Hello, readers. Welcome to another edition of “Young Cubs.” Trade season is now growing ever closer to arriving, and as such, many of the players mentioned in these articles will be the subject of rumors. It has been easy the last three years to grow attached to many of the Cubs’ prospects, as they’ve represented the bright future ahead for the organization. However, the major-league team is now competitive again, and that means a changing set of priorities. While the front office has been clear that they won’t mortgage the future entirely, they’ll certainly be willing to explore deals to make the major-league team better. That means being willing to part with certain prospects who we, as fans, may very much like. Whatever does happen in the coming weeks, it’s important not to assume that any one prospect is too important or vital to be traded, while also keeping in mind that no one prospect must be traded. Well, with that being said, let us begin!
BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 6/26-6/28)
- OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-7, 2 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
- C Kyle Schwarber, Triple-A Iowa: 4-for-10, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K
- OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 1-for-9, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: Did not pitch.
- SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: 5-for-13, 1 BB, 0 K
- 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-8, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 BB, 2 K
- LHP Carson Sands, Eugene Emeralds: Did not pitch.
- RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, High-A Myrtle Beach: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
- RHP Carl Edwards, Jr., Triple-A Iowa: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
- RHP Duane Underwood, Jr., High-A Myrtle Beach: 1 IP, 4 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K; Underwood was battered in his Friday night start, ultimately having to be pulled from the game without recording a single out in the second inning. Oftentimes when a pitcher blows up like this, it can be a precursor to an injury. This was the case with Underwood, as it was announced on Sunday that he had been placed on the DL, with Jeremy Null called up from South Bend to take his place. The timing on this could not be worse, as Underwood was having a great season and was lining himself up as one of the Cubs’ most valuable potential trade chips.
Javier Baez: He’s still hurt. I am sad. That is all.
Arismendy Alcantara: Mendy went 3-for-11 on the weekend with a walk and three strikeouts. The situation remains the same as ever with him: If the Cubs need him, he’s only a phone call away. I honestly would not be surprised if that call came soon, seeing as how the Cubs’ bench has an OPS under .500. Those types of numbers begin to cross into the “Player A can’t be worse than what we’ve got” threshhold, so it’d be worth at least seeing if Mendy is ready to help contribute to this team. Of course, as always, this desire has to be balanced with his development.
Eugene Emeralds, Short Season-A, Northwest League: 5-6, first place in the South Division (three-way tie)
South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 3-1, first place in the Eastern Division
Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League*: 0-4, 3 GB of first place, fourth place in the Southern Division
Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 3-1, first place in the Northern Division (three-way tie)
Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 40-35, 9 GB of first place, second place in the American Northern Division
*= Clinched playoff spot via first-half championship
Player To Watch: Ian Happ, 20, CF, Eugene Emeralds
Happ had three hits this weekend, one of which was his third home run of the season, in addition to two walks and two stolen bases. His line is now up to a robust .278/.372/.583, which if you ask, I will outright refuse to compare to Bryant’s and Schwarber’s numbers at short-season ball. Yes, Cubs fans have been very spoiled the last two years by the scorching hot performances of Bryant and Schwarber that have made Bryant an instant star in MLB and put Schwarber on the cusp of being one himself. Happ, though, is living up to the challenge of being the next great Cubs system bat thus far, and he’s doing it while playing center field! I don’t expect Happ to stick around in Eugene for much longer, so if you live in that part of the Pacific Northwest, you may want to get over to PK Park as soon as possible.
Tweet(s) of the Weekend
Recently, there’s been a bit of an internet phenomenon that has seen many Cubs fans toss out the wild speculation that the now two games Bryant has been removed from this season due to illness are really because he was hung over. This, of course, seems like a massive stretch to me and just about any other informed observer, and so Corey Black took Twitter to task for this crazy rumor. Thanks again for being awesome, Corey.
This whole Bryant being hungover thing makes me laugh. Get to know the players Hahahaa
— Corey Black (@CblackCHC) June 27, 2015
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.
Eugene Emeralds vs. Tri-City Dust Devils, Tuesday, June 30th, Big Lebowski Night: The Dude abides! The Emeralds are hosting a night to celebrate the classic comedy by showing video board graphics and clips from the movie, as well as serving White Russians at the concession stand. There will likely be a decided lack of bowling, since this is a baseball game, but there will be plenty to indulge in for fans of the cult favorite movie and what I would contend is one of Jeff Bridges’ best and most iconic characters.
Game(s) To Look Forward To
Iowa Cubs vs. Round Rock Express, Tuesday, June 30th, 8:08 PM ET: Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor may have moved on to the major leagues, but the Express are still a fun team to match up against. Players such as Neftali Feliz and Josh Hamilton presently reside on the roster, and it should be an interesting series between two intriguing teams. I especially think that Hamilton is a unique story, and is a player who I am personally rooting for, not just in baseball but on a human level of hoping that he can overcome his addiction to be happy and healthy.
Odds and Ends
- In addition to Duane Underwood, Jr., both Shawon Dunston, Jr. and Tyler Skulina have been placed on the DL for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. As I previously mentioned, Jeremy Null has been called up from Low-A South Bend to replace Underwood while David Garner has also been called up from South Bend, presumably to take Skulina’s roster spot.
- Right-handed pitcher Donn Roach was called up to the Cubs this weekend to start in place of the now-injured Tsuyoshi Wada. Roach had a rough go of it in his debut on Saturday, tossing 3.1 innings and giving up 4 earned runs on 8 hits, 1 walk, and only 1 strikeout.
Lead photo courtesy of Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports