Len Kasper Chat Wrap
There isn't a whole lot going down today. The last-ever Hall of Fame game was to feature the Cubs versus the Padres this afternoon...and was poetically rained out. That'll save the Cubs from a freak injury at least.
To hold us over until the big Cubs vs Rays series tomorrow (imagine that, an IMPORTANT Cubs vs Rays series), reader Carlos sent me a link to a Len Kasper chat wrap on Baseball Prospectus from last week. He touches on his love of sabermetrics along with a bit of inside info on the personalities on the team. It's certainly worth a read.
I also would like to mention that the Cubs reached 20 games over .500 with the win yesterday. This is the soonest they've reached that mark since...1906, which is still the record for highest team winnng percentage in a season. Lou's 2001 Mariners did tie the 116 win mark, but had ten more games to do it (162 versus 152).
Some minor league info and run differential update after the jump...
Iowa(AAA): The Iowa Cubs had to cancel a few games last week due to flooding around Principal Park. They made some of that up with a double-header on Sunday. They've also added Ben Broussard (recently cut by Texas) and P Greg Reinhard (acquired in the Jae-kuk Ryu deal last year).
Tennessee(AA): The Smokies ended their first half on Sunday with a win that ended an 8-game losing streak and finished the first-half of the season at 27-43.
Daytona(Hi-A): The Florida State League All-Star Game was played this weekend at Space Coast Stadium (not a typo) and all five Daytona Cubs saw action: P Casey Lambert, P Alex Maestri, OF Jim Adduci, 2B Tony Thomas, C Welington Castillo (was replaced by Mark Reed because he was promoted to AA),
Finished the first half of the season at 30-38 (7th place) with manager Ryne Sandberg being ejected four times. Pitcher Blake Parker and 3B/1B/DH Jovan Rosa will play in tomorrow's All-Star game.
And the Boise Hawks announced their roster last week and will begin play tomorrow.
Run Differential Leaders:
Red Sox +70
White Sox +60
Jake Arrieta gives up first inning run
For the first time in a year, 33 starts.
Old news, sorry if it's 3/44-
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!!!!!!