It's a new month, and that means it's again time for you to vote for the BCB Minor League Player of the Month. For the first time this season, Anthony Rizzo is not going to win. Even though he was eligible for the award, he did not have the best June on the I-Cubs this month.
We add Boise to the mix this month. I also want to remind you that this award is designed to reward performance and not who is the best prospect, although you won't find a marginal prospect among any of the candidates on this list.
The candidates are:
Iowa Cubs Third Baseman Josh Vitters: Is Vitters finally putting it all together or is this just another tease? We're not going to know the answer to that question for a while, but Vitters is finally starting to look like the player the Cubs thought they were getting when they drafted him with the third pick in the draft in 2007. Still only 22, Vitters went .324/.387/.583 with six home runs in July.
Tennessee Smokies Second Baseman Logan Watkins: Watkins finished the month with a bang, hitting a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth that won the last game of the month. It was his only home run of the month, but he was getting on base constantly as his .352/.452/.489 line attests. Watkins also stole six bases in seven attempts.
Daytona Cubs Second Baseman Ronald Torreyes: A part of Al's question "Who won the Sean Marshall trade?", Ronald Torreyes got off to a lousy start this season. But since the calendar turned to June 1, Torreyes has been the top of the order sparkplug that the Cubs were hoping that they had. Torreyes had a batting line of .330/.400/.523 in June. He's even hit three home runs in the month and scored 22 runs in 25 games.
Peoria Chiefs Shortstop Javier Baez: The Chiefs offense was dreadful in May, and much of their June turnaround comes from Baez, who just might be the top prospect in the Cubs system right now. Although he missed a couple of games with a hand injury, Baez hit .333/.409/.577 with four home runs, none of which have yet landed. Baez also stole 11 bases in 12 attempts.
Boise Hawks Third Baseman Jeimer Candelario: So now that we know it's JAY-MER, we hope it's not a name any of us will forget soon. The big switch-hitting third baseman got his US debut off with a bang, hitting .339/.391/.579 in 15 games. He's hit four home runs in those 15 games as well.
The Iowa Cubs fell behind 13-4 after five innings and their furious comeback against the Nashville Sounds (Brewers) fell one run short, 13-12.
It was a bad start for Frankie De La Cruz, who allowed nine runs on eight hits over 4.1 innings. Two of those nine runs were unearned. De La Cruz walked two, struck out two and threw three wild pitches.
Right fielder Dave Sappelt had Iowa's only home run; a solo home run in the second inning. It was Sappelt's fourth of the season. Sappelt was 1 for 3 with two walks. He walked twice.
Third baseman Josh Vitters had two more doubles in a 3 for 6 game. Vitters scored twice and batted one in. He did hit into a double play to end the game.
Center fielder Brett Jackson was 2 for 5 with a double and a triple. He also walked once and stole his 17th base of the season. Jackson had two RBI and scored twice.
First baseman Blake Lalli went 3 for 4 with a double and a walk. The double came with the bases loaded in the eighth and got the Cubs to within a run. Lalli also scored twice and had the three RBI.
Second baseman Adrian Cardenas also doubled twice in a 3 for 5 game. He walked once, scored twice and knocked one home. Shortstop Matt Tolbert was 2 for 4 with a double and a walk. He had one run and two RBI.
All eight starting position players had at least one hit. Iowa hit seven doubles, a triple and a home run.
The Tennessee Smokies were shut out by the Chattanooga Lookouts (Dodgers), 3-0.
Nick Struck was the victim of no support as he allowed two runs, only one of which was earned, over five innings. Struck surrendered five hits and three walks. He struck out two.
The Daytona Cubs lost a dogfight with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 5-3.
Matt Loosen started and took the loss. He allowed four runs on six hits over six innings. One of the four runs was unearned. Loosen walked two and struck out two.
First baseman Rebel Ridling had two doubles in a 2 for 3 game. He also walked once. Ridling scored one run and batted one in.
Center fielder Matt Szczur was 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. He also scored one run and had one RBI.
The Peoria Chiefs were mauled by the Kane County Cougars (Royals), 7-2.
Starling Peralta was the first Chiefs pitcher to go eight innings this season, but still took the loss. Peralta allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits, one of which was a solo home run. Peralta only walked one and struck out two.
Center fielder Taiwan Easterling was 3 for 3 and was hit by a pitch. He also stole his 15th base of the year.
DH Dustin Geiger was 2 for 3 and was also plunked once.
James Pugliese had his best start of the season with four shutout innings. He gave up only two hits and he didn't walk anyone. Pugliese struck out five.
Michael Heese and Eduardo Orozco each had two shutout innings of relief.
Rafael Diplan took the loss after he gave up a run in the tenth without giving up a hit. After two one-out walks, Diplan threw a wild pitch and then intentionally walked the bases loaded. A sac fly to center field ended the game. It was Diplan's first loss of the year.
Left fielder Dong-Yub Kim hit his third home run of the season in the seventh inning for the only Hawks run. He also doubled in a 2 for 4 game.
For those of you who don't follow me on Twitter (@CubsMinorsWrap), Kim now throws left-handed after being a right-handed thrower his whole life. His right arm never quite recovered from surgery in 2010 so the Cubs told him to try the left. It worked. Never heard of anything like that in baseball before. He still bats right-handed.
DH Chadd Krist was 3 for 3 with a walk. Third baseman Jeimer Candelario was 2 for 5.
Beat the Athletics 9-7 for the only minor league win of the day.
Dan Vogelbach was 4 for 5 with a triple and a home run.
Two points on Vogelbach. First, how the hell did he hit a triple? To left field no less. I'm guessing they had a big shift on and he just bunted for a triple.
The second point is that US Airways has a daily non-stop from Phoenix to Boise.