Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs twice, Russell HRs (VIDEOS), Hannemann collects 6 hits

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Baez HRs twice, Russell HRs (VIDEOS), Hannemann collects 6 hits
Jacob Hannemann

Is 2015 here yet?

I can't hardly wait.

Another big day for Cubs prospects helps ease the pain as the Cubs dropped a game to the small market Cardinals.  There were 2 double-headers today so we have lots to cover.  Lets get on with this somewhat abbreviated recap...

Memphis 5 -  Iowa 4

Memphis 6 - Iowa 4

    • In the first game, Dan Straily went 5 innings, walked 2 and struck out, but he also allowed 7 hits, 2 of which were HRs, and 5 runs overall.  Kyuji Fujikawa and Zac Rosscup finished with a scoreless inning apiece.  Straily fell to 4-6 with a 4.99 ERA.
    • Yoanner Negrin started game two and also allowed 5 runs in 5 innings, though 2 of them were unearned.
    • Matt Szczur went 3 for 5 over the 2 games.  He is hitting .324 in his last 10 games and .252 overall.
    • Ryan Kalish went 3 for 6 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.  He is hitting .230 with a .318 OBP but has hit .303/.378/.455 in his last 10.
    • Javier Baez went 3 for 7 with a walk, hitting a HR in each game.  He also doubled.  Baez's ascent has been remarkable as once again he showed that he might take some time to adjust, but once he does, watch out.  He is up to .259/.320/.501 with 19 HRs giving him an .821 OPS.  It seems like Baez is really making that push to get a promotion and while the Cubs would prefer to keep him down, he may just force their hand.  He has really risen to the occasion since Bryant's arrival, hitting .333/.401/.629 since that date, a span covering 151 PAs.

  • Kris Bryant went 2 for 7 with a double and a walk as he continues to tread water as he continues to make minor adjustments.  It seems like he has slowed down, but the OPS is still 1.026.
  • Jorge Soler just played one game of the double header and went 2 for 3 with a double.  He is 3 for 9 in his first 3 games with 3 walks.
  • Josh Vitters hit his 9th HR but is hitting .204/.263/.334.  That is an OPS under .600 for a guy who is expected to be heavily bat dependent if he makes it as a big leaguer.  That isn't going to cut it.  Vitters will be 25 in a month so we can't continue to say he is too young.  He is older than Starlin Castro and less than 3 weeks younger than Anthony Rizzo and he is fledgling in Iowa while the other two made the NL All-Star team.

Tennessee 7 - Birmingham 4

    • Matt Loosen went 5 innings and walked just one and struck out 7.  Usually that means good things for Loosen.  When his control is good and he is missing bats, he can be dominant.  But that wasn't the case today.  Loosen allowed 3 runs on 5 hits.  His ERA is at 5.69.
    • The pitcher of record is Tony Zych, who appears to have the zip back on this fastball of late.  He pitched a scoreless 9th to move to 4-4 with a 4.82 ERA.
    • Frank Batista earned his 7th save and dropped his ERA to 0.79.
    • Jae-Hoon Ha seems to have found his batting eye again of late.  He walked 3 times and singled from the leadoff spot, stealing his 5th base and scoring a run.  He has 7 walks in his last 5 games after walking 13 times in his first 80 games this season.
    • Albert Almora went 0 for 5.
    • We are finally seeing the real Addison Russell.  He has settled in and has raised his line to .277/.319/.585 with 6 HRs since joining the Smokies 17 games ago.  It still hasn't quite sink in that he is with the Cubs organization.  The A's trading him is about the equivalent of the Cubs trading Bryant or Baez.  We now have a 30 game AA sample that includes 126 PAs.  Russell has hit .301/.376/.549 wth 7 HRs.  Once Baez, Soler, and Bryant are up, it will be time to start the Russell countdown.

  • The surprise here was veteran catcher Taylor Davis, who went 3 for 5 with a HR and 5 RBI, including the game-winning 3 run double in the top of the 10th.

Daytona 6 - St. Lucie 3

Daytona 9 - St. Lucie 1

  • The D-Cubs determine to give themselves a shot at defending their playoffs by winning the 2nd half title.  A sweep today moved them 3 games ahead with a 21-12 record and they may have lost Almora but didn't lose a step with the way Jacob Hannemann played today.  He went 6 for 8  with a double, RBI and 3 runs scored.  He also stole 2 bases.  Not a bad way to start the FSL.
  • But we are jumping ahead of ourselves as we usually start with the pitchers.  Felix Pena moved to 4-6 with a 3.19 ERA with a 5 inning, 3 run performance.  He walked 2 and struck out 6.
  • Tayler Scott started game 2 and pitched 5 brilliant scoreless innings in which he walked none and struck out 8, improving to 6-7 with a 4.63 ERA.
  • Stephen Perakslis and his 93-96 mph fastball mowed down St. Lucie, retiring all 6 batters and striking out 3 of them.  After a nightmarish start, Perakslis finally got his ERA under 5 at 4.93.  He has a 2.75 ERA in his last 10 appearances, dating back to June 9th.  He earned his 3rd save in the 1st game.
  • I think we can start feeling pretty good about Marco Hernandez's breakout season.  He is at a solid 356 ABs now in Daytona and is hitting .289/.332/.378. with 15 SBs.  He still doesn't walk much and that power hasn't come yet, but Hernandez is looking like a prospect again.
  • Another solid day for Kyle Schwarber who went 2 for 7 with a walk, 2 runs and 2 RBI.  He is holding his own through his first 41 PAs, hitting .278 with a .381 OBP, but the power hasn't come yet for him in the FSL.  He has one extra base-hit, a HR.  It's early and we know he has the power, so I'm good with him just making contact, getting on base, and getting a feel for the advanced pitching here.
  • Dan Vogelbach went 4 for 7 with a walk, run, and 2 RBI.  He continues to knock on the door to that elusive .800 OPS as he stands at .799.  He is hitting .278/.364/.435 with 11 HRs overall this year.
  • Another solid day for Bill McKinney who went 3 for 5 with a triple, walk, run, and 2 RBI.  In 19 games since the trade, McKinney is hitting .292/.407/.471.  He has hit well all season but the 19 year old seems to be getting pretty comfortable right now.
  • 3B Jordan Hankins went 2 for 6 with a double,  2 runs and an RBI.  After an all-star season at Kane County, Hankins has fared reasonably well in the more challenging FSL, batting .260/.349/.411 with a pair of HRs in 21 games.

West Michigan 7 - Kane County 5

  • Paul Blackburn didn't have his usual good command and he didn't get much support from his defense as he allowed 5 runs (2 earned) in 4.1 innings.  He fell to 8-4 with a 3.19 ERA.  He has now more than doubled his inning load from last season, so it's possible he may be feeling the long season.  His walk rate of 2.3 is still excellent and has struck out an even 6 batters per 9 IP.
  • Shawon Dunston has arguable been Kane County's best hitter this month.  After a 2 for 4 day in which he doubled and tripled, he is now hitting .404/.422/.526 in July, raising the Shawon-O-Meter to .279/.317/.392.  It's been a remarkable turnaround after a very mediocre start to the season.
  • Chesny Young just keeps hitting.  He went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI.  Excited to see Jeffery Baez (who had the day off) tomorrow when I go to the game, but I am also looking forward to seeing Young.
  • The Trey-O-Meter is ticking too, though maybe not at the same speed as his teammate.  Trey Martin had another multi hit day (2 for 4), scored a run and stole his 22nd base.  Martin is hitting .254 but has hit .303 since the end of May.
  • C Will Remillard walked singled and scored a run.  Remillard has cooled off and perhaps the wear and tear of his first full season of catching has taken it's toll.  But he is still have a solid season at .285/.369/.382.

Boise 7 - Everett 6

  • Dillon Maples added to his workload but he was wild again, walking 2, hitting 2 batters, and throwing a wild pitch, but much of that came early and he settled down nicely, though he allowed 4 runs (3 unearned) in his 3 innings of work.  Ryan Williams got the win despite allowing a pair of runs in 2 innings, thanks to the Boise offense.
  • David Garner, a potential power bullpen arm, has had a good season and added to that with a 2 inning, no walk, 3 K performance.  The ERA is at 3.54 but the important thing for Garner is to throw strikes.  We know he has good stuff and can miss bats (22 Ks in 15 IP), but he is also holding the walks down (6 all season for a 3.6/9IP rate).
  • Brad Markey picked up his first save despite walking 3 batters in his 2 innings.  Markey has a 1.93 ERA since being drafted this season.
  • Rashad Crawford had pair of knocks, including a double, to raise his average to .295.
  • Mark Zagunis just has an incredibly patient approach at the plate.  He walked 4 times to give him 23 in 26 games and 121 PAs, that is a rate of 19%.  He also has the speed to do damage once he is there, stealing 2 bases to give him 7 and scoring 2 runs.  He is hitting 326 with an OBP of .471.
  • David Bote went 2 for 4 with a walk, double, 2 runs and 2 RBI.  Nice game for the versatile defensive player who raised his average at Boise to .324
  • Jesse Hodges drew 2 walks today, which is unusual for the aggressive hitter.  He also singled, scored, and had an RBI.  Hodges is hitting .247 with 5 HRs on the year.
  • 1B Alex Tomasovich had 2 hits in 4 ABs to go with a walk.  He is hitting .288.
  • Charcer Burks isn't missing a beat at Boise,  He went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.  Burks is 6 for 13 since his promotion after hitting .313/.348/.453 in the AZL.



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  • fb_avatar

    There's a decent pitcher hiding in Dan Straily, but only if he learns to control his HRs allowed.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    I wonder that as well sometimes. He has to take a step forward with regard to his command. Can't live up in the zone, can't walk people.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    Exactly Nathan. He had something going for him last year in Oakland - he's just got to get it back consistently. My guess - he'll get it figured out over the Winter.

    Is he a likely candidate for one of the Fall/Winter leagues?

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    In reply to Nathan King:

    The other big problem with Straily is he has lost 3mph off of all his offerings since last year. Per Brooks, last year he was 91-92 consistently w FB, this year 88-89 in his ML action, and I understand that has carried to the minors.

    Something is off with him mechanical or injury wise for that big a drop

    Straily was basically a re-claim throw-in (and Oakland had to clear a 40-man spot anyway), but still would be nice if we could turn him around. He was good in 2012-13.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    When he was solid for Oakland how many hr did he give up?

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    2012-13, he gave up 27 HRs in about 190 innings for Oakland. High, but manageable. In 2014 for Oakland, 9 HRs. in 7 starts which is.....bad. That is continuing at AAA.

    Straily needs to reclaim that lost velocity, somehow, or the only team he can help out is Iowa.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks for info. Sounds like
    He gives up lots if home runs. At this rate he isn't helping iowa much either.

  • John, do you have any insight as to why Charcer Burks always batted ninth for the ARL Cubs, and has been hitting eighth so far at Boise?

  • In reply to cubsin:

    He is an aggressive hitter and I think they just want to keep the pressure off of him. He's a late bloomer when it comes to baseball as he came out of nowhere late in the draft process. He can hit though, seems to barrel up easily. That is a natural skill that not every player has.

  • fb_avatar

    Vitters is dead in the water. A change of scenery might help him out but I can't see him ever making the Cubs at this rate.

  • In reply to Brandon Halford:

    I think he needs to move on and see if he can succeed elsewhere. Cubs need the space. Too many have passed him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yes, and Brett Jackson as well.Too many have passed him by as well. A major disappointment as well. As noted by Theo,not every prospect pains out,thats okay, as there are many nuggets left in the pan.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    The final nail in the coffin is that Vitters will be out of options next year. He'll have to make the club out of ST, and cannot be sent down. No way that happens.

    He'll be DFA'ed at the end of the year if not sooner. He wont be claimed. He'll sign elsewhere as a Minor League FA with NRI to ST.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    At the very least, the Cubs will put Viiters through waivers before the November deadline for Rule 5 to take him off the 40 man. Most likely the same thing with Jackson, and maybe Sczur. If another team scoops them in the rule 5 then so be it.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    They won't be Rule 5 eligible. If the Cubs DFA them, anyone can claim. If they clear, they can declare FA with enough service time, or can be outrighted to Iowa if they don't have enough. I am not sure of the cut-off there. But I think Vitters has been around enough he can choose FA....and he should frankly.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I'm not saying they are rule 5 eligible, I'm saying that they willput them through waivers before November to open the spots for other prospects which are rule 5 eligible.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I guess I did say at the end of my post "if someone scoops them in the rule 5 then so be it", which as you pointed out is incorrect.

