marquee young cubs


Hello, readers. Welcome to another edition of “Young Cubs.” This was a fun weekend for the farm system, as Kyle Schwarber was named the MVP of the Futures Game and I got a chance to attend the South Bend Cubs game on Saturday. It was a fun affair all-around, as I found Four Winds Field to be an excellent Midwest League ballpark. Situated right in the middle of downtown South Bend, it offers a great baseball viewing experience and really no seat is a bad one there. The South Bend Cubs offer one of the finest video presentations in the minors, which makes their MiLB.TV feed look truly professional. It was a great night at the ballpark and I’d recommend it to anyone.

I’d like to offer a few thoughts on Gleyber Torres, based on what I saw of him. Obviously, it’s difficult to get a full impression of a player based on one game, but I came away very impressed. Torres hit at least one ball very hard to the warning track on Saturday night, and I came away convinced that he has lots of room to add power to his game. Watching him, it was easy to imagine him one day being a 15 home runs a year type of infielder. Playing at shortstop, Torres displayed a strong arm and good footwork, but only average range and he appeared to still need work on his instincts at the position. What most surprised me was how quick he was. I had read many accounts of him which stated that his straight-line speed was less-than-stellar and while it’s not necessarily what you would expect, it’s not bad either. Anyways, with those basic impressions out of the way, let’s begin!

BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 7/10-7/13)

  1. OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: Playing for Team USA at Pan-Am Games
  2. C Kyle Schwarber, Triple-A Iowa: Schwarber didn’t play this weekend, as he made his way to Cincinnati for the Futures Game, where he went 1-for-3 with a triple and threw out a baserunner from behind the plate. He ultimately wound up being named the Futures Game MVP, which is yet another feather in the cap of the Cubs’ current mega-prospect.

  3. OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 4-for-15, 2 2B, 2 BB, 4 K
  4. RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K
  5. SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: 3-for-16, 1 BB, 5 K
  6. 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: 7-Day DL
  7. LHP Carson Sands, Eugene Emeralds: 2.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER (6 R), 2 BB, 1 K
  8. RHP Jen-Ho Tseng, High-A Myrtle Beach: Did not pitch.
  9. RHP Carl Edwards, Jr., Triple-A Iowa: Did not pitch.
  10. RHP Duane Underwood, Jr., High-A Myrtle Beach: 7-Day DL

The Non-Prospects

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

Arismendy Alcantara: 4-for-12, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 0 BB, 3 K

Team Updates/Standings

Eugene Emeralds, Short Season-A, Northwest League: 14-12, 1 GB of first place, third place in the South Division

South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 10-9, 2 GB of first place, third place in the Eastern Division (three-way tie)

Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League*: 8-11, 3 GB of first place, third place in the Southern Division

Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 8-9, 6 GB of first place, second place in the Northern Division (tied w/Montgomery Biscuits)

Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 47-43, 10 GB of first place, third place in the American Northern Division

*= Clinched playoff spot via first-half championship

Player To Watch: Ian Happ, 20, CF, Eugene Emeralds

Happ went 6-for-18 with a double and triple over his last four games and continued to show a great deal of power at the plate. He hasn’t hit the same way Bryant or Schwarber did in their debuts, but that always seemed unlikely. Happ has, however, been quite good and should be moving on to South Bend soon. I do imagine that his average will rise given time, also, as he is a fairly advanced complete hitter. Just don’t expect him to blaze a trail through the minors as quickly or fiercely as Bryant and Schwarber have, as those two are exceptional prospects of the kind any organization would be lucky to have drafted in back-to-back years.

Tweet(s) of the Weekend

Iowa Cubs utility man Anthony Giansanti gives us an inside look at a bustling Des Moines Sunday with this tweet. Giansanti once again has found himself in Triple-A, and since it’s been a while, he decided to try out some cool new spots in Des Moines. Before doing so, though, he had to get in a shot at Des Moines for its reputation as a sleepy Midwest city. Nicely done, Anthony.

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. Hillsboro Hops, Wednesday, July 15th, Sluggo’s Birthday: Sluggo is the big, green bear who serves as the Emeralds’ mascot. Every year, on this date, the Emeralds throw a big bash to celebrate the birthday of the goofy-looking creature, and this year, he’ll be doing so as a Cubs’ system mascot. The team promises prizes, giveaways, games, and many of Sluggo’s “friends” on hand to help celebrate. This should be a really great time, and I’ve always been curious what a mascot’s birthday entails, so head out to the game if you’re going to be in the area.

Game(s) To Look Forward To

Myrtle Beach Pelicans @ Potomac Nationals, Wednesday, July 15th, 7:05 PM ET:  This is set to be the third game this season in which the Pelicans have faced off against Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito (BP no. 2 overall). It’s always interesting to see Cubs prospects going up against such a high-level prospect, so this one should be fun. Giolito has risen to the very top of most everyone’s list now, especially given the recent graduations of so many top prospects. It’s always a test for the Pelicans to face someone of his caliber, but hitters such as Mark Zagunis and Jeimer Candelario are up to the challenge.

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