Javier Assad

It Is Opening Day in Eugene – Let the Title Defense Begin

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By Todd Johnson

The Eugene Emeralds, the Cubs’ short season Class A team, opens up at home tonight to begin defense of its Northwest League title. The roster was released on Tuesday to oohs and ahs throughout the Internet (Well, actually, it was just me and another guy in Louisiana). Still, I find it very exciting as they usually play at 9 Central when most Cub affiliates have just ended their games. They have my sole attention every summer.

This year’s team, for now,  is a mixture of international players and some of last year’s draft picks. Most of the players played in Mesa in Rookie League last year where they made it the AZL playoffs. There are a few players who played in the Dominican Summer League and skipped Mesa this year. There is a lot of talent on this roster. The Emeralds begin their title defense with the following players.

Pitchers: Luis Aquino, Javier Assad, Jesus Camargo, Holden Cammack, Bailey Clark, Enrique de los Rios, Andin Diaz. Elvis Diaz, Hector Alonso Garcia, Yapson Gomez, John Michael Knighton, Mark Malave, Junior Marte, Manuel Rodriguez, Jhon Romero, Andry Rondon, Matt Swarmer

Catchers: Miguel Amaya and Gustavo Polanco

Infield: Aramis Ademan, Jhonny Bethencourt, Joe Martarano, Rafael Narea, Edgar Rondon

Outfield: Zach Davis, Jose A. Gonzalez, Kwang-Min Kwon, and Connor Myers

It is worth noting that short season rosters can contain up to 35 players with 25 active per night. Most of those inactive for a game are pitchers.

Here are a few key players to keep an eye on over the the next 70 games.
1. Bailey Clark – I don’t know how long he will be at this level. He missed spring training finishing up his degree at Duke. He showed up in EXST in May and has been getting ready for the season. To be honest, his upper 90s fastball should be too dominant for this league. I wrote about him last year and I expect to see him in South Bend quickly.

2. Javier Assad – He was the ace of the 2016 Cubs rookie league team that made the playoffs. He struck out 42 in 37.1 IP last year with a 2.87 ERA. John Arguello said that he is more physically mature this year. His unofficial stats from EXST (courtesy of the Cub Reporter) were impressive. He had a 2.55 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 24.2 IP. He struck out 26 and batters hit only .229 versus him. At the tender age of 19, expect him to be an Em all season.

3. Miguel Amaya – He’s just 18 and he drew rave reviews this spring for his catching abilities and his developing power. Amaya was signed by the Cubs in 2015 as a 16-year-old and he also is still growing. In EXST this year, he unofficially hit .350 with 4 HRs and was on fire as camp ended hitting .531 with a .600 OBP over his last ten games. I am extremely excited to see him play!

4. Aramis Ademan – Aramis is also a member of the 2015 IFA class and he is already considered the top defensive SS in the Cubs system. He will be skipping rookie ball and going right to Eugene. This spring, he proved he his bat is more advanced than previously thought. He hit .270 over 28 games with 1 HR. He’s not going to be a power guy. It is all about defense for him.

5. Joe Martarano – The former Boise State linebacker is now 100% committed to baseball. I like that. I like that he is 6’3” and 235-240 lbs. I like that he can hit for average as well as power. He did play some for the Cubs in the summer after being drafted in 2013. He did not play at all in 2016. He showed no signs of rust in EXST hitting .324 with a .448 OBP. I find that plate discipline to be amazing with how little he’s played after focusing on football for so long. The kid can hit.

6. Rafael Narea – Another IFA, he came on strong this spring. The 19 year-old-shortstop hit .290 and showed a deft bat and plate discipline as he only struck out a 4% rate.

The roster is also notable for the one player not on it. Pitcher, and top young prospect, Jose Albertos is staying behind in Mesa to work on his grip on his curve, which he keeps spiking in the dirt. Eventually, he will make his way to the great northwest.

Last year, over 50+ players flowed through Eugene. Once the draft picks sign, many more players will be coming. Expect to see the college position players arrive in late June. I doubt you will see first rounder Alex Lange as he is in the CWS for the next two weeks. However, top pick Brendon Little should be in the bullpen or making short starts of two innings. It will be exciting to see who all shows up!

Draft Picks Who Should Be in Eugene by July

The list could include OF Chris Carrier, 3B Austin Filiere, P Cory Abbott, P Erich Uelmen, P Ricky Tyler thomas, IF Austin Upshaw, OF Brandon Hughes, 2B Jared Young, P Brandon King, and closer Brian Glowicki. There might even be a few more.

 

A Saturday Six Pack – Things to Look Forward to in June

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By Todd Johnson

The six pack moved to Saturday this week to make room for some end of the month stuff. Now that May is done, it is time to look forward to June. The first half of the minor league season ends in two weeks while the major league season just begins to crank into gear.

Here are 6 things I am going to look forward to in June.

1. Starting Pitching
When I think of the troubles of the Cubs first third of the season, starting pitching stands out to me. Yes, it’s true, the hitting needs to improve, but when you’re giving up 5-6 runs a game, that is hard to overcome. I think handling this issue has to be done in a very deft manner. I say that because you have to balance winning this season and winning beyond this season. I am OK with Lester, Arrieta, and Hendricks. I am not a fan of John Lackey. While Eddie Butler has caught my eye, he is more an answer to the second question than the first. Where does that leave the Cubs? Do they need to go out and get two starters for this season? Do they need to get just one for this season and the postseason? Or, do they just think about acquiring long term starters who they hope will work out for just this year? Hopefully, we will have the answer in less than four weeks.

2. Trades
I have never been one to be big on speculating trades. While I am sure one is coming for a pitcher, I am pretty sure that the Cubs are going to be rely on their own prospects to fill position player roles. But here’s the thing – if Theo and Jed see a player they think can help them win the championship, they are going to go out and get that player regardless of whether he is a pitcher or a position player. Keep that in the back of your mind.

3. Trey Martin/Dylan Cease
I really like Trey Martin. I think he is an underrated prospect, maybe the most underrated in the Cubs system. He is an outstanding defender who covers as much ground as anyone in all of baseball in the outfield. As a hitter, while his growth has been slow, he has improved at every level. He got off to a sizzling start at Tennessee in April before a hamstring injury sidelined him after 8 games. He should be back this week and be a key cog in helping Tennessee get to the first half title. I hope to see Dylan Cease very soon, too. It’s been about 10 days since his ankle injury and I am ready for him to come back and anchor the staff at South Bend as they try to capture a spot in the postseason.

4. Eugene and Mesa
While the Dominican Summer League begins today, Eugene and Mesa are less than two weeks away. I love the late-night action that Eugene provides as usually they’re the only game going past 9 o’clock central. I am also looking forward to watching the Mexican connection of Jose Albertos, Javier Assad, and Jesus Camargo pitching for the Emeralds. In addition, I am excited about seeing Joe Martarano debut as a full-time Cub. And, throw in one of my favorite prospects, Delvin Zinn, who should be ready to go after an injury in extended spring training. Then there’s Miguel Amaya and Aramis Ademan, two 2015 international free agents, who will be making their stateside debuts. It should be an exciting beginning as Eugene tries to capture back-to-back championships.

5. The Draft
There are nine days to go. On Monday I’ll have a post about some risers and fallers. There will be six more names for you to know. I will have wall-to-wall coverage for you each day of the draft. After the draft is complete, I will, with the help of @WesSaver, have when each draftee signs.

6. Cubs Still in Play for IFA Despite Penalties
Ben Badler of Baseball America published an article this week that talked about how the Cubs are in on another top young player from Mexico, pitcher Florencio Serrano. The Cubs can only spend $300,000 max for a signing bonus this year. But because a portion of a bonus for a Mexican player goes to the team, the Cubs can technically spend a little bit more than their limit. A few weeks ago the Cubs were also said to be in the running Luis Verdugo, a young Mexican shortstop.

