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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap