Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Brett Jackson traded; Bryant hits 2-run walk-off HR in extras; Olt HRs; Edwards sharp

On days like today when the Cubs lay an egg, it's good to have the minor leagues.  Mike Moody went to see the Kane County Cougars today.  I would have liked to have joined him but luck conspired against me today.  We have the next best thing as Mike took some notes.

Some trade news...

The Cubs have traded former top prospect Brett Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league RP Blake Cooper.  Despite a solid 3.27 ER in AAA, the 26 year Cooper isn't a top prospect and will likely get lost in the shuffle of hard-throwing Cubs RP prospects.  With all due respect to Cooper, there is little doubt that this trade was simply about opening up a 40 man roster spot.  Whether that roster spot is used soon on someone like Armando Rivero or Eric Jokisch -- or simply gives them an extra spot to use in September or in the offseason remains to be seen.  It may not be that the Cubs did this with an immediate secondary move in mind.  It could just be that they went through the process of waiving players and saw a chance for a team to take Jackson off their hands. Nobody needs a change of scenery and a fresh pair of eyes more than Brett Jackson.  The Diamondbacks wanted him enough that they claimed him off waivers.  They had the 2nd highest priority but the Rockies once again passed. Good luck to him.

Some promotion news...

  • Dan Straily is getting the call to the big club for a Saturday start
  • Mark Zagunis got a well deserved call to Kane County.
  • Ben Carhart made the jump to Daytona, where he actually won a title last season.

Iowa 6 - Las Vegas 5

  • This wasn't your typical Dallas Beeler outing.  Only 7 groundball but he had 5 strikeouts.  And he gave up 2 HRs.  All in all it was an effective outing. Beeler kept the walks down (1) and the 2 HRs translated to just 3 runs, the only 3 he would allow in 6 innings.  He escaped with a no-decision.  His ERA is at 3.0 for the season.
  • Armando Rivero struck out the side in his one inning but not before giving up a HR as well.  This one tied the game.  Rivero also walked a batter, perhaps the only thing he needs to work on after a sterling season in which he as put up a 1.93 ERA.
  • Strong outing from Zac Rosscup to take this game into extras.  Two scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 2.17.  He struck out 2 and it was his 4th straight outing without a walk.  That will be a key for him as he tries to stick in the majors next year.
  • Blake Parker pitched a scoreless inning, striking out 2 and then Marco Mateo, who has pitched extremely well late in the year, pitched 2 innings and allowed a solo HR in the top of the 12th in what seemed like would be a loss.  He walked none and struck out 4.  He improved to 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA.
  •  Jorge Soler went hitless again in 5 ABs.  Soler's average dropped to .257 at AAA.  It's his first min-funk of the season, so the Cubs will finally get a chance to see how he responds.
  • Matt Szczur's solid 2nd half continued with a 3 hit day in which he scored a run and stole his 29th and 30th bases of the season.  Szczur is up to .261 on the year with a .309 OBP.  Not the year he expected certainly, but he has improved as the season has gone on, hitting .317 in the second half.
  • Logan Watkins also went 3 for 6, scored a run, and stole 2 bases, giving him 22 on the year.  Watkins has tailed off after a strong start, hitting .260/.325/.365 overall.  He has had the mirror image season of Szczur in that he did much of his damage in the first half but is hitting below .200 in the second half.  The key hit for Watkins came when he led off the bottom of the 12th with a single to set things up...
  • Kris Bryant was scuffling all game, going 0 for 4 with 3 Ks before finally getting on base with a walk and then with Iowa down 5-4 in the 12th, launched his 18th HR at Iowa and 40th overall this year.  Its just unfair to ask a team to keep him down for 12 innings.  Bryant is hitting .313 with 18 HRs and 43 RBI in 53 PCL games.
  • Mike Olt's resurgence has been remarkable.  He went 2 for 5 today and hit his 7th HR since being sent down.

Tennessee 1 - Huntsville - 0

  • CJ Edwards pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing just 4 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out just one batter.  The 6 inning outing was the second time he has gone that far into the game in his abbreviated season.  It seems to indicate he's 100% healthy again.  Edwards has a 2.65 ERA this year, walking 3.85 walks per 9 IP while striking out 8.61/9 IP.
  • LHP Hunter Cervenka pitched 2 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout.  He has a 3.13 ERA on the year.  Cervenka has pitched especially well of late, posting a 1.76 ERA in his last 10 outings, spanning 15.1 innings.  The solidly built lefty sometimes struggles with his control but has walked just 4 batters in that time frame.
  • Frank Batista pitched a scoreless 9th to pick up the win and improve to 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA.
  • Albert Almora hit the walk-off RBI yesterday and today he was on the other end, scoring the winning run and going 2 for 4 overall.  Almora is hitting just .214 after finishing strong at Daytona.  The Cubs may have been aggressive with the promotion but they obviously feel Almora can handle it.  He should start 2015 back in Tennessee.
  • It's been a tough run in the Southern League for Dustin Geiger too but he got the big hit today, driving in Almora with a single in the bottom of the 9th.  Geiger has hit .228 with 12 HRs on the year.

Daytona 6 - Brevard County 2

Brevard County 2 - Daytona 1

  • Jose Rosario allowed just 2 runs in 5 innings to improve to 5-7 with a 5.50 ERA.
  • Starling Peralta was impressive in his 2 innings.  He did not allow a hit or a run, walked one and struck out 4.  Peralta has a 3.52 ERA.  Peralta has pitched 71.2 innings this year and has walked a career low 2.26 batters per 9 IP while striking out 9.67 per 9 IP.
  • Justin Amlung had a strong outing as he did not allow an earned run in 5 innings while walking just one batter and striking out 2.  Unfortunately he did give up 2 unearned runs and that was the difference.  Amlung fell to 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA.
  • Solid doubleheader for Jacob Hanneman who went 2 for 6 with 2 doubles, a walk, and a run scored.  Hannemann has adapted quickly to the FSL, hittiing .282/.325/.385 in his first 20 games.
  • Bill McKinney went 1 for 6 between the two games but in the D-Cubs win, had 4  RBI on a double and a sac fly.  He also scored a run to take a part in 5 of the team's 6 runs.
  • Ben Carhart wasted no time contributing to his new/old team, going 2 for 3 with a double that drove in McKinney in the first.

 Kane County 4 - Lake County 1

(Mike's notes in italics):

  • Duane Underwood flashed an impressive fastball.  It sat between 92 and 94 on the stadium radar gun with some good movement.  He generated a lot of weak contact to go with his 4 strikeouts and it was abundantly clear that, in the Midwest League, only Duane Underwood could beat Duane Underwood.  Unfortunately, he tried his best.  He had no control of the fastball whatsoever tonight.  He bounced three up to the plate, one a good two feet in front of the plate.  The curveball and change both need work.  At times I had trouble telling what was his changeup and what was a hanging curve.  He did, however, throw a couple curves with good bite, so he can do it.  Underwood managed to go 5 scoreless innings despite the 4 walks but did not factor in the decision.  Mike also noted that Underwood touched 95.  Considering the stadium gun is often a tick, sometimes 2, slow, that's impressive velocity.  Underwood's ERA stands at 2.49.  His walks per 9 IP jumped a bit to 3.29.
  • Jasvir Rakkar's scoreless streak continued with 2 more innings.  He picked up the win to improve to 1-0 with no runs allowed in 11 innings.  He has walked 2 and struck out 11.
  • Ironically, while Underwood was laboring through 5 innings, undrafted free agent Troy Scribner was shutting down the Cougars on 88 MPH fastballs and good breaking stuff.  Only two Cougars made good contact off of him while he was rolling.  One was Shawon Dunston who took a fastball up in the zone the other way for a triple.
  • The other was Chesny Young.  He made hard contact twice and actually broke up Scribner's perfect game in the sixth.  He has a very short swing and generates line drives.  He can have a long career as a utility man.  However,the bat will play better as a utility player with strong defense.  Tonight, he stuck out on defense due to his misplays.  The first was a snap throw to first after catching a line drive that short hopped first baseman Jacob Rogers and bounced into the stands.  The second was a double clutch on a swinging bunt that just allowed the runner to beat the throw.  Young went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored and is hitting .390/.400/.492 in 15 games in the MWL.
  • The big blow came in the the eighth when Scribner started to tire.  The Cubs put runners on first and third after a ringing double by (who else) Young and a single by Carlos Penalver.  That set up Trey Martin to turn on a pitch with little on it and deposit it over the left-center field wall.

Boise 7 - Hillsboro 2

  • Jeremy Null is an interesting pick in the 15th round.  At 6'7", he is a tall pitcher who throws a good low 90s two seamer with plane, but needs work on just about everything else, particularly his mechanics, which are rough and cause him to throw max effort.  He could probably throw harder with less effort if that delivery is cleaned up.  His velo dropped as the season went on, down to the 85-88 range.  He had a solid 3 inning performance today, allowing a run but did not walk a batter while striking out 2.
  • Trey Lang has had a nice bounce back season.  Today he stretched out to 4 innings, allowing 1 run and improving to 4-0 with a 3.30 ERA.
  • Undrafted FA Daniel Lewis finished up with 2 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out one.  He has yet to allow a run this season in 5 innings, walking 3 and striking out 6.
  • Rashad Crawford walked twice and hit his first HR of the season -- a 3 run shot.  Crawford is hitting .275 but hasn't drawn a lot of walks this year, so to see him get two is encouraging.  Despite the HR today, he is more of a speed-oriented player than a power guy.
  • David Bote doubled and drove in 2 runs.
  • 3B Jesse Hodges went 4 for 4 to raise his average to .268.  He scored and drove in a run.

AZL D-Backs 6 - AZL Cubs 2

  • Apparently there was an error yesterday that was corrected after I did my recap.  They had Jake Stinnett pitching and allowing 3 runs in 1.1 innings, but it was actually Justin Steele.  So Stinnett gets a reprieve of sorts, but didn't fare much better, allowing 4 runs in his 2 innings of work.  He got hit hard, allowing 6 hits and striking out just one.  He fell to 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA.
  • James Pugliese is on rehab and overmatched the rookie level hitters, striking out all 3 he faced.
  • Gleyber Torres went 1 for 3 with a walk.
  • Eloy Jimenez went 0 for 3 but did drive in one of the two AZ Cubs runs.  A recent slump has dropped Jimenez to .231 on the year.
  • The other run came on C Tyler Pearson's solo HR, his first as a pro.  Pearson is hitting an even .200.




Leave a comment
  • Cooper is awful. Then again Jackson is awful too.

    Trash for trash.

  • I also couldn't find where Jefferson Mejia was DH'ing yesterday when I read your article this morning... I'm thinking that was a mistake too... But it sure caught my attention.

  • In reply to Caps:

    It probably was. Sometimes they make errors and if I do it on the fly, I sometimes publish before it is corrected on the MiLB site. That just seemed too weird. Had to be a mistake.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah, I understand that... It can't be easy to keep track of all the players and player movement down in the AZ League.

  • In reply to Caps:

    I am sure there is a lot of room for error between the game and by the time it gets to MiLB. Rosters are huge, I think guys may even share numbers down there.

  • Best of luck to Bjax. A change off scenery was overdue for him and I hope he gets his contact issues under control and gets another shot.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    An easy guy to like. The D'Backs certainly jumped on him quickly, maybe they think they can fix him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He's still fine defensively in the OF - and still has some footspeed - there is something there to work with for Jackson. But he had definitely run out of time for the Cubs and was getting lapped by lots of younger guys.

    Good luck to Brett in AZ - against everybody but the Cubs in the future.

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    In reply to TheMightyGin:

    I hope we can do something similar with Vitters. Getting an "organizational talent" is realistic given his history of minor league success (past and very recent...with a gaping hole in the middle) and still young enough that it might not be too late.

    Is there an outside chance that Jackson makes the bottom end of a top-20 or top 25 for the D-backs? Once you get past the top couple for them the drop off is early and steep.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Vitters doesn't have any more options after this season so he is going to get DFA's by the Cubs or whoever acquires him in the offseason anyway. I doubt we can trade him at this point, or if we do it will be for someone even worse than Cooper or a different guy with no options remaining that we end up DFAing.

  • Great news on CJ Edwards. Would be huge if he can add a few pounds and stay well.

  • I wonder who they opened the 40 man roster spot for... They're not going to open it for nothing, they must have someone in mind... They could've waited until the offseason for a move like this.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Rivero makes most sense. I am not sure they need to make a move right now unless they also want to make a move to the 25 man roster. Could just be going through the process of waiving guys and took this opportunity when it came.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed... I don't think they need to fill up the spot right now, but they probably have something in mind as to who will occupy those rosters spots they are clearing since they could've waited until the offseason if they just wanted to have the spot open.

    I do agree Rivero makes the most sense, but I doubt it happens until Mid Sept when the AAA season is over.

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    In reply to Caps:

    Don't they have to make a corresponding roster move within 72 hours, or something like that?

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    That's only if you go over 40. You can carry under 40 for as long as you want.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Rusney Castillo...?

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    In reply to Quedub:

    wishful thinking or do you know something you would like to share? :-)

  • In reply to Quedub:

    The odds of the Cubs landing Rusney Castillo are really low. If it was about Castillo, they could have waited until they agreed to terms. He's still in the process of narrowing teams down.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    When is McDonald scheduled to come off the 60 Day DL? Could that be why they made the move or maybe they were just taking the temperature on slipping BJax thru & since they found a deal they didn't mind just went ahead with it... Or combination of both reasons.

  • In reply to Caps:

    My guess is to get Rvero a few MLB innings once Iowas season is done.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:


  • In reply to Caps:

    They have to be careful adding someone to the 40 man roster right now. anyone they add must be left on it through the rule v draft.

  • Gieger isn't ready for AAA. But VogelBOMB and Rock Shoulders are coming... Not enough AB's left over in the OF. Curious to see what they do with Rock & Geiger.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Shoulders could return to Daytona next year to start the year as the team coming up from KC could use some power. I have no faith that Jacob Rogers can play in A+. Rogers cannot handle velocity of any kind and I have never seen him make contact with a pitch located above thigh level. Pitchers will begin to exploit that. Kyler Burke had a similar issue. He is basically Ian Stewart without bat speed.

  • is this Soler Slump gonna keep him down in AAA till their season is over most likely now?

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    To be honest, I think that was always the most likely scenario.

  • Thought the same thing about Brett Jackson trade: all about the 40-man roster. Crazy about Olt. It's a 22-game hot streak. The strikeout rate is still very high at 27%, but lower than his 41% rate with the parent club. You wonder if he will ever have any "throw-in" value on future trades.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    I think if he can get the walks back up he'll be attractive to some team that values power and plate discipline. He's been more aggressive this year both with the big club and Iowa. But if I were another GM I'd wait to see a bigger sample to see if this is for real.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Power hitters strike out a lot. Is 27% high for a power hitter? Why are so many anxious to get rid of Olt as a "throw in"?

  • In reply to John57:

    I think he's trade bait, but that doesn't mean I'm anxious to get rid of him. Assuming he shows up well @ the MLB level in Sept., I can see him being dealt this winter. But I can also see a strong case to keep him for 2015 because we really don't have a viable b/u 1B should anything happen to Rizzo. We would have to move Bryant over.

    I think My Colt can be an everyday 3B @ the MLB level. But he has to regain his plate discipline and get that K rate below 30%. But with the prospects we have coming up this year and next, I think his future role on the Cubs (beginning with Bryants call up) is relegated to a Corner Utility/pinch hitting role.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think eventually he will back up 3B and 1B on the Cubs if all the prospects progress as expected. I think it is probable he starts at 3B this September until one of our SS bumps him out. I think Bryant will likely start in the OF but the Cubs will wait as long as possible to take him off 3B. They did this with Javy too. He stayed on SS until they were ready to promote him.

  • In reply to John57:

    The FOs (public) reason for not letting Bryant start the season with the Cubs after mashing spring training in 2015:

    "We want to get him some reps in LF in Iowa before we bring him up."

    Always thinking ahead, our FO!

  • Could the Jackson trade be opening up an OF spot on 40 man for cubs to sign rusney Castillo? It's interesting timing with Castillo making a decision possibly next week.

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    In reply to Welch24:

    It could be a "just in case" move, but I am more inclined to think the Cubs had decided he wasn't going to be on the 40-man and jumped at a team actually claiming him.

  • Cooper's AAA ERA is actually 6.00. It is his total minor league ERA that is 3.27.

  • Jackson, Vitters, and Lake is how the Cubs top prospects use to turn out. We will see soon enough if Beaz, Brayant, Soler, etc. have better results.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Looks to me like Baez and Alcantara are close to as advertised. Theyd both struggle when they first got to the bigs and then improve. Jackson , Frozen Lake and Vittles never improved. If anything, Lake and Jackson both regressed.

  • If Straley is starting for the Cubs on Saturday, who's being skipped/missed? Could this just be a way of giving guys an additional day of rest? I don't believe it's a double header with the Mets on Saturday. Could this be the spot where EJax comes down with a "sore triceps" and put on the 15 day DL? Seems like others are mysteriously put on the DL with weak reasons (Schlitter). We can wish, can't we?

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    In reply to BobMiller146:

    Everyone get's moved back a day. Then the rotation returns to normal.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    That is the stated plan but you have to feel Ejax is no longer a lock.. Could be another audition that continues if Straily does fairly well

  • In reply to BobMiller146:

    Just some late season rest. I think eventually the Cubs may give these guys a longer look. Right now it seems they just want to reward him.

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    Good news about Jackson. I hope one of Arizona's coaches can help him turn it around.

    I'm thinking they don't fill the spot and are just preparing for the rule 5 guys they need to protect. Hopefully, Vitters, Lake, Valaika, & co are next.

    As for promotions, I WANT MORE!

    Send Russell and Bruno to Iowa. Send Schwarber, MicKinney, Hernandez, and Amaya, and maybe even Vogel to Tennesse.
    Send Soto back down to Daytona

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I know Soto is just an org guy, but he can sure open one's eyes at short. I'll bet that pitchers like him.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Yeah, but Russell is no slouch, either.

    I read a couple reports during ST that said his defense was MLB ready.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Giffmo:

    I'll take Schwarber right where he is.....hehehe

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    In reply to Jason Heer:

    He's gotten the bad end of some Babips, and still has close to a .400 OBP, I don't think his BA is representative of his performance. Tennesse is a better hitting environment.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    There is no need to promote Schwarber who's OPS is only .745 I also think that Russel needs to work on his BB rate.

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    In reply to Peter Chicago:

    Schwarber needs September and a break worse than any other player in the game.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Agreed. He has a very long season and needs a well deserved break.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    About promotions, I feel just the opposite. Russell is not ready for AAA and Schwarber probably was not ready for Daytona, and certainly not ready for AA. Other than McKinney, none of them are doing well enough at their present level to warrant a promotion.

    Why run the chance of ruining a good prospect by rushing them. That is what did Hendry and Fleita in.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    There's three weeks left, I fail to see how much damage could be done by giving a couple of guys who are very advanced a (very) late season bump into leagues they are almost guaranteed to start 2015 in.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Each prospect is given a series of benchmarks to reach before the next promotion. The worst thing that they can do is set the precedent that they will be promoted even if they do not reach these benchmarks.

    That is what previous regimes have consistently done, much to the detriment to the prospect and the team.

  • fb_avatar

    It's too bad Jackson didn't work out. By all accounts he was a plus makeup guy and hard worker. He has all the tools. He just can't control the strike zone.

    Vitters is out of options next year, so I'm surprised he's still around, but maybe I-Cubs need him for the stretch run

  • In reply to Zonk:

    You could be right there. Vitters has hit a little down the stretch. Not enough to save his future with the Cubs, but enough to keep him around with Iowa for now.

  • I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the new new commissioner and the RTOs suing the Cubs?

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    New commissioner I like. Any time Reinsdorf doesn't want someone, it's a good sign. Probably someone he can't manipulate. He's more player friendly and after seeing how amateurs got raked by the last CBA (well, at least by teams willing to exploit the rules like the Astros), I'm glad to see that as well. Maybe he can do something to protect amateurs and international players.

    As for RTO, what else did we expect?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    According to the ESPN story, the RTOs side the city and the Landmark Commission, not the Cubs. An important distinction, I think.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    "sued" not "side". Thanks, Steve Jobs' ghost.

  • I went to the game in Des Moines last night.

    Olt's home run was a monster that left the entire ball park. His double was a shot too.

    I know Soto is an Org guy but he is graceful at shortstop.

    Their catcher must not have had an good arm because we were stealing at will.

    Bullpen looked pretty tough.

    I saw Jackson leave halfway through the game but didn't think anything of it until now.

    Kris Bryant did what he does but looked bad on a few change ups. Game winning Homer on "Kris Bryant shirt night" isn't all that bad of a day!

  • In reply to IowaCubbie:

    Thanks IowaCubbie.

    The word is Olt has been crushing it. Seems that way on MiLB.tv but only so much you can tell from there.

  • fb_avatar

    John - great job as always. And I am always impressed by the quality of the comments. And the lack of snarkyness. A knowledgable and mannered crew. Brett Jackson - peace, dude.

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    Thank you.

    Snark not my thing and this readership community is great. Always add to the piece.

  • I was just reading about the Buxton injury(looks like he'll be OK). But from there I happened to look at mlb.com's top prospect list. I thought to myself that with Buxton's injuries, Correa's broken leg, and Lindor's mediocre season that there is a very good argument that the Cubs have the top 2 prospects in Bryant and Russel, or even the top 3 if you still want to count Baez. Pretty crazy stuff and what a great job done by this FO.

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    In reply to Peter Chicago:

    How has Lindor had a mediocre season?

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Well I don't have too much knowledge of prospects outside of the Cubs organization, but having a .741 OPS in AA and a .611 OPS in AAA shows he still has some work to do at the plate. And considering the fact that Russel is playing better than Lindor was at AA and the fact that Russel is 3 months younger than Lindor, I'd say you can make a really good argument for Russel being the better prospect.

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    I think there is definitely an argument to be made there. Lindor is ultra-slick on defense and a good bat, but Russell has a better bat and while he is sound on defense with steady hands -- he is not Lindor with the glove, few are at the minor league level (or MLB level for that matter). Both could end up being all-star shortstops.

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    In reply to Peter Chicago:

    How is 741 a poor OPS?
    He's a shortstop.
    741 as a switch-hitter from a guy who is supposed to be the best defensive shortstop not named "andrelton" is phenomenal. That's an MVP caliber player. Seriously.

    Starlin Castro has made all star games as an offense first SS and has never had even a .800 OPS. His career best is .773 and is currently at .762.
    Jose Reyes cas a carreer OPS of 779 and Elvis Andrus career OPS is under 700

    As for, triple-A. He was promoted less than a month ago. He has less than 100 AB's and is the youngest guy in triple-A. (and the 264 BABIP maybe doesn't help). Give him some time to adjust.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I never said poor, what I meant is that his batting doesn't jump out and impress you (atleast the stats, which is all I really know about him). Plus, having a .741 OPS in AA doesn't mean you will have a .741 OPS in the MLB. Just an example would be Castro having a .972 OPS in AA before his promotion. AA pitching is a lot easier to hit than MLB pitching. So Lindor still needs quite a bit of work to improve his bat.

    As far as the Russel/Lindor comparison. I would take Russel's above average defense and superior hitting. Being a great defender, although very important at SS, can only get you so far. Just ask Darwin Barney.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Peter Chicago:

    Stats are about a lot more than OPS, though. It's actually a really terrible stat to make wholesale judgments on. Especially at shortstop.

    And while I'm not going to say that you need to know scouting reports on a guy to talk about him, it seems kinda silly to claim that player X is better than player Y without knowing any context.
    If you're comparing prospects, a guy that is 280/300/600 but will have to move off the position shouldn't be assumed to be better than a guy who is 300/400/400 but is elite at the position (Numbers aren't meant to represent specific players)

    And while I never mentioned the Russell comparison, I will say that the Barney comparison isn't a good example. Even though it's still middle infield, there's a big difference between great defense at short and at second.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    Unfortunately, I'll admit that I don't know a whole lot about Lindor other than his minor league stats and a few descriptions I've read about him on top prospect lists. And the Barney comparison was an exaggeration. But the bottom line is that I am not that impressed with his bat and he needs to improve it. In an era where offense is at a premium, i believe having great hitting tools is better than being a great fielder.

