Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Tseng, Wada dominate; Schwarber, Bryant, Baez HR; plus 2 signings

One minor note before we start.  The Cubs inked another IFA, again for their max amount of $250,000.  It's another pitcher,  Emilio Ferrebus, a 16 year old RHP with average size for now, 6'1" 185 lbs. and like most pitchers his age, struggles to maintain consistent velocity, command, and breaking stuff.  But there is some arm strength to work with and he can hit the low 90s along with some athleticism and the ability to spin a breaking ball.  The makings are there, but obviously much development is needed.

The Cubs also officially signed Jordan Minch, a LHP with a good frame, a high 80s to low 90s fastball, curve, and change.  Minch was a draft eligible sophomore out of Purdue that the Cubs drafted in the 35th round.

In other news, Kyle Hendricks will get the call again for the Cubs and will pitch against the Padres on Tuesday.  He is going to slot into that #4 spot, probably for the rest of the season. It was another day filled with HRs and good pitching performances, so let's get on with the recap...

Iowa 4 - Round Rock 1

  • Tsuyoshi Wada was absolutely brilliant once again.   After allowing the first two batters to reach on singles, one of whom scored. Wada completely shut down RR the rest of the way. allowing just one hit and one walk over the next 6 innings while striking out 10.  He improved to 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA and has struck out 120 batters vs. just 28 walks in 113.2 innings.  Wada deserves another call at some point this season but with the first 4 spots likely taken up, he may have to fight for that spot with Dallas Beeler.
  • Alberto Cabrera has come on strong of late and another 2 inning scoreless performance brought his ERA down to 3.89 on the year.  He walked one and struck out 2.  Cabrera seems to have recaptured his swing and miss stuff, but the control is still pretty average right now.
  • Blake Parker struck out the side to pick up his 19th save and lower his ERA to 1.38.  What a tremendous year he has had at Iowa and it almost certainly will buy him another MLB opportunity.
  • Javier Baez hit his 16th HR of the season and went 2 for 5 overall.   We all know Baez got off to a horrendous start this season, but over the last 2 months, covering 231 PAs, Baez has hit .299/.347/.564 with 12 HRs.  His overall numbers are at .246/.307/.470.
  • Kris Bryant still shows no signs of slowing down, adding a pair of hits, including his 11th HR of the year and his 33rd overall.  Bryant is hitting .344/.417/.760 for a 1.177 OPS -- the highest he has had at any level in his brief pro career.  In 130 pro games, Bryant has hit .347 with 41 HRs and 116 RBI.

Daytona 11 - Ft Myers 7

  • Rob Zastryzny ran into some old issues early in the game and gave up 5 runs in the first 2 innings, including a 2 run HR to top prospect Byron Buxton.  But he settled down and pitched 3 scoreless innings after the rough start.  He walked 4 batters, which is unusual for him this year but did continue to miss bats with 6 Ks.
  • The Cubs got some brilliant relief today as the bullpen tallied 17 Ks vs. just 2 BB in 12 innings of relief.  It started with Justin Amlung, who did not walk a batter and struck out 7, though he did allow 2 runs in his 4 innings.  After a slow start in Daytona, Amlung has really picked it up.  He has regained his good control, walking 2.38 batters per 9 IP while striking out just under 7 per 9 innings,  a big improvement over the beginning of the year.
  • Zach Godley pitched 2 scoreless innings and walked one while striking out 4,  He has whittled down his ERA to 4.44 at Daytona and has struck out just a shade under 11 batters per 9 IP.
  • A much needed stellar performance from Stephen Perakslis who came up huge with 4 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 5.13 on the year.
  • Yao-Lin Wang won his 2nd game after 2 scoreless innings in which he struck out 4,  He is 2-5 with a 5.92 ERA on the year.
  • Even though he got just one hit, Marco Hernandez deserves mention because he walked 3 times.  It's a skill he's worked hard at this season and he has improved, though he still has a ways to go.  Hernandez has a 6.2% walk rate this year and is hitting .287 with a vastly improved .331 OBP.
  • Albert Almora went 2 for 5 with a walk.  He also doubled and scored 2 runs.  Almora is hitting .274/.300/.391 on the year.  He eventually got ejected and didn't finish the game.
  • Rock Shoulders had just one hit, but he really made it count, hitting a walk off grand slam HR in the bottom of the 17th.  Nice way to end the game.  It was Shoulders 8th HR of the year.
  • Kyle Schwarber continues to show great discipline and good pop at the plate.  He singled, walked twice and hit his first HR in the FSL.  His first season has been incredible.  He has hit .404/.489/.737 with 9 HRs in 31 professional games so far.  WOW.
  • Willson Contreras doubled, walked and hit his 2nd HR of the year.
  • Bijan Rademacher extended his on base streak to 29 games with a walk and a single.
  • Bill McKinney went 2 for 6 and walked twice,  The fact that he shows such a tremendous walk rate of 11.4% as a 19 year old in the FSL speaks volumes.  He continues to hit for extra bases, including 11 HRs, while keeping the K rate reasonably low at 17.7%.  He's a solid hitter and perhaps underrated in this great Cubs system.
  • Gioskar Amaya went 3 for 6 with a walk and is hitting .278/.365/.353 on the year.

