The Cubs did not get a strong season from any of their CF prospects last season and while it is only April, the starts so far this season from their starting CF'ers at all 4 levels is encouraging.
The only one who did not play today was Matt Szczur, as the Iowa game was postponed.
- Frank Batista the organizational relief prospect has become Frank Batista the emergency AA starter. And he is making the most of it. Batista has a a high effort delivery and is undersized (5'10", 170 lbs), so he is going to get pegged as a reliever off the bat. The stuff is average. The slider is his best pitch and he pitches in the low 90s. The change gives him a solid 3rd pitch. The command....average. Yet Batista has pitched well throughout his minor league career. What he lacks in prospect pedigree, the 26 year old RHP has made up for in productive seasons. This latest start may have been his best. Batista went 7 innings, allowed just 3 hits -- one of which was a solo HR that accounted for the only run he gave up. He walked 2 and struck out 8. Batista moved to 2-o with a 1.04 ERA.
- Albert Almora went 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored, He also stole his second base. Almora bumped his average over the .300 mark at .306.
- Kyle Schwarber went 1 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Schwarber is hitting .349/.463/.581 over his first 13 games. He was the DH today.
- A ho-hum day for Dan Vogelbach in that he went 1 for 4 with an RBI, dropping his average to a paltry .444.
- Willson Contreras went 1 for 4 with an RBI and he continued his own solid start. Contreras also threw out the only runner who attempted to steal.
- 2B Stephen Bruno doubled, singled and scored a run.
- LF Bijan Rademacher went 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Rademacher has held his own in his first month at AA. The Smokies lineup is highly productive so that relegates Rademacher to the 7th spot...but it doesn't get a whole lot easier. Rademacher is hitting .275 with a .403 OBP.
- Tyler Skulina has struggled since injuring his knee last year. He lost velocity and has always struggled with command. He gave up all 6 runs on 8 hits in just 4 innings to fall to 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA. With South Bend pitchers dominating the MWL and just one level down, Skulina is going to have to pick it up if he wants to keep his rotation spot. Our friend Scott at Chasing the Dream was at the game and gave us a nice report on Skulina and Conway. Here are the goods on Skulina.
Fastball: Skulina threw 81 pitches during his four innings of work. He threw his fastball about 70% of the time, sitting between 87-92 MPH. The Dash hitters (White Sox Org) were able to square up the fastball including a 4th inning triple off an 89 MPH fastball by outfielder Keenyn Walker.
Slider: Skulina mixed in his slider and change-up when he was ahead in the count but rarely started off an at bat with either pitch. The slider sat in the 76-80 MPH range throughout his four innings of work. In the second inning outfielder Nick Basto, who came into the game hitting .074, laced a 79 MPH slider down the left field line and later scored.
Change Up: Like the slider, Skulina’s change up hit the 76-80 MPH range throughout his outing. Dash hitters were able to square up his fastball and off-speed offerings as 6 of the 8 base hits were hit fairly hard.
Overall: Skulina threw 81 pitches with 50 of them being called strikes. He worked a quick first inning but did take a comebacker off his foot. He stayed in the game and it's unknown if it affected the rest of his start. Skulina did show the ability to set hitters up with his off-speed offerings when he got ahead in the count. He did strike out five batters over his four innings while walking two.
- Josh Conway finished up with 2 scoreless innings in what turned out to be a rain-shortened game. He walked 2 and struck out 1 while lowering his ERA to 3.52. Here is Scott's report on Conway, whom he also interviewed two years ago.
Fastball: Conway flashed a consistent fastball in his two innings of work for the Pelicans. His fastball sat in the 90-92 range but it did hit 93 once. Conway only allowed one hit during his outing and induced weak contact during his stint out of the bullpen.
Change-Up: Conway used his off-speed pitches well when ahead in the count. His change-up sat consistently in the 82-84 range.
Slider: Like the change-up, Conway used his slider mostly when he was ahead in the count and this offering was also in the 82-84 range. He got his only strike out of the game on an 82 mph slider.
Overall: Conway pitched two innings keeping the opposition off the scoreboard. He struck out one and worked quickly during his two innings of work. If there was one negative he did walk two but they did not cause any damage. Conway’s pick-off move to first was impressive in the 6th inning. He was able to catch the speedy Keenyn Walker too far off the first base bag.
- OF Jacob Hannemann has been on a bit of a roll, hitting .438 in his last 8 games after another multi-hit game (2 for 3). Hannemann is now hitting .328/.388/.393.
- 1B Jacob Rogers went 2 for 3 with a double and drove in Hannemann for the only Pelicans run.
- Ryan Williams, who was seemingly an afterthought as an underslot pick in the 10th round, has turned out to be a pretty nice find. He has an average fastball in the 89-92 range but his slider is his best pitch. What makes it work for him is good command. Williams didn't walk a batter and struck out 3. He is 2-0 with 0.46 ERA and 2 walks in 19.2 IP this season.
- Trey Martin has been up and down with his offense but had a big day, going 2 for 4 with a walk,, run, 2 RBI, and 2 SBs, giving him 6 on the year. He is at .250/.275/..375 overall for the season.
- Gleyber Torres went 3 for 4 with a walk, run, and 2 SBs of his own. Torres also has 6 steals on the year to go with .305/.414/.322 line. The only thing missing right now is power (1 double this season) but that is getting nitpicky, we're talking about an 18 year old SS playing in a tough hitters league in the cold -- and he is still hitting well.
- C Cael Brockmeyer drove in 2 runs and went 1 for 4 with a walk.
- 3B Jesse Hodges went 1 for 3 with a double, walk, RBI, and run scored.
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap