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Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant, Almora HR; Martin steals 5; Cubs sign 9th,10th rd for way below slot; Futures Game

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Bryant, Almora HR; Martin steals 5; Cubs sign 9th,10th rd for way below slot; Futures Game

So much news today.  As you have probably been noticing, the recaps will come in the morning for the most part.  With Boise and AZ playing late and me not on an insomnia kick of late, I've been preferring to wait until the mornings.

We got lots and lots of info today, so lets get started.  Besides, it is our 9th wedding anniversary today, so you probably won't be hearing much from me today :)

Futures Game

  • Javier Baez (Puerto Rico) has been selected to play for the World Team while Kris Bryant will play for the U.S. side in the Futures All-Star Game, an exhibition which selects players based on prospect status rather than on the field production.  The game will be held on July 13th at 4 pm CT.  It will be televised on MLB Network and can also be seen via live stream on MLB.com.  You can see the full roster here.

MLB Draft

  • The Cubs signed 9th round pick RHP James Farris for $3000 and 10th round pick RHP Ryan Williams for just $1000.  Neither had a whole lot of leverage here as a college seniors.  Farris signed for $148,000 and Williams for $140,000 under slot.  That bonus now has the Cubs at $928.700 below their pool allotment for the first 10 rounds with only 6th round pick Dylan Cease still  unsigned.  If you add Cease's bonus allotment of $269,500, that gives the Cubs, $1,198,200 to sign Cease pre-tax and a whopping $1,615,810 if they go the allowed 5% overage.  Thats should be enough to sign Cease plus Joey Martarano (who has signed but terms still undisclosed) and perhaps another late round flyer or two, such as RHP Brad Depperman.  

On with the recap now...

Iowa 6 - Albuquerque 2

  • Tsuyoshi Wada, now on the Cubs 40 man roster, is pitching with purpose now.  He had one of his better starts this season -- and that is saying something.  Wada went 6 innings with just 1 walk and 10 Ks  while allowing just one run on 4 hits.  Wada improved to 8-4 with a 2.73 ERA and his FIP to 3.83.  If there is one thing that has hurt him this year it is the long ball.  Wada has given up 10 HRs this year, though he did not allow one in this game.
  • Iowa now has a pretty lethal bullpen, after middle man Alberto Cabrera allowed a run in his inning, Armando Rivero and Marcus Hatley shut the door with a scoreless inning apiece.  Neither walked a batter while Rivero struck out two while Hatley struck out one.
  • Arismendy Alcantara has been nothing short of outstanding for the past 6 weeks or so.  He went 2 for 3 with a double, walk, SB, 2 runs, and an RBI.  He is now hitting .290/.336/.518 with 19 doubles, 10 triples, 8 HRs, and 18 SBs in just 21 attempts.  Remember that outstanding season in AA last year?  Well, this year may top it if you go by wOBA, where Alcantara now has a career high .367 mark.  In his last 39 games (159 PAs), his walk rate is at a very good 10%.  See you real soon, Arismendy!!
  • Javier Baez showed a great approach yesterday and although he wasn't making particularly good contact, you hope he learns that having a good approach means you can still help even when you aren't launching baseballs into Minnesota.  Baez did exactly that today, walking twice, and getting a key single on a tough AB.  This isn't as season to judge Baez by his numbers but if today is an indication than we can be excited about him becoming a more mature hitter.  And if that is indeed the case, then we will see the dividends later.
  • Josh Vitters went 2 for 4 with a double.
  • Kris Bryant HR'd again.  He has 5 hits, all of them HRs and he has had either a HR, K, or BB in 71% of his PAs this year.  He also has a .000 BABIP  That is absurd, but then again, should anything Bryant does surprise us anymore?  He is a special player and the unique start shows just how well he can adapt and remain productive even when he is adjusting to a new league and isn't yet hitting on all cylinders.

Tennessee 6 - Jackson 2

  • I don't think there has been a more resourceful pitcher in the Cubs system this year than Dae-Eun Rhee.  It hasn't been pretty.  The velo is down, the command is off...he still has that great change-up and apparently a whole lot of moxie because he keeps getting the job done.  Rhee went 5.2 innings and allowed just 3 hits and a run, walking 3 and striking out 3.  He has a 4-3 record now with a 3.23 ERA.  It's bittersweet to me because you can't help but wonder what kind of pitcher Rhee could have been had he not hurt his shoulder and lost 5 mph off his fastball.
  • It's been a disappointing season for Jae-Hoon Ha, who is hitting just .202 after knocking on the door for a big league call-up last year.  He doubled today and drove in a run.  Between Rhee and Ha, we see how fickle the baseball gods can be sometimes.
  • The Cubs got all kinds of flash and dash at AAA between Alcantara, Baez, and Bryant.  Stephen Bruno gets to do his work in the shadows for now which I'm guessing is fine by him.  He'll just keep hitting his way to Wrigley.  Bruno went 2 for 3 with a sac fly and 3 runs scored.  Bruno is hitting .298/.379/.461 on the season despite playing just 19 games above the short season level prior to this season.  In a weird sort of way, he has me excited to see what 3rd pick C Mark Zagunis can do because if the Cubs pick a college hitter in the first 10 rounds, chances are the guy can rake.
  • I don't think we should yet give up on Christian Villanueva.  He has off the charts makeup, plus to plus-plus defense at 3B, and he is a doubles machine.  Kris Bryant may have passed him on the depth chart but I think Villanueva still has a future in the bigs.  He went 3 for 4 with, you guessed it, 3 doubles.  That gives him 22 on the season in 70 games, putting him on a pace to at least match last season's total of 41.  When Bryant is in the majors at some point next year, I expect Villanueva to rebound and have a good AAA season.

Daytona 6 - Dunedin 5

  • You can't keep these D-Cubs down for long.  After a nightmarish first half for the team and it's best prospects, things are starting to turn around.  The D-Cubs are 5-2 to start the second half and it wouldn't surprise me if they took the 2nd half title in the FSL.  Today they rebounded against Jays prospect Matt Boyd, who had completely dominated them last time out.  Felix Pena played rope-a-dope with the Dunedin offense, allowing 10 hits in 5 innings but walking just one and keeping the D-Cubs in the game by allowing just 3 of those basrunners to score.
  • Starling Peralta went 2.1 innings and allowed 2 runs, but just one was earned.  The K to BB ratio continues to impress as he struck out 5 and walked just one.  Peralta has averaged 9.12 Ks per 9 IP (25.7%) and just 2.10 walks (5.9%).  The Ks are nothing new as Peralta has that mid 90s FB that can reach 97, but the walk rate is by far a career best.  It looks like Starling has figured it out and he once again looks to be a potential big league bullpen arm.
  • LHP Andrew McKirahan continued his breakout season with 1.2 scoreless innings, though he did allow an inherited runner to score.  That means a blown save, but McKirahan ended up getting the victory to move to 2-1 with a 1.11 ERA.  McKirahan works with two good pitches, a slider and a fastball which I have seen hit as high as 94, though I have not seen a reading this season.
  • Pin-Chieh Chen is one of those players I like because he is simply good at baseball.  He has a good approach.  He squares up the baseball, he runs, he defends.  A small frame is his biggest drawback so what is holding him back is whether he will have enough size/strength not to be overmatched by upper level pitchers.  Chen went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.  He also stole his 7th base.  Chen is hitting .277/.367/.394 on the year.
  • Albert Almora went 3 for 5 with a HR with an interesting story behind the HR.  It seems the ump asked him if he'd be kind enough to swing and not take so many pitches because the ump was feeling ill.  Almora cooperated and hit the ball out of the park.  Good karma, I guess.  It turns out the ump was suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration.  He had to leave the game right afterward.  You can read @kernansean of the Daytona Beach News-Journal tell the story here.  Almora extended his hitting streak to 6 games, a span in which he has hit .370/.393/.519.  I'm expecting to see the Albert Almora we all know in the 2nd half.
  • We didn't think Bijan Rademacher was going to hit .375 in the tough FSL all year but he has continued to hit well overall.  He went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk to improve to .287/.398/.421 on the season.  He has one of the more intelligent approaches of anyone in this system.  He studies pitches and combines it with a good awareness of his own abilities.
  • Rock Shoulders went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
  • Marco Hernandez is beginning to scratch the surface of the type of player he can be now that he is maturing on the field.  He doubled and walked today to raise his line to .275/.318/.349.  The ability has always been there and now Hernandez is beginning to develop a better approach at the plate and in the field.

