at the top of the order.  Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says that Alcantara reminds him of Jose Reyes-lite, well, that works.

Jorge Soler Top 100

#49 – OF, Jorge Soler (21 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 55 | Power: 65 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

Now we start getting into the meat and potatoes of the Cubs prospects, first up Jorge Soler.  I’ve seen Soler play in person a number of times, and he is an impressive specimen.  He looks more like a football player than a baseball player, but he makes it work.    Injuries derailed his 2013 season as he was only able to get 210 at bats with the Daytona Cubs.  Soler produced for the Minor League team of the year as he cracked 8 home runs, and had 35 RBI’s.  Those numbers are down a bit, again he is still adjusting to the professional game, and is only 21.  Jason Parks chimed in on Soler as well saying that his is slow to adjust, is the most likely of Cubs prospects to “miss” which I think makes sense given his raw ability, still a high ceiling though.

CJ Edwards Top 100

#42 – RHP, C.J. Edwards (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 60

Oh, hello CJ Edwards.  That’s right, after an amazing 2013 season, Edwards has vaulted past Jorge Soler on this list.  Baseball Prospectus also had Edwards ranked as the #3 player in the Cubs organization, ahead of Soler, and Albert Almora.  Edwards wasn’t even with the Cubs at this time last year, he was one of four, yes four players acquired from Texas in the Matt Garza deal.  The 2013 season saw Edwards give up one home run, one, just one…. take that Pierce Johnson.  For 2013 Edwards tossed 116.1 innings combined at the high A level for Texas and Chicago, he only gave up 76 hits.  He finished with a 8-2 record and a 1.86 ERA while walking 41 and striking out 155, goodnight!  Jason Parks doesn’t see Edwards with a huge ceiling but Jim Callis said that Edwards could be the top of the rotation guy the Cubs need.

Albert  Almora Top 100

#18 – OF, Albert Almora (19 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 75 | Overall: 60

When it’s all said and done Albert Almora might the favorite player of a lot of fans.  While Almora doesn’t have any tools that jump off the page at you (except for his glove I guess) he plays well above them, that’s exactly what Jim Callis said last night.  Almora is a baseball player, run through the wall, do whatever it takes to win, baseball player.  Because of his 100% all the time playing style he suffered a number of injuries in 2013 which kind of disjointed his season.  Almora spent all of 2013 at Kane County but only got 249 at bats due to said injuries, but he made the most of them.  He hit .329 with 17 doubles, four triples, three homers, and 23 RBI’s.  His slash numbers were even more impressive, he had a .379 on base percentage, and a .466 slugging percentage which was good for an .842 OPS.  I think Almora will become more patient at the plate as he gets older but right now he’s fine, he walked 17 times last year and only struck out 30 times, expect to see Almora on the North Side in 2016.

Kris Bryant Top 100

#9 – 3B, Kris Bryant (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 70 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

Kris Bryant seems to be on the fast track, one reason is that he is far more advanced than the other Cubs prospects on this list, the other is he mashes the baseball.  Bryant made it to three different levels in just 36 games, that’s ridiculous, he also hit at every level.  Then he went on to the Arizona Fall League and destroyed the ball in earning accolades such as the MVP award.  Bryant had 128 at bats in 2013 not counting the Arizona Fall League and his a combined .336 with 9 home runs, and 32 RBI’s, extrapolate that, good Lord.  Walking is something that Bryant hasn’t done a lot of right now, but it’s hard to argue with the .390 on base percentage, .719 slugging percentage and 1.106 OPS.  The numbers are eye-popping, and the Cubs aren’t shy about moving Bryant wherever he deserves to go, and many believe that could be as early as 2015.  Given Bryant’s defensive ability and bat it’s not out of the question that he moves to right field to keep 3B open for Baez, either way the Cubs will find a spot for that bat.

Javier Baez Top 100

#7 – SS, Javier Baez (21 years old)
Scouting Grades: Hit:
60 | Power: 70 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

If you’re not excited about Javier Baez, first off, where have you been, secondly, it’s about time you are.  Baez destroy minor league baseball last year at both high A and double A.  There wasn’t a more feared hitter in baseball, in 517 at bats Baez crushed 37 home runs, and had 111 RBI’s with a total of 75 extra-base hits.  He has been burdened with high expectations and all he has done is create new ones which are even higher.  Surveying the top prospect lists for 2014 the number seven ranking is going to be the “worst” for Baez.  Jason Parks slots him at number four but said there really isn’t a good reason why he shouldn’t be number one, that’s in all of baseball.  Many people are expecting Baez to make his Cubs debut this upcoming season, the plan right now is for him to start in triple A as Iowa’s shortstop.  Moving forward, given Baez’s defensive issues he might move to 3B but again, that really has a lot to do with how other players develop as well.

Prospects are just that, a young player that has expectation or is projected to have some sort of impact at the Major League level.  There really is no such thing as a sure thing in this game, and that goes for Cubs prospects as well.  As good as these players are there is no guarantee that any or all of them will make it to the Cubs, and be an impact player like they are projected.  That said, Cubs fans have had little to get excited about recently and this is definitely a list that you can not only get excited about but truly believe that there is some hope in the near future.

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Born on Third; Minor Matters July 6, 2013

Kane County Cougars (1991 - Pres)

Kane County 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Not much happening for the Cougars at the plate in this one as they were shut out and could only manage three hits the whole night.  Albert Almora was 1-for-2 in the loss and also had to leave the game early with an apparent leg/hamstring injury, he briefly stayed in the game but came out the next inning.  Marco Hernandez and Carlos Escobar each had one hit, all three Cougars hits were singles.

On The MoundJose Rosario got the start and also the loss, his fifth of the season as he was roughed up.  Rosario worked five innings giving up five runs on six hits while walking four (not good) and striking out one.  Sheldon McDonald was outstanding in relief going three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three.  Michael Hamann worked one inning out of the pen and got into some trouble before escaping unscathed, he worked one scoreless inning giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one.

Daytona 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Daytona was cruising in this one as they led 6-0 into the bottom of the eighth inning, that’s when thing got uncomfortable.  Dunedin put five runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth to get within one, luckily the D-Cubs stopped the bleeding and held on to win 6-5.  Zeke DeVoss was productive out of the lead off spot going 3-for-5 with three RBI’s.  Ben Carhart continues his solid 2013 as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .277 on the season with 38 RBI’s.  Bijan Rademacher was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and an RBI, those are his first two doubles since being called up to Daytona (17 AB).  Pin-Chieh Chen was 1-for-2 with two walks (Cubs Way!), a triple, and two runs scored.

On The MoundPierce Johnson got the start in this one and picked up his first win with Daytona in his third start.  Johnson worked five scoreless innings giving up five hits while walking one and striking out five.  Austin Reed was solid out of the pen as he worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit and walking one.  Jeffrey Lorick doesn’t have many bad games, this was one of them as he worked one inning giving up five runs on four hits while walking one and striking out two.  Dayan Diaz took over for Lorick and was barely able to hang on for the save which was the his first of the season.  Diaz worked one scoreless inning giving up three hits before escaping some big time trouble.

Tennessee 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Smokies fell behind quickly in this one and could never recover as they were trailing 7-1 by the bottom of the fourth en route to an 8-2 defeat.  Not much going offensively but the big news from the day and the game was the debut of Javier Baez, he went 1-for-4 with his first AA home run on his first AA swing of that bat.  Christian Villanueva has put together a pretty decent season so far, he was 1-for-4 with his eleventh home run of the year, and his forty-second RBI.  Rubi Silva had a solid game going 2-for-4 with two singles, he’s now hitting .264 on the season.

On The MoundAustin Kirk got the start for the Smokies and had a rough go of it as he suffered his third loss of the season.  Kirk worked two innings giving up six runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out two.  Yeiper Castillo was outstanding out of the pen going five innings giving up one run on four hits while walking three and striking out four.  Kevin Rhoderick struggled with his command again in this one, he worked two innings giving up one run on one hit while walking three (the command thing).

Iowa 7-6 line

Full Box Score Game One / Full Box Score Game Two

At The Plate – Not a great day all around for Iowa as they lost both ends of the doubleheader to Albuquerque.  Logan Watkins was solid in game one going 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a walk, he also made his ninth error of the season.  Junior Lake continues his solid 2013 going 1-for-3 with two walks (Cubs Way!) in game one, he’s now hitting .319 on the season.  The Cubs worked six walks in game one (good!) however they were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position (bad!).  Game two saw much of the same as the Cubs worked four walks, but could only manage five hits, and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

On The MoundJake Arrieta made his Cubs debut in game one and was only able to work one inning before the rains came.  Arrieta struggled with his command as he gave up one run on one hit while walking two and striking out two in his inning of work.  Esmailin Caridad took over and also took the loss as he went three innings giving up two runs, one earned, while walking one and striking out two.  In game two Barret Loux was outstanding but still wound up on the losing end as the Cubs couldn’t muster any offense.  Loux went six innings giving up one run on four hits while walking four and striking out six.

