Szczur Advancing Along Nicely as Solar Sox Lead-off Hitter

The Mesa Solar Sox were drubbed by the Peoria Javelinas 9-2 yesterday in AFL action at HoHoKam Park in Mesa.


Only two Cubs played in the game, as Matt Szczur got the start in CF and batted lead-off, and Javier Baez hit 5th and played SS.


Szczur continued his hot hitting with a 3-4 day (he's now hitting 368/478/421), grounding a single through the 5.5 hole in his first AB, bouncing a chopper down the LF line (ball bounced just beyond the outstretched glove of the diving third-baseman) for an RBI double in the 5th, and collecting an infield single in the 8th (grounder hit to almost the exact same place as his 1st inning single, but this time the Peoria SS was able to back-hand the ball, with Szczur beating the throw to 1st). He also flied out to LF in the third inning.


The 23-year old Szczur appears to be developing into a decent lead-off hitter, and he's a good defensive CF, too. He's probably not ever going to be a slugger (his stroke is similar to Darwin Barney's), but he is starting to show a propensity for working counts and drawing walks, and if he can do that, he could be a legitimate lead-off hitter and CF (although whether that would be with the Cubs or some other MLB club is still TBD).


The ex-Cub Szczur reminds me of the most is Bob Dernier. If Szczur makes it, that's his comp... Bob Dernier.


Szczur hit 295/394/407 with 38 SB (12 CS) in 78 games at Daytona before a mid-season promotion to AA Tennessee, where he struggled, hitting just 210/285/351 in 35 games. But the AFL is approximately equivalent to AA, so if he can keep up his solid stick-work throughout the AFL season, that could bode well for Szczur having some success at AA next season.


Meanwhile, Baez went 0-4 in the game.


The 19-year old Cub batted in the bottom of the 1st with one out and the bases loaded, and popped-up a 2-0 pitch behind second-base. The Peoria RF dropped the ball while trying to make a running catch, but was still able to get a force-out at 2nd base as the runner at 3rd base scored. So no error was charged (because Peoria got an out at 2nd base), and Baez got an RBI (because the runner at 3rd scored).


Baez struck out (swinging) in the 4th on a 3-2 pitch, lined-out to third in the 7th, and grounded out to third in his final in the 9th.


(In 21 PA over five AFL games so far, Baez has no walks and seven strikeouts, although he also has two HR & eight RBI).


Baez handled all of his chances at shortstop today flawlessly, making a couple of accurate off-balance throws to 1st base, and making a nifty catch on a knuckling line-drive.


The big difference between Baez playing shortstop versus playing 3rd base is that when he plays shortstop, he is at the center of everything, and he really seems to take pride in the role of "field captain." He talks to all of the fielders (infielders and outfielders), directs guys around, reminds them of how many outs there are, etc. But when he played 3rd base last week, he just stood there like he was lost in his own little world, he didn't talk to anyone, and he appeared to be disengaged from the game (while making an error or a near-error on every ball hit his way).


 

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  • bradsbeard 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    Great info. Thanks! 

     

  • Arizona Phil 3 days 2 hours ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: What happens on 12/2 is each club submits what's called a "Central Tender Letter" to the MLB LRD listing which unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) are being tendered a contract and which unsigned players are not being tendered a contract. 

    The CTL is sufficient as far as providing proof of contract tender.  

    For players being tendered contracts, the CTL must list the club's MLB salary offer, a minor league split salary offer (if the club so chooses), and performance bonuses (if any) the club is offering to the player.

     

  • crunch 3 days 11 hours ago (view)

    theo walked away from a big payday for an executive in his last season as a cub without having another job scoped out...and according to him he's not even looking one.

    something tells me this isn't going to be a fun off-season for cubs fans.

    the state of the cubs household aside, i wouldn't exactly be shocked to see theo with the mets, though he's supposedly not on their radar at the moment.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 11 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have been at the forefront of tone-deaf owners in terms of financial hardship during the pandemic. "The game isn't as profitable as most people think"

     

  • tim815 4 days 8 hours ago (view)

    The decision on the amount comes later.

     

  • bradsbeard 4 days 11 hours ago (view)

    At the point when the team makes the initial contract tender, do they have to offer a specific salary, and if so is that the same number the team takes into arbitration? Or does the specific number the teams files at for arbitration happen at a later date?

     

  • Arizona Phil 4 days 14 hours ago (view)

    jdrnym: A player who is signed to a contract that does not include a minor league split salary is paid his full MLB salary while optioned or after being outrighted to a minor league club.

    So if a player goes to arbitration and is awarded (let's say) a $2.5M salary by the arb panel, the contract will not include a minor league split salary or performance bonuses, and if the player is sent to the minors he is paid the full $2.5M while in the minors.

     

  • Hagsag 4 days 15 hours ago (view)

    Maybe Trump can give them a loan.

     

  • crunch 4 days 15 hours ago (view)

    it's not exactly looking good when the cubs brass is complaining about "losing 100m in revenue" when a huge chunk of that seems to include Hotel Zachary.  it looks like the entire "entertainment complex" is the cubs as far as the Ricketts are concerned...and the team might have to suffer a bit because they couldn't fully realize profits last year.  they've publically stated that the big incoming tax credits from the city they're going to realize for stadium work won't help the cubs payroll.

     

  • jdrnym 5 days 1 hour ago (view)

    If a player doesn't have a split salary in his contract, how much is he making when in the minors (or how is that salary determined)?

     

  • crunch 5 days 6 hours ago (view)

    we want kyle schwarber to not be mark trumbo so badly...

    either way, the NL having or not having the DH needs to be figured out pretty quickly for a lot of off-season sanity.

     

  • crunch 6 days 10 hours ago (view)

    minor league hitting coordinator chris valaika moves up assistant hitting instructor for the big league team.

    looks like a.iapoce's job is safe.

     

  • Cubster 6 days 13 hours ago (view)

    Jed Hoyer gets a new 5 yr contract that runs through 2025 season. 

     

  • Cubster 6 days 14 hours ago (view)

    https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/19-mlb-pro...

    BA's list of 19 prospects who impressed at Instructs. One Cub:

    Chase Strumpf, 2B, Cubs

     

  • Jackstraw 1 week 9 hours ago (view)

    Waiting for Ryan Pace to be available.  He should be a week from tomorrow.

     

  • crunch 1 week 10 hours ago (view)

    i haven't even heard a rumor...which is interesting since "virtual" winter meetings start in a couple weeks.

    surprised dan kantrovitz hasn't been named "interim GM" or something...which makes me wonder how wide of a net they're casting to fill the position.  he was snagged from the A's and was an assistant GM there (and director of scouting for STL).