Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wroad to Wrigley Wednesday - 2015 Iowa Cubs Part 3

In this weekly series, I break down some of the minor league team sets I've picked up along the way.

In that first write up for the 2015 Iowa Cubs team set, I showed off the coaches, trainers (cards 1-5) and the mascot (card #36). Last week, I had cards 6-15. Today we're going with cards 16-25.

#16 Junior Lake

Junior Lake signed with the Cubs as a free agent in 2007 before turning 17. Working his way up the system, Lake made his MLB debut in July 2013 and got off to a fast start with 15 hits in his first 7 games. When Alfonso Soriano was traded at the end of the month, Lake finished out the season as the starting left fielder. He didn't fair as well in 2014, despite being the Opening Day starter, batting just .211, with 9 home runs and 25 RBIs in 108 games.

Lake bounced back and forth between Iowa and Chicago in 2015 before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the end of July. He finished the season split between Baltimore and their AAA affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. He was designated for assignment in December and claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. He opened the 2016 season in AAA with the Buffalo Bisons.

#17 Matt Szczur
Matt Szczur was selected by the Cubs in the 5th round of the 2010 draft. He made his Cubs debut in August 2014 and finished the season with the big league club. He split time between Iowa and Chicago in 2014 and made the team out of Spring Training to start 2016. Mostly coming off the bench, Szczur is batting .367 with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs this year, including a pinch hit grand slam on April 29th. Unfortunately, he just went on the 15 day DL.
#18 Christian Villanueva

Speaking of the DL, Christian Villanueva just got moved to the 60-Day DL to make room for Ryan Kalish on the 40 man roster, who replaced Matt Szczur on the 25 man roster. Villanueva broke his fibula in Spring Training.

HE came to the Cubs organization with Kyle Hendricks in a 2012 trade with the Texas Rangers where the Cubs gave up Ryan Dempster. A corner infielder, unfortunately when he's healthy again, he'll be blocked in Chicago by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.

#19 Eric Jokisch

Eric Jokisch is best known to me as throwing a no-hitter for the AA Tennessee Smokies a few years back. He had a cup of coffee back with the Cubs in 2014, appearing in 4 games for no record and 1.88 ERA.

He was claimed off waivers by the Marlins a couple of weeks back and is currently assigned the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs.

#20 Donn Roach
Earning an even smalled cup of coffee with the Cubs was Donn Roach. He was pulled up from Iowa to make a spot start last season and then promptly returned to AAA.

He didn't clear waivers and was selected by the Reds. Just a few weeks later, he was selected off waivers by the Blue Jays. He was granted free agency in the off season and signed with the Seattle Mariners for 2016. He is currently with their AAA affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers.

#21 Brian Schlitter

The Cubs acquired Brian Schlitter from the Phillies way back in 2008 for Scott Eyre. He pitched 8 innings of relief in 7 appearance during his MLB debut season in 2010. He toiled away in the minors for a few seasons before reemerging in 2014 with the Cubs, pitching in 61 games, trailing only Justin Grimm in appearances. He spent most of 2015 in Iowa, mixing in 10 appearances with the major league club. Schlitter signed with the Rockies in the offseason and is currently playing for the Albuquerque Iostopes.

#22 Carl Edwards, Jr.

Carl Edwards, Jr. (formerly CJ, currently AKA The String Bean Slinger) joined the Cubs in 2013 when the Cubs traded Matt Garza for Edwards, Mike Olt and Justin Grimm. He has consistently been ranked among the top 25-50 prospects in baseball the past few years. Edwards made 5 appearances last season as a September call up and is currently back with Iowa.

#23 Gonzalez Germen

The Cubs selected Gonzalez Germen off waivers prior to the start of the 2015 season. He pitched 6 innings of relief before being claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies, where he currently plays.

#24 Dallas Beeler

Dallas Beeler was drafted by the Cubs in 2010. He made his Cubs debut in June 2014 against the Washington Nationals. Despite breaking up a no hitter in his first at bat (in the 3rd inning, haha) there was no run support from the offense and Beeler took the loss, giving up just 1 unearned run in 6 IP. Beeler started the 2016 season on the DL.

#25 Rafael Lopez

Rafael Lopez was drafted in 2011. He made his MLB debut as a September call up in 2014, appearing in six games off the bench and one start. He was traded to the Angels in July 2015 and finished his season with the Salt Lake Bees. Lopez signed with the Tigers in January 2016 and was released in early April. He is currently playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish in the independent Atlantic League.

Next week, I'll have the final 10 cards from the set.


  1. I believe Rafael Lopez is back in affiliated ball now. Pretty sure I read that he just signed with the Reds, in light of the Devin Mesoraco injury. Love these write ups!

    1. Thanks!

      And good catch on Lopez. I saw the headline but didn't make the connection between Rafael and "Raffy" which is what he seems he goes by now.

  2. I hope Schlitter's career doesn't end up in the toilet. (sorry, it's a funny name)