Kane County 10 - Lansing 1

  • What more can we say about Jen-Ho Tseng?  He retired the first 14 batter before finally allowing a hit with 2 outs in the 5th.   He pitched 6 innings and allowed one hit, one walk while striking out 3.  He is now 5-0 with a 2.50 ERA.  Incredibly, he has walked just 9 batters all year (1.13 walks per 9 IP) while striking out 64,  That is nearly an 8-1 K to bB ratio.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa continued his rehab by striking out 2 batters and allowing one unearned run.
  • Michael Wagner finished up with 2.1 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 3.28.  The well-rounded reliever needs to cut his walks down a bit (just over 4 per 9 IP), but he has struck out nearly a batter per inning (35 in 35.2 innings).
  • Jacob Hannemann singled twice and scored.  After a hot streak in June, he has cooled off a bit in what is turning into an up and down season,  He is hitting .261/.329/.388 overall.
  • Shawon Dunston had 3 hits, including a double, while driving in 2 and striking out 3.  Dunston has raised his average to .258 but after a patient year at the plate in 2013, has walked just 12 times this year, leaving his OBP at just .298 on the year.
  • Ben Carhart walked twice, swingled, and scored twice. He has been a consistent performer all season.
  • 1B Jacob Rogers steady production has been a big factor in the middle of the Cougars lineup, particularly his on-base skills and his occasional power .  Rogers doubled, walked and drove in 2 runs.  He is at .265/.365/.426 with 9 HRs this season.
  • 3B Jeimer Candelario is starting to show some power, hitting his 4th HR in 25 games with the Cougars.  He is hitting .245 overall.
  • Cael Brockmeyer also hit his 4th HR and drove in 4 runs overall.  Brockmeyer also had two singles and raised his overall line to .306/.384/.416.  The question is whether Brockmeyer can stick at catcher or develop more power if he has to move to 1B. Right now he looks like a solid offensive oriented backup type, but he has plenty of time to work on all facets of his game.  He certainly can hit for average and has a solid approach, so that is something to build on.
  • Trey Martin has quietly and steadily improved all season.  A 2 for 5 day put him at .242/.287/.306, which is still a far cry from what he is capable of, but given his good defense, he still has a lot of value to this team.  He also has contributed on the bases with 19 steals.

 Boise 10 - Spokane 7

  • Trevor Graham lasted just 2 innings today, allowing 5 hits and 5 runs (4 earned). The 13th round pick from 2013 has really struggled this season at Boise with a 6.23 ERA.
  • Brad Markey, a 19th round pick in this year's draft out of Virginia Tech, has had no problems with pro ball yet.  He pitched 2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out 4.  He is well-equipped for early success because he is a college senior who has good pitchability, command and 3 solid pitches, including an 88-91 mph sinking fastball, curve, and change.  Not much projection at this point as he is already 22 and has fringy size at 5'11''. 185 lbs., but his present stuff and decent command gives him a shot at some role.  He has a 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings at Boise.
  • Francisco Carrillo is even a bit older at 24 but you can't argue with his numbers so far -- 2 walks and 25 Ks in 19.1 innings to go with a 1.86 ERA.  He pitched 3 scoreless to pick up his first win of the season.
  • Make it 18 games for Rashad Crawford, who had 2 more hits, including a double, and 2 run scored.  Crawford is hitting .326/.348/.439.  He has good speed, stealing 8 bases, but he is still learning the art of the stolen base, as he has also been caught 5 times.
  • Mark Zagunis went 1 for 3 with a walk, a double, 2 runs, and an RBI.  The 3rd round pick is hitting .351/.473/.500 on the year.
  • 1B Danny Canela doubled and drove in 2 in 4 ABs.
  • 20 year old 3B Jesse Hodges, an undrafted player out of Canada who was discovered playing in a Korean tournament, went 2 for 4  with a double, walk, 2 runs, and an RBI.  He is a thickly built player who can be a bit aggressive at the plate.  He has good strength but average bat speed and has shown some solid hitting ability so far this season with a .270 average and 4 HRs.
  • 2B Chesny Young is a pretty advanced college hitter whom the Cubs selected in the 14th round and so far he has handled the NWL quite well.  A 2 for 4 day put him at .429 through his first 11 games.  He has also show a solid approach with 5 walks and just 5 Ks in 40 PAs (12.5 % rate on both).  He is a decent athlete who may be able to move around in time but 2B is his best position right now.
  • The Cubs picked Young's DP partner, Jason Vosler, 2 rounds later and he has also shown a knack for hitting so far .  He tripled, singled, and drove in 2 and he is hitting .341 on the year.  Vosler is another player with good contact skills with just 5 Ks in 47 PAs.

AZL Brewers 7 - AZL Cubs 3

  • Jesus Castillo pitched 3 scoreless innings and the projectable RHP acquired in the Tony Campana deal has put up a 2.57 ERA in 14.1 innings, though he has walked 10 batters to go with 10 Ks.
  • Jefferson Mejia got off to a blistering start but things have slowed down for the 19 year old.  Today he lost the good command he had shown, allowing just one hit but walking 5 batters in 2 innings to lead to 4 runs and a loss.  Mejia's ERA soared to 3.24.  Mejia had walked just 3 batters in his previous 14.2 innings.  He now has 8 walks and 20 Ks in 16.2 innings this year.
  • The rookie Cubs spread their offense around today with no player getting more than one hit, but 2B Andrew Ely made his hit his 2nd HR of the season.  The 32nd round pick is 7 for his first 15 pro ABs.
  • OF Shamiel Ubiera doubled, walked and stole his 5th base.  Ubiera was one of the better players on the Cubs DSL squad last season but has gotten off to just a .229 start so far in the AZL.
  • Charcer Burks isn't on the same ridiculous tear he was earlier in the season but he is still hitting .313 and has an .801 OPS after a 1 for 4 day.  He also stole 2 bases to give him 9 on the season.



Leave a comment
  • "In 130 pro games, Bryant has hit .347 with 41 HRs and 116 RBI."

