Minor League Playoffs and More
The most exciting thing around the Cubsverse right now is the minor leagues competing in the playoffs. Meaningless as a victory may be to the big league club down the line, it's fun to follow and have a rooting interest in something, other than the Cubs losing for a better draft pick slot.
- Last night both Daytona and Boise advanced to the finals of their respective league championships, both sweeping their best-of-3 series. C.J. "#5 Cubs prospect" Edwards continued his domination with 5 no-hit innings on 8 K's against one walk for the win, Ryan Searle had a 4-inning save and almost closed out the committee no-hitter before giving up back-to-back singles with one out in the 9th. Kris Bryant provided the bulk of the offense going 3-for-3 with a run scored, a double, 2 RBI's and a hit-by-pitch in the 4-0 victory. Daytona will play Charlotte (Tampa affiliate) starting tonight, with Pierce Johnson taking the mound.
- Boise won 11-7 on the strength of 12 hits and the weakness of Salem-Keizer's defense that included 5 errors by the Giants affiliate. Justin Marra went 2-for-5 with 4 RBI's and 2 doubles and Kevin Encarnacion and Daniel Lockhart both had 3 hits. Not a good night for either team's pitching, but Duane Underwood's 1.1 innings that included 2 hits, 2 walks and 3 runs allowed was a particular lowlight. Regardless, Boise starts their finals series versus Vancouver (Toronto affiliate) on Friday..
- Tennessee starts their playoff run as well tonight versus Birmingham (White Sox affiliate). Nick Struck will go for the Smokies.
- MLB Trade Rumors put out an all-minor league team and Dan Vogelbach and Javier Baez were the 1B and SS representatives. An admittedly weak first base class at the moment, but still a bit of a surprise announcement on Vogelbach whom will likely slot between #6 - #10 on most Cubs' prospect lists this winter. Baez faced much stiffer competition at shortstop, but making a run at the home run title gave him the nod.
- BP ran some scout quotes and one had this to say on Junior Lake
"He is starting to figure it out. He has always had the physical tools but never really looked like a natural baseball player. To see him slow the game down makes him a viable player. Of all the defensive questions I had in the past, his athleticism is starting to answer them at multiple positions. He has the physical attributes to impact major-league games… and it is starting to show up more regularly than expected."
Being the skeptic I am on Junior Lake's major league potential, I thought it would be a good time to bring up that he has a .380 BABIP right now in the majors that has lead to his current and very average 294/339/428 slash line. If you discount his first 7 games, which I admit is a bit of cheating, but it's not much of a leap to assume that major league pitchers weren't too aware of his strengths and weaknesses yet, he's 255/306/365. But if you're looking for upside, he does have some very nice splits versus lefties (1.113 OPS vs. a .637 OPS against righties) and his slash line over his last 16 games (297/348/406) is right in line with his season numbers...and he's 23. Ultimately I still believe he'll make his career as a short-side platoon outfielder or 4th outfielder/utility man.
- Speaking of draft pick slots (check the lower left sidebar), White Sox have taken a 2.5 game lead over the Cubs for the third spot in the draft and Cubs have just a one game lead over the Brewers for the 4th spot, although the Cubs do own the tie-breaker in both situations.
Apparently the Yankees had the choice of either Gleyber Torres or Eloy Jimenez in the Chapman deal, and they chose Torres.
Chapman shouldn't be reserved anymore on 40 man.
Interesting split on Heyward according to ESPN. As a CF, his slash line .292/.363/.375/.738. At RF: .212/.204/.300/.604. 21/72 as a CF, 58/273 as a RF.
He's also been better when batting 2nd, but he had a nice start in the 6 hole, but has slumped ever since. He was heating up before the All Star break, but is only hitting .108 in the 2nd half.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.