Paul Hoilman slipped into the history books on Tuesday night with a base hit in the eighth inning. The young first baseman extended his hitting streak to a Peoria Chief’s team record 21 games with that single. He also now holds the longest hitting streak in professional baseball this season.

So how has he done it? In short, Hoilman is just a good hitter who got ridiculously hot. In Boise last summer he grabbed our attention by crushing 17 home runs in 71 games. This year for Peoria he is hitting .308/.373/.508; clearly this guy can hit. As for the ridiculously hot part of the equation, his BABIP is an elevated .409. Over the long term that’s probably unsustainable, even if it isn’t LaDiculously high. Hoilman is going to cool off eventually.

The question is what his address will be when that happens. I don’t think it is any stretch to say that Hoilman is not being challenged by Midwest League pitching. He could stand to be promoted, but unfortunately he is pretty well blocked by other first basemen in the system. Until Anthony Rizzo is called up from Iowa, allowing Justin Bour to move up from Tennessee and freeing a spot in Double A for either Hoilman or Daytona’s Richard Jones, it’s hard to see how the Cubs find a way to make that promotion happen.

In the meantime, Hoilman will continue to terrorize Low-A pitching and hopefully add a few dozen more games to his hitting streak.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 13 – 18
The Cubs went to Fresno on Tuesday and promptly buried the city under an avalanche of hits. Iowa scored 13 times on 15 hits in a 13-2 win that was never in doubt.

Chris Rusin allowed three hits and two walks in six innings of work; that was good enough for his third win of the season. Manuel Corpas allowed one run to score, but Blake Parker and Esmailin Caridad put up zeroes in their innings of work.

Anthony Rizzo led the offense with a pair of three run homers (he how has nine home runs this season), but he was far from the only player with a good game. I think the easiest way to showcase the lot would be to break out a list.

Brett Jackson also had his fifth steal of the season.

Rizzo’s monster game stands out, but don’t over look Vitters in that pack. This was very likely his best game of the season.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 14 – 19
Tennessee fell behind early and never regained the lead on their way to a 6-3 loss.

Trey McNutt threw 58 pitches in this game, but he still lasted only three innings. By allowing four runs (three earned) to cross the plate, he also picked up the loss. Ryan Searle allowed one run to score in his two innings of work and Jeffry Antigua threw two scoreless innings before giving way to Casey Weathers in the ninth. Weathers allowed a run, but he did so in an unusual fashion. His line (0H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB. 1K) only makes sense when you look a bit further down the box score and see he also had a wild pitch.

Justin Bour homered (his fifth) and Luis Flores had three hits (including a double) to lead Tennessee’s ten hit attack. Jae-Hoon Ha and James Adduci both doubled as well as part of their two hit nights.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 12 – 20
The Daytona Cubs found their bats and unleashed a 13 hit, 12 run torrent on their way to an easy 12-4 win.

Matt Loosen pitched five solid innings and collected his first win of the season. Hayden Simpson got in a bit of trouble late in the game, but he limited the damage to just two earned runs and picked up the four inning save.

There were heroes aplenty on offense, so let’s head to the lists.

As a team the Cubs were 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position. The bulk of the damage came in the eight run second inning; the outcome of the game was never in doubt after that.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 13 – 19
A big inning by the offense and some good work by the bullpen ensured the victory in the Chiefs’ 7-2 win.

Jose Rosario allowed ten hits in his five innings of work, but since he allowed no walks and struck out five he was able to limit the damage to just two runs. Luis Liria and Charles Thomas each pitched two innings of scoreless relief.

Taiwan Easterling had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game and raised his batting average to .223 in the process. Wes Darvill drove his third triple of the season as part of his two hit night. Rafael Lopez and Ryan Cuneo both added doubles and Brad Zapenas added two singles. Oliver Zapata managed to score twice on no hits and a walk (Szczur would be proud).

The biggest hit of the night, though, was the eighth inning single off the bat of Paul Hoilman. A twenty one game (and counting) hitting streak is a feat to be proud of at any level of baseball. Congratulations Paul. Here’s hoping for twenty one more.

  • John

    Where is Vogelbach?

    • Brett

      Extended Spring Training. Will probably play in Boise (Low A) when their season starts in June.

  • ichabod

    keep forgetting, vitters one below the show, thought AA

  • Blitzenjohn

    We always knew Vitters could hit. Defense, on the other hand…

  • CubFan Paul

    Is McNutt “struggling” or is he learning a new pitch that he’s trying to incorporate into his arsenal?

    • Edwin

      My bet would be struggling. He struggled last year, and this year isn’t looking much better. He has had some injury issues, which could easily account for the down year he’s had, but I think at this point is probably more of a relief pitching prospect. But who knows. Maybe he can shark himself into a quality 3rd starter somehow.

    • Luke

      McNutt’s current problem is blister; that’s the reason for his limited innings.

      His performance in the innings he’s gotten hasn’t actually been too bad.  I’m not sure if the blisters have limited his pitch selection at all, but I wouldn’t get too concerned/excited by McNutt’s performance so far.  He’s basically in rehab mode.

  • AB

    I don’t see why having Jones (who is sucking at A+ as a 24-y/o) and Bour at AA are blocks to Hoilman. I believe both leagues employ a DH.

    • Luke

      Even with the DH both of those rosters have more prospects than they can find daily at bats for.  It’s a good problem to have, but it is does make for some challenges in the realm of roster assignments and lineup creation.

      • AB

        Eh, if their names aren’t Lake, Ha, Watkins, or Szczur, I’m not really losing sleep over them losing at-bats.

        Then again, Hoilman’s K-rate may kill him at higher levels, but you’ll never know until you try.

    • JulioZuleta

      I agree, if the Cubs want to promote Hoilman, a 24 year old 1B who’s OPSing .549 in A+ (Jones) should not block him. I don’t have high hopes at all for Hoilman’s career, but the ship has sailed on Jones.

  • Jeremy

    My god, What a great day for the Cubs ML hitters. Hopefully this leads to Vitters heating up big time.

    Jackson has been playing well in his last 10-12 games. Cut down the strikeouts thought!!!

  • CastrotoBarneytoLaHair

    It is nice to see Vitters having some success! For awhile, I was thinking, “Great! Another name to add with Luis Montanez, Brian Harvey, Felix Pie….”

    • DocPeterWimsey

      That still is the most probable outcome: those guys all had a few great AAA games, too.  Despite hopes to the contrary, Vitters’ walk rate has not changed at all over his career.  (The small “positives” people saw last year are indistinguishable from small sample size artifacts.)  Indeed, this season has been completely in line with his career numbers: he’s got half a walk more than expected, one more K than expected, and three fewer extra base hits than expected.

      • Edwin

        I agree. I don’t know how much success he’s had this season. He’s OPSing .665 so far in a league that is typically a hitters league. His wRC+ is 66. He is young for his league, but since 2006 amongst all seasons in the PCL by a player 22 or younger with at least 100 at bats, his wRC+ ranks 9th to last (out of 83 seasons).

        There is still time for him to “solve” AAA and start putting up some respectable numbers, but at this point he seems most likely to end up a utility/bench infielder. I’d say his best comparison is Adrian Cardenas.

        • Norm

          I’m hoping for at least Shea Hillenbrand

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Vitter’s low OPS is due mostly to his low slugging: and right now we cannot dismiss that as just a sample size fluke.  (He has 6 XBH when we expect him to have 9 XBH; i.e., an outcome we expect one time in five.)

      • Kyle

        Again the obsession with walk rate.

        It’s perfectly possible to be a useful major league player with a low walk rate.

        • Edwin

          Sure. But then a player would have to make up for it with some combination of playing good defense, having good baserunning, hitting for power, or hitting for average. Vitters doesn’t do these things enough to make up for his poor walk rate.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Moreover, there is a strong positive correlation between walk rates and both batting average given contact and slugging given contact.  It’s not walks per se, but pitch recognition that is the key trait here.

        • Norm

          Sure it is. It’s also MUCH more rare.

        • PoonMr.

          Walks are generally a pitcher failing to locate and/or command issues and not some great feat by the hitter.

          Hoilman is a solid player, solid kid.

          • hansman1982

            Then why are some batters able to compile a 10% BB rate while others are only able to compile a 5% BB rate?

            In an individual game, sure I can see your point, but over the course of a season and a career, it is a great feat by the hitter.

          • Drew

            Thats not true at all