Iowa Cubs @ Colorodo Springs Sky Sox (Postponed)
Jacob Hannemann was 2-4 with a double, home run and he drove in both of the Smokies runs. Ben Carhart and Daniel Lockhart were each 1-4 while Bijan Radenmacher was 1-3 with a double, walk and run scored.
Billy McKinney was 0-2 with 2 walks. McKinney has not gotten off to the kind of start he’d hoped for. Prior to the game he was batting .257/.351/.325 with a .324 wOBA and a wRC+ of 99. When you account for the fact that McKinney is only 21 years old and he’s been a league average hitter at a premium position, you’ve got to be happy with the results. Somewhat happy anyway. The only reason I’m a little less than ecstatic is that in 308 PA last season at AA, he was better. He had a lower walk rate, but he struckout less, hit for more power and had a wRC+ of 116, which for a 20-year old CF is outstanding. Combining the two halves, you’ve got a full season under his belt at AAA and he’s been roughly a 108-110 wRC+ hitter.
If we were looking it at that as one unit, I think we’d all be pretty happy. I know I would be. It seems clear ot me one of the things the Cubs wanted McKinney to work on in AA was working deeper counts, which is why we see an increased walk rate and an increased strikeout rate. I think this will eventually work itself out in a way that we’ll see him drive the ball like he did last year and he’ll be the better player for it. If he can get hot for a few weeks, I think the Cubs will promote him to AAA.
Tyler Skulina got the start and fell to 3-4 with 6 innings of work. He gave up 7 hits (2 home runs) and 3 runs. He walked 2 and struckout 6. David Garner pitched 2 innings, allowed a run on a hit, 2 walks and a strikeout. James Farris pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning.
Gioskar Amaya hit another home run. He was 1-2 with a home run and 2 walks. He’s hit 5 home runs and 3 of them have been in recent days. Yasiel Balaguert and Jason Vosler were each 1-3. Balaguert also added a walk while Vosler scored a run and struckout.
Charcer Burks was 2-4 as the team’s 8th hitter (DH) with a home run and a strikeout. Andrew Ely (2B) was 2-4 as the 9th hitter. He also struckout. Gleyber Torres got off to a terrible start, turned things around a bit and is now slumping again. Despite that, he had a 118 wRC+ prior to yesterday’s game. He’s doing just fine if you ask me. Especially for someone his age at his position. With the increased power this year, I couldn’t be happier to see what he’s doing this year.
Erick Leal fell to 8-3. He pitched 3.2 innings, allowed 6 hits and 6 runs. He walked 2, struckout 3 and allowed a home run. Only 3 of the runs were earned. James Pugliese pitched 4 hitless innings. He did walk a batter and struckout 2. Tommy Thorpe pitched the final 1.1 innings, allowed 2 hits and a run.
The Cubs acquired Erick Leal in 2013 when the team traded Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks for Jesus Castillo and Leal. Both of the pitchers were 17 years old at the time of the trade and was a pretty good return for someone who had been designated for assignment. Below is the scouting report from Baseball America back when the Cubs traded for him.
The Diamondbacks signed a 16-year-old Leal from trainer Robert Valera for $75,000 after the 2011 season, and he made his debut last year in the DSL. When Leal signed, he stood out for his size, delivery, ability to throw strikes and spin a breaking ball. He progressed quickly and in some ways became a different pitcher than scouts had expected. He threw from almost straight over the top when he signed, but he’s since dropped down to a lower slot and gotten more life on his fastball, which was 85-88 mph when he signed but now sits around 88-89. Leal’s best pitch is his mid-to-high 70s breaking ball, an advanced pitch for his age with a chance to be plus. He didn’t have a changeup when he signed, but he’s developed feel for that pitch as well, giving him the potential for three average or better pitches if his velocity continues to climb. He pitches inside, moves the ball around the zone and throws plenty of strikes, and he walked just 1.4 batters per nine innings last year. He did start to gain weight a little too quickly at one point, so he will have to stay on top of his conditioning.
I’ve read that he’s since got his fastball up to 91-92 mph last year at South Bend. Leal went from strking out a lot of batters in 2012 and even 2013 when he came to the Cubs to under 5 the following year with the Cubs. It’s probably much more to do with the increased talent he was facing, but it fits in with the Cubs overall emphasis on low strikeout pitchers. He did strikeout 6.02 last year and had an excellent walk rate. His strikeout rate this year is again under 5, but his walk rate is under 2.
P.J. Higgins was 2-4 with an RBI and run scored. Ian Rice had one of the two big offensive performances from the Cubs last night. He was 3-5 with a home run, RBI and run scored. Eddy Martinez was 4-4 with an RBI and run scored. Josh Silver was 2-4. Eloy Jimenez was 1-4 with a double and run scored while Jesse Hodges was also 1-4. Hodges struckout once and scored a run.
The Cubs1 team improved to 3-5 behind a great offensive night and some strong starting pitching from Jesus Tejada. Here are the highlights in bullets.
- Jose Gutierrez (CF): 3-5, 2 triples, strikeout, 2 RBI, run scored
- Jonathan Sierra (DH): 2-5, strikeout, RBI, R
- Jose Rojas (3B): 2-4, RBI, 2 R
- Moises Colasante (RF): 1-3, BB, strikeout, R
- Jesus Tejada (SP): 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 4 K
- Aneuris Rosario (RP): 1 IP, 1 H, 3 K
The Cubs2 fell to 4-4. Abraham Rodriguez was 3-4 with an RBI. Miguel Amaya and Aramis Ademan each had a hit. Ademan doubled and struckout twice while scoring a run. Amaya scored a run and walked. That’s all the offense in this one.
Alfredo Colorado threw 5 innings, allowed 2 hits and 2 unearned runs. He didn’t walk anybody and he struckout 4.
Fauris Geurrero picked up the loss with 3 decent relief innings. He pitched 3.2 innings, allowed 3 hits and a run. He walked 2 and struckout 3.