Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Baez, Bryant with big days, Blackburn rolls on, MLB Draft Update

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Baez, Bryant with big days, Blackburn rolls on, MLB Draft Update

I may do an MLB Draft Update here in the minors recap as news just keeps trickling in.  Today Aaron Nola gets the spotlight.  He pitched a solid game vs, the Arkansas Razorbacks, going 7.1 innings  and allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 3 and striking out 7.   He gave up a run in the first and then another one in the 8th as he tired, but in between he was dominant.

Aaron Fitt of  BA tweeted.

Aaron Nola is awesome. I am convinced that he is going to be a very, very good big leaguer, and fast. He's just smothered Hogs since 1st.

 

Aaron Nola hit as high as 96 and was still hitting 93-94 in the 8th inning.  He also showed a plus change-up and a solid slider -- and of course, the command and pitchability that has become his trademark.

Fitt had a lot of interesting things to say about Nola.  He isn't worried about the arm slot and thinks that he can be a front line starter.  Some buzz he could go in the top 5.

What's also interesting is who was in attendance.

On the Cubs side it was Jed Hoyer while the White Sox sent Kenny Williams and Jerry Reinsdorf.  Sounds like the Sox are pretty serious.  Nola certainly fits the White Sox philosophy of drafting players that they can move quickly.

Could the Cubs draft him?

He sure sounded worthy of the 4th pick tonight and if they're not worried about his arm slot then he has the kind of track record and high floor they like.  Would be surprising but not out of the question.

Stay tuned.

Let's get on with the recap...

Iowa 7 - Round Rock 2

  • Dallas Beeler has had an up and down start and today was one of his better outings, going 7 innings and allowing just 3 hits, though one was a solo HR.  He walked one and struck out 6 to lower his ERA to 5.91.
  • Javier Baez had a huge night, getting 4 hits and hitting his 6th HR.  He doubled twice.  He has his average back up over the .200 mark and has been red hot over the past week, going 11 for 27 (.407) with  9 of those hits going for extra bases  -- that's a 1.000 slugging percentage.
  • Some contributions from a couple of unlikely sources, Eli Whiteside hit a 2-run HR and Brett Jackson went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, and 2 RBI.

Tennessee 6 - Mobile 5 

  • A better start for Corey Black, who went 5 innings and allowed just 3 hits, including a solo HR to account for the only run he gave up.  He walked 3 and struck out 7.
  • Another scoreless outing for Armando Rivero, who struck out one and lowered his ERA to 1.78.  He has a 13.5 K rate and is allowing hitters to bat just .119 against him,  Even the walk rate isn't too bat at 3.2 per  innings.
  • Arodys Vizcaino didn't fare so well and got hit hard for the first time this season, allowing 3 runs in the 9th to tie the game but he vultured a win when the Cubs came back with a run of their own,
  • Stephen Bruno had cooled off slightly but he was back to his usual self, hitting 2 doubles, walking and scoring 3 runs.  He is hitting .297/.392/.500 on the year.   When you have a mini-slump (3 for 21) and come back this quickly and still have such good numbers overall, you know you're a pretty good hitter.
  • Kris Bryant, while it seems impossible, just keeps getting better  He got on base all 5 times today with a double, 2 singles, and 2 walks.  He also drove in 3 runs, giving him 40 on the year.  He is now hitting .335/.431/.623 with 12 HRs and is 6 for 6 in SBs,
  • Charles Cutler had a pair of hits, including a double, and drove in 3 runs,  The 28 year old Rule 5 draftee (minor league phase) is hitting .324/.438/.465 on the year.

Bradenton 2 - Daytona 1

  • Tayler Scott must have been commanding that good curve today because he had one of his best outings as a pro, going 6.1 scoreless innings, walking just one and striking out 3.  Scott lowered his ERA to 4.86 but lost the chance for a win when Zach Godley allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th.
  • Jeimer Candelario was moved up to the 2nd spot and responded with a pair of singles.  It's been a tough year for the 20 year old as he is hittipng just .183 on the year.
  • Willson Contreras is red hot.  He doubled twice, tripled and scored Daytona's only run.  He is 10 for his last 20 and has upped his line to .237/.277/.316, still poor but it is trending upward.

Kane County 6 - Clinton 1

  • Paul Blackburn has been a machine this year and today may have been his best start of the season.  He went 7 scoreless frames, allowing just 4 hits.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 6.  Blackburn is 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA.  He has thrown strikes, walking just 1.46 batters per 9 IP while striking out 7.11.  Blackburn works with an 89-93 mph FB and has a good feel for a curve and a change, though neither are where they need to be yet.  That speaks to his excellent fastball command and if Blackburn develops a second out pitch, he could really take off.
  • Jacob Hanneman went 1 for 2 with a walk.  He scored a run and drove in another with a sac fly.
  • Carlos Penalver is back on the rise with 2 more hits and has his average back up to .247.
  • Ben Carhart went 2 for 4  with a double and an RBI.
  • Yasiel Balaguert hit a solo shot, his 2nd HR of the season.  After a fast, productive start, the slugger signed out of Cuba has tailed off to .237/.274/.341 on the season.  His bat is is ticket, so he needs to step it up.

 

 

 

 

Comments

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  • Hey John, did you watch the Iowa game? Baez' homer was majestic... Probably the longest home run I've seen on MiLBTV this year... I'm not kidding if I say it must've been somewhere between 450 and 500 ft... The ball apparently went OVER the roof of the left field stands and completely out of the stadium.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I was either out or on the phone all day until about 9 pm. Crazy day. Will have to watch the game tomorrow.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Gotcha... You can still go to the Iowa Cubs website http://www.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t451 and you can click on "Watch" where it shows the results and it'll take you to the archived game and you can skip to the 4th inning to watch that home run... That was some ridiculous power there.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I saw it. It looked ridiculous! I wish the feed/resolution was better so I could actually see the ball.

  • In reply to Rudy:

    Agreed and the Round Rock broadcast is one of the better ones when it comes to resolution.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Ok, I just fast forwarded it to his AB, couldn't wait.

    Wow! Moonshot. The world is right again when Javy is hitting bombs,

    Will have to see rest of game tomorrow,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    OK, disregard my other comment about how to find the archived game lol... But Baez looked today like the guy in AA last year, good to see!!

  • In reply to Caps:

    That link worked for the highlights. I couldn't see the ball at all though.

  • In reply to Caps:

    looked like a breaking ball too.. nooiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-ce

  • Pretty impressive on Nola! I wasn't a fan at all but I'm starting to come around... especially with that floor (allegedly). Even if he goes before the 4th pick it can only be good news for the Cubs. I'll take Kolek, cant pass upon his ceiling!

  • In reply to Rudy:

    I won't be upset if they pick him,though I don't think they will. He's not my favorite, but he looks to have a pretty high floor and maybe a bit more ceiling than he gets credit for.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. I've always kinda hoped the Cubs would not consider him, but I guess when there's smoke there's fire... keep hearing enough good things about him that I'm starting to reconsider. I don't think I'd be upset if they took him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If he could be a solid #3 or #4 by 2016 I think that would be a successful pick for us, especially if we can keep (i.e., Samardzija) or pick up (via trade or free agency) a true #1 in the meantime.

  • Great stuff tonight. Baez, Bryant, Bruno and Blackburn. KW and Reinsdorf in the house. Looks like the Sox want a pitcher to at least help in the pen down the stretch. It will be interesting if Rodon and Nola are both in play at 1.3.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    Thanks. Baez is starting to feel it.

    Sox are interesting. I can see them taking Nola but I think they'd take Rodon if he was there. If Aiken and Rodon are gone, Nola, Gordon, and Kolek are likely the options,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree, Boras or not if Rondon is there at # 3 , the Sox will take him.

  • In reply to Greggie Jackson:

    I doubt the White Sox are at all thinking about their bullpen the rest of the year when it comes to who they'll take in the first round.

    The Sox will end up being sellers at the deadline and I don't think they'd base their #3 pick on some longshot playoff chance.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I think they should be sellers also. It wouldn't be a case of basing the whole pick on this scenario . They would have to like the arm going forward looking to hit the rotation sometime next year. Cooper would be able to work directly with him this year. If KW and Reinsdorf see a chance at the wildcard, they might be thinking of the end of the year. The team drew less than 22k last night with the Yankees in town, great weather and Chris Sale back on the mound.

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    Aaron Nola... Michael Wacha 2.0?

    I hope the Cubs can eventually get Blackburn to start working at the upper end of that range consistently.

    I think Rivero gets the call to Iowa within the next 2 weeks.

    That is all.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Exactly what I was thinking...Wacha.Problem is, the reports say the the Cards were able to develop a new pitch (cant remember what it was (Cutter?)) for him. Can we do that with Nola? Is it needed?

  • In reply to Rudy:

    Nola could tighten up his slider, but he does have a full repertoire. Only worry is arm slot, which is almost sidearm. You just dont see starters with that arm slot around baseball -- but who knows, maybe that is to his advantage.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Chris Sale is the only one I can think of with a low arm slot

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Bumgarner's is pretty low too. but neither is as low as Nola.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Is it Quisenberry type low side arm almost underhanded?

    I admit I have not been that interested in the pitching at the top because I do not see any of them sliding so I have not seen any video on him yet.

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    In reply to Richard Hood:

    Here's some video. It's not quite Quisenberry, but it is hard to think of another starter that comes this low.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTDLEIoq1BA

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Do we think the arm slot makes it tougher for RHB to pick up as easily (and, on the other side, easier for LHB)? It does seem he is close enough to sidearm that it may have some effect.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    Quisenberry was submarine, which is almost underhanded. Pitchers with Nola's arm slot have traditionally been relievers, but that's not to say he can't break that mold.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Nola kind of reminds me of Mike Leake.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I don't know, you look at the photo accompanying this article and Sale looks just as low to me. Sale's arm is pretty much perpendicular to his body, anything lower would be submarine.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/white-sox/post/_/id/19803/as-sale-returns-temptation-taunts-sox?ex_cid=espnapi_public

  • In reply to mjvz:

    That is pretty low, pretty close from that pic.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sale and Baumgardner throw pretty hard for guys with low arm slots. Baungarner kinda brings his arm behind his back, seems to hide the ball real well.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    I think Blackburn generated some buzz last year because his fastball was topping out at 95 mph, until he went through a dead arm phase... So I think keeping him in the 92-93 mph range with his 2-seamer can be accomplished.

  • In reply to Jason Pellettiere:

    Yeah, right now Blackburn is closer to that lower range, though I haven't seen him recently.

    Can't keep Rivero down much longer;.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I came away more impressed with Rivero last week than Vizcaino. His command was excellent and his curveball had very good movement to it.

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    Could Bryant win the Minor League POY if he stays in Double A all year?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to James Knott:

    Yes, but he could win it even if he doesn't stay in AA all year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to James Knott:

    I'm very curious as to where Bryant will be when they re-rank the prospects at mid-season. My guess would be Top 5. He's clearly been that good.

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    Wow, so many moving pieces with the draft, and it's only two weeks away! Rodon, Aiken, Kolek, Jackson, Gordon, Nola, Freeland, Pentecost...

    Your crystal ball currently says the Cubs will pick at #4...?

    (I'll probably ask you this 14 more times, by the way)

  • In reply to Chris Trengove:

    Nick Gordon

  • The rumors of junior lake's demise might be exaggerated

    He is starting to hit the ball to rightfield if he learns to do that consistantly look out. The ball jut jumps off his bat.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Agreed. I liked what I saw of him in the Yankees series. He is willing to adjust and knows that he doesn't have to swing for the fences every pitch. We all know he has power, so if he can make pitchers stop dilly-dallying with him, the long ball will come.

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    If the White Sox are seriously considering Nola, that could mean the think Rodon is going to fall to them, but they're going to pass because his agent is Scott Boras.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I am thinking the same thing, if that does happen than the Sox are fools. Take a guy ( Nola) who has lower upside over another ( Rondon) because of his agent.....fools

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Not necessarily. It's risk/reward. If Nola's risk is viewed as substantially lower, I wouldn't call them foolish to accept a lower ceiling, especially if they can sign him underslot and he can join their rotation soon. Rondon has a higher risk to go along with that higher potential. A solid potential #3 or #4 in a rotation that already has Chris Sale is not a bad draft haul.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Let em do it. Ill be glad to take Rodon just because they dont like Bore Us.

  • fb_avatar

    OK, so I get the front office's reasons for wanting Bryant to struggle a bit before they move him up, but at what point do they realize that maybe he won't struggle in AA and put him in AAA?
    If he keeps hitting like this for a couple more weeks, I think it'll be time for a new challenge. Maybe he'll get to work through a slump at AAA.

    SO glad Baez is hitting again. He had me worried for a bit there.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to brober34:

    Just like it was too soon to get to the worried stage on Baez it is too soon too say that he has fixed his issues but this last week has been nice.

    My question is what if they are planning on Bryant skipping AAA all together? Then would we be in a rush to see him promoted? I think that we need to trust in the McLeod and Hoyer to make the smart call on Bryant and not just assume he is on his way to Iowa in the next couple weeks. Remember Hoyer has hinted before that Bryant may never see AAA.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    I think that is exactly the plan. Bryant really doesn't need it. He'll have to adjust to big leage pitching, but I don't think there are really any additional tweaks he needs to make offensively. Defense may be a different matter, I haven't watched enough of him on defense to know where he is at there, but defense isn't something you need AAA for, that can just as easily be worked on in AA or MLB.

  • In reply to brober34:

    The only problem is where you put Bryant with Villanueva starting to hit well at AAA whom also plays 3rd. Move him to the outfield? demote Villanueva? Its a good problem to have, or is it just possible for a straight leap to the majors? Can we move Villanueva to 1st, hence blocking a potential path to the majors or is he simply trade bait for a future deal?

  • In reply to HillM:

    Villanueva is a third baseman and close to breaking out imo. Christian hits a ton of 'major league' pop ups which I think means that he is just missing the pitch. My untrained eye and short sample could be meaningless, but I thing he stays right where hs is for now. CV might not prove to be our best option at 3rd in the end, but the Cubs could get a nice feature when traded after some sky high pops become doubles and home runs.

  • Blackburn has a WHIP of under 1. 49 IP and 8 walks. For a Class A player. Very encouraging.

    Kind of odd how Godley moved up to Daytona and has gotten shelled in his two appearances. Hopefully he settles down.

    Everyone else feeling good today? Arrietta shines last night. Lake looking good. Bryant, Baez, Blackburn all shining. Ricketts growing a pair.

    Good day.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Once again, Fletch, you have crystalized my thoughts.

  • I'm starting to get that everyday good feeling I had reading the minors recaps last year. Can Bryant not be ready for Wrigley sometime next year? Just a beast! If the Cubs want to flip some players that won't sign like Smudge, fine. I think its time to cut back and resign guys like Hammel to an extension. Just flip the Expendables like Villanueva, Wright, Russel and Veras etc.

  • fb_avatar

    On the one hand it's hard not to get excited about Bryant to this point. But he's only played 81 games.

    Wait... 81 games. That's 1/2 a season. I could just double his numbers so far, but that would be crazy talk.

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    In reply to Glen Krisch:

    I'd get excited. Kid is the whole package -- he just needs at bats at this point.

  • fb_avatar

    The great part about Baez's game yesterday -- other than hearing the Round Rock announcers criticize his hit tool and swing as he was dismantling them -- was the improvement in his approach. He was taking pitches, including pitcher's strikes, to set up his hits. It's nice to see.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    We've been waiting all season for the light switch to turn on for Baez. Hopefully, he's figured things out.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    What did the announcers say? The home run is on the Iowa Cubs website, I think that's the Round Rock announcer and he sounds like a grumpy, Harrelson-esque ass.

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    In reply to jorel1114:

    The first double wasn't hit that hard but the wind blew it (remarkably how only Baez's fly was blown by the wind). He doesn't have the right to question a call when he's only hitting .179. He needs to tone down the all or nothing swing; that's why he's a bad hitter. And, my favorite: "For a guy hitting .178 he's really doing some damage against us the last couple nights."

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Told you last nite that they were HORRID!

    I believe that I actually heard one of them say that a ball hit against one of there smuck pitchers had sounded to soft hit even though it cleared the fence by 10 feet. They also are not very informed about their own teams. Just bad announcing all the way around.

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    In reply to Richard Hood:

    I was kind of stunned when they said Fielder was the "15th or 16th" Ranger on the DL. He was in fact the 14th. This may seem like a minor issue, but given the Fielder story happened earlier in the day I don't know how looking into that wasn't just part of their show prep.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Yep, sounds like the Round Rock version of Hawk and Stoney

  • In reply to jorel1114:

    Very much so. He complains like Hawk, has a similar accent, is a complete homer like Hawk and even uses the same catch phrases like "mercy" in the same way. It's uncanny.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Who is this mope anyway? Ex ballplayer?

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm afraid the games like Wednesday might always be a part of the deal with Baez, but if he can mix in more games like last night he will still be a monster!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I think long term you probably slot him in at 5 behind Bryant and Rizzo. Their OBP numbers, and ability to make pitchers throw a lot of pitches, will come in useful with his power.

  • fb_avatar

    New BA Draft out. This one is intriguing as it has the Cubs taking Pentecost with Kolek and Gordon both on the board:

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/2014-draft-preview-shakeup-atop-mock-draft-3-0/

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    should be a very entertaining draft. I wouldn't be upset at all about getting Pentecost at a underslot, but Kolek or Gordon would be mighty nice too. We have to trust our FO to do what is best for the team.

  • Off topic but anyone else see the class A Indians are distributing a Jobu bobble head from Major League?

  • Nola fits the timeline extremely well. He'll probably be able to help by 2016 at the latest. But if his ceiling is only a 3 or a 4, I'd pass. You can find those guys everywhere. I think Nick Gordon is the most likely choice but it all depends on what the Marlins and Sox do

  • In reply to Javier Bryant:

    Would you take Nick Gordon over, say, Pentecost for an underslot and the possibility (though certainly not a guarantee) of using the extra cap to get a better player in the later rounds?

    I am not sure. Gordon could provide a five tool player who hits lefty, which would be ideal. But he does have risk that he won't hit enough (though he is answering those concerns well this year).

    I also wonder if there are other players we could do an underslot deal with. As I mentioned before, I am a fan of taking a shot on Newcomb, but Toussaint, Grant Holmes or Brandon Finnegan (if his health checks out fine) would be others I'd think about if we could get a $700k plus underslot signing.

  • In reply to springs:

    On the $700k figure, iit may be conservative based on the player. The Cubs slot is $4,621,200. The number 9 slot is pick slot is $3,080,800 (and obviously later picks go lower), or about $1.55mm difference. If Newcomb, Toussaint, Holmes, etc. expect to go around pick 10, then if we offer them in the $3.5mm mark and they would be better off (the #6 pick is the last one above $3.5mm). In that case, we could perhaps have $1mm plus underslot bonus.

  • In reply to springs:

    If the Cubs can draft Pentecost and say Weaver in the 2nd round I'd be extremely happy. I trust this front office to do what is best though

  • "“Are you interested in being a Chicago Cub at the No. 4 pick in the draft?”- Reported quote of Theo to Max Pentecost

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Where'd that come from?

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Quote from a rumor site: http://rumorsandrants.com/2014/05/cubs-targeting-catcher-max-pentecost-with-no-4-overall-pick.html

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