Archive for the ‘ 2014 Minor Leagues ’ Category

Cubs Cut Ties With Kane County; Hello South Bend

Silver Hawks

After two seasons the Chicago Cubs are moving on from Kane County, and will begin a player development contract with the South Bend Silver Hawks next season (Low A affiliate).  For me this is disappointing only because it was very easy to get to Kane County to see the Cubs prospects play, South Bend is a little further.  On the bright side, the Silver Hawks are still in the Midwest League, so they will travel to Kane County regularly.   As pointed out on Twitter, Kane County is in a different division, and South Bend will not travel there in 2015…. Never mind that “bright side” comment.

South Bend would kill to get the Cubs, not saying they did…. (nervous laugh) but they were hard after the Cubs for a very long time, and it now is coming to fruition.  The main reason for moves like this are to enhance the player development within the organization, hence “player development contract.”  For the two years with Kane County, the Cubs wanted major improvements to the facilities, and while the Cougars announced that they were making upgrades this offseason, it seems as though it wasn’t enough.

I’m sad to say so long to the good people at Kane County, but excited for South Bend Cubs baseball, hope the price of gas goes down next summer…yeeeeeaaah.

 

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Daytona Throttles Dunedin in Game One

Daytona Game One

Full Box Score

The task facing the Daytona Cubs offense was a tall one coming into game one, Matt Boyd had been lights out for Dunedin in 90 innings of work this year.  Not tonight.  The D-Cubs torched Boyd for seven runs over the first 3.1 innings en route to an 11-1 laugher.

At the Plate:

  • Kyle Schwarber was 1-for-5, but it was a big one, a two-0ut grand slam in the fourth inning.  He finished with four RBI’s, and one run scored.
  • Dan Vogelbach had a huge game, he went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Billy McKinney hasn’t slowed down all year, he went 2-for-4 with a double, and two runs scored in the win.
  • Willson Contreras was solid behind the plate, and at the plate, he went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and three runs scored.
  • Bijan Rademacher was also productive from the bottom of the order, he went 3-for-3 with three RBI’s.

On the Mound:

  • Rob Zastrynzy got the start, and was brilliant in picking up the victory.  Zastrynzy worked six innings, giving up one run on five hits, while walking one, and striking out four.
  • The D-Cubs pen worked three scoreless innings, but struggled with their command.  Starling Peralta worked an inning while walking two, and striking out one.  Gerardo Concepcion worked an inning while walking three (See?), and Jose Rosario mopped things up, working an inning while giving up two hits.

Game two is tomorrow night, the D-Cubs have a chance to make quick work of the best of three series.

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Playoff Primer; Daytona Cubs [vs] Dunedin Blue Jays

Daytona

 

If I would have told you that the Daytona Cubs would be participating in the FSL Playoffs this year you would have called me crazy, and probably kicked me a couple times.  But here we are, after a horrendous start to the season, the D-Cubs torched the FSL North in the second half of the season, going 41-27 thanks to some key additions to their lineup.  The two additions I’m thinking of are Kyle Schwarber (2014 1st round pick), and Billy McKinney who was acquired from Oakland in the Samardzija/Hammel deal in July.

Schwarber Aldrin Capulong

Schwarber played in 44 games for Daytona this year, he hit .302 with ten homers, and twenty-eight RBI’s while OPS’ing at a .952 clip.  Schwarber also knows how to get on base, he walked twenty-six times against only thirty-eight strikeouts.

McKinney had a similar season with Daytona, minus the power.  McKinney played in 51 games with Daytona, he hit .301 with twelve doubles, four triples, one homer, and thirty-six RBI’s.  Much like Schwarber, McKinney gets on base with the best of them, he walked twenty-five times against forty-two strikeouts, eerily similar to Schwarber.

Game one is tomorrow night in Daytona, and the Cubs need to take game one before the best of three series shifts to Dunedin.  Daytona sends Rob Zastrynzy to the mound in game one, Z was 4-6 with a 4.66 ERA with Daytona this year.  A stiff test awaits the D-Cubs lineup as Dunedin will go to Matt Boyd who has been lights out this year, he went 5-3 with a 1.39 ERA this season.

Check back for game updates, recaps, etc.  Please don’t rain.

 

FSL North Championship Series Schedule

Game 1 – Tuesday, September 2, 7:05 p.m. – Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark

Game 2 – Wednesday, September 3, 6:30 p.m. – Florida Auto Exchange Stadium

Game 3 – Thursday, September 4, 6:30 p.m. – Florida Auto Exchange Stadium (If Necessary)

 

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Hip Hip, Jorge! Per Reports, Jorge Soler is Getting the Call

Finally.  Per David Kaplan, Jorge Soler will be called up by the Cubs, and will be joining the big club in Cincinnati tomorrow.