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    In reply to Brandon Halford:

    Vitters is done with the Cubs. I have been one of his biggest supporters but as John pointed out he has been surpassed by FAR too many players. He needs a change of scenery and while I don't think he will be an allstar I could imagine him topping out as a starting OF or a 4-5 outfielder. I think he is frustrated that he is still at Iowa. Put him on another AAA team he might thrive and get pulled up.

    His biggest problem is that he is a hacker. He never learned to take a walk (5% over 8 seasons). I really wonder if he would have done better under better coaching or if "he is what he is."

    Too bad everyone knows that he is done with the Cubs or else if I were an opposing GM I might be tempted to make an offer of a "flyer" on an A-Ball player (not a Top-30 guy) to give Vitters a shot.

    At the same time I don't think John's original comparison was fair. Comparing Vitters to Castro and Rizzo would be like calling all the Angels prospects over age 23 disappointing because at the same age or younger Mike Trout has been and MVP caliber player. While Castro and Rizzo aren't in Mike Trout's "league" (literally and figuratively) they are extraordinary talents at a very young age. The fact that none of the Cubs top prospects is over age 23 (and still we are talking about how hard it is to keep them down) is extraordinary.

    Though, to be honest I also think we should expect more of Vitters than .204/.263/.334. His numbers should at least cut his BA and be .263/.334/.???. 8 years and 3 in AAA he should not be struggling.

  • In reply to Brandon Halford:

    Agreed. It seems of the surface that he's got most of the tools needed to be a hitter in this league - but he's going to need a change of scenery to somewhere in the AL where he can try & catch on as a DH & part-time OF.

    He's just not going to be kept on the 40-man over the Winter - and will catch on as a MiL FA.

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    I liked McKinney the day of the trade and like him more every day. He's young for the level and more than holding his own in an extreme pitcher's league. Seems like he'll be in Tennessee next summer and can't wait to watch him on MILB TV every day.

    Reading these recaps really drives home how deep this system has gotten. In most systems (or even for us 2 years ago) guys like Hernandez, Hankins, Crawford, Burks, and Zagunis would be a medium-deal, if not a big deal. For us, they barely register. They really don't have a chance at Top 20. I'm not sure there's been a Cubs system this deep in my lifetime.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. Just so many good players to mention.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm unreasonably crazy about Zagunis; I have an irrational love of low minors players who take a lot of walks.

  • In reply to Nathan King:

    If he can stick at Catcher,..... he'll be a huge asset for the Cubs - even if he is 'only' and OF, he'll be a very valuable player if he can approach his ceiling.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    62 years of Cubs baseball and no memory of the level of talent that Theo, Jed and Jason have brought to the Cubs system. It's a great time to have stayed the course as a fan,finally.

  • In reply to TheRiot2:

    61 year fan and I second that.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm a big McKinney fan too Mike!

    Get this, Oaklands #2 prospect, a recent 1st round pick, 19yo and raking in the FSL,,, yet he barely cracks our top ten. That's how deep our system is now. lol

  • fb_avatar

    I can't thank you enough for the great work you do for us die hards John! Excellent read as always!

  • In reply to nFarius:

    Thank you nFarius! I appreciate that.

  • Boy, when Baez keeps his head, he is dangerous. The light turns on and lookout!

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    Is Zagunis that rough as a defensive catcher? Surprising to see no promotion.

    Ozymandius Russell is raking in power numbers like he has a Baez/Bryant/Solar complex.

    I'm already looking forward to see what we do in the AFL. I think McKinney us a lock.
    I personally doubt Schwarber goes. I recently took a glance at IU's baseball schedule. That kid has been playing baseball nonstop since mid February. And I'm guessing that training starts at least a month or two before that.
    Then he signs fast as hasn't missed a beat since. He probably needs the vacation time.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    From what I heard he is decent at catching. I'm a little surprised too at no promotion yet, but I figured had something to do with playing college. I'm sure he can skip a level or so to start the season if need be. I think they are also trying to give Brockmeyer and Remiliard some time there at Kane as they aren't ready for a promotion but don't deserve the so called demotion. There may also be something to his presence being really good at the Boise level and has room in the OF to play some to rest his catching body wheras Kane has some better guys. But of course if he continues to hit when he doesn't walk, there will be no choice but move him up.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Might explain why Kris Bryant has slowed down some also. Maybe KB needs a rest this winter , and come into camp ready to tear the cover off the ball.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Hoyer said that Schwarber would go to fall instructs to focus working on defensive skills at catcher and then they'd make a decision about what position he would play going forward.

    IDK if McKinney is a lock. I'd love to see him and VogelBOMB go. But we can only send 6 and Russell, CJ, PJ, Pineyro, Soler (if he doesn't play winter ball instead) have all missed significant time and are more likely to play in the AFL, IMO.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    To be honest I prefer him as a catcher over the outfield.

    To me it looks like he has a tendency to carry low pitches out of the bottom of the zone, perhaps because he sets up a little high.

    His defensive skills look OK to me, but I've only seen him catch two guys, Zastryzny and Amlung.

    If he's calling the game he appears to be doing a pretty good job of it as well.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    From what I read, Zagunis grades out well as a catcher, except in one area: Throwing. He struggled in college, and has struggled so far in Boise with this. He can't control the running game. He has all the other attributes to be a good defender behind the plate.

    Keep an eye on the CS with Zagunis, because that's the problem area. Also might be why he is still in Boise, despite clearly being advanced for that level

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I missed the Ozymandius Russell reference. Look on my works ye mighty and despair?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:


    I made a joke after the recent YouTube highlight and I'm running with it. :p

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Ha! Thanks! One of my favorite poems.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    But the poem is ironic since all of his works are now ravaged by time. Let's hope that Russell is NOT Ozymandius.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    Russell lays waste to opposing pitchers...and anything else that stands in his way. He also dashes hopes and dreams of opposing players, robbing them of hits and praise.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I'm all for that. Just not Ozymandius... carries with it a hubris that leaves one blind to one's place in the universe. That sounds like Vitters and not Russell.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Pura Vida:

    As a total geek, I would like to thank John, Vida, and Dawg for baseball discussion surrounding a poem by Shelley.

    We've brought up the (already admirable) level of discourse up a notch.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    First week of January by NCAA rules. However, there is a short fall season where you just check out your new roster and sort things out. Lasts about 6 weeks, I think still until 15 October. Things may have changed a little since I coached.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Quasimodo:

    Thanks! That's still pretty impressive, IMO, that Schwarber has done what he's done while playing essentially ALL of 2014.

    Hopefully after some rest and pro-level offseason conditioning (if he could lose 10 lbs or so without losing strength i'd feel much much better about his OF status), he can hit Tennessee ready to rake in 2015.

  • starting to heat up.....

    james russell to Royals or Nationals
    bonafacio to the Reds or Royals
    schierholtz to A's or Nationals
    and get this one....
    Vogelbach to the Pirates

    these are the latest rumors

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    We would have to get back a prized pitcher for a prized bat - doubt if the Pirates would do that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubs1969:

    I don't believe that on Vogelbach; Bowden has been wrong before. Dan V is a nice prospect, but not a top one; he is a bat-only prospect that frankly needs to show more bat to carry him forward, specifically power.

    I can see Dan adding power and making the majors, I can also see him stalling as AAAA slugger like so many (Hoffpauir, Bour, Fox, LaHair, Brad Nelson, all just in this ORG), or going to Japan.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    if i could get jake fox on my beer league slow pitch softball team...oh my.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I could see him moved in a deal for a young arm prospect for prospect trade but Id think that would be in the winter not now. I could see a prospect thrown in to try and get a better player coming back in one of these minor deals

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Anything about Barney?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    I've been wondering that too. I have to think Cubs will trade him, and no way he clears waivers. I've been wrong before, but so many clubs with 2B needs right now. Shark openly campaigned for A's to pick up Barney, as he "saved his butt many times", or something like that.

