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Daily Cubs Minors recap: Schwarber debuts at Daytona; McKinney on the rise, Crawford extends hitting streak to 16

Daily Cubs Minors recap:  Schwarber debuts at Daytona; McKinney on the rise, Crawford extends hitting streak to 16
Rashad Crawford

After a one day hiatus, the Daily Cubs Minors Recap returns.  Only Boise played yesterday so I took the night off.  Some good performances last night by Erick Leal, Sam Wilson, Mark Malave, Chesny Young, and Jeffrey Baez.  I will leave the box score for you here and we'll move on with today's action.

Huntsville 6 -Tennessee 4

  • Matt Loosen's struggles continued with 4 walks and 6 runs in 4 innings.  He fell to 4-4 and his ERA now stands at 5.86.
  • The Smokies did get good relief work from LHP Jeffrey Lorick and RHP Zach Cates, who each pitched 2 scoreless innings.  Cates is gradually trimming his walks back down after showing such good control at Daytona.  He did not walk a batter and struck out 2 today.  The stuff is there.  Cates has hit as high as 96 and is that rare relief pitcher whose best secondary pitch is his change-up.  Cates has a 2.00 ERA in Tennessee and a 2.05 ERA overall between Daytona and Tennessee in 44 innings.
  • Charles Cutler continues to be a steady offensive weapon, going 2 for 3, drawing a walk and scoring twice.  Cutler is hitting .340 with a .450 OBP in the season.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha had a 2 hit day and drove in 3 runs.
  • Jorge Soler did not start but he did pinch hit, hit a single, and drove in a run.  Soler is hitting .412 with 9 doubles and  5 HR in his first 51 ABs.
  • Emilio Bonifacio moved a lot closer to the big leagues with a jump to AA, but he went 0 for 4 today.  He'll be up when the Cubs feel he's ready, so the stat line doesn't mean a lot here.  He may have to wait for the Cubs to make some roster moves.

Ft. Meyers 5 - Daytona 1

  • Jose Rosario got the first crack with a revamped Daytona lineup, but after starting with 2 scoreless innings, he proceeded to allow a run in each of the next four before getting removed with 2 outs in the 6th.  He walked 2 and struck out 6.
  • Tyler Bremer pitched the next 2.1 innings without allowing a run, walking 2 and striking out 3 to lower his ERA to 3.52 since his promotion to Daytona.
  • Kyle Schwarber did not get a hit in his first game but maintained his good batting eye, walking twice in 4 PAs.
  • We were kind of hoping it was Bijan Rademacher who would get the call up to male room but he stayed at Daytona.  The Cubs released Zeke DeVoss, a guy we really liked here because of his intelligence and his approach to the game.  He just never hit enough to make use of that approach.  We wish him luck.  As for Rademacher, he went 1 for 4.
  • Bill McKinney had a pair of hits including a double and the 19 year old has had an impressive start with the Cubs, hitting .313/.425/.438 in his first 10 games.  Overall on the season, the lefty with the sweet swing and solid approach is hitting .248/.340/.404 with 11 HRs.
  • Albert Almora went 1 for 4 on the day.  He is hitting .370/.396/.598 with 4 HRs, 5 doubles, and 2 triples in 92 ABs.  It's been a nice turnaround so far.  He's now hitting .276/.300/.393 overall.

Lansing 8 - Kane County 4

  • Juan Paniagua showed good control once again and did strikeout 5, but he also got hit pretty hard, allowing 8 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings.  He is now 6-4 with a 3.36 ERA but the most important development is the falling walk rate, which is now just over 4 (4.03) per 9 IP which his walk rate is at 8.40
  • It was a complete team effort by the Cougars today who got a hit from every player except Ben Carhart and Shawon Dunston, but even those guys helped out by pitching in an RBI each.  Unfortunately it wasn't enough today.

Boise 8 - Spokane 4

  • Trevor Clifton battled his way through 6 innings to keep Boise in the game.  He allowed 4 runs, 3 earned while walking one and striking out 3.  Clifton did not get a decision as Boise was down 4-1 when he exited the game.  The 19 year old Clifton is 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA on the season.  He has walked 13 and struck out 30 in 31 innings.  Clifton is an intriguing prospect and he has made a lot of progress, but he is still working on his craft, so we should expect a few bumps in the road to go with occasional brilliance. Clifton has thrown 91-93 and has flashed good breaking stuff at times.
  • With Guiseppe Papaccio getting the call to Kane County, it seems that LHP Tommy Thorpe got called up from AZ to take his roster spot at Boise.  Thorpe was an 8th round pick in this draft and is a polished pitcher with a high 80s fastball and a good change.  He pitched 2 scoreless innings wthout allowing a hit or a walk, though he did hit 2 batters.  He also struck out 2.
  • RH relief prospect David Garner is off to a good start this year and today he pitched a scoreless inning with 1 walk and one strikeout.  On the year he has pitched 11.1 innings, walked 5, struck out 18, and has posted a 2.38 ERA with 1 save.  Garner throws a low 90s fastball and has a potential plus slider.
  • Jeffrey Baez went just 1 for 5 but added a run and an RBI but he has hit ,400 over the last 10 games.  His power surge has slowed down, as he hasn't homered in 8 games, but he has improved his K rate to 23.5% and improved his overall line to .285/.355 with 7 HRs and 14 SBs.
  • Rashad Crawford hit in his 16th straight game and 20th in his last 21 games.  He was 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and his average is now at .328.  During the streak he is hitting .384 (28 for 75) with 4 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 walks.
  • C Mark Zagunis doubled and walked twice to improve his line to .348/.469/.500.  The approach has been outstanding as he has walked in 16% of this plate appearances.
  • Justin Marra doubled, singled and walked as the 21 year old polished hitter raised his line to .312/.387/.570 with 4 HRs on the year.
  • The bottom of the Boise lineup was filled wth 2014 draftees and they all played their part today.  2B Chesny Young, 1B Alex Tomasovich,  SS Jason Vosler, and DH Calvin Graves each had a hit.  Graves scored 2 and drove in two while Young and Tomasovich each scored and walked.  Vosler drove in a run as well.
  • We cannot leave 3B Jesse Hodges out as the entire Boise lineup contributed to the win.  Hodges went 1 for 4 with an RBI.

 

Comments

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  • Thanks for another great wrap-up, John. I noticed that Addison Russell is batting just .194. Anything to worry about, or just a small sample size?

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    In reply to October:

    The sample is INSANELY small. 30 AB's?

    If he were to go 4-for-4 his next game, he would be hitting .286

    Plus he was just traded for All-star. It may have been a package but the Story is that two pitchers who are playing great were traded for him and some other dudes no one cares about.

    He's probably pressing, trying to show he was worth the deal.

    Not to mention, I imagine it takes at least a little time to adjust to a new coach, new organisation, new teammates, and even a new league.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    McKinney wasn't a throw in though. He's a top 100 prospect and that prospect model John linked to the other day projects him to have a higher probability of success than most of out other prospects. Fwiw.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Absolutely! McKinney is an exciting prospect in his own right!

    Hoyer was on Kap's radio program recently and he said as much. I'm paraphrasing, but he said they really really liked him in last years draft, and while they weren't going to take him at #2 (Bryant), they knew they would have no shot at him with their 2nd pick (Zastryzny) so they were excited to target him in this deal.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yep - HS draftee in 2013 (one year after Almora) he's only 19 yrs old, which is VERY young for A+:

    .313/.425/.438/.863 after 40PA's in Daytona.

    even his whole year looks pretty good considering his age:

    .248/.340/.404/.744

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    It will be interesting to see how the competition between McKinney and Almora plays out:

    1) They both play CF (Almora plays it better at this point)
    2) McKinney is LH, Almora RH
    3) McKinney: 13% BB rate, Almora: 3% BB rate
    4) McKinney: .404 Slg%, Almora: .393 Slg%

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    "some other dude that no one cares about"

    McKinney was a large part of that deal. He probably ranks about 6 or 7 in the Cubs prospects top ten right now.

    If the Cubs were to trade Bryant and Soler in a megadeal, would you say that Soler was some one no one cared about merely because he wasn't as tood as Bryant?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    In addition to adjusting to a new team/org, young prospects who are traded for the first time are also managing through the psychological effect of being "traded" by the only organization they knew and the logistical challenges of moving one's stuff. For all these reasons, Theo/Jed/Jason are right when they say don't expect Russell to be promoted this year. If he can just stay healthy and strongly compete for the rest of the season at AA that will be a successful year for the 20-year-old.

  • In reply to October:

    Small sample and he is coming off an injury and adjusting to a new environment. Russell is too gifted not to hit.

  • So there's two interesting futures articles on ESPN (albeit on the Fantasy Baseball page):

    Chris Crawford's front-page article is about the "Top-20 Dynasty Prospects", which is about the best young players that will have the most impact over the next couple of years.

    He had Bryant at #1, Baez at #4, Russell at #5, and Jorge Soler at #16, which really got my attention.

    The other article is by Tristan Cockroft, who has an "All-MLB 2018 Team". He has Bryant at 3B, Baez at 2B, and he says that both could (should) be MVP candidates. Bold proclamation but he says "yeah, they're THAT talented". His notable sleeper? Kyle Schwarber. He also has Jorge Soler as a "best of the rest" for outfielders, but I thought it was worth a share.

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    Soler can hit. Although it is a small sample size, his numbers so far are better than even Bryant's in AA. Thanks for the update.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    No problem. Soler is hitting like a monster right now. Will be interested to see if he can sustain it for the rest of the season.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John,
    What are the chances soler could be a sept callup? It wouldn't hurt service time and it could help him regain at bats lost to injuries.

  • In reply to marcf:

    I think it is possible because there are fewer service time issues with him because of his long term deal and his need for ABs. Minor league season ends at the end of August and he could get an extra month of ABs -- unless Smokies make playoffs, in which case he will stay there. I also think he could get called up to Iowa if they make the playoffs instead.

    So he might get some time, but it may only end up being a couple of weeks or so.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Do you think boras' recent comments about Bryant may scare them off from doing that? Not wanting to show they would call guys up if service time wasn't a problem.

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    I will admit I have never seen Russell play, so I can only go by numbers he's put up...but judging by those, I don't see how espn had him ranked as the #3 overall prospect

  • In reply to Scott Buchanan:

    Scott, when looking at prospects numbers in the minors it can get tricky if you don't account for age. One neat resource on baseball reference is an age differential showing how much older or younger a player is than his competition. Addison was 2.5 years younger than his comp in his first half year and put up superior numbers. Last year he was four years younger and put up very nice numbers. Again, this year he is four years younger than his comp, while coming off injury.

    Also, he is a pure SS putting up the numbers he is, that is like comparing him to a Marco Hernandez in our system, but who is older, a level lower and does not have near the power or projection of Russell.

    So you have a lot going on, the age in a league, the position, the ability to play that position at a MLB level, projection, etc. there is a lot more in those rankings than the numbers.

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    In reply to Scott Buchanan:

    Another thing that factors greatly into those rankings are more subjective judgments from people who have watched them play. I wish this weren't the case and am getting better at sorting through the rubbish some rankings include in their evaluations but that is a constant work in progress. I like using numbers to make my evaluations as much as possible.

    However, as bleedblue has pointed out there are other factors such as age, position, etc.

    One of the most fun things to do on this board is read intelligent conversations about evaluating minor league talent. Especially when several posters have vastly different evaluations of a given player and are able to back it up with sound reasons for their assessments. One of the best was the other day between Mike Moody and another poster (sorry, don't remember the name) discussing how valuable Castro should be in trade talks. Both sides, I thought, had thoughtful posts but came to diametrically opposed conclusions.

  • In reply to Scott Buchanan:

    There is a lot more to numbers when it comes to evaluating players.

  • In reply to Scott Buchanan:

    He definitely passes the eye test.
    Small sample size and all--but double the numbers of what he's put up at Tennessee--he carried an OPS of .957 for Oakland's AA team. As a 20 year old. If you go by those numbers, the ranking makes sense.

  • I believe Jeffrey Baez has an even longer hitting streak than Crawford going. 18-20 games or so.

  • In reply to nmu’catsbball:

    And I think Rademacher has a 27 game streak in which he has reached base safely... Don't take my word for it though, I can't confirm right now.

  • In reply to Caps:

    A Tweet from the Daytona Cubs and reposted on Arizona Phil's website confirms Rademacher's streak.

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    Someone help me with the math: is the following statement always true? (OBP - avg)/10 = BB% ?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    No, BB% is just number of walk divided by total number of plate appearances.

    # walks/# PAs

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    It is early in the morning but:
    1. OBP-BA would probably get you pretty close to BB% (though not quite...other things such as SAC also factor into OBP but not usually a lot).

    2. Wouldn't it be easier to divide BB/PA?

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    As Joel said OBP accounts for sac and sf's. It also accounts for HBP. So using OBP to back into a walk % is probably not the best way to get there, just taking walks by plate apperances would be cleaner.

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    In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That would be easier, but usually you just see a slash line, not a BB and plate appearances.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    That is why I said it will get you pretty close. Over the course of a season I doubt that the skewing would affect the BB% by more than a couple tenths of a percent (e.g. 0.2%). Once we get into such fine gradations it rarely provides much real insight. I usually do subtract BA from OBP to get an "-ish" number for walk percentage but when the number starts getting close to a "benchmark" for me then I do the "real" formula.

    For instance, Almora's numbers from baseballreference.com (I'm not sure if they include last night or not) are: .276/.300. Difference would be 0.024. That would translate into a roughly 2.4% walk rate in my mind. The actual walk rate: 11/357=3.08%. So there is a difference, but I would still consider it negligible. It is still not very good though Almora brings lots of other things to the table.

    Just out of curiosity, where did the /10 come from? I think it would be "x 100" or your number is going to look conspicuously small. In the above example it would take Almora's walk rate to 0.24%

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I believe he was thinking 300-276=24. Divide by 10 to get 2.4%

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    He's just not using the decimal places in the subtraction part and gets 24 instead of 0.24. Thus the /10.

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    ESPN Insider is showing insane love to the Cubs today. Obviously this blog is a much more trusted source of information but it is nice to see some from a big name.

    Top 20 Dynasty Prospects
    1) Kris Bryant Scouting grades: 55 Hit, 75 Power, 40 Speed
    Analysis: This was not an easy call, but Bryant's overall offensive skill set is just too good for him not to be in the top spot. At his peak, he's a .270 hitter with 35-40 homers a year, and it looks like he's going to have the opportunity to knock in an awful lot of runs with some of the other top talents in the Cubs' system also nearing the bigs.
    ETA: 2015

    4. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
    Scouting grades: 55 Hit, 70 Power, 50 Speed
    Analysis: If Manny Ramirez's tutoring really is what "fixed" Baez, then Rich Renteria better be ready to make Ramirez his new bench coach. Baez will almost assuredly be moved from shortstop to either second or third, but like Correa, it doesn't matter. The fantasy potential is massive if he can stay patient at the plate.
    ETA: 2015

    5. Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs
    Scouting grades: 60 Hit, 60 Power, 55 Speed
    Analysis: Of all the quality young shortstops in baseball -- and there are a lot of them -- Russell is the most likely to stick at shortstop. With a plus hit and power tool and above-average speed, he's also got a chance to be among the best of them, very soon.
    ETA: 2015

    16. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
    Scouting grades: 55 Hit, 65 Power, 50 Speed
    Analysis: Soler doesn't get near the attention of the Cubs' other big-name prospects, but in terms of offensive ability, he's not far behind any of them. After missing some time with a hamstring injury, he's come back to Double-A Tennessee and put up fantastic numbers, and he should be hitting in the middle of the Chicago order in a few years, a place that on paper looks like an RBI utopia.
    ETA: 2015

  • In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    What no Alcantara on his list? :)

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    In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    Albert Almora @ #28 when his list first came out in Januaray. He fell off the top 50 list at the midway point. Oversight?

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    No, scouting as you know, is in an inexact science and an art form both. Some will react more severely to struggles and surges. We saw it last year with Javier's struggles early at Daytona being replaced by Soler as #1 Cubs prospect by some (including John) and then a strong finish to 2013 giving him consideration for #1 overall by Prof. Parks, etc... and then Soler's injuries woes pushed him down too. Bryants been on fire and has overtaken #1... it happens. So I'm not surprised with Almora's struggles early that this would happen. Given his recent hot streak (assuming it continues) he'll come roaring back onto top prospect lists.

  • In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    That 2015 ETA for Addison Russell is laughable, isn't it? More like 2017?

  • In reply to TTP:

    No, it's not. More like May or mid-June of 2016. Possibly even a Sept. callup next year (2015), depending on what he does the rest of the year at AA this year, in AFL or winterball after the season, and next year in AA/AAA (depending where he starts the year). The A's were considering bringing him up this Sept. depending on how he came back after injury.

