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Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Soler's turn today, Olt hits a grand slam, and the other Baez HRs;

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Soler's turn today, Olt hits a grand slam, and the other Baez HRs;
Jeffrey Baez

Javier Baez did his thing in Denver, winning the game with a 12th inning HR to the opposite field.  Just for old times sake, here it is for those of you who missed it or didn't get the game on cable...

Meanwhile in Iowa, his now ex-teammates  picked up the slack today as Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, and Mike Olt all had big games.  They won't be ex-teammates for long.

Speaking of Javier Baez, I was on The Game 87.7 today with Ben Finfer and Alex Quigley to talk about the Cubs young talent.  You can listen to it here.

It was another light day on the farm as far as numbers of games, but plenty of good stuff.   It's a rather concentrated recap today...

Iowa 7 - Omaha 4

  • Dan Straily had his second great start in a row.  He pitched 7 scoreless innings and did not allow a walk while striking out 9.  Straily evened his record at 6-6 and lowered his ERA to 4.31.  Straily has actually pitched pretty well except for his propensity to give up the long ball (13 this year in 96 innings).  He has walked 3.38 batters per 9 IP while striking out 9.66/9 IP.  I think he needs to lower the walk rate even more to be a successful MLB pitcher -- and the last two games have shown how effective he can be when he does throw strikes.
  • Kris Bryant went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored.  I can't say enough about how he manages to stay productive even when he isn't on a monster tear.  He is going to be a steady force in the lineup along with Anthony Rizzo.
  • We may be able to say something similar about Jorge Soler, who had a min-slump recently in which he still had an OPS over .900 as he managed to keep taking walks and hit for occasional power.  He may one day add a 3rd hitter with a steady approach that lends itself to consistency.  He exploded in his first 3 ABs today, getting a single, double, HR, and 3 RBI -- and then he uncharacteristically took on an aggressive approach in his last 2 ABs, striking out both times.  Could be a little human nature there in that, with the game essentially decided, he wanted to cap the day off in a big way.
  • Mike Olt keeps reminding us that he still wants to be a part of the fun at Wrigley over the next several years.  He has been on a tear since joining Iowa and today he hit a grand slam to go with a walk and a single.  In 15 games he has hit .345/.367/.569 with 2 HRs.

Daytona 3 - Clearwater 1

  • Rob Zastryzny finally got that ERA under 5 with 5 innings of one run baseball in which he walked just one and struck out 5.  I think that Zastryzny may be one of the most underrated prospects in the Cubs system because of his pedestrian traditional stats of a 2-6 record with a 4.91 ERA.  But he does have a solid K to BB ratio of 3.25 to 1, striking out just under a batter per inning, while also putting up a respectable 3.71 FIP.  He has also regained some of the velo he showed late in his college career and has pitched frequently in the 91-93 range.
  • Another pitcher who has pitched well and has show increased velocity is Stephen Perakslis, who has pitched in the mid 90s.  He pitched 3 no-hit innings to lower his ERA to 4.47 and improve his record to 3-0.  The has however, not struck out a whole lot of batters for someone who throws as hard as he does, striking out a shade under 7 batters per 9 innings.
  • Zach Godley earned his 4 save with a scoreless 9th, walking one and striking out 2.  His ERA stands at 4.26
  • Jacob Hanneman went 2 for 5 with his 4th SB and scored a run.  Hannemann is hitting .279/.326/.395 in his first 11 games at Daytona.
  • Kyle Schwarber didn't get a hit but did draw 2 walks and scored a run.  Schwarber is hitting .234 without much power at Daytona but does have a .366 OBP. But like we have said, it's been a long season and he hasn't had a break.  He'll be fine.
  • Bill McKinney went 1 for 4 and drove in 2 runs.

 Peoria 4 - Kane County 1

Kane County 4 - Peoria 1

  • Tough loss for Duane Underwood who allowed a run in 2/3 of an inning and then had the game rain out.  He left a man on base and he was promptly driven home on a HR allowed by Jen-Ho Tseng, who started when the game resumed.  Tseng pitched brilliantly after that HR, allowing just one hit after that and going 6 innings with just one run, one walk, 2 Ks, and 2 hits allowed overall.  That put his ERA at 2.47 for the season.  The walk was just his 12th.  He has walked just 3.5% of the batters he has faced.  Wow.
  • In the second game it was Ben Wells who had a solid outing, pitching 6 innings of one run baseball, walking just one batter.  He didn't strike anyone out but he did generate 12 groundball outs to pick up the win, improving to 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA.
  • Tyler Bremer picked up his 11th save with a scoreless inning in the 2nd game.
  • Shawon Dunston went 3 for 7 with a double, RBI and 3 runs scored.  He also stole his 18th base.  He raised his average on the year to .283.
  • 2B Chesny Young continues to look like a real steal in the 14th round of this year's draft.  He went 4 for 7 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.  He also stole 2 bases, including one of home plate.  He is hitting .410 in the 10 games since joining the Cougars.  He is hitting .366 in just over 100 PAs as a pro so far.
  • Danny Lockhart went 2 for 3 with a double and is hitting .281.
  • Jeffery Baez only had one hit over the 2 games but it was his first HR in the MWL.
  • Here are highlights of the Kane County-Peoria games (h/t Nate Baliva)

Comments

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  • This farm system now has an embarrassment of riches and I don't want to share our wealth with anyone.

  • In reply to TTP:

    It's going to be hard to see any of these guys in a different uniform.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Definitely true, but we know some will have to be traded. It is either that or some are getting hurt or don't live up to expectations, which of course will happen just not to every prospect that we have. Definitely an exciting time.

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    In reply to Cubs Future:

    What is remarkable about the Cubs system is 2 things:
    1. The concentration of prospects in the Upper Levels of the minor leagues. Most teams have most of their top-10 in A+ ball or lower where projections are imprecise at best. The Cubs, on the other hand, have most of their top guys in AA and AAA knocking at the door where, because the players are more mature and facing better opposition we have a better idea who/what we have. Most guys "prospect" status has evaporated by this point.

    2. The LACK of top rated pitching. I think some of the hand-wringing over the Cubs lack of pitching prospects among the "talking heads" is simply reacting to CJ Edwards being the highest rated pitcher and he is only #6 on most lists. In other words, the cubs are "bat-heavy." Most teams have at least 1 of their top 3 as a pitching prospect (very often very low in the minor leagues).

    Just out of curiosity for those of you more knowledgeable about other team's pitching prospects, where would such highly rated guys as Bradley, Walker, Syndergaard, Giolito rank in the Cubs System (I don't think first names are necessary).

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Outside of the top 10 Cubs prospects, I'm wondering what value #11-through #20 have to teams needing a tear down of their team ,somewhat like Theo did with the Cubs. Phillies come to mind as does Hamels in that scenario. Phillies could be on the hook for $ 114 million on his contract if his option vests in 2019. I'm betting the Phillies walk away from that 24 million in 2019,in short he has to be traded as the player with the most value on that ancient team.In short finally,Cubs would have to say no to including Addison or Javier and Starlin in any deal.

  • In reply to Loren Ronzheimer:

    Gotta remember, Amaro apparently asked for Peterson, Seager and Urias from the LAD for Hamels. Hes good, but hes not worth Bryant, Baez and Soler.

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    In reply to mutant beast:

    It's why I mentioned no trade of our top 10 prospects,for sure.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I think with *3 Free Agents (we dont give up any prospects) and solid contributions from the rookies the 2015 Cubs are a playoff team. Someone tell me why that isnt a playoff team.

    Cubs/Iowa lineups in July/August 2015

    CF Alcantera/CF Almora
    SS Castro/SS Russell
    1B Rizzo/1B Vogelbach
    3B Bryant/LF Schwarber
    2B Baez/3B Villanueva
    LF *FreeAgent/RF McKinney
    RF Soler/2B Bruno
    C Castillo/C Lopez

    Cubs Starters: *Lester,Arrieta,*FreeAgent,Wood,Hendricks
    Iowa Starters: Wada,Straily,Doubrant,Turner,Beeler,Jokisch, Edwards & Johnson give or take a couple.

    Cubs bench: Lake or Rugiano,Olt,Valbuena,Coughlan, Baker or a Free Agent.
    Iowa bench: Kalish,Szczur,Watkins,Valaika,Cutler. Vitters & Jackson?

    I think this 2015 team is a playoff team with a very very good Iowa team to go with it. The future looks very bright.

  • Javier Baez. Javier Baez. Javier Baez. Javier Baez

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    I knew sound off the bat where that ball was heading. Well done Javy!!!!

    Hopefully Jorge and KB soon as well haven't been so excited to watch the cubs in aaaaaa loooooong time.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    That was a lot of fun watching that game. Wish we had a recap but soon we'll bring someone on. For now we can celebrate here along with the minor leaguers

  • In reply to James Knott:

    The homer was great but I do have to be critical of the Cubs for one thing, why did it take so long to shift Baez to second base. AA looks far, far superior to him, if JB keeps missing shorts hops and making horrific throws into the dirt at first on doubleplays when the runner is nowhere near him maybe the 2 of them should switch positions. He was horrible on the throw completing the doubleplay in spring training so nothing has changed. Again why did it take so long to move him?

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    Not saying if I think jb is better than aa but it took a while because they wanted to let him straighten out his hitting before adding a position change on top.

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    In reply to ruby2626:

    Just give him time. Most scouts think he's got the necessary skills to be an up the middle infielder. Just needs plenty of in game reps. I'm sure part of it was just him pressing....

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    Transition from SS to 2B doesn't take long. Barney learned it on the fly. So did Sandberg when he moved from 3B. Baez has played very well at 2B at Iowa, can't judge him from one game.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Plus, he was super jittery tonight.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have a problem with the way Baez is catching the ball while turning the double play. He should basically be stopping the ball with his glove and his throwing hand should be right by his glove so he can transfer the ball immediately to make the throw. I'm sure they will work on it, but he did it twice last night. But, its a work in progress.

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    It might be a good idea to wait at least two games before coming to judgement on his defense.

    As well as his offense, for that matter.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I hope the media and fans realize that Javy has been a 2B for all of about 3 weeks and will give him a little slack.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Thank goodness Brenly isn't here anymore!

  • In reply to DaveP:

    The way he catches the ball to turn the double play is no different than what he should have been doing at SS. Stop the ball with your glove, have your throwing hand right by the glove to quickly transfer it to your throwing hand. He should be doing this already. He's not brand new to the system.

  • So were the first five AB's his adjustment/struggling phase.

    Now that he has gotten that out of the way.

  • In reply to tboy:

    Haha! I hope that was it. In all honesty, he didn't have a real bad AB. I was pretty happy with his day overall. We will probably see some ups and downs but it is going to be fun.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, as I was tweeting last night, I was very happy with his at-bats where he worked the count, took bad pitches and swung at driveable pitches that he just missed...that is until the extras. For a guy who has had questions about his approach at the plate, it really seems like he took the time with Manny and maybe even KB's influence, and seemed to really have a plan at the plate. I thought his line out the ball still jumped off his bat, just right at RF. He is still to me the highest risk of the prospects, but if the last few months in AAA he learned the art of hitting, we could really be in for a treat over the next decade or so.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I heard this morning apparently Comcast had there highest rated game of the season last night. Better get on board. The fun is just beginning.

  • In reply to tboy:

    I think the fact that he was clearly trying to stay within himself and go the other way was the best sign. In previous call ups he always appeared to be overanxious and swinging from his heels. He hit three balls hard. And two of his 3 Ks were on high fastballs. That is not a long term concern for me.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    That ball he hit to the right field wall was smoked. Amazing!

  • Saw post game interview Reneria talking about Baez. He was low key and positive even about his at bats before the homer. I am starting to really like him as a manger. Was thinking they should have hired this guy a year earlier instead of Sveum. He really appears to be a good choice to work with the Cubs young talent.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Agreed. He gets ripped for his game management but to be honest, I don't remember the last time a Cubs manager wasn't ripped for his game management :)

    The important thing is he is getting this talent to play well.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hindsight is 20/20.. we win
    . No one says anything.. we lose everyone all of a sudden new renteria should have brought taken Wright out against arrenado in the 7th.. lol

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    A DH would fix his game management real quick

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    Thems fightin' words. I'll seriously go through a depression if they ruin the national league with a DH

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Tito Francona was also ripped to shreds in Boston for his game management. That comes with time and getting the feel for managing. I havent made judgement on RR just yet, but I like that his guys are still playing hard with nothing to play for, I like that many have stepped forward this year (other than Wood).

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    There's aLOT I haven't liked about his game management (the bunts!!!), but I'm certainly not calling for his head over it. In fact, I think the game management has been largely inconsequential...this team was not built to win. And, as you say, it is FAR more important that Rizzo and Castro have bounced back and the clubhouse seems to be more positive. I think he just gets a little too clever for his own good sometimes, hopefully he improves with the team.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I don't see the guys in our future line up bunting much at all. If fact, is their likely inability to play "small ball" a concern?

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    In reply to TTP:

    Not at all, TTP. I like the Earl Weaver approach better than small ball. It's always funny to me to hear Sox fans talk about 2005 and how Podsednick was the catalyst for their small ball winning ways. That team lived on HRs and pitching.

  • In reply to JimL:

    Yes,that team lived on HR's, pitching and the fact that the rest of the American League took the year off in 2005.

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    In reply to Matt McNear:

    I don't have mlb.tv this year so haven't seen many games. I hope he doesn't have Rizzo/Castro bunting. But if it is Sweeney, Barney, etc. I find it highly unlikely that they get a hit. While I am also opposed to bunting in general I think if he gets the talented players it looks like he will from our system I doubt he will have much temptation to bunt.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    From the two message boards I keep track of (one being this one), you hear very few complaints about Renteria. It seems to be a stark contrast compared to Sveum. Renteria has some growing to do just as our prospects will need to. He certainly has some in-game managing skills to sharpen, but his approach towards the players and how he addresses the media seems to be right on target to what we need. I like him.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Yes - no manager is perfect.
    RR is just about right for this team. Dale S - nah.
    Let RR grow with the team,

  • Was nice to see a Rockies staffperson retrieve it from the emptied bullpen and walk it over to the cubs bullpen. Nice one for him to have!

  • In reply to hawkmcd:

    And Rizzo took the game ball after the final out and put it in his pocket. Looks like Baez is getting that one too. Good for Rizzo (and the Rockies staff person). Class acts on both their parts.

  • I can't sleep I'm so excited. Laying in bed with wheels spinning. Crazy thoughts like what if Bryant and Soler were both added now, soon, or at least by September. It'd be the craziest September at Wrigley since '08. If the FO sent a message just with Javy's call up, imagine what bringing up our two other top AAA studs would say.

    Coughlin LF
    Alcantara CF
    Soler RF
    Bryant 3B
    Castro
    Baez
    Rizzo
    Castillo

    Reserves- Louie V, Ruge, Baker, Sweeney

    Seems to be accepted fact that Soler will be here in Sept. Bryant doubtful, but it'd be a great surprise. But if not KB, then put Olt at 3B if he keeps ding what he's been doing in a Iowa and it would still be must watch TV. Oh, wait, as of today it already is!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Baez batting 6th?

    Rizzo batting 7th?

    Not happening. And Coghlan will be a reserve, not a starter. I think the team will add at least one FA bat this off-season that will start. Likely a top-of-the-order bat who can get on base (Melky Cabrera is perfect for that role).

    I'm thinking we see a lineup in 2015 of:

    1. AA - CF
    2. Melky - LF (or any other OF they sign to get on base)
    3. Rizzo - 1B
    4. Baez - 2B
    5. Bryant - 3B
    6. Soler - RF
    7. Castro - SS
    8. Castillo - C

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Melky is very inconsistent. Coghlans runs created + is almost identical to melky's. Coghlan may not be spectacular, but he seems like the outfield version of valbuena. He grinds at bats and gets on base. I think he can be a decent stop gap until schwarber.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    Who will be up first Russell or Schwarber? Russell coming up may shift Bryant to the OF. Nice "problem" to have, too many prospects.

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    I don't think that is even a debate...Russell will be up first...Schwarber has come back down to earth at Daytona...I'm sure he'll be fine, but he'll probably start at Daytona next year, whereas Russell will most likely start in Iowa....Russell will be here Sept next year or start of 2016, if he's still on this team by then...

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    If they decide to make Russell the SS I think he'll spend all of next season at Iowa while they decide what to do with Castro. They may elect to do that anyway since he's also a Boras client and it would be nice to offset their Boras clients hitting free agency. I do think Javy's promotion is a subtle message: if you want an early promotion, get a new agent.

  • In reply to Mitchener:

    I don't want a guy with Melky's track record around these young players.

  • In reply to Aggravated Battery:

    I said the same thing about Manny... at first. Turns out the FO knows more than I do... lol

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Yeah; I will defer to them as well.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Put the Kool-aid down. He was giving you position by position not a lineup and Coghlan is doing fine in my opinion If they then pick up two to three reclamation projects like the Marlin Jacob Turner. we can shoot for the Portilo's or Samardzija's when we are really ready though Lester would be a nice cookie of he doesn't want more than 5 years preferably 4. With more upfront $$$$

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    In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I'm pretty sure that wasn't in line-up order. Looks like it's by position, but in reverse

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    He wasn't saying that Rizzo would bat 7th. He merely listed the player in order - LF, CF, RF 3B, etc.

  • In reply to TTP:

    TTO : weren't you the writer that felt like throwing a heavy object through your TV just a few short weeks ago? Bet you're glad you did not!

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I meant and typed "TTP".

    iPad autocorrect strikes again!

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Yeah, that was me. It started with Alky's call up and now Baez dials the excitement all the way up to 11. Amazing how two guy studs can fir up a fanbase -- and, more importantly, they have fired up a clubhouse. It's palpable just on the TV. Just watch: this team right now is a little snowball that just started rolling down the mountain.

    And to Avg. Samaritan: that lineup above is not the batting order, but the defensive alignment I'm hoping to see in September.

    The darkness is over; dawn is upon us!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Remember the Johnny Nash song - I can see clearly now.

  • In reply to TTP:

    I am really happy for Olt. Hopefully he keeps it goig and his window of opportunity is not closed with the cubs. I still say a corner OF positin would suit him nicely.

  • In reply to less disappointed:

    Assuming he can hit, I would rather see Olt at third, and Bryant in the corner outfield.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I personally think he is most likely going to get moved in a deal. I hope they can build his stock up again and get something good in return.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I agree. I think Olt still has a chance at 3B this year in September when the roster expands.

  • Mlb.com has a video if Javy signing autographs before the game.. He might not be as willing as Kris Bryant is, but good to see

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    In reply to CubfanInUT:

    I saw that, and it made me feel better after hearing about his snubs in the minor league

  • In reply to Jeff Wilson:

    Hearing about those two incidents or "snubs" was disturbing. But i've seen Javy in almost a dozen pro games, and he was graciously signing at every one of them. I also know him a little from his HS days and while he's uber-confident, some might say cocky, he also comes from a very humble family and his personality is NOT snobbish or the self entitled type at all.

    I'm guessing he probably did sign on those days too, and was doing other things at the time (even if it appeared he wasn't).

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    McKinney's season as a 19 year old in hi A has been super good very quietly.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Agreed. Surprised he isn't getting more attention.

    Hitting .308 / .394 / .451 / .845 with 25 RBI ... in 26 games.

    Nice BB/K ratio as well, especially for a 19 year old (about to turn 20 in a couple of weeks).

    He's also hitting like 6th in the order. I wonder what his numbers would look like if he hit closer to Schwarber/Vogelbach.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    It is simply a matter of no one getting to see him play. There are only a couple of posters on here that have gone to Daytona games. KC and Iowa are within driving distance of a bunch of people and the Tennessee games are on MiLB.TV. Boise and Daytona players are tough to get a read on.

    He is definitely putting up impressive numbers for being so young in the FSL.

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    In reply to mjvz:

    What surprises me is he is doing better in the FSL than he did in the CALL in ALL categories (except HR--though his SLG is higher, probably just due to higher BA). Interestingly, his BB and K rates are almost identical: 58:36 and 19:12. 1/3 the numbers in 1/3 the plate appearances 333:109.
    If he's a "he is what he is" prospect then "what he is" is pretty darn good.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    Agreed. Especially considering how many top prospects struggle at first with the move to High-A, including some of our own (Baez, Almora, Schwarber, Vogelbach, Candelario, etc) If McKinney keeps this up at age 19 (3rd youngest player in the FSL and 7th youngest in all of High-A), he should easily make the top 100 lists after the season. He was already fringe, imo. If he keeps it up next year as a 20 year old in AA he should rocket up the boards.

  • In reply to James Knott:

    From what I've heard, Baez got sick of signing for the same people everyday at AAA, so he stopped signing in the park, but still signed occasionally on the way in and out of the park.

  • Just got back from the game here in Denver. It was packed out with Cub fans. It was so clear that Baez was super wound up. When he hit that homer in the 12th, I lost my voice I was so pumped.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    Great to hear.

    Were you close to the field/dugout by any chance?

    It'd be interesting to know how he interacted with the the rest of the team in the dugout/on the field as well as who was by him the most giving him advice/pointers/calming him down.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Sounds like Castro is taking him under his wing from what the announcers were saying like Soriano did for him when he first came up..

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Castro really seems to be growing into a veteran really quickly.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    What I like about how Castro is handling this is there is no "sulking." He has said on multiple occasions that he will move off of SS if the cubs ask him to. Whether it is for Baez or Russell. That kind of thing really does help.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I appreciate the improvements that Castro has made this season, but his lack of hustle at times is infuriating. Why not bust your ass out of the box on the ball he hit to the wall last night? He gave the opponent an opportunity to throw him out on what should have been a stand up double. In the future these little things are going to be the difference between winning and losing. It needs to be addressed.

  • In reply to AggBat:

    Rizzo did the same thing on his double the other day but nobody calls him out, I for one am tired of the Castro bashing, Cubs are lucky to have him, its not easy playing your 1st 4 seasons in the league on crappy teams with the media and fans on your jock just looking for reasons to bash.

  • In reply to Bryan Craven:

    Agreed - there always has seemed to have been a different standard that Castro has been held to than many other players.

    I just don't get it. In the 4 years I have been regularly noting his trends - he's only seemed to have been really lacking rarely, and almost no time at all this season.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    I was about 20 rows up from the dugout, a little up the third base line. Baez hung close to Castro and Alacantara (who he was with in Iowa of course, just a few weeks ago). It looked like Castro was really trying to play big brother and take him under his wing, which was fun to see. Castro tried to act relaxed, like he belonged, but you could tell he was on cloud nine. I think after 12 innings, being a little tired, etc.. really helped him relax. Late in the game when the bases had been walked loaded, I said to my friend... there is no chance Baez is walking. He's either striking out or hitting it hard. Of course, he lined out. I thought he was going to explode on the first pitch.

  • In reply to KSCubsFan:

    How high did that ball get off the ground? On TV it looked like it peaked at 20 feet tops.

  • I hope folks don't give up on Olt too quickly. People forget that Rizzo got sent down in San Deigo, worked on his approach both there and at Iowa before sticking with the major league club. Even if the infield is too crowded for a starting spot, he could be a real asset in a trade or backing up third and first or coming off the bench as a pinch hitter. Imagine if someone has to miss an week or two with an injury and he is able to produce like he has in the past couple of weeks. Let's say Rizzo needs a day off. With an improved Olt the opposing pitcher won't find hole in the lineup. What if Bryant can't cut it in the majors and... wait... that's grasping at straws...

  • I think with Olt there is some underlying nervousness that his vision is never going to be 100% partly accounting for the tempered enthusiasm.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    And the fact that he shows a lot of swing an miss in his game so far. Lots of holes in his swing that needs to be worked on in AAA.

  • The fact that he is raking at AAA shows that there is talent there. I think it was a good move to let him relax and regain his confidence.

  • I am actually starting to feel bad for Nate Schierholz. I don't know what went bad for him this year but he is so terrible its painful to watch him bat. He looks like an automatic out the second he steps into the batters box. As bad as he has been I just cant dislike him for some reason but I think his days in Chicago may be over after tonight. He just adds nothing to the roster if he cant hit. I hope he is able to resurrect his career somehow after this year. My guess is he finishes the year out in the minors somewhere and hopes to get his swing back.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    A lot of you know a heck of a lot about BB than I do, so let me ask this.

    How does a 30 yr old 8 season VETERAN go from .251 / .301 / .770 with 21 HRs to .192 / .240 / .541 with 6 HRs in successive seasons? I thought 30 was a player' speak and that an 8 season vet would have figured out how to adjust to adjustments by now.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Everyone ages differently. Nomar and Andruw Jones were two of the most productive players in history in their 20s but were then shells of their former selves once they hit about that age.

    With the naked eye, his bat speed looks diminished to me. Is it mechanical? Age? I don't know, but the ball has no jump off his bat this season, even when he hits it on the sweet spot. Zonk mentions his babip below and bad luck certainly appears to be part of it, but if he isn't hitting the ball with the same authority I would expect his babip to be lower anyway.

    I give Schierholtz credit for being very professional about it. He has never shown frustration, never whined when he was moved down in the order or benched. He is a very level headed personality and I assume a very good teammate becuase of it. For that reason I simply feel sorry for him rather than look forward to his departure.

  • In reply to mjvz:

    I agree. His bat speed looks much slower. I've never been a fan of the way he stands as a hitter. He really hides his hands and crunches his head down. He's got an awful long way to go to contact. That problem becomes worse with diminished bat speed. It's unfortunate. I like him too.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    It's possible there are off the field issues, or a nagging physical problem.

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    In reply to Behn Wilson:

    Nate's BABIP is much lower this year, .228 vs. .270 last year, so he's hit into some bad luck. I also think the HR spike last year was a fluke; he never showed that power before, or since.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    I wouldn't feel too bad for him. Just look at his wife.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    To the other comments, I'll add that it can't be easy for Nate to listen to all the hype about the coming prospects. He's expected to produce every day, but with the knowledge that he isn't a part of this team's long-term plans. He doesn't BELONG. That's a tough environment for anyone to perform in, even professionals.

  • In reply to Behn Wilson:

    During one of the games recently Schierholz admitted that he has been trying to do too much after having a good year last year. It is that contract year issue for players, it can be a good thing (they get into super good shape, stay super focused all season long and play great to get their major payday) and it can be a bad thing (over-thinking it, over-swinging, aka Schierholz).

  • I'm going to be cautiously optimistic for now on Baez. Not a bad debut though. Hopefully just the jitters.

  • Now that the Baez, Soler, Bryant timeline seems pretty well set, what do you think the timeline for advancement for the cubs other top prospects looks like?

    I'm thinking 2015 opens with

    Russell at Iowa, with . Na potential to be up in Julyish like AA this year

    Think Almora probably breaks camp with Tennessee, but finishes the season at Iowa with the potential to open 2016 in the big leagues or maybe even get a cup of coffee Sep of 2015 if he hits

    Mckinney probably has a similar timeline to Almora

    Will be interesting to see what they do with Schwarber. Now that he has hit a little bit of a wall at Daytona, and now that the outfield looks like it may be full sooner rather than later, there doesn't seem to be the same urgency to advance him. If I was Jed/Theo I think I'd make a push this winter to see if he could develop as a catcher.

    Vogelbach spends the year at Tennessee

    With AA, Baez, Bryant, and Soler up, we likely still have 5 big league bats at Tennessee/Iowa next year. Crazy.

    If the rotation is FA, Arrieta, Wood, Hendricks, Wada, wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to see CJ if (big if) he can stay healthy between now and then.

  • In reply to Mjtharp2:

    I don't think there will be any rush on Russell. He very well may be ready next July, but unless they decide to shift Bryant or Castro to LF or trade a position player at the deadline, there may not be a position open for him.

    I think Almora in 2016 is possible but I wouldn't count on opening day. McKinney is going to be a little behind Almora I expect simply because Almora has the distinct advantage in defensive ability and the simple fact that he can play CF. McKinney could be limited to LF defensively which may hold him back from a quick ascent, especially if he has to battle with Schwarber and/or Bryant for that spot.

    The Iowa rotation looks like it will be pretty crowded again next spring, so Edwards may well open the season in Tennessee. As their highest ceiling guy, they won't hold him back if he is ready, but since he missed most of this season, a little more time in AA would probably be good for him. Edwards and Johnson could be ready late 2015, but sometime in 2016 seems more likely.

  • I passed out watching the game on MLB.tv from my hotel during the tenth. I was expecting the morning headline to be "Baez has 3Ks, but he did hit a rocket." Adding the HR is much better punchline.

  • John,

    Glad you didn't spontaneously combust. I can't live without my Cubs Den.

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    In reply to WillieG1:

    I have a digital subscription to the Chgo. Trib. but rely on the "Den" for all things Cubs,by far the best Cubs blog on the internet and extend kudos to John and the staff. I can't say that without another RIP Fellz I miss your articles.

  • Has anyone ever written an article about how the Cubs underrated FO staff does all of the behind the scenes work to get Players like AA and Javy to Chicago?

    For examples, "someone" got Javy from his Iowa road trip to Denver and will have to arrange movement of all his worldly belongings from Des Moines to Chicago. The next night Javy sleeps in Chicago will probably be his first, so how does he manage stepping off the plane late Thurs night and being at Wrigley for a Friday day game? Who helps Javy find a place to live and shop, how to get to Wrigley, where to park, ... ? All this while keeping his head clear enough to hit a 95 MPH fastball and knee buckling curve? I know that NOBODY helped me whenever I was relocated long term, so Javy's relocation is mind boggling to me.

    Might be an interesting read about a very under appreciated FO staff.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    They have "people" for just those things. Traveling secretaries, and people in charge of relocating the players and their families. They are under the Cubs employ.

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    In reply to copinblue:

    Cool link, CIB. We know they do have traveling secretaries as you describe, but I agree it would be an interesting story to hear about what the Cubs Staff does for the players and how it is done. Your link tells from a player's family's perspective. What is it like from an office staff perspective.

    I used to work for a travel agency that had the Cubs as a client and it was fun to see them making these arrangements--at least the travel ones. It was a while ago (10 years) but they knew exactly what needed to be done for travel and, I am sure, everything else. A "checklist" was clearly being followed.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110404&content_id=17372500&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    Read that Castro took him out to dinner on Monday and was going to take him shopping.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I do some work for a baseball agent and the agents take care of a lot of this stuff too

  • Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day . . .

  • Feliz Javidad!

  • Was at the Iowa game in Omaha yesterday.

    Was really impressed with Straily. He has the Omaha guys off balance the whole time. He will be a nice guy to have towards the bottom of the rotation, an excellent pickup from Oakland especially as a third piece.

    Soler started awesome hitting the all extremely hard. I'll note though that the last to at bats were strikeouts on a total of 6 pitches. Olt plays some nice defense at 1B.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    Good to see Straily doing well. I am happy about Zastryny too. He is under the radar. His last 10 games his ERA is 3.10 and his velocity is coming back. Everyone says our pitching is bad but it is a lot better than people think.

  • In reply to John57:

    We've got depth now, but we don't really have any true TOR prospects.

    There's a few long shots at TOR (CJ, Tseng, Underwood, etc) but the stars have to align just right for them to be MLB TOR SP's.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think Cease is our most likely TOR, which says none are really likely.

  • In reply to springs:

    We have different opinions of "most likely". I love his upside. But he is about to go under the knife and will not throw his first professional pitch for a year. That puts him on roughly the same eta trajectory as the 17yo kids in the VSL/DSL right now. So he is not even in the equation in my mind, for now.

  • In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Straily will be at the bottom of the rotation. He was the #2 prospect in the A's system not too long ago, and his stuff isn't that much less than Arietta.

    The Cubs got an amazing haul for Samardzija and Hammel.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I hope Straily does well but his stuff is not close to Arrieta's stuff. And for that trade we still are getting a PTNL. Nice haul Theo.

  • what does everyone think the 25 man roster will look like in april of next year. this is what I would expect to see or just a possible wishlist?

    starting pitching:
    1. Lester
    2. Arrieta
    3. FA
    4. Wood
    5. Hendricks

    closer: rondon,
    bullpen: vizcaino or rivero,ramirez,grimm,strop,wright,rosscup

    lineup:
    cf alcantera
    2b castro
    1b rizzo
    3b bryant
    2b baez
    rf soler
    lf FA
    c castillo
    bench: coughlan, lake or ruggiano,valbuena,olt,baker or FA

    that means that Sweeney,Schierholtz,Ruggiano (depending on what Lake does this year) ,villanueva, fujikawa, jackson and maybe Wada will all need to be moved by next year.

    so really only 3 external moves. (2 starters and a LF'er)

    russell could force his way on to the roster by next summer, we might need him if one of our prospects fails.

    i think this is quite easily a playoff team.

  • Do you believe that Epstein/Hoyer will try and win next year by getting some free agent pitching and a veteran position pIayer or two to compliment next year's lot of rookies?

    Is Olt a AAAA player or was this year's stint in the majors part of a learning experience?

  • In reply to JMC1967:

    Not sure if you were directing that question at anyone in particular, but I'll go for it...

    I believe Epstein/Hoyer will ATTEMPT to snag at least one free agent pitcher this off season. I don't think they'll break the bank to get one, as they've said all along that they will address pitching with volume. As for position players, well, maybe.

    I think everyone would like to know if Olt will reach his potential or he's a AAAA guy. I think Bryant will be a better option at 3B and that Olt will be moved to a team that needs 3B/1B help.

  • In reply to JMC1967:

    I'm confident Cubs will make a run at Lester and I'm optimistic we'll get him. I don't think we really need a veteran position player -- except for perhaps a veteran catcher? Are there any worthy FA catchers this winter cause despite his HR last night, I'm losing faith in Castillo being part of the future.

