Daily Cubs Minors Recap: 1st Rd pick Kyle Schwarber hits big HR (VIdeo), goes 3-4, in debut ... and a couple more signings

The short season begins!  So far it's just Kyle Schwarber but perhaps he'll be joined by some other new draftees soon.

A couple of players appeared to have signed.  14th round pick Chesny Young, who played 3B for Mercer college, will sign pending a drug test and a physical, while the same holds true of 18th round RHP Austyn Willis from Barstow, CA.

As I predicted, the Cubs will likely sign their first 20 picks with inky Dylan Cease (6th round) and RHP John Michaek Knighton (17th round) the only ones who haven't signed or have given indication they will sign.

And Kris Bryant who ?  Kyle Schwarber is the next big thing and he made his debut in style...

Sacramento 7 - Iowa 5

  • Dallas Beeler did what you want him to do, he threw strikes (2 walks), he missed bats (6Ks), he kept the ball down (10 GB outs), and he kept the ball in the park (no HRs allowed and just one extra base hit) -- but sometimes the BABIP gods scoff at your efforts, they can be fickle that way.  Beeler gave up 8 hits and 6 runs in just 6 innings.  He fell to 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA.
  • Arismendy Alcantara hit his 15th double and scored 2 runs in 4 ABs.
  • Ryan Kalish is beginning to get into sync, putting up some good ABs and today he got some good results, hitting a triple, walking and driving in 3.
  • Javier Baez did not get a hit but he drove in 2 runs, one of them with a sac fly.  Baez is hitting .222 now after reaching as high as .239, but he is starting to put up some solid ABs again, so we could see him start to turn things around.

Tennessee 8 - Mississippi 2

  • The good Matt Loosen showed up today and he went 5 solid innings, allowing 2 runs wile walking 2 and striking out 5.
  • Jeffrey Lorick got his first win of the season, pitching a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 5.17.
  • Lendy Castillo pitched 2 scoreless innings and is beginning to turn his season around.  The outing lowered his ERA to 3.94.  He has not allowed a run in his last 6 innings, though he still has more walks (17) then Ks (15) on the season.
  • Armando Rivero finished with a scoreless inning, striking out 2 and lowering his ERA to 1.65.  He has struck out just under 14 batters per 9 IP this season.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha doubled, singled and scored a run.
  • Not a big Kris Bryant day but he still singled, walked, scored and drove in a run.  Bryant is hitting .358/.462/.713 with 22 HRs and 57 RBI on the season.  That's pretty good.
  • Charles Cutler is filling in Rafael Lopez's shoes quite well.  He singled, walked, scored twice and drove in  a run.    Cutler is hitting .331/.439/.438.
  • Dustin Geiger has shown some signs of braking out of a season long slump.  He is starting to hit with a bit more pop, hitting his 9th HR while driving in 3 and scoring two.  Geiger is hitting .230/.304/.394.

Beloit 3 - Kane County 2

  • Paul Blackburn went 5 innings allowing just 4 hits and not walking a batter while striking out 3, but he did allow a couple of runs and it was enough to render him with a no-decision despite a well-pitched game.  Blackburn has a 2.78 ERA on the year.  He has allowed just 3 HRs all season while walking just 14 and striking out 50.  He also has a solid ground out to assist ratio of 1.41, so he's doing what he needs to do to pitch well and he also has the rsults to show for it.  It wouldn't surprise me to see him end the year in Daytona.
  • Josh Davis lost the game though he  also pitched pretty well, going 3 innings without walking a batter and striking out 4.
  • Carlos Penalver went 1 for 4 with a double and was driven him on an RBI single by Ben Carhart.
  • Yasiel Balaguert hit his 4th HR of the year.  He's hitting .229/.271/.335 overall in what has been a disappointing season coming off a strong showing in Boise.
  • Trey Martin went 2 for 3 with a double as his average creeps slowly upward.  He is at .209 for the year.

Boise 4 - TriCity 2

  • Tyler Ihrig is a polished, finesse type starter who may be a bit advanced for the NWL.  He dominated today with 5 innings of one-hit, scoreless baseball.  He also did not walk a batter while striking out 5 but he got a no-decision despite his efforts.
  • Greyfer Eguera lost the lead, allowing 2 runs in 2 innings.  He walked one and struck out 2.  He did end up getting the win when Boise came back to take the lead.
  • Hard throwing David Garner, who features a very good slider, struck out 4 in 2 scoreless inning to pick up the save.
  • Mark Malave played 1B today and went 1 for 3 with  a single, walk and a run scored.
  • It didn't take long for Kyle Schwarber to make his presence felt.  He started the game at catcher and quickly made a throwing error and then grounding out to the 1B in his first inning.  Things went much better from there as Schwarber had 3 consecutive hits, including 2 singles and then a huge game winning 3 run HR to RF in the 7th.  Not a bad way to start your pro career.
  • David Bote had 3 hits, including a double.
  • 3B Jesse Hodges walked and drove in a run.



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  • I have a feeling that Theoyer almost knew what they were doing this past draft? Can't wait to see how Schwarber shakes out.

  • In reply to HowlinWolf:

    Ha! I think you're right.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Seems like Jason MacLeod has the strongest voice in these high draft picks.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    I am sure he does.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I heard that it's McLeod that runs the draft room with Hoyer making the final calls. Theo doesn't ever overrule Jed when he makes decisions, similar to when they were in Boston. Jed wanted Buchholz, and Theo made it known that he absolutely opposed it, but Hoyer had the final call.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    god I hope we don't lose him anytime soon

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    Rumor has it that Gilliam signed... What an amazing draft by the FO

  • In reply to Andrew Tripp:

    Where did you read that? Do you have a link?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The only thing I could find was that TheCCO-Minors tweeted Gilliam congratulating him on signing. There was no response from Isiah.

    TheCCO-Minors ‏@TheCCO_Minors 7h
    @isiah_gilliam24 Congratulations on signing. Look forward to covering your career.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Is Theo good or what? Hopefully this is accurate.

  • In reply to John57:

    Gilliam attracting a lot of attention:
    Hangout Scouting Contributor
    Hall of Fame

    Isiah Gilliam....
    I sort of wrote him off as "not ready" in another thread somewhere on here -- he totally won me over today. One of the most impressive BP sessions of PG National and showed plus or better power from both sides of the plate. Physique has already started to improve over the past three months. Looks like he might be able to hang in an outfield corner. Definitely going to be a follow for 2015. He's at Parview for his senior year and currently has a verbal commit to Chipola JC (I think a 4-year school will change that in short order, though).

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Wonder of he had tweeted something previously then took it down.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe try meant signing for college instead? I have no idea but that would be such a great snag

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    In reply to Quedub:

    His Twitter account doesn't sound like someone who is signing.

  • Both Bryant and Schwarber hit their 1st professional HR on 3-0 pitches.

  • In reply to Casey n Boise:

    Working the count!

  • 75 RBI for Bryant. Now I want him up too! I wish. Fifty-seven.

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    Schwarber is probably a bit too good for the NWL, which means we should have the fun of watching him dominate for a month or so.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Totally agree, Mike. One game (albeit a great way to start), especially in the NWL, is not going to change my thinking on Schwarber. As with almost all prospects in the lower levels, I'm always wait-and-see. As much as I want this FO to be right and for prospects to succeed, I just can't buy into any player's success until they can do it in AA.

    Succeeding at a level when you're two years young for it is a good indicator. Dominating a level at an appropriate age is a good indicator. But all results at the lower levels don't carry a lot of weight until they happen at AA.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    And then there is the importance of AAA success as we've seen with Baez. His approach especially was going to be tested at this level. It will be a great teacher for him. I was at the Fresno game last night. Javy is definitely frustrated, talking to himself after flying out in his 3rd at bat. Hot streaks are a great sign for him, but mentally I think they kind of work against him a little bit. Seeing the crafty, soft-tossers in AAA is exactly what he needs to adjust his approach for the better. He wants so badly to be awesome and he knows he can be that slowing things down and having steady, consistent success seemingly doesn't excite him.

    One thing that struck me at the game last night was how lackadaisical the game seemed, very different from the majors. Maybe the I-Cubs were tired, but rarely did I see hustle like I do when watching big leaguers play. Vitters lined a single and barely got to first by the time it was being thrown back into the infield. Didn't even try to round the bag. And that's just one example. All in all, the I-Cubs didn't play inspired baseball in that game.

    Jokisch pitched better than his numbers. He sat mostly 88-90 on the FB, hitting 91 once. I was sitting on the 1st base side so I didn't get a great look at his location as I would've from behind the plate, but Lopez wasn't moving his glove a lot and he was keeping the ball down in the zone with regularity. He got a bit unlucky with how players got on-base in front of the Panik grand slam. A weak, perfectly placed grounder that Alcantara and Valaika both went for and got crossed up on. Then a walk followed by a high chopper that Villanueva had to wait for to come down that the runner just beat out. Even Panik's HR was hit to the shortest part of the field (335 feet) just inside the RF foul pole over about a 4 foot fence. A fan actually reached over the wall and caught but it would have cleared it anyway. It was a line drive from Panik but the only solid contact of the inning and would've been a double in most other ball parks.

    Speaking of the ball park, Chukchansi Field is a really nice AAA stadium. Wish the game would have matched it.

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    In reply to Quedub:

    Vitters doesn't hustle - ever. What you witnessed was par for the course with him.

  • How about this trick play from the Boise game log:

    "Mark Malave lines out, pitcher Helmis Rodriguez to second baseman Miguel Dilone to first baseman David Bergin."


  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    Probably a liner off Rodriguez's glove, bounces right to Dilone who throws to Bergin for the out.

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    I do admit that the Schwarber pick on draft night was a bit of a head-scratcher, and really hope the FO was honest when they said he was 2nd on their board.

    I just hope the Cubs abandon the thought of using him behind the plate and let him play LF full-time. His main asset is his bat, and letting him play in the field allows him to get more ABs as opposed to playing fewer games a week as a catcher.

    Still, no matter what they do with Schwarber, the FO executed a great game plan and I hope they can sign Cease along with some other overslots.

  • In reply to Cubs 27:

    Don't worry he will get his ABs as if he is not playing catcher he will either play LF or 1B. Malave will get plenty behind the plate too. He will be in that lineup and it is much too early to focus on just one position. Let him develop and give him a chance at catcher at least for a little while. Throwing error might have been more nervousness. I mean Bryant had gone 0-5 in his debut.

  • I hope like hell he stays at catcher. Obviously the only way he'll do that is if he can. But Schwarber as a left-handed hitting catcher would be a huge boon to the Cubs in a few years. Chances of that are probably pretty slim, but one thing struck me that Schwarber said in an interview after being drafted. He said because of his ADD tendencies, playing catcher keeps his mind busy and he absolutely loves playing the position. Sounds like he'll work as hard as he can to stay there.

  • have to admit it - i've watched that video maybe 20 times. that's a good amateur announcer; a good call. i like how the infield defense never moved once the ball was hit. and on a 3-0 pitch? is that more common in the minor leagues (especially so low)?; a player swinging on 3-0?

  • In reply to RizzowiththeStick:

    I thought it was interesting that the manager gave him the green light on 3-0 (if that's what happened) in his first game with the team.

  • In other minor league news, Corey Black tweeted that he's flying back to Tennessee and expects to be pitching Sunday.

  • In that photo his mug is reminiscent of Ruth

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    In reply to TTP:

    Funny first thing my girlfriend said when she saw him was that he looked like the babe.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    I said the same thing about Vogelbach over a year ago. Maybe Kyle and Dan are long lost cousins.

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    Ideally, Schwarber will do exactly what Bryant did last season and hit his way to Daytona and the FSL then onto the AFL.

  • Well, that was a nice stop in Boise, on to Daytona with Schwarber!

  • Looking far into the future, I wonder if Schwarber could save us a roster spot -- specifically, I'm talking about the roster spot that has been occupied by such luminaries as Paul Bako, Koyie Hill and the legendary Hank White: backup catcher.

    We'd want Schwarber's bat in the lineup every day, but if he sticks at catcher, he'd be a defensive liability. Fortunately, not all opposing teams have the speed to exploit that liability. So we'd let Schwarber play catcher against the teams that lack a running game. Against teams that do have a running game, however, we put Schwarber in the OF and let Castillo put on the gear.

    In this arrangement, both of our catchers are well-rested, but neither of them is the kind of automatic out that we've come to expect from the backup catcher's spot.

  • In reply to Taft:

    That's never going to happen. In fact, I've never heard of that happening in the history of MLB. 2 catchers with pretty much even playing time? In your scenario, the teams that didnt have much of a running game, would most likely all of a sudden, have a running game, if Schwarber was that much of a defensive liability that he'd only play against teams with a "lack of a running game".

  • In reply to copinblue:

    I don't think he was suggesting a 50/50 split, more like the McCann/Gattis situation where Gattis got around 40 games at catcher and then played LF regularly. I disagree with the "lack of running game teams" though. If he's not good enough to play there he shouldn't be back there. But if he's serviceable I think what the Braves did last year would be a great idea.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    I think that is a possibility. Basically you would have Schwaber work with one pitcher and the bullpen. It would also give you a lot of options with pinch hitting while schwaber is in left because he could move to catcher. What if Vogelbach could get to a point where he can play LF? That offense would be insane.

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Obviously, if Schwarber is a complete disaster behind the plate, then he'd never play there. But this scenario is predicated on him being serviceable. There are a lot of big-hitting catchers who were below-average defensively: Mike Piazza comes to mind. Stolen bases are somewhat overrated, and you have to factor in the bonus of having a big bat at catcher, along with a big bat in an outfield spot. That extra bump in offense may be enough to overcome the defensive deficiency.

    And there are plenty of catchers who have moved around in order to stay in the lineup: In 2001 Jason Kendall started 27 games in the outfield and the rest as catcher. This year Buster Posey is playing 1B every fifth game or so. I'm not saying this is "likely" to happen, but if Schwarber makes it to the show, it may be a creative way of managing the roster.

  • In reply to Taft:

    Everything I've seen on Schwarber lists him as "average" defensively. I just don't get why so many people insist he'll be a liability behind the plate. I'd much rather see how his defensive skills develop before making that decision.

    I think the McCann / Gattis example brought up by nmu'catsbball is a good one. Hopefully, Schwarber has enough versatility to contribute at several positions, giving the manager some options before removing a LH bat from the lineup.

  • In reply to Taft:

    I have not heard what his weaknesses are as a catcher, but the running game is not the only area that a catcher can be deficient. Can he block pitches in the dirt? Can he jump on to the field to field a bunt? Can he frame pitches? Can he call a game?

    My guess is that he has problems in more than one area.

  • That is a nice way to wake up on a Saturday Morning! Schwarber goes long on a low inside pitch he had to go down and get. And hopefully with pitchers coming back healthy like Black Edwards and Johnson soon these reports will become even more addictive then now.

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    In reply to Gator:

    Black Edwards.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    Here is an instance where punctuation really makes a difference kids. The more you know.

  • In reply to Mike:

    Punctuation is important. Let's eat, grandma. Let's eat grandma.

  • In reply to Melancubby:

    I don't feel the need to nitpick. No big deal IMO! I appreciate the posts no matter how they are written as long as they don't criticize. That's why I choose this site. Now a friendly debate is something completely different.

  • Well, let's not make Schwarber the Babe yet, but what a huge find that second power lefty bat could be for the Cubs whatever position he plays. Boomshakalaka!!!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I agree. Everyone freaked out when Bryant went 0 for 5 with 5 Ks let's not freak out the other way.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    And as the announcer mentioned, the wind was gusting out to right.

    Great start for sure, but the limit of my hope is that he is at Kane County come August 1 for the last month.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    It didn't look like it mattered which way the wind was blowing on that one though.

  • In reply to Mike:

    Yeah, that was crushed right off the bat according to his teammates

  • In reply to KGallo:

    Good point. It is one game either way.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Bryant was 0 for 5 with 5 Ks his first game. Schwarber homered. Based on my extensive statistical analysis of that, you can only draw one conclusion:

    Schwarber is much, much better than Kris Bryant!

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I haven't seen anyone comment on it, but in every league he has been in, Bryant has made more outs than hits. So there IS room for Schwarber to exceed his performance.

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    After watching that AB I have a strange feeling that we are about to be STACKED at catcher. Malave can flat play at any position. Schwarber is hopefully able to stay at C at least for a while. Lopez is a good find now at AAA. Then we have the kid from the 3rd round that is already signed and should at least for a while be in AZ league.
    Having one posssible make it prospect at C is considered good have 2 is considered insane depth.... having 4 that have MLB upside even if they are a ways away should be considered obscene.
    I love how this FO notices a flaw in the system and with in a year it is considered a strength.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    They did it with 3B too. Now the next area is pitching. Pretty soon we will be overflowing with power arms and won't know what to do with them all.

  • In reply to John57:

    True. The Cubs are already at a point where other teams will covet players the Cubs can't protect in the rule 5 draft. The deeper the system, the more likely talent will be picked off.

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    I believe Atlanta had two catchers that split a lot of time last season with McCann and Gaddis who also played a lot of LF.

  • Even Brett Jackson had a good day. 2 BBs and a hit in 4 PAs. He is starting to have a few good games. His stats so far are still bad but things seem to be getting better.

  • I think Kyle seems way too smart and driven to fail behind the plate. If he gets moved off, I think it's due to injury or a 2nd opinion.

    I see no reason why he can't stick. I also like the Gattis/McCann scenario above and sometimes it can benefit a roster to have 3 catchers as Bob Brenly will quickly tell you.

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    Am I the only one that is having link problems? I keep getting links from here in my email and when I go to them, the page is not found?

  • In reply to Daniel Stone:

    Web issues all day today. Looks ok now.

  • More outs than hits? Wouldn't that be his Average?... and the last player to even achieve 40% hits vs outs was Hall of Famer Tedd Williams in his amazing 1941 season when he hit .406 and before him it was Bill Terry in 1931. I'm assuming you said that tongue in cheek, right?

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Why did this end up down here? weird. It was a reply to daveP regarding Bryant.

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