Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant, Baez continue to play well but pitchers struggle today

Tom and I are going to try and bring home a series win today at Wrigley, so there will be no further posts until sometime after the game, but feel free to use board for any other topic.

A little late today as I went out to have a drink and then a late dinner with the wife so let's get started with the recap...

New Orleans 3 - Iowa 0

  • About the only thing you can say about this game is that the I-Cubs got good pitching performances from two relatively new pitchers  The first was Justin Grimm who went 7 strong innings without walking a batter -- which is a huge key for him -- and striking out 8.  He also gave up just 4 hits.  Unfortunately the first was a solo HR, which was enough to lose the game all by itself, and then a single and double to start the next inning led to two more.
  • LHP Zach Rosscup struck out the side once again, allowing just one hit.  In 3.2 innings, he has 10 strikeouts.  Ridiculous.  Only one out he's recorded has not come via a strikeout.

Chattanooga 6 - Tennessee 4

  • LHP Eric Jokisch was solid once again, though the results weren't quite as good as his previous two outings.  He worked 6.1 innings and walked just one while striking out 5.  Jokisch actually had a one-hitter through 5 innings but the flipside to that is that the other 5 hits were bunched together in the 6th and 7th, leading to 4 runs, 3 of them earned.  Jokisch may have just run out of gas after some long outings, including a no-hitter, which was not just a complete game, but one where the intensity was greater than usual.  Whatever the reason, he's been pitching well with his 89-92 mph fastball (though I hear it's been on the higher range of that lately) and excellent circle change.  He's 10-11 with a 3.54 ERA (3.74 FIP) with a strikeout rate of  7.8/9 IP and 3.3 walks per 9 IP.  Ideally, you want to see him get those walks down (he even walked 4 in his no-hitter) because he's not an overpowering pitcher, but overall it's been another good season for the lefty out of Northwestern.
  • So Javier Baez didn't do anything dramatic, no walk-off HR, but he did double and walk, so he still managed to contribute.  He did strikeout twice, something he hasn't done a lot of in the past month or so.  The K rate is still at 29%, but the walk brought his rate up to 9.1% at Tennessee.  He's hitting .294/.358/.631 for a career high OPS of .989.
  • The always productive 1B Justin Bour went 2 for 3 with a walk, RBI, and run scored.
  • 3B Christian Villanueva doubled in a run and is hitting .269/.324/.475 on the season.

Brevard County 10 - Daytona 2

  • Well, you didn't think Ivan Pineyro was going to pitch like Greg Maddux forever, did you?  Acquired for reserve outfielder Scott Hairson, Pineyro had been brilliant since joining the Cubs but today hitters got to him to the tune of 8 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings.  He also walked two and struck out 4.   It was Pineyro's first loss as he fell to 2-1 and his ERA rose to 3.18.
  • Speaking of new additions to the team, Dan Vogelbach continues to contribute since making a big splash with a HR in his 2nd AB.  The big 1B, who was the DH today, singled and walked twice, scoring runs twice.  He's hitting .304/.385/.478 in his first 7 days.
  • Kris Bryant went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI and he's hitting .364/.364/.682 since his promotion.  Not a bad shot in the arm between those two for Daytona's title hopes.

Kane County 7 - Clinton 6

  • LHP Michael Heesch was solid in 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs, though he did walk 3 while striking out just one.  Heesch got a no-decision and stayed at 3-9 with a 3.78 ERA.  Despite wavering a bit lately, his control has been solid (2.7 walks per 9 IP), but he hasn't missed bats (4.5 Ks per 9 IP).  What he's done well is dominate LH hitters with a FB that shows some arm-side run, posting a 1.65 ERA and limiting those hitters to a lot of weak contact (.165 average).  His K rate is also higher at 6.4 per 9 IP.
  • Closer Michael Hamman rebounded from his worst outing of the season to pitch 1.2 scoreless innings and pick up the win when Kane County rallied to win the game late.  Hamman is 2-3 with a 1.13 and features a good FB in the 91-94 range, peaking at 95.
  • The Cougars got contributions up and down their lineup today.  He's slumped a little recently but Oliver Zapata has filled in when needed all season and today went 2 for 3 with a walk, run scored, and an RBI.
  • 1B Rock Shoulders doubled, singled, and walked twice.  He drove in a run and scored twice.  Shoulders has become the full-time 1B with Vogelbach's promotion and the team's main source of HR power, however, he has struggled in August.  He's hit just .217 without a HR.  Another curious split for Shoulders, he's hit 100 points higher at home (.307) vs. on the road (.202).
  • C Carlos Escobar drove in 2 runs with a double while 3B Giuseppe Papaccio went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Tri-City 11 - Boise 0

