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The wind was blowing out to left for AAA Iowa, and the Cubs were able to take advantage. Elsewhere in the minors, Daytona finally avoided the dreaded error, and a certain slumping shortstop quite suddenly found his power.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 6 – 3
The Iowa sluggers came out to play in Round Rock as the Cubs survived a late rally and won 6-5.

Brett Jackson and Welington Castillo homered once a piece in the game. Not to be outdone, Anthony Rizzo homered twice. Combined, they drove in five of Iowa’s six runs.

Jay Jackson pitched five innings for the win. He struck out only four, but limited the opposition to just two runs on five hits over that span. The bullpen kept Round Rock in check until the ninth inning, but eventually Blake Parker nailed things down for his first save.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 5 – 4
For five innings the Tennessee hitters could accomplish little against Jacksonville pitching, but thanks to Dae-Eun Rhee it didn’t matter. When the Smokies’ bats woke up in the sixth they quickly provided all the runs Tennessee would need on the way to a 4-1 run win.

Dae-Eun Rhee got the win, Ryan Searle collected a hold, and closer Frank Batista struck out three for the save. Combined, the three hurlers struck out ten and walked none.

Jae-Hoon Ha reached base three times (via a double and two walks), but it was Rebel Ridling who did the most damage. His two hits and three RBIs led the Smokies. Justin Bour also doubled in the game. Considering the Smokies only had five hits, scoring four runs is not bat at all.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 2 – 6
Daytona finally played a game without errors. The offense celebrated this momentous event with an eleven hit performance that resulted in a solid 8-4 win.

Chad Noble and Arismendy Alcantara drove in half the Cubs’ runs, but they were far from the only contributors. Matthew Szczur, Nelson Perez, Greg Rohan, Rubi Silva, and Richard Jones all reached base twice and combined for four extra base hits. When the dust cleared, Daytona was an impressive 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Like I said yesterday, when all the pieces come together, this is a Daytona team that can win some games.

Eduardo Figueroa produced another of those low strikeout, low base runner performances that are cropping up so frequently across the farm system. In this case, his five innings of no strikeouts and four baserunners was good enough for a win. Joseph Zeller, Larry Suarez, Brian Schlitter finished what Figueroa started, although they each gave up a run in the process.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 3 – 5
Shortstop Marco Hernandez accounted for all of Peoria’s runs, but it was not enough. Peoria fell 5-2.

Hernandez has not had a great start in his first full season league, but on Friday he hit a double and a home run, drove in both Chief runs, stole a base, and drew a walk. I don’t think we can expect too many days quite like this from Hernandez (he isn’t exactly known for his power), but hopefully this will the game that gets the young hitter going.

Pin-Chieh Chen also had two hits.

Jose Rosario gave up four runs in his five inning start; that was enough for his first loss of the season. Bryce Shafer surrendered a run in his own two innings of work, but Jeffrey Lorick once again put up a zero.

Remember, if you make it to a game this delightful (and, perhaps, rainy) weekend, and if you take any good (or bad) pictures of that game, the Message Boards would be a great place to post them. If those pictures happen to feature frantic people running for cover from one of those freakish Midwestern thunderstorms, then I think you’ll find the Message Board is a great place for those, too.

  • MichiganGoat

    Love the picture, but not as much as I like seeing Rizzo and BJax raking at Iowa.

  • EB

    When is Junior Lake expected to return?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haven’t heard. But also haven’t heard that it was a serious injury issue, so I’m not sure it will be much longer.

      • JulioZuleta

        If I remember correctly, his 7-day DL stint ended yesterday or today. Airplane wi-fi, Brett?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Well, his seven days might be up, but he can stay on as long as the Cubs want. Not to the airport yet. Flight’s at 3 (so, I guess a very fast game would also do the trick).

          • hansman1982

            going to be an 8 hour game – Lynn gives up 9 in the first – Volstad gives up 12 – cards BP gives up 7 – Volstad gives up 14 – cards bp gives up 14 – Volstad gives up 7 – cards position player gives up 12 – Volstad gives up 19 – cards pitching coach gives up 42 – Volstad gives up 21 – Tony LaRussa then shuts down the Cubs the rest of the game – Volstad gives up 10, 8, 12, 1 – Cubs win 84-83

  • morgan

    think its about time to trade soto and byrd, start wellington and jackson, and rizzo, on the big league club, if im watching the games i want to see the young players instead of the scrubs were sending out there, like byrd and soto. and hopefully someone will take soriano

    • Falselife

      We would lose a year of control on Jackson and Rizzo if they get brought up too early, no way we should be forsaking that for an extra few months of them in the bigs.

      Besides, I live in Des Moines. I’m more than happy watching them play at Principal Park for now. Bad thing is that Rizzo could easily demolish the marks set by Jake Fox, Bryan LaHair & Hee Sop Choi – but once he is eligible to come up without losing that season of control I imagine he is gone. That’s assuming LaHair continues to strike out 2+ times a game.

  • nkniacc13

    I think they would like to trade them but only if they get something of value for them. I don’t see Jackson coming up until June anyway even if they trade byrd now simply because the cubs want another year of control. That is also why im not sure you’d see Rizzo either until July

  • Mdel78

    Excited to see the young guys on the big league club soon, but no sense in rushing them – from a baseball or financial perspective – right now.

    Any word on what the Red Sox are going to ask the Cubs as compensation for Ellsbury’s injury? ;0)

    • Dan Fredrickson

      Matt Garza and Starlin Castro.

  • Nick Nesler

    Anybody have a slash line on some of these guys like rizzo?

    • Kyle

      You sure you can handle it?

      Rizzo is coming in at 400/432/829 for a 1.261 OPS

      Jackson is at a more reasonable 265/359/471. I’m a little concerned about 12 K in 38 plate appearances for him.

      Vitters is 393/438/429. The concern here is the lack of power so far, but the really exciting part is 3 BB and 2 K in 31 PA. He’s only 22 and facing the most advanced professional pitching he’s ever seen, and they just can’t get it by him. That’s a huge positive indicator for his ability to make the next (and final) step up the ladder.

      • Nick Nesler

        Thanks for the info

      • Spencer

        Jackson is always going to strike out. At every level.

        • art

          correct, that’s why i feel he should be here now. IMO he could do better here with Dale and the batting coach giving him advice.

        • Kyle

          You can’t just dismiss it that easily, I’m afraid.

          Yes, he’s always going to strike out. But there’s a big difference between a 25% K guy, a 30% K guy, and a 35% K guy in the big leagues.

          If he’s a 25%er, he can be a solidly above average player with his skill set. At 30%, he’s barely going to be worth starting. At 35%, he’s probably going to wash out.

          Only two guys in the majors last year struck out at a 30% rate, and neither was a particularly good offensive player.

          • Cubs Dude

            In my opinion strike outs are one of the most overrated stats in baseball. Sure, it’s good to move runners around the bases by getting occasional productive outs. But if a player is going to get out, I would much rather a K than hitting into a double play. Nothing kills a rally like hitting into a double play. If his obp and other #’s are there, screw the strikeouts.

            • JasonB

              If you put the ball in play, you have a 30% chance of getting a hit on average. If you K, you have a 0% chance. Since when did 0 equal 30?

              • Cubs Dude

                That seems pretty obvious…… But what I am saying is that if your OTHER NUMBERS ARE THERE who cares if you are outs are by strikeouts. In fact I think strikeouts in many cases aren’t the worse thing that can happen and better than other outs sometimes.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                It is not that 0 = 30, it’s what is in the 30 (actually, 32).  Batting average given contact goes up as K rates go up, because slugging goes up as K rates go up.  Cutting down on K’s increases singles, but it will decrease doubles and (especially) HR.  Decreasing HR and doubles decreases wins, whereas increasing singles really does not do much at all.

                • Cubs Dude

                  All True. I would rather a player made solid contact with a chance for extra bases or no contact at all, rather than a grounder to short for a double play.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  Kinda feels like we got a chicken and the egg situation going on.

                  • Cubs Dude

                    Ha. Yeah kinda. I am just saying that it seems people are always hating on strikeouts. But I think if a player has a high K rate yet is successful at other aspects of hitting who cares about the strike outs?

                    • JasonB

                      The problem with this logic is that all things being equal, the player with the better contact rate will be a better player

                • JasonB

                  Yes, but then again you should be looking to drive the ball in any count that doesn’t have two strikes in it anyway. You don’t cut your swing down when you only have one strike.

                  I understand the point you’re trying to make and if the choice was between a slap hitting Brett Jackson with a 90% contact rate or this Jackson with a 75% contact rate, I’ll take the latter. But a Brett Jackson with a 65% contact rate is not a major league baseball player.

                  • JasonB

                    Notable baseball players in the history of baseball with K rates higher than 30%

                    Mark Reynolds (33.1%)
                    Russell Branyan (32.9%)
                    Bo Jackson (32%)
                    Jack Cust (31.7%)
                    Chris Davis (31.5%)
                    Rob Deer (31.2%)
                    Willy Mo Pena (30.3%)

                    Not exactly Ruth, Williams, Mantle and Mays. The highest career BA of this motley crew is .250 (Jackson and Pena). Anyone still think Ks don’t matter?

      • ty

        Kyle–any fan of Vitters is o.k. with me. I noted your conversation about Baez. He is surprisingly quiet and well-mannered with exception of when he creams one. I was at the game–the Angel coach was sitting in a folding chair about 20 feet by home plate and said rather subdued “run the bases”. Our Cub Mgr. was 100feet away behind 3rd watching the ball hit the tile roof on my neighbors house so he did not see Baez not moving. Angel coach was Dick Schofeld who played l4 yrs. in majors and is the uncle of Wash. Nationals Jayson Werth. Schofelds dad played 22 yrs in majors. Baez created an incident that is not tolerated at this level. Fights among these big boys can result in a season ending injury and too much money involved for this funtime. Come down to Mesa and I will introduce you to Baez–real good kid.

  • Kyle

    You are missing the point, I’m afraid.

    The point isn’t that Ks are worse than other outs.

    The problem is that when 30% of your PAs are Ks, and 70% of everyone’s balls in play are out, that doesn’t leave much room for doing other stuff.

    If Jackson’s King 35% of the time, he’ll be hitting something like 220/290/360 at the big league level. Yeah, if the OBP and SLG are there, you don’t care about the K totals, but the OBP and SLG won’t be there if he’s King that much.

    • Cubs Dude

      I get all that Kyle. Anyone, who K’s 35% will struggle. But my point is that if he has a strong and obp and other #’s who cares about his K rate. I keep hearing people complaining about K’s with Jackson, but if he hits .270 with a .365 obp with some pop and speed who cares about strike outs.

      • Kyle

        Sure, but if AAA pitchers can strike him out this often, he won’t be able to hit .270 with a .365 OBP at the MLB level.

        • JasonB

          Exactly – if his k rate is that high, he’s Mike Cameron without the stellar defense. I expect him to be .270/.365 hitter but not if he strikes out in one out of every three of his ABs. And I’m perfectly fine with a 25% rate because that will play with his skill set – anything higher probably won’t.

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