    Amazing. And every step of the way he's hit the same way.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    And I didn't even add in those great walk/OBP numbers which make him even more dangerous. Incredible start to his pro career.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Bryants numbers are crazy and so are Schwarber's. But I really like McKinney's SO/Walk rate 17%/11% at 19 years old in high A that is impressive.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I know I am off topic but wow has our OF prospects changed.
    Last year we had Soler & Almora now we can add Alcantera, Schwarber,McKinney & Bryant as legit OF prospects and Jiminez several years away. Suddenly the OF is looking as crowded as the infield.

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    Theo Epstein this upcoming August: "I know Bryant has over 50 home runs, but he hasn't struggled yet, and he's still got a lot to work on....oh screw it. We're pushing back his clock, okay!"

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    And a good reason to call him up in 2014 is.....?

    Hint: The answer is there is no good reason.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think the only reason there is to bring him up in September is to get acclamated to MLB so he won't have to go through that process next April. That may or may not have an affect on KB as he seems to be unaware of any pressures on him and since it is unlikely that this team competes for the playoffs may also lessen the need to bring him up early.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    But the question there is whether that has any known value. It's speculative at best and it almost certainly doesn't have enough value to start his service time early. He can get acclimated whenever he comes up. It's not going to matter whether the does it in September, April. or May.

    When you are choosing between maybe this helps and it will certainly have negative ramifications, you are making a choice that will cost you more often than not. It really makes no sense to do something you know is harmful long term because maybe it helps. It's just not a good trade off. The Cubs need to play this smart.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Why don't they bring up Bryant now and get him ready to start the 2015 season ? It would show the fans, the team and the other prospects that if you perform you will play. Why give the message that you don't care about the present and are only worried about the future and potential financial matters. You make the right offseason acquisitions and start your best prospects from day 1 in 2015 there is no reason you can't compete in a league that has a lot of parity.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Please reread John's entry that you just commented on. You will find your answer there.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I think everyone understands, including Bryant, that that it is not about 2014. This just isn't a valid argument. We are talking about things like "sending messages" that have no real known value. So for the privilege of sending our players a message that "we care" about the present, we are willing to put the team at risk of letting a good player leave a year early, when he is still in his prime and will almost certainly cost money down the road.

    It's baloney and it's not how things are done in a responsible organization, The Cubs are pretty transparent that it is not about 2014 -- they pretty much proved that when they traded their two best pitchers.

    Let's be honest, we can make any excuse up but the only thing that people who want Bryant and others up early are those that want their cookies before dinner is ready. The Cubs had that kind of organization and now that we have one that acts responsibly for a change, we don't like it. If the Cubs are going to grow as an organization, then they need to act like responsible teams do and do what's best for the long run and not in the interests of instant gratification,

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    bringing up Bryant now has nothing to do with 2014. It is about getting him ready for 2015. Do you want to tank another season while you wait for service time ?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:


    Do you NOT realize what a completely moronic statement that is??

    Even if the next wave comes late May next year... at best you're 60 games into a 162 game season. One of the biggest reasons this season was lost was the early bullpen struggles. That's unlikely to happen again.

    As someone who's followed this team for over half a century I'm willing to trust the F.O. to guide us into a prolonged period of competitive excellence at the 'expense' of a few early season games next year.

    Fans like you are why this city, this state, and this country are bankrupt. Politicians make their living giving cookies to citizens who clamor for their cookies NOW at the expense of the future.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Sorry, WUNY, but I do not get your logic. How is waiting to promote Bryant until mid-April 2015 going to "tank" next season anymore than bringing him up 1 September?

    I maintain that Even Longoria is a great comp for what to expect with Bryant in 2015. Bryant's progression nearly mirrors that of Longoria, who was drafted June 2006 and played AA/AAA ball in a roughly 3:1 split 2007. Longoria was promoted 12 April 2008, in order to ensure he did not get a full year of service time in 2008. Longoria hit .273/.388/.527 in Apr (17 games), .234/.283/.402 in May (29 G), and .300/.374/.650 in June (26 G).

    Here is the link for Longoria's monthly stats in 2008:

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Can we at least agree on something? The Cubs will not win the WS in 2015. Call me a pessimist, a realist, or even a moron, but that is the truth.

    Now, we can expect them to compete (in general) and hopefully be playing meaningful games in August and September in 2015. If they get lucky or make a couple decent pickups, maybe even win a wildcard spot. But, to be blunt, the team doesn't have the tools to win a WS with a bunch of rookies. Whether Bryant/Baez come up in Sept '14 or Apr '15, they will be just that… rookies.

    The point of next year is to get everyone on track, take a deep look and see what we have, and how we can have "the sustained success" for 2016 and beyond. No decision made in 2014 should be made to have an impact on 2015 alone.

    It is not worth losing a year of control to bring up either. As John wrote earlier, Baez has a unique situation which would open the opportunity for a contract that would negate the lost year. Once the 2016 season starts, short sighted (bringing a player up in Sept to help with a playoff push) can be had, as it will allow for a chance at a ring. Unless Bryant signs a contract which negates the lost year (which probably won't happen with Boras) bring him up in April when we have secured the extra year of control. Come 2021 (I think that would be there year) we will be thankful we waited.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, then what was the point of yesterday's article on September call up for Baez? Isn't it a given, or at least in your jargon a high probability, that players usually struggle at the outset of their MLB careers and need time to adjust (Sandberg 0 for 32)? If so there is value in a September gig. And, there are considerations beyond service clock concerns. So while service clock concerns may trump all other factors, it is inaccurate to say there are no reasons for a September call up.

  • In reply to TTP:

    The point is that you can make exceptions when you eliminate uncertainties. That article is a hypothetical one that relies on certain contingencies (Baez signing an extension or being sent down again until May of 2015). If that agreement is in place, then you are once again dealing the known costs, you eliminate much of the risk.

    But if they are going to call him up just to call him up without any real contingency plan to cover themselves, I'd rather they leave him in AAA, because at that point the potential costs outweigh whatever intangible benefit may or may not exist.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    The whole point is that the front office is NOT worried about the present. The strategy is to build a team that competes every year for an extended period of time and thus increase the likelihood of a championship.

    By holding Bryant back til May, the Cubs get another year of him in his prime* and will likely still contend for the playoffs next year.

    *Pure speculation on my part: Bryant being a Boras client, there is a good chance that he will not sign an extension and try free agency. Expect him to be traded a year or so before free agency. Let's get the most out of him we can.

  • In reply to Richard Beckman:

    most posters seem to really have bought the extra year of control is the only and right way. you wait a month or 2 of not playing your best players and you will have little chance to compete in 2015. The Cubs had enough pitching to compete this year if they had an extra bat or 2. bringing up players like Bryant now will give a boost in revenue due to increased attendance and merchandise sales. Also not good timing to have low tv ratings when trying to get a new tv deal. Most keep saying your not going to win in 2015 wich is true only if you don't play your best players and fail to make key acquisitions during the offseason.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    These aren't baseball reasons. FO should only care about the long term interests of the baseball team, not merchandise sales and the like.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    because Scott Boras , enough said , a few games that mean nothing could cost the Cubs 20M for the extra year of control .

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    to be clear - the front office should only be concerned about baseball reasons when promoting players - so they should not care about an extra year of control in 2020 or 2021.

    in my opinion if Bryant or Baez or Russell come up and play well they will all receive extensions well before the extra year of control becomes an issue. if they are average it will not matter

    how about fielding a team with your best talent that makes it more attractive for free agents to come sign when they see the top prospects playing in the majors

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    1) An extra year of control is a "baseball reason"

    2) There is a difference between receiving an extension, and agreeing to an extension. That's the hanging point. Bryant's agent is Scott Boras, who, as everyone knows, is notorious for taking his guys to free agency.

    3. Teams are already noticing the talent the Cubs have in the highest level of the minors and admitting interest in playing with them (Cf Price, David). Why is it necessary to bump them up to the majors right now? To counter your argument, why bring a player up for his "adjustment" period this year for next year, while at the same time hoping that that player's MLB success (again, the supposed struggle of the "adjustment period") will entice top free agents to come to the Cubs?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Theo wants players to struggle a bit in the minors to work through it, but it doesn't look like Bryant will oblige him. Still, John is right, many reasons to keep him at Iowa, none to bring him up other than for entertainment value.

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    In reply to Zonk:

    I'm not suggesting they call him up. Just making a joke. Don't be so earnest and quick to argue.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I'm not earnest or quick to judge but I actually couldn't tell it was a joke, so easy on the Zonk. I'm sure it was funny if one looked harder, though.

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    In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I'm sure no one involved wants to hear this, but when Satan is your agent your team needs to go out of its way to squeeze every bit of value it can out of your career.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Satan?... LMAO dayyummm Mike.

    I have to admit, my general perception of Boras was that of a pompous A$$, who's larger than life persona sometimes goes to his head. But I have always respected & admired the way he fights all out for his clients.

    But reading about this recent nonsense with HOU & Aiken/Nix, and reviewing Boras' comments about the new CBA, it's obvious why he's gotten the respect he has of MLB FO's. He IS, by far, head & shoulders above any other agent out there.

    But as it concerns any Cubs prospects on his client list (Bryant, Almora, etc) I agree with the sentiment that we have to do everything to maximize the value with their current contract because they will likely never sign a new one with us w/o testing the FA market.

  • fb_avatar

    Thanks John.....I didn't realize until recently that McKinney is the 2nd youngest player in the FCL. He's only a year out of high school. He's been very impressive for such a young kid, and we Cub fans should not sleep on him as a prospect. He was just a "side" with Russell the main course, but looking great so far.

    I like your point on Marco Hernandez. He's probalby not a future starter or star, but we need bench guys in the future, and if he continues to progress, no reason he can't be a ML UT guy. We need those too.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Hernandez has solid tools across the board and if he can start to realize those -- as it appears he is this season, then you could have yourself an asset to deal. He is a true SS and those are rare in all of baseball. I know that scouts from at least two other teams like him, so if he can develop more consistency with his approach at the plate and in the field, he might have a chance to start somewhere, especially if he develops some of that pop he shows from time to time. He wouldn't be a star player, but he can be an average SS if he reaches his ceiling -- and that has pretty good value.

  • I believe the Cubs are back in Wrigley for the series against the Padres. Will be fun Hendricks to pitch at the friendly confines for the first time.

    Interesting that the Cubs are really letting the pitchers at KC accumulate innings there and not rushing any promotions. Might have to do with the fact they are going to the playoffs, but as much as some fans complain about the lack of promotions for the big hitters, the same FO philosophy is being applied to the pitchers at the lower levels. Could be some dominant arms for the future.

  • Good grief, John - how do you do it. Wonderful recap.
    You are a beacon of light in this current Cub wilderness.
    But your updates and extremely thoughtful analysis help us see through the ever thinning branches and twigs.
    Wait, I am losing myself in a poetic reverie.
    I will now proceed with the day knowing that IT is getting closer and closer and ...

  • In reply to tboy:

    Thanks tboy! And I like the poetic flair.

    I am going to be honest on one thing. I am pretty hungry and I first read "beacon" as "bacon". Funny how the mind works when you haven't had breakfast.

  • John, this is off-topic, but I was wondering why MLB teams aren't allowed greater medical access to draftees before the draft? Or maybe I don't know the full picture, but it seems strange to me that teams aren't allowed to give physicals to players. I believe every other sport is allowed that kind of access and it only seems fair.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    I think we just saw one reason as the Astros used some pretty shady areas of concern on Aiken. He is said to be 100% healthy but they are saying they see something that might affect him in the future -- though they have no evidence to back that claim. We know that at least one team isn't above abusing that privilege and trying to profit from it.

