Cubs Hits Of The Week (4/28 Through 5/4)
The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past. not terribly successful week against the teams we'll have to beat if we want to take the division, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):
#5 Big Hit: Tuesday, v. the Brewers, 7th inning — The opener of the Cubs' three-game series with the Brewers is getting out of hand when Mike Fontenot hits a two-out, bases-clearing double that brings the home team to within two runs at 9-7. WPA .133
#4 Big Hit: Sunday, v. the Cardinals, 2nd inning — Reed Johnson gets the Cubs on the board against Todd Wellemeyer by doubling home Geovany Soto, moving Fontenot to third, and setting the Cubs up for a monster inning...that never materializes. WPA .134
#3 Big Hit: Thursday, v. the Brewers, 9th inning — Moments after seeing his team's closer (and I use the word loosely) cough up a 3-1 lead, Ronny Cedeno leads off the last of the ninth by working Eric Gagne for a walk, and with the power-hitting Soto due up, the stage is set for a dramatic resolution. Unfortunately, Soto, who strikes out, and Felix Pie, who raps into a game-ending DP, didn't read the script. WPA .135
#2 Big Hit: Saturday, v. the Cardinals, 4th inning — The Cubs are already leading 1-0 when Soto steps in against Kyle Lohse with the bases loaded, cracks a ground-rule double to extend the Chicago lead to 3-0, and reminds us once again how positively swell it is to have a catcher who can rake. WPA .145
#1 Big Hit: Friday, v. the Cardinals, 9th inning — With a certain segment of the Cub-loving population already planning their "We have to trade Alfonso Soriano!" phone calls to the local sportstalk radio stations, Fonzie does all he can do to make everyone forget what a truly horrific night he was having by sending a laser beam over the leftfield fence and bringing the Cubs even with the Cardinals at 3-3. (We should have just gone into a prevent defense after that and settled for a tie.) WPA .342
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
J-Hey being classy by repaying an old teammate:
With Paredes moving to 3B, how do you see playing time shaking out between him and Galindo? Do you think Galindo gets starts at 1B? Galindo is more of a prospect than Paniagua, right?
Phil, your knowledge of the Cubs Minor League system is unbelievable.
This kid would be a key piece in a trade for a pitcher, imo.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!