As it pertains to the major league team, the biggest news on the farm are the rehab assignments of Emilio Bonifacio (AA Tennessee) and Kyuji Fujikawa (Low A Kane County). As both work their ways back from injury, we may be inching closer and closer to the return to Chicago for these two players.
The AAA All-Star Game was played on Wednesday night, with 3 I-Cubs on the PCL squad…pitchers Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, and Blake Parker. Arismendy Alcantara was selected, but did not play because he is on the major league roster. Of the 3, only Hendricks appeared in the game, allowing 2 walks, striking out 2, and allowing no hits or runs in 2 innings.
In addition to all of this, ESPN’s Keith Law released his mid-season top 50 (insider required). As far as the Cubs go, they have #1 Kris Bryant, #4 Addison Russell, #8 Javier Baez, and #28 Jorge Soler. It would also be safe to assume Arismendy Alcantara would have cracked the list if he were not on the major league club, and eligible for Law’s list. All in all, a strong showing for the Cubs system in the eyes of Keith Law.
Injuries of Note: Cael Brockmeyer (7 Day DL), C.J. Edwards (7 Day DL, Shoulder), Giuseppe Papaccio (7 Day DL), Ivan Pineyro (7 Day DL, Right Forearm Strain), Hunter Cervenka (7 Day DL), Jen-Ho Tseng (7 Day DL, Shoulder), Daniel Canela (7 Day DL), Gerardo Concepcion (7 Day DL, Foot), Yao-Lin Wang (7 Day DL), Edgar Gonzalez (7 Day DL), Jonathan Sanchez (7 Day DL), Dillon Maples (7 Day DL), Jose Arias (7 Day DL), Nathan Maldonado (60 Day DL), Brad Renner (60 Day DL), Danny Lockhart (7 Day DL), Anthony Prieto (60 Day DL), Austin Reed (60 Day DL), Jeff Lorick (7 Day DL), Julio Rodriguez (7 Day DL), Rubi Silva (7 Day DL), Yasiel Balaguert (7 Day DL)
Record This Season: 19-14, 2nd Place (- 1.0) NWL South
Briefly, Jeffrey Baez, who gets discussed here on a weekly basis, extended his hit streak to 18 games on Wednesday night. Among non-Baez players in Boise, RHP Trevor Clifton has a 2.90 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 6 starts with the Hawks. Clifton was selected in the 12th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft, and is only 19. 2014 3rd round pick, Mark Zagunis hit for the cycle on Monday night, which was one of the two in the organization.
Kane County Cougars
Record This season: 17-8, 1st Place (—-) MWL West; Won MWL West 1st Half Division Championship
After what was a tough first half in Advanced A, Jeimer Candelario has had a resurgence of sorts in his return to Kane County, earning Midwest League Player of the Week honors for a .500 batting average, with 3 HRs and 5 doubles over that span. Overall, he is hitting .313/.377/.625 in July. Like what has been said about some others in the system, it would not be a surprise if the early struggles for Jeimer were a long-term positive in his development. Don’t forget that he was an organizational top ten prospect and was whispered about as a possible future top 100 by Keith Law before 2013.
Record This Season: 15-9, 1st Place (—) FSL North
It’s been a full week for the D-Cubs. Albert Almora had a 5-7 night on Monday, which included the other cycle in the organization on the evening (coupled with the aforementioned Zagunis cycle in Boise). Hits in the 9th and 13th innings were go-ahead hits, and the 13th inning hit proved to be the game winning hit. Most impressively, Almora had a short 1-19 slump going into that game, which he broke out of in style. 2014 1st round pick Kyle Schwarber was promoted to Daytona on Monday, as well. In his first game with the D-Cubs, he started a 7-6-2 relay from LF to get a runner at home. And although he did not break into the hit column in his first game in the Florida State League, he did walk twice. Since joining the club after the Samardzija trade, OF Billy McKinney has reached in all 10 of his games in Daytona, posting a .313/.425/.438. Not to be outdone, Bijan Rademacher has reached in 27 straight for the resurgent Cubs.
Record This Season: 13-13 1st Place (—) Southern League North
Not wanting to be forgotten in the “Cool Hitting Achievements” column on Monday night, Smokies’ catcher Charles Cutler decided to hit an inside-the-park home run. While this is cool, no matter who does it, it remains my opinion that it’s even cooler when a catcher does it. Jorge Soler also earned Player of the Week honors in the Southern League for his hot hitting since returning from a hamstring issue. The centerpiece of the Samardzija deal, Addison Russell, has had a slow start with the Smokies, working a .194/.219/.226 since joining the team. Nobody should expect that to continue. He’ll be fine.
Record This Season: 51-46 2nd Place (-0.5) PCL American North
The I-Cubs will return from the All-Star break with a series at Round Rock starting Thursday night. In the return from the break, Javier Baez is in the line-up at second base. This is not an unexpected move, as the organization begins working him at other positions as he approaches the major league club. There stands to be some significant shuffling of the pitching staff with the I-Cubs, as the major league team is currently at three starters. That could mean Kyle Hendricks, Tsuyoshi Wada, Dallas Beeler, and Dan Straily are all potentially on borrowed time on Iowa’s roster.
One last note worth mentioning, all of the affiliates listed here are either in first place or within 1 game. After some slow starts in the system, all of the teams have come on strong and played good baseball of late.