Check back tomorrow morning for “The Weekly.” I’ll have a recap of  2/3 of the Cubs/Cards series, some news on the DSL, and our players of the week!

The Annual Eugene Emeralds Preview of a Preview

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By Todd Johnson

2016 could not have gone any better for the Eugene Emeralds. Manager Jesus Feliciano led the club to their first Northwest League title in over 30 years. In addition, the Emeralds broadcasted their home games on MiLB.TV which allowed for Cubs fans all over the country to watch.

The Emeralds were led by a devastating starting pitching rotation anchored by Dylan Cease, Manny Rondon, Bailey Clark, Pedro Silverio, and Bryan Hudson. They used team speed and timely hitting along with good defense en route to an amazing 54-22 record.

When it comes to the 2017 Emeralds, today’s preview is actually a preview of a possible preview in June. Once spring training camp breaks the first week of April, extended spring training begins. Over the course of those next 10 weeks, the roster for the Emeralds will begin to take shape. This year, it should be a mixture of players from last year’s Mesa team, last year’s Dominican summer league teams, and position players and relievers from the 2017 MLB draft. The roster is usually pretty fluid because of pitching limits for draft picks who already played a full season of college or high school baseball.

Who Can Emeralds’ Fans Expect to See in 2017?

The two names that come to the forefront the most at are pitcher Jose Albertos and shortstop Isaac Paredes. Both are 18 years old and were signed out of Mexico as international free agents.

Card made from a picture by Bill Mitchell/MiLB

Albertos only pitched for innings in 2016 but throws mid to upper 90s heat and commands his fastball at will. He was shut down for most of the season after straining his forearm in his only start in Rookie League for Mesa. However, the buzz and hype on Albertos is quite large and quite real. He entered most Cubs prospect lists as a top 10 prospect.

As for Isaac Paredes, the young shortstop is well-built and a hitting machine. He hit over .300 in rookie ball at 17-years-old and he got a little glimpse filling in at South Bend for a couple weeks at the end of 2016. He should be in Eugene to start the year where he will play shortstop and maybe see a little third-base.

Both Paredes and Albertos should advance quickly this year. They may only be in Eugene for the first half.

Pitching

Depending on who the Cubs draft, I think we’re going to see a decidedly Latin feel to the Emeralds starting rotation. Javier Assad was the ace of the Mesa staff last year. He comes with a low 90s fastball and is still working on his secondaries. 2016 draftee Matt Swarmer looks to have added some weight this spring and is an interesting pitcher who is very, very raw when it comes to professional skills but seems to be picking up things at a very fast rate.

Two pitchers who also missed all, or most, of 2016 include Jesus Camargo and 2016 draftee Stephen Ridings. In 2015, Camargo was the top starter for the Mesa team and last year Ridings missed all season after being drafted. Camargo has good control while Ridings throws in the mid-90s and has some issues he needs to work out when it comes to where the ball goes. 

Position players

Card is made from a picture by John Arguello

In addition to Paredes, Second baseman Delvin Zinn is one of the best athletes in the Cubs’ system.  The Cubs originally drafted Zinn in 2015 but he chose to go to Mississippi State. He never did play for the Bulldogs instead going to junior college. The Cubs redrafted Zinn last year and he saw a little time in Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League. In just a short tenure at Mesa, his skills improved dramatically. This showed how open he was to coaching. I expect him to be one of the most exciting players to watch for the Emeralds this summer as he has great speed and the 19-year-old should improve hitting over the course of the 74-game season

Catcher Michael Cruz brings some left-handed power to a position the Cubs normally don’t draft high. The 2016 draftee spent most of his time last year working on his defensive skills in Mesa. I think this year we will see his bat play more in short season ball. As a result, he may not be in Eugene long.

Another key hitter will be catcher Gustavo Polanco. The converted first baseman has a definite hit tool as he led Mesa in hitting in 2016. He has a short compact swing that has yet to translate into home runs. Outfielder Luis Ayala should provide a calming effect at the top of the order as a pure hitter and a player who can get on base and set the table for the lineup.

More than likely the Cubs will take prep bats with their first two picks in the 2017 draft. As a result, expect only college players to show up and to begin to play immediately in Eugene after being drafted. In fact, I expect the Cubs to have a lot of draft picks in the bullpen.

Depending on how they do in extended spring training, Emeralds’ fans might be getting some of the top 2015 international free agents. Shortstop Aramis Ademan and catcher Miguel Amaya are defensively ready to play short season ball. Extended spring will test whether their bats are. 18-year old pitchers Brailyn Marquez and Faustino Carrera are two other left-handed pitchers who could crack the rotation at Eugene with a solid spring.

There’s a lot to like here on the Eugene roster, but they will need some time to develop. Right now, the pitching may be a little bit of ahead of the hitting, but there will be a lot of 18 to 20-year-old kids who will be learning the art of professional baseball. 

The actual Eugene roster will be listed somewhere between the 15th and 17th of June. This will be just in time for the season to begin.

Sleeper Prospect

I really like Marquez to be the breakout pitcher of the year. At 6’6”, Marquez seemed to have a natural feel for pitching last year in the Dominican Summer League. As for hitters, I think Delvin Zinn hits the mark for his natural athletic ability that will help him transition at the plate and in the field.

First to Be Promoted – Paredes/Cruz/Albertos

Arizona Cubs – Treading Water in the Desert

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The Arizona Cubs are not your average affiliate. The rookie league level team in Mesa is a mishmash of rehabbing players from Chicago and its minor league affiliates, young international players, and recent draft picks. Most games take place in triple digit heat late at night and often are subject to local monsoons. If the Cubs are lucky, there might be seven people in attendance.

This year, the young Cubs have been the home to several rehabbing pitchers and its lineup seem to include mostly converted catchers and shortstops. The team will play a total of 56 games in a season that ends on August 29, a full week ahead of most of the minors. The Cubs did win a playoff spot already by winning a first-half division title with a 16-12 record. Since then, several players were promoted to short-season Eugene. As a result, Arizona has struggled to go 6-12 in the second half.

Pitching
When the season began, young 17-year-old Jose Albertos was going to one of the key young pitchers on the staff. In his first start, the young righty struck out 7 in 4 IP. His fastball sat 95-97 and he showed a plus curve. The next day, he went on the 60 day DL. The tone for the season was set. Of the 41 pitching starts this year, 21 were by players no longer on the team. And, most of those starts were of the 1, 2, or 3 inning variety.

However, there have been a few pitching prospects who have performed well enough to be considered for Eugene when Arizona’s seasons ends.

Yapson gomez 78Javier Assad – At 6’1” and 200, Assad is not the projectable type, according to John Arguello, but Assad does have a low to mid-90s fastball complemented by a mid 70s curve, also according to John. Assad does have the most starts on the team with 6 and has 40 Ks in 34.2 IP with a 2.60 ERA.

Yapson Gomez – I have been following Yapson’s career since he was in the Venezuelan Summer League. At 22, the lefty is a little undersized to be a starter at only 160 pounds. This year at Arizona, he has excelled out of the pen. In 37.1 IP, he’s struck out 43 with 1.10 WHIP and a 2.65 ERA. He has only walked 9 all summer.

Eugenio Palma – This lefty has had the most success in Arizona. He began the year as a reliever but has made two starts in a row now. He’s a little bigger than Gomez but not much. A 1.67 ERA shines brightly in 32.1 IP and 30 Ks with only 6 walks. He has reliever written all over his profile.

Michael Rucker – He was the Cubs 11th round pick in 2016 and has gotten off to a late start. To date, he’s only thrown 4 IP but has been impressive doing so. Then again, he’s a D-1 pitcher playing against recent high school grads and international players. However, 7 Ks with no BBs shows some pretty good control. I think he makes it to Eugene for a bit this year and likely could be at South Bend in 2017.

