Cubs minor league update

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Cubs minor league update

On the heels of their first three-game sweep of the season the Cubs have finally given their fans something to cheer about, at least for the time being. But the front office focus should not deviate from their plans for the future. Here is how Cubs minor league standouts fared this week.

Anthony Rizzos onslaught on opposing pitching continued this past week as he raised his season average 10 points up to .354 by going 9-for-21 (.429) on the week. Along with hitting for a solid average Rizzo added three more home runs and seven RBIs to his season total. His consistent approach at the plate coupled with unparalleled power produced a ridiculous 1.175 OPS and Rizzo now leads the Pacific Coast League in OPS (1.128), SLG (.713), and HR (17). He is also third in RBIs (46), and top 10 in AVG (.354).

Brett Jackson finally showed signs of improvement last week as he went 8-for-23 (.347) with two triples, a homerun, and five RBIs. This was the first week this month that Jackson has hit over .300. Jackson also swiped two bags showing off some of his great athleticism. The rest of the season is going to be an great challenge for the North Side hopeful, but with a few consecutive weeks of production, no one will ever remembered his rough start to the month of May even happened.

Tennessee AA standout Junior Lake had a rather pedestrian week at the plate as he managed to go 8-for-28 (.285) with a homer and only one RBI. Lake had trouble finding his way on base this week (OBP .283), which did not help a Smokies team in desperate need of wins (1-6 on the week). Although Lakes average still sits above .300 the Smokies are going to need to see better production out of what many consider a top five Cubs prospect.

Smokies right-hander Trey McNutt made one start last week and he tossed five innings allowing two runs on five hits with only one strikeout. McNutt did pitch his way out of a number of jams he got himself into but ultimately the two runs were enough to credit him with the loss. He is now 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 2.88.

Daytona Cubs first baseman Greg Rohan caught fire last week. He was 7-for-19 (.368) with six RBIs. Rohan showed the ability to spray hits to all parts of the field including over the fence as he homered in three consecutive games. This is nothing new for the 26-year-old righty, who has been providing solid run support for the Single-A affiliate all season long. In fact, he is leading the Florida State league in RBIs (45). Rohan can count on a promotion if he continues to produce at this accelerated level.

Matt Loosen made only one start last week but he made the most of it. Loosen was locked in surrendering only one run on four scattered hits. He struck out seven in his six innings of work, and improved his record to 2-1. Loosen also managed to give up no walks on his way to helping his club snap a three-game losing streak.

Last week Javier Baez received a long awaited call. The Peoria Chiefs added the Cubs first round pick of 2011 to their roster and in his first performance he did not disappoint. Baez went 2-for-4 and appeared comfortable both at the plate and in the field. The 19-year-old is ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs number two prospect in the entire organization. This talented youngster will be a solid addition for a Peoria club struggling to find run production and wins.

Joe Musso contributed to this report.

Recruiting News and Notes: Mitch Lewis' recruiting stock soaring

Recruiting News and Notes: Mitch Lewis' recruiting stock soaring

Mitch Lewis (TE), Naperville North

Naperville North senior three-star ranked tight end Mitch Lewis (6-foot-6, 215 pounds) has seen his overall recruiting stock soar over the past month, as he's now touting 10 verbal scholarship offers and has more interest growing by the day.

"It's been a pretty wild last week or two," Lewis said. "It just seems like a lot of schools decided to offer me. It all came out of nowhere to be honest and it feels pretty amazing."

Lewis has added several of his 10 offers over the past few weeks and ran down his list of offers.

"I have offers now from Hawaii, Wyoming, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, South Dakota, Missouri State, Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Northern Iowa," Lewis said. "Also Iowa, Penn State and Purdue have also been in touch weekly, and both Iowa and Penn State are coming to watch one of my basketball games this week. I have a feeling some of the Big Ten schools are getting closer to offering me."

Lewis, who made his first official visit to Wyoming back in November is planning to set more official visits in January.

Joshua Maize (DE), Deerfield

Deerfield senior three-star ranked defensive end Joshua Maize (6-foot-4, 230 pounds) has switched up his planned official visit schedule, and he will make his first official visit this weekend.

"I'm making my first official visit to UConn this weekend," Maize said. "I was suppose to go to Miami of Ohio last weekend but they wanted me to reschedule. I was suppose to go to Miami of Ohio last weekend but they wanted me to reschedule since I was the only recruit scheduled to visit."

So what is Maize looking for when he visits UConn?

"I'm just looking forward to seeing the campus and the surrounding area," Maize said. "I've never been out East before so I want to see what UConn has to offer. I'm also looking forward to getting to know the coaches and the guys on the team. UConn also is supposed to have great facilities and I'm excited to see the different facilities along with the overall environment at UConn."

Maize has also drawn late recruiting interest from a handful of schools.

"Syracuse has been showing a lot more interest," Maize said. "They have a few offers out to Juco kids so they are waiting to see what happens. Syracuse wants me to make an official visit in January. I'm also talking weekly with Toledo and Central Michigan. I'm sure I'll set more visits in January but for now my focus is on UConn this weekend."

[MORE: The 2016 Edgy Tim All-State Team]

Nick Marozas (OL), Brother Rice

Brother Rice junior offensive linemen Nick Marozas (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) added his first scholarship on Monday from Minnesota.

"Getting my first offer from Minnesota feels great," Marozas said. "It was a bit of a surprise. I talked to one of the coaches on Monday morning and then later in the day they called my coaches at school then they offered me a scholarship."

Marozas visited Minnesota earlier this fall and came away impressed with the Gophers.

"I visited Minnesota last month for the Homecoming game against Purdue," Marozas said. "I had a chance to talk to the coaches at Minnesota on that visit and that went well. I liked the campus, the facilities and the stadium. Minnesota is just a great program and school and it's pretty exciting to get my first offer from a great Big Ten program."

Marozas has drawn interest from Minnesota along with Syracuse, Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Navy. Marozas plans to make a mid January unofficial visit to Syracuse.

Alec Palczewski (OT), Prospect

Prospect senior offensive tackle Alec Palczewski (6-foot-6, 270 pounds) has seen his recruiting stock soar late this fall. Palczewski, who added his first offer from Illinois a few weeks ago, now has added offers from the Fighting Illini along with Vanderbilt and Syracuse. Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana have also started to take interest in Palczewski.

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

Rick Hahn: White Sox 'still thoroughly, deeply engaged' in trade talks as meetings close

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The White Sox have a pair of relievers to dangle and have become increasingly busier with two of three free-agent closers off the board.

Prior to leaving the Winter Meetings on Thursday, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was asked if a pool of relievers including closer David Robertson and setup man Nate Jones had drawn much interest.

Having already traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton, it’s believed the White Sox are willing to part with most anyone if the price is right. It sounds as if that possibility has improved after the Yankees’ late night signing of Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday, two days after the San Francisco Giants signed Mark Melancon. With only Kenley Jansen still left in free agency and due a big salary, Robertson, who has two years and $25 million left on his deal, could solve several teams’ relief needs. Jones is also a draw with potentially five years left on his current team-friendly deal, which includes two club options and one mutual option for 2021.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“We’ve had a lot of interesting conversations on a number of different fronts involving are players,” Hahn said. “And yes, we still have reliever pieces and starting pieces that are appealing to various teams throughout the league. I don’t think anything is going to happen between now and the time I go pick up my bags and head to the airport. But still thoroughly engaged, deeply engaged on a number of different fronts.”

Despite adding five pitchers and two position players through their first two moves, the White Sox still have a long list of desires. That list potentially includes a long-term starting catcher and another big bat among others.