Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Hendricks continues to roll, Alcantara HRs, Arrieta shaky but looks ready

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Hendricks continues to roll, Alcantara HRs, Arrieta shaky but looks ready
Daniel Lockhart and Jeimer Candelario

Keeping track of prospects are fun but it's even more fun when your headliners are all expected to contribute at some point this season.  Arrieta will be the first, Hendricks could be next, and Alcantara could make his debut later in the season.

On with the recap!

Iowa 5 - Round Rock 1

  • Kyle Hendricks has been pitching better than his numbers all season (FIP below 2) so you knew it was a matter of time before the results matched the performance.  Today that was the case.  Hendricks pitched 6 shutout innings, allowing just 2 singles and 2 walks while striking out 6.   He's now 3-1 with a 3.65 ERA and is averaging just over a strikeout per inning.  Hendricks is proving he can do it now at the highest level of the minors and it's only a matter of time until he gets to try and prove himself at the MLB level.  Since last season, Hendricks is 6-2 with a 2.92 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 IP and 7.2 Ks per 9 IP. in 64.2 innings at Iowa.
  • After a deep slump, Matt Szczur is starting to pick up the pace again with 5 hits in his last 2 games.  3 of those hits, including a triple, came today.  He also scored, drove in a run, and stole home plate.  He's hitting .246 but he'll have to get on base more and show more extra base pop as the season goes on.
  • Arismendy Alcantara showed off his power and speed, hitting his 1st HR while also stealing his 6th base.  Alcantara also singled, drove in a run and scored 2.
  • Javier Baez returned to SS today after DH'ing yesterday.  He singled, was HBP, and scored a run.
  • It would appear that Logan Watkins is preparing for a life as a utility man as he has played all over the field this year after getting squeezed out of the infield by a trio of the Cubs top prospects.  Watkins was in LF today and he continued to get on base, getting a single, walk, and stealing his 2nd base of the year.  He's hitting .294 and has gotten on base at a .414 clip.

Tennessee 10 - Birmingham 5

  • Dae-Eun Rhee got run support early and often -- and it's a good thing because he was not at his best.  Rhee walked 5 batters but managed to wriggle out of trouble and hold the damage to just 2 runs over 5 innings.  That was plenty good enough for him to pick up the win.
  • I like seeing John Andreoli and Stephen Bruno as the 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup.  Zeke DeVoss spent some time there early and he has the eye for it, but he has struggled with the bat.  Andreoli got on base twice with a triple and a single, scoring 2 runs and driving in one.  Andreoli is also a very proficient basestealer.  He's a nice little player who I think has a shot at carving out a role for himself at the MLB level, especially if he shows he can handle CF on a part time basis.
  • Stephen Bruno singled, walked, drove in a run and single.  I keep getting the feeling he's going to break out but it's easy to forget he just hasn't played a lot of pro ball.  He's an advanced hitter but even he'll need time to adjust after jumping up to AA after just over a half season's worth of professional AB since being drafted.
  • Rubi Silva is one of those guys who, once he gets hot, can keep it going for awhile and put up some good numbers.  After a horrendous start, he's beginning to simmer a little with 6 hits in his last 19 ABs.  Today he went 2 for 5 and hit his 1st HR and driving in 3 overall.
  • Kris Bryant hasn't really gone on a tear, it's more like he just finds a way to contribute everyday.  it's amazing to me that he has been so consistent despite being just  year removed from college ball.  Today he was just 1 for 5 with a walk and an RBI -- but when that's your bad game, you know you're a pretty good player.
  • OF Jae-Hoon Ha had to take a step back to AA ball this year and was not added to the 40 man roster last offseason, so he is not on any kind of fast track.  Ha is one of those guys who will have to prove -- and re-prove-- himself every step of the way.  Today he took a step in that direction with 3 hits, including his 1st HR of the year.   Ha also scored 3 runs.