  • 15th round pick Michael Wagner has cooled off after a hot start.  He went 3 innings and was in trouble throughout, allowing 6 hits, walking 2, and allowing 3 runs.  He fell to 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA.
  • Juan Paniagua was even less effective in his 3 innings.  He also allowed 6 hits and once again struggled with his control (3 walks).  He gave up 6 runs (4 earned) and his Boise ERA soared to 6.48.
  • 8th round pick LHP Sam Wilson pitched 2 innings and walked 2 and allowed 2 more runs to round out a tough day for the Hawks pitchers.  Wilson has been very effective all season so you know it was just one of those days.  Even after the sub par performance, Wilson still has a 1.56 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 17.1 innings.
  • Not much to say on offense other than it's good to see SS Carlos Penalver stay hot.  2 more hits rose his season average to .257 after a disastrous start.

AZL Cubs 9 - AZL Reds 7

  •  Erick Leal got off to a rough start, surrending 3 doubles to start the game and 4 hits and 3 run overall in the first inning.  He showed some poise for a young kid and quickly settled down to pitch 4 scoreless innings of one-hit ball the rest of the way.  That was key to limit the damage and eat up a few more innings because the Cubs would stage a late comeback to win the game.  Leal walked one and struck out 6 overall.  He has a 2.98 ERA with an even better FIP of 2.16.  He has struck out 9.93 batters per 9 innings while showing good control with just 1.19 walks/9IP.
  • Luis Villaba picked up the win with 2 outstanding innings, striking out 6 batters.  The outing dropped his ERA to 1.99 on the season.
  • I'm really liking the top of this lineup with 9th round pick Charcer Burks and Jeffrey Baez providing a good combo of OBP and speed at the top.  Each got two hits, stole a base and scored a run.  For Burks it was his 6th SB of the year and he's hitting .273 with a .343 OBP.  Baez is hitting .291 with a .360 OBP and 22 sBs in 25 attempts.

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  • I mainly pay attention to Tenn on down but had to look up the numbers and how we acquired Rosscup, whoaaa. What is his outlook. Possible SP or RP kind of like Perkins?

  • In reply to Buzz:

    He's not an SP, definitely an RP. He was the "throw-in" in the Matt Garza deal. Throws a big curve that's a swing and miss pitch and a 90-91 mph FB that he throws with a lot of deception. Hitters react as if he's throwing 96-97 mph.

    The key for him is being able to throw the curve for strikes because more advanced hitters may lay off of it and wait for the FB, which would limit it's effectiveness.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Beat me to it.....another lefty I can think of that relied on a great curve (with middling FB) to get strikeouts was Rich Hill. And that also shows what happens if you lose command of that curve.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Good one. Some definite similarities between the two. I think Rosscup gets more swings and misses with his FB than Hill did (though I don't have data on that), but he does need to throw that curve for strikes to keep hitters honest.

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    In reply to Buzz:

    John has commented alot on Rosscup in the past; not great stuff, but a very deceptive delivery confuses batters. His ceiling is probably strictly as a LOOGY (a lefty specialist you bring in just to face lefties)

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    It looks like Ha and Rosscup are going to make the Cubs place them on the 40-man...both are playing well, and are close enough to majors they would probably get taken.

    Grimm is still a starting candidate for next year; I keep forgetting about him, but he has better stuff than Rusin, and was successful for the Rangers early in the season

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Really starting to get that feeling. Ha has complicated the issue because he can definitely play in the bigs next year as an extra OF'er or perhaps even a starter on a team that needs a good defensive CF'er. There's a few teams for whom I can see him getting a shot at the CF job.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    How good is his CF defense? I understand he is fundamentally sound (like almost all OF from Asia, BTW, not sure why that is), does he have the arm/range for CF?

    He seems to make OK contact, and draw a few walks, just doesn't have alot of power.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    In a sense he's like Almora because he doesn't do it with pure speed, he does it with great instincts. He gets great jumps, reads the ball well and takes efficient routes. His arm will play well above average in CF. You can even put him in right and that arm would be fine. He's not as good as Almora overall, but he can be very good. Dave McKay raved about it last spring.

    His offense isn't going to be a plus. He can draw some walks but won't hit for a very high average or much power to go with it. Nor will he create runs on the bases with his legs, though he is a good baserunner. His value comes from his defense. Probably not a starter on a good team but could be a great extra outfielder.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    If I recall correctly Zonk, Grimm went into 2013 as a top 7 prospect or better. I also seem to remover that his first several starts at the MLB Team level were solid, if not good starts. It was afterwards that he seemed to lose his command.

    I think the Rangers have a good system generally and believe that given time, we might be very happy to Grimm taking the moun for the Cubs late next year/early 2015, if he refines his command. We'll see.

  • John, take a well-earned break and enjoy the game today with Tom. I look forward to reading what you see.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Thanks. I'll probably write the recap as Felzz is taking a well-deserved break himself!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's a beautiful day for a ball game, for a ball game today!

    John, enjoy the uninterrupted expanse of those bleachers under the clear blue sky and puffy white clouds -- and, I hope, a cold one or two! Of course, a win over those damn Cardinals would make it a perfect day! Have fun!

  • He's strictly a reliever. I think he can a full-inning guy and not just a loogy, but it'd help if you saved that inning for when there's a tough lefty or two due up. But he relies on a deceptive delivery and might not hold up well if batters got 3 or 4 looks at him in the same game.

    But loogy or setup man, I think he should definitely have some MLB success, and our MLB pen could desperately use the help. I think we have a shot at a major, pen-fueled turnaround in 2014 thanks to guys like Rosscup.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Another thing I like about Rosscup is it's hard to pick up why he's deceptive. With some guys it's obvious, maybe a hitch, or they hide the ball well -- but not so much with Rosscup. I asked someone who knows a lot more than I do about this and was told that sometimes it's just hard to find a good reason, but hitters will come back shaking their heads and say they just can't pick this pitcher up. That seems to be the case with Rosscup -- there's no one obvious thing you can point to that makes him deceptive, making it even more difficult to adjust. In other words, even his deception is deceptive.

    Totally agree about the possibility of a pen-fueled turn around next year too. A couple of rebound years from key hitters and a better bullpen would make the Cubs a whole lot better very quickly.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Rizzo and Castro are the keys. (where have we heard that before?). If they play well, the Cubs could be competitive in June, and get the equivalent of multiple trades with Baez, Bryant, and possibly even Almora (if he can stay healthy and dominate Tennessee) being called up to join the big club.

    If both guys hit under .250 again, though, we're looking at another protected pick.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed -- and man, I hope that doesn't happen again. I'm getting a little tired of collecting high draft picks. I'm ready to start seeing better baseball on a consistent basis.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I am going to be very disappointed if it's another awful year. I won't direct it at any one person (e.g., Theo, Ricketts), but it's going to be a pretty miserable experience.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    And when Javier Baez, the future Hall of Famer, is called up, MLB will stop the season and award the Cubs the World Series. Of course nobody is noticing his 41 errors in 109 games, or his almost 30% strike out rate. He's a long way from being a major leaguer, he needs to improve on those two things or he's just another Mark Reynolds.

