Jae-Hoon Ha (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
It was a very close vote, but you chose P.J. Francescon of the Peoria Chiefs and Daytona Cubs as your Minor League Player of the Month. So far, your choices have agreed with the official Cubs choices. I don't know if you think that means the Cubs know what they're doing now or just that the Cubs are able to anticipate what you're thinking.
It's the calm before the draft storm tonight. We'll be up with a final draft preview and open thread tomorrow at 5 pm central, before the draft starts on the MLB Network and MLB.com at six. Barring extra innings, the Cubs game in San Francisco tomorrow should be over by the time the draft starts.
The Draft Thread will be listed as a Game Thread, and there will be overflow threads just like a Game Thread. We've been concentrating on the Cubs first pick, which is the number six pick, but the Cubs also have two first round compensation picks at #43 (for Aramis Ramirez) and #56 (for Carlos Pena). So don't go away right after the sixth pick.
Until then, feel free to discuss the draft here. Baseball America's Jim Callis reports the Astros have narrowed down their choice at #1 to either Mark Appel, Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, Kevin Gausman or Albert Almora. So it could be a wild night.
Unfortunately, everyone lost today.
The Iowa Cubs were preyed upon by the Oklahoma City RedHawks (Astros), 6-5.
Brooks Raley took the ball to start the game and put the I-Cubs down early, allowing runs to score in four of the five innings he pitched. Raley allowed five total runs on nine hits, including two solo home runs to OKC's Mike Hessman. Raley walked two and struck out eight, so that was pretty good.
The I-Cubs came back to tie the game in the top of the seventh and Jeff Beliveau took the mound in the bottom of the inning. The good news was that he struck out the side. The bad news was that he sandwiched the three strikeouts around a solo home run to, you guessed it, Mike Hessman, his third of the day. Beliveau saw his record fall to 1-3.
The Tennessee Smokies turned to jelly against the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays), 3-2.
Except for the second inning, starter Nick Struck was unhittable tonight. But he gave up a solo home run and a two-run shot in the second inning, putting Tennessee down 3-2. Not only were those the only three runs the Biscuits got tonight, those were the only two hits by Montgomery. Struck pitched 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
Casey Harman was perfect in 2.1 innings of relief of Struck. Harman fanned four.
The Daytona Cubs were awed by the Ft. Myers Miracle (Twins), 4-0.
Starting pitcher P.J. Francescon went five innings and allowed four runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out two.
DH Greg Rohan led off the second inning with a single. That was the only hit the Cubs had tonight. He was 1 for 3.
The Peoria Chiefs got scratched by the Kane County Cougars (Royals), 6-5 in ten innings.
Starter Kyler Burke gave up five runs over five innings, but only two of the runs were earned. Burke allowed five hits. he walked one and struck out two.
Starling Peralta entered the game in the bottom of the tenth and retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-out triple and a game-ending single. It was Peralta's second loss this season.
Shortstop Javier Baez did not start this game for disciplinary reasons, as he swung through the take sign on that 3-0 pitch yesterday. However, he entered the game when third baseman Anthony Giansanti had to exit after taking a hard hit shot to the chest. Giansanti did recover to record the out, but he had to leave the game immediately afterwards. Baez took the first pitch he saw in the next inning and blasted it over the batting eye in center field. Chiefs broadcaster Nate Baliva said it went farther than yesterday's blast and estimated it at around 450 feet. It was a two-run home run. Baez stayed in the game and was 1 for 2.
Right fielder Oliver Zapata also hit a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was his third of the year. Zapata was 1 for 4.