Hello, readers. Welcome to another edition of “Young Cubs.” The draft is now over and with the dust having settled, we now know who some of the soon-to-be Cubs minor leaguers are. The first day of the draft is, without a doubt, the one most likely to produce major-league talent. As such, the Cubs used their two picks on Monday to select Cincinnati IF/OF Ian Happ (ninth overall) and North Florida OF Donnie Dewees (47th). These are, in my opinion, two great picks and they very much keep with the Cubs Theo Epstein-era strategy of drafting the best bat available. Happ especially is a very exciting pick, to me, and I can’t wait to see him suit up for hopefully several of the Cubs affiliates this summer. Indeed, here is our own Mauricio Rubio, Jr. with his take on Happ. There is, of course, the wait to see who signs and for what amount and in order to follow this process, I suggest everyone bookmark this site from Yagyu, formerly of PSD. It is a great Cubs draft tracker that has up-to-date information on who is signing, not signing, and bonus amounts. With all of that out of the way, let’s begin!
BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 6/8-6/11)
- OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: 2-for-11, 2 2B, 0 BB, 0 K
- C Kyle Schwarber, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-10, 1 2B, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 K
- OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 0-for-7, 0 BB, 0 K
- RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K; Pierce Johnson was transferred from Arizona to Tennessee yesterday and proceeded to make his first start of the year. He only threw three innings, but they were of high quality, and the most important thing for a player who’s been rehabbing as long as Johnson has is to come away healthy. Johnson accomplished this, and it should now be quite interesting to see what he does going forward.
- SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: 2-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 SB; The stat line for Torres comes from a single game due to two rainouts and an off day this week. This was keeping with the trend this week, as every single Cubs affiliate had at least one game postponed/cancelled due to rain.
- 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: 0-for-7, 0 BB, 2 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.
- RHP Carl Edwards, Jr., Triple-A Iowa: Did not pitch.
- RHP Duane Underwood, Jr., High-A Myrtle Beach: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Javier Baez: He’s still hurt. I am sad. That is all.
Arismendy Alcantara: Thursday night’s game was rained out, so Mendy only got two chances to show off his array of skills this week, and he went 2-for-8 with a pair of doubles in doing so. Mendy continues to be someone to watch, as he is still supremely talented and the Cubs now have the Baez injury creating a sense of urgency in the system. Mendy remains the only healthy middle infield depth left in the organization, so his continued success would be a boon to the Cubs whole system.
South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 26-31, 8 GB of first place, seventh place in the Eastern Division
Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League: 35-24, first place in the Southern Division
Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 32-28, 3.5 GB of first place, second place in the North Division
Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 30-28, 7.5 GB of first place, second place in the American Northern Division
Player of the Week: Rainouts
Yes, I’m forgoing the traditional player of the week, as it was rain that truly captured the attention of the minor-league system this week. South Bend had two games rained out, while each of Myrtle Beach, Tennessee, and Iowa had one game rained out. Rain, rain, go away, come again and leave Schwarber alone! Yeah, I know that’s not how the song goes and that this new version in no way rhymes, but Kyle Schwarber just wants to hit home runs, ya know? And any force of nature that gets in the way of that goal will likely feel his wrath. I’m gonna stop now. Thanks for being patient enough to read this foolishness.
Player To Watch: Pierce Johsnon, 24, RHP
Yeah, so I’m breaking my “No Top 10” rule for this section again. Life isn’t always fair and all those other platitudes. Anyways, as mentioned above, Johnson returned from the DL to Tennessee on Thursday. He put up a decent first start, and generally looked like himself. Johnson is another important pitching prospect, in that he has the potential to impact the major-league club late this season, if all goes well. His injury hurt the organization, as it was largely presumed that Johnson would be another arm vying for a spot in the major-league bullpen—or even the rotation if things went well—by mid-summer. Instead, he’s spent the season-to-date rehabbing and only just now has returned. Getting Johnson to full strength is the ultimate goal, and there is still hope he may be able to start someday, but as with most pitching prospects, his future may lie in the bullpen, where his already good stuff would play up and he could better work out the kinks in his delivery.
Tweet(s) of the Week
There’s been quite a bit of debate recently about a strange trend among Cubs players. Yes, that debate centers around the many Cubs who have not been wearing undershirts in games. I know, that sounds silly, but pointing out fun things like this helps to bring levity to a sport that often takes itself way too seriously. Here we have lefty pitching prospect Rob Zastryzny complimenting the Cubs ace starting pitcher not on his curveball, but rather his undershirt game, or lack thereof. Take it away, Rob.
The most telling statistic of Jake Arrieta's season is that he is currently last in the league in undershirts worn/9 innings.
— Rob Zastryzny (@RobZastryzny_8) June 11, 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.
No really interesting promotions in the Cubs minor-league system this weekend, I’m afraid to say. Mostly just fireworks and TV giveaways. I mean, I’m not trying to insult the great American institution of pyrotechnics, but this happens every single Friday at most minor-league ballparks. What I’m really looking for is something unique, fun, or unusual. To that end, I’m inviting readers to tweet me the strangest or most interesting promotions they’ve ever seen at any level of baseball. You can catch me @DGBlumberg, or just click on the link to my Twitter account at the bottom of this page.
Game(s) To Look Forward To
South Bend Cubs @ Burlington Bees, Friday, June 12, 6:30 PM ET (Game 1); TBD (Game 2): Who doesn’t love a doubleheader? The rainout on Thursday night means that South Bend will now play two games on Friday night, and in the second game, Jake Stinnett will be starting. That means that the second game, at least, will be vital from a prospect standpoint and with Gleyber Torres still at South Bend, there’s always at least one compelling reason to pay attention to the team. I mostly just love the idea of the late second game and seeing how strange the action on the field gets as players begin to get fatigued.
Odds and Ends
- Catcher Willson Contreras of the Tennessee Smokies was taken out of the game early on Thursday, begging the question of why. As of the writing of this piece, there was no further information on this situation.
Kyle Schwarber is hitting now for Willson Contreras in the 4th inning. Not sure why Contreras left the game. #CubsProspects
— Jordan Miller (@Cubs_Prospects) June 11, 2015
Photo courtesy of Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports