Daily Cubs Minors Recap: VIDEOS: Bryant, Schwarber debut in new leagues...and Bryant HRs

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: VIDEOS: Bryant, Schwarber debut in new leagues...and Bryant HRs
Kris Bryant (photo Veronica Payne @verpayne)

So, Kris Bryant...

Let's start off with some video.  The first is from the Iowa Cubs and the second from

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.

Iowa 6- El Paso 2

  • 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.

 Tennessee 4 - Chattanooga 3

  • 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.

Daytona 7 - Brevard County 4

  • 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.

Kane County 7 - Cedar Rapids 0

  • 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.

Boise 7 - Eugene 7 

  • 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.




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  • Hi guys, I'm embarrassed to say, that was me in the Bryant HR video who lets it go right through his hands. It went right in
    between my thumbs and index fingers as I tried for a two handed catch... I'm beating my self up for dropping that, shoulda tried a one handed catch instead, then I could have at least knocked it down!

  • In reply to Rudy:

    Oh man! Would have been awesome if you caught it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Lol, it would have been! It's ok, I only had a split second to react and to be fair I was like 8 beers deep, haha. I had a great time regardless!

  • In reply to Rudy:

    In 2005, I went to a cubs game and they were down 3 to 1 in the 8th. They ended up coming back to tie the game in that inning. In the same inning with the score 3-3 and with a man on derrick lee (the year he was ridiculously good) came up to bat. He proceeded to crush a 2 run homer literally right to me in left center. I had a chance to catch it, but some guy barreled through a bunch of people from 3 rows back and crashed right into me and I lost my chance. I was only 12 at the time, but I swear I would have caught that ball. My sister was watching the game and taped the whole thing. It's hilarious to see the guy barrel through 3 rows of people just for a ball, but I'm still a little bitter that I lost my chance at the ball. Either way it's a funny story to tell/show people.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    BTW John, Bryant also has a HR rate of 1/4abs right now. Thats about 162 or so based on an entire season.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    I guess we'll take that.

  • How far is the porch in RF in Iowa?

  • In reply to edubbs:

    335 with a 15-20 foot wall, so that probably would have gone out at 350.

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    Going to see the I-Cubs this Sunday!

  • In reply to Jonathan Ley:


  • I love Baez's moxie too. Hopefully he's getting to the yard early to tighten up that protect mode so he'll stop striking out 12 times a week...

    Can't wait for those guys!

  • Bryant has homered in his first game at High-A, his second game in the Arizona Fall League, his first spring training game, his first AA game and his first AAA game.

    Waiting now on his first major league game...

  • In reply to Quedub:

    His first Northwest League game didn't go so hot.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    True...he did HR in his first home game, though. Have all his debut HRs been at home?

  • Gavin Floyd broke the tip of his ulna called the olecranon. Now word on how long he'll be out yet, but, after already losing starters Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to TJS, this can only increase Atlanta's desire to acquire a starter via trade.

    The Braves pitching prospect cupboard gets pretty bare very fast after Lucas Sims, though.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    They're actually pretty deep in starting pitching. They already were stretching out Alex Wood to come back into the rotation, so he can slide in for Floyd. I know their ERAs don't all look pretty, but their FIP & xFIP suggests that their starters have been pretty unlucky. The one guy they could look at replacing is Mike Minor, but they don't really need to.

    I definitely don't think they have enough for Samardzija. Hell, I'm not even sure if they have enough for Hammel if they're not willing to give up Sims (who himself has been bad). Their system was pretty weak coming into the year and it seems like almost all of their top guys are disappointing (exception being Jose Peraza).

  • I'm hoping to go to see Schwarber in Beloit the 27th - 30th. Too bad there are no bleachers. Would like to get a Schwarber bomb.

  • Who is this Bryant guy? Never heard of him. LOL!

  • In reply to cubs1969:


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    Schwarber bombs will be launched in Kane County now. Or at least for the next 5 to 10 games ;) #fasttrack

  • Baez is going to need to learn to like the umpires even when he thinks that they missed a call. He is making it a lot tougher on himself and its a fight that he cannot win. Being at odds with the umpires can label him with a bad reputation and greatly effect his success going forward.

  • In reply to 44slug:


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    Iowa announced mentioned that Alcantara looked very comfortable out in CF. Any chance he'll be our CF when he gets called up assuming Valbuena/Barney stays at 2nd or Baez gets it at some point? I can see Alcantara being a nice stopgap until Almora is ready.

    We'll worry about what to do with AA when the time comes.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I think it is about a 95% probability that Alcantara plays CF the majority of the time with the Cubs. Even if he gets called up well before Baez, the Cubs will still have Valbuena capable of holding down 2B.

    The Cubs have better defensive options at 2B than Alcantara and he basically would have no competition in CF unless they decide to bring in a FA this winter. I am not a fan of Span who is really the only decent FA CF outside of Rasmus who I think is goign to get way overpaid, so I hope the position is Alcantara's to lose going forward.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I am excited as well to see what Bruno can do in Iowa, when Alcantera and or Valaika (after Barney & Schierholtz are gone)
    get the call to Chicago. Bruno has shown when he is healthy he is one heck of a hitter.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I do think when alcantera comes up he will be in CF, if he ends up being a good defender (with his basestealing & slugging) almora may have a tough time replacing him.

    If Baez Olt Bryant Alcantera & a new power hitting left fielder this team is going to hit a bunch of home runs.

    then in a year or so we could have a AAA outfield of Schwarber, Almora & Soler

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    oops, I meant with not "if".

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    john, I was curious what you think. With Schwarber Soler Vogelbach & Almora 2ish years away. I think it makes a lot of sense to sign someone like Nelson Cruz to a 2 year deal.

    I say go get that veteran slugger, unless Junior Lake wakes up an realizes he doesn't have to hit every pitch 500 feet. I feel like adding that one power bat along with a top starter (hopefully Shark & Lester) this is a playoff team.

  • I thought Batista was having a good year at Iowa??? Who came back to push him back to AA?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Rivero and Vizcaino were both promoted from Tennesee. Batista isn't much of a prospect, more of an org guy so he will go wherever they need him.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I take it neither Rivero or Vizcaino got in the game last night? Have they arrived yet?

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Neither got in the game.

  • I don't know what the stats are but it sure seems that half of Bryant's homeruns are to right field. He should be able to play with the wind in Wrigley real nice.

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    Just a quick off-topic report from Omaha (did you see my kid on the CNN fan-cam? 3 times!). Something incomprehensible to chicagoans dealing with rooftop owners making a profit off MLB games - entering the stadium, a security guard actually MEASURED my camera's zoom lens and told me it was too long to be used in the stadium - if I was caught using it I would be ejected and FINED BY THE NCAA. Now, they can eject whomever they want, but I doubt the fine is enforceable - there's no warning against specific zoom lenses on the ticket, and they'd have to prove you actually used the camera, not just pointed it - which would involve a search of your camera data, etc etc, plus they'd have to show that I used the photos for profit. But my god - the NCAA seems to be in fierce competition with FIFA as the western world's most evil organization.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Did you use the camera anyway?

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I didn't, but not because I was intimidated - we just went to check out the stadium, which is pretty awesome for a non-pro stadium btw - and the crowd. We didn't know any of the players, so no one I really wanted to catch at bat. Tomorrow I 'll be at the iowa game though.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I don't think any of 'em can beat the IOC.

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    sorry - kid said CNN,may have been ESPN

  • I was fortunate enough to attend the I-Cubs game last night with my two boys after the rain delay. We also were sitting in the outfield bleachers. I'm guessing that there were only like 1500 people there total because of the dowpour just prior to game time.

    It was awesome to get to see Bryant's first AAA homerun and it's safe to see he didn't get all of it but still was able to hit it out opposite field. Bryant looked more like a basketball player on the field than a baseball player - very tall and lanky.

    Alcantara can cover a lot of ground in center but he played the posiion very conservatively last night, which is very understandable considering the position is fairly new to him and the fact that the outfield was likely still very wet. Alcantara is smaller than I expected him to be.

    I was disappoited that Welington was scratched but understandable due to the weather. Luis Flores filled in and walked in his first at-bat because that's what he does.

    Other quick observations I made were that all of infielders except for Baez looked a little stiff defensively but again that could have had something to do with the weather. Casper Wells looked very good defensively in right field, the guy has very good range and a cannon. He also made one little girl's day when threw a baseball up to her in the center field bleachers. I noticed Kris Bryant going out of his way to sign a lot of autographs before the game as well.

    I'm going back on Tuesday for a day game and am very much looking forward to it.

  • In reply to stephenwdavis:

    Cool to hear.

    Alcantara is a tiny guy. Amazing the power he can generate given his stature. Really shows that bat speed is more about hand/wrist strength than simple bulk.

    Bryant definitely has an unsual build for a baseball player and especially for a 3B. I think that is the main reason people doubted his defensive ability, simply because it looks like he shouldn't be able to play since no one built like him has managed to do it in the majors. Of course no one would bet on a guy built like Panda to be able to handle it either.

    All shapes and sizes.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Troy Glaus (6-5, 220) is a nearly identical comp, physically speaking. Scott Rolen (6-4, 240) is similar as well. Rolen was an exceptional 3B, Glaus, not so much. Not sure if Bryant will stick at 3B or not but his plus arm and good athleticism would play well in RF too. I do expect him to fill out his somewhat lanky frame though, and who knows what sort of ridiculous power numbers he'll put up then?

  • In reply to mjvz:

    Ive heard AA is a lot like Soriano., but faster.

  • It is very good to see Almora and Vogelbach off to a good start in the second half. S. Peralta is very intriguing and worth keeping an eye on.

  • In reply to John57:

    After the down year last year Starling has gotten back to what Az wanted when they picked him in the rule 5 draft the year before. If he can keep the walks down he may have some real promise.

  • Does anyone have any insight into Justin Marra? I know he's Canadian, which to me is kind of a positive, because I assume that Canadian's who don't play year round, or don't see great competition have some upside, because their potential usually is higher than their present skills. Ie, Russell Martin, Larry Walker were not heralded, but developed into pretty awesome players. Even Votto as a 2nd rounder, was decently thought of but more raw than you'd expect for a guy that awesome.
    Anyway, how is Marra's D at catcher? What kind of projection does he have with the bat?

  • I was at the two previous games. I was convinced looking at the forecast and seeing the morning downpour that the game would be PPD. So I left town. Of course, Bryant homers. I sat in the first row next to the guys warming up. Baez and Alacantara seem to do everything together. They must have become good friends at Tennessee. Alacantara isn't a big guy, but he looks very strong. On the other hand, I was very surprised as to how big Baez looked up close. He's not super tall, but he is thick. He played excellent defense (even with one error) the two games I was there, but I can sure tell why some people think his long term future might not be at short... looking at body size alone.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    from what Ive seen of Baez, he has a sort of build similiar to Hanley Ramirez. I happen to think hes best as a future 3b more than anywhere.

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    I was at this game last night. I happened to go to the game with my one kid who doesn't really care for Baseball much. Unfortunately he didn't want to stay past the seventh inning so of course I missed Bryant's homerun.

    Oh well. It's a good time to be a Cubs fan in Des Moines.

  • I am taking my Dad to the Iowa game Monday! We were PUMPED when Bryant got promoted! Great time to see the ICubs!

  • What AboutThis Cuban Defector? Someone TheCubsShouldBe After? OnlyTakeS A Little Money!

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    In reply to plymkr:

    If he is under 26 and much sought after the Cubs won't sign him. Last year's IFA class was projected to be much better than this years, so the Cubs rolled the dice and maxed out last summer, incurring certain penalties. Once such sanction is that they can't spend more than 250K on any one IFA this year.

  • Looks like we have a ton of interesting names at catcher to look out for. All it takes is one to break through.

  • This is a free agent 23 yr old Cuban, not an IFA signee. There is no restriction, and as soon as he establishes residency, he is a free agent that can be signed by anyone for any amount.

  • In reply to plymkr:

    From MLBTRADERUMORS: One of the best players left in Cuba — outfielder Yasmani Tomas — has defected and will pursue a contract in Major League Baseball, reports Baseball America’s Ben Badler.

    The 23-year-old Tomas has five professional seasons under his belt, and his combination of age and experience will make him exempt from MLB’s international spending limitations, even after the rules become tighter on July 2 (at that point, the amount of pro experience needed for exemption jumps from three years to five years).

    Badler writes that Tomas, who stands 6’1″ and weighs 230 pounds, has 70-grade raw power (on the 20-80 scouting scale), and among current Cuban players, only the highly touted Alfredo Despaigne has more power. While Tomas has experience in center field and “decent” speed for his size, he’s ultimately a below-average runner and will have to play an outfield corner in the Majors. He does have some swing-and-miss tendencies and has shown weakness against plus velocity and breaking pitches. As such, some seasoning in Triple-A would do him some good, in Badler’s opinion, though he doesn’t rule out the possibility that Tomas could jump directly into a big league lineup. In response to a reader on Twitter, Badler notes that despite his upside, Tomas isn’t at the same level as White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, who was more polished coming out of Cuba.

    Giving an idea of the type of production he’s shown in Cuba’s Series Nacional over the past few seasons, Badler writes that Tomas slashed .301/.340/.580 with 16 homers in 240 plate appearances in the 2011-12 season and .289/.364/.538 with 15 homers in 324 PA in 2012-13. Tomas regressed, to an extent, in the 2013-14 season, though one source tells Badler it was likely due to an arm injury that he sustained when crashing into the outfield wall midway through the season. Even in his “down” year, Tomas batted a healthy .290/.346/.450 with six homers in 257 PA.

    Badler ranked Tomas as the No. 6 prospect in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He trailed the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Jose Abreu, the aforementioned Despaigne, top Cuban second baseman Jose Fernandez and slugging infielder Yulieski Gourriel (who has declined since and is now playing in Japan).

    Tomas is not yet eligible to sign, as he first needs to establish residence in a foreign country and then be cleared by both Major League Baseball and the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control. Once that happens, he will be declared a free agent and can sign with any team for any amount, but the timeline on those steps is never concrete, and Tomas may not end up signing until late in 2014 or even 2015.

  • When I saw Kris Bryant in Huntsville last month, he spent the entire game glued to hitting coach Desi Wilson's side. I'm assuming they were talking baseball and the advice helped Kris Bryant have a great 5 game series (4 HRs, 10 walks, leapt tall buildings in a single bound, ...)

    Just curious, but do you guys in Iowa see a similar behavior? Any interactions with Manny (is Manny in Iowa yet)?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Manny is here in AZ. Apparently the Cubs want him to work some with Soler power, whos still out here rehabbing his hamstring.

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