It was a busy week in the minor league system, with a number of significant names making moves over the course of the week. Jorge Soler was promoted to AAA Iowa after dominating AA, albeit over a short period of time. Albert Almora was aggressively promoted to AA Tennessee after a resurgence at Daytona. Jeffrey Baez was moved to full season Kane County after lighting it up with Boise. And lastly, Mike Olt was sent down to Iowa from the major league team after a season long struggle.
C.J. Edwards returned to the mound this week, throwing two innings in Mesa. It was an important step after taking an extended (precautionary) break to allow inflammation to clear out of his shoulder. Ultimately, the important thing is that Edwards pitch painlessly, which by all accounts, he did.
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),Yao Yao-Lin Wang (7 Day DL), Edgar Gonzalez (7 Day DL), Jonathan Sanchez (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), Manny Ramirez (7 Day DL, Right Calf Strain)
Record This Season: 0-1; 4th Place (-1.5) NWL South
The Hawks finished the first half tied for first place in their division, but losing the tie breaker to Hillsboro (DBacks). They move into the second half without star outfielder, Jeffrey Baez, who was promoted to Kane County. The Hawks are now being led, and led well, by Mark Zagunis. His .341/.442/.473 slash line garnered him Northwest League All-Star honors. He is joined on the Northwest League South All-Star team by C Justin Marra, 1B Daniel Canela, OF Jeffrey Baez, OF Rashad Crawford, and RHP Trevor Clifton.
Kane County Cougars
Record This season: 20-11, 1st Place (+ 2.5) MWL West; Won MWL West 1st Half Division Championship
RHP Duane Underwood has continued his strong season this week, making two starts, and allowing two runs in a combined 11 innings of work. Overall, he’s been a key piece of a pitching staff that has been very good for the duration of the season. Underwood has worked a 2.44 ERA in 15 starts, encompassing 73.2 innings. OF Jeffrey Baez joined the Cougars for Thursday’s game, after the promotion of Jacob Hannemann to Daytona.
Record This Season: 19-12, 1st Place (+2.5) FSL North
Gone is Albert Almora. Jacob Hannemann has arrived to take his place. OF Billy McKinney continues to drive in runs, since coming from the A’s in the Samardzija trade. He’s driven in 15 runs in 18 games since coming over. Kyle Schwarber continues to hit with the D-Cubs, although, not at the pace he hit with Boise or Kane County. In his first week, he’s posted a .281/.395/.375 slash line. That’s a remarkable drop from his short season and low A numbers…which is more of an indication of how much he was over-matching those players.
Record This Season: 17-16 2nd Place (- 0.5) Southern League North
After the departure of Jorge Soler, the focus of the Smokies will shift to the newly acquired Addison Russell and Albert Almora. Russell has been a bit slow in his adjustment to the Cubs organization, although his power has picked up. He had a 2 HR game on Sunday, which included a grand slam and drove in 6 on the day. With Soler in Iowa, Russell is the unquestioned big bat on the roster.
Record This Season: 56-48 1st Place (+2.5) PCL American North
Javy Baez had a 15 game hit streak snapped on Tuesday night, although he quickly started a new one on Wednesday night. It is, at this point, fair to say that Baez’s overall numbers this season have been driven down by early season adjustments, which were likely prolonged by a back and ankle injury. Over the last 63 games he is hitting over .300, and breaking it down to the last 10, he is hitting at a .361/.400/.639 pace. Kris Bryant, on the other hand, is a man who adjusts to no one. He is hitting .313/.392/.678 with the I-Cubs alone…and that is after a 10 game stretch, where he has slumped to mere mortal levels.