Cubs Minors Recap: Rusin sharp; Bogusevic HRs twice

Cubs Minors Recap: Rusin sharp; Bogusevic HRs twice
Bryan Bogusevic

I tried to balance my evening between watching the Blackhawks and listening to the Daytona Cubs games.

Tennessee had the day off and the Kane County game was postponed due to inclement weather.

Draft Note:  RHP Jonathan Gray signed with the Colorado Rockies for 4.8M (h/t Jim W) well below slot (by about 800K).  I don't think that number will influence Scott Boras too much in the Kris Bryant negotiations, however.

Iowa 5 - OKC 1

  • If LHP Chris Rusin keeps pitching like this it won't be long before he joins teammate Brooks Raley in the majors.  Rusin pitched 7 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 3.  Rusin moved to 5-6 with a 3.38 ERA on the year.
  • Barrett Loux pitched out of the bullpen today and struck out the side, but not before he gave up OKC's only run of the game.
  • Junior Lake had another pair of hits and scored a run and is now hitting .433 (13 for 30) in his first 8 games as an I-Cub.
  • The offensive hero of the day was Bryan Bogusevic, who hit a pair of two run HRs.  He also walked.  Bogusevic is hitting .324 with 8 HRs and came into the game with a .414 OBP and .900 OPS.

Fort Meyers 6 - Daytona 3

  • I'm still coming to grips with the new Ben Wells.  I mean, he's still the same guy in some respects: sinker/slider, change, average command...but the one big difference is the velocity is down.  It's not that power 2-seamer he had in the spring last year and now the average command isn't quite good enough since he has to locate better.  He can't get away with the kind of mistakes he used to.  It's not that Wells can't still be a major league starter, it's just that he has to take a slightly different route now.   Wells started the game with good command and looked pretty dominant for the first 3 innings.  And then the wheels came off.  Wells allowed 5 runs in the 4th and and was lifted after 3.2 innings.  Wells walked 2 and struck out 5.  Wells fell to 4-5 with 3.86 ERA
  • Larry Suarez does have some big time velocity and it may be enough for him at this level -- as it was today for 1.2 scoreless innings in which he walked 1 and struck out 2.
  • Jorge Soler doubled, singled, scored a run and drove in one.  He is hitting .282/.346/.475 on the year.
  • Chadd Krist went 2 for 3 including his first FSL HR.  He's hitting .269/.387/.385.

Fort Meyers 5 - Daytona 4

  • Matt Loosen had one of his better outings of the year but was undermined yet again by the long ball.  Loosen gave up  a 2-run HR -- the 14th HR he's given up this season -- and it was enough to tag him with the loss.  Loosen went 4 innings overall and walked 3 and struck out 6.  The walks have been the other issue with Loosen, who has 29 BBs in 39 innings pitched, a rate of 6.7 per 9 IP.
  • Big day for John Andreoli who doubled twice and singled to raise his average on the year to .319.  He also walked twice in the first game and his OBP after the double header stood at .395 to go with his slugging percentage of .412.  The two numbers put his OPS at .807 for the year and with Andreoli repeating his second season at Daytona and nothing left to prove, look for him to get promoted to AA soon with Matt Szczur moving up to AAA.
  • Javier Baez didn't get a hit, much less a HR, over the two games but he did walk 3 times.  He now has 14 walks, the same total that he had last season and has raised his OBP to .340 on the season.
  • Zeke DeVoss went 2 for 3 and hit his 3rd HR on the season.  He's hitting .231 though he has an incredible 37 walks, which put his OBP at .384 entering the second game.

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  • In a crazy way I am as glad to see 3 walks out of Baez as I was to see 4HRs
    I also do not think Gray's bonus has anything to do with Bryant's, but I do find it interesting that so many are signing early. Do you think there is any chance the Cubs avoid a deadline deal with Bryant?

  • In reply to Tide23:

    It's an earlier deadline this year but I think he'll sign a couple of weeks before that, which is to say I think he'll sign within the next two weeks.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Especially if they sign most of the other picks. If I remember correctly there was only like 5 or 6 that hadn't shown intent yet out of the top 25 picks. I'm sure it is more along the lines of he gets whatever is left without going into penalties type of thing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, I saw yesterday an article that had the white sox having signed most of their top ten draft picks already. What have you heard about the Cubs signing theirs? I am anxious to sign them and get them in camp.

  • In reply to John57:

    It's a Reinsdorf designed system -- they should sign them quickly :)

    The Cubs have a lot of players signed ,but it's not official yet. The only. We've mentioned a few in the game notes. I think Charcer Burke is now official. He's a 9th round guy, so probably not what a lot of people are looking for. He got an overslot bonus, so it turns out they really liked him. This wasn't just a punt pick to sign guys earlier.

  • I have been surprised Andreoli has stayed at Daytona this long. He was very successful there last year.

    Baez may be making pitchers be more careful and they are trying to nibble and get him to chase their offerings. Drawing walks when you are swinging a hot stick has to be a sign of development.

  • In reply to RayA:

    It did seem like he was pitched around a bit. He has to be patient now and wait for his pitch.

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    Three walks! Wooo!

    And Szczur has officially been promoted? I was hoping for big things from him this season. Glad to see it.

    Does that mean Alcantara will get promoted too? Their BA and OBP have been crazy close for seemingly all season. Obviously Alcantara has a way better SLG but as long as Matt is hitting leadoff I'm not especially concerned with big power.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Is it reasonable to think they may wait to call up Szczur up to AAA until they've traded Dejesus or Schierholz, and they're able to call up Bugosovic? I'd love to see them promote Alcantara around then too. It's not like he's got somebody to block him at SS at AAA. Gives them roughly another month to get some ABs. Maybe after that happens you see Baez move up to take Alcantara's spot if he continues to show thus drastic improvement. I would be totally fine if they left Alcantara at AA awhile longer to give Baez more time to improve where he'd roughly have played a shade under a full season at Daytona. My thought is no sense in rushing these guys when we're not really playing for too much right now, especially when we're talking about our top prospects.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    And to follow up that long-winded rant, which I apologize for, maybe after the subsequent promotions of Szczur and Andreoli we see Almora promoted to Daytona to play w Soler for a bit? They did promote Baez at 19 to challenge him more, and if he keeps raking for another month or so I could see that scenario playing out as well.

    Again, sorry for the rants. Just something I have been kicking around a bit, and something for you guys to chew on.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    Jae-Hoon Ha should be returning from injury very shortly. He has spent more time in AA, is younger, has a better arm, has a better AVG/OBP/OPS, has slightly more power, and is slightly better defensively than Szczur. I hope they promote him first.

    Szczur runs much better and may have a slightly higher ceiling, if he can change his swing, but he hasn't really been able to do that so far.

    Okay, my rant about Ha being the better player than Szczur is over.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    At minimum what I have read, both Ha & Szczur have the potential to be a nice 4th OF in the majors.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I can totally see where you're coming from, and while I like Ha, I much prefer to see Szczur get the call first because he has a better chance of being an impact player for the Cubs, and lets be honest, the Cubs need all the impact players they can get. I disagree with you about Ha being the better offensive player too. If you look at Ha's season last year, .273/.352/.385/.737 and Szczur this year's line is .288/.359/..383/.743, so those are very comparable. I'll give Ha the edge defensively though.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    Give Ha a chance to come back and get the rust off before you compare him and Szczur. I am not sure Ha has the edge defensively. He has better instincts but Szczur has better speed. Do they balance out? I don't know. On the basepaths and SBs Szczur has the edge. To be truthful I like them both.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    Szczur hasn't even been an impact player at AA, though. I see no reason to rush his promotion when he hasn't even shown he can be average offensively in that league.

    As for Alcantara, that's a bit of a tricky situation. He's young for his league and he's still struggling defensively. I think when he gets up to AAA, they'll move him over to 2B, but if they move him up this year what do you do with Logan Watkins? If you move Baez up to AA and then Alcantara over 2B at AA, what do you do with Torreyes?

    I think Alcantara spends almost all of the year in AA and maybe gets a cup of coffee at AAA if Logan Watkins joins the big club after the upcoming exodus. If the Cubs want to call up Baez, they should bring Baez up, move Alcantara to 2B and then move Torreyes down to Daytona to get reps.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Not that I disagree with anything you're saying in your second and third paragraphs. I can totally see them being extremely patient with Alcantara and Baez, and leave them where they are for a while longer this year. Also, if I'm not mistaken Watkins is versatile enough to play all over the field, and could play SS if they wanted to start playing Alcantara at 2B.

    I don't know if I agree you saying that Szczur isn't an impact player. The guy is batting almost .290 with an OBP of .350+ and wreaks havoc on the base paths. He may not have a ton of pop, but when you're batting leadoff you don't need to, not to mention he's at least solid in the field. I would consider that an impact player... at least for the AA level. Now, I'm not saying any of this will translate to the big leagues, but we could definitely use a true leadoff hitter that can get on base, and swipe bags.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    Wreaks havoc on the basepaths is a pretty strong statement, his SB% is average. Alcantara has a basically the same AVG/OBP, but has a better SLG and better SB% than Szczur. And he at least has a chance to do it as a middle infielder. If anyone in the minors is a future leadoff hitter for the Cubs its Alcantara.

    I do agree Szczur has a chance to be an everyday player and leadoff hitter in the majors. I just think the chance is small. And even if he does reach that ceiling, he won't be an impact guy, rather just an average starter at best. His ceiling is basically a right handed Julio Borbon, with a better eye at the plate.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    He's an aggressive baserunner, takes the extra base, and his SB rate is generally pretty good, though he did get caught a couple of times recently to lower that rate. At any rate, that's not the measurement of a baserunner. It's the measurement of a base stealer, which is only part of the baserunning equation. His speed score on Fangraphs, for example, is well above average at 6.4 and it's not even been his best year on the basepaths.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Agree with TulaneCubs. Szczur hasn't shown to be an impact player at any level of the minors. He does possess better speed and in theory projects to be better in CF than Ha, but he lacks the arm to play RF as well as Ha. Since I do not think ither guy makes it as a starter in the bigs, I prefer Ha given that he can be an average or better defender at all three OF spots while Szczur is more of a CF/LF only guy.

    At the plate, they are more or less a wash. Szczur most definitely has the speed advantage, but he is not a Campana like speedster either. I guess it depends on preference for what you want out of a backup. I prefer the more versatile defender that has a chance to develop a little more pop in his bat in Ha. If you want a guy that can come in and steal a base late, than Szczur is your guy. I've always been in the camp that SBs are overrated.

    Alcantara should spend all year at AA. No reason to rush him given his lack a home on defense right now. I want them to plant Alcantara at 2B the rest of the year and see if he can figure it out. It may impede Torreyes's development a little, but Torreyes is young enough he can repeat AA next year and play 2B all next year. And in the meantime this year they can throw him over at SS a few days a week, and then spot him at 2B and DH to get him enough at bats.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Yeah, like I said, I don't necessarily disagree with any of your points. It's just fun to kick around ideas and scenarios or points. I am just excited to see how things play out as the promotions start to happen, and see how the rest of this minor league season shakes out. I am loving seeing the steady progress of Baez, consistency of Soler and Alcantara emerging as a top 100 prospect in all of baseball. My only hope is that some of these pitchers like Underwood and Blackburn show out in Boise.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I disagree with both of you because you seem to look for promotions for reasons that are largely irrelevant.

    First of all, Szczur is not a below average offensive player, as Tulane stated. His wOBA of .345 is above average -- this is a stat the Cubs likely use since they employ it's inventor. His RC+, another advanced metric that measures all-around production, is also well above average at 118. So that's not accurate by any reasonable criteria.

    What you think he projects as is irrelevant. What matters is his experience at a level, his age, and his production. I explained the production above, but as far as experience, he is now over 400 PAs at the AA level and will likely be close to 500 by the time they make a decision. He's also 23 and will be 24 in July.

    So, whether the Cubs project him as a starter or reserve doesn't matter. Even if the Cubs project him as a reserve, then he's ready to move up as a player who projects as a reserve.

    And if that's your argument, what he projects as -- what do you think Ha projects as?

    I do see Ha as likely to get a promotion once he's healthy and gets his timing back but long term he's also likely an extra outfielder who will mostly provide defense at the MLB level.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Impact player, however you define it, is irrelevant when it comes to promoting players.

    And .345 wOBA and 118 RC+ is comfortably above average last time I checked.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    They may both get promoted, but it seems to me Ha needs to spend some time rehabbing and getting his feet under him than getting promoted to a higher league after so much time off.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I see it more as a factor of things like age, the repetition of a level, and production, with prospect status not really a strong consideration. Alcantara hasn't had a complete season at any level because of injuries. He's only 21. I think the Cubs keep him there the whole season, or close to it. I also think the same thing of Javier Baez.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, do you think that whenever they are ready to promote Alcantara and Baez, would it be safe to think that they might promote Soler around the same time just so he and Baez continue to play together? I can see them promoting him, or keeping him down there longer to keep him getting acclimated to the U.S. Florida is probably the closest thing to Cuba he'll see while he's in the minors. So maybe a little extra seasoning down there could be good for him.

  • In reply to Jamato:

    I think Soler may get promoted before both of those players. I think Alcantara and Baez spend the whole year at their levels, except for maybe a taste toward the end of the year.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    This was why I slotted Soler #1 when we were discussing the prospect rankings recently. I just think he's closer to the MLB club. The combination of his approach, age, production, and the fact that he's already on the 40-man roster.

    Baez would have to force his way up early, which is entirely possible; just not as likely.

  • In re Wells' velocity, in your opinion, is it largely a foregone conclusion that 2-3 mph loss is forever lost?

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    If its not back by now, the chances are he doesn't get it back until after he blows out his arm completely and has surgery.

    Then we get to hear the amazing, "and now he is throwing harder than he did before surgery" story, when he would actually simply be regaining the velocity lost while he was in the process of shredding his elbow.

  • In reply to Good Captain:

    I would have expected it to come back by now but he pretty much peaks in the low 90s now, which is where he used to sit, while peaking in the mid 90s.

    Can't ever rule it out completely but I'm not counting on it coming back and if it does, it's a huge bonus.

  • Anyone know what Bruno's injury is and his expected return?

  • If Szczur is promoted to AAA, it would seem to create a logjam of CFer types. Ha is probably a better defender and neither hits enough to be corner outfielders.

    I sure wish the Cubs could do some type of deal with Hairston to the Mets and DeJesus to the Royals...both teams need these retreads now...and the Cubs could use the space to bring up Bog and let Sweeney play more.

  • In reply to RayA:

    The Mets are 12 games out of the NL East. No chance they're buyers and try and trade for Hairston.

    But the good news is the Royals have been on a nice little run, so they're back in shouting distance in the AL Central.

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    Bogusevic probably deserves another shot in the majors, I just don't think it will be with the Cubs, barring major roster turnover.

    We are already a little heavy with outfielders on the 40-man; I don't see him getting action barring the trade/DFA of at least 2 players from the ML roster. He might be better than Julio Borbon, but Julio might get edge with his ability to play CF and steal bases.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    My question is does Bogusevic have an opt out date on his contract like most guys that have had major league contracts? If he does then it will probably accelerate any movement in our OF'er to make sure we do not loose him for nothing.

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    In reply to Rich Hood:

    Don't know, good question. Not sure what the cut-off is. We definitely had a deadline with Sweeney, but he had alot more service time under his belt

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    John, do you have info that Szczur will be promoted soon?

    Because he's on 40-man, and we have a gaping hole in CF at the ML level, it may be a good idea to promote to AAA, to lay the groundwork for a move to ML in 2014.

    I'm sure Cubs were holding back a bit too in order to get B-Jax more action in CF, but he doesn't look like he'll be helping us anytime soon......if he doesn't improve alot, he'll cease to be a prospect

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Not meaning to interrupt, and not speaking for John. As well being a novice on a site with many educated people, I do however want to offer my thought. Szczur is around 90 + PA away from the time he was promoted to TN last year. Another month or so he will be at that amount or there abouts. This puts us in mid July. Thus approaching the trading deadline. Pretty sure we can count on some movement from the FO at that time.

    Having said that, and again with no inside knowledge, I feel about a month or so for Szczur to make the leap. As for Jackson, he can play corner as well, or could be possible trade material. Maybe Jackson at this point would benefit a change in organzations.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    I agree with that time frame.

  • John where/how are you able to listen to the Daytona games?

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    In reply to GoFreakingCubs:

    you can go to their website and stream it from there

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    John - I'm sure you've probably been asked this before but does Andreoli project at all as a major leaguer? 5th outfielder maybe

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    5th OF'er is about right. He can play all 3. He has good speed, can get on base. But he's a singles hitter and those guys don't usually start -- especially when their best defensive position is LF.

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    Hey John, a friend of mine was listening to the DCubs game and told me the announcer said, "Come get your autograph from #12 this week, because he'll be a Smokie by next week!"
    Did you hear anything like that?
    P.S. It's Fort Myers

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I don't think so. Lots still to work on. I think he's just starting to click at A ball. He's learning to make adjustments at that level. I think to move him up now is setting him up for failure.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree, just wondering if you had heard that when listening to the game...

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I actually missed it. I tried to mult-task but pay special attention when Baez, Soler were up.

  • I am glad to see Baez be patient and get 3 walks when they aren't giving him anything to hit. 3 HRs are better than 3 walks but you can't do that if they don't pitch to you.

    Good to see Soler get a couple knocks too.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think that's the key here. I don't really think getting 3 walks in a day isn't really any more meaningful than getting 4 HRs in a day from a raw numbers standpoint, but it is good to see him being patient when he's being pitched around.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Why would any minor league pitcher pitch around any hitter? You're there to develop and show your organization what you are capable of and you're not going to do that by pitching around anybody. So what if he hit 4 hr's the previous day, I would still want my pitchers to pitch him straight up and see what they're made of.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    When you are in a game, you are there to compete too. Development doesn't necessarily mean making your pitcher a sacrificial lamb. Learning to pitch carefully to a red-hot power hitter is a skill too, is it not? It's certainly something pitchers do at the MLB level, so why wouldn't that be part of the game at the minor league level? So yeah, he'll get pitched around. Nobody wants to give up HRs at any level and might as well test Baez and see if he'll chase pitches off the plate and get himself out. Kudos to Baez for showing discipline.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Pitching to a red hot power hitter is a skill and they should be working on it but I don't think they're necessarily working on it if they're pitching around him. I don't think you're making your pitcher a sacrificial lamb either but you do need him to learn how and when to challenge hitters. I'm just saying that as a minor league coach (or even a player) I wouldn't want the pitcher to give out the unintentional intentional walk. Challenge the hitters and learn from it. Treat every AB the same regardless of the players past success and try to build your own success. Maybe you'll be the guy that stuck out the guy who just hit 4 dingers the night before and maybe you'll be the guy that gets rocked by that same guy, but at least you challenged him.

  • In reply to Zachary Myers:

    There's a time to challenge hitters and a time not to. Better learn that now than at the MLB level. I think it's better to learn how to use your stuff, not use a low 90s fastball to challenge a hitter who can eat that kind of stuff for breakfast. I'm not sure what he would learn from that.

    I'm not saying they tried to walk him. I'm just saying it appeared they were trying to be careful, tried to get him to chase pitches, tried to get him to hit pitcher's pitches. The pitcher tried to get him out, but he wasn't about to challenge him with a fastball up in the zone. Even MLB pitchers won't be able to consistently get away with that with Baez.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    But I am glad to see Baez taking those walks like he should be. So good for him showing that discipline.

  • John,

    What I find really encouraging about Soler is, based upon what you report in your daily minors recap, he CONSISTENTLY contributes to the offense. There aren't very many days when he has added nothing. He seems to always be there and not up-and-down like a rollercoaster. Wouldn't that indicate that he is ready for that next level?

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Yes and no. Their are parts of his game that are still inconsistent and the most notable part of that is his power. It comes and goes. That part of his game isn't fully developed yet. Even though he's one of the Cubs top power prospects, it's not as advanced as Baez's power.

  • Today, this team is third worst in the majors. The sooner we start dealing, the better.

    I'd be thrilled to see Bogusevic get a promotion - he's done everything a guy can do. Borbon, Sweeney and Bogusevic are all serviceable lefty outfielders to hold down spots or sit on the bench as our next crop of players mature. We got them for nothing - that's the best part.

    I think we're seeing the downslope of Soriano's career, as expected. No way he could improve on last year. I would take anything for him now. I might even waive him. I feel like Sweeney can equal his production today. And DeJesus? Love the way he plays, but he simply cannot hit a lefty, and Borbon/Bogusevic have more speed.

    The above three guys are ready and waiting for more playing time. The impact will be negligible on the offense for a team that looks to take hold of that #3 pick. There, I said it already. What are we waiting for?

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I pretty much agree with all of this, but now it's a matter of trying to find takers.

  • It's difficult not to be impatient for changes, but there won't be much happening for another 6weeks probably. One gets tired of losing with the same players. Still when prospects are ready we have plenty of movable pieces at the major league a level.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think the prospect depth really makes it easy to trade --- not that they weren't going to do it anyway, but I do think it makes it easier to move things along.

  • Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 18m
    Yes. Cardinals still very strong as well, despite losing talent to ML level. RT @ohnemusj @ProfessorParks #Cubs have to be top 5 don't they?

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 5m
    #Cubs system is very legit: Bryant (he will sign); Baez, Almora, Soler, Vogelbach, Johnson, Alcantara, etc. They have a lot of talent.

    Jason Parks ‏@ProfessorParks 3m
    He's a natural DH; not a problem to worry about yet. RT @tbg9 @ProfessorParks Where else can Vogelbach play if Rizzo is in front of him?

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Thanks. That's some great stuff from Parks!

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