Blake Parker has been summoned to Wrigley; is he the first of a trend?

At some point the Cubs are going to need to evaluate what they have in the upper minors, and the Parker promotion could be an early part of that process. There are plenty of other candidates for a taste of the majors, though. Jay Jackson and Chris Rusin are both likely to get a major league try out, as are the top prospects Rizzo and Jackson. Adrian Cardenas is already in Chicago, but the Cubs are not using him very much. If an outfielder goes on the disabled list, that could create an opening for Dave Sappelt. And those are just the names near the top of the list. The shuttle to Iowa could be in for a busy summer.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 18 – 21
Don’t count out Travis Wood. He pitched a good game as Iowa won 7-5.

Wood allowed just two runs on five hits in a solid seven inning start. His minor league ERA is down to 4.57. Jeff Beliveau was equally effective in his one inning of work, but Manny Corpas almost let this one get away in the ninth. Three runs crossed the plate before the veteran ended the inning.

The piano music must have agreed with Iowa’s hitters. Anthony Rizzo had a very Rizzo-like game that included his 14th home run, but he was not alone. Josh Vitters‘ again flashed a bit of his own power by launching his fourth home run this year. Not to be outdone, Brett Jackson picked up his own fourth homer of the season as he went a double short of the cycle. Dave Sappelt had two hits, including a double, and stole his third base of the season.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 18 – 23
The Smokies had just five hits in this game, but thanks to some good pitching that was enough to earn a 3-2 win.

Brooks Raley went five innings as he won his second game of the season. Frank Batista, recently returned to the Smokies, and Casey Harmon pitched a scoreless inning apiece. Kevin Rhoderick then came in for the two inning save, his fifth.

With only five hits, there is not much offense to talk about. James Adduci had two hits and scored two runs and Logan Watkins drove in two runs to lead the Smokies.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 15 – 23
Daytona needed five pitchers to get through this game, a game they lost by a final of 8-2.

Zach Cates had another rough start. He was lifted in the third for Hayden Simpson who once again could not find the strike zone. Eduardo Figueroa pitched a scoreless sixth and Joseph Zeller pitched a scoreless seventh, but Ryan Searle ended the string of zeros with a two run eighth.

Only three Cubs managed hits in this game, but two of them were big ones. The bulk of the offense came from Nelson Perez, who hit his sixth home run of the season, and Greg Rohan, who tripled as part of his two hit night. Rubi Silva also had a hit.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 19 – 22
It was a close game for the Chiefs, but they held on to win it 4-3.

Patrick Francescon keeps rolling along with his fifth win of the season, and once again he did not allow an earned run. Larry Suarez and Jeffrey Lorick held on to the lead over the final three innings. Peoria did allow three runs to score, but none of them were earned.

Pin-Chieh Chen returned to the top of the batting order and had a two hit night. If Marco Hernandez keeps hitting like this, he’ll be hitting near the top of the order as well. The young switch hitter was two for three with a triple and a walk.

Continuing a trend we have seen lately, the Chiefs turned the game into a track meet. Oliver Zapata, Wes Darvill, Taiwan Easterling, and Chen all had a stolen base in this game.

  • dick

    Do you think Kevin Rhoderick will be called up to the Cubs soon? He was 9-0 last year, and has pitched great this year.

    • Luke

      I think he’ll make it to Iowa sometime fairly soon, but I don’t know about Chicago this year.  Eventually, yes.

  • die hard

    Our farm system not cooking yet either….need to pick off the 2 best players on each team on farm and bring them up now…dump all the rest and shut down teams to save money…limit scouting to college and south of the border and bring em up right to majors if signed…dont need to spend any more on farm teams

    • butlerdawgs

      that seems like a sensible idea that would really pan out well

      • Cubbie Blues

        It does, doesn’t it? Completely destroy the farm system to where it doesn’t exist at all. Yeah, that sound like a great idea. I wonder why no other team has caught onto that kind of philosophy. They would save so much money they could buy out Fielders contract and sign him to a new one! While they are at it might as well convert Soriano to catcher (he is hot now you know). It would also free up enough money so they could resign Dempster to a new 6 year contract (now that is a great idea right there). Basically, what I am saying, I’m starting to follow your logic now (insert sarcasm wherever you see fit). LOL

    • JulioZuleta

      wow, that’s new level stupidity even for you

    • TWC

      Dck Tidrow!!

  • Roughriider

    With the way Sappelt is hitting, I can’t get too excited about a possible call up. Other than the fact that he is already on the 40 man roster he wouldn’t be considered. He hasn’t done anything to warrant it. I’d like to see Wood and or Rusin get the chances that Volstad has gotten and blown. Wood should be first if only because Rusin would have to be added to the 40 man roster. I’d like to see another (good) lefty in the rotation.

    • Norm

      If you ignore everything Sappelt has done prior to this year, you’re right.
      But I don’t know why you’d want to do that.

      • RoughRiider

        I don’t call a career .246 batting average in Triple A worth getting excited about or worthy of being called up to the majors. And let me rephrase it. He hasn’t done anything this year to warrant being called up nor has he done anything in the majors in the past to get exited about at this point. He has plenty of speed and is a pretty good defender but needs to learn how to use that speed and hit for a better average. He just isn’t ready. Not to say he won’t be at some point. It would probably do him a diservice to bring him up and sit and or struggle in the majors. Wait until September.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Luke, I am trying to calm my excitement for Rizzo.

    His BABIP is fairly high at .384. Is that because he is getting a lot of hard contact or is this a little lucky?

    His K% is at 21% (though it is lower than his career 36%). Are most of his K’s the swinging strike variety or are they borderline pitches that and is caught looking (that would at least show patience)?

    • drew

      Not Luke, but I dont think your numbers are right.

      Rizzo’s K rate is currently 18.6%, or about 2% below his career rate of 20.5%. You could have been looking at his ML numbers from last year I suppose.

      • Cubbie Blues

        I double checked and FanGraphs has him at 8% BB 21% K for 2012 AAA.

        • Norm

          Fangraphs has him at 19.1% now…that’s not all THAT high. 20% is perfectly acceptable for a power hitter. His walk rate is at least average right now, and that’s actually as low as it’s been in the minors.
          But you’re right on the BABIP…I’d expect more a .260-270 hitter for Rizzo and not so much a .300 hitter in the big leagues.

        • Drew7

          I understand, I was referring to you using 36% as his career rate

    • Luke

      Rizzo’s BABIP is fairly high, but not compared with his AAA BABIP from last season.  I think he’s just hitting the ball that hard.  He’ll go through slumps just like any player (and has had a few small one already), but for the most part he’s just killing the ball.  If he stays healthy, I think he’ll keep up this level of production until he is called up.


      • King Jeff

        I love BABIP, but for a guy like Rizzo it’s a little misleading isn’t it? It doesn’t account for homeruns, which I know isn’t a ball in play, but it’s one that he has hit and isn’t going to be an out, so his ridiculous BABIP doesn’t actually reflect all of the balls he hits.
        Anyway, from what I’ve seen, he’s corrected a lot of that overswinging he was doing last year, can’t wait to see him in Wrigley.

        • Norm

          RIght, HR hitters tend to have a lower BABIP because of the HR’s not being included. And also, minor league BABIP are much, much higher than BABIP’s in the majors.
          I wouldn’t say it’s misleading, though; it’s telling you exactly what it’s supposed to tell you….how often a ball in the field of play ends up as a hit. And in the majors, it won’t be 38% of the time.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Yeah, this is why BA given contact (H/[AB-K]) is a better measure of how well a guy is actually hitting (as opposed to batting).  What really is more informative is if you look at the singles, doubles or triples, and HR rates (or just singles and XBH rates) given contact.  It’s the first that shows by far the most variation from one year to the next for most players.

            • Norm

              I’ve never thought about (H/AB-K)…
              I like to keep it simple and just reduce BABIP to the 270 (pessimistic) – 330 (optimistic) range, and subtract the same amount from the AVG/OBP/SLG lines.
              Not scientific, pretty subjective, but I think it keeps my excitement about prospects at a rational level

      • Caleb

        Me too. I was thinking as I rea this post: I bet that having rizzo pounding it at AAA has to have some sort of benefit to the rest of the players’ mentality. I suppose that’s a plus in keeping him down there to get the extra year.

    • Gabriel

      To me that BABIP isn’t wildly lucky, considering his average is .359. BABIP only worries me when it is significantly higher than the actual batting average (like in LaHair’s case, although I think he prob still a .300 hitter)

      • Norm

        That’s not looking at it the right way…his average is that high BECAUSE of the high BABIP.

  • Smitty

    Luke or Brett,

    My memory is lost. Who was the guy a year or two ago that we picked up and stashed like we are doing with Lendy Castillo.? He was a reliever and I am wondering if he is still in the system or did we end up sending him back.

    • Brett

      David Patton. Flamed out.

  • mark

    Looks like the Cubs have decided for now (2 games in a row?) that Jackson is not a leadoff guy. Maybe it’ll relax him a bit, get him to enjoy the game again.

    To me, a 1/5 or even 1/4 SO rate for Rizzo is totally acceptable if he keeps driving in runs.

    Vitters is a frustrating kid. After some promising signs early, he has reverted to form, with a ridiculously low BB rate and a correspondingly ridiculous OBP for a guy of his raw potential. It’s great that he can make contact with almost anything a pitcher throws up to the plate, but he’s obviously not a Castro who can also find the holes at a high rate while swinging at bad pitches–bad for most players.

    • hansman1982

      the keys to offsetting strikeouts are walks and homeruns. You can live with a 25% K rate if you are walking half that much and hitting around 25 homers. Fangraphs did an article a year or two back about how to project minors stats to majors success. From what I got out of it is you want your BB rate to be about half your K rate and you want your home run total to be at or above your K rate unless your BB rate is more than half your K rate. So:

      Success = (K rate*50-BB rate*100) + HR-K rate*100 >/= 0
      Example = Brett Jackson AAA stats (HR normalized for 650 PA)
      S = (.2955*50-.1266*100) + (24-.2955*100)
      S = 2.115 – 5.55
      S = -3.435
      Granted, I have no idea if this is an accurate formula or what -3.435 means (that could be a GIGANTIC red flag or well within a standard deviation from the mean) just trying to show an example of what I understand.

      • mark

        Tx, but I wish you could provide a link to interpret that result, apply it to others, etc. I’d be greatly interested to see how that works out.

        • Hansman1982

          the formula was more of an example of what I read. I have no clue if it has any basis in real life and my guess is no. There is so much that goes into a major leaguer, let alone a superstar, that if it were as simple as Bb, K, Hr some smart person would have figured it out. Easy way to test it would be to tAke aaa rates for players and compare that formula to career war.

    • Kyle

      Still one of the youngest players in AAA. Patience is a virtue for fans, too, not just batters.

  • mark

    Junior Lake was 0-fer last night, but so far is demonstrating excellent patience at the plate, starting out very hot. This is what everyone wanted to see from him. 9 BBs in first 35 ABs, only 7 SOs.

  • AB

    Another solid outing from Whiteknack in EXT.