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Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Johnson, Clifton have strong outings; Alcantara HRs again, gets 4 hits

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Johnson, Clifton have strong outings; Alcantara HRs again, gets 4 hits
Pierce Johnson

One pitcher is on his way back and one is on his way up,  And Arismendy Alcantara has been absolutely ridiculous of late, hitting .462/.511/.795 in his last 10 games.

One with the recap...

Iowa 16 - Colorado Springs 3

  • Chris Rusin did not have the prettiest outing, he walked 4 and allowed 8 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings pitched but when you have a lineup like the one Iowa suddenly has -- and they're playing in a hitter friendly park, it is plenty good enough.  Rusin even helped out with the bat, hitting a HR and going 2 for 4 overall.  On the mound he moved to 5-10 with a 4.16 ERA.
  • Armando Rivero pitched 2 scoreless innings and has yet to walk a batter in 4.1 AAA innings while striking out 7.  Rivero is at Iowa to work on fastball command and if he continues to be this good, he becomes a serious candidate for a late season call-up.
  • Blake Parker struck out the side in a scoreless 9th,
  • Arismendy Alcantara has had himself a phenomenal year at Iowa so far.  The switch hitting, fast-twitched 2B/CF with lightning in his wrists was at it again, going 4 for 6 with a HR (10), 4 RBI, and 3 run scored.  If you like round numbers and traditional statistical benchmarks then you are going to love Alcantara's season so far: .301, 10 HRs, 21 doubles, 10 triples, 18 SBs.  He also has a solid .343 OBP and a .547 slugging percentage as he closes in on a .900 OPS.  And it has only been 77 games, less than half of a major league season.  If he finishes the year at Iowa, the numbers will be insane -- but I doubt he will get that chance.  Not that many of us will mind it if he does come up.  In his last 42 games, Alcantara has hit .335/.393/.568 with 6 HRs, 10 SBs, and a 9.2% walk rate.
  • Matt Szczur went 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored.  It's been a tough year for Szczur but he has hit better of late.  In his last 10 games he is hitting .303/.351/.364 and I think he can hit better than the .247 he has so far, but the lack of power is a real concern.  Szczur has slugged just .307 with just 11 extra base hits all year.  His ceiling at this point appears to be an extra outfielder, but it seems almost certain he will have to repeat AAA.
  • Javier Baez went 1 for 5 though he did walk, which makes most people happy.  Baez's walk rate, though, has not been terrible (6.7%) and, in fact, has been better than Alcantara's rate.  Both hitters have shown a good ability to work counts of late and if the can do then the hits (and the walks) will come.  Baez is hitting .293 when ahead in the count while Alcantara is hitting .444.  Alcantara has also been ahead in more counts (28% of his ABs) than Baez (22%).  So if Baez figures this all out, he can at least see the advantages of being ahead -- even if he doesn't draw that walk, but he is getting those walks of late too.  Baez is hitting .371 with a .436 OBP (4 walks), in the 9 games since Kris Bryant came to town.  Coincidence?
  • Chris Valaika must feel the trades coming and with it, the potential to find his way on to the 40 man roster.  Valaika has hit .406 in his last 10 games (is the entire team on fire since Kris Bryant got here?) with 3 HRs and is now hitting .306'/367/.466 overall after going 2 for 5 (4 RBI) with his 8th HR of the season.  Valaika can be a low cost utility player and RH bat off the bench at the big league level.
  • Kris Bryant isn't making as many headlines but it doesn't mean he isn't performing well at Iowa.  He went 3 for 6 wth 2 doubles and what was once a rather unusual, lopsided season is beginning to even out.  Bryant now has 5 HRs, 5 non-HR hits, and 5 walks.  He is hitting .303/,395/.848 in his first 9 games.  The K rate has started off a bit high, but it always does for him when he gets to a new level and adjusts to the pitching.
  • Every regular got a hit and that includes Ryan Kalish, who went 1 for 4 with a walk as he begins to show some signs of progress.
  • Last but not least, we have lefty hitting catcher Rafael Lopez.  Lopez went 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI.  Through his first 15 games at Iowa, Lopez is hitting .296/.368/.373.  In 60 games overall this season, Lopez is hitting .298/.404/.442 with 5 HRs.