    I think there is no perfect solution. Players have lost leverage as it is and we now saw some of that when a team like the Astros tried to parlay a gray area into a reduced signing bonus. If the Astros are willing to do this after they picked a player, what's to stop teams from holding players hostage and saying, "Well, we kind of don't like the way this looks so we think you might get hurt in the future, so take this offer or leave it."

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's too bad that the Astros are choosing to walk down that path. It is totally shady, esp. given that Aiken is said to be healthy. I still think, however, that teams should at least be able to see if there is true damage (a torn ligament or something) before the draft, but with some guidelines on what conditions are NOT acceptable to change offers about (i.e.--potential wear and tear, etc.). There should be some balance between teams taking on risk, but also protecting themselves from clear medical problems that might not be known. IMHO that aspect of the draft rules (if I understand them correctly) needs to be re-worked to protect both parties.

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    "said to be healthy" is a rather inappropriate term to use here.

    If the examination had found an inoperable brain aneurysm that could pop any minute, would it be fair to say that he was healthy just because it hadn't popped yet?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John... Not to quibble, rather to make a point. The NFL has their combine where every possible part of a player is picked at, measured, etc. They have as much or more information on a prospect that can be gleaned. I honestly have never understood why MLB doesn't do much the same - at least in terms of allowing medical exams.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A team doesn't have to have a "gray area" in order to do this, nor do they have to make and offer only to reduce it later.

    The Astros could have merely told Aiken from the beginning that they would not offer more than 5 million, take it or leave it, and he would have been in the same negotiating position. He could take it or he could leave it.

    And if the Astros actually planned this all along, they wouldn't have made an offer to Nix that may come back and bite them in a law suit or grievance.

    People are quick to assume that the Astros are sneaky and nefarious, when the most likely answer is that they were just plain stupid.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    They told him they would give him 6.5M until they were spooked by a situation on which they have no information. Don't be so sure that they were just dumb, the Astros are developing a reputation among some in the industry right now and it's not a good one.

    Offering 5M from the beginning is a lot different than telling him they'll give him 6.5M on draft day. If they would have offered him 5M I guarantee you he would have left it and the Marlins would have taken him and given him more.

    What they did was take advantage of an opportunity that they pretty much manufactured themselves to try and get Aiken and Marshall, thereby minimizing their risk and when they couldn't get it, they sold out Nix. Coming from a guy like Jim Crane, it's not really surprising. He's never going to win an ethics award, I will guarantee you that.

  • Patience. Soon enough Kris, Javy Kyle and Jorge will be hitting those bombs out of Wrigley.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Exactly. We've come this close to doing it the right way. Why rush it now when it is a meaningless season and the value of September ABs is highly questionable anyway?

  • BTw, the Round Rock announcer got it right last night(for once). "you get it in the wheelhouse, its going to go a long way". after Baez crushed his bomb. Talking naturally about the ICubs killers Bs.

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    Wada appears to be lined-up to pitch Wednesday against the Padres. I have been a Wada skeptic, but it's pretty tough to argue with the results now, and he has earned an opportunity to make a few starts. Who knows, maybe he's a #5 starter for us next year.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Pls nooo! That would mean ejax pitching thursday. And i have tickets to that game! 3 rows behind cubs dugout!

    Pls Baseball-Gods, dont spoil this for me!

  • In reply to Csanad:

    Pray for a rainout. Or maybe Ejax gets traded to the Stankees.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    LOLOL @ Stankees!! Well played, MB.

  • Took my grandson to his first game last night, KC vs. the Lugnuts (was there ever a better minor league name?). Tseng was magnificent, starting at 93 and tapering to 90 in the 6th. The only hard contact of the night was a liner come-backer which he handled with aplomb. The one hit he allowed was a soft grounder to right, which with better communication between 2B and 1B might have been handled. Dunston, Jr. hit two lasers to right, one of which he converted to a score after two misplays, one by the RF and one by the catcher, who dropped the relay (originally charged with an error, which didn't show up in the final box score). He's really, really fast, as is Hannemann. Rogers (1B) just missed a grand slam on an outstanding play by the Lugnut CF, which was compensated for by Brockmeyer's HR two batters later. Starting the 7th, Fujikawa struck out two, but he was hit hard, and was removed in the middle of the inning, possibly due to injury (a relief pitcher was called in and allowed to warm up on the mound). All in all, quite the KC show, even considering the fireworks following the game.
    My grandson liked the playground and his new Lugnuts hat the best, but at least it's a start.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Thanks for the detail!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John... would you please keep us updated on Fujikawa and a possible injury??

    And thanks to wthomson... you may remember that the Lugnuts were once a part of the Cubs farm system!!

    Wasn't that the team who had their stadium (or part of it) burn down a few years ago??

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Yep, I remember the Lugnuts as a Cub farm team, and I have the hat to prove it! Don't know anything about a fire, though.

  • In reply to wthomson:


    Toledo Mudhens comes to mind.

  • Listening to the Daytona game last night, Stephen Perakslis was regularly throwing 95. I didn't know he had that type of gas.

    Also, I think Markey is 5'11" not 5,'1", John. Or maybe he is short and stout.

  • In reply to historyrat:

    I saw him hit 93-94 pretty regularly when I first saw him at Kane, so that doesn't surprise me.

    But yikes, 5'1. Gotta fix that typo!

  • Schwarber is doing fantastic. Looks like he can move as fast as Bryant did last year.

    Our other catcher Zagunis is doing well too. Looks like our lack of catching prospects is being rectified rather quickly.

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    In reply to John57:

    It sounds like though that Schwarber will not remain at catcher long-term. Anyone have an update on that?

    Zagunis, from what I read pre-draft, has most of what you look for defensively in a catcher, except he has trouble throwing. So far at Boise, runners are 11 for 13 while he is catching, so maybe still has work to do there.

    I still feel like we need more depth at catcher, but you're right, it's definitely better than it was

  • In reply to Zonk:

    According to the announcer last night, the plan is for Schwarber to catch Zastryzny every fifth day, with three games in LF and one as DH in between.

    Not sure how to interpret that.

  • In reply to BudMan:

    My guess is that they want to see if he has the potential to develop into an MLB catcher, but don't want his bat to be hurt while waiting to make a decision.

    I suspect that he will spend a lot of time during the fall Instructional league being tutored as a catcher, which should give the front office more information upon which to base their decision.

  • Tseng is living up to the ST hype. Based on his performances, it appears he should get a taste of Daytona soon, though they may keep him in KC for the playoffs.

    Can't wait to see the Baez, Bryant, Schwarber HR's with Rizzo's pair at the MLB level.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    HD... maybe you, Moody or John can answer. Tseng was pretty hyped at the IFA last year and has shown remarkable progress so far this year. Any ideas about how he'll be moved along??

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    In reply to MoneyBoy:

    He's 19 and outside of preternatural talents like Baez the Cubs tend to be very conservative in their promotions. It's unlikely they'll push him too hard.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Right! Knew that Mike. Just curious if anyone here has heard anything solid about their plans for him.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Found this while surfing. He appears to be much more than an intriguing IFA pick!!!


  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    This kid was originally projected as a top 3 IFA talent, but his velocity dropped in his last several outings so so he slid down to the 25-30 range.

    Give the FO credit as they really did their home work on him. Turns out he was just suffering from tired arm. There are some respected scouts (like our buddy K Gallo) who are on record as saying Tseng c/b an ACE. Several of the "experts" Prof. Parks, Ben Badler, etc said he was likely Daytona bound in 2014 back in ST... Talent wise, he can handle the FSL right now. This FO wont hold an elite prospect back (if he's accomplishing his development plan & dominating that level) which is what Tseng is and what he's doing. But keep in mind, 2014 is about building stamina to maintain his velocity deeper into games and deeper into the season. So it doesn't really matter where he is doing that.

    Next year, the leash gets a little longer as they build up his innings. Unlike most teenagers, he got experience on the big stage and pitched in the World Baseball Classic. He was the youngest player by almost 4 years and the only HS kid on Taiwans WBC roster. He just needs 1) increased stamina and 2). experience vs better competition so we know what we really have. But being conservative now, until he has build up that stamina to maintain his velocity is the right thing to do. Some are projecting a Sept 2016 MLB debut while most are thinking 2017.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Thanks, HD. I remember the stuff about why he fell so much last year. You couldn't be more right about this F.O. TOR would be astonishing if it turns out that way.

    John mentioned that he thought Rob Z is being told to throw more FBs with the identity of commanding them. We see 'struggles' in box scores and worry. Just solidifies, in my mind, that this F.O. has a plan and is bound and and determined to stick to it - the goal being the long run not today!!

    Thanks for adding to my ever-growing knowledge. It's all part of why this is one of my fav places for all things Cubs.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    NP... I wouldn't sleep in Rob Z either. With Jed & Jason saying they think he "could' profile as a #2 someday... The main thing separating a LHP with Rob's 'stuff" from being a #4/5 SP or a TOR #2 is velocity & FB command. So them having him perfect that at Daytona wouldn't surprise me a bit. In 3 years, his stats at A+ will mean nothing to anybody.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    One big problem with Tseng is that he has been quite erratic.

    On April 21, May 3, May 9 and June 29, Tseng pitched a total of 26 innings, and gave up a total of 30 hits.

    On June 14, June 22, July 6 and July 18 he pitched a total of 22 innings and gave up a total of 6 hits.

    Obviously, he should only pitch on even numbered days.

    Or only in months that begin with a J.

    But seriously, if he hadn't had those bad days, he would probably be in Daytona by now. If he continues to pitch as he has this month, I doubt that they will keep him in Kane County merely for the playoffs.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Okay, but he's a young kid, in a strange country, in his first professional season... I think we should expect some inconsistency for a while. lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    just think-those are just the names we know best-Vogelbomb, Bruno, Almora-this minor league system is loaded.

  • This Bryant kid is really starting to tick me off. He's showing up pitchers in the PCL and it just isn't fair. Something needs to be done about that, because self-image is what's important, and he's damaging the opposition that way.


  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Haha! Now there's a reason to call him up. We need to preserve the self-esteem of minor league pitchers :)

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    Please, we already did the PCL one favor by calling up Alcantara.

  • I was at the Daytona game. During the first two innings Zastrzny threw nothing but fastballs. The gun is kind of erratic at "the Jack" but he was 91-93 consistently. He got rocked. I would be surprised if he threw more than two breaking pitches in the first two innings.

    After the second inning, Schwarber and Zastrzny had a discussion in the dug out. In the third through the fifth inning he was mixing speeds and working in a lot breaking balls and shut the opposition down.

    I don't know if the fastball heavy start was due to a new catcher or if they are trying to develop him as more of a power LHP.

  • In reply to LOB8591:

    Wow!! Excellent info LOB!!! Great stuff.

  • In reply to LOB8591:

    A lot of Cubs pitchers do this. My thought, is the Cubs are trying to teach them fastball command as a priority -- even if it costs them in terms of results.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sounds like he can shut down the opposition if he uses his whole arsenal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    *That's* really interesting, John!! In your opinion is that coming from Derek Johnson or the Holy Trio???

