Cubs outhit the RedHawks 9 to 7 in this one. Mike Olt went 0-4 with a strikeout, and Logan Watkins went 0-5. Watkins has a .508 after the ASB and a .556 OPS since July. Hopefully he gets back on the train soon, because Alcantara is not far behind him as 2Bs go (though the way is relatively clear at CF). Jae-Hoon Ha, seemingly forgotten by me sometimes, went 1-4 with a double. He's been poor this year.
Nick Struck had another poor-ish outing, surrendering 4 runs in 5.1 innings. Marcus Hatley inherited a pair of runners in the 6th and stranded them both, then Chang-Yong Lim notched 2 shutout frames to end it. I imagine Chang-Yong Lim is going to get an extended look-see at the end of this year, because (believe it or not) the Cubs are really only a bat, an arm, and a bullpen away from really competing next year.
Only the suddenly-frozen Arismendy Alcantara did not record a hit in this game. Matt Szczur went 2-5, as did Javier Baez. Baez' two hits were both 2-run blasts. Christian Villanueva went 1-2 with a pair of walks, and Justin Bour went 1-4 with a walk of his own. Rubi Silva was 2-4 with a double, and Jonathan Mota/Chad Noble doubled also.
I'm going to go on a limb here and say that I think Javier Baez should be promoted to Iowa. I know it's only been 80 or so PA in Tennessee, and I know he has an OBP below .300. He still has plenty to learn…which is why I think he needs to be promoted. The reason Javier was sent to Tennessee was to fail, and he's not actually failing. His OPS is higher in a pitcher's league than it was in Daytona. The argument was that Baez would have to adjust to AA pitching; however, AA pitching is not going to adjust to him. You can give me the Kevin Maas argument all day with SSS, but Baez DOES have that power and he'll continue to hit all of the balls that come near the strike zone for home runs until you give him pitchers that don't make as many mistakes. I think Baez could theoretically spend a couple of years at AAA learning patience, but I don't think he'll learn it any lower than that (if he learns it at all).
Eric Jokisch struggled in his start, allowing 6 in 5 and allowing 9 hits, 3 walks. P.J. Francescon relieved him and was really dicey, allowing 5 baserunners in his 2 innings. He only allowed 1 run, though. Kevin Rhoderick walked a pair in the 8th but escaped damage, and Marcos Mateo (remember him?) allowed a run in an inning.
I imagine that very soon this team will get exciting (Almora and Vogelbach should be getting their cups of coffee here pretty soon). Until then, we've got this dreck. 4 people had two hits (all singles): Ben Carhart, Dustin Geiger, Taiwan Easterling, and Brad Zapenas. Bijan Rademacher also singled and walked. Zeke DeVoss had a particularly bad day, striking out 3 times (and walking once). He also stole a base, his 29th of the year.
C.J. Edwards was ridiculous in his debut. He struck out 8 of the first 10 batters he faced, and ended up with a line of 5.1 IP, H, BB, 8 SO. He profiles as a shutdown closer in my book, which isn't a knock at all on his stuff, just his frame. He may never weigh more than 160 pounds and I'd rather go for 80 innings of dominant relief than risk an injury starting, especially given his load and relatively violent delivery. If he does put on the weight, though, he's got every chance to be a solid 2, with a plus fastball and a slider/curve that would play in the bigs with relatively little refinement. Lendy Castillo, future Cubs ace, went 3 innings and did pretty well. He allowed an unearned run and a hit, walking and striking out 3. Austin Reed got the save with a relatively blemish-free 9th.
What a fast ride it's been for Giuseppe Papaccio. Drafted in the 18th round of this year's draft, he signed immediately and was sent to Arizona, where he recorded a .313/.395/.406 line. He skipped Boise (he is 22, after all), and led off today for the Cougars. His line is pretty bad in Kane County so far, but it's still fairly impressive to get sent to Kane County as a relatively unheralded prospect and lead off. Papaccio went 2-5 with 2 runs scored. Albert Almora went 2-5, as is his custom, but didn't double. Dan Vogelbach went deep and walked twice, and his line this year is now .291/.365/.457. It's a far cry from last year's 1.051 OPS, but he is heating up and should be promoted in short order. He's had 100 games in Kane County. Jeimer Candelario was 2-4 with a walk, as was Rock Shoulders (Shoulders doubled). He had 3 two-out RBI, the difference in the game.
Juan Paniagua continues to struggle this year. He went 2 innings and allowed 3 hits and runs, walking an absurd 5 and striking out none. That's a really, really, really, REALLY bad sign. Nathan Dorris went 2 scoreless, and Starling Peralta went 3 scoreless. His injuries seem to be behind him. Armando Rivero, who received 3.1 million dollars from the Cubs this year, is still 25 and still in Kane County. He went 2 scoreless innings, allowing no hits, walking 1, and striking out 5.
Kris Bryant went deep again. He had 3 RBI on the day. Daniel Lockhart, Yasiel Balaguert, and Jordan Hankins each had a pair of singles; Balaguert also walked. I'm going to go on a limb right now and say that Balaguert is going to be my darkhorse prospect for next year. He walks a good amount of the time, has solid doubles power, and showed definite improvement over last year. I'm not ready to put him even in a Top 20 of Cubs prospects right now, but it wouldn't shock me if he forced the issue sometime next year.
Dillon Maples might be on the mend. He went 5 innings and allowed 5 hits, 1 run. He walked none and fanned 5. Hopefully he gets another shot at Kane County before the year is over. Corbin Hoffner went 3 innings of 1-hit baseball, and Tyler Bremer really struggled in the 9th, allowing 2 hits and a walk but striking out 3 to seal the 3-1 victory.
Brett Jackson 2: The Once and Future Hack was 0-4 with 2 SO.
Erick Leal went 4 innings and allowed 7 hits, no walks, 3 runs, 1 earned, and 3 strikeouts.