16-5. That’s an unbelievable record. The fact that the Cubs could be 18-5 for a month in one day’s time is astonishing. Clark thought 16 wins was realistic, I went 18-6. Still, no one in their right mind could have seen this coming. I guess, I am not in my right mind.
As the Braves roll into town for a three game set, here are six things to think about for the weekend.
1. Andrew Rehn – Andrew is a former student of mine and classmate of Clark’s. He’s a huge Braves fan. This weekend could be embarrassing for him as the Braves send top prospect Aaron Blair, Julio Teheran, and Matt Wisler to the mound this weekend. The Braves are rebuilding in a strategy similar to the Cubs. While the Cubs loaded up on bats, the Braves loaded up on arms, basically fleecing the Diamondbacks in two deals the past year. While the Braves may not be much now, they will still have two good drafts to acquire more talent before their prospects arrive in 2018. Andrew is smart enough to know what is happening and is hopeful for the future, just not this weekend. I am glad the Cubs are way past that stage.
2. Javy Baez – Nothing he does is boring. He should be in the lineup every day this weekend as Kris Bryant recovers from a rolled ankle. Javy will be at third and in the outfield. Everytime he stepped onto the field this week, something exciting happened. He just has a buzz whether he is stealing a base, getting a hit, or making a play in the field.
3. The weather for the Braves series is not much better than the Brewers series. Tomorrow’s high should be 57, Saturday will be rainy and 53, while on Sunday, it should be sunny and back in the 60s. If you were looking forward to a John Lackey start on Saturday, you will have to wait until Sunday.
4. Albert Almora is making waves in Iowa. The young just turned 22 year old outfielder is doing it in the field and at the plate. In his last ten games, he has 3 HRs, 8 RBIs, and is hitting .362 on the year. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: He will be playing in Chicago in October. He’s not coming up next week, but he will be on this team when it counts.
5. While the bats have been heating up in the minors, I am struggling to find more than 5 starting pitchers for the April Organizational All-Star team. Normally, I include 6 on the monthly team, but I hope that some more pitchers step it up next month. With Dylan Cease and Bryan Hudson waiting in extended spring training, help may be on the way. Rob Zastryzny and Ryan Kellogg had good shots to make it but neither could maintain excellence beyond 4 innings last night.
6. So, Willson Contreras did not get called up when Miguel Montero went on the DL. That’s not a surprise. Contreras is hitting .368 with a .448 OBP. He’s doing very well in Iowa. His time will come, and I think it will be later rather than sooner. The Cubs are more likely to go with a MLB experienced catcher like Federowicz for this short of a DL period. If it was a longer stint, I think Conteras’ name would be the one you would hear. Right now, the Cubs are likely looking at Contreras when Ross leaves, but the Schwarber scenario might have changed things a bit, being that Kyle’s injuries were both in one knee. We shall see what the plan likely is as the summer goes on.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some news, notes, and the cards of the month. On Sunday, Cubs Central’s April Organizational All-Star Team and Players of the Month will be released.