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I am guessing it is the new CUB WAY which is consistent through out all levels of the organization. The CUB WAY has received input from Derek Johnson and the Holy Trio. Gone are the days when each level of the minors did their own thing.

  • add to the list of readers that can not thank you all enough for such great information. I think it was yesterday someone in laymans terms explained in detail why Bryant is expected to be around a .270 hitter through the sabermetric numbers. Older guy here, so hard for me to understand ISO and all the other terms. But learning from this site.

    First thing every morning is to log on to Cubs Den. Certainly as the season has rolled on, the reports just keep getting better.

    On a different note. I'll bet the Cubs marketing dept. is chomping at the bit for the big guns to be called up. I wonder if that dept ever bucks heads with the baseball side of the operation.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Totally agree, WB. John and his team give consistently excellent coverage and I learn here all the time. While I'm still a long ways behind a lot of the other readers/contributors here, I feel like I'm light-years ahead of my understanding of both sabermetrics and the minor leagues (and the system) than I was a couple years ago before I found this site.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    I have 2 words for you. Crane Kenney.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Just about made me lose my lunch, Mutant!! Geezuz.

  • I had the pleasure of watching the Iowa game (well a replay early this am) and I can't tell you how impressed I am with Bryant. He will be ready next year. I know John, and others, are preaching patience and I certainly am not advocating to bring him up now, but I don't want to be in a situation where they "give up" a chance of winning next season and keep him in the minors until it's too late. Lastly, I watched Baez and I am concerned about his ability to hit for average in the major leagues. Don't blast me for having this opinion, but that is how I see it. I think a .250 average might be about as good as it will get.

  • In regards to Bryant aren't we conceding that next year is another wasted year to try for the high draft pick if he isn't with the team at the start of the year. With that said I would bring him up yesterday, is that possible?

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    Not sure I understand, but I believe your post can be restated as "Unless a rookie with no major league experience who we have no idea how well they will perform is on the team on opening day, then the Cubs will be terrible all of next year (even if Bryant is called up in May) regardless of any other offseason moves they make."

    If that is correct, then I disagree.

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    Of course it is possible to bring Bryant up now, but it is a very bad move for the organization. Read the previous comments in this thread.

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    It gets lost in just how great the Cubs system is, but not long ago corner outfielders, and particularly left-handed corner outfielders, was a real weakness of this system. Now we've got two legitimate lefty corner outfield prospects (probably both left fielders) playing extremely well at high A.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I really hope Schwarber sticks at catcher though....he seems like a true gamer who would be a good field general at catcher and his hitting prowess could make him, at worst, a Piazza type where you suffer less than ideal defense.

    Plus after Bowden's comparison of the Cubs prospects to the Big Red Machine, I am trying to see how well we can match assuming our players reach their ceilings. My tally is Cubs 3, Cincy 3 with two ties, but I'd be interested in other's thoughts (and I know assuming all our players reach their ceilings is unrealistic, but its the weekend and I am drunk on Cubs koolaid).

    C: Bench - Schwarber: Bench is going to be better than most any catcher by comparison, but Schwarber appears to have hitting skills to potentially be in the same paragraph. 1-0 Cincy

    1B: Tony Perez - Rizzo: Tough to compare at this age, though Rizzo is showing well. Perez was "the heart and soul" of the Reds and they sputtered after he left, so it would be great if Rizzo is this good for as long as Perez; Perez was 2nd in MLB for most RBIs in the 1970s (first was Bench). At best, let's say even.

    2b: Joe Morgan -- Addison Russell Joe Morgan is, imo, the best 2B of all time (sorry Ryno, it breaks my heart to say it). Russell could be in the same conversation if he reaches his ceiling.

    SS: Dave Concepcion - Castro: Concepcion was clutch and great defensively, but I think Castro becomes the better player (and hopefully never needs the one bounce throw created by Concepcion).

    3b: Pete Rose - Javy Baez: Very different players. Baez could become a .290 hitting, 35-40 homer guy and if he does so, it may be a decent comparison. I would bet (pun intended) that it would be hard to say he is better than Rose though but both would be invaluable to their team.

    RF: Ken Griffey Sr. - Jorge Soler: Griffey was a very good hitter for average in particular, but Soler at his ceiling would win this comparison.

    CF: Cesar Geronimo - Alcantara: Geronimo would get the nod defensively, most likely, but if Alcantara was able to put anything like the numbers he had at AAA this year (and so far in the bigs), he would surpass Geronimo.

    LF: George Foster - Kris Bryant: Both would be feared hitters. Have to call this one even.

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    In reply to springs:

    I doubt he sticks. The bat is elite and it's going to take years for his defense behind the plate to catch up with it. The front office has already said they won't delay the bat for him to learn to catch.

    For home grown catchers, Zagunis and Remillard are probably the best options

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I am sure you are right, though it does appear his defense (or at least ability to throw out would-be basestealers) is at least as good as Zagunis based on performance so far.

    I believe our only other lefty hitting catching young prospect (so excluding, for this conversation, Lopez) would be the young Italian Mineo. Perhaps his 2014 success can translate into him being a backup to Remillard or Zagunis (or Yohan Matos).

  • I was a bit surprised watching last nights game not too see Mike Olt in the lineup. Does anyone else feel the need to see what we have in Olt?. Playing part-time has got to be tough for him as he continues to struggle with his low average. In another lost season,
    what is the harm of letting him play everyday so we can tell what we have. He has obvious power and a decent glove. Perhaps if he had every day ABS, he could find his rhythm .

  • In reply to JKos:

    I am, too, to be honest. I'd like to see him get a 3-day start every other week, just to give him some semblance of regular playing time. Who can play well when you only get 1 start a week, and the rest of the time on the bench? Give him a chance to work his way out of the funk he is in.