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    In reply to Peter Chicago:

    I would agree with Giffmo that Lindor has had a pretty good season. He's struggling but holding his own as a 20 year old, glove first shortstop in AAA That's pretty impressive.

    Having said that, Russell has been impressive enough in his own right that I could see him jumping Lindor based on merit.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    think people forget that Lindor is a year younger than Baez, despite getting drafted the same year.
    The switch hitter thing is pretty sweet, too.

    Is it wrong to have such a man-crush on Lindor when we're already stacked at SS? All I want is a Russell-Lindor-Baez-Rizzo infield. Is that really too much to ask?

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    Top 4 with Soler!

  • Honestly, we got more for Brett Jackson than I thought we would. When I compare their career stats, I can't help but worry that Albert Almora is the second coming of Jackson. But then I remind myself that Almora is still only 20 years old.

  • In reply to lblegacy:

    Almora has no problems making contact. He's a more fluid player with better baseball athleticism. They're not very similar even in their struggles.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right. Mine was a purely a career statistical comparison. Almora is .298/.327/.425. Jackson is .263/.358/.448. I agree that Almora is definitely a more fluid, athletic, confident player. Great stuff as always, John!

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    In reply to lblegacy:

    Jackson's problem was ALWAYS his strikeouts. The lowest he ever really got in a decent sample was 20% in Daytona. It eventually ballooned to the thirties when he got to high levels and it just kept getting worse.

    Almora has a pretty consistent 11% K rate.
    If anything, his ability to make such great contact is (in a weird way) kinda part of his problem. It might be hard to convince himself to take walks when he can hit virtually everything near the plate.

    Almora couldn't be more different from Jackson.

  • In reply to Giffmo:

    I would say Almora may be closer to Vitters in that respect (if you want to compare him to a failed prospect already, that is) -- but I think the willingness to make adjustments are very different between the two players. Not only that, but Almora is in a front office that addressed that pitch selection issue early. It was not addressed with Vitters early but to be honest, I'm not sure it would have made much difference if it was.

    This is Almora's "Castro year". He has made all kinds of adjustments -- to his approach, to his swing...and we should expect inconsistency. We forget that he was absolutely crushing the ball for about a month in Daytona before his promotion. I think if he would have stayed there he would have ended up hitting close to .300 with double digit HRs and an improving walk rate. I was surprised by the promotion, personally, but Cubs may want him to start him at AA next year with adjustments in place and ready to start strong next year.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    One more difference: Almora has a carry tool outside his hitting, his outstanding OF defense. Vitters has/had none, he's a poor defender. Almora can add value at the ML level even if he has weaknesses as a hitter. As a bat-only prospect, Vitters doesn't have near enough bat.

  • I am not in full understanding of why everybody is saying CJ Edwards can not gain weight. Over the offseason and the time he spent in rehab he gained 15 pounds of weight. He went from 155 to 170. Just nobody says it really looks like it. Which is going to be a given when you are that thin at about 6'2.

  • In reply to SpencerGoCubs:

    We know he can gain wait, but 6'2", 170 is still vastly undersized in terms of bulk. The question is whether he can have enough stamina over the course of a season with his naturally thin frame.

  • In reply to SpencerGoCubs:

    And the weight gain was good weight, muscle. His weight is fine if that is what he is comfortable at.

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    I am very surprised that on a site filled with intelligent and very analytical people, have not mentioned the correlation between Rizzo's development and that of Olt's. Does no one see that they have been taking similar paths?
    Rizzo struggled at his first shot at the majors as well, then destroyed AAA when he was sent down, struggled in the majors again, albeit a little better than before, and is now learning to adjust with consistency and developing to a solid major leaguer. If you ask me Olt seems to be on the second part of that equation with beginning first to figure himself out at AAA, and learning to adjust. He will come up again and maybe struggle like Rizzo's 2013 campaign, but I must admit if he can put it together that power is something to watch.
    On a side note Manny needs to be the hitting coach next year. I love you Bill but Manny already developing a relationship with these kids and teaching them will only give them a sense of comfort if he's there in the majors with them when they all arrive. Just think about Baez's turn around when he arrived, and Olt's turn around when being sent down. Manny knows hitting and he needs to be in charge of that department at the major league level once the team puts the talent together to excel in his teachings. IMHO.

    LOVE THIS SITE!!!!!!


  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    I agree with you that Olt could be improving along the same path Rizzo took.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    It's an interesting point and comparison. Some similarities, also some differences. Worth monitoring, though.

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    In reply to Jorge Soler:

    The Rizzo/Olt comparison has occurred to me. What I find particularly interesting with Olt is that he struggle so much in AAA last year, and now is doing great. With his power and glove, if he could get an OBP around even .320 he would be a solid player. Especially if you assume that his slugging will likely be over .500.

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    In reply to Jorge Soler:

    You guys are on target, and the thing about Olt is that he doesn't need to cut the Ks that much to bring value at the ML level. He plays a good 3B and has big power, if he can hit .230 in the majors, he is a starter.....kind of a better fielding Mark Reynolds. He just needs to get the K rate under 30%, and he'll have value.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    Just wanted to point out, that people have made that comparison in comment sections for other recaps. We are just blossoming with infield talent so people are quick to write Olt off.

  • Am I the only one getting nervous that the call ups are going to play us out of a protected top ten pick? It's a (relatively) classy problem to have, but the season is already lost so we might as well cash in a high pick and have the opportunity to chase an ace. I'm afraid if we call up any more pitchers we might never give up another run.

  • In reply to supertecmo:

    I am not nervous at this point. I think dropping out of the top 5 is possible, maybe even likely. Dropping out of the top 10 is probably a long shot, though. A lot of teams to leapfrog.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would love to have a high pick next year, but that doesn't keep me from hoping that we win as many as possible this year. If we lose a protected pick because we are too good this year, so be it.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Agreed -- especially if being good is stemming from player who have a future here.

  • In reply to supertecmo:

    But if it does, who cares? This FO has shown the ability to make impact picks later in the draft. More importantly, it means our young core IS MLB ready!

    I doubt we go hard after anyone with draft pick comp attached to them anyways...

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    In reply to supertecmo:

    It could go the other way, too. Once we're done with the series starting today against the Mets, the entire rest of our schedule is against teams over .500. Virtually all of them are contenders.

  • In reply to supertecmo:

    If the Cubs are winning games because young guys are playing well, I don't care about our draft slot. What would bother me if we had a roster full of 30 year old guys helping us win games and dropping our slot.

    You are also predicting that these call ups are going to play so well that we will win a lot of games. Not true. AA and Baez have have struggled at times and one could make an argument that they have cost us a win or two as they learn to play the game at the MLB level.

    Lastly, look at the schedule the Cubs have in September. It is very difficult. We will have little chance of falling out of the top 10.

    Wait, Brett not Edwin. Oh crap.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Haha! I almost headlined it just "Jackson traded" figuring people would know it was Brett on a minor league recap...but considering how so many want to see Edwin Jackson moved (I am one of them), I didn't want to take chances and get people's hopes up :)

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Guess it means no more Jacksons for a while.........

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Oh if only!!!!

  • The talk of using Olt as a "throw in" seems unfounded. One could argue that he never achieved sufficient success in the minors to be moved up in the first place. Previous to this year, he was a .200 hitter at the AAA level. Now he is showing success. Get him more at bats at AAA, refine his approach, and see what happens. He has an above average 3B glove, incredible power, and would be a difference maker with a .270 average. His potential is way too valuable to squander as a throw in.

  • Good luck to Brett Jackson. He might be an Arizona type of player. When I read about his strengths and weaknesses, he always reminds me of Chris Young. That guy killed us in the 2007 playoffs.

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Perhaps AZ thought the same thing there.

  • I spent a beautiful night at the ballpark in East Tennessee and saw C.J. Edwards pitch for the first time in person. First of all he's built like a small forward with very long and thin limbs. I understand the concern about him breaking down. He's all skin and bones. He might want to start loading up on some of that southern barbecue the have down here.

    Interestingly, there was also an extra coach in the Smokies dugout last night. He was in uniform, but wearing Cub's gear, and spent much of his time talking to Buddy Bailey, the Smokies manager. I also saw him re-position the infielders a couple of times. He had the 2B move to short right field for a couple of left-handed batters (it worked both times by the way). In the past, I haven't seen the Smokies do any exaggerated shifting in the infield. I have no idea who this coach was, but it was interesting to observe his interaction with the team. Players didn't speak to him unless spoken to. Any idea who this guy is?

    Anyway, regarding Edwards performance: He threw nothing but fastballs for the first three innings, ranging 92 to 94 mph. There were a couple of hard hit balls, but Almora and Ha made excellent diving catches (as advertised; Almora looks big league ready in CF). Edwards velocity dwindled a bit as he progressed through the outing. In the 4th, he started working in a sharp breaking curveball and his fastball velocity was slower the rest of the way (89-91 mph). The only strikeout came in the 5th on a curveball to Huntsville's #8 hitter - he stranded the runner at 3B.

    After completing the 6th inning, Edwards spent the rest of the game in the dugout talking with Mark Davis, the Smokies pitching coach. At one point, based on their movements, you could tell they were talking about arm slot.

    Note on Almora; He got a broken bat infield hit in the 9th off a Huntsville pitcher who was throwing 94 mph (the fastest pitches the Smokies saw all night). Almora was late on each offering, but kept fouling the ball off. He got jammed, but managed to beat out the slow roller. He showed no hint of any leg injury that was recently reported. By the way, I think he's quicker than he's given credit for.

    Nice night at the ballpark!

  • In reply to AggBat:

    Thanks, AggBat. These firsthand observations are great.

  • In reply to October:

    You're welcome. I enjoy it when others give firsthand accounts too.

  • Heads up--KC series televised this weekend. Recently acquired J Martinez pitching tonight.

    in re B Jackson: he took an awful of strike threes in his last year to year and a half. I wonder if he was overthinking on a lot of ABs.

  • We all know Theo is a genius.
    He does nothing without a reason. Therefore keeping Jackson in the rotation must be brilliant. Maybe higher draft choices, making all the other pitchers look better and feel more confident. Perhaps even lulling the other GM's into a false
    sense of security when dealing with Theo in the future.
    And yes, mercifully, even enhancing Edwin's self esteem. Although why he has any left, I do not know.

  • In reply to tboy:

    Theo is a genius -- except for signing Jackson and committing all that money to him in the first place.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Well, OK, there's that.

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    Good for Brett- He has value with the speed/defense as a reserve outfielder. The moderate pop in his bat is also solid. I hope he gets a shot in the desert!

    The Olt/Rizzo comp may be a bit skewed, strictly based on a tools standpoint. However, if Olt continues raking, why not give him another shot at 3B in 2015? Especially to start the season.
    I like Bryant in LF anyway- The debate on whether or not to trade Castro may be wasted. Keep all the shortstops and hope that Olt gets off to a great start. The infield defense for any ground ball inducing pitcher would be amazing.
    As long as the batting average is a tick over Rob Deer territory, he has at least a mild degree of value. Cost controlled years, power and defense. Maybe the Dodgers would be interested?
    They've got some good young arms, most of whom are blocked.
    But of course that's all best case scenario...

  • When calculating %K or %BB, is the denominator PAs or ABs?


  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I think it is PAs.

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    John, I'm wondering how aggressive they'll be with Edwards. Any thoughts?
    I know the lost development time hurts, and he's an AFL candidate-
    Would a good fall prevent him from having to repeat Tennessee?

  • In reply to Eric Foster:

    CJ is going to be interesting to follow. Depending on who the Cubs keep/lose in Rule 5 draft, the Iowa rotation next year might be decent. The FO could choose to be slow with CJ and keep him in a warmer climate at AA.

    As long as he is in the rotation in April of 2016, I am good.

  • Best of luck to BJax! Maybe something clicks for him in the new environment. It wouldn't be the first time that has happened for a player.

    Was it just three years ago that he was our best prospect? Man how times can change fast in the baseball world. It's not like he lacks for talent, he has a lot of it. I think you said it best, JA, when you stated how difficult it is to improve a batter's contact percentage. It can't be tweaked, probably requires a swing overhaul.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Yeah, I agree, best of luck to him.

    Yes, that's what a lot of people forget about him. Most scouts & rating sites had him highly rated, not just the Cubs FO. I think he just didn't fit the new regime's "Cubs Way". That's not who he was/is. Time to move on? Yes. Best wishes. Hope he does well.

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    you know I feel for guys like Bjax and Vitters and this Cooper kid. They've had this MLB dream since they were like 8 years old, and to come to AAA, so close, and not make it to the Show has got to be hard. I can imagine my own son in that situation. They're career minor leaguers, they've taken their lumps and their demotions, seen other guys pass them by, paid their dues. If I were Theo epstein - not saying he should do this, but I would, if I were in his position - in a lost season where marginal wins and losses are meaningless, I would call these guys up in september - not even to look a them, but to give them a taste of the bigs, even for just a couple of weeks - so they can wear the uniform and tell their grandkids they played in the majors. Release them in the off season if you want. It's harmless, it builds connections and enhances the team's image going forward.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Both Jackson and Vitters have made appearances on the big squad. Mission accomplished. lol

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    There was another move that seemed to slip by. Chadd Krist was released. I really liked his catching skills but that bat never did seem to come around. After it happened I noticed that Schwarber was catching yesterday. I know that he has caught a few games at Daytona but it made me wonder if the FO has decided to let Schwarber do a whole lot more catching now.

    This was Chadd Krist's second year at Daytona and with the recent influx of catchers lately, there had to be some casualties.

  • I've only seen him on video, but Schwaber doesn't appear to have a strong arm that you'd want your catcher to have. Am I missing something?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to AggBat:

    From reports that I've seen it's more about his technique than his arm strength. He made huge strides in his catching skills in his last year at Indiana but would need a bit more time to refine his technique back there. I think that's why Jed Hoyer had stated that they would work with him this Fall at catcher before a final decision would be made.

    Personally, I'd love to see him stick at catcher. That left handed bat would go a long way to help balance out the lineup card.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Life is full of trade-offs, and baseball is no different.

    Schwarber seems to be lacking some of the tools to make him an outstanding defensive catcher. But he DOES seem to have the tools to make him an excellent offensive catcher. The trade-off is quite simple. Can he be good enough offensively to make up for what he lacks on defense, or conversely, will he be bad enough on defense to make his offensive contributions not worthwhile.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    I hope he can stick too. It's just from what I've seen (not much), he doesn't look like he'll stick at catcher. I hope I'm wrong!

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