While the Cubs are in Los Angeles, we'll get caught up with the minor leagues in one of our "Farm and McFleita" reports. We used to call it "Farm and Fleita," with a hat-tip toward farm boss Oneri Fleita. Since Jason McLeod has come aboard as part of the new regime, we've combined it into "Farm and McFleita."
UPDATE: This afternoon, the Cubs announced that Javier Baez and Brooks Raley have been named the organization's minor-league player and pitcher of the month for July, respectively. Baez was 39-for-106 (.368) at Class A Peoria, with 6 doubles, 3 triples, 7 homers, 20 RBI and a 1.076 OPS. The Cubs did not include Raley's 0-4 record in their news release, but he had a 2.12 ERA with 12 walks and 28 strikeouts.
Lots going on at Class AAA Iowa, and we'll expand further on Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson in our "take" for Saturday's paper. One of the cooler developments with Iowa came Wednesday, when Greg Rohan came up from Class AA Tennessee. At Iowa, he hit a pair of homers in his Triple-A debut.
"It's always good to get that first hit out of the way," Rohan told my friends at the Des Moines Register. "When it ends up being a home run, it's pretty special. I got a few good pitches to hit and took advantage of them." The Register reported that Rohan became the first Iowa Cub to homer in his first Triple-A at-bat since Eric Patterson in 2006 off Oklahoma City's R.A. Dickey, of knuckleball fame. Rohan had17 home runs in a combined 386 at-bats for Class A Daytona and Tennessee this season.
It gets better. Tennessee finished Tuesday's suspended game Wednesday. In that game, Rohan was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI. So Rohan gets credit for 2 homers and a double in two cities on the same day.
"First time I've ever done that before," he told the Register. Cool stuff.
Rohan, 26, was a 21st-rounder out of Kent State in 2009. In Thursday's 7-4 loss by Iowa to Colorado Springs, he was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double. Brooks Raley took the loss, going 6 innings and giving up 10 hits and 6 runs. He's 4-8 with a 3.62 ERA. Manager Dave Bialas has had to do lots of shuffling at Iowa, with the trades and call-ups this week. Pitcher Ty'Relle Harris was sent up to Iowa earlier this week from Class AA Tennessee for Wednesday's game.
"That's what happens, especially right at the trade deadline," Bialas told the Register. "There's a lot of movement. You know what you have and plan your game accordingly."
If there's anybody who can handle it, it's Dave Bialas. He was a big-league coach in the Jim Riggleman era, and the Cubs wisely kept him in the organization. He has managed at the old Double-A West Tenn club, where he ran a right ship.
Class AA Tennessee fell 6-1 to Pensacola. Jake Brigham, who came from Texas for Geovany Soto, took the loss, working 3 innings and giving up 5 hits and 3 runs, 2 earned. Brigham, by the way, is on the 40-man major-league roster. Logan Watkins hit his fifth homer in that game.
Speaking of newcomers Christian Villanueva hit a pair of homers in his first game for Class A Daytona Thursday, an 8-2 win over Fort Myers. Villanueva came from Texas in the Ryan Dempster deal.
The Daytona Beach News Journal reported that Villanueva homered on the third and fourth pitches he saw and that both were blasts.
"I'm really more of a gap-to-gap hitter," Villanueva told the paper. "But on every swing, I try to hit the ball hard somewhere. "The first one was a fastball that the bat hit just right. The second was a change-up, and the ball kept carrying."
Villanueva had 10 homers for Class A Myrtle Beach before joining the Cubs
"I got a call from the Cubs upstairs telling me I had a new third baseman," Daytona manager Brian Harper told the News Journal. "His credential coming in was that he is a solid hitter. I think he proved that."
Roni Torreyes, who came from the Reds in the Sean Marshall deal, hit his sixth homer. It was his sixth straight multihit game. Rob Whitenack started and went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 hits and 1 run while walking four and striking out three. He's on the mend from last year's Tommy John surgery.
Peoria (A) fell 6-4 at Quad Cities. The big story continued to be third baseman Dustin Geiger, who hit his 14th homer. The previous day, Geiger had 2 homers, 8 RBI and 10 total bases. Geiger matched the Chiefs single-game RBI record and has the most total bases (10) in any game this season for the Chiefs. The RBI record was set by Joe Jumonville at Kane County on April 14, 1995 and matched by Andy Bevins May 15, according to the Chiefs.
Starlin Peralta took the loss Thursday, working 5 innings and giving up 3 hits and 3 runs.
Boise (A) lost 15-1 to Spokane. James Pugliese was the hard-luck loser, giving up 5 runs, but no earned runs, over 5 innings. Dan Vogelbach was 2-for-4 with an RBI. He has hit safely in seven of the Hawks' last nine games.
Mesa (Rookie) beat the Angels 6-5. Anthony Prieto, drafted this year, worked 2 hitless and scoreless innings, walking two and striking out none. Jorge Soler was 1-for-4 with a double, and Albert Almora was 2-for-4 with a double and 2 runs. Ryan McNeil, also drafted this year, got the win with 2 scoreless innings of relief as he gave up 3 hits. He walked one and struck out two.