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    In reply to Just Win:

    John pointed out the 30% strikeout rate above. I've said he has to get better at controlling his aggression so he doesn't get himself out. This statement is demonstrably false. Of COURSE he has work to do. But to pretend like he hasn't made simply enormous strides over the last two seasons is just as wrong as saying he's ready to make the majors right now. All signs are that he's improving on his issues every day.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I am guessing we will likely have a similar season to this year, though maybe 5 wins or so more (so we'd be about 10th pick right now), which might be what you are saying.

    Even if Castro and Rizzo improve and Castillo hits for a little more power, there isn't much else that we could count on. Lake is still an unknown...I am a believer, but if he hit .220 with 35% K rate next year, I wouldn't be shocked. Hard to know if Wood will have another season like this or what type of year to expect from Jeff S. This Nate S.'s career best season, so hard to know if it is just getting the chance as he comes into his prime or an outlier. DeJesus, if still here (I think there is option?) is going to be 35 and his numbers aren't great this year and won't likely get much better. Our 4th and 5th are hopes...Arrieta, Cabrera and Rusin (I am guessing their identity is two of those 3) could all be very good or struggle. Our pen is uncertain, but hopefully we retain the Strop of 2013 Cubs and not the Strop of 2013 O's, Russell stays consistent and others develop. Even with all of that, we still have only Rizzo (if he develops) and maybe Lake or Castillo with any power in our lineup.

    Also hard to say we will be getting the equivalent of trades by bringing people up for their first taste of major league pitching...not many players come up at 21 or 22 and become superstars.

    Truly if we get 75 wins next season, I think it is a huge success. We are building, but 2014 is way too soon to project success, IMO. Personally I would be fine if all stayed in the minors and developed and we did get another high draft pick....I'd prefer to have as much talent as possible for when we do finally get ready to make a run and getting to .500 next year really doesn't do too much.

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    In reply to springs:

    I agree here for the most part. I think if everything came together they could potentially compete for a wildcard...but that's a HUGE if! With a FA OFer like Ellsbury or Choo, marked improvements from our potential core (Rizzo, Castro, Samardzija), a huge improvement in the pen, and a couple of guys stepping up to adequately fill in the back end of the rotation, they like at least a tough team to beat. All of those things I believe are very possible by themselves, but for ALL of them to come together is asking a lot.

    Baez is the only potential impact on offense I can see arriving next year, (possibly Bryant the way he's looked but the sample is still so small) and I can't see him arriving until the second half at least.

    I still think the future is incredibly bright here but I think 70-80 wins is probably likely again.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    The bullpen should be a great deal better. Guys like Rosscup, Grimm, and Cabrera have swing and miss stuff and will likely be in the major league bullpen. Rusin could find himself relegated as a third lefty (!!!!) and be great in that role. Villanueva can fall into the long guy/swing man role he excels in. Strop needs to keep this up and step into the closer's role. That's is the biggest question mark.

    But, either way, there will be a lot more power arms coming out of the pen in key situations. We just need to find a way to score runs so they have leads to protect.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Honestly, I'm not completely convinced that if you can only take two lefties out of Russell, Rosscup and Rusin, that Russell isn't the odd man out. Rusin has improved nicely and would probably be pretty effective once he gets the "going to the pen" stuff boost.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    I'm not sure Rusin is even in the pen. He's been good to very good as a starter, and would likely only lose the job to Baker. (Maybe Grimm with an outstanding spring.) To this point, Baker hasn't shown an ability to take the spot from him. With his repertoire, though, he could dominate in the bullpen. Hendricks and even Johnson could be further wrinkles come September.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I am not convinced Rusin is really a long-term ML pitcher, in rotation or bullpen. His command has to be near perfect to get by, and it's very difficult to maintain near perfect command.

    I could be wrong, and hope I am, but I think he's replacement level at best

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I disagree. He has four pitches (fastball, change, slider, cutter) and moves in and out well. He doesn't need perfect command if he can keep hitters off balance and making weak contact and -- to this point -- he's been able to do that.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm a recent Rusin convert.

    He's now got 63 innings in the majors as a starter at a 4.34 xFIP.

    I don't really like him as a starter in the majors, but most guys who go to the pen get a performance boost thanks to matchups and being able to throw a little harder. Rusin should benefit immensely from such a situation.

  • In reply to Kyle:

    Hard for me to project that Russell would be the odd man out in 2014 for Rusin (who has done well this year in a few starts, not so well previously and doesn't have dominate stuff) or Rosscup (who has less than 5 IP at AAA, much less MLB experience). Neither Rusin or Rosscup has dominate stuff (though Rosscup's curve is certainly very good) and Russell has extended MLB success.

    I know we are fans and we long for Cubs success, but it does appear that there is two distinct groups on this board. The first, as I think Kyle's post would fall into, are those who believe that our youth will come up to the majors and succeed right away and make the Cubs competitive in 2015, if not 2014; I am projecting this concept based on having the concept of Rusin and Rosscup displacing an established Russell, though I don't necessarily mean that this is Kyle's view.

    The second group is my perspective, which is that we can't count on the youth to produce consistently until they get some experience and that 2017-18, when the core is 24-28, is really when we should expect success. I may be overly pessimistic, but seeing Rizzo and Castro this year makes me think that this is more realistic; Rizzo and Castro have struggled but unlike some posters, I don't think this makes them failures or terrible or someone that needs to be replaced. Rather I think they are 23 year olds and many players that had good to great major league careers struggled to put up good stats, made dumb plays and overall had growing pains when they were 23 years old. I would expect at least some of Baez, Bryant, Soler, Almora, Alcantara, etc. to have similar experiences (assuming they make it to the big leagues and succeed at all, as there is no guarantee).

  • In reply to springs:

    By the way, obviously I am more convinced that the longer term view is correct. But there are many people here who know baseball and the prospects much better than me and may believe differently. And, more importantly, I hope to hell I am wrong and that all the kids come to the bigs and click right away....I would be very happy if we had 10-12 years of continuous contention starting in 2014 with a core of Alcantara, Almora, Baez, Bryant, Castro, Candelario (or, as I write this, the ABCs of a good lineup!), Rizzo/Vogelbach, Castillo hitting and a myriad of pitching prospects who succeed.

    While I am doubtful, I don't want to come across as not hoping for immediate success.

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    In reply to Kyle:

    The Cubs are a better team right now than earier in the year, primarily due to bullpen, IMO. We're not hitting any more, and the starting rotation has taken a step back for sure.

    But the bullpen, which was a disaster early, stabilized around Gregg, Strop, Russell, and Parker. Parker has been a pleasant surprise.

  • And, John, I know it's early, but I'm really starting to like Charcer Burks too, not very heralded, limited HS experience, called a "hacker" by the scribes, but after a slow start is doing very well, with the bonus of being an excellent athlete with speed and a strong arm. We'll have to see if he can hit the curve ball as he progresses to higher levels. Haven't seen much written about him, just like one of my favorites Kyler Burke, who goes about his business and doesn't complain.

  • John just wondering if you or anyone else has noticed but it seems to me that Rizzo starts to lose patience at the palte late in the game especially with runners on base. Seems like he takes lots of pitches early on but swings at a lot of first pitches late in the game. Don't know if this has been going on all year or if he's just pressing with Soriano gone.

  • Sure hope Jackson can pitch a shutout today so Cubs can get it to extra innings.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Unfortunately, that's a uncomfortably honest fear.

  • I was at the Smokies game last night. Baez walk was a 10 pitch AB in the first. He fouled off four pitches with two strikes before taking the pass.

    His K was exactly what you would like to see from a developing player. He took the third strike that was a close call. I was sitting behind the 1b dugout so I'm not going to say it was a good or bad call but the catchers glove moved to the right to catch the ball. Baez clearly didn't like the call. But he took a pitch that he thought was outside, that is what we are looking for, him being selective, and to that end, even with two strikes it is a good habit for him to be forming.

