Vitters Cleans Up After Rizzo, Jackson
(Oh My) Josh Vitters doubled and singled today to nudge his batting average past .300 as the Iowa Cubs, tied with Delmarva of the South Atlantic League for the most one-run losses in MiLB, nipped Omaha for the third straight day at Principal Park. Adrian Cardenas, whose error permitted Omaha to tie the game in the 7th, delivered a walk-off single in the 9th to give the I-Cubs a 6-5 victory.
Brett Jackson sat for the fourth straight game with those pesky back spasms. But what about his bat spasms? Whenever he returns to the lineup he'll lug a 16 game whiff streak to the plate. Not since June 17th has Jackson started and not struck out at least once. Almost half of his hits are for extra bases (he's in double figures in all three of the non-single categories) but he's no Adam Dunn as a slugger, except for having fanned an astonishing 122 times already this year. Last week Jackson got a haircut and declared his intention to also trim his sweeping swing. We'll see if a curtailed swing curtails his futility as effectively as the aching back has in recent days.
Today was my first return to the scene of The Call-up and somebody named Diory Hernandez and his .179 BA were where The Rizzo used to be (sigh).
Randy Wells trudged to the mound and went through the motions to the tune of a 3-0 deficit after two innings before pitching a few relatively professional innings while his mates climbed back into the game. The winner in relief was recently promoted Alberto Cabrera who struck out four in two+ frames, running his total to 13 in nine innings of work across five appearances against nary a walk so far. He's promising at 6'4" with heat wave velocity. Cabrera earned a Southern League all-star nod before joining the I-Cubs.
Wellington Castillo threw out a base thief today after the Storm Chasers swiped five last night with Brian Esposito behind the plate. Iowa ranks last in the PCL in catching speeders.
Jay Jackson has pitched to the tune of a 1.67 ERA in 12 relief appearances. In nine starts he went 2-5 with a 9.23 ERA. Yes, he can hit, but maybe he's best-suited for supporting rather than leading roles; a bullpen/occasional pinch-hitter combo.
Finally, the hat trick of wins against the runaway division leaders notwithstanding, the only race in the second half of the season that's close around here is the local knock-off of the Milwaukee sausage derby. Today Hot Diggity Dog won. At the break it's Chippy 17, Koolee 16 and HDD now at 15.
KKVG: Isaac Paredes is the most-impressive of the 2015-16 IFA. He has legit game power and handles himself well at SS, although I think he will likely end-up at 2B or 3B (maybe not this year, but down-the-line). It is possible that Paredes will get assigned to Eugene (and skip AZL) next month, and I would say he's the only one of the 2015-16 IFA position players who could. To accommodate Paredes at SS, the Cubs have been moving Andruw Monasterio (who was the #1 SS at AZL Cubs in 2015 and the presumptive Eugene SS going into Minor League Camp) around the infield (SS-2B-3B) at EXST.
Having been a mediocre HS player, I would think at a professional level - and in their 20's - doesn't it sound actually FUN to have a chance to play different positions in a 162-Game, uber-long season?
It has to take some of the monotony out of the job and keep you on your toes.
In fact, the best manufacturing floor job satisfaction training theories include job rotation as a way to improve employee satisfaction.
I hope Maddon can keep it going.
(It's usually KK, because his DNA is more like ours.)
Not just Maddon, but the organization as a whole. If the rumors are to be believed, they did a good job of letting Baez learn that he needed to change his approach, and Baez has done a good job listening to their instructions an adapting. Hopefully the same is true of Alomar, who is ripping up AAA.
Previous management teams haven't been as good at this (e.g. Corey Patterson).
Man, this team makes you greedy. Going into Pittsburgh -- with Cole vs. Hammel Game 1 -- I was hoping for 2 out of 3. After winning the first 2 games 14-3, I now want a sweep. Same thing happened in STL. Very, very fun.
Repeating myself, but I give Maddon a lot of credit for Baez's success. Instead of talking about monster HRs and high K totals, he has talked up his defense, versatility and being a "special" player. The kid seems to have responded.
BOB: The attendance has taken a big hit since you left.
K-DUB: I think the Cubs might consider skipping Dylan Cease past South Bend and starting him at Myrtle Beach next season, especially if he gets some time at South Bend this season and pitches well there. As a southern kid with TJS history, pitching at Myrtle Beach in April is probably a lot more attractive than pitching in South Bend, but Cease can't go to Myrtle Beach if he isn't ready for Hi-A.
His story makes him someone I completely root for to succeed but it's interesting that he's not succeeding in the way anyone thought when he was just a prospect. Great defense and contact instead of power. I think failing so glaringly and getting sent back down might have been the best thing for him and his ego.
He still swings at too many balls out of the strike zone but he's making a lot more contact on them which I think is helped by the less violent swing. So we might not get all the HRs we were expecting but I'll gladly take what he's giving.
"KingKongVsGodzilla"? So - was there a winner?
Baez is looking like a pretty special player.
Love checking TCR for your writeups. Quick question - any of these 2015 positional IFAs stand out to you yet? I'm most specifically referring to Kwon, Sierra, Paredes, and Amaya, but I know there's a couple other guys from that class in EXST as well.
bored...looking at stats for the hell of it...
felix pena (26yo) moving to the pen in AAA is looking like an insanely good fit so far in a smallish sample size
13ip 4h 3bb 20K
remembering back to spring training he was regularly hitting mid-90s (though he didn't have a good spring stats-wise). as a starter in the minors he usually worked low-90s.
this could be an arm worth keeping an eye on even if he's only a 1-inning guy who was "demoted" to the pen to start the year.
Phil, historically this front office has been patient with their prep pitchers keeping their IP low and moving them one level at a time. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and you may not be able to formulate an opinion on this, but you've seen a lot of pitchers over the years, so...
also, after tonight's loss, STL is 13-14.
also also, the wsox are 19-8.
Win tomorrow, and the Cubs would have a 6-game lead. On May 4.