  • Does anyone know if a player has challenged not being called up due to service time? If Bryant does not break camp next year, after spring training, I could see Boras filing a complaint. Taking his player plan and showing everything checked off would be compelling evidence.

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    In reply to ejs1:

    I'm not an expert, but that seems unlikely... The team has control up until service time has expired. Then the control goes to the player with Free Agency. That is the way things are done and it was collectively bargained between the clubs and the players association. I'm sure there is also verbage in the contract that Bryant signed and agreed to allowing the Cubs to make this decision. They (players association) will not change this agreement for a small sample of players. Owners will not give up this control unless the players agree to something else that would benefit the owners more.

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    In reply to ejs1:

    You really think a guy with only one year in the minors would have any chance in hell with a complaint?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    If there is a platform to file a grievance with the union, I can't think of a better test case than Bryant, or an agent that would than Boras,

  • In reply to ejs1:

    Lots better cases. Player development is ultimately subjective. Nobody can definitively prove Bryant is ready for the big leagues just by looking at his stat line. There's no case there.

  • Unless some (God forbid) injury happens, or some very carefully disguised hole in Bryant's offensive game somehow gets discovered - he's going to be a force to be worked around in ML lineups for years to come,... I'm just glad he's going to be in 'our' lineup and not somebody elses'.

    Baez - while iffier - is likely going to be the more strikeout prone and streaky guy (IMO) - but is going to be able to carry a team at times. Pair those two guys together with the likes of Rizzo and Castro come 2015+,.... the only real question is - who's going to be eating the innings as a starter behind that offensive juggernaut?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    EJax, of course. :)

  • In reply to springs:

    That made me snort my coffee springs! Thanks!

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    To answer your question, tune in next year to see what Theo/Jed/Jason are cooking up for us.

  • How is Bryant's defense progressing? I can smell dinner cooking, and look forward to devouring the meal soon.....

  • In reply to edubbs:

    ...so that we can get cookies! Everyone gets a cookie!

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:


  • In reply to edubbs:

    Progressing very well, Just wrote about it on uodated prospects list.

  • Someone on this board suggested listening to the Boise games on radio and, after following their suggestion, I must wholeheartedly agree. Their announcer is great and he gives real insight on what is working and what is not working for pitchers and the team.

    One thing I have picked up is Crawford's defense. He appears to still be learning to judge flyballs and is not a natural instinctive fielder (in contrast to, say, Almora, who is the epitomy of great judgment). But he has made some spectacular plays again and again. In Conway's start the other day, it would have been much uglier than it was if not for Crawford. For two straight batters in the second (including Profar's little brother), he caught balls that the announcer had already written off as triples, with one of the catch coming on the dead run and then a full leap at the last minute.

    One thing that makes this site incredible is the insight John and others provide not only on recapping the games on paper, but actually watching/listening to the games and getting a better feel. I thought Crawford was a wasted pick last year, someone more Hendry-esque where you take a chance on the tools developing. But the more I hear about him, I realize he looks like a very good player. He is toolsy and his future success will depend on developing (1) better fielding instincts, (2) better stolen base techinique and (3) strength to turn his strong bat into more of a weapon. But unlike the Hendry toolsy prospects, Crawford is a good player even if the development doesn't fully occur (unlike, say, Reggie Golden) and wasn't a high draft pick.

  • Thanks for the recap John! Loving the updates. Any details on why Almora was tossed from the game? Arguing balls and strikes?

  • In another year or two, teams will be routinely sending down bench guys and adding an extra reliever or two before every series against the Cubs.

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    I am so tired of people whining about 2015.

    First off, you don't know what is going to happen.

    Second, the assumption that the prospects won't struggle in their first year is crazy. It's very possible that the kids could struggle enough that we could be still fairly bad next year.

    Seriously, this plan that is now several years in the making is not about 2015. And it us NOT about winning some games ASAP.

    Its about playing well for a long, sustained period.

    Not about 2015. Still not about 2016. It's about the next 20 years... and on.

    The prospects will get called up when they get called up. Stop freaking out.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    And even if they hit the ground running, there is still the possibility of the old sophomore jinx--a (hopefully) temporary regression after their rookie year. This is a long-term project. But one thing is for sure--it will be fun to watch.

  • An interesting note to make about the Daytona game is that Kyle Schwarber threw out Byron Buxton (Mr. 80 speed) out at 2B. Very impressive, actually.

    I really, really, REALLY hope he sticks at catcher, even if he's nothing more than average defensively. Much easier to fill a void in the outfield then a void behind the plate.

    Not sure Wellington is the long-term solution.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Great teams seem always to have a catcher who can hit. I rooting for him to catch too.

  • I think it will be a real shame if we're battling for the wild card next year and just miss after making Bryant spend the first month at AAA. i also find the whole delaying guys' clock thing unethical. And I definitely do think you can put a value on getting KB (and JB) comfortable in the majors going into 2015.

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    You know I think that the DEN should make up a cheat sheet with all the terms we think we know and have a definition of what they really mean. Then we can just print it out and have it by the computer for when we are reading we can just look it up?

  • In reply to Daniel Stone:

    You mean like a glossary of scouting terms?

  • I hope Aiken chooses the community college route and is in the draft next year, as it will (hopefully) be the last time we will be picking high enough fo a while. I am dreaming of the rotation of Cease, Aiken, Tjeng, CJ/Underwood/Clifton/Sands/Steele starting around 2018 through 2030.

    If those go as planned with the lineup though, a 4.50 ERA might be enough to win 18-20 games.

  • In reply to springs:

    I was wondering too if our FO would still like Aiken enough next year, considering everything that has happened recently, to still rate him #1 on their board. Getting him next year might be good. I bet Houston next year is going to pick a college bat leaving us the best pitcher. :)

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