    And, while I'd prefer Bryant in the Opening Day lineup, I've come to accept the years of service thing, and I'm content to wait til May for him. But really works to our advantage because its a reason to give Olt the starting job at 3B for the first month or six weeks. If he succeeds, we can put Bryant in the OF when he gets the May call up. So here's my Opening Day line up:

    LF Coghlan
    CF Alcantara
    RF Soler
    3B Olt
    SS Castro
    2B Baez
    1B Rizzo
    C Castillo?
    P Lester

    That could also easily be our September line up.

    Oh baby! I like it!

  • In reply to TTP:

    I agree in the fact that they should play Olt (if he is not traded in the off season) at 3rd to start the year. No platoon crap, just play him. Get 6 weeks under his belt and see what he does. If he succeeds, either move him into left field and move Coughlin to the bench or trade him. If he does alright, move Olt to the bench and have him play a couple of times a week backing up 1b, 3b, lf or rf or trade him. If he does hit over .140 again, send him back down to AAA or trade him.

    Either way, he should be a valuable piece to the organization or he will be trade bait. I like Olt and hope he turns that corner. If he can prove that he can work out some holes in his swing, he will move off 3rd and into LF showing even more versatility and HE could be the piece that brings us back a nice starting pitcher at the deadline next year. No need to trade Castro, etc. Use Olt as our Currency.

  • In reply to TTP:

    What about our October lineup?

  • In reply to tboy:

    Hahaha! Yes sir!

    But seriously, I was just thinking that if Alky, Coghlan, and Castro all hit like .350 over the next month (certainly doable), and Rizzo and Baez mash 10 to 15 HRs a piece (doable and probable), and Castillo picks it up just a little, and Ruge and Lake come up with just a handful of timely big hits, and Arrieta just does his thing, and Wood has his bounce back starting now, and even EJax finds his stuff --- so we go on a tear win like 22 or our next 25 . . . . you just never know . . .

    Whew! Let me catch my breadth.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Haha, you never know I guess...

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    In reply to TTP:

    "And if pigs had wings..."

    I think some of those predictions are on the high side. My grandpa always told me "In baseball 'if' is a little word but it means a lot!"

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Sorry, I've caught my breadth now. Did I get a little carried away there? Sorry.

    But, ya know, the more I think about it, if Hendrix also continues to dominate, and if Soler also provides a big lift for September . . . and . . .and. . .and if we sweep the Cards at home Sept 22-23. . . . whose to say we can't. . . . and we've won 6 of 8,so if we can keep up that pace we'd finish with . . .

    I'm hyperventilating! Help me!

  • In reply to TTP:

    Wake up Dorothy. If they go .500 over the next 25 it will be a minor miracle.

  • In reply to cubbybear7753:

    . . . and if, they kick ass and take names the rest of this month and things get so crazy, they even bring up Bryant who hits .375 and 13 HRs in September . . .

    Do You Believe In Miracles! Yes!

  • In reply to TTP:

    I not entirely sure, but I beleive Russell Martin is an FA this year. Hed be a nice get, excellent pitc h handler and thrower Not a bad hitter either.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Potential 2015 Free Agent Catchers
    John Buck
    Ryan Doumit
    Nick Hundley *
    Gerald Laird
    Russell Martin
    Jeff Mathis *
    Wil Nieves
    Ronny Paulino
    A.J. Pierzynski
    David Ross
    Geovany Soto

  • In reply to AggBat:

    Per Cot's Baseball Contracts

  • In reply to TTP:

    For the years of service thing, you would only have to wait until about April 18.

    Super 2 status would have to wait until June, but I don't think that will be an issue with this front office at this point in time.

  • In reply to JMC1967:

    I thought that this front office doesn't believe in such a thing as AAAA players...

  • Javy-luia

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Jeff Buckley will recut his classic cover in the Great Beyond just so he can sing those words.

  • Wanna know who gets called up and when.. just ask Castro. Asked who is next, Castro said Soler is next.. and then Bryant early next year.. lol. He knows what's up

  • fb_avatar

    Question on Straily: Anyone know what his FB velocity was last night? He's lost approx. 3 mph on all his pitches from last year, which is perhaps a big reason for his loss of effectiveness. I wonder if he is recovering some velo through mechanical adjustments? Just wondering if anyone knows.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I had the same question . Sure would be nice if Strally was picking up on some velocity. That and lowering his HR ratio

  • I was thinkin last night that Javy would do better late in the game against hard throwing relievers who like to pump fastballs.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Late in games would be a good time for Javy to shine. Will not hurt his reputation.

  • In reply to CubfanInUT:

    Javy vs. Chapman is going to see must see TV.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    That would be a ticket worth payin for!

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    If Javy gets the right angle on one of those 102 mph fastballs, and the wind is blowing out, that could be the longest HR in Cubs history.

  • john,
    whats happening to my comments they arent making it to prime time?

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