LOUD NOISES!!!!

Soler hit his eighth home run (with Iowa) of the season tonight, off of Mariners number one prospect Taijuan Walker… then was pulled from the game, now we know why.  Welcome to Chicago, Jorge!  The one thing fans will notice with Soler is the advanced approach, he knows how to work his at bats, and will take his walks, a stark departure from what we have seen from Baez, etc.

 

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Addison Russell Continues to Show Off His Power (VIDEO)

It was an exciting day for the prospects yesterday, and Addison Russell made sure to join the fun.  Russell belted his 12th home run of the season with the Smokies (175 at bats), after a slow start, Russell has dominated Double-A pitching.

 

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Oh Hey, Just Another Kris Bryant Homer (VIDEO)

Another day, another opposite field blast by Kris Bryant, number 43 on the year, and number 21 with Iowa.  Running out of superlatives to describe what he is doing, so just watch the video.

 

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Boise Throttles Vancouver

Boise 8-22(1)

Full Box Score

  It was all Boise from the word go in this one, as the Hawks put up six runs over the first three inning en route to a 10-3 victory in Vancouver.

At the Plate:

  • Rashad Crawford did his job from the lead-off spot tonight, he was 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Charcer Burks has been productive all year, it continued today as he went 3-for-6 with an RBI, three runs scored, and two stolen bases.  Burks is now hitting .337 on the season.
  • Alex Tomasovich had a solid game, he went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, and a run scored.

On the Mound:

  • Erick Leal got the start and did more than enough to walk away with the win, his sixth of the season.  Leal worked six innings, giving up one run, unearned, on six hits, while walking one, and striking out two.
  • Josh Davis worked a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.
  • Yomar Morel cleaned this up despite being knocked around.  Morel worked two innings, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out two.

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Fun With Numbers: Kris Bryant’s Professional Career

It might be hard to believe, but Kris Bryant was the Cubs first round pick in 2013, that’s right, last year.  With how much we talk about BryantBryant here, and on Twitter, you would think he has been around forever.  Well, there is good reason for it, Kris Bryant has turned himself into a super prospect.  Yesterday’s game with Iowa marked the 163rd professional game for Bryant, or one more game than your typical Major League regular season, let’s dive into Bryant’s stupid numbers.

 

All of these stats are totals from Bryant’s pro career (163 games)

Batting Average:  .336 (194-for-578)
Doubles:   48
Triples:  2
Home Runs:  50
RBI:  137
SB:  16
BB:  89
SO:  180

OBP:  .432
SLG:  .685
OPS:  1.117

Well, that’s absurd.  Even more disturbing is that Bryant started his professional career extremely slow.  In July of 2013 he only hit .220 with two home runs, and nine RBI’s (11 games).  Of Bryant’s 194 hits, 100 are for extra bases, he is a slugging machine.

Now, let’s focus on his 2014 season, which has him as a finalist for Minor League Player of the Year.

2014 Totals (Combined numbers from Tennessee and Iowa)

Batting Average:  .336 (151-for-450)
Doubles:   34
Triples:  0
Home Runs:  41
RBI:  105
SB:  15
BB:  78
SO:  145

OBP:  .444
SLG:  .684
OPS:  1.128

As Bryant faces better competition, he has better production across the board.  2013 is weighing down his OBP/OPS… which is to be expected to some extent seeing it was his first experience as a pro, and it came at the end of his College season.  The one thing that I take away from these stats is this, the strikeout rate.  A guy with Bryant’s power is going to have a certain amount of swing and miss in his game, but his K rate remains static as he ascends through the system, it’s like clockwork actually.

K rate for his career (based on plate appearances) – 26.2%
K rate in 2014 (based on plate appearances) – 26.8%

Breakdown of K rate in 2014 per month

April27.7%
May25.4%
June27.2%
July27.4%
August26.3%

I like seeing this, I think there might be an uptick in these numbers once he’s called up, but maybe not, everything I’ve seen so far indicates that he will sit at this rate rather consistently, and I’m okay with that if he’s hitting 40 home runs a year.  I don’t think Bryant will be called up this year, but early 2015 definitely makes sense, and will set the stage for the Cubs to be relevant again.

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Addison Russell is Stronger Than Me, Blasts Another HR (VIDEO)

One night after hitting a grand slam, Russell belted a two-run shot… I know, underwhelming.  The kid can hit, and I love watching him play shortstop, enjoy his dead center blast from last night.

A line drive, that went over 400 feet.

 

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Kris Bryant Destroys Home Run Number 41 (VIDEO)

What a season for Kris Bryant, we’ll have a post about that shortly, but for now, enjoy his 41st(!!) home run of the season.

That friends, is a bomb.  Bryant just wears out center and right field, it’s a thing of beauty.

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