If you like the Cubs Magnificent 7 and HRs, then this recap is for you. Addison Russell made his debut but Bill McKinney and the Daytona Cubs were rained out
Kyle Hendricks had a short stint and all signs point to a promotion to Chicago in the next few days, most likely for a start this Wednesday.
Baseball Prospectus released their Top 50 Prospects List. The Cubs tally? Three in the top 6, 4 in the top 20, and 5 in the top 50. Those prospects are”
- Kris Bryant (3)
- Javier Baez (5)
- Addison Russell (6)
- Arismendy Alcantara (18)
- Albert Almora (37)
And last but not least, thanks to Cliff 1969 for the photos and commentary (in italics) of Russell and a few others.
Now, on with the recap…
- Kyle Hendricks pitched just 2 innings but he is perfectly healthy. It could only mean one thing. He will be promoted very soon and make his debut with the Cubs. There is only 39 players on the roster so no other moves need to be made. He allowed 1 run and struck out 4, but that is secondary right now. Congrats Kyle!
- Armando Rivero pitched 2 scoreless innings but did allow 2 inherited runners to score and thus, allowed OKC to tie the game. The runs were charged to veteran Yoanner Negrin, who piggybacked Hendricks abreviated start and allowed 3 runs in 4 innings. Rivero walked one batter, struck out none, and was charged with a blown save.
- Arismendy Alcantara could be next. It seems that with the recent promotions of closer Blake Parker and now Hendricks, the Cubs aren’t overly concerned with breaking up a prospect laden Iowa team. Could Arismendy be next? He certainly continues to make his case, going 2 for 5. Alcantara is hitting .310/.352/.541 on the year and if you like counting numbers, he has 24 doubles, 11 triples, 10 HRs, and 21 SBs.
- If I would have told you a couple of months ago that a hitter went 1 for 4 with a walk where the one hit was an opposite field HR, you probably would have guess that it was Bryant. Not so. It is the new and improved Javier Baez, who hit his 13th HR of the season. Incredibly, he now has an 8.6% walk rate with his 28th free pass of the season. 28 is more than he has had at any single level, 7 more than he had in all of the 2012 season, and just 12 away from his full season career high — and we’re not even at the all-star break. He is hitting .241/.310/.448 overall.
- Chris Valaika has quietly had a nice season. The Reds former #12 prospect is having the kind of season most envisioned from he could do 5 years ago. Is it too late for him? I don’t think so. His ability to play multiple positions and his solid right-handed stick give him a shot at a utility job somewhere. He went 2 for 4 with a double and is hitting .296/.363/.454 woth 8 HRs this season.
- Kris Bryant hits his 30th HR of the year between AA and AAA. This may be hard to believe but Bryant actually has a higher OPS through 19 games than he did in AA this year. He has hit .357/.423/.786 with 8 HRs in AAA and .355 with 30 HRs, 80 RBI, and 11 SBs on the year.
- Manny Ramirez went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
- Ryan Kalish went 2 for 4 with his 3rd HR of the year, but he still hasn’t found his groove yet, hitting just .213.
- Corey Black allowed just one run on 3 hits in 6 innings, though he did walk 4 batters. Black had a rough start, walking the leadoff batter who scored the Baron’s only run in the first. He settled down after that, but threw a lot of pitches and walked a total of 4. Seemed like all his pitches were between 89-91 – not much variety in the velocity. I will not that the Birmingham radar is known for often being 2-3 ticks slow, so he may have been throwing a bit harder than that. He did strike out 6.
- Andrew McKirahan pitched 2 scoreless innings but did not miss many bats. The box score looks good, but he was hit – hard. A couple of sharp liners right at outfielders and a warning track fly ball. Could have been different, easily.
- Pin-Chieh Chen is handling AA ball pretty well. He went 2 for 4 with a walk, 2 RBI and a run scored. He is off to a .263 start with a .417 OBP in his first 5 games at Tennessee.
- Stephen Bruno went 2 for 5 as he continues his steady performance at the plate this season.
- Addison Russell made his Cubs debut. Russell lined out to short on the first pitch he faced in the Cubs organization. He was assigned #31, but wore #4 today (no name on back). I presume his uni isn’t ready yet. Unfortunately, he went 0-5 with two K’s. His first fielding play as a Smokie was a ground ball for a double play.
