Hello, readers. Welcome to another edition of “Young Cubs.” This week is the final week before the trade deadline. As such, you can expect to see a lot of young players being mentioned heavily in rumors, and moving to new organizations. The Cubs are no exception to this, as the organization has been connected to nearly every available player on the market currently, so it’s expected that the Cubs will make at least a few deals. This means that some of the players we’ve been following throughout this season, and quite possibly longer, will be on the move. This is exactly why the Cubs have built up the depth of the minor-league system. It makes it possible to put together reasonable packages without giving up the highest-upside players in the system, thus making the team better in the short-term without giving up the bright future of the franchise. With that reminder being out of the way, let’s get down to business, shall we?
BP Top 10 Update (Stats for 7/17-7/19)
- OF Albert Almora, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-12, 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K
- C Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs: Schwarber is currently the primary catcher for the major league club, so there’s really no stats I need to report that most won’t already know about.
- OF Billy McKinney, Double-A Tennessee: 3-for-12, 0 BB, 2 K
- RHP Pierce Johnson, Double-A Tennessee: Did not pitch.
- SS Gleyber Torres, Low-A South Bend: 4-for-13, 1 2B, 0 BB, 2 K
- 1B Dan Vogelbach, Double-A Tennessee: 7-Day DL
- LHP Carson Sands, Eugene Emeralds: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
- 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: 7-Day DL
Javier Baez: Baez returned this weekend, playing in games for the Rookie League Mesa Cubs, and generally looked healthy. That is obviously the most important thing to note here, as he may be a bit rusty from the layoff. Still, Baez could really help the Cubs at the major-league level down the stretch, assuming he isn’t traded this week.
Arismendy Alcantara: 1-for-13, 1 BB, 2 K
Eugene Emeralds, Short Season-A, Northwest League: 17-21, 5 GB of first place, third place in the South Division; The Emeralds finished the first half of the season in poor fashion, giving up four runs in the ninth inning to lose the final game of the half to the Boise Hawks 6-4. Here’s hoping they can put together a better run in the second half.
South Bend Cubs, Low-A, Midwest League: 16-15, 2.5 GB of first place, second place in the Eastern Division (five-way tie)
Myrtle Beach Pelicans, High-A, Carolina League*: 16-15, 2.5 GB of first place, second place in the Southern Division
Tennessee Smokies, Double-A, Southern League: 12-17, 8.5 GB of first place, third place in the Northern Division
Iowa Cubs, Triple-A, Pacific Coast League: 52-49, 10.5 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
I’m an absolute broken record right now, but I’m perfectly happy that Happ continues to force my hand. Happ took batting practice with the major league Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field, in what’s become something of a tradition for Cubs farmhands of his caliber and pedigree. He got a chance to take it all in and experience what things could be like if he makes it to the major-league level. The image of Happ rubbing shoulders with 2013 and 2014 first-round picks Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber is one that should give every Cubs fan goosebumps, as it did for me. This was all done because Happ was on his way to South Bend to begin his time with the South Bend Cubs. Happ didn’t disappoint upon making his way to South Bend, going 3-for-6 with a double and three walks in his first nine plate appearances in full-season ball. He started both of the two games he played in as the center fielder, so the plan continues to be to get him reps out there in the hopes he’ll develop into a sure-handed glove with a combination of power and patience that few young players have.
Tweet(s) of the Weekend
It’s been something of a rough season for Albert Almora offensively, but he’s made quite a number of highlight-reel catches. It almost seems as if he has one every week, which makes it easy to treat his incredible defense as mundane. Rob Zastryzny really captures what it feels like to watch Almora up close with this tweet about Almora shagging fly balls during batting practice. I think we should take his word for it.
— Rob Zastryzny (@RobZastryzny_8) July 26, 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. Boise Hawks, Monday, July 27th, Dog Day: It’s always fun when fans get a chance to bring their dogs to the game, and this one should be no exception. Enjoy some baseball fun with man’s best friend, all while the Emeralds try to start off the second half right with a win.
Game(s) To Look Forward To
Eugene Emeralds vs. Boise Hawks, Monday, July 27th, 7:05 PM ET: The Emeralds just finished the first half of their season, and while they did not make the playoffs, Monday begins the second half and thus, Eugene’s second chance to qualify for the postseason. Ian Happ was just promoted to South Bend, but the team still retains a number of fascinating prospects, including Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Eloy Jimenez, and Donnie Dewees. It should be fun to watch the Emeralds kick off their season, hopefully with a win.