So, Kris Bryant...
Let's start off with some video. The first is from the Iowa Cubs and the second from MiLB.com...
And here is another angle...
And here is one more angle from reader Lance.
MLB Draft News
The Cubs officially announced the signings of RHP Jake Stinnett (2), LHP Carson Sands (4), LHP Justin Steele (5), and RHP James Norwood (7). Noticeably absent is 6th round pick Dylan Cease. The Cubs have approximately 1.27M to spend not including the money they are expected to save in rounds 8, 9, and/or 10. The only one I am not certain of is the 8th round pick, LHP Tommy Thorpe, who is a solid pitching prospect and may not be an underslot guy, but James Faris (9) and Ryan Williams (10) are seniors who were almost certainly signed in pre-arranged deals.
The Cubs are expected to sign their first 10 picks and at least 19 of their first 20, with the only question being John Michael Knighton, who is a JC prospect who could go back to school and re-enter the draft next year if he isn't happy with his offer.
The Cubs should also sign 25 of their first 27 picks with Knighton and Isiah Gilliam (23) being the question marks.
Promotions and re-assignments
I don't really like the word demotion because it sounds like such a death knell. If you are demoted in your job, that's probably your company's not so subtle way of telling you that you aren't in their plans, but in baseball it isn't quite that harsh. Good prospects have to move down a level from time to time and it doesn't necessarily spell the end. It can be a time to re-group and regain confidence, as with Dillon Maples last year.
Anyway, Christian Villanueva and Jeimer Candelario got bumped down a level and both are still age appropriate for their leagues. On the other hand, Jeffrey Antigua and Frank Batista getting sent to AA is different. They are more organizational type guys than prospects and unfortunately, it is their lot to be moved up and down as is convenient for the organization as a whole.
- Well, we had to wait for 4 whole ABs for Kris Bryant to go yard. After looking bad striking out in his first AB, he made solid contact in the next one, then in his last AB, went opposite field and went yard. The downside is he is hitting .250 with a 25% K rate --- I keed, I keed.
- Tsuyoshi Wada did his thing, changing speeds, painting corners en route to his 7th win, going 6.2 innings and allowing 2 runs. Wada walked 2 and struck out 7. He has a 2.81 ERA on the year. He had good K rates (8.6/9IP) and walk rates (2.4) coming in, but he has had some luck, including a high strand rate, and thus his FIP is a more pedestrian 3.98. He's a savvy pitcher who is a man among boys in AAA, so it'll be interesting to see how his stuff plays should he get the call to Chicago.
- Yoanner Negrin is another guy who will use all kinds of deception, changing speeds, arm angles, etc. and he finished off with 2.1 innings and 4 Ks for his first save.
- Arismendy Alcantara went 2 for 5, stealing his 15th base and nudging that batting average up to .280 and the OBP to .323. The numbers are slowly getting there and with Alcantara's extra base pop, he could be helping the Cubs offense at some point this year, perhaps after the trade deadline.
- Javier Baez went 1 for 3 with a walk (intentional) and scored a run. Baez seems a little frustrated, particularly one AB when he took strike 2 on a pitch that was clearly outside, then the pitcher took advantage and threw it a couple more inches off the plate -- with Baez in protect mode and a rather wide strike zone, he swung and missed. I'll say this about Baez. His confidence doesn't seem to waver. The look in his eye says "Throw me that junk and I'm going to take it down town".
- Chris Valaika did a good job in the middle of the Baez-Bryant sandwich going 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run.
- Josh Vitters did an equally job hitting behind Bryant, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run.
- Dae-Eun Rhee went up against former teammate and Cubs farmhand Nick Struck. He outdueled him, going 6 innings and allowing just one run on a solo HR. He also walked just one and struck out one to lower his ERA to 3.35 on the year.
- The Smokies got their usual good work from their bullpen. Zach Cates struck out 2 batters and walked one in 2/3 of an inning while the red-hot Tony Zych pitched a scoreless inning and lowered his ERA to 4.31. Zych has a 1.08 ERA in June with no walks.
- The newly re-assigned Frank Batista pitched 2/3 of an inning for the save.
- When you lose a guy like Bryant, everyone has to chip in -- and that is exactly what the Smokies hitters did. It started with Stephen Bruno. Who else? Bruno went 2 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. Bruno is creeping back up toward .300 and is hitting .297/.383/.474 overall.
- Christian Villanueva didn't waste anytime replacing Bryant, getting a pair of hits and knocking in the game winning run.
- Charles Cutler went 2 for 4 and is now hitting .333 on the year to go with a very good 11% walk rate. The 28 year old was picked up in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft and has filled a big void for the Cubs in terms of upper level catching.
- Rubi Silva will have to hit like he did last year to chip in and he did that today, going 3 for 4 with his 5th HR. He's hitting .251 on the year.
- Felix Pena started but he continued to struggle after his unsustainably hot start. He went just 3.1 innings and allowed 3 walks, 7 hits and 4 runs. His once microscopic ERA is 3.03 now.
- Starling Peralta absolutely shut down the BC hitters. In fact, he retired all 14 of them, striking out 4. His ERA fell to 3.49 and he now has just 11 walks in 49 innings, roughly 2 per 9 IP. Who is this guy? Coupled with his great stuff (47 Ks in 49 IP, 96 mph FB, plus slider), his command could once again get him knocking on the doors to the majors -- though this time it won't be as a Rule 5, he will have to work his way up.
- Andrew McKirahan pitched a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 0.92 and earn his 6th save.
- Albert Almora went 2 for 5 with a double and scored a run. No D-Cub could use a great second half like Almora.
- Dan Vogelbach may put up his own big numbers considering his strong finish to the first half and his big game today. Vogelbach had 3 hits, including his 6th HR and raising his line to .266/.354/.424. It's still not the Vogelbach we have come to know and love, but he's definitely heading in that direction.
- Willson Contreras picked up where he left off, going 1 for 4 and driving in a pair of runs.
- Daury Torrez worked an efficient 5 innings, He did not walk a batter and did not allow a run as he moved to 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA.
- Jacob Hannemann hit an inside-the-park HR (3) and went 2 for 3 overall. Hannemann seems to be getting adjusted to the pro game and while he is hitting just .243/.313/.351, he has been hitting the ball better lately.
- Kyle Schwarber got in some pretty good ABs though he just had a single to show for it. He did drive one the opposite way against the wind that fell just short of a HR -- and that would have been perfect -- two oppo HRs from the two recent first round picks on the day they get promoted. Schwarber also scored and drove in a run. Here is video from reader Dave on his first hit..
- The Cougars got production up and down their lineup with everyone except new/old Cougar Jeimer Candelario, who went o for 2. The rest of the lineup got one hit, with Danny Lockhart driving in a pair of runs. Jacob Rogers added a double, while Trey Martin tripled, and Carlos Penalver stole his 16th base.
- Tyler Ihrig wasn't as dominant as Opening Day but he did pitch 6 innings , walking just one batter and striking out 7. He did allow 4 runs, however, and so did not get a decision.
- Alberto Diaz lost the game in the 11th, allowing a run on 3 hits and one walk, He struck out 2.
- LF Kevin Brown went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 runs scored. He's hitting .320 early on.
- Justin Marra will try and pick up some of the slack for Kyle Schwarber and so far so good, The catcher hit his 3rd HR, went 2 for 5 overall and drove in 3 runs. Marra is hittipng .364 overall.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap