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Hello, readers. Welcome to another edition of “Young Cubs.” The MLB All-Star break is coming up early next week, so all eyes will be on the minor leagues. There will be yet another layer of attention due to trade season beginning to heat up. No major trades have been made yet this year, so there’s a fair possibility that we could see a lot of movement in a short time span. There will also be the Pan Am Games and the MLB Futures game coming up, so there’s a lot to look forward to. Anyways, let’s get started, shall we?

BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 7/6-7/9)

  1. OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: Nothing to report here as Almora has joined Team USA for the Pan Am Games. I’m personally hoping the CBC will be streaming some of the games so that I can catch Almora in international competition.
  2. C Kyle Schwarber, Triple-A Iowa: 4-for-15, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB, 10 K; Schwarber had two doubles and a home run on Tuesday, as he continued to be hilariously good at hitting. Yes, he’s had a few more strikeouts than you’d like to see while at Triple-A, but it’s been in a small sample size and it’s pretty likely those numbers will stabilize over time. He’s continued to absolutely pound the ball, so there’s really no reason for concern here.
  1. OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 6-for-15, 2 2B, 2 BB, 1 K
  2. RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
  3. SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: 3-for-17, 1 2B, 2 BB, 3 K
  4. 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: Vogelbach, like Almora, was supposed to be heading to Canada to compete with Team USA, but unfortunately he recently got injured and was placed on the DL.
  5. LHP Carson Sands, Short Season-A Eugene: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 K
  6. RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, High-A Myrtle Beach: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K; Thursday night’s start is almost undoubtedly Tseng’s best in 2015. It’s been a bit of a bumpy season for him, so more of this type of outing would be nice to see going forward.
  7. RHP Carl Edwards, Jr., Triple-A Iowa: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K
  8. RHP Duane Underwood, Jr., High-A Myrtle Beach: 7-Day DL; So, he’s going to be out for a bit, but the news was good from his MRI, as no structural damage was shown.

The Non-Prospects

Javier Baez: He’s still hurt. I am sad. That is all.

Arismendy Alcantara: Mendy went 6-for-21 this week with three doubles and five strikeouts. His progress continues to be hard to get a read on without more information. He obviously remains an interesting young player and his ability to help the Cubs’ roster, if he can stick in the majors, remains undisputed. However, I continue to trust the organization’s ability to evaluate where players are at developmentally, so I’m not going to make any declarative statements about his future right now.

Team Updates/Standings

Eugene Emeralds, Short Season-A, Northwest League: 14-8, first place in the South Division

South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 7-8, 3 GB of first place, fifth place in the Eastern Division

Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League: 5-10, 4.5 GB of first place, third place in the Southern Division

Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 6-7, 4.0 GB, third place in the North Division

Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 45-42, 9.5 GB of first place, third place in the American Northern Division

Player of the Week: Pierce Johnson, 24, RHP, Tennessee Smokies

Johnson has been dominating the Southern League ever since returning from injury and his latest start was no different. Johnson threw seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball and lowered his 2015 ERA to 1.14. The Cubs have suffered a number of setbacks with pitching prospects this season due to injury and ineffectiveness and have converted several of their better young pitchers to relief work, so seeing Johnson succeed is exciting. At this rate it shouldn’t be long before Johnson makes his way to Triple-A and puts himself on the cusp of being a major-league starting pitcher.

Last Start: (7/7): 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Player to Watch: Rafael Soriano, 35, RHP, Tennessee Smokies

Yes, this is called “Young Cubs,” so it might seem a bit odd that I’m featuring a 35-year-old reliever who may very well be making one of his last stops before retirement. However, Soriano is yet another pitcher brought into the fold to potentially help the Cubs’ bullpen down the stretch, and he debuted with the Smokies on Monday night. He threw a scoreless inning, striking out the side and generally looking pretty impressive. Since then, Soriano has pitched another inning, remaining scoreless and positioning himself to return to the majors shortly after the All-Star break.

Tweet(s) of the Week

Wednesday night’s game against the Cardinals did not go unnoticed by some of the Cubs’ prospects. Myrtle Beach catcher Ben Carhart had some especially incisive thoughts, including what many of us were thinking after Yadier Molina got tossed from the game.

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. Biloxi Shuckers, Saturday, July 11, Grateful Dead Night and Jersey Auction: This one is for all the Dead Heads out there! The Smokies will be celebrating the music of the famous band with giveaways, prizes, and videos/music on the video board. In addition to all of this, the Smokies will be wearing special Grateful Dead themed jerseys, which will be auctioned off after the game.

Game(s) To Look Forward To

South Bend Cubs vs. Hillsboro Hops, Friday, July 3, 7:05 PM ET: My reason for choosing this game is simple: I’ll be there! That’s right, readers. I’ll be attending this game and will be bringing you a special edition of “Young Cubs” on Monday that will be primarily focused on the South Bend Cubs and my impressions on several of the interesting prospects at that level, most prominently Gleyber Torres. I’ll be sitting along the first base side, so if you’re going to be there and you’d like to come chat about the Cubs, baseball, prospects, or life in general, shoot me a message on Twitter.

Odds and Ends




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Ryan Davis

Pierce Johnson, please hold together in one piece. I’d love to see him get some starts if the Cubs don’t land a big time starter in a trade.

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