  • fb_avatar

    This is from Jim Bowden:

    • Cubs shortstop prospect Javier Baez's opposite-field home run was as impressive as Gallo's bombs, and his bat speed had scouts once again comparing him to Gary Sheffield. They also were impressed with the eradication of his slight hitch. However, watching him stay back on balls at shortstop and then having to show off his arm to make even routine outs only strengthened the notion that it's just a matter of time before the Cubs move him to either second or third base.

    • While Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant didn't show off his uber talent Sunday, he did make a nice play to his left and showed why he could stay at third if the Cubs want him there. However, following the acquisition of Addison Russell, most scouts believe the Cubs will move him to right field by next year.

    • Another Cubs prospect, Albert Almora, was not at the Futures Game, but that didn't stop scouts from raving about him and projecting future All-Star appearances for him in center field. There's no doubt the Epstein blueprint is working; it's only a matter of two more years of patience for Cubs fans. This group of position-player prospects might be the best this game has seen since the Big Red Machine days in the mid-'70s.

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    In reply to Daniel Rosenberg:

    That is some serious prospect porn! Thanks for sharing...

  • In reply to cking6178:

    LOL! I felt like Homer S. when I read this. "Prospect porn! hmmmmm...." (drool coming out of corner of mouth)

  • Hi John,

    Thank you (and the staff) for all the recaps and articles. I've developed patience in this rebuild directly related to Cubs Den.

    My comment is related to anticipated player ranking lists:

    If it is possible, would you kindly include the year and round a player was drafted in your rankings. It would also be helpful to know if a ranked player was traded and from what team.

    I assume you probably remember each name from each draft, as you report on them so heavily up to and including draft day, however, regular folk like me might need a reminder as to where and when these players were added to our system.

    Also, it's a lot easier to believe in the rebuild when we see late round draftees climbing through the system or players we acquired through trades by Theo/hoyer hitting/pitching well.

    Again, thank you to you and the Crew. Every day I am delighted there is this knowledgeable alternative to the Chi Trib for everything worth reading Cub.

  • i hope we see Olt this second half. remember mike schmidt hit .196 with a 38% strikeout rate in his 1st season of 360 plus AB

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    In reply to bleachercreature:

    That would be a nice adjustment if he could turn it around enough to make it to .196.

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    true

  • In reply to Richard Hood:

    Olt has to hit .250 with his 200 AB left to hit around .200. which would make his rookie year similiar to Mike Schmidt. Schmidt had a .196 avg with 360 AB a 38% strikeout rate that year and 18 homers. If Olt could manage to hit .250 with his next 200 AB he would probably end up with a 32% SO rate and about 25 - 30 home runs. Lets play him and see what he can do.

  • I have been listening to Boise Hawks Radio almost nightly. Great announcer and exciting bats! Last night, Clifton had trouble early locating his breaking stuff. He did well to get six innings in and keep his team in the game as he was in trouble early and often. If you get a chance, give them a listen. That team can rake. The problem for them is they are aggressive on the basepaths. They get thrown out at home often, and sometimes, they just strand a lot of runners, like last night until the 8th inning when they put up a five spot! Good stuff coming from there! Give them a listen on the MiLB Scores page, just click on the listen button.

  • fb_avatar

    Saw Hendricks throw on MLB Network in the AAA All-Star Game last night. Two scoreless innings, though it looked like he was struggling with his command some with a couple of walks. Still good to see him work through it and get a strikeout to get out of a jam in his last inning. I'm expecting we will see him back up in Chicago next week.

  • In reply to KC3772:

    Calling Hendricks up makes the most sense to me. The Cubs are playing with an extra position player already, with Bonafacio on his way back. I hope that Lake is sent down to get some reps and build confidence.

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    In reply to KC3772:

    Has anyone said why Wada was not in the game? Iowa site just said "roster considerations" for Alcantara and Wada. We know where Alcantara is, where is Wada?

  • Two questions about our pitching prospects -- vis a vis the popular media statement that 'it's just not enough':

    1. If we were to rank farm systems just by pitching prospects, approximately where would the Cubs rank?

    2. Assuming we are a ways down that list . . ., is the reason:
    a. philosophical -- Cubs believe that developing pitchers is a poor value play
    b. Cubs have underinvested because of the opportunity to pick up impact bats
    c. Cubs simply aren't good at this aspect of evaluation/development

  • In reply to Gunga:

    TINSTAAP.

  • John,
    As my students used to tell me, "you didn't say there'd be math on this.

  • In reply to AZBOB:

    Haha!

  • Thanks John. I have a question about how scouts determine what they think the high end BA of a player in the minors might be at the MLB level. What is it in Kris Bryant's performance that makes them think 0.270 is his upper limit of expected performance. That seems pretty pedestrian for a guy that has massacred every level to this point.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    One thing is that Bryant has been blessed with crazy-high BABIP's this year in the minors....about .430 BABIP this year. He's overdue for major regression. Yes, batted ball profiles matter, but over time nearly all players will fall in the .280 to .340 BABIP range.

    Adam Dunn, the prototypical slow footed fly-ball hitter, has a career BABIP of .279.

    Ichiro, the prototypical fleet-footed line-drive hitter, has a career BABIP of .344

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Thanks Zonk. That helps me understand. Only been thinking about these things for the last couple years since reading this blog. Taking a while to get the lay of the land.

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    no worries....and that doesn't mean that Bryant hasn't been good...he has been. He's just also been lucky. With a BABIP of .300, which is about average, he would be batting .268 right now. His OPS would probably be closer to .900 than 1.100. That's still pretty damn good!

    He just strikes out too much to hit for high average

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    In reply to Bilbo161:

    A lot of it has to do with his high KO%, and his absolutely absurd BABIP in this minors this year. In the majors, BABIP (batting average on balls in play) hovers around .290-.340 for most hitters. In AA this year, Bryant's BABIP was .440. In AAA thus far, he's at .396. Just for comparison, Mike Trout's career MLB BABIP is .365 and Miguel Cabrera's is .345.

    Bryant's regular batting average at AA was .355, at AA it's .322. That 30 point drop is because of a couple of reasons and will most likely also occur when he's in the majors.

    Because of all the HRs he hits, his BABIP will always be towards the higher end of the spectrum, but his 30.3% KO% at AAA is evidence that he'll only be putting 70% of balls in play.

    His BABIP dropped about 40 points between AA and AAA because the fielding is better so they get to more of his hard hit balls and also because his HR% is a little less absurd than it was at AA. I expect he'll have a BABIP in the majors of around .355-.365.

    So using this math, 3/10 times he'll strike out, so let's see how many hits he can have in those remaining 7 at bats. With a BABIP of .360 for the remaining 7 at bats, he'll have 2.52 hits (.36*7=2.52). So combining this with the 30% KO%, he'll get 2.52 hits every 10 at bats, for an average of .252.

    Now, the hope is that he'll keep up his torrid HR pace and that he gets his KO% way down from where it's at. Combine those two things and you'll end up with an average much closer to .270. I think he'll get a KO% much closer to 23-24%, bringing his average right at .270!

    The bright side to this is that he's walking a lot so his OBP and OPS will still be right where you want it, despite the lower batting average.

    Hope this helps make a little bit more sense! (:

    (Just for reference, I got all of those stats from Fangraphs.com with the exception of that calculation I showed that I used to calculate Bryant's future potential batting average.)

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    In reply to Neal Overbay:

    Oh, sorry it took me so long to write this comment that I didn't see that Zonk had practically given the same answer haha

  • In reply to Neal Overbay:

    ^^^this

    Your point is great, BAPIP can't always be explained away as luck, the defense gets better at every level which will be a big driver of BAPIP, and the HR rates also drop as pitching gets better. His BAPIP will drop, which means has BA will drop, but mostly for the reasons you mention, not because his "luck" changes. Spot on.

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    In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    Thanks (: I think there was some luck involved in AA, because a .440 BABIP is just absolutely ungodly, but I think what you're seeing at AAA is exclusively a product of his HRs, hard hit balls, and better defense - not luck.

  • In reply to Neal Overbay:

    Thanks to you too Neal. That was a lot of work explaining for me and I appreciate it.

  • In reply to Neal Overbay:

    That's really helpful. I've often wondered the same thing about Bryant, now I understand where the .270 comes from.

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    In reply to October:

    Happy to help (: My brother-in-law is a CRAZY sabermetrics guy so I've been asking him the same kind of questions about our prospects and learning a lot about projections from him.

  • "We were kind of hoping it was Bijan Rademacher who would get the call up to male room but he stayed at Daytona."

    Took me a while to figure this out.

  • If Olt and Lake are not going to get enough AB's send them down
    until Sept.