    I have beleive a trade is in the works

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    interesting Ive been a bit surprised that there hasn't been any more talk of Cubs trades

  • In reply to bleachercreature:


  • How about an outfield of Schwarber, McKinney, and Jiminez? Where, oh where is the playing time for all this talent? And yes, I'm just greedy enough to want to keep them all.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Yes it is definitely tough as we have all become big fans of the prospects. But we all know prospects don't all make it, even top rated ones flame out or don't hit anywhere close to ceilings. So give these younger lower level guys a chance to prove themselves and they may squeeze their way in even if by injury. Once hit AA and start doing well, it will be much closer but still can be a year or two away. But they are building value nonetheless to at least bring in more in a trade in the future.

  • In reply to Cubs Future:

    No doubt about what you say. I'm just looking at the talent these guys possess and the possibility that they all progress as we hope. Best talent per se in the organization I've ever seen in my 55 years of being a Cubs fan, aside from pitching perhaps. And when you couple that talent with our development staff, lots of good is bound to happen.

  • I'm surprised to hear that Zugs is a potential threat on the bases. I saw him, recently vs Everett. He is rather say the least...and I didn't get to see him behind the dish (DH).

    Solid plate discipline. I see him as a future back-up C/bench. Still...have to love the walks.

    Maybe it is our being spoiled the past few years, with such a talent influx...

  • In reply to SymposiumX:

    Jason Kendall rebooted?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Maybe, but Kendall could throw

  • Watch the CF in the second Baez HR clip. Ha! Love it.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Didnt even move. He knew where that bomb was going off.

  • How does Hanneman compare to Almora?

  • he is faster than Almora, but significantly behind Albert in every other tool/skill set.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Plus he is older than Almora. In his favor is being left handed. He sure had a good start at Daytona though. Hopefully he is a quick learner. :)

  • In reply to John57:

    He's older yes, but less advanced. That's not a positive. The O.P. asked how he compared. W/O going into details, the only advantage he holds over Almora is speed.

    He has a lot of potential, but still 2-3 years away. I'm hoping for the best, but let's wait & see what happens.

    fwiw, even if he hits his ceiling, he won't move Almora off of CF. Assuming Albert also hits his ceiling, I don't see much playing time for Hanneman on our 2017 MLB roster,

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think it would be fair to point out that Hanneman has had 2 years less development time. He is older because he served that Mormon Mission. It isn't as if he has developed slowly. In fact, it makes his progress more impressive seeing his foundation was broken up prior to this year.

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    At the game last night I can say Baez second home run was the furthest ball hit I've ever seen in person. The camera work was actually pretty poor on the replay. It was straight away left and he didn't move either.

  • In reply to IACub319:

    Thanks for the first hand report! Video didn't do it justice. The MiLB video rarely does, imo.

  • Baez still has so much swing and miss in his swing. Major league pitchers won't make as many mistakes and won't give in on hitters counts

  • In reply to Ike03:

    MLB pitchers can't keep Baez from hitting .300 and 30+ bombs.... Only Baez can prevent Baez from doing that. The focus with him since Daytona has been on mental approach and discipline vs succeeding with just natural ability.

  • I believe that I saw a tweet last night that Felix Pena was promoted from Daytona to Tennessee.

    Has pitched pretty well of late and good to see the 24 year old take another step. Could be another great bullpen arm in 2016.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    I didn't see that. Thanks. Wonder if that means Daytona will get a pitcher from Kane. They really need arms right now. Skulina makes sense because of his age, performance, and the fact they are on similar schedules.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I heard that Doris will be taking his spot.

    I'm not syre what Skulina has to do to get moved out of Kane County.

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    Also, Bryant has a lot of work to do at 3rd base. There were a few plays that went down as hits last night that a major league third basemen needs to make. Good news is the transition from infield to corner outfield should be a lot easier than the other way around.

  • Per twitter, from yesterday's game
    Jordan Gorosh @JGoro8 ·

    Blackburn settling in at 90-92. Command projection is there. CB tightening a bit. 2 ch to LHB at 82-83-- could be avg.

    Jordan Gorosh @JGoro8 · 16h

    Paul Blackburn 92-94 in the first--working outside part of the plate. Ball comes out easy. Loose with 79-80 mph CB. High out of hand.

    John, this seems a touch faster than we thought. If true, seems to bode well for his ceiling

  • In reply to cubsdude74:

    In defense of the defense at Kane County, two of the errors were on Blackburn.

  • Gosh I would Iike to see Russell live in person. If he continues to eat up AA pitching for the next couple weeks he could see a cup of coffee in IA, and join the rest of the company. This is about development and he will spend a good part of the year in Iowa next year anyway. I though Barry Larkin was hyperbole but watching that one play in the hole and seeing him square these 6 HR's he actually could be a reincarnate. This is all good.

    All the Castro apologists aside, Castro just makes dumb plays and has not improved his mental approach appreciably since he was a rookie. If the Mets or Dodgers or Miami want him and the Cubs can get a proper valued return on pitching this winter by all means make a deal. This one is obvious in my book. Always, always get the best SS on your team and on the field.

    I really think Castro's are numbered not by Baez, Bryant or even Russell but by Soler. Soler sticks at RF, it forces Bryant to 3B and then you have to make a decision; Bryant or Castro at 3B. Because the Cubs with Ramirez made the decision in Baez at 2B and Alcantara as CF or super utility, leaving 2B out. and Castro is not an option LF or CF or C or 1B. In fantasy BB you could say that Bryant is an option in LF, but the plan says the Cubs need more LH bats, and as value goes a 25 yr old SS who is an all star who has a great contract is more tradeable than a prospect.

  • In reply to rnemanich:

    All of this assumes 100% prospect success rate, and a high level of success at that. At least half of the top prospects will flame out. Even if by some miraculous piece of luck they ALL turn out to be All - Stars (like Castro) what prevents Bryant from playing LF? The fact that he's RH doesn't really make sense. Sure he could be traded, but let's not assume Russell will even get close to the production Castro provides. It's far more likely he's like three other recent top IF prospects: Elvis Andrus (struggling mightily) Jurickson Profar (injured), or Xander Boegarts (average at best).

  • It appears that Kyle Schwarber is the only member of his draft class to have reached as far as A+. He nevertheless leads all first-rounders in OPS and the only members of his draft class with a higher OPS are all in rookie league or short season ball.

  • In reply to BudMan:

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    In reply to BudMan:

    Aaron Nola is also at A+, and pitching pretty well. He was considered very polished, and it's shown so far.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Good point. I overlooked pitchers.

  • John, I love your sneaky snark comment about the "small market Cardinals." And as a fan and practitioner of snark in all of its forms I tip my hat to you sir and say well done!

  • Just to put things in perspective, we currently have these recent 1st round draft picks (or equivalent talent thru IFA) in our pipeline doing pretty good to amazing things:

    2010 - Mike Olt #49 Overal (AAA Iowa); Courtesy of Matt Garza; He has warts for sure, BUT, the power/glove are there and still could be a decent bench piece at 1B/3B/LF/RF

    2011 - Javier Baez #9 Overall (AAA Iowa)

    2012 - Albert Almora #6 Overall (A+ Daytona)
    2012 - Addison Russell #11 Overall (AA Tennessee); Courtesy of the Jeff Samardizija
    2012 - Pierce Johnson #43 Overall (AA Tennessee); Courtesy of Aramis Ramirez
    2012 - Paul Blackburn #56 Overall (A- Kane County); Courtesy of Carlos Pena
    2012 - Jorge Soler - IFA (AAA Iowa)

    2013 - Kris Bryant #2 Overall (AAA Iowa)
    2013 - Billy McKinney #24 Overall (A+ Daytona); Courtesy of Jason Hammel
    2013 - Jen Ho Tseng - IFA (A- Kane County)

    2014 - Kyle Schwarber #4 Overall (A+ Daytona)

    This I just the tip o the iceberg too....we have plenty of talented kids down on the farm that can/will become major leaguers as well and contribute to our soon to be winning ways!

  • When Addison Russel was drafted, he had a lot of head movement forward during his swing. Perhaps as much as 15-18" from the time he started his rotation. I see here that he had very little head movement once the swing starts. That is a positive as far as results are concerned, and also implies he is willing to make adjustments and is coachable.

  • Anymore trade talk for Cubs?

  • Huh... according to gameday, Iowa Cubs manager Marty Pevey was ejected before the game even started today.

  • First, I would like to express condolences on the passing of Adam "Felzz" Fels to his family and to his Cubs Den family. I enjoyed his writing immensely. It was clever and creative sports writing that I have read. It seems his passing was sudden and unexpected. Certainly his writing was a sparkling as ever in recent weeks. As Felzz himself would say, "Now Onward."

    Being an ol'fart, the current influx of talent to the Cubs reminds me the influx that came into the Dodgers in the early seventies, the Phillies at the same time, the Oakland A's of the late eighties, the Cleveland Indians of the early nineties, and Tama Bay in the late Oughts. The Dodger team in particular won NL pennants in 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, with a World Series in 1981 with the same core. I would take that (I also would take the Phillies team they competed with, which won division titles from '76 to '78, and then pennant and World Series in 1980 and another pennant in 1983.)

    Have fallen in love reading Cubs Den and Chicago Now. Find that I am still a Chicagoan after 26 years living in Germany and then Virginia.

  • Trade idea I had. It would be best if made in the offseason. In that case you'd have to substitute someone for Boni. It's obviously unlikely but I think it would be a winner for each team.

    Cubs get Travis d'Arnaud, Carlos Gonzalez, Rafael Montero, and Ruben Tejada.
    Mets get Troy Tulowitzki, Emilio Bonifacio, and Wellington Castillo.
    Rockies get Noah Syndergaard, Starlin Castro, Arismendy Alcantara, and Dan Vogelbach.

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    In reply to Kodak11:

    Tulo will probably get the MVP this year an you think they need to give up CarGo too?, And to downgrade at both positions for an unknown pitcher?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I don't think they need to do anything. I do think the Rockies are at least thinking about moving both of them. Tulowitzki is very good but has missed games. The Rockies made a stink about him going to the Yankee game. They're at least working behind the scenes to soften the blow for fans in case they do trade him.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Bonifacio is a free agent.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Ya. Wrote that.

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    Looks like Gerardo Concepcion got the call to Daytona.

    Paul Johnson ‏@bigjohnsonblog 38m

    Handshakes all around in the clubhouse as @KCCougars LHP Gerardo Concepcion learns he has been promoted to Daytona. #cubs

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    It's funny because I was at the game and I noticed that the family that boarded him was there and they were talking before the game, she was taking pictures before the game. I told my wife that I think it's his last day here, he's getting promoted.

  • Memory fails me--did Team Theo sign Concepcion, or was that a legacy pick from the Hendry Era? $7MM.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:


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    In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    Epstein signed him. He is supposedly good friends with Soler and the speculation at the time was the money was a downpayment on Soler.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    That's just speculation that surfaced as a way of justifying the money once he fell ill and was removed from the 40-man roster. We signed him for $7MM Guaranteed MLB contract, with incentives. This was before Soler, Cespedes, etc were signed. That's not the kind of money you throw at somebody's friend to put in a good word for you during an open and UFA process. We got Soler because we were the highest bid on him too. We didn't get Cespedes because we weren't the highest bid.

    The reality is that he is a legit bottom of the rotation LHSP prospect. That's why we signed him. It hasn't worked out (yet) because he caught Hayden Simpson disease. But he appears to be back on track now...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I heard it the day he was signed.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    No intentions of arguing about the timing of speculative matters or rumors. his friendship with Soler was not (even "IF" it was part of) the reason he was signed.

    Bottom line is he was signed because he was a legit prospect. If he wasn't, there wouldn't have been 10 other offers of 7 figures made to him.

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    OT, but things only get worse for the Houston organization. They promoted Appel despite his struggles at A+ ball, and the Astros are upset, because they think he's getting a free pass:

    I personally think players should kind of mind their own business there, but I enjoy seeing the Astros twist in the wind a bit more. I do not like how they have done their rebuild; serves them right.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    heres hoping cubs lineup in may looks something like this:

    1. Alcantera CF
    2. Castro SS
    3. Rizzo 1B
    4. Baez 2B
    5. Bryant LF
    6. Soler RF
    7. Valbuena 3B (keeping russell's spot warm)
    8. Castillo C

    the bench: coughlan,lake,olt,lopez,watkins or a veteran like bonafacio.
    these guys may struggle some but it will be fun to watch.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    That's a legit possibility. It certainly would make for some exciting baseball. Also lots of head scratcher-type moments.

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