- Jorge Soler, as usual, did not miss a beat despite the time off, He lined a single and hit a bomb in his 5 ABs this year. It was his first AA HR in 8 games though he has hit 7 doubles in 29 ABs.
- Charles Cutler went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored while Jonathan Mota went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored. He was robbed in his last AB on a diving play.
- It’s been a tough year for Dustin Geiger but perhaps he’ll have a good 2nd half now that he is surrounded with more talent. He went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI. He has hit .220/.297/.382 with 11 HRs.
- Tyler Skulina hasn’t been 100% healthy this year so he hasn’t had the kind of year many expected as far as his velocity and peripherals go. But this could be quite a learning experience for Skulina, who has learned to pitch with a high 80s fastball. He pitched 6 innings of one run baseball with no walks and 3 Ks. He got a no-decision, so he stayed at 4-4 but lowered his ERA to 2.88. If Skulina’s mid 90s velo returns, he could become interesting again now that he has learned to get by with more pitchability.
- Pitchability is a skill that Jen-Ho Tseng has possessed almost from the get-go. He piggybacked the start and ended up getting a longer outing than he bargained for, as the game went into extra innings. Clinton could barely touch Tseng, who went 5 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit and one walk. On the season he has worked 55.1 innings and walked just 8 batters while striking out nearly a batter per inning at 54. His ERA is at 2.93.
- James Pugliese kept the game going with 2 scoreless innings. He did walk 2 but lowered his ERA to 1.31.
- Gerardo Concepcion lost the game when he allowed a run on 2 hits and 2 walks in just 1/3 of an inning.
- Shawon Dunston had a line like the type he used to put up at Boise, going 2 for 4 and walking twice. He also drove in the Cougars only run, driving in Trey Martin (2 for 6, double). Dunston is hitting .256/.303/.356.
- Ben Carhart, Jeimer Candelario, and David Bote each had two hits.
- Ben Wells started the game and pitched 4 innings, walking 2, striking out 4 and allowing 3 runs (1 earned). He was relieved by Josh Davis who pitched 2 scoreless innings (o BB, 3 Ks) to get the win.
- Jeffrey Baez went 2 for 4, scored 3, drove in 1 and stole a base. Baez is now hitting .240/.318/.500 with 6 HRs and 12 steals.
- Rashad Crawford went 3 for 5 and drove in 3 runs in what has been a solid start to the season for the speedy outfielder. He is hitting .289 though he hasn’t added much in terms of walks or power yet. Crawford was the Cubs 11th round pick in the 2012 draft.
- Mark Zagunis can run for a catcher and he stole 2 bases today to give him 4 on the season. He also went 2 for 4 with a walk and an RBI. He is hitting .414 so far at Boise.
- 2B Chesny Young was a guy we thought was advanced enough to start at Boise and he got the call yesterday. He went 3 for 3 with a double, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. Nice debut.
- Kyuji Fujikawa took the next step on the road back from TJS with a scoreless inning. He retired all 3 batters, striking out one of them.
- 7th round pick James Norwood made his professional debut but it didn’t go particularly well. The hard-throwing RHP got hit hard, allowing 4 hits and 3 runs in one inning of work.
- 18th round pick RHP Austyn Willis is a sleeper we like. Right now he is more about projection but the attributes are there. He also struggled, however, as he pitched just 1/3 of an inning, walking 2 and allowing one hit and 2 runs. Could be a case of the first game jitters.
- Alex Santana walked 2 and allowed a run in 2.2 innings to take the loss.
- Jefferson Mejia continued his dominant start to the season with 3 innnings to end the game, he walked none and struck out 3, but he did allow a run, causing his ERA to rise to…0.73. He has 2 walks and 15 Ks in 12.1 innings.
- The Cubs may have themselves a find with 13th round pick Kevonte Mitchell. We have seen the 3B get off to a good start with the bat. Yesterday he took a pair of walks. He is hitting .400 to start his pro career.
- Eloy Jimenez went 1 for 4 and scored a run. He is hitting .389 so far.
- 2B-SS Ho-Son Young was signed for his speed and defense but so far he has hit better than expected. A 1 for 3 game left him at .286 for the season.