Our Stud's Better Than Your Stud
A betting man would have to like the Omaha Storm Chasers to successfully defend their title in the American North Division of the Pacific Coast League this year. The stretch drive of the season may be reminiscent of Secretariat’s in the Belmont Stakes. But just who are those also-rans way up the track behind the young Royals? Why, besides the I-Cubs it’s the young Cardinals and young Brewers! I like the affiliations of not only my hometown team but also their divisional opponents.
Who cares, one might ask, how our prospects stack up against the Royals’? St. Louis and Milwaukee are more immediate battlefronts than Kansas City. So, any clogs in those pipelines?
Whereas the Cubs’ system is lacking in high-end pitching prospects, both the Cardinals and Brewers feature starting pitchers as their crème de la crème and both Shelby Miller (STL) and Wily Peralta (MIL) have had sour seasons thus far.
As pleased and relieved as the Cardinals must be about the emergence of Lance Lynn, who this time a year ago was toiling in Memphis while Chris Carpenter was still going strong in St. Louis, they might be a little chagrined about Miller’s struggles so far in the PCL. In 2011, he was named the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season. Rick Ankiel was the last to accomplish that feat.
But he’s recently been given a no-shake edict, meaning he’s to throw whatever pitch he’s told, and the organization’s pitching coordinator was dispatched to work directly with Miller in hopes of improving on his stat line which includes warts like a 6.00 ERA, 82 hits in 66 IP and a .306 BAA.
In Nashville the touted Peralta has been similarly roughed up. He was originally signed by the Brewers as an outfielder in 2005 before being converted to pitcher. He had his Tommy John circumcision in 2007 so that’s out of the way. But he’s struggling at 2-8 with an ERA and other peripherals almost as stratospheric as Miller’s. Peralta’s built along the lines of Fartolo (typo intended) Colon at 6’2” and 240.
So while the prime prospects of two of their NL Central rivals are scuffling at Triple A the Cubs are rearranging the deck chairs in their lineup to make room for their own. They may be short on topflight arms but they appear to have at least one bat riding to the rescue. Looks like he may arrive any day now.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.
101 wins...most since 1910 (104).
neat. ...or sad. pick one. pick both. 'murica.
Just looked up Grimm's stats -- after a great run, he gave up 2 runs vs. MIL then didn't pitch for 10 days. Don't remember why?
Sean Rodriguez's helmet looks like it's taking a dump
Grimm not doing himself any favors lately re: making the playoff squad. Seems to have lost the feel for his curveball.
j.grimm is literally worse than hitler.
felix pena, your turn.