Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Alzolay debuts; Affiliates drop both games during slow day

Adbert Alzolay

Adbert Alzolay

AAA

Omaha 5, Iowa 2

Game Recap

The long ball was the Alec Mills' enemy yesterday. He struck out six and did not walk a batter as he allowed just seven hits while pitching in to the 7th inning, but three solo home runs off of him proved to be difference.

Top Performers

  • Phillip Evans: 2-4 (.282)
  • Ian Happ: 0-1, 3 BB, SB (5) (.240)
  • Dixon Machado: 1-3, 2B, RBI (.276)
  • Jim Adduci: 1-3, R, RBI (.224)
  • Alec Mills: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 6 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Victor Caratini completed his first full game behind the plate during his rehab. It is possible he will be ready to return in about a week.

AA

Tennessee PPD

Advanced A

Carolina 7, Myrtle Beach 2

Game Recap

A year ago, Adbert Alzolay took a no-hitter into the 6th inning of his debut after a spring injury delayed his start to the season. Under similar circumstances this season, we were not treated to that type of rousing success, but the righty made it through his first appearance (4 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) in good health, and that is by far the most important result.

Top Performers

  • Aramis Ademan: 2-4, 3B, R, RBI, CS (3) (.256)
  • Kevonte Mitchell: 2-3, 2B, RBI, SF (.188)
  • Tyler Payne: 2-4 (.313)
  • Alexander Vargas: 3 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 2 K (3.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Alzolay was not the only hurler making his 2019 debut in this game. Alexander Vargas, picked up during the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 draft this past offseason, also came up from EXST to give the Pelicans some valuable innings out of the pen. While not really a prospect, Vargas has been an effective swingman in the lower levels of the Minors and should soak up valuable innings for the Pelicans.

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    Thanks again for the recaps. Even thought these don't get too many comments, I'm sure they're read by many Denizens. These are very important for us to keep track of all the players we could see at the major league level.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Very true, I read them just about every day.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    You're welcome.

    I know this isn't like the rebuild days when the farm system was stacked and everyone was hyper focused on the next wave of prospects that would arrive. On some days, there just isn't much to discuss.

  • Hey Michael, I've noticed Happ has drastically improved his walk to strikeout ratio (although still without getting too many hits), do you think he has actually become much more disciplined at the plate; or are the pitchers just pitching around him?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    They aren't pitching around him. There are plenty of guys in that Iowa lineup doing more damage than Happ, who is hitting the ball on the ground a lot right now. Right now, even with the solid OBP, he has been a below average hitter overall in the PCL. We use to put up with the Ks because Happ would hit the ball hard when he made contact. But right now, I'm just not seeing a ton of hard hit balls from him. I am hopeful that because he is showing a better feel for the zone, like we saw when he first came up, that at some point things will click for him again though.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    In other words, a good approach is a good first step. But I don't think he is "fixed" yet.

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    In reply to Treebeard:

    I am not sure it is a matter of becoming more disciplined. Maybe just better at making contact.

    In my watching of Javy's numbers I noticed something odd. Happ was among the league leaders last year in swinging--and missing--at balls IN the strike zone at around 70%. I have long since decided Ian Happ is likely simply an outlier player.

    It is disturbing, though, what Michael Reports that he simply isn't hitting the ball very hard. An Ian Happ without the ability to hit the ball hard is a lot less interesting as a prospect. He becomes a switch-hitting, worse disciplined version of TLS.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    TLS I believe has 9 homers so far this year.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Yeah, the issue with TLS was not hitting the ball hard. His exit velocities, especially a couple of years ago, were regularly among the top handful on the team. TLS was just always a GB and LD hitter that didn't lift the ball much. My guess is, he changed that this year. Regular playing time might have allowed him to find a groove he never did here as well.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    This is totally just my own opinion, but I've followed baseball long enough to understand "coach-speak", "player-speak", etc. Reading between the lines. I've read several interviews with the Cubs' management and, more informatively, with Happ himself. I get the feeling there is some friction between them. They don't seem to see eye-to-eye on what the problems are that led to his demotion, so there is a gap in the steps that need to be taken to "fix" them. I feel this is as much a lesson in attitude and coachability as it is in improving his offensive game, though that is also an obvious issue.

    As Michael pointed out, the PCL is a hitter-friendly league, and Happ isn't getting it done. I'm not sure he's currently even league-average at that level.

    I think there's more behind the scenes, and Happ needs to mature as a ballplayer, but again, that's just my opinion.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    His season wRC+ is like 94, which is a little below average, but he's been in the 120 range over the past few weeks. It has almost all been due to walks though.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That gets back to my point. It's hard to "fix" a problem if you can't agree on the root of it. I like the talent of Happ, but I get the feeling that there is a coachability issue.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I’ve always been concerned about his bat. Coming up originally, his poor batting average belied the OPS he produced. Once in the majors, where BA naturally drops, his ISO and Walk% aren’t enough to overcome a fundamentally problematic batting average.

    Yes, I know, BA isn’t the definition of success, but it does represent the majority of ones SLG and OBP. Unfortunately, I just don’t think he’s got it for the majors. Hope I’m wrong.

  • I am excited by Robel Garcia. He has been elevated to Iowa. He has come out of nowhere (Italy) at 26 years old. He evidently will become Rule 5 eligible fairly soon. Michael, have you watched him? Can he make it to Wrigley this summer with his bat.? He is such a cool story, it sounds like a movie. I hear his glove is a little behind his bat, but if he keeps hitting, he could replace Zagunis who looks overmatched. What do you think? Does he have a good chance?

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Just about anyone at AAA could replace Zagunis. But I think Zobrist when/if he comes back replaces Zagunis on 25 man. When Russell’s traded, I could see Dixon Machado getting a shot before Garcia.

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