Things are back to normal with prospects headlining the day once again. Suddenly that Smokies rotation is coming together and sometimes Addison Russell is all the offense they need. Meanwhile Kane County is starting to reap the benefits from a much needed booster shot of talent. Thanks to Mauricio and Todd (@TheHistoryRat) for some of the info for this recap.
But the big story today is Javier Baez who drew 2 walks and hit 2 HRs and frankly, looked like an MLB hitter. We can't say he will hit 2 HRs and 2 walks everyday but if he keeps the disciplined approach he did today on a consistent bases, it's going to be hard to find baseball related reasons to keep him down.
Boise had a day game and the AZL Cubs were postponed, so the recap comes early today.
- Dae-Eun Rhee got rocked today to the tune of 10 hits, including 3 HRs, and 7 runs in 5 innings. Rhee has a solid fastball (low 90s, touches 93-94) but depends on location and changing speeds. He left too many up in the strike zone today.
- Arodys Vizcaino pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one as he continues to whittle down the ERA that ballooned into double digits after 3 disastrous outing in a row. He has not given up any runs in any outing except for that 3 game stretch while at Iowa, but his ERA is at 7.62.
- Armando Rivero went 2 innings without allowing a hit or a run, though he did walk one. He also struck out 3 and lowered his ERA to 0.92. There is no question Rivero is tough to hit and is going to miss a ton of bats, but he is going to have to learn to command his fastball and keep the walks down at the MLB level.
- Matt Szczur singled twice, including a bunt single and he raised his average to .261. I would have said Szczur had no shot at a September call, but he is hitting .351 in 20 games since the All-Star Break, though he has mostly been a singles hitter without a whole lot of walks. On the other hand he has stolen 9 bases in 11 attempts. In other words, he has basically been Juan Pierre with better defense. If he can sustain his current performance over a greater sample size, there could be a role for him someday but it is likely as an extra outfielder.
- After a 3 strikeout game, Javier Baez looked like a different hitter today. Omaha pitchers kept trying to work him away and when they missed, he took the pitch and took walks (2 walks and nearly a 3rd on a borderline full count call) and when they got too much of the plate, Javy took them deep...twice for HRs #22 and 23. In the past, we have broken down Baez's season into chunks to show you just how good he has been since a slow start, but his overall traditional line looks pretty good for a 2B at .260, 23 HRs, 80 RBI even with that early adjustment period included. He has his walk rate at just a shade under 8%, which gives him a respectable .323 OBP. The slugging percentage of .510 (ISO .250).
- Kris Bryant went 1 for 5 with the one being a hard-hit double. He also scored a run.
- Jorge Soler also went 1 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI.
- Maybe Josh Vitters feels the roster crunch coming because he is suddenly starting to hit the ball consistently. A 3 for 4 day, including a double, has him at .308 with 3 HRs in his last 10 games.
- Pierce Johnson has struggled all season with his control, though he has managed to pitch around it most of the time. Today there was no need to do that as he walked just one batter in 6 scoreless innings while striking out 6. He allowed just 2 hits. The walk rate is still sky high but Johnson is making some progress of late. Since returning from his time on the DL, Johnson has walked 21 batters in 53.2 innings between Kane County and Tennessee, a rate of 3.5 per 9 IP. It may not be pinpoint, but it is in line with what Johnson has done for most of his career.
- LHP Andrew McKirahan pitched 2 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.65 and has walked just 3 in 17 innings at Tennessee.
- Albert Almora did not get a hit but gone on base twice, once via HBP, and scored 2 runs.
- Addison Russell hit his 8th HR of the year, a 2- run shot. He also walked and scored twice. He now has 8 HRs in 99 ABs at Tennessee and is hitting .296 overall.
- Lars Anderson doubled and drove in 2 runs.
- Daury Torrez finally got that elusive 10th victory, showing a 90-94 mph fastball and according to Mauricio used a cutter as his secondary pitch vs. RH hitters and a change against lefties. He also left a few fastballs up and paid for it twice, giving up 2 HRs to account for all 3 runs. While the command may have been a bit off, the control was as good as always. Torrez walked one batter and struck out 6. He is now 10-4 on the year with a 2.94 ERA. He has walked just 18 batters in 116.1 innings this year, that comes out to 1.39 per 9 innings, pitched. Not a big strikeout guy as he lacks an effective breaking pitch, but 70 strikeouts gives a very respectable 4 to 1 K to BB ratio.
- Newly promoted David Garner showed a good fastball, touching 95 mph and complementing it with a solid slider. He pitched 2 innings and did not walk a batter while striking out 3 -- but he did allow a solo HR.
- Shawon Dunston went 1 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base (17) and also made a nice diving grab in LF-CF field. You may remember us saying defense was a concern with him but it looks like that is beginning to improve. The downside is he got caught by the hidden ball trick,
- As I speculated a couple of days ago, Danny Lockhart is going to swing between 2B and SS. After playing the keystone yesterday, he was at short today. At the plate he went 3 for 4 with a double, walk and 2 runs scored. Lockhart is hitting .276 with a .338 OBP at Kane.
- Victor Caratini went 2 for 5 with an RBI. He is 4 for his first 9.
- Cael Brockmeyer was the catcher today and he went 3 for 5 with his 5th HR of the season. He is hitting .305/.373/.471 overall.
- Chesny Young squared up all day and went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 runs scored. He is 12 for his first 32 (.375) with 2 doubles and a triple since his promotion.
- Jeffrey Baez is starting to hit his stride, hitting a double and a triple, drawing a walk, scoring 2 and driving in 2. He raised his average to .258.
- Trey Martin went 1 for 4 and drove in 2.
- We told you there may be some ups and downs with Trevor Clifton and then after a couple of rocky starts, he was back to the dominant form we saw earlier. Clifton allowed just one hit in 5 scoreless innings, walking 2 and striking out 6. He picked up the win to move to 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA. He has 42 Ks in 43.1, just under one per inning, but he has also walked 23.
- Brad Markey got a 2 inning save, shutting down Vancouver and striking out 4 to earn his 2nd save of the year. He lowered his ERA to 2.84.
- Rashad Crawford has cooled off since his hot streak but did go 2 for 4 today and scored 2. He is hitting .276/.306/.367 on the year.
- Danny Canela went 1 for 3 and drove in a run.
- The versatile David Bote was at 2B today and continued his strong performance at the plate for Boise. He went 2 for 4, hit his 2nd HR and drove in 2. Bote is hitting .328 while playing all over the field defensively.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap