A lighter day in the minors but still some thunder coming from a couple of the Cubs big bats...
MLB Draft Update
- The Cubs have now officially signed 21 of their first 22 picks with the lone holdout being Dylan Cease but that should change now that the Cubs have amassed $828,700 in extra pool money with all their under slot signings. Cease's slot value is $269,500 so the Cubs can offer him $1M without even going into the luxury tax area -- though they have shown they will do that if needed.
- You may notice that surplus pool money has shrunk by $100.00, that is because the Cubs signed 13th round pick 3B Kevonte Mitchell for $200,000, that is $100K over slot. The Cubs believe in Mitchell who has great athleticism, arm strength, and raw power. The Cubs focused on power this year with their hitters, starting with Kyle Schwarber at the top and then two guys with plus power potential in Mitchell and Joey Martarano (21). The Cubs still may have a shot at one or two more power hitters in OF'ers Isiah Gilliam and DJ Peters.
- If you're looking for a sleeper pick, I would suggest 18th rounder RHP Austyn Willis as a possibility. He was drafted as a 17 year old and just turned 18, so that often bodes well for draft picks in terms of development. He is also 6'6" (some reports say 6'7") with a projectable frame -- but he already can hit the low 90s, so we are looking at a guy who is going to be able to throw hard with good downward plane and the potential for good secondaries, including a promising curve. The mechanics are surprisingly smooth for a tall lanky kid so that bodes well for developing command as he matures.
- The good Matt Loosen showed up today and that usually spells trouble for opposing hitters. When Loosen is commanding his solid assortment of pitches, he can be very effective. That was the case in this game as Loosen pitched 6 strong innings, allowing just one run on a solo shot while walking one and striking out 5. Loosen moved to 4-2 with a 4,73 ERA.
- The veteran bullpen tandem of Jeffrey Lorick and Frank Batista held the lead for the final 3 innings with Lorick allowing 1 run in 2 innings and Batista pitching a shutout frame for his first save as a Smokie this year,
- Stephen Bruno went 1 for 4 with a run scored.
- Christian Villanueva has ably filled the void for Kris Bryant so far. He won't hit for Bryant's power but he will hit his doubles and play superior defense. He went 2 for 4 (both singles) with a run scored.
- Dustin Geiger (double) and Rubi Silva each went 1 for 4 with an RBI while Anthony Giansanti went 1 for 4 with a HR.
- The D-Cubs look like a different team so far this second half and hard-throwing (92-94) RHP Jose Rosario joined the party today with 6 scoreless frames, though he did walk 4 batters. He limited the damage by missing some bats (4 Ks) and limiting the hit total (3) en route to improving to 4-4 with a 4.96 ERA.
- LHP Austin Kirk (2 IP, 3 BB, 3 K) Zach Godley (1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) helped complete the somewhat sloppy shutout (8 walks, 2 WPs), but hey, the D-Cubs will take it, especially now that their offense is supporting the staff.
- Albert Almora extended his hitting streak to 7 games with a 1 for 5 day with a run and an RBI.
- Dan Vogelbach had himself a big game with 3 hits in 5 ABs including his 7th HR. He also doubled, scored twice, and had 2 RBI. It's been a tough season for the 1B but he is a tough kid and he's fought through it to put up a .271/.358/.427 line.
- Rock Shoulders HR'd again, his 5th of the year and is suddenly looking like he might turn things around. He's hitting just .215 overall but .306/.359/.639 with 3 HRs in his last 10 games. This entire offense is beginning to look like they did at Kane County last year.
- Chadd Krist hit his 2nd HR of the season.
- Gioskar Amaya went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. Amaya has had himself a very good offensive season at .289/.374/.371 on the year, that is good for a .353 wOBA and a 122 RC+, nice numbers from a guy who also gives you good defense.
- Another strong outing from Tyler Skulina who has quietly pitched well behind more highly touted prospects Jen-Ho Tseng and Paul Blackburn. Skulina went 5 strong innings, walking just one and striking out 5. He allowed just one run but did not get the needed run support. His ERA fell to 2.63 on the year. The peripherals aren't a good, though Skulina has slowly raised his K rate to about 7 per 9 IP. The walks, however, are just a shade under 4 per 9 IP.
- Zack Hermans started the 6th, got the first guy to ground out and then the wheels came off. He walked the next two hitters then hit the 3rd to load the bases. The Cougars brought in Corbin Hoffner who immediately did what he was brought in to do -- induce groundball contact -- but aggressive baserunning by the Rattlers allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score on a groundball to 1B Ben Carhart. Hoffner wound up pitching 2.2 scoreless, hitless innings but was charged with a very tough luck blown save. Hoffner lowered his ERA to 3.79.
- Not much offense but Jacob Hannemann continued to be a force at the top of the lineup with a single, walk, and 2 stolen bases to give him 23 on the year. He also scored one of the 2 Cougars runs. Hannemann is hitting .251 with a .701 OPS overall but has been especially good in June, hitting .311 with an .881 OPS.
- Kyle Schwarber hit his 2nd HR at Kane County and his 6th overall in 11 games as a pro. His numbers so far look like something you'd see in high school. Through 11 games he has hit .513 with a 1.1063 slugging percentage.
- Losing Schwarber took the air out of Boise's fast start but the offense picked up the slack today. There is still enough talent here to make a run at yet another NWL playoff berth. Tyler Ihrig rebounded from a poor start last time out and pitched 7 solid innings, allowing 3 runs. He did not walk a batter and struck out 5.
- The Cubs need to get better overall production from Jeffrey Baez. He did hit his 2nd HR today but went 1 for 5 overall and is still hitting just .176.
- Mark Malave's return should be a shot in the arm and he contributed a 2 for 4 day with a run and an RBI. He is still not catching and played 1B today.
- LF Kevin Brown should provide a steady presence in the lineup and he went 2 for 5 today with his first HR. He's hitting .320 overall.
- Not many standouts today because everyone pitched in their part. Every Boise hitter had at least one hit and everybody scored at least one run with the exception of OF Charles White, who made up for it with a 1 for 3 day with a double, walk and an RBI.
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