  • Calling Soler up in sept makes a lot of sense, especially if he continues his solid play. It could take a few eyeballs off of Bryant, Russell and Baez which might be helpful to them as they progress towards callups in 2015

  • Kieth Laws midseason top 50 released...Another #1 for Bryant

    4. Addison Russell
    8. Javy Baez
    28. Soler

    No almora, and arsimedy ineligible since he is on the big league club.

  • In reply to Mjtharp2:

    these call ups are going to kill our prospects rankings.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I suppose that is the point. Hard to believe we're finally seeing the start after watching these guys climb the last couple years.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    The goal is not to have high prospect rankings. The primary goal is to have wave after wave of impact players coming to the majors.

  • If you had to buy one Cubs jersey to wear for the future, which one would you buy?

    I'm leaning towards Russell.

    I want to punch people in the back of the head who still wear Fukudome.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Mike Olt - he is the next Mike Schmidt! I wouldnt buy S Castro's though.. he stinks

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Gotta go with Javier Baez.

    I've been watching him play in and around Jax, FL since he was on a 15U travel team.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Bryant, hands down.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Don't you kind of need to wait and see what number they will wear?

    Baez would be my guy. If you want to play it safe with a guy that is as close as a guarantee to spend the next 6 years on the Northside than you should go with Bryant.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Bryant for me, with Baez a very close second.

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    In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    Jose Fernandez... I can dream lol

  • unless Almora hits .330 at every level he is gonna struggle to stay on lists.. he isnt flashy or have loud tools.. but I think all Cubs fans know he will be mr "steady eddie" and always find a way to get the job done

  • What's up with Travis Wood this year, can we get an analysis?

  • In reply to wastrel:

    He was never as good as he showed last season. It was a fluke. He is also not quite as bad as he has shown this season either. The difference is both control and command. He is walking too many guys and when he does find the plate he is finding the middle of it too often. He does not have the stuff to get away with that.

    He is a 4/5th starter. He will have some good games when he has good command (or gets lucky), he will get absolutely shelled when he doesn't. The calls from fans to lock him up with a long term contract last season drove me nuts. He is just a guy. Not a core piece.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I've been wondering if there's a physical problem, also if there's a change in pitch selection this year. It does seem like there isn't much margin for error.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    Interesting, we look at the same information and come to diametrically opposed conclusions. You look at last year as the outlier, this year as "return to norm," albeit on the low end of norm. I look at this year as an outlier and forecast a return to norm (higher than your norm, probably). I think the problem is contains relatively few years and those were while he was very young.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I was pretty pessimistic on Arrieta's chances because he had never shown any semblance of command or a desire to challenge hitters in his career. But I always admitted he was capable of being this good because he had the stuff to do so. Wood just doesn't. He has one above average pitch, his cutter, and I'm not sure that pitch is much above average. Everything else is average or below. He is pretty much the definition of a backend starter based on his stuff. I think a rebound to anywhere near last season's results are unfounded.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    I agree last year was probably on the HIGH end of his realistic abilities. However I see this year as just as much of an extreme as last year (although it is opposite). I base my conclusion on the fact that he had 2 years of bad pitching (2011, 2014) bracketing 2 years of decent pitching (2012, 2013). These cover ages 24-27. Lots of pitchers struggle at age 24 and go on to have fine careers. While it is possible that he caught lightning in a bottle last year (I agree he probably won't replicate that) his rate stats look very similar to what he had before and he dramatically righted the ship in 2012-2013. I take 2 out of the last three seasons (this one included) as a better indicator.

    A number I like to look at for pitchers is ERA+. His ERA+ since 2010 are: 116, 82 (2011), 96, 127 (2013), 79 (2014). When I talk about a rebound I am not talking about 120, I am talking about 100-105 (average to slightly above).

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    100-105 would be a 4th or 5th starter. Exactly what I said he is. We seem to be talking about the same level of performance. We just seem to value that level of performance differently. I look at that type of pitcher and find him valuable while he is in his pre-arb, and usually when he is in his arb years as well, but Wood's AS appearance may inflate his arb numbers beyond his actual worth (though not enough that he would be a hinderance). But he is not a core piece. He does not deserve a long term contract. You let him play out on a year to year basis as long as he performs and stays healthy until he reaches FA and then you say goodbye. In the meantime, if you get a trade offer that would return a potential core piece, you make the deal.

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    In reply to wastrel:

    This year isn't really that far out of the norm for him. His slash lines of .222/.258/.381 in 2013 isn't that different than his .229/.270/.457 so I would say that we can expect roughly the same from him in the future: a little below league average hitter (not bad for a pitcher). The biggest difference is that he is hitting with more power (2B and HR rate). I would like to see him increase his walk rate from 0%, but that will likely happen as a "regression" to the mean. (Tongue in cheek)

    If you mean his pitching he simply looks A LOT like his 2011 season.

    Numbers so far:
    2011 2013 2014
    WHIP 1.491 1.145 1.491
    H/9IP 10.0 7.3 9.5
    HR/9IP 0.8 0.8 0.9
    K/9IP 6.5 6.5 7.2
    BB/9IP 3.4 3.0 3.9
    K:BB 1.85 2.18 1.90

    Outside of his HR/9IP his 2012 numbers look a lot like his 2013 numbers. The short version is it looks like an outlier season. Every couple of years he will go through this possibly. The rest of the time he is actually pretty good (roughly league average). After the 2011 season he was traded for Shawn Marshall so the Reds kind of gave up on him. Maybe there is an injury or something, but I am inclined to think not.

    Given my choice he is just entering his arbitration years so he is still under team control relatively cheaply. I would wager he may well return to his previous 2 years performance next year. I am far from losing faith in him.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Me too. Hoping he can get the train back in the rails in the second half.

  • Anyone know why Soler didn't start? Nice that he got a pinch single but with the day off the previous day why did he need another day off. Anyone ever see the Cub trainer in AA, the dude is about 6'7", guess he was a former pitcher and he totally looks the part of a player. Seems like about 80% of his job is stretching with Jorge.

    Impressive that Cutler is hitting around .340 at AA and playing catcher but from my really cool visit to Tenn last week people were saying he is not that great defensively. FWIW he is really a great guy, very fun and interactive with the fans. Said his father's name was Jay, he was really a funny guy.

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    My guess (and it's only that) was the cool weather and their (rightfully placed) OCD about his hamstring.

  • I'd go with Rizzo (if you don't have one already). Having an old Rizzo jersey would be like having the equivalent to an old rookie Toews jersey (no "C" yet). It would show that you have stuck with the Cubs through thick and thin unlike the bandwagon that is about to get rolling in the next year or two.

  • The Smokies were in Huntsville to play the Stars (Brewers' AA team), so I wanted to add a little to John's recap.

    1) Matt Loosen wasn't fooling anyone. Threw 88 pitches through 4+ innnings : 49 strikes, 39 balls. He threw a couple of awkward offspeed pitches that Flores had to leap for, so I'm thinking Matt is working on a new pitch.

    2) Since Tuesday was an off day, I'm assuming Jorge Soler was held out of this game because of the cold (low 60s). Can you believe jackets in July in Alabama?

    3) Rehabbing Bonfacio played his first game in AA. If Jed Hoyer is planning to send A2 out when EB is ready to replace him, A2 might plan on staying put for a while. EB went 0-4 with 1 K and 3 easy GBs to 1B.

    4) Top 4 (EB, Bruno, Russell, and Villanueva) went an easy 0-16 with 5 Ks among them.

    5) Soler PH for Lorick in the 7th. Took ball 1, took strike 1, took ball 2, and then .... hit a ROCKET to left. LF was playing back and the ROCKET was only about 10 feet to his right, but he could barely move before the ball was past him.

    6) First observation is that Jorge Soler is a good guy who loves the game: signing autographs before the game, infectious smile, top step of the dugout, hanging out with EB, and a TON of confidence when he stepped up to PH.

    7) Several have posted that MiLB W-L records are meaningless and that it's all about development. Let me give you an example of that. Top of 7th, 2 out, runner on second, 1B open, tired SP, fresh RH RP ready, and .400 hitting 6'4" Soler coming up. The "book" says IBB or bring in the RP. Instead, Stars Mgr Carlos Subero calls a huge team meeting on the mound and decides to give his Ace SP an opportunity to go after the big guy. To his credit, Drew Gagnon (5-4, 3.26, 19 starts, 105 IP) challenged Soler but did give up the screaming liner.

    Sorry this is so long, but it was nice to finally see Soler healthy enough to play this trip.

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