Results tagged ‘ Javier Baez ’

Cubs land 7 players on MLB.com Top 100

Last night MLB Network aired a special to unveil the MLB.com top 100 prospects for 2014, and the Cubs were all over that list.  It was fun listening to the likes of Jim Callis, and Jonathan Mayo gush about how many good, young players the Cubs have waiting in the wings.  A total of seven players graced the list, here is a breakdown of each player, and some analysis.

** Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools — 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average (MLB.com/Prospects rating scale)

Pierce Johnson Top 100

#100 – Right handed pitcher, Pierce Johnson (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Johnson was drafted in the supplemental round of the 2012 MLB Draft, 43rd overall by the Cubs.  2013 was Johnson’s first full professional season, and it was impressive.  Johnson pitched over two levels and actually found more success with Daytona which was the higher level.  Overall for 2013 Johnson went 11-6 with a 2.74 ERA while starting 21 games and appearing in 23.  In 118.1 innings Johnson only allowed 109 hits, 5 home runs (5!), while walking 43 and striking out 124.  I mentioned more success at Daytona, with the D-Cubs, Johnson worked 48.2 innings allowing only one home run with a sparkling 2.22 ERA.

Arismendy Alcantara Top 100

#89 – 2B/SS, Arismendy Alcantara (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Alcantara seemingly came out of nowhere in 2013 but in reality the talent has always been there it was just a matter of everything coming together at once.  With a brilliant 2013 season Alcantara cemented his status as the Cubs second baseman of the future, and will probably be seen on the North Side this upcoming season.  Alcantara played all of 2013 with the Smokies at the double A level and really showcased his all around game.  In just under 500 at bats Alcantara hit .271 with a .352 on base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage which was good for an .804 OPS.  Couple those on base numbers with the 31 stolen bases he had and he becomes a legitimate threat at the top of the order.  Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says that Alcantara reminds him of Jose Reyes-lite, well, that works.

Jorge Soler Top 100

#49 – OF, Jorge Soler (21 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 55 | Power: 65 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 55 | Overall: 60

Now we start getting into the meat and potatoes of the Cubs prospects, first up Jorge Soler.  I’ve seen Soler play in person a number of times, and he is an impressive specimen.  He looks more like a football player than a baseball player, but he makes it work.    Injuries derailed his 2013 season as he was only able to get 210 at bats with the Daytona Cubs.  Soler produced for the Minor League team of the year as he cracked 8 home runs, and had 35 RBI’s.  Those numbers are down a bit, again he is still adjusting to the professional game, and is only 21.  Jason Parks chimed in on Soler as well saying that his is slow to adjust, is the most likely of Cubs prospects to “miss” which I think makes sense given his raw ability, still a high ceiling though.

CJ Edwards Top 100

#42 – RHP, C.J. Edwards (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 60

Oh, hello CJ Edwards.  That’s right, after an amazing 2013 season, Edwards has vaulted past Jorge Soler on this list.  Baseball Prospectus also had Edwards ranked as the #3 player in the Cubs organization, ahead of Soler, and Albert Almora.  Edwards wasn’t even with the Cubs at this time last year, he was one of four, yes four players acquired from Texas in the Matt Garza deal.  The 2013 season saw Edwards give up one home run, one, just one…. take that Pierce Johnson.  For 2013 Edwards tossed 116.1 innings combined at the high A level for Texas and Chicago, he only gave up 76 hits.  He finished with a 8-2 record and a 1.86 ERA while walking 41 and striking out 155, goodnight!  Jason Parks doesn’t see Edwards with a huge ceiling but Jim Callis said that Edwards could be the top of the rotation guy the Cubs need.

Albert  Almora Top 100

#18 – OF, Albert Almora (19 years old)
Scouting Grades: 
Hit: 65 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 75 | Overall: 60

When it’s all said and done Albert Almora might the favorite player of a lot of fans.  While Almora doesn’t have any tools that jump off the page at you (except for his glove I guess) he plays well above them, that’s exactly what Jim Callis said last night.  Almora is a baseball player, run through the wall, do whatever it takes to win, baseball player.  Because of his 100% all the time playing style he suffered a number of injuries in 2013 which kind of disjointed his season.  Almora spent all of 2013 at Kane County but only got 249 at bats due to said injuries, but he made the most of them.  He hit .329 with 17 doubles, four triples, three homers, and 23 RBI’s.  His slash numbers were even more impressive, he had a .379 on base percentage, and a .466 slugging percentage which was good for an .842 OPS.  I think Almora will become more patient at the plate as he gets older but right now he’s fine, he walked 17 times last year and only struck out 30 times, expect to see Almora on the North Side in 2016.

Kris Bryant Top 100

#9 – 3B, Kris Bryant (22 years old)
Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 70 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

Kris Bryant seems to be on the fast track, one reason is that he is far more advanced than the other Cubs prospects on this list, the other is he mashes the baseball.  Bryant made it to three different levels in just 36 games, that’s ridiculous, he also hit at every level.  Then he went on to the Arizona Fall League and destroyed the ball in earning accolades such as the MVP award.  Bryant had 128 at bats in 2013 not counting the Arizona Fall League and his a combined .336 with 9 home runs, and 32 RBI’s, extrapolate that, good Lord.  Walking is something that Bryant hasn’t done a lot of right now, but it’s hard to argue with the .390 on base percentage, .719 slugging percentage and 1.106 OPS.  The numbers are eye-popping, and the Cubs aren’t shy about moving Bryant wherever he deserves to go, and many believe that could be as early as 2015.  Given Bryant’s defensive ability and bat it’s not out of the question that he moves to right field to keep 3B open for Baez, either way the Cubs will find a spot for that bat.

Javier Baez Top 100

#7 – SS, Javier Baez (21 years old)
Scouting Grades: Hit:
60 | Power: 70 | Run: 50 | Arm: 65 | Field: 50 | Overall: 65

If you’re not excited about Javier Baez, first off, where have you been, secondly, it’s about time you are.  Baez destroy minor league baseball last year at both high A and double A.  There wasn’t a more feared hitter in baseball, in 517 at bats Baez crushed 37 home runs, and had 111 RBI’s with a total of 75 extra-base hits.  He has been burdened with high expectations and all he has done is create new ones which are even higher.  Surveying the top prospect lists for 2014 the number seven ranking is going to be the “worst” for Baez.  Jason Parks slots him at number four but said there really isn’t a good reason why he shouldn’t be number one, that’s in all of baseball.  Many people are expecting Baez to make his Cubs debut this upcoming season, the plan right now is for him to start in triple A as Iowa’s shortstop.  Moving forward, given Baez’s defensive issues he might move to 3B but again, that really has a lot to do with how other players develop as well.

Prospects are just that, a young player that has expectation or is projected to have some sort of impact at the Major League level.  There really is no such thing as a sure thing in this game, and that goes for Cubs prospects as well.  As good as these players are there is no guarantee that any or all of them will make it to the Cubs, and be an impact player like they are projected.  That said, Cubs fans have had little to get excited about recently and this is definitely a list that you can not only get excited about but truly believe that there is some hope in the near future.

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MLB.com Top 100 Prospect List airs Tonight at 9 PM CST

Baez 2014

The Cubs minor league system had a tremendous year in 2013, it was so good that Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) of Baseball Prospectus has vaulted them to the second best system in all of baseball.  Parks continued the Cubs prospect love fest on Twitter saying that Javier Baez could easily land the #1 overall prospect spot, those are big words.

Tonight there should be even more light shined on the Cubs system as MLB Network is airing their top 100 prospects announcement at 9:00 PM CST.  Not only that, but some of the prospects that are on the list will be live tweeting during the broadcast, including Cubs prospects Albert Almora (@Albertalmora), and Kris Bryant (@KrisBryant_23).  As these list’s come out I will be back with a full rundown of who said what, and where the Cubs prospects rank in baseball.  Make sure you tune in tonight and follow Albert and Kris on Twitter tonight, and don’t be surprised if you don’t hear Javier Baez’s name until the top 5.

Here’s a link to the mlb.com story about tonight’s broadcast.

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Javier Baez just walked off for the Smokies (VIDEO)

No words.  Wow.  Wait, that’s one word to describe it.  Drops to a knee, what a beast.

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Born on Third – Minor Matters; July 28, 2013

Minor Matters

SPOTLIGHT GAME

Daytona 7-28 line

Full Box Score

At the plate - Daytona couldn’t get the big hit when they needed it in this one, but still found enough offense to escape with a win.  Ben Carhart was 2-for-5 in the win, he is now hitting .251 on the season.  Dustin Geiger has put together a stellar 2013, he was 2-for-4 with a walk in this one and is now hitting .289 on the season.  Both Taiwan Easterling and Brad Zapenas had two hits, and a run scored today.  Daytona registered nine hits but they were only 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eleven men on base.

On the mound - I was really excited for C.J. Edwards Cubs debut today and he didn’t disappoint.  Edwards was nasty going five scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out eight.  The only hit Edwards gave up was of the infield variety, and not one ball made it out of the infield.  That wasn’t the only impressive stat from this one as Edwards struck out the first seven hitters he faced, unfortunately he walked away with a no decision.  Lendy Castillo took over and was solid going three scoreless innings giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while walking three, and striking out three to earn his first win of the year.  Austin Reed worked the ninth for his third save of the year, he allowed one hit and that was it.

SCORES

Iowa 7-28 line

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Smokies 7-28 line

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Kane County 7-28 line

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Boise 7-28 line

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AZL Cubs 7-28 line

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TOP PERFORMERS

  • Iowa Cubs:  Brad Nelson was 1-for-3 with his second triple of the season, an RBI, and a walk.
  • Iowa Cubs:  Ty Wright was 3-for-4 with three(!) doubles, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Iowa Cubs:  Chang-Yong Lim worked two scoreless innings in relief giving up two hits while striking out two.
  • Tennessee Smokies:  Javier Baez was 2-for-5 with two home runs, four RBI’s, and two runs scored.
  • Tennessee Smokies:  Rubi Silva was 2-for-4 with a double, and two outfield assists.
  • Kane County Cougars:  Albert Almora was 2-for-5 with a run scored, he is now hitting .333 on the season.
  • Kane County Cougars:  Jeimer Candelario was 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored.
  • Kane County Cougars:  Rock Shoulders was 2-for-5 with a double, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Kane County Cougars:  The bullpen; Nathan Dorris, Starling Peralta, and Armando Rivero worked a combined seven scoreless innings giving up three hits while walking four and striking out nine.
  • Boise Hawks:  Kris Bryant was 1-for-3 with his second home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Boise Hawks:  Dillon Maples picked up the win going five innings giving up one run on five hits while striking out five.  He hasn’t walked a batter in his last two outings.
  • Boise Hawks:  Corbin Hoffner was solid out of the pen going three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out two.
  • AZL Cubs:  Charcer Burks was 2-for-4 with his first double of the season.

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Born on Third: Minor Matters – July 12, 2013


SPOTLIGHT GAME

Iowa 7-12 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Not much going for the Iowa offense, luckily they didn’t need much to walk away with a victory.  Darnell McDonald was 2-for-2 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the win.  J.C. Boscan had the big hit for Iowa as he was 1-for-3 with a double, and two RBI’s.  The Cubs could only manage five hits in this one but they were 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

On The Mound – It was the Guillermo Moscoso show as he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before allowing a double, and that was it.  Moscoso worked eight scoreless innings giving up one hit, two walks, and five strikeouts.  Brian Schlitter was solid as usual as he worked a scoreless inning while walking one and striking out one to earn his eleventh save of the season.

SCORES

AZL Cubs 7-12 line

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Boise 7-12 line

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Kane County 7-12 line

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Smokes 7-12 game 1

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Smokies 7-12 game two

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TOP PERFORMERS

  • AZL Cubs – Starling Peralta was brilliant working three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three.
  • AZL Cubs – Kevin Freeman was 2-for-4 with his first double of the season.
  • Boise HawksShawon Dunston was 3-for-5 with two doubles (7 on the season), an RBI, and two runs scored.
  • Boise HawksJordan Hankins was 2-for-4 with his first double of the year, and two runs scored.
  • Boise HawksTyler Skulina worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one.
  • Kane CountyGioskar Amaya was 2-for-3 with his fifth triple of the year, a walks, and a run scored.
  • Kane CountyOliver Zapata was 1-for-4 with his fourth home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.
  • Tennessee SmokiesArismendy Alcantara was 2-for-4 with a walk, and a run scored in game one.
  • Tennessee SmokiesJavier Baez was 2-for-4 with a walk, and an RBI in game one.
  • Tennessee SmokiesAustin Kirk was solid in game one going six scoreless innings giving up four hits while walking one and striking out three.
  • Tennessee SmokiesFrank Batista was great out of the pen to pick up the win in game one, he worked three scoreless innings while walking two and striking out two.
  • Tennessee Smokies – Javier Baez was solid in game two as well, he went 2-for-4 with his second homer of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.
  • Tennessee SmokiesYeiper Castillo was solid in game two working four innings giving up one run on one hit while striking out six.
  • Tennessee SmokiesKevin Rhoderick is starting to round into form, he worked three scoreless innings out of the pen to pick up his first win of the season, he also struck out two.

Notes:  Daytona was rained out

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Born on Third; Minor Matters July 6, 2013

Kane County Cougars (1991 - Pres)

Kane County 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate - Not much happening for the Cougars at the plate in this one as they were shut out and could only manage three hits the whole night.  Albert Almora was 1-for-2 in the loss and also had to leave the game early with an apparent leg/hamstring injury, he briefly stayed in the game but came out the next inning.  Marco Hernandez and Carlos Escobar each had one hit, all three Cougars hits were singles.

On The MoundJose Rosario got the start and also the loss, his fifth of the season as he was roughed up.  Rosario worked five innings giving up five runs on six hits while walking four (not good) and striking out one.  Sheldon McDonald was outstanding in relief going three scoreless innings giving up one hit while striking out three.  Michael Hamann worked one inning out of the pen and got into some trouble before escaping unscathed, he worked one scoreless inning giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one.

Daytona 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Daytona was cruising in this one as they led 6-0 into the bottom of the eighth inning, that’s when thing got uncomfortable.  Dunedin put five runs on the board in the bottom of the eighth to get within one, luckily the D-Cubs stopped the bleeding and held on to win 6-5.  Zeke DeVoss was productive out of the lead off spot going 3-for-5 with three RBI’s.  Ben Carhart continues his solid 2013 as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s, he’s now hitting .277 on the season with 38 RBI’s.  Bijan Rademacher was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and an RBI, those are his first two doubles since being called up to Daytona (17 AB).  Pin-Chieh Chen was 1-for-2 with two walks (Cubs Way!), a triple, and two runs scored.

On The MoundPierce Johnson got the start in this one and picked up his first win with Daytona in his third start.  Johnson worked five scoreless innings giving up five hits while walking one and striking out five.  Austin Reed was solid out of the pen as he worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit and walking one.  Jeffrey Lorick doesn’t have many bad games, this was one of them as he worked one inning giving up five runs on four hits while walking one and striking out two.  Dayan Diaz took over for Lorick and was barely able to hang on for the save which was the his first of the season.  Diaz worked one scoreless inning giving up three hits before escaping some big time trouble.

Tennessee 7-6 line

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At The Plate – The Smokies fell behind quickly in this one and could never recover as they were trailing 7-1 by the bottom of the fourth en route to an 8-2 defeat.  Not much going offensively but the big news from the day and the game was the debut of Javier Baez, he went 1-for-4 with his first AA home run on his first AA swing of that bat.  Christian Villanueva has put together a pretty decent season so far, he was 1-for-4 with his eleventh home run of the year, and his forty-second RBI.  Rubi Silva had a solid game going 2-for-4 with two singles, he’s now hitting .264 on the season.

On The MoundAustin Kirk got the start for the Smokies and had a rough go of it as he suffered his third loss of the season.  Kirk worked two innings giving up six runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out two.  Yeiper Castillo was outstanding out of the pen going five innings giving up one run on four hits while walking three and striking out four.  Kevin Rhoderick struggled with his command again in this one, he worked two innings giving up one run on one hit while walking three (the command thing).

Iowa 7-6 line

Full Box Score Game One / Full Box Score Game Two

At The Plate – Not a great day all around for Iowa as they lost both ends of the doubleheader to Albuquerque.  Logan Watkins was solid in game one going 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a walk, he also made his ninth error of the season.  Junior Lake continues his solid 2013 going 1-for-3 with two walks (Cubs Way!) in game one, he’s now hitting .319 on the season.  The Cubs worked six walks in game one (good!) however they were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position (bad!).  Game two saw much of the same as the Cubs worked four walks, but could only manage five hits, and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

On The MoundJake Arrieta made his Cubs debut in game one and was only able to work one inning before the rains came.  Arrieta struggled with his command as he gave up one run on one hit while walking two and striking out two in his inning of work.  Esmailin Caridad took over and also took the loss as he went three innings giving up two runs, one earned, while walking one and striking out two.  In game two Barret Loux was outstanding but still wound up on the losing end as the Cubs couldn’t muster any offense.  Loux went six innings giving up one run on four hits while walking four and striking out six.

Boise 7-6 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Hawks were able to pound out ten hits in this one but couldn’t push across any runs except for in the third when they scored three times.  Daniel Lockhart had a solid game, minus one error, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored.  Yasiel Balaguert was 1-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .272 on the season.  Jacob Rogers was the offense in this one as he was 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season, three RBI’s, and a run scored.  The Hawks only had five chances with runners in scoring position despite having ten hits, they finished the game going 2-for-5.

On The MoundJames Pugliese was finally roughed up, he worked five innings giving up five runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out six.  Scott Frazier was solid out of the pen going two scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one and striking out one.  Zack Godley, and Matt Iannazzo each worked a scoreless inning in relief to keep the Hawks in the game during the late innings.

AZL Cubs 7-6

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Minor Matters – June 10, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Runs came early and often in this one as Iowa held a 6-5 lead after five innings, they added an insurance run, which they would need en route to a 7-6 victory of Oklahoma City. Solid offensive day for Iowa as eight of the nine guys in the starting lineup had at least one hit and the Cubs were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position.  Logan Watkins was solid out of the leadoff spot going 2-for-5 with a double, and two RBI’s.  Brad Nelson had a huge day going 2-for-4 with two home runs, two RBI’s, and two runs scored.  All Junior Lake has done since coming back from injury is hit, he was 1-for-5 with his fifth double of the season, and two runs scored.  Ian Stewart has found some magic at the plate as of late, he was 1-for-3 in this one with a double, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

On The MoundYoanner Negrin is still getting stretched out as he makes his transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation; he made his third start of the season last night.  Negrin worked five innings giving up five runs on ten hits while walking two and striking out eight, he earned his first win of the season.  Casey Coleman continued his brilliance of the pen as he worked three scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one and striking out two.  Brian Schlitter worked a rocky ninth as he gave up one run on two hits while striking out one to earn his second save of the season.

Smokies 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Tough loss for Tennessee as they let a 3-0 lead get away in the sixth inning, and wound up losing 4-3 in walk off fashion in the ninth.  Arismendy Alcantara continued his stellar 2013 as he went 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .290 on the season.  Christian Villanueva also was 2-for-4 with a run scored, unfortunately the Smokies could do nothing with runners in scoring position going 1-for-8.  Rafael Lopez had a solid game going 2-for-4 with two doubles, that gives him fourteen on the season, he also had a run scored in the loss.

On The MoundA.J. Morris got the start for the Smokies and was outstanding going 5.1 innings giving up one run on two hits while striking out four.  Zach Rosscup is usually reliable, he was knocked around however as he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one.  Trey McNutt is starting to turn things around, he was solid going 1.2 scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out two.  Kevin Rhoderick continued to struggle and got the loss, he worked two-thirds of an inning giving up one run on one hit while walking one and striking out one.

Daytona 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The PlateJavier Baez, that’s all you need to know.  These types of games don’t come around too often, in fact what Baez did was only the second time that it has been done in the 94 year history of the Florida State League.  Baez was 4-for-4 with FOUR home runs (FOUR!), seven RBI’s (SEVEN), and four runs scored, have a day, kid.  The huge night makes Baez’s numbers for the season look that much better, he’s hitting .291 with thirteen homers, and forty-four RBI’s, in a pitchers league.  Wow.

On The Mound – Rough go of it for Zach Cates, but he did give Daytona some innings, and picked up his sixth win of the season.  Cates worked six innings giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits while striking out six.  Luis Liria was knocked around out of the pen as he worked one inning giving up two runs on two hits while walking three (Not Good), and striking out two.  Larry Suarez was tremendous out of the pen going 1.1 scoreless innings giving up one hit while walking one.  Frank Del Valle worked the final two-thirds of an inning to pick up his fourth save of the year, he walked one and struck out two in the process.

Kane County 6-10 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate - Nothing going right for Kane County lately, and last night was no exception as they fell to Cedar Rapids 6-2.  The Cougars could only manage two runs on six hits, but did walk four times, unfortunately they were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.  Albert Almora was 1-for-4 in the loss with his seventh double of the season, he is now hitting .423 for the year.  Rock Shoulders found some hits last night, he was 2-for-4 with his twelfth double of the season, and a run scored.  Oliver Zapata was 2-for-3 with a run scored, he now has his average up to .270 on the season.

On The Mound - Pierce Johnson got the start and had one of his worst outings of 2013 as he suffered his fifth loss of the season.  Johnson worked 4.2 innings giving up five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out four.  Lendy Castillo took over and did a solid job of keeping the Cougars in it, he worked 3.1 innings giving up one run on three hits while striking out four.

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Javier Baez is doing something completely stupid (in a good way) (VIDEO)

FOUR home runs.  FOUR.  Javier Baez is 4-for-4 with four home runs, seven RBI’s, and it’s only been seven innings.  Obviously I will have more on the amazing night that Baez is having during the minor league recap post.  I’ll keep you updated as he might get another at bat if Daytona scores a few more runs.  Second player in the 94 year history of the FSL, the other guy??  Ryan Harvey…. oops.

Here’s video via the Daytona Cubs Facebook page of the 4th HR.

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Minor Matters – June 7, 2013 (Cubs Minor League Reports)

Iowa 6-7 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Iowa had plenty of opportunities in this one but finished the night 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and on the wrong end of a 3-1 final.  Brent Lillibridge was 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot with three singles in the loss.  Welcome back Junior Lake, since returning from the injury Lake has been on fire, he was 2-for-3 in this one with a walk, a double, and an RBI, he’s hitting .429 on the season.

On The Mound Chris Rusin was brilliant in this one and still wound up with his sixth loss of the season, he has a 3.67 ERA, doesn’t seem right to be 4-6.  Rusin worked eight strong innings giving up two runs on three hits while walking two and striking out seven.  Brian Schlitter worked one inning out of the pen giving up one run on two hits while striking out one, he now has a 1.35 ERA on the season.

Smokies 6-7 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Tennessee was never really in this one as they fell behind 4-0 by the fourth inning and could only manage one run on eight hits in the loss.  Matt Szczur continued his solid season going 3-for-4 out of the leadoff spot, all three hits were singles, Szczur is now hitting .296 on the season.  Jonathan Mota was 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored in the loss.

On The MoundAustin Kirk, who has been pitching for Daytona all year was promoted to Tennessee and made his debut tonight, it was a rough one.  Kirk worked six innings giving up six runs on ten hits while walking two and striking out four, he took the loss.  Tony Zych was solid out of the pen working one scoreless inning giving up one hit while striking out one.  Hunter Cervenka is starting to settle down for Tennessee, he has struggled since his promotion but was solid in this one working one scoreless inning while striking out two.

Daytona 6-7 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – The Daytona Cubs fought back in the eighth and ninth but came up just one run short, losing 7-6 to Brevard County.  Tim Saunders who has struggled this year had a solid game going 2-for-4 with three RBI’s in the loss.  Javier Baez continues to improve at the plate; he was 2-for-5 with a run scored and is now hitting .281 on the season.  Zeke DeVoss had an outstanding game going 3-for-3 with three singles, three stolen bases, and three runs scored (THREE).  Wes Darvill was 2-for-4 out of the ninth spot with an RBI, and a run scored.

On The MoundMatt Loosen struggled at Tennessee so he was demoted to Daytona and made his 2013 debut tonight, it didn’t go so well.  Loosen struggled working five innings giving up six runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out four, he took the loss.  Jeffrey Lorick worked two innings giving up one run on two hits out of the pen.  Austin Reed was solid going two scoreless innings giving up two hits while striking out one.

Kane County 6-7 line

Full Box Score

At The Plate – Kane County was able to push across a run in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 deadlock and eventually beat Burlington 3-2.  Jeimer Candelario continues to have a strong 2013, he was 1-for-4 with his second home run of the season, an RBI, and a run scored.  Bijan Rademacher continues to hit, he was 2-for-4 with a double, and a run scored, he’s now hitting .324 on the season.  Carlos Escobar had a solid night going 2-for-4 with his first triple of the season, and two huge RBI’s.

On The MoundTayler Scott, the newly named all-star showed why he belonged on that roster tonight as he was outstanding.  Scott worked seven innings giving up two runs, on earned, on eight hits while walking three, he didn’t strike out anybody, how odd is that?  Steve Perakslis was solid out of the pen as he worked two scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking two and striking out two.

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The Final Four; Massive 2013 First Year Player Draft Preview

There will come a time soon enough where the Cubs are not picking at the top of the draft, this year is not that time as the Cubs pick number two overall.  Picking that high obviously means you suffered through the previous year, but it also means that you should get an impact player and that’s exactly what the Cubs are out to get.  This is an exciting time, not just because of the high pick, but because the Cubs are going to add forty some odd young men to their organization, but let’s focus on what they might do with their first pick.

Over the last few weeks we have read quotes, and stories about what the 2013-MLB-draft1Cubs might do with the number two pick, ultimately only the Cubs really know, but much like last year I think it has a lot to do with what the Astros do with the number one pick.  Now last year the Cubs were picking sixth, but I thought that whole draft changed when the Astros went with Carlos Correa at number one as that was a player that many people thought might be on the Cubs radar at six, he went one.  After the draft the Cubs were steadfast in their response, “Almora was the guy no matter what, we would have taken him number one.”  I like hearing that, the draft should be more about evaluating talent than reacting to what other teams are doing, sure you want to take the best available that high in the draft, but your best available might not be another teams best available.  The general consensus is that the Cubs have narrowed their choice down to four guys, let’s take a look at who the Cubs are looking at as well as my predictions.

Appel Draft

The Cubs want him, that’s my honest opinion, I think if the Cubs had the number one pick in the draft they would take Appel.  Funny thing is, the Cubs had a shot at Appel in last years draft, but Appel slipped, he was once thought of as the number one overall pick last year until his bonus demands scared a number of teams off.  Appel eventually went eighth to the Pirates but could not come to terms on a contract so returned to Stanford for his senior season, and here we are again with Appel atop the draft rankings.  It’s easy to see why the Cubs like him, he has a plus fastball, and three above average pitches that he can throw for strikes, and projects as a top of the rotation guy.  I don’t like saying can’t miss with a pitcher because of arm injuries that are just one pitch away, but he’s as can’t miss as they come.

Via Jonathan Mayo:

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 7/8 | Slider: 5/6 | Changeup: 5/6 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 5/7

*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.

Prediction – Houston doesn’t pass on him twice and takes him at number one overall.
Cubs Chances - Fair, there is no clear-cut number one, and I think if the Astros don’t grab Appel then the Cubs will.

Gray Draft

You know, the Cubs need power arms, well here’s a power arm, and then some.  Gray has a plus plus fastball which has been clocked at triple digits, not just at the start of games, but late in games.  He might not be as polished as Appel, but he has two plus pitches and has a chance to keep developing that change-up into a plus pitch as well.  Now the positive adderall test, this has put a seed of doubt into some people’s minds, I wouldn’t say that I am one of them. I don’t think the Cubs are either, if the Cubs want an arm at number two and their best available (Apple, in my opinion) is off the board then they go with Gray.

Via Jonathan Mayo:

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Fastball: 7/8 | Slider: 5/6 | Changeup: 4/5 | Control: 4/5 | Overall: 5/6

*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.

Prediction - Gray is still on the board at two and the Cubs take him.
Cubs Chances - Great, I think he will be on the board still, and it comes down to if the Cubs think Gray is the best available.

Bryant Draft

Yes I know that I have a Cubs logo with Bryant as well, here’s why.  This front office is very particular with their high first round picks, they prefer bats, specifically college bats.  Kris Bryant has rocketed up the draft charts because of his tremendous Junior season at the University of San Diego.  Third base is a challenge for the Cubs, not just at the  MLB level but at the minor league level as well.  Josh Vitters is the cream of the crop in the organization with whispers about Javier Baez being moved there.  If the Cubs want to grab a power bat at the hot corner this would be their chance.  The only thing that would pull the Cubs away from Bryant would be his swing and miss potential, but some say his power makes up for that.

Via Jonathan Mayo:

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 4/5 | Power: 5/7 | Run: 4/4 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 4/6

*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.

Prediction – Assuming the Astros don’t take Bryant at number one, which they could, then I think Bryant lands with Colorado.  A word of caution however, if the Astros take Appel the Cubs front office might choose to follow what they have in the past and favor hitting over pitching.  All depends on who they Cubs feel is the best available, I don’t think they take Bryant just because he’s a third baseman.
Cubs Chances – Excellent, odds are Bryant will be there, the Cubs would just have to pull the trigger.Image13

This is where things get interesting in my opinion, here’s why.  Moran profiles as the “Cubs Way” guy, meaning he is a better overall hitter than Bryant, but odds are he won’t reach the power potential that Bryant will.  However, Moran will have professional at bats, do the Cubs trust their scouting and philosophy to take the guy that fits the mold the most?  I’m leaning towards no on that one just because I feel that if they are going to take the best available in their eyes, and they will, that will not be Moran.  Another wrinkle is that Moran is a left-handed hitting third baseman, I already talked about the need at third base, but the need for a solid left-handed hitting third baseman is almost enough to make a team jump, just don’t think the Cubs will.

Via Jonathan Mayo:

Scouting Grades* (present/future): Hit: 5/6 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 3/3 | Arm: 5/5 | Field: 4/5 | Overall: 4/6

*Players are graded on a 2-8 scale for both present and future tools. 2-3 is well below average, 4 is below average, 5 is average, 6 is above average and 7-8 is plus.

Prediction – The Cubs won’t take Moran, and he will go to the Indians at five after Appel, Bryant, and Gray are off the board and the Twins go with Kohl Stewart or Braden Shipley at number four.
Cubs Chances – Great, I don’t think there is any chance the Astros take Moran, if they go bat with the number one pick they will take Bryant, meaning Moran will be there, but so will Gray and Appel, that’s too much to pass up on to take Moran.

In conclusion, there are four viable options for the Cubs to think about, but it all comes down to who the Astros go with.  If the Astros take Appel I think the Cubs will go with Gray.  If the Astros take Gray I think the Cubs will go with Appel.  If the Astros surprise for the second year in a row and take Bryant then the Cubs take Appel.  Bottom line, I don’t think the Cubs pass on one of the college arms that are guaranteed to be there.  Now, if the Cubs feel strongly about their scouting and talent evaluation they could pass on Gray and Appel at number two and take the bat given the chance to take a number of quality arms in the second, third, and fourth rounds because they will be there.

MLB DRAFT COVERAGE

The draft begins on June 6th and runs through June 8th, live coverage begins on MLB Network at 5:00 PM CST with an hour-long preview show with the first round scheduled to start at 6:00 PM CST.  The first 73 picks will be aired on MLB Network and streamed on MLB.com, that’s the first round, and the supplemental round.  Rounds three through ten will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 7th beginning at 11:30 AM CST, and rounds eleven through forty will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 8th beginning at noon CST.

CUBS BONUS POOL

Because of the new collective bargaining agreement teams have to pay attention to how much they can spend over the first ten rounds in the draft.  If you want a full rundown on how the bonus pool works I suggest you take a gander at Carrie Muskat’s article about the draft, she does a fine job of breaking it down.  Bottom line, the Cubs have the second most money to spend on their top ten rounds, that’s nice.

Cubs bonus pool

I hope you enjoyed reading about the Cubs options with the number two pick, and don’t forget to join me for the first round tomorrow as I will be live blogging the first round just like last year.  Can’t wait!

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