 Kane County 9 - Wisconsin 3

  • Paul Blackburn is the other half of Kane County's 1-2 punch in the starting rotation.  He doesn't have that one nasty pitch like Tseng's curve, but he shares his ability to command the fastball and mix in a solid curve and change.  I have a different perception this year of Blackburn.  I had high hopes he could develop into a power pitcher when he suddenly hit 95 last year but I think this year I see a lower ceiling but a higher floor.  You have to like pitchers who command the fastball because that sets everything else and makes the rest of your repertoire play up.  I think he can be a #4 with his current low 88-92 mph fastball simply because of his superior command and pitchability at such a young age.  Now that I have talked him up, I will tell you that this was not the Paul Blackburn that took the mound yesterday.  He walked 4 batters in 5 innings while striking out just 2 and allowing 3 runs.  His team picked him up, however, and he moved to 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA.
  • Michael Wagner has been outstanding in middle relief this year and I am beginning to think he should get a shot at starting along with James Pugliese when and if Blackburn and Tseng get moved up to Daytona.  He has a full repertoire with a low 90s sinker, good slider, and a solid change to which he adds a feel for pitching.  I think he can be a back end starter but some scouts like him better in relief.  He pitched 3 solid innings in this game allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 4.  He lowered his ERA to 3.33.  Since a poor start in his first 3 appearances, Wagner has a 1.10 in his last 7 outings covering 16.1 innings.  He has 8 walks and 19 Ks in that streak.
  • LHP Michael Heesch might end up being quite a load in relief.  I haven't seen him in short stints but I imagine he could add a couple ticks to his FB, a pitch that already has good movement and thrown with excellent plane.  He struck out the side in his one inning of work and lowered his ERA to 3.48.
  • In a fine Arismendy Alcantara impression, Jacob Hannemann went 3 for 4 with a walk, double, and 2 SBs.  The fleet outfielder is now hitting .250/.327/.373 with 21 SBs as Hannemann reached the .700 OPS mark, though I don't think he will stop there.  We figured Hannemann would be rusty to start the year -- and he was, but since mid-May he has turned it on.  He is hitting .304/.361/.458 with 2 HRs and 9 SBs in 10 attempts.
  • Carlos Penalver went 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI.  I think he is one of the better ballplayers for a .244 singles hitter you will ever see and I think he can be much more than that as he matures physically.
  • Will Remillard returned and was his usual self, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Kyle Schwarber went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk,  He is 6 for his first 15 at Kane County.
  • Trey Martin had himself quite a day, going 2 for 3 with a walk and 5 SBs.  He is one of our favorite sleepers around here because he oozes so much talent.  If he can get that hit tool going, he's going to play in the big leagues.  Martin is hitting .235 on the year but has hit .327 in 18 games in June.
  • For great pictures and more info on the game, check out Midwest Traveler's recap.

 Spokane 7 - Boise 3

  • Ben Wells went 4 innings in which he walked 3, struck out 4 and allowed 2 runs.
  • Trey Lang's encouraging start continued with 1.1 hitless, walkless innings.  He struck out one.  Lang has a very good slider and it seems he has much better command of it early this year.  Last year he seemed to bounce many of them in the dirt and it lost effectiveness because a slider needs to look like it can at least possibly be a strike when it leaves his hand.  This year he seems to have tightened it up, walking just one batter and striking out 8 in 6.1 innings.
  • Not much offense to speak of.  Jesse Hodges, 3B, did the heavy lifting with a HR and 2 RBI.  He went 2 for 4 overall and his hitting .143 to start the season.

AZL Cubs 4 - AZL Angels 2

  • RHP Luis Hernandez, 19, has intriguing size at 6'5", 210 lbs.  He didn't strike out a lot of hitters, 2 in 5 IP, but he did hold the walks down and kept the ball on the ground with 7 ground ball outs.  He did not allow a run.  Hmmm...I will have to find out a bit more here.
  • 2014 draft pick RHP Brad Markey (19) made his debut and pitched 1 inning, allowing one run, and striking out 1.
  • Jose Arias is rehabbing in AZ and pitched a scoreless inning.  He had gotten off to a great start as a bullpen arm but can't seem to stay on the mound.
  • Pedro Araujo pitched the last 2 innings to earn his 1st save.  He allowed a run but did not walk a batter and struck out 3.
  • Your average 17 year old has no business skipping the DSL and then getting off to a .333/.381/.611 start in his first 4 games, but Gleyber Torres isn't your average 17 year old.  He's talented and he's polished -- and he could move up the ladder quickly.  Torres went 2 for 4 with a run scored in this game.
  • Albert Mineo is off to a good start with the bat.  He is hitting .462 after a double in 4 ABs.  He scored a run and drove in another.
  • Tyler Alamo saw his first action behind the plate and went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
  • And what gives, Charcer Burks?  Just one hit today?  Based on his start I think we can call that a slump.  Burks went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored.  He is hitting .556 (10 for 18) to start the year with 4 doubles, a triple, and 2 SBs.

