Photo courtesy of Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports
Hello, readers. Yesterday was Memorial Day and there’s really no better way to celebrate the holiday than to sit down and watch some baseball. I jest, of course, although I do greatly enjoy the slate of Memorial Day games every year. I just want to acknowledge all veterans and current soldiers out there and to quickly thank you all for your service. I don’t want to get too much into my feelings on the military today, as they’re far too complicated for a single paragraph in a baseball article. I just want to say that this holiday is a great time to remind ourselves of the great cost of war and to hope for a better world in the future. That might sound a bit naive and optimistic, but I’m a Cubs fan, so hope is something I’ve learned how to maintain at all times. Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day, everyone, and away we go!
BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 5/22-5/24)
- SS Addison Russell, MLB: I will no longer be reporting major league stats for Russell or Bryant, as it seems a bit unnecessary.
- 3B Kris Bryant, MLB: I will no longer be reporting major league stats for Russell or Bryant, as it seems a bit unnecessary.
- OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: Bijan Rademacher was placed on the DL this weekend, following a scary collision with Almora last Wednesday night. I mention this because Almora escaped a similar fate, returning yesterday and going 0-for-4. Almora has lost time to injury before, so it was certainly good to see him return so quickly and get back in the lineup.
- C Kyle Schwarber, Double-A Tennessee: 4-for-11, 1 HR, 2 BB, 5 K; He had a bunt single yesterday, which knowing Schwarber, is the type of oddity I felt it necessary to mention here.
- OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 2-for-10, 0 BB, 5 K
- RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: 7-Day DL
- SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: More good news from on the injury front as Torres returned Sunday after pulling up lame in Wednesday’s game for South Bend. He picked up right where he left off, going 2-for-4 on the game.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: 2-for-12, 1 BB, 6 K
- 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.
- RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, High-A Myrtle Beach: Did not pitch
Javier Baez: Baez had a HUGE weekend. So huge, in fact, that I put that word in all caps just to get the point across. Baez went 2-for-5 on Friday with a double and a home run and 3-for-4 on Saturday with a walk. This all leading up to Sunday when Baez put the exclamation point on his big weekend with two home runs and a walk. Yes, not only did Javy hit three home runs this weekend, but also walked twice, bringing his walk rate up to 9.1 percent. It’s a small sample size, but Javy now has a line of .322/.404/.540. Let us all hope that this rejuvenated version of Baez continues to show up in the coming weeks, as this version of Javy would be seriously valuable to the major-league team.
Arismendy Alcantara: Mendy had himself a pretty mundane weekend, going 3-for-14 with a home run and a walk. No, he’s not hitting the ball the way Baez is, but that’s not necessarily surprising. The two are different types of prospects, which is funny given how they’ve seemingly switched approaches at Triple-A this season. Mendy is continuing to work on making adjustments at the plate, and we can only hope that the results soon start to align with whatever changes he is making.
South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 20-24, 5 GB of first place, seventh place in the Eastern Division
Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League: 26-15, first place in the Southern Division
Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 23-21, 5 GB of first place, second in the North Division
Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 22-20, 7 GB of first place, second place in the American Northern Division
Player To Watch: Ryan Williams, 23, RHP, South Bend Cubs
Let’s get this out of the way from the get-go: Williams is old for his level. That is most certainly true and he’s not someone with a high ceiling. What he is, though, is fun to watch in the present moment. Williams has thrown 45 2/3 innings thus far this season and has only walked two hitters and given up three earned runs. Even being a bit advanced for the league, that is still an unusual level of dominance. He is yet another pitcher who should probably be at High-A, but is waiting for the summer promotion/demotion wheel to begin turning. Keeping tabs on him, in the meantime, seems to be well worth it.
Tweet(s) of the Week
Welcome back, Anthony Giansanti! We missed you here at “Young Cubs” and it’s nice to have you showing all those young guns how it’s done (I say this as a 23-year-old). Honestly, I wish there were more to this. What are these stories? I want to hear them! You can’t just drop a tweet like that and then disappear. You have to really own that. Well, whatever the case, I sure hope we hear these stories eventually. Maybe in a book on life in the minors written by Giansanti himself? Actually, that’s a really great idea. Somebody in publishing call him up right now, cool?
They need to have a website of "anonymous minor league drug test confessions/happenings" there would be some hilarious material
— Anthony Giansanti (@GianSanity) May 23, 2015
Best Promotion of the Upcoming Weekend
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.
Tennessee Smokies vs. Mobile BayBears, Thursday, May 28, Scruff Night: The Smokies are hosting a benefit night to raise money for prostate cancer and as part of the festivities, they’re holding a facial hair contest. I’m quite fond of this idea, as it is for a good cause and also is truly out there. As someone who maintains a fair amount of unkempt scruff most of the time, this does really appeal to me. It seems like an interesting idea, at the very least.
Odds and Ends
- Tommy Birch, who covers the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register, had the chance to interview Cubs Director of Player Development Jaron Madison over the weekend. You can go here to read it and I suggest you do because it has some fascinating tidbits on Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber, among other top prospects.
- This story from Sam Dykstra is, on the surface, about Javier Baez’s multiple home run game yesterday. However, Dykstra features a number of quotes from Iowa Cubs hitting coach Brian Harper on Baez. He really shines a light on some of what Baez is working on and it certainly reaffirms the talent and coachability that Javy truly has.