 Tennessee 6 - Jackson 5

  • The Smokies fell behind early as Eduardo Figueroa allowed 3 hits in 3 innings while Zach Cates allowed his first earned run of the AA season (2 runs overall) in 2 innings.  Cates did K 3 batters and pitched well for the most part, but the bottom line was that the Smokies were behind early -- but the good news is they managed to come from behind later.
  • The bullpen held Jackson at bay after the 5th inning.  Tony Zych stayed red hot and threw 2 scoreless innings to earn the victory and lower his ERA to 372.  He has a 0.60 ERA in his last 10 appearances a span covering 15 innings with no walks and 10 Ks.  In fact, Zych has walked just 2 batters since April (27.1 IP) and has a solid 2.92 FIP on the year.
  • Lendy Castillo and Frank Batista finished up with a scoreless inning apiece with Batista earning his 2nd save and lowering his ERA to 1.08.  Meanwhile the largely forgotten Castillo is having a pretty solid season in his own right, posting a 2,95 ERA but that ERA masks a hideous 19/19 K to BB ratio in 21.2 innings.  The stuff is there but Castillo has lost his once solid control.
  • The Smokies got contributions from everyone except Anthony Giansanti, who went 0 for 4.  Everyone else had a hit and 6 different players had an RBI.  Among the top prospects on the team, Stephen Bruno went 1 for 4 with a walk 2 runs scored, while Christian Villanueva also went 1 for 4 with a walk, though he only scored once.

Daytona 1 - Lakeland 0

  • LHP Nathan Dorris has a solid average fastball and a pretty good curve.  When he gets the curve over he can present some problems for opposing hitters, particularly lefties, who have hit just .178 off of him this season.  Dorris had the best outing of his career considering it was a start and that he was pitching at his highest level of competition so far at Daytona (advanced A).  He went 7 scoreless innings, walking just one and striking out 8.
  • Fellow lefty Andrew McKirahan sealed the deal with 2 scoreless innings in which he allowed just one baserunner (HBP).  He earned his 8th save and lowered his ERA to 1.05.
  • Wes Darvill's RBI double drove in Dan Vogelbach (1 for 2 with a walk) for the only run of the game.

Kane County 3 - Beloit 2

  • Pierce Johnson allowed a walk and then a 2 run HR in the first inning then went on to shut down Beloit with no hits or walks for the next 6.2 innings.  The only baserunners came via a dropped 3rd strike, an HBP, and an error.  When I was at his first start, Johnson was 92-94 with a high 80s cutter and what appeared to be a slider, though it looked rather flat when I saw him, causing me to hedge and call it a slurve.   Johnson's best breaking ball out of college and in his first year as a pro was a power curve, so perhaps he is tinkering with a slider, which can be easier to throw strikes with for some pitchers.  We will keep you updated.
  • Juan Paniagua continued the mound dominance with 3 scoreless innings in which he walked none and struck out 6 to earn the win in extra innings.  Paniagua moved to 4-3 with a 3.11 ERA.  He has improved as the season has progressed.  In his last 10 games, Paniagua has a 2.44 ERA with 20 walks (3.75 per 9 IP) while striking out 47 (8.8 Ks per 9 IP).  He has a 0.89 ERA with just 5 walks (2.2 per 9 IP) in June while striking out 26 (11.5 Ks per 9 iP).  Given his age (24), we may see him move up to Daytona soon.Jacob Hannemann continues to roll along, getting on base, stealing, and scoring.  He went 2 for 5 with 2 SBs (26 total) and scored 2 runs.  Hannemann is hitting .254 now with a .329 after digging a huge hole for himself with a disastrous May.
  • Kyle Schwarber did not get a hit, but did walk twice.  One of them was intentional.  The learning experience now will be to be patient as teams work around him.  It probably won't get any better for awhile considering that the best hitters are already in Iowa, so he will have to get used to it
  • Yasiel Balaguert went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI, then was removed in favor of pinch-runner Shawon Dunston, who also drove in a run (1 for 1)
  • 1B Jacob Rogers has been one of Kane County's better hitters of late and a 3 hit day bumped his line up to .269/.367/.441.

Boise 11 - Hillsboro 1

  • Spoiler Alert! On Monday and Tuesday I'm going to have two separate midseason prospect lists and one of them will be the surprise/pop-up prospects for this year.  Trevor Clifton will be on that second list.  There is all kinds of things to like about this kid: makeup, size, athleticism, arm speed, ability to spin a breaking ball -- and the Cubs coaching staff have worked with him to help him put it all together.  The 19 year old RHP has been brilliant since a shaky first start and last night may have been his best outing yet.  He went 6 innings and allowed just one hit, 2 walks and zero earned runs (1 unearned, though it was his own error).  He also struck out 6.  He has a 3.14 ERA and in his last 2 starts has allowed just one earned run in 10 innings while walking 3 and striking out 12.
  • Jasvir Rakkar pitched 2 scoreless innings with a walk and 2 Ks.
  • Trey Lang finished up with a scoreless frame, walking one and striking out one.
  • Jeffrey Baez went 1 for 4 with 2 RBI.  He also walked.  It's been a slow start for Baez, who is a pretty solid prospect.  He is hitting just .169 to start the year.
  • Rashad Crawford went 2 for 5 with a run scored.
  • LF Kevin Brown went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, run, and 2 RBI.
  • Danny Canela is an Indy League signing who struggled at Kane but has started to show some power at Boise.  He hit his 3rd HR and also doubled for the 2nd time this year.  Canela also walked, scored 2 and drove in 2.
  • Mark Malave finally saw some time behind the plate and went 1 for 3 with 2 walks.  The 19 year old has arguably the best approach on this team and the strength to hit for extra bases, though he hasn't shown that much yet since coming to play stateside.

 AZL Giants 6  - AZL Cubs 5

  • Jose Paulino started and struggled again though he did show some improvement.  The 19 year old RHP walked 3 and struck out 4 while allowing 2 runs in 3.2 innings.
  • Jose Arias continued his rehab with 1.2 innings, allowing 2 runs.
  • Gleyber Torres went 1 for 3 with 2 walks as the 17 year old continues to show how advanced a hitter he is for his age.  He's more than holding his own against older players so far, hitting .280/.367/.480 in his first 6 games.
  • Jorge Soler went 2 for 2 with a walk...then left the game again.  Groundhog day.
  • 21st round pick Joe Martarano, a prospect with exciting raw power and good athleticism, made his debut and went 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored.
  • Another late round pick, Andrew Ely (2B), made his debut and went 1 for 3.

 

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  • Just a couple of quick leftover notes from Thursday's KC game which I attended.

    Torres was lights out and in control Touched 91-92 consistently and his breaking ball was tight. One of the best pitched Class A games I have seen in some time.

    Kyle Schwarber is not long for KC sadly ( I live 10 minutes from the park and enjoy seeing top Cub prospects). His 1st AB he got a little anxious as he grounded out softly to SS on a 3-0 count.

    His two hits were absolute ropes to RF, though a better RF fields the double. His presence and confidence at the plate really stands out. I could see him being moved up to Daytona in a few weeks if he continues at this pace.

    Lastly, Jacob Hanneman is fun to watch. He had about an 8 pitch AB in the first, though he did K. His second AB he dumped one into left center field and the CFer didn't hustle after it and it bounced away, JH stretched it into a double. Then, a batter later, the SS and 3B went half way in to talk to the Pitcher. Apparently, they never called for time and the only one that new it was JH. He sprinted into 3rd while everyone looked around confused. Really a heads up play. Glad to see he is up and over the .250 mark.

  • I find it extremely interesting to keep on reading that the position players in Iowa have so many among them who could resonably produce at the ML level within the next year or so.

    Everybody 'knows' about Bryant, Baez, and Alcantara. But Valaika, Szczur, Watkins and Kalish (3 of whom have had a brief taste of ML level play already) all could be useful roster pieces somewhere, if not for the Cubs. The Cubs could concievably field a team almost entirely a product of their own farm system (some gotten via trade into the farm) next year.

    C = Castillo
    1B = Rizzo
    2B = Barney/Watkins/Baez
    SS = Castro
    3B = Bryant/Beaz
    RF = Bryant
    CF = Alcantara
    LF = Lake/Kalish

    And it wouldn't be a bad lineup.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Given,.... I would prefer to not see Barney as a regular starter - even by the end of this season, and a bench with Valbuena, Valaika, Szczur, Lopez, and Barney or Watkins on it would be good bench as well.

    But,.... I do hope they get a FA bat with some pop to lake one of the corner OF spots, preferably a lefty if available until Soler or Scbwarber or 'somebody' comes in to fill the gap.

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    Is there a timetable for Pierce Johnson to return to AA?

  • It is amazing how well the Iowa team is hitting since Bryant has arrived.

  • In reply to John57:

    Or is it because Manny has arrived?

  • In reply to John57:

    Manny just got there. All were hitting well before last week

  • Boy, Arismendy is someone package of talent! Can he be this good at the highest level?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't know, but he seems to improve every level he moves up. The highest level will be the toughest though.:)

  • I predict that Arismendy Alcantara will be the first Cub to take a World Series at bat in 72 years.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    That would be wonderful to see at several levels of satisfaction.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    indeed. Excellent post, both of you

  • Putting together the top prospect lists ought to be fun especially when you try to work in Schwarber, Martarano, and pitchers who haven't pitched like Sands, Stinnett, Steele, and even Cease, should he sign. Should be a good set of lists to discuss and debate.

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    Does anyone know why Soler left the game early?

  • Sorry, almost cried there!

  • In reply to Jayhawk81:

    That comment was supposed to go with Alcantara leading off the World Series!

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    Any word on what Martorano signed for?

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    In reply to Joseph Winner:

    Less than 100k. Appears to have been more about the opportunity than the money.

    http://www.idahopress.com/sports/martarano-makes-his-pro-baseball-debut/article_71275940-fe8f-11e3-92ec-001a4bcf887a.html

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    Anyone hear anything about Kyuji Fujikawa. Will the Cubs get anything out of their investment with this guy. I know his contract is almost over but I was wondering what his future holds....

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    In reply to bocabobby:

    Last I heard he's throwing in Arizona but I'd be surprised if they get anything from it at this point.

  • Very nice first inning by Beeler. 7 pitches, 6 for strikes, one K, one ground-out. It'll be interesting to see how he fares as he passes through the order and they all get a chance to see him pitch a time or two.

  • I attended the last 2 AZL games and I can offer some brief observations...

    Both games were typical rookie games, with many errors, players out of position, misjudging pop-ups, etc. I can remember only 3 hard hit balls, 2 from Soler and a HR by Burks.

    Soler...Thurs he was the DH and looked at about 20 pitches in his 4 AB's which included a long HR. Last night's game he played RF and again showed his solid approach with a wallk, sharp single up the middle and a laser right at 3B who wanted no part of it. On the bases, he went station to station basically both nights, possibly the Cubs being careful with him. Not sure why he came out last night, as he didn't pull up on the bases or anything, again perhaps using the cautious approach.

    Torres..slick fielding SS with what seems to be a plus arm now. Perhaps a little too slick as he underestimated the speed of one runner who beat the throw. He did seem a bit lazy on plays from the OF where he didn't come out to get the throw, rather he tried to scoop the ball which a few got by him and then didn't really chase down the ball. But, then he makes the solid back-hand dive and flip to 2nd base which makes one forget about the other stuff. I did not see any wild throws or anything of that nature, so SS seems like a good projectable position for him.

    Burks...fast OFer who made one diving catch and almost had another last night. His speed is evident as he beat out a swinging bunt and an IF hit where the 3B had to hurry but bobbled the ball trying to make a play. And a solid HR on Thursday.

    Paula in the OF....absolutely butchered 3 balls. Actually reminded me of a softball beer league OFer. Misjudging fly balls, under the glove, misplaying the ball in the corner etc. But, again young kids.

    Markey 91-92 for a little guy, high leg kick, someone to look at.
    Arias.....same guy we all have read reports about
    Diaz or Concepcion reminded me of a lefty version of Strop, but can't remember which guy.

    Hope this offers a little insight

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    Afternoon John. See you been a busy boy of late. After the draft there will be the trade deadline stuff keeping you busy. I know this is the ind of busy that isn't exactly a bad thing for you. Happy belated anniversary BTW. Ok now that I'm finished with the small talk I've noticed you haven't been mentioning Eloy Jimenez in your recaps. Is he injured, or just struggling so much he's not worthy of mention? Just curious. Good to see the young Torrez playing well. It's going to be exciting to see this kid progress through the system. Also wondering why the Cubs don't being Lopez up to back up Beef Wellington? I know Baker had him a day yesterday, but those days are few. Lopez isn't exactly a kid so his time is due. He could provide some much needed offense on Beef's off days, and from the left side no less.

  • Off to CoSprings tonight!

    17 runs?

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    I will be there tonight as well. Enjoy the game!

  • I hope Valaika gets called up at some point. He deserves another chance after what Miami did to him last year when he dared to speak up about abuse from his hitting coach. Very small on the owner's part.

  • when barney or sweeney or schierholtz are gone thats when we will see AA

    then it will be....
    cf alcantera
    lf ruggiano/coughlan
    1b rizzo
    ss castro
    c castillo
    3b valbuena
    rf lake/kalish
    2b bonafacio

    not a bad lineup. when hammel is traded wada will take his place and hendricks will take his spot on the 40 man

    i think if baker doesnt stay hot I could see Lopez taking his place in August.

    i think watkins comes up for Olt here very soon.
    AA should be coming up for barney & kalish for schierholtz
    bonafacio takes Sweeney's spot. that opens up 2 spots on the 40 man for september. (Bryant & Baez?) if they bring up valiaka i would hope they dfa brett jackson at that point.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    thats my take on the roster juggling between now and sept 1st.

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    Hendricks will not be on the 40 man till he has to be. That will be after Wada and Beeler get some starts.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    you cant leave a 40 man spot open if they trade hammel i have to think Hendricks would be the logical choice unless fujikawa comes off DL

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    The only way I see Hendricks gets on the 40 man roster is if he moves to Chicago. No need to add him just for the sake of adding him. Valaika might be the guy that gets the spot if there is one spot open. Then over the winter is when we really see some shifting around...... just my opinion

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    boca i disagree if hammel & wada or shark get traded then Hendricks will be the 5th starter. (even though beeler had a great start today) IMO that is what the FO is thinking of course performances could change that.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    i guess hammel could get traded for a 40 man guy?

    i think after hammel that Wada,Villanueva & Russel or Wright will also be traded. That gives them 4 openings on the 40 man and the only candidates would be Fujikawa,Hendricks,Rivero,Hatley & Cabrera (i think hatley & cabrera have little chance). Unless some comes in via trade to fill 40 man spots.

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    Did you read my post? So you would put Hendricks on the 40 man roster even if the FO intends to keep him at Iowa for the rest of the year? I'll repeat myself.....

    "The only way I see Hendricks gets on the 40 man roster is if he moves to Chicago. No need to add him just for the sake of adding him."

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    Valaika will have a tough time no matter where he plays at if he gets to the majors. He went against the code (right or wrong) and really upset the old boy network when he complained about Martinez publicly. I think that had as much to do with him being kept down as anything else but the media put it on the owner Loria.

  • John:

    Your journalism chops are showing: Re: Alcantara: "switch hitting, fast twitch, 2B, CF, lightening in his wrists."
    Excellent writing about an excellent prospect.

  • This is a huge start for Shark & the Cubs. A great start could help grease the wheels for a trade..and as I right this Shark gives up a solo shot in the 2nd...shake it off. 8 innings of domination to show he is not fading the 2nd half.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    as I "write" this...dang spellcheck

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I sure wish he could piece together some of the dominance he had earlier this year. Of course, if he were able to have consistent dominance, then he would be a TOR pitcher and the Cubs would have signed him.

    As it is, all he has done over the last 6 starts (including today) is lower his trade value. It is looking less likely soeone will pay the value he indicated he was worth earlier this year (or in early 2013, for that matter), making it more likely we will not trade him and hope he is consistent (at least through July) next year.

  • In reply to springs:

    Shark wants 20+ million per year it seems, his agent didn't even bother to give him the $85 Million offer because it wasn't even in the ballpark. As you say, with the inconsistent way he has pitched with no track record it is highly doubtful any team will pay him like an Ace (which is what 20+ Million means), which means that Shark is determined to pitch it out until he is a free agent in the hope that he will be Ace worthy by then (at age 30)....

    He has every right to bet on himself like that, but I think he will be dissapointed in the end, as I just don't see him dominating consistently for a full season. He will still get paid in Free Agency I imagine, but not as much as he thinks he will...not to mention whether the Cubs still have him (very doubtful) or he's traded to another team this year (likely) he will get a qualifying offer, which he will quickly turn down, but which will cost his acquiring team a 1st round pick along with his asking price. That usually hurts the market a bit for all but the very best players....and as I write this Shark is struggling in the 5th.

  • Why is Eloy Jimenez barely playing? He was playing steadily in AZ in EXST until it was reported that he was going to the DSL, while Torres was staying in AZ...then Jimenez ended up staying in AZ, but ever since has barely played. I thouhtt it would change when EXST ended and Rookie Ball started but he is still barely seeing the field. It's strange unless he is hurt or something why wouldn't they want him playing like Torres everyday?

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Beeler looked very good today. Way to go young man.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Yes he did, solid MLB debut for the young man....and why I love baseball; case and point, Dallas Beeler was the Cubs 41st round pick, the 1,240th player selected in the 2010 draft...and here he is making his debut as a Starting Pitcher for the Cubs just 4 years later....the Cubs 1st round draft pick that same year, starting pitcher, Hayden Simpson has already busted out of baseball.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Wow, that's crazy. Great perspective.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I believe AZ Phil said he was still learning to be a serviceable OF . Not sure why he doesn't DH though.

  • In reply to springs:

    This front office is known for it's patience. He appears to be healthy. Healthy enough to pinch-hit a few games back anyway. My guess is he's pretty raw (Torres was always known to be the more advanced of the two), and he's just getting coached up. But that's just a guess.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    The fact that he pinch hit a few games back and we haven't seen him since, is why I think he might be injured.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    He really is a young Soler.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Ha! I hope not in THAT way.

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    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Not snarky comment, though: Gleyber Torres is playing much better than I expected. I get it's way early in his career but he is looking special.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    By the way 17 year old kids need playing time and at bats more than anything, I seriously doubt they are keeping him out og games to "coach him up". If he wasn't going to play everyday at AZ then he should have been sent to the DSL, which is standard for a 17 year old kid from the DR signed through IFA. Starting in the states is the rarity, which is why it's odd that he was scheduled to go to the DSL, then it was decided he would stay with Gleyber in AZ and he has barely played since. it's all just very odd.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    It's a mystery to us, for sure, but I don't think it's odd because there are so many possible reasons why. Injury would be the most logical explanation. This FO isn't in a hurry with anybody. Anybody. There are tons of players on a rookie league roster. Far more than the other levels. All of those guys are more advanced than Eloy. The instruction and facilities stateside are better. There are reasons why he wouldn't be sent to the DSL but wouldn't be playing in AZL games. Heck if I know which one it is, though...

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    What do you think the chances are of Alacantara getting called up before July 25th? I'm going on a cubs/cardinal bus trip to wrigley that day and i just bet a cardinal fan that Alacantara will be called up by then. Alacantara plus Bryant....what an boost to the cubs offense those 2 will be....now if Baez could just get his stuff together and have a huge 2nd half surge.

  • In reply to Greg Simmons:

    Those 3 will probably be called up when rosters expand in September. That is my guess.

  • In reply to John57:

    Both Baez and Bryant are not on the 40 man roster. They will not be in Chicago this year.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    Exactly, Alcantara is the only one of those three who will see Chicago this season.

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    In reply to Richard Beckman:

    That's true, but there's about 15 or so guys on the 40 man that NO ONE will pick up via waivers if they're dropped from it...I think it's safe to say that Olt needs to go back to Des Moines soon. Villanueva is on the 40 man, maybe bring him up and see if he can hit better than .140

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    Kyle Schwarber: 3-for-4 with 2HR. Better pack his swimsuit because he'll be in Florida soon.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    MASH BROTHER!

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Funny how things work. I loved the Almora pick, he's been struggling all year(I know he'll be fine), didn't like the Bryant pick, he went on to annihilate everything and become the best player in the draft. Hated the Schwarber pick(wanted Nola) and guess what, he is somehow topping Bryant.

    I think i'll dislike every 1st rd pick from now on.....Sometimes I love being wrong.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Do you think he will be on a Bryant timetable, as in fall league and pencilled in for AA next spring? Because if he hits Daytona in a few weeks and holds his own, that would be dreamy.

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Very possible. As you say, his performance in Daytona will be the guide. So far he's been incredible. Hit tool may be better than Bryant's.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm gonna devote some time to looking at his gameday data and see how often he's getting to deep counts and what he's doing in those situations. Right now it's difficult to accept that he has a better hit tool than Bryant, based on limited data (vs good amt of video on Bryant to date). Not saying it's impossible, just inconceivable and extremely fortuitous if that happens to be the case.
    As it turns out, this draft pick felt to me like a hedge against potential failures of Soler/Vogelbach, so if that was the rationale, it was effing brill. Give Theo a raise.

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    In reply to Eldrad:

    Don't believe the gameday data for Midwest league includes accurate info on pitch counts. If you want the clue from statistics, though, look at strikeout rates. Schwarber is showing a knack for making contact.

    It's fine differentials -- they are both offensive monsters.

  • Alcantara called out looking on a pitch 2 feet outside... dude's a stud can't wait for AAA talent to reach the bigs

  • Can someone please take the Sky Sox commentators out? I've got $50 on it. They have spent this entire inning trying to impersonate yoda and it is quite possibly the worst experience watching milb.tv in the last 3 years.

  • In reply to MashBrotherMania:

    sounded like cookie monster with 1% of the wit. painful.

  • Good lord, Schwarber. This kid is incredible. I'm literally salivating at the idea of a Rizzo-Bryant-Schwarber 3-4-5 batting order. Awesome.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Don't forget Alcantara, Soler and Baez. I think the line up will be OK.

  • John, regarding Pierce Johnson--I read an interview with him several months ago (can't remember where), and in it he said that he considered his slider his best pitch--in part because, oddly enough, he claims to have better command of it than the fastball. So, that slider might be the breaking pitch you were seeing.

    Reading Johnson's comments was pretty encouraging to me. Typically, if a guy throws as hard as Johnson does and also has very good command of an MLB quality breaking ball, he will have MLB success. One of the reasons I have high hopes for him and think of him as a guy having a pretty high floor.

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