Matt Swarmer and Nathan Sweeney – To me, Swarmer screams project, and for John Arguello, Sweeney does the same. Both are long, lean pitchers who need to add some weight. Don’t expect a rush on either kid, although Swarmer seems to have much better stuff right now and likely will do well the rest of this year as long as he stays in Arizona. In 2016, I see Swarmer being an anchor in Eugene. He likely will not be with most of his draft class at South Bend. Sweeney could repeat Arizona or he could improve over the next 10 months to get to Eugene.

Hitting

Michael Cruz – the 2016 draftee has shown the ability to have some decent hitting and on-base skills. Word is that he is in Arizona to work on his catching skills. While he is only hitting .267, his OBP shows what a great approach he has at .391. I think he will be in South Bend next year.

paredes 72 2016 azlGustavo Polanco – This kid just rakes. The power could be there, but right now it isn’t. At .323, he leads the current roster, but it seems he has an issue in taking walks – only 3 all year.

Isaac Paredes – Everyone I have read from Arizona loves Isaac. He can hit for average and he can hit for power. He got off to a late start due to an injury, but the 17-year-old has rebounded all the way up to .303. Although he is listed as a SS, he will likely move to 3B.

Kevin Zamudio – Here’s another catcher who can hit. Although he had a poor July, he’s a great August at .333 and he leads the team in RBIs.

Jhonny Pereda has done well this summer. This catcher has a .298 average with a .375 OBP.

Delvin Zinn and Kwang Min Kwon are two teenagers who have come to play as of late. Zinn is an extremely athletic player who was drafted by the Cubs two years in a row. Even though he is 1 for 15 right now, don’t let that fool you. Next year, after some fall instructs and spring training, Zinn should start to acclimate to the pro lifestyle. The same is true of Kwon who has only played five games to date and has shown the ability to take a walk.

Going Forward
I am not quite sure what the playoffs hold for this team. They don’t really have a starting rotation or a definite ace. They have some players that can hit but they are also learning some new positions. It should be interesting to see Arizona throw the kitchen sink at whomever. All three rounds of the Rookie League playoffs are single elimination. They only have to be hot for three games.

Next season is a long way away.
There will almost be a year of development before the 2017 season for these players. In fact, Eugene does not begin play until mid-June. That’s 10 months to work on and develop their skills. Paredes could likely make some major prospect lists at the end of the season (I have him on my Top 21), not many of the other players will. There could be a few sleeper prospects who breakout next year. It’s an interesting mix of talent, that so far, has not hit its stride.


Ed. Note – The Yapson Gomez card is made from a picture by John Arguello

 

The Cubs Striking Gold With Recent International Free Agents from Mexico

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Mission Control

It used to be that most Latin players signing with a major league organization came primarily from the Dominican Republic. That fact may still be true for some teams, but not for the Cubs.In the past two years, the Cubs signed players from the Dominican Republic, just like the other teams, but the Cubs signed players in bunches from Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Curacao, and Mexico. In the 2015-2016, the Cubs signed 30 players, less than a third were from the Dominican (9). 25% were from Venezuela and 20% were from Mexico (6).

Mexico has produced pro players for a long time, just not for the Cubs. The Cubs have been mainly preoccupied with the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. And with good reason, too, because the Cubs had baseball academies in those countries. In addition, they had a team in each rookie summer league in those countries.

In the Theo Era, the Cubs have expanded their scouting parameters. Now Miguel Amaya, a young catcher from Panama, is now a Cub. Carlos Ocampo from Columbia is now a Cub. And there are many more. The Cubs have kept up their scouting efforts in the Dominican, but in Venezuela it is harder to scout because of the political turmoil.

However, it is Mexico that has already begun producing some some prospects who have just started making names for themselves this summer at the ripe ages of 17, 18, and 19. And I expect, when the International Free Agent period begins next Saturday, the Cubs will sign many more Mexican players.

Why Mexico? Because these kids can play. They play year round and they play in international competitions all over the world.

Here are some signings the Cubs have made from Mexico in the past two years; Some names you may already know..

Sepulveda 86 2016 sbCarlos Sepulveda – Signed in the 2014-15 period, Sepulveda has already made a name for himself. You will see him on this month’s All-Star team on Friday. He’s only 18 and hitting over .300 at low A South Bend. He has great patience at the plate (380 OBP) while his defense could still improve.

Isaac Paredes – Paredes shows some power in his bat, he was signed in 2015-2016 and debuted last fall at instructs in Arizona and again this spring in Extended Spring Training where he hit .250 with 2 HRs and 16 RBIs in 25 games. He is listed as a shortstop but will likely move over to 3B. He was on the DL to start the season but made his debut on Saturday going 1 for 3 with a walk.

Faustino Carrera – He was signed last summer and the young 17 year old is dazzling in the Dominican Summer League. So far, the lefty has made three starts with a 0.56 ERA with 17 Ks in 16 innings. Carrera comes with an upper 80s to 90 mph fastball and a curve.

ALbertos 2016 estJose Albertos – He’s been quite the star in unknown circles. He has flashed great stuff on the backfields of spring training and again in extended spring training. He made his debut at the age of 17 in rookie ball in Arizona a week ago. He went 4 innings and struck out 7 while sitting at 94-97 mph. At 17!!! Baseball America said this of the right hander’s signing:

Albertos is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds with a promising combination of stuff and feel for pitching. He touched 92 mph before he signed and has since been up to 94 with good angle. He’s poised on the mound, throwing strikes and changing speeds well with a slider that has a chance to be a plus pitch and feel for a changeup as well to profile as a starter.

Javier Assad – Assad made his debut on Friday for the Arizona Cubs. According to sources in Mesa, he threw “90-93, mid 70s CB, vertical break. Mature frame.” He’s not going to get much bigger in other words, but what he is, is pretty good for an 18 year-old.

Hector Garcia – Another pitcher, Garcia was signed in 2014 and is in his second go around in the Dominican Summer League. In 4 starts this year, the 18 year-old right hander has thrown 21.2 innings so far. He has an ERA of 2.08 and has struck out 15 while walking only 4 Baseball America was very positive of his signing as they described his talent at 16:

5-foot-11, 160 pounds with a fastball up to 92 mph, feel for a slider and changeup and advanced pitchability for his age.

Jesus-Camargo-624x468Jesus Camargo – He was signed in 2014 and had an outstanding year in 2015 at Arizona in the Rookie League. He was one ace on the staff with a 3.30 ERA and opponents only hit .215 off of him. He struck out 57 in 46.1 innings. This year, he is still on the DL in Mesa battling some minor injuries.

Next Saturday is July 2. It is the official beginning of International Free Agency. Because of the Cubs spending habits last year, they cannot sign a player for more than $300,000 the next two years. The Cubs can get some quality players at that value, just not an elite player right now. With a pool of $2 million, expect the Cubs to get between 20-25 signings.

But here’s the thing about International Free Agency; selecting and signing a player is not about now, it’s about projection – what they might be like in a four to five years. Only three of the players listed above signed for more than $300,000, two of them were Sepulveda and Paredes. The Cubs are going to be able to go out and sign a lot of players for $100,00 and less who will be good players. The key will be to sign good projectable players that will do well beyond rookie and A ball.

 

*Ed. Note – Cards of Jesus Camargo and Jose Albertos were made with photos from John Arguello. The Carlos Sepulveda photo was taken by Rikk Carlson.

Weekly News and Awards – Heavy on Pitching

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And so, the second half begins.

Last Sunday, the South Bend Cubs clinched the first half Eastern Division title after an outstanding 7 IP from Kyle Miller and some late heroics from Eloy Jimenez. Eloy’s 2 run double gave the Cubs a 2 run lead late in the game. Later, in the next inning, Pedro Araujo came in for the 2 inning save. Then three days later, the big league Cubs extended their development deal through 2020 with South Bend. Congratulations on two counts, South Bend!

And then this happened last night….

It’s a good time to be Eloy. But, he wasn’t the big star of the week. That will come later.

Otherwise, it was a slow news week in the Cubs MiLB system as AA, A+ and A- all had their All-Star Game festivities. Eloy Jimenez (What is it with this guy? 😉 ) of South Bend was named the Top Star after pounding a first pitch slider over the CF wall to tie the game. The HR drove in three. Trevor Clifton came in and got the save for the Carolina League who defeated the California League.

There were also some promotions:

  1. Ian Happ went from Myrtle Beach to AA Tennessee after winning his second straight Carolina League Player of the Week and hitting over .600 in that span. Last night, he was a triple shy of a cycle. At Tennessee, he is hitting .625. He’s just torturing baseballs right now.
  2. Gioskar Amaya moved from Myrtle Beach to AA Tennessee
  3. Ian Rice moved from South up to Myrtle Beach
  4. David Bote is back in Myrtle Beach
  5. Alex Bautista is back in Eugene after filling in at Iowa

With the All-Star game/break there were only a few Cubs teams playing until Thursday. Since then, the pitchers, for the most part, stole the show this week.

jen ho 77 2016 tenn*Preston Morrison was lights out on Friday night as he went seven innings and struck out six in leading South Bend over Dayton in the second game of the second half.
*Jen-Ho Tseng has a 1.17 ERA since his return from the DL in late May. He went six on Friday night and gave up just one run while striking out 4, but walking 3.
*Faustino Carrera, another 17 year-old from Mexico, went 6 IP with 6 Ks for the Cubs #2 Dominican Summer League team. So far, he has gone 16 IP with 17 Ks and ERA of 0.56 in 3 starts.
*Javier Assad of the Arizona Cubs, just 18 years-old and from Baja in Mexico, went 5 IP with no runs and 4 Ks, but walked 3  and gave up 3 hits in his debut on Friday.
*Ryan Kellogg went 6 IP and struck out 7 in his second half debut on Thursday night
*Young 17 year old Jose Albertos, also from Mexico, made his first start for the Arizona Cubs this week. He only went 4 innings, but he struck out seven, walked one, gave up one hit, and did not allow a run. He worked in the mid to upper 90s for most of the game.
*See my Dylan Cease and Bryan Hudson posts

Here are some happenings from around the system.

Iowa 4-3 (35-38 – 5.5 GB) – Jeimer, Zagunis, Watkins, and Murton are on fire. The pitching has been serviceable but not outstanding
Tennessee 1-2 – Oh, look, Jen-Ho and Ian Happ are here and doing well. I saw a little bit of the game on Saturday night. They just are not driving in runs.
Myrtle Beach 1-2 – Ryan McNeil es en fuego.
South Bend: 3-0 – Wow! Kellogg and Morrison had stunning starts on Thursday and Friday followed by Bloomquist on Saturday. 
Eugene 4-3 (6-3) – Their starting pitching might give Myrtle Beach a run for their money as the best pitching staff in the Cubs’ system, especially when it comes to starting pitching.
Arizona 3-2 – Stunning starting pitching and hitters that capitalize on mistakes. Very, very young team.
Dominican Republic 1 3-2 (9-9) – Getting better. Not hitting for average, but their OBPs are spectacular for 17-18 year old kids.
Dominican Republic 2 5-1 (13-6) – Pitching and hitting are both doing very well.

Players of the Week

6.26.2016

Here’s What’s Coming Up Next Week at Cubs Central
The New Mexican Connection  
Eugene’s Double Play Combo Tearing It Up
A Week of Willson
June Cards of the Month
June All-Star Team

Articles Coming Up in July
Three Days in Iowa
2 Afternoons at Kane County