    John, I think you are right about Jokisch being a bit tired. He was mostly at 88-89 popping 90 or just over a few times. He was "pitching" well but he certainly didn't have his best stuff last night.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    bleedblue ... That's a wonderful report!! I know I'm reading this quite a bit after it posted but thank you!!
    Just my opinion, esp given the player, but a 10 pitch AB is a wonderful thing for us to see from these kids.
    I completely agree on selectivity, by the way.

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    In the Texas PTBNL who would you rather...Nick Williams or Nick Martinez? Tough call for me.

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    In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Are those options? I thought it was either Neil Ramirez or two, lesser, prospects (who had already been agreed upon).

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Exactly......who knows if the two Nicks are an option

    Almost everyone says Neil Ramirez is, though, and he is back from injury and pitching well. 10.9 Ks per nine in AA; that's good.

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    I have no idea who is actually in play. I was just roaming through their system and started dreaming. I hope they are available.

  • In reply to Jim Pedigo:

    Yea it would be nice to know who is on the table for all those PTBNLs. Makes for more dreaming. :)

  • I really like Rosscup. I think there are enough promising young pitchers to expect the Cubs to shop a guy like Russell in the off-season. If we can get someone to pop for him like The reds did for Marshall I'd be all for it.

    Enjoy the game John. Catch a ball for a kid!

  • Interesting to see if the cubs go after another 1 year contract on a flyer similar to Feldman this year.

  • In reply to Adare cub:

    I'd bet they continue along that route.

  • Josh Johnson could be that guy if they go that route.

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    What do you think that that hypothetical contract would look like in terms of $?

  • In reply to nkniacc13:

    Interesting name. There could also be some under the radar guys or non-tenders. Don't be surprised if there are trades before the end of August, too.

  • true. I could also see the cubs making a move this winter with their glut at 3rd base if they would want to

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    Scary thing to think about: the 3 guys Theo has spent big money on are Castro, Rizzo, and Jackson.

  • They have Rizzo, Castro, and Soler locked up to 2018
    for a total of $85 million.
    When Alcantara, Bryant, Baez and Almora come up they each will be making less than $1 million per year.
    The 2015 starting lineup would be around $22 million total.

  • Anyone else think like I do that olt is going to be for sure garbage and that Rizzo will never develop into a avg hitter. In my opinion next yr huge for Rizzo or this is just my idea but I'd move Bryant to first and Baez to 3rd and then alcantra at 2nd in the future and Castro at short. Rizzo may just not be part of our future!

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    In reply to topps84:

    Everything else you said aside -- which is pretty extreme, at best -- why would you move Bryant to first before you absolutely have to? Much more positional value at third or in a corner outfield slot.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hence why I said next year huge yr for rizzo. If the avg doesnt improve you maybe forced after next yr off-season to move Bryant to first because we have more prospects at 3rd, we don't want our 1b to bat 230 or below like Rizzo is doing and I think Bryant athletic enough to learn the position. Just a thought I hope we don't move Bryant anywhere and he stays at 3rd value high there I just think Rizzo needs to have a good yr next yr by batting 270 or more cuz his power numbers I like just can't take a 220 hitter. And I personally don't think Theo wants a 220 1b either

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    In reply to topps84:

    Again: why move Bryant to first? You can sign a first baseman if needed. Or Vogelbach. But putting Bruant at first removes a ton of positional value. It isn't like the only two options are Bryant at third and Rizzo at first or Baez at third and Bryant at first.

  • In reply to topps84:

    Olt incurred a bean ball to the head in winter ball in the Dominican Republic. So far, he has tested negative for a concussion and vision problems by many doctors who are specialists in these fields. Olt has always been a SO artist, more so recently. I think what we have here is an undiagnosed case of the Brett Jackson syndrome. As far as Rizzo, he is not the scapegoat of this administration since they prefer Castro.
    Anyone else think that Edwin Jackson is a piece of garbage? Theo seems to SO a lot when he makes high end purchases of major league FA like during his time in Boston and should stick to IFA and just drafting well.

  • be very interesting to see what they do this offseason

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    I actually think Olt will have a nice bounce-back year in '14.

    Since joining the Cubs, his BABIP is .130 He's still plus defense at third. He hasn't forgotten how to yake a walk, and the power is still there even this year.

    I think Bryant CAN play Third but will end up in the OF because I don't see Olt giving him the chance.

    Also, anyone questioning Rizzo has clearly NOT looked at ANY stats aside from BA.
    Because if you're paying any attention, his numbers are actually pretty impressive.
    Hell, put his stats side by side with Andrew McCutchen, who is currently playing like he's going to prove my preseason MVP prediction correct.

    -Tied for 5th in the NL in doubles.
    -both have 2 triples.
    -Rizzo tied for 11th in the NL in HRs, topping Cutch's 17
    -Rizzo tied for 13th in the NL in RBIs, only 4 less than Cutch, despite the Cubs having one of the league worst OBPs as a team (which, obviously limits RBI opportunity
    -Rizzo has 59 walks to Cutch's 54.

    Sure, Cutch has 37 more hits, but to be fair, Cutch's BABIP is almost 100 points higher. .256 to .352
    -Cutch has the edge in So's too, but not by anything ridiculous.

    And before anyone flips out, I'm not saying Rizzo is even close to being as valuable as McCutchen.
    McCutchen has a TON of value rapped up in defense, base-stealing, et cetera that Rizzo will never be able to compete with.

    I'm not suggesting Rizzo can even sniff Cutch's WAR this season.

    The point is just that anyone whining about Rizzo CLEARLY isn't paying any attention to the subtle fact that he's actually really goddamn good.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    You can't hit 220 at a premium offensive position on the diamond, it's just that simple. He will never hit 40+ HRs with 100+ BBs in a season. So unless he can get that BA at least to a 260-ish level for the long-term, he will not be the long-term 1B for the Cubs. Clearly Rizzo is still young so there is time here, but this has been an extremely discouraging season for him.

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    In reply to Giffmo:

    I think saying Rizzo's numbers are pretty impressive might be a stretch. Agreed, he's having a better year than it appears on the surface, but a .755 OPS (.706 post AS break) for your slugging 1B is far from impressive IMO. I still believe he has a great career ahead of him, and the defense (did you see that catch today! Ridiculous!) has been outstanding, but there's still a lot of work before he's the middle of the order slugger you want at first.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    ...and Cutch is slugging .506 (.898 OPS), pretty big leap there.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    yeah, again, I'm not saying they're having the SAME season. Jesus Christ, I thought that was pretty obvious.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    Just a counter-point, dude, no need to get all blasphemous. LOL

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I'm not denying it's a down year, by any means. Just pointing out that BA is not the only stat.

    Yes he clearly can't continue to bat 230 in future years, but it isn't as if he's the first player to ever have a sophomore slump.

  • Many of this year's first round picks are doing very well, as you can see by clicking on the name of the player on the draft tracker:

    Here's Jonathan Gray's performance before and since he moved up to Modesto in the California League, WOW, what a difference!
    2013 Season
    GJ PIO 0 0 4.05 4 4 0 0 0 13.1 15 8 6 0 2 15 1.08 .278
    MOD CAL 2 0 0.64 3 3 0 0 0 14.0 5 1 1 0 5 18 1.00 .111
    Minors 2 0 2.30 7 7 0 0 0 27.1 20 9 7 0 7 33 1.04 .202

    And here's Mark Appell's record before and since he moved up to Quad Cities in the Midwest League, just the reverse of Gray's, lol. But it's early and just a small sample size, right?

    2013 Season
    TRI NYP 0 0 3.60 2 2 0 0 0 5.0 6 2 2 0 0 6 7.00 .300
    QC MID 1 1 4.70 6 6 0 0 0 23.0 24 14 12 2 6 18 2.53 .258
    Minors 1 1 4.50 8 8 0 0 0 28.0 30 16 14 2 6 24 2.81 .265

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