Boise 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Hawks were able to pound out ten hits in this one but couldn’t push across any runs except for in the third when they scored three times.  Daniel Lockhart had a solid game, minus one error, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored.  Yasiel Balaguert was 1-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .272 on the season.  Jacob Rogers was the offense in this one as he was 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  The Hawks only had five chances with runners in scoring position despite having ten hits, they finished the game going 2-for-5.

On The MoundJames Pugliese was finally roughed up, he worked five innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out six.  Scott Frazier was solid out of the pen going two scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one.  Zack Godley, and Matt Iannazzo each worked a scoreless inning in relief to keep the Hawks in the game during the late innings.

AZL Cubs 7-6

Full Box Score

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Minor Matters – June 10, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Runs came early and often in this one as Iowa held a 6-5 lead after five innings, they added an insurance run, which they would need en route to a 7-6 victory of Oklahoma City. Solid offensive day for Iowa as eight of the nine guys in the starting lineup had at least one hit and the Cubs were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position.  Logan Watkins was solid out of the leadoff spot going 2-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s.  Brad Nelson had a huge day going 2-for-4 with two home runs, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  All Junior Lake has done since coming back from injury is hit, he was 1-for-5 with his fifth double of the season, and two runs scored.  Ian Stewart has found some magic at the plate as of late, he was 1-for-3 in this one with a double, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

On The MoundYoanner Negrin is still getting stretched out as he makes his transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation; he made his third start of the season last night.  Negrin worked five innings giving up five runs on ten hits while walking two and striking out eight, he earned his first win of the season.  Casey Coleman continued his brilliance of the pen as he worked three scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out two.  Brian Schlitter worked a rocky ninth as he gave up one run on two hits while striking out one to earn his second save of the season.

Smokies 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Tough loss for Tennessee as they let a 3-0 lead get away in the sixth inning, and wound up losing 4-3 in walk off fashion in the ninth.  Arismendy Alcantara continued his stellar 2013 as he went 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .290 on the season.  Christian Villanueva also was 2-for-4 with a run scored, unfortunately the Smokies could do nothing with runners in scoring position going 1-for-8.  Rafael Lopez had a solid game going 2-for-4 with two doubles, that gives him fourteen on the season, he also had a run scored in the loss.

On The MoundA.J. Morris got the start for the Smokies and was outstanding going 5.1 innings giving up one run on two hits while striking out four.  Zach Rosscup is usually reliable, he was knocked around however as he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one.  Trey McNutt is starting to turn things around, he was solid going 1.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out two.  Kevin Rhoderick continued to struggle and got the loss, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one.

Daytona 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The PlateJavier Baez, that’s all you need to know.  These types of games don’t come around too often, in fact what Baez did was only the second time that it has been done in the 94 year history of the Florida State League.  Baez was 4-for-4 with FOUR home runs (FOUR!), seven RBI’s (SEVEN), and four runs scored, have a day, kid.  The huge night makes Baez’s numbers for the season look that much better, he’s hitting .291 with thirteen homers, and forty-four RBI’s, in a pitchers league.  Wow.

On The Mound – Rough go of it for Zach Cates, but he did give Daytona some innings, and picked up his sixth win of the season.  Cates worked six innings giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits while striking out six.  Luis Liria was knocked around out of the pen as he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits while walking three (Not Good), and striking out two.  Larry Suarez was tremendous out of the pen going 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one.  Frank Del Valle worked the final two-thirds of an inning to pick up his fourth save of the year, he walked one and struck out two in the process.

Kane County 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Nothing going right for Kane County lately, and last night was no exception as they fell to Cedar Rapids 6-2.  The Cougars could only manage two runs on six hits, but did walk four times, unfortunately they were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.  Albert Almora was 1-for-4 in the loss with his seventh double of the season, he is now hitting .423 for the year.  Rock Shoulders found some hits last night, he was 2-for-4 with his twelfth double of the season, and a run scored.  Oliver Zapata was 2-for-3 with a run scored, he now has his average up to .270 on the season.

On The Mound Pierce Johnson got the start and had one of his worst outings of 2013 as he suffered his fifth loss of the season.  Johnson worked 4.2 innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four.  Lendy Castillo took over and did a solid job of keeping the Cougars in it, he worked 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out four.

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