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.
Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).
Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.
Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.
In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?
Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.
Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.
Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.
I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.
peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.
unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.
they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.
Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester
damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice
Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.
Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.
Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.
Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.
"Pitching prospects not looking so hot"
That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.
Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.
Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:
"Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
"No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"
How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.
Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.
2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.
Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.