Daytona 6 - Clearwater 5

  • it wasn't the prettiest peformance by Jake Arrieta, but he's only in Daytona to get work, prove he's healthy, and rebuild his stamina.  In that sense, mission accomplished.  Arrieta went into the 6th inning for the second straight start.  He walked 2 hitters and struck out 7 -- but he also gave up 3 HRs.  Hopefully it's his last rehab start -- the Cubs really need him to fill that 5th spot and Carlos Villanueva could give them a boost in the pen.
  • The 2nd most encouraging start of the day came from Jose Rosario, who piggybacked the start and shut down Clearwater for 4 innings, striking out 4 batters -- but most importantly, he did not walk anyone.  Rosario was throwing in the 91-94 range when I last saw him but has always struggled with consistency when it comes to command and offspeed stuff.  I think if he makes it, he's a reliever but he's missed some time, so starting him makes sense for his development.
  • Arodys Vizcaino picked up his first save with a 1-2-3 9th.  He did not strike out a batter.
  • The D-Cubs have really struggled on offense.  It's basically the same guys who put up some solid numbers at Kane County but a number of players have yet to make the adjustment.  One of those players is Dan Vogelbach, though he did spend some time in Daytona last year.  He took a couple of walks today, perhaps an indication that he's starting to see the ball better but he did go hitless once again.  Big Dan is hitting just .148 this season.
  • Rock Shoulders is another guy who came out on fire last year but he has also found the FSL tough so far.  Shoulders, however, also drew a couple of walks.  He added a single, an RBI and a run scored.   He has struck out once in about every 3 PAs this year, which isn't unexpected -- but he normally adds more walks and HRs to his offensive game, so the walks were encouraging.  Hopefully the power follows soon.  Both Shoulders and Vogelbach are from Florida, so maybe they're trying to do too much early on.
  • Jeimer Candelario had one of his better games this season -- in fact, he was pretty much the Candelario we've come to know, the one who gets lots of walks and lots of doubles.  He had one walk and 2 doubles, scored one and drove in 2.  Perhaps it's the game that gets him going.  He's too good a hitter to hit .218 for very long.
  • C Chadd Krist, more known for his defense, was the other offensive star today with 3 hits, including a double, and a run scored.  Neither Krist or his catching partner Willson Contreras have done much this year in terms of offense.  Krist is hitting .212.

Beloit 5 - Kane County 3

  • Another solid start from Jen-Ho Tseng as he's been remarkably consistent for a 19 year old playing full season ball.  I have yet to see him pitch this year but he has given up a lot of hits -- he went into the game with a .438 BABIP against (hitters have hit .339 against him so far), which is unsustainable. It has to drop at least 100 points and probably more.  Even with that, he's still put up a 2.93 ERA -- and a 1.57 FIP shows how just how well he could be with a little bit better luck with balls in play.  Of course, without seeing it, I don't know how much of it is luck and how much of it is 19 year old kid missing spots or leaving the ball up -- but considering he's only walked one batter all year, we can feel pretty good about his control and at some point he'll start throwing better strikes and/or get better luck.   Anyway, today he went 5 innings and allowed 7 hits and 3 runs, though only 2 were earned.  As mentioned, he walked his first batter of the season but he did strikeout 3.
  • It was the usual suspects for the Cougars on offense.  Carlos Penalver got things going with a pair of singles, a walk and 2 runs scored to bring himself back to the .300 mark to go with his excellent .382 OBP.   Penalver is still 19 for one more month so it's encouraging to see him put up over a 10% walk rate vs. older players.  As much as we love Castro and Baez at SS, you can never have enough shortstops and it's nice to see both of the Cubs Class A shortstops - Penalver and Daytona's Marco Hernandez get off to good starts and showing a good approach to go with their excellent defensive skills.
  • Ben Carhart is a real nice presence for these kids who I think will show what it means to be a good teammate and a guy the organization looks at as a solid character type.   But it also helps that Carhart can hit a little.  He's been a steady presence in the lineup, putting up a solid .344 OBP and consistently putting up good ABs.   He had a pair of singles today and scored a run.
  • With speed and some OBP at the top of the lineup, the big bashers Yasiel Balaguert and Jacob Rogers have really cashed in.  Balaguert drove in his 14th run and Rogers drove in his 11th.  Balaguert is the better prospect of the two and is having the better season overall at .328/.352/.418 but both players have plenty of room for improvement despite their great RBI production.
  • I've been encouraged by Danny Lockhart's good play of late.  He went 1 for 3 with a walk but he has hit .306 with an OBP of .359 in his last 10 games with just 3 Ks, 10 runs scored.  I think it's a good window into what kind of player he can be for the Cougars this season -- a guy who will make contact, get on base, and then provide good base running once he's there.  He's hitting just .230 overall so far but I think that will change.



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  • fb_avatar

    I'm glad Sczcur and Alcantra are picking up. I think Sczcur can start in CF next year until Almora is ready and then be a good 4th OF.

    It's pretty unbelievable that Almora hasn't taken a single walk this year. I'd be concerned if it wasn't for the fact that he hits everything. His strikeout numbers are obnoxiously low. I really hope they promote him quickly this year. He's super advanced for his age and I think he needs to find a challenge.

    Vogelbach has pretty impressive SO numbers, too, no surprise. I hope he doesn't get too frustrated. It looks like he's getting BABIPed pretty badly.

    Is it weird that I'm glad Bryant is hitting singles? His homers are awesome but I didn't want him to get too homer happy. Not that we can complain about it. Especially with his OBP added.
    I think my favorite stat outside of Almora SOs is that despite Gregory Polanco hitting .406, he has virtually the same OPS as Bryant (earlier in the week, Bryant's was higher )

  • Hey John, Appreciate your work! Any news on Soler's rehab?

  • How many more starts are considered for Hendricks to have dominated and then move up? Also, heading up tomorrow for the birthday party on Addison. Should be fun.

  • In reply to edubbs:

    He has 10 career starts at AAA..... I wouldn't even describe that body of work as "Dominate" so what's the rush?... It's a long season, and he still has a lot to prove.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Also, there is no room in the rotation right now. Arrieta will replace Villanueva, and as much as some want Jackson to be replaced, it isn't going to happen. Hendricks will come up after the trade deadline when Hammel is dealt and they free up a spot on the 40 man roster.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Lol not dominant how?

    64.2IP 2.92ERA 7.2K/9 1.9BB/9 .3HR/9 60% grounders.

    What exactly do you consider dominating?

  • In reply to doogolas:

    Those are quality stats, but small sample size caveats apply.... but not "Dominant", no. A 3'ish ERA @ AAA translates to what at the MLB level? On a team with no offense when a dominant pitcher like Shark has been so far this year can't get a win... Exactly what do we gain by bringing a prospect who figures to be no more than a #4/5 SP up and watch him get shelled. Possibly even stunt his development. Especially when he hasn't dominated at AAA in a very small sample size.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    His 2.8FIP translates to like 3.5 at the MLB level. But you don't answer my question. What constitutes dominating then! Cause a nonace isn't doing better than that. He's in the PCL.

  • In reply to doogolas:

    It's all subjective. What does a 3.5 MLB ERA translate to @ wrigley with the wind blowing out?

    FWIW, I don't consider his performance dominant. I consider it good, but not great. If he can sustain it for an extended period of time, then by all means bring him up. But he has neither dominated nor sustained it for an extended period of time yet. He has 10 career starts at AAA and may need dozens more. There's still plenty of time.

    I gave you an example of Shark being dominant so far this year. So go with his stats if you want an absolute answer. But like I said, it's subjective.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    You understand I included last year's stats at AAA right? 62.2IP isn't a super small sample. It's not huge, but it's pretty decent.

    And 3.5FIP translates to a 3.5FIP. He has a 60%GB rate he won't have to worry about tons of HR's being given up.

    And again, you haven't answered, if that's not dominant, what the hell is?

  • In reply to doogolas:

    Dominant is what Archie Bradley did last season 1.84 ERA in twice the innings. I know you're not saying he's Archie Bradley, but THAT is dominant for AAA.

  • In reply to doogolas:

    Sorry, Bradley's were in AA

  • In reply to doogolas:

    I did answer... "I gave you an example of Shark being dominant so far this year. So go with his stats if you want an absolute answer. But like I said, it's subjective." Sorry you don't want to accept that answer... So just agree to disagree. But if the FO was closer to your opinion, he'd be on his way up... but he isn't.

    Right now, Hendricks isn't even the most dominant SP on his team, Wada is. Jokish has so far pretty much matched him in every statistical category. Hendricks is good, but not dominant...

  • In reply to doogolas:


    I agree with you. what more does he have to prove. he's done it at every level. Same stats! I love the way some of these people project some of these pitchers. Either you can pitch or you can't. Just because you can throw 1 inning at 98 mph doesn't mean you can pitch.

  • In reply to edubbs:

    I doubt that there is a specific number. The decision will depend upon a number of things. Partly upon when the FO feels he is ready, partly upon the needs of the MLB club, and partly upon who they might lose of they add him to the 40 man staff.

    In addition, I don't think they would bring Hendricks up just to put him in the bull pen. So they need to have room for him in rotation. That means that, unless they go to a six man rotation, they have to bench or otherwise dispose of either Samardzija, Jackson, Hammel, Wood or Arrieta. It certainly would not be Samardzija or Wood, and I can't believe they would give up on Jackson at this point. And Hammel has been doing a very good job up til this point. The only vulnerable one at this point would be Arrieta, and I doubt that they are going to move someone that they believe might have ace potential to the bullpen this early in the season.

    I don't think that Hendricks will come up (barring an injury to one of the above) unless Arrieta falters or there is a trade of Samardzija, Hammel or Jackson.

    An alternative would be a 2 or 3 day "look see" as happened with Rusin and Rosscup, if there is a temporary shortage due to rain outs, double headers, etc.

    But that still brings back the problem that Hendricks is not on the 40 man roster. Moving Fujiiawa to the 60 day DL would work if he is really re-injured, but beyond that they would probably have to waive Brett Jackson, who would very likely be taken. I don't know if the FO would consider that a big loss at this point, but it seems a needless risk without a need for Hendricks at the MLB level.

  • Great job John. It is easy to forget it isn't even a month into the season. Plenty of time for guys like Vogelbach to turn it around.

    It will be interesting to see who/when the first set of promotions. I could see Bryant and Villanueva switching levels if Villanueva doesn't turn it around. I think Almora will be in Tennessee by mid-season also.

  • Glad to see Arrieta about ready to come up. I know he threw the gopher ball yesterday, but he might have just been trying to throw strikes and get his innings in.

  • John - I know you mentioned yo haven't seen Tseng pitch just yet, but what are you hearing about his velocity?

    When he fell off the radar two years ago, it was because his velo dropped to the 85-88 range after being in the low 90's touching 94-95. I am curious as to see how much his velo has returned.

  • Should we be worried about Arrieta? I know he is a power pitcher but to give up 3 home runs in a single A game??? Has he pitched the same amount of starts/innings or pitches as he would if he wouldn't have missed spring training?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Dont read too much into it. I dont know exactly what he was throwing, but typically on a rehab assignment, he's just trying to throw strikes and command his FB. Whereas single A hitters are up there hacking and sitting dead red on every pitch.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    What terrible analysis.

    Even if they were sitting dead red on every pitch he should have been able to use his off-speed stuff to get them out.

    Even if they were sitting dead red a major league pitcher shouldn't give up 3 HR to A-ball hitters. He should be able to overpower them.

    It doesn't mean much long term but let's not sweep it under the rug as nothing.

  • In reply to King Mo:

    My analysis was terrible, when I clearly said "I dont know exactly what he was throwing, but typically on a rehab assignment"..... ???? really?...

    Why don't keep your ignorant opinions to yourself, rather than attack people personally. No organization sends a MLB SP down to A ball in FL for a rehab assignment and cares what the outcome is. They're more concerned with the process and his health. Jackass

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks for the chuckle, Hoosier. Your final word on the subject made me think of the Scooter McGavin fan (Joe Flarhety) who tried to run over Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore. I believe he said "You jackass" more than once. lol

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Looks like it's attack HoosierDaddy day. Hang in there buddy.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    KingMo has got some killer people skills.

    Hoosier can't take criticism? More you like you can't give it effectively in a public forum.

    Not to mention his analysis was spot on. Big league teams don't care too much how many dingers you give up in a rehab start. They care why you gave them up. If his stuff isn't there, fine. But they're not interested in the box score.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    ? Huh? I was showing support for HoosierDaddy.

  • In reply to King Mo:

    Ignorant opinions?

    You're the one that said you didn't know what he was throwing then went on to analyze what you believe had happened lol

    That's an ignorant opinion.

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    In reply to King Mo:

    Hoosier has demonstrated time and again his knowledge of the game and many of its finer points. Personal attacks are inappropriate on these boards -- the emphasis is on respectful debate.

    In this case, you exemplify your mistake by being factually wrong in your assumption. The front office was less concerned with whether or not Daytona won that game. The important part was getting Arrieta ready to join the rotation. The home runs may or may not have been negligible -- but they don't, ipso facto, show he was having problems.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    The only personal attack was him calling me a jackass.

    I just thought his analysis was bad. I did not make a personal attack.

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    In reply to King Mo:

    "What terrible analysis" is a personal opinion and an attack at him. How do you expect him to react to that? It's design is to belittle him. If you disagree with his analysis, then give reasons why you think he's wrong.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I did give reasons.

    So calling me a jackass is just going to be ignored and I have to be scolded?

    What's worse in your opinion, saying someone has a terrible opinion or calling them a jackass?

    Maybe I wasn't right but to just ignore what he said isn't fair.

  • In reply to King Mo:

    It wasn't even an analysis. It was more of a "who cares, it's a rehab assignment in A ball" comment...

  • In reply to King Mo:

    You insisting that he should have been throwing something other than his FB is an ignorant opinion. That tells me you haven't been around the Basebal Diamond much. You're just trolling on the internet and making half-wit assumptions. Most baseball minds would tell you he's just trying to locate his FB and increase his stamina on a A-ball rehab assignment. There's thousands of examples that support that theory, which is basically what I was saying. But you want to read more into the 3HR's like that matters and attack someone you don't know. #Dick

  • In reply to King Mo:

    King Mo,

    Hoosier Daddy has been a strong contributor to Cub's Den and one of the things that make this a great site is posters don't attack each other. They just agree to disagree.

  • In reply to SouthsideB:

    I didn't attack him I called his analysis shotty. Which it is.

    If anything he attacked me by calling me a jackass because he can't take criticism.

    The HR's aren't a cause for concern but to suggest the hitters were sitting dead red and it meant nothing is laughable.

  • In reply to King Mo:

    When a guy with big league time is on a rehab assignment in the low minors, that's pretty much exactly what happens. Sit and hack.

  • In reply to King Mo:

    You asked if there was cause for concern on Arieta's outing. Hoosier answered with a very knowledgeable and truthful post. Then you responded like a typical jackass know-it-all that you can typically find on an ESPN comment board but not a CubsDen comment board. If you want to disagree go ahead but be respectful and understand that people here arent trying to start arguments when they respond to things, unlike commentors on most sports websites.

  • In reply to King Mo:

    Honestly, it really doesn't mean much at all. Arrieta's track record shows he doesn't give up a lot of HRs, especially in the minors. He didn't give up any AA -- now that he's given up HRs in an A game it means something? Just small sample size noise. I'm not the least bit worried about it.

  • If they have slowly worked him up to 6 innings he's probably ready. I believe he got some side work in at spring training as well.

  • Must say I am pulling for the 'underdogs' like Logan Watkins and Matt Szczur to get some face-time in Wrigley this season - even if it is just a late-season call-up.

    Assuming that short-window guys like Schierholtz, Sweeney or Ruggiano are not in the long-term plans, and that they or Barney can be packaged for something of value, there should be a shot given to guys like Watkins, Szczur, and maybe one more shot for Vitters.

    They may never profile to be better than part-time players, platoon guys or utility players - but you never know what you've got unless you give them a shot to prove you wrong.

    I also suspect that sometime this season we see Hendricks starting in Wrigley, and that Arietta is going to force some other changes in the pitching staff - and soon.

  • "Rock Shoulders" how did I miss that name until now?

  • I hadn't really thought about it until now, but the Cubs organizational depth at shortstop is ridiculous. Castro, Baez, Alcantara, Hernandez, Penalver, and Torres all have a real shot of being major league starters or better. Seeing that makes me a lot less concerned about that lack of a TOR starter, we've got more than enough pieces to swing a trade for one when the time is right.

  • It appears Logan Watkins is adjusting to AAA. Last year he was called up before he figured out AAA and struggled. He would be a nice asset on the Cubs if he could continue his OBP(.414) and play multiple positions while being a LH bat.

  • One thing about Hendricks numbers is they are in the American Association, which is largely a hitters haven. Any pitcher below a 4 ERA there is likely doing pretty well.

  • What did Almora do yesterday? I am hoping Almora starts raking and we start to see his name in these reports more frequently.

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    Javy Baez just hit a curve for an RBI single. He didn't try to do too much with the ball. It's a miracle!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Did K 3 times today, but had a couple of hits which is great to see. He needs another couple of months to get straight and then we see what happens.

    I am wondering who will make it up first, Alcantara (hit another HR today) or Baez.

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