Photo courtesy of Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, readers. First of all, I’d like to mention that there are no odds and ends today as there wasn’t much spare news coming out of the system this weekend. I will, however, say that many of the top prospects in the organization continued to perform really well, and that is the best possible news I can deliver. Even with the promotions of Kris Bryant and Addison Russell this season, this farm system is arguably the best and deepest in baseball and that is a testament to how well the drafting, development, and talent acquisition arms of the Cubs franchise are working together. We’ve seen with several organizations over the last few years how a lack of shared vision can splinter a franchise. The Cubs are very clearly clicking on every level and that is good news, both for the present and the future.

BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 5/15-5/17)

  1. SS Addison Russell, MLB: I will no longer be reporting major league stats for Russell or Bryant, as it seems a bit unnecessary.
  2. 3B Kris Bryant, MLB: I will no longer be reporting major league stats for Russell or Bryant, as it seems a bit unnecessary.
  3. OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: 6-for-15, 1 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 K; Almora has been heating up recently and it looks like any rust he might have had after his injury has been shaken off. He plays a really great center field and the only question has always been the bat. Almora has had some rough stretches that have caused some to doubt his ability to hit the ball at the major-league level, but he looks confident at the plate right now. An Albert Almora who can hit 10-15 home runs a year with a good average and plus center-field defense is a player who every Cubs fan can dream on.
  4. C Kyle Schwarber, Double-A Tennessee: 5-for-10, 3 HR, 1 2B, 3 BB, 2 K; Schwarber hit two home runs in the first game of Tennessee’s Sunday doubleheader and continued to dominate the Southern League. His catching remains a work in progress, but the bat belongs in Triple-A right now. It’s difficult to say how long the Cubs may wait to promote him to the next level, but he’s making it hard not to right now. That’s exactly what we want to see and it’s the type of difficult decision the organization is happy to have to make.
  5. OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-10, 2 2B, 1 BB, 2 K
  6. RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: 7-Day DL
  7. SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: 4-for-12, 3 2B, 1BB, 3 K
  8. 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-11, 2 2B, 6 BB, 3 K
  9. LHP Carson Sands, Extended Spring Training: Extended spring training stats are difficult to come by, but if you’re interested, Arizona Phil at The Cub Reporter does some great work covering the team out of Mesa.
  10. RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, High-A Myrtle Beach: Did not pitch

The Non-Prospects

Javier Baez: Baez had another pretty decent weekend going 4-for-10 and recording the only extra-base hit for Iowa in Saturday’s game. Everything was going really well and the conversation was centering around when he might come up and at what position. Then, this happened:

If you’re visiting this site, you likely understand why this would cause Cubs fandom to lose their collective mind. Any time a player of Baez’s caliber is removed from a Triple-A game early it is likely to set Twitter ablaze. It took only seconds for people to start speculating that he was being called up to bolster the lineup of the Cubs. This never really was likely the case, but that didn’t stop people from thinking it. It was later confirmed that Javy was pulled as part of an incredibly questionable sixth inning double switch, but it still says a lot about how well he’s performed recently that the idea of a promotion seemed reasonable to most people.

Arismendy Alcantara: Mendy also had a decent weekend, going 3-for-11 and taking time at second base, center field, and left field. There’s really no rush to get Mendy back to the majors, as the organization wants his development to be as natural as possible. Still, he’s a vexing player whose incredible positional versatility would be nice to have on the major-league club, if only he could hit well enough to justify it.

Team Updates/Standings

South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 18-19, four games back of first place, fifth place in the Eastern Division (tied w/West Michigan Whitecaps)

Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League: 23-12, first place in the Southern Division

Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 21-16, two games back of first place, second in the North Division

Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 18-19, eight games back of first place, second place in the American Northern Division (tied w/Omaha Storm Chasers)

Player To Watch: Javier Baez, 22, 2B/SS, Iowa Cubs

This might be cheating, but he’s really been playing well lately. Baez has looked far more confident at the plate in recent weeks than at any time in nearly the past year. He is the focus of intense scrutiny, as his struggles in the major leagues have caused rampant speculation about his future role, or possible lack thereof, with the Cubs. I still contend that a Baez performing at a high level will make the Cubs organization much better, whether that’s in the infield or as a highly valued trade piece. Hopefully he can put together a few more really good weeks and then we can be back here talking about his promotion back up to the majors.

Tweet(s) of the Weekend

Kevonte Mitchell is a slugging young center fielder who will likely start for the Northwest League’s Eugene Emeralds this year. He’s an interesting prospect, but it’s his Twitter account that shined this weekend. I can generally tell what a player means in a tweet, but this one has me all types of confused. It just seems like the kind of thing a person says that makes sense in their head, but not once said out loud. Whatever the case may be, I leave it here for your thought and debate.

Best Promotion of the Upcoming Week

If you’ve ever been to a minor-league baseball game, you’re likely aware that the teams have some great promotions. They are sometimes fun, sometimes silly, sometimes downright bonkers, and they ultimately are a large part of what make the minor-league experience so much fun. Here, I will highlight an upcoming promotion that stands out to me.

Iowa Cubs vs. Tacoma Rainiers, Thursday, May 21, Addison Russell Shirsey Night: Addison Russell has become a productive member of the everyday lineup of the Cubs, but before that, he was a member of the Iowa Cubs for a brief moment. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to remember that the 21-year-old only played a few weeks of Triple-A ball. Commemorate his time in Triple-A by getting a shirsey that you can wear to minor league games and major league ones alike.

Game(s) To Look Forward To

Tennessee Smokies vs. Jackson Generals, Monday-Wednesday, May 18-20, Monday and Wednesday at 11:30 AM ET and Tuesday at 7:05 PM ET:  The Cubs minor-league teams are not slated to go up against many truly top prospects this week, so I have to default to the most exciting collection of prospects in the system currently. Schwarber, Vogelbach, Almora, Jacob Hannemann, McKinney, and Wilson Contreras help to make Tennessee’s lineup one of the fiercest in the minor leagues and very possibly the strongest in the Southern League. These next few weeks are also especially interesting as Schwarber and Vogelbach will be potential candidates for a promotion to Triple-A Iowa and will also likely be mentioned in trade talks, so their performance will be doubly important to take note of going forward.

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