The Big League Club
Big night last night as the club won 7-2 behind 2 HRs and 6 RBIs from Kris Bryant and a 6 and 1/3 inning start from Clayton Richard. The Cubs have a 2.5 game lead in the Wild Card standings but still need some more offense. Aside from the Cardinals this next week, the big league club will face teams with records under .500 for the next month. That should be good for an offense that is struggling to score runs of late.
ESPN took a poll and 35% of MLB players stated that Joe Maddon is the manager they most want to play for. I can see why as he keeps it loose, keeps players accountable, and is in on every pitch. I love to watch the camera pan to see his reactions throughout the game.
International Free Agency
The Cubs have 7 signees so far including a young Korean HS phenom 3B inked on Thursday night/Friday morning. His name is Kwon Kwang-min. See here for the rest of them.
Cub Junction Prospect List: It has been updated to reflect the draft, international free agency, and some breakout players this year.
Minor League Noisemakers
Well I was wrong again. I picked Stephen Bruno and PJ Francescon and my Cubs Organizational Players of the Month for June. The Cubs announced theirs on Friday picking Myrtles Beach’s Mark Zagunis and Iowa’s Carlos Pimentel. Maybe I will get it right for July.
In a promotion commotion yesterday after noon, Taylor Teagarden was called up to replace David Ross on the big league club while Ross is on the 7 day concussion DL. To replace Teagarden at Iowa, Taylor Davis will be putting his gear back on after a stay at Tennessee. Cael Brockmeyer’s stay at Myrtle Beach was short as he is now at Tennessee to replace Davis. He is joined by Varonex Cuevas from Eugene. In addition, Dave Berg skips South Bend and goes to Myrtle Beach while Vismael Machin and Santiago Rodriguez go to South Bend. And last but not least, Trey Masek and Sutton Whiting arrived in Eugene from Arizona.
Here’s more random news from around the Cub system.
Rookie League in Arizona
The Cubs rookie league team is busting out some bats. OF Robert Garcia is hitting .368. 18 year old Wladimir Galindo is killing it hitting .353 with an OPS of .966 without a home run! That is pretty impressive. Also, Dylan Cease had his longest start of the year last night going three innings, striking out three, and walking only 1 while giving up one unearned run. He drew the praise of photographer Bill Mitchell.
Excellent outing by Dylan Cease for AZL #Cubs, maybe his best since TJ. 3IP, 1R, 0H, 1BB, 3K. Run unearned. One of top AZL pitchers.
— Bill Mitchell (@billazbbphotog) July 5, 2015
In addition, reliever and lifesaver Tanner Griggs is looking solid through his 4th appearance with an ERA of 0.00.
Short Season Eugene Doing Fine at 9-8.
There are some serious pitching arms in Eugene with Carson Sands, Justin Steele, Oscar De La Cruz, and Andin Diaz. They are all throwing great after three starts. Thanks to the Hillsboro Hops and MiLB.TV, I got to see Steele and De La Cruz pitch this week and they were most impressive. De La Cruz struck out 9 in 6 innings on Thursday. I also got to see Eloy Jimenez play. He jacked one and showed some impressive speed on the basepaths.
Ian Happ’s patience has to be unbelievable. The word is out on his prowess already. Watching him watch pitches was quite enjoyable. He doesn’t get many good pitches to hit, and at this point in the season, he has more walks (15) than hits (13). Even more enjoyable was watching him actually getting a pitch in extra innings to see him crush it over a 15 batter’s eye in dead center field on Thursday.
South Bend is Now 6-4
Rashad Crawford – His bat is coming on strong the past month. He is almost at .300 and I didn’t realize he was 6’3”. That is pretty impressive with that kind of speed.
Gleyber Torres Question– Why is he still in low A? Well if you saw him play this week, you would know. He got picked off twice and threw a ball in the stands with only two outs. He is very mature for an 18 year old, but he is still just 18. He is going to do dumb things from time to time. Better get them done here at low A than someplace else.
Dillon Maples – so far, so good in 4 innings at South Bend. He has 1 win in relief and a 2.25 ERA.
Myrtle Beach Has Some Issues
It must be hard to qualify for the playoffs in June and then sit and wait for 2 and a half months for them to start. The Pelicans came out of the All-Star break and just stunk it up going 3-6. The offense was offensive, the pitching poor, and it was tough to watch. Then last night happened. They broke out of their slumps pummeling the Carolina Mudcats 16-4.
Duane Underwood also had an MRI on his right elbow this week in Chicago. Luckily, it just showed inflammation. He is now in Arizona doing his rehab.
Tennessee and Iowa
The Smokies are off to a 5-3 start in the second half buoyed by Billy McKinney’s walk off single on Friday night. Players keep coming in and out of there, they just keep winning. Pierce Johnson is back and has a 1.08 ERA in 4 starts. He still needs to pitch deeper into games. He has yet to reach the seventh inning.
Kyle Schwarber is now near .400 for his two week stint in Iowa. He only has one HR, more will come later. With Teagarden now in the bigs to back up Monetero, Schwarber will get all the catching he can handle. In addition, Carl Edwards, Jr. continues to spin his wheels. He still issues walks at too high of a rate and his ERA as a reliever is 3.60 at Iowa. It should be going down, but has been rising over his last two apperances.
Javy Baez is now in Arizona to begin his rehab – No game action yet or a date picked to do so.
Minor League Players of the Week
Hitter – Kyle Schwarber – Iowa Cubs: 400/1/7 – he has been a beast at the plate this week.
Pitcher – Oscar De La Cruz – Eugene: 6 innings/9 Ks/1 run – a 13.5 k/9 ratio will get the award for most pitchers