 

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  • fb_avatar

    Funny you mention Zagunis specifically. If you go to the Cubs official page (http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/draft.jsp?c_id=chc), Zagunis is still unsigned. That's concerning to me because he was the first guy to agree to a contract. I'm hoping there isn't something in the medicals that is holding the deal up.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Hey Mike... If it is a medical issue do they lose the slot money?? If so... that would be a real blow to the rest of the possible signees.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Yes. We'd lose slightly over 100k if he didn't sign.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Zagunis just signed -- he's official.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Carrie Muskrat wrote today that 21 of the first 22 picks have been signed. The only one not signed is 6th round Cease. And we will get him too.

  • In reply to John57:

    CCDT just posted the signing amount for 13th round pick Kevonte Mitchell, 3B 6'4"/185. It is $200,000. I think the FO likes this HS player.

  • In reply to John57:

    Any signing amount over $100,000 after the 10th round counts toward our allowed bonus total. So giving Kevonte $200,000 will use up $100,000 of our allowed bonus amount. I wonder how much J. Martarano signed for.

  • fb_avatar

    This will be of general interest: Manny Ramirez is joining the Iowa Cubs tomorrow in Colorado Springs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Excellent! I'll be there Friday and Saturday, and was already excited to see some Cubs prospects. It would be cool to see Manny there, too, though I would guess we will mainly see him as a pinch hitter.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Killer Iowa lineup:
    cf Alcantera
    rf Kalish
    ss Baez
    3b Bryant
    dh MANNY
    1b Olt (its time to get him some AB's)
    lf Vitters
    c Lopez
    2b Watkins maybe soon to be Bruno?

    I would go watch that offense over the Cubs everyday.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    which lineup?
    alcantera or Coughlan, ruggiano or kalish, baez or Rizzo, Bryant or castro, MANNY or Valbuena, Olt or Lake, Schierholtz or Vitters, Castillo or Lopez, Barney or Bruno?

    Except for 3 spots I would pick Iowa.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to bleachercreature:

    This should be the Cubs line up asap in this order

    1. CF Alcantara
    2. RF Kalish
    3. 2B Baez (Protection from Bryant will be huge)
    4. 3B Bryant
    5. 1B Rizzo (Good spot here protecting Bryant)
    6. SS Castro (Already use to hitting behind Rizzo)
    7. LF Lake (Switches with Kalish vs LHP)
    8. C Castillo

    Bench
    Valbuena (Utility)
    Coughlin (Mainly to give Kalish a breather)
    Vitters (Pop from the right side vs LHP)
    Fill in the rest with whoever

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    Besides the point that Javy and Kris need more time at AAA, I would leave Rizzo and Castro at 3 and 4 until Baez and Bryant prove themselves at the MLB level.

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    Peter,

    I agree with everything you said except that Bryant needs more time in AAA to develop. This guy was polished coming out of 3 years of college ball. If the Cubs weren't worried about using up the arbitration clock on him, he would have been in AAA much sooner and on the MLB team right now. I think a Castro-Rizzo-Bryant 2-3-4 looks damn intimidating. Add a productive Alcontara in front of that combo and this team can probably double its current anemic offensive output in the second half of 2014 or 2015. More likely the latter as they seem determined to be as bad as humanly possible the rest of the way in 2014.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    you'd need to find room for rizzo in your first 3 at bats, in my opinion. the dude has grown so much in just the past year, it's crazy to think what his numbers would look like with an mlb line-up surrounding him. i for one am very happy he endured the "struggles" he faced last year. he seems to be a much better player for the lesson.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    You leave Rizzo 3rd. He has 17 HRs against Major League pitching,

    Ideally Bryant and Baez kick butt and you sandwich Rizzo between 'em in R-L-R lineup.

    Then Schwarbs kicks butt and you go R-L-R-L.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I will therefore be very interested to see Javy's stats for July (and after).

  • fb_avatar

    Man, can we EVER have a starting pitching prospect break out? Seems like they're always either hurt/can't stay healthy or trend more towards their floors than ceilings.

    Was really hoping we could get at least a future #2 out of one of Maples, Blackburn, Johnson, Vizcaino, Edwards, Skulina, Underwood, Paniagua, etc. It's not too late for any of them but it's something you can't help but think about. Especially when you see just about every team with a homegrown stud or two coming up.

    I don't like it at all but it might be necessary to overpay for starting pitching. Gotta come from somewhere. No Scherzers of the world though.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    tseng belongs in that group, might end up being the best of the bunch.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't think that Vizcaino has done anything this year that would make you think less of him. He has been dominant in relief and if he stays healthy I could see him easily moving to a TOR starter. Additionally, I don't think that you can say that you can see "just about every team with a homegrown stud or two coming up." In reality, if you look across the 100 prospects, there are a ton of pitchers who have found injuries or struggled. For example, Bradley - 4.50 ERA (Diamondbacks), Walker - injury (Mariners), Syndergaard - 4.98 ERA (Mets), Appel - 10.98 ERA (Astros), Tallion - injury (Pirates), Sanchez - poor performance (Blue Jays), Zimmer - injury (Royals).

    Honestly, there are more question marks than exclamation points for top pitching prospects across the board.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Do you forget Prior, Kerry Wood? Our knock has been that we haven't been able to develop hitters. Who was the legit last hitter we developed?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Stomper90:

    Castro

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Restless:

    I think it has as much to do with talent evaluation as it does development. Although in my humble opinion the last few years of Hendry aren't looking as bad as originally thought, at least infield talent evalutation.

  • fb_avatar

    Let's just be annoyingly hypothetical here.

    Imagine Bryant hits 14 more homers in the next 5 weeks, keeps his K% below 20% and walks at around 15%. I don't think that's impossible.

    Would the Cubs just be a bunch of jerks for keeping him here in Des Moines?

  • In reply to Phil James:

    What is the rush? Let's let him just play down there and get his AB's and see how he does. If he does well enough this year in AAA to warant a major league job next year so be it. I really hope Baez and Bryant spend the rest of the year in AAA and get their reps in.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    Theo recently talked about his defense and the 13 errors at Tennessee as something Bryant still needs to work on. This season is a lost cause so there is no reason to bring him up to Chicago. Funny thing is, this kid hasn't even played 1 full year in the minors. He signed on 7/11/13.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    With such a bad team, I think it unfortunately still makes plenty of sense to consider things like the 40-man roster and delaying his service clock.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    But are they a bad team? I'd wager that they are one bat away from a .500 team. Two bats away from a contender. If he's ready and can contribute to a winning effort, they should bring him up as soon as HE is ready and not when the team is ready.

  • In reply to Phil James:

    Being a .500 team this year doesn't accomplish anything.

  • In reply to Eric:

    Yes it does. It would put some faith in fans that Cubs are trying to win and give players much needed experience in Chicago. Or lets just lose 100 games in 2015 also.

  • In reply to mailmanrod:

    Any informed fan can tell the Cubs are trying to win for the long haul. Winning in the short term (this year) will compromise that effort. The young prospects have to properly develop and not be rushed. We have to be patient. It is not important how many games we win this year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    YES.

    They're a bad team.

    They are 29th in BA and OBP and 28th in runs. They aren't ONE bat from anything. They're probably about four bats from contending.

    Think about the fact that Rizzo has the fifth highest OBP in all of baseball, and they are still one spot from rock bottom.

    I don't understand this tendency to view the league through rose colored (cubbie-blue colored?) glasses.

    We are terrible. and we're likely to get worse after trades.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Phill James: "I'd wager that they are one bat away from a .500 team. Two bats away from a contender" What ever he is smoking I want some.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Phil James:

    So a very simplistic calculation: they're right now 11 games under .500. Replacing Schierholtz with Nelson Cruz results in a 2.5 fWAR swing and replacing Lake with Melky Cabrera is a 1.1 fWAR swing, round up and say that's a 4 game swing. We'd be 3 games under .500. Closer to say we're about 2 players away from .500.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Nice.

    And yet, that team would still be trading away Shark and Hammel and (if possible) Ejax

    So in the long run, farther under .500

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    but schierholtz currently sports a -1.1 oWAR (since we are talking bats here), while cruz has a 2.7.

    lake has a 0.3 oWAR, while cabrera has a 2.1.

    that's closer to a five game swing (4.6). puts the team one game under .500%. splitting hairs maybe, and i know it's not a true forecast. but, supplemented with the prospects coming up in the next 12 months, two impact bats, and a samardzija replacement could see the cubs north of .500% next season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    you know they have to play defense, too, right?

    You can't use just the oWAR numbers because it's more convenient.

  • fb_avatar

    I hear ya Marcel. That's why I can't help but believe that the Cubs are going to make a big splash this winter in the Free Agent market.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Personally, I will be shocked if they make a big splash in the free agent market this winter, unless it be for a pitcher. They do not want to spend big bucks until they know they have a competitive team with a specific hole that can be filled with an available free agent.

    Until that time comes, there will be no big splash. After the 2015 season at the earliest.

    To be clear, I have no problem with this what so ever. The team is going to be a lot of fun next year.

  • I know it's out of the question, but would it not have been perfect to bring up Bryant today against Latos?

  • In reply to Burnsie25:

    That would have been awesome! I remember.

  • Did soler play?
    Is cease down for signing, or just waiting for the money to come available?

  • In reply to Pappy:

    Soler did not play. We are all anxiously awaiting news as to why. Hoping he didn't aggravate his hamstring. Again. He was taken out of Sunday's game half way through...

  • In reply to Pappy:

    By all expectations, Cease will sign.

  • fb_avatar

    Professor Parks tweeted yesterday how impressed he was with AA, saying he was top-30 prospect in baseball now potentially. 10 Triples by the end of June is nuts.....

    I have to think the Cubs will wait until after the deadline, and Super-Two passes, but Arismendy should be starting every day the last couple months of the season for us. No idea what position, probably all over, but every day for sure!

  • In reply to Zonk:

    i thought the super two status didn't apply to alcantara?

  • Happy Anniversary, John.

  • Schwarber with a homer. Would have been a 2 run shot, but Penalver got caught stealing right before that.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    Schwarber has hit safely in every game since turning pro and has hit 6 HRs in 11 games.

    I clicked on his player card on milb.com last night and was disappointed with his numbers in Kane County. I mean, only one multi-hit game and one HR in his first five games. He had 4 HRs in 5 games in Boise. I found myself thinking, "Come on, Schwarber, pick it up". Then I started laughing at myself after seeing his slash line of .400/.500/.733.

    Man, Schwarber's fast start and Bryant's fast, well, pro career have ruined me. I need to recalibrate my expectations...

  • This is probably more appropriate for the promotion post, but how long do folks feel is enough time to establish "Yep, these are consistent trends, the guy gets it, it's promotion time".

    Jesse Rogers mentioned in a recent post how K rate and BB rate will be big for promotions, and I see Alcantara doing great as of late but starting off slowly with the K's and BB's.

    Any chance Theo wants to see these trends for a whole year?

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I think it is possible. Alcantara was having a similarly strong year last year at this time, but then struggled down the stretch. Endurance may be an issue for a guy his size. I would like to see him stay in Iowa until September and see if he can sustain this pace for a whole season.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    last year Alcantera had 570 plate appearances the most before that was 350 so fatigue would have been expected last year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/library/principles/sample-size/

    is a pretty good reference.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Certainly a chance but the tea leaves (i.e., starts in center field) seem to indicate that they are planning on moving him up in the near future.

  • Would love an update on Soler. It would be absolutely brutal if he injured himself yet again.

    Hopefully Edwards is back soon as well.

  • Can we nominate Mrs. Cubs Den for sainthood and the Nobel prize at the same time?

  • Happy Anniversary John. Take some time off, you deserve it.

  • fb_avatar

    Any thoughts on why they're leaving Wladimir Galindo down in the VSL instead of playing in Arizona with the other IF kids?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    Because the jump in competition level from the VSL to Ariona is quite big and Galindo isn't as polished as Jimenez and Torres.

  • First time poster here, Been reading this site for a couple months now. By far my favorite to read, But here is my question. Do you see Remillard as the a potential catcher of the future for us? How's his defense and instincts behind the plate? If not him who do you see as a potential catcher of our future?

  • In reply to Bcb4Life:

    The Cubs have really attacked the catcher position with quantity the last couple of years. They are beginning to develop some depth at the position at least have some hopes moving forward.

    Rafael Lopez is a good hitting catcher in AAA right now. Good athlete, not a big guy though. Probably tops out as a backup, but as a left handed bat he might make a good compliment to Beef for a few years.

    Willson Contreras is probably the best athlete and presents the most upside among the current candidates. A converted 3B, he can throw and is quick out of his crouch. He has decent power at the plate, but an unrefined approach. He has a lot of similarities to Castillo. Probably a couple of years away from knowing whether he will make needed adjustments.

    Remillard and Brockemeyer are both draftees from last year that present some upside. Both are considered more offensive than defensive catchers at this point. Ben Carhart is another guy down in Kane County that is a converted 3B that just began playing C this winter. he is a solid contact hitter and has the athleticism, arm, and smarts to handle the conversion. All three of those guys will be interesting to watch the next couple of years to see how they develop.

    Mark Malave has bounced between C and IF since signing a couple of years ago. He is making the full time conversion to catcher this year. Another good athlete with a good arm for the position. Has a good eye at the plate and untapped power potential. Justin Marra is an offense first catcher playing with Malave in Boise.

    Mark Zagunis is the Cubs recent 3rd round pick. Been some comps to Jason Kendall in that he is a solid contact hitter with very good speed and athleticism for a catcher. There is some belief that he could move quick and that the Cubs are high on him. Of course, he hasn't played yet, so any enthusiasm should be tempered.

  • I am optimistic about Jacob Hannemann. His line for the last 10 games is: .351/.442/.622/1.064 and he has stolen 21 bases out of 24 attempts. I think Almora has a little competition coming.

  • In reply to John57:

    And he stole home today.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    one of my favorite prospects to keep tabs on. not as high profile yet but I like to think about what he could become. long way to go and already old for his league. not going to be easy but hey, like John talked about in his post the other day, it would not be as fun if they all could make it or if we all just wanted to follow the Bryants and Baezs of the world.

  • In reply to DoubleM:

    Agreed. His athleticism is exciting and I'm not too worried about his age. He may be 23, but he had two years off from baseball so in development age he is on par with others in the MWL. I have no problem with the Cubs having a 26 year old rookie if he's producing. The Cardinals have done similar things with Freese, Jay, Carpenter and Craig.

    As John said, we expected some adjustment time with him starting in KC and all. But it looks like he's beginning to get it. His walk rate has improved a lot since a slow start. 6.25% in April, 10.74% in May and 10.58% in June, a month in which he is hitting .311/.381/.500.

    A left-handed lead-off hitter who gets on base, has good speed (23/26 in stolen bases) and has some extra base pop with the athleticism to play an above average CF. I'd say that's worth following.

  • While I agree there is no hurry on Bryant and Baez to a certain extent I fully expect them to showcase this talent in September as their seasons in the minors will be over. The Cubs will be way way eliminated and we can see what we have to look forward to for 2015 Along with Alcantara, Vizcaino, Hendricks, Wada and others. With most not coming up till after Super 2 day in 2015. It's a win win as we will see the New look Cubs and the Cubs will fill some seats in Sept.

  • In reply to Andrew444:

    Do September call-up games not count towards the service clock? I assumed/believed they did and that we won't see either of the two until mid-June 2015. Am I wrong?

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    In reply to hawkmcd:

    At very least they would have to be added to the 40-man roster. And I don't see that happening. Theo has pretty much said so.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    agreed...if bryant and baez were already on the 40 man, there'd be a pretty strong argument to bring one/both up in sept if their AAA performances warranted it. absent the 40 man roster spots, though, there's little to no chance.

    probably not going on the 40 until the season's over...

  • In reply to Andrew444:

    You'll be waiting a long time I'm afraid. Theo pretty much stated that Bryant will not be called up this year and more than likely won't be added to the 40 man roster until late April of next year to push out his free agency year to 2020. And do you honestly feel Baez deserves to be called up with his struggles this season? He's 21 years old, let not rush him like Hendry did Castro. Let him develop out of the spot light in Des Moines where he belongs. Your prospect fix will have to be satisfied by Alcantara and Vizcaino being called up this year.

  • In reply to Northside Neuman:

    agree the wait will be a little longer, but MLB service time is what determines a player's arbitration eligibility (and ultimately your FA clock), not his presence on a team's 40 man roster.

    have to say that i'm giddy to see AA and AV in cubbie pinstripes, though...

  • In reply to Northside Neuman:

    For starters, I'd like them both to see a ton of knee-buckling breaking pitches before coming up. Beyond that, it's been stated that there are still some defensive adjustments to be made, at least by Bryant. Better to make gaffs at the minor league level (and learn from them) than under the scrutiny of the fans/media at Wrigley.

  • per Muscat. Dallas Beeler called up for Double Header.

  • In reply to Moonlight:

    What double header?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Cubs, this Saturday. Probably would've been Wada but he pitched yesterday.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Cool - I win a bet with a buddy,.... He was betting that the first 'new' guy up to start a game from Iowa this year would be Wada - I had Beeler picked.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Nice! Drinks are on Dr. Kaz, everybody!

  • Wow, so Schwarber played catcher today. He threw out both guys who tried to steal on him, pounced on a bunt attempt and threw out the speedy Johnny Davis AND stole 2nd base himself.

    Oh yeah, and he went 2-for-4 with a HR...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    So,.... maybe the guy could stick at Catcher?

    :D

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Pretty sweet. There is a youtube video of Schwarber making a leaping outfield catch at the wall, and honestly, he looks pretty athletic in the clip.

    Let's hope he can keep it up.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Sweeeet!

  • Schwarber threw out just 19% of base stealers in his sophomore year but improved to 33% this year. He has good arm strength but his pop times are below average. If he can be coached up to get the ball out faster, he has a shot to be league average in that area.

    Schwarber says he loves playing catcher. It keeps his attention deficit disorder brain busy. So much to think about playing catcher. He loves it. He loves the leadership aspects of the position and the responsibilities the catcher has. With his work ethic, make-up and love of the position, the only thing that will have him move off catcher would be his ability or lack thereof.

    He showed the ability to stick there today. Can he do it consistently and at a high enough level and are the Cubs concerned about the wear and tear catching would place on his body, are the biggest questions left to be answered.

    I don't have to tell anyone what a difference maker it would be if Schwarber can be a league average defensive catcher and play 120 games there for the Cubs.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    If his bat is as good as advertised, I would prefer he play 155 games in LF.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    You're not happy with our current -2.1 WAR outfield?

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I'm sure a major league team could never field such a hideous group of scrubs to populate an OF. Just not possible. It is just a bad dream. We will all wake up soon.

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    In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I believe only the Cubs' new FO is happy with the outfielders they put on the 25 man roster.

  • In reply to Ray:

    I believe there not. Which is why the drafted Almora and Hannemann in their first two drafts, signed Jorge Soler and (if you believe he can't stick at catcher) drafted Schwarber this year.

    In the context of a full, bottom up rebuild, giving a player like Lake a chance to develop and getting veteran stop gaps like Schierholtz and Ruggiano makes sense. The fact that the veterans are underperforming this year certainly opens the FO up for criticism, though...

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I see your point, and in certain circumstances that would be the best option, like if Bryant sticks at 3rd and the Cubs OF continues to be terrible offensively. But the line-up is vastly improved if the Cubs have a set of productive OFers which, by the time Schwarber makes the bigs (assuming he does), they could have.

    The option of him being able to play catcher in the bigs opens up all sorts of possibilities.

    For instance, let's say by 2016, the Cubs acquire a veteran LH OF via trade or FA. Almora flops or has been traded, but Alcantara has fulfilled his potential as a switch-hitting, speedy, good OBP CFer, and Soler spent 2015 crushing AAA. In that scenario, the ability of Schwarber to play catcher effectively comes in mighty handy.

    There are 18 interleague games in which he could DH. 110-120 behind the plate or so and some in LF sprinkled throughout the year, and the Cubs could easily have his bat in the line-up for 150+ games while maximizing production from the other positions.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Even AL teams that have the use of the DH in every game almost never get the guys like Mauer 150+ games a season. Add to that the fact that the Cubs play a ton of day games and I think Schwarber would be able play 130 games max. Plus, playing the OF would probably extend the number of prime offensive years he would be capable of. There are very good reasons that elite offensive catchers that are capable of playing a different position almost always do. Especially in the NL.

    I'm not against letting him try it in the minors for awhile. And my whole premise is also assuming he can actually handle LF (I haven't actually seen him out there). But if he really does become the best bat from this draft class then I think he and the Cubs would be better off with him in the lineup as often and for as many years as possible.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I'm actually of the opinion that the Cubs should not allow any of their players to play more than 150 games. The day games, the different start times, the Chicago humidity, etc. It all wears on players over the course of a season and I think it has contributed to a lot of the second half swoons that have plagued the Cubs throughout their history. I think the team would be best served implementing a policy where no player ever starts 7 games in a week and is capped at 150 games per season.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Then why did you write that you prefer Schwarber play 155 games in LF?

    I was just pointing out it was possible. Not that they should or have to.

  • I was at the Kane County game last night. Hoyer and McLeod were both there for the entire game. I mustered up the courage to talk to them for just a little bit. Hannemann looked really good. He's one of my favorite prospects.

  • In reply to HailSzczur:

    Very cool.

  • I know I'm being greedy, but has the ship sailed on Isiah Gilliam?

  • In reply to Taft:

    Most likely. To expand upon your analogy, it's left the port but is still in the harbor. If the Cubs radio with a large enough offer, the captain could decide to turn the ship around.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks, I suppose in the 23rd round, the idea was: Hey, if one of our other superslots is completely unreasonable about signing, we can tell him to jump in a lake and use that money to bring in Gilliam. Not a bad idea, even if it's nothing more than a negotiating tactic.

  • Wow. Luis Hernandez could be a sleeper. 19 years old, 6'5", 210 Lb RHP from the DSL last year.

    Here is video of Hernandez yesterday...

    Fastball: 90-94 mph
    Slider: upper 70's
    Changeup: mid 80's

    Video (June 25th, 2014): http://youtu.be/MklGeBDwwSo

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Very nice size for a pitcher. Could be part of a future wave.

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    I'm sorry, I don't often put much thought in proposed lineups in comments, but look at this:
    Alcantera
    Castro
    Rizzo
    Bryant
    Baez
    The crazy part is that is a very realistic MLB lineup by All Star Break next year. That is a hell of an infield. That will scare the hell out of a few pitchers.

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