Ian Stewart is headed for the disabled list with a sore wrist, and Luis Valbuena is being called up to take his place on the roster.

Not, to the surprise of some fans, Josh Vitters. I think this is the correct move, though. There is no doubt that Vitters is the better prospect or that he is going to get his chance, but this is not the right time. While it is true that he had a good month in May (.284/.333/.550), his line in June is just .245/.298/.434. Although he hasn’t played badly of late, and in fact he has hit safely in seven of his last nine games, it is pretty evident that he has some work to do before he will be ready for the majors. When the Cubs do bring Vitters up, it is likely they will want him to be up to stay.

So instead of Vitters, we will likely get to see more of Adrian Cardenas as well as some Valbuena at third base. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Cubs signed a lot of low risk contracts over the winter, and they need an opportunity to see just what some of these players can do. Joe Mather has gotten a chance. So has Manny Corpas and Shawn Camp. Now, it appears, it is time for Cardenas and Valbuena to show what they’ve got.

AAA – Iowa Cubs. 29 – 38
Former Iowa pitcher Doug Davis was back in town on Wednesday with Omaha. He pitched a decent game and left Iowa with a 5-2 loss.

Rodriqo Lopez had a fairly good start himself. In six innings he gave up three runs on eight hit while striking out six. Even though he was dealt the loss, his season ERA still stands at 3.41.

Mike MacDougal allowed another run on two hits in his inning and a third. Jeff Beliveau recorded two outs without any problems, but Rafael Dolis coughed up another run in the ninth.

Maybe there is something in the soil around the first base bag in Iowa that causes Iowa’s first baseman to suddenly become amazing sluggers. Last season it was Bryan LaHair who put on a power clinic for the Pacific Coast League. This year it is Anthony Rizzo who has been running a one man souvenir distributorship. And with Rizzo out resting a sore knee, Blake Lalli not only got the start at first, he hit his fourth home run of the season. Maybe the Cubs need to get an environmental testing team in there. Or maybe they should send Tony Campana over to play some first base in Iowa.

Geovany Soto and Juan Apodaca split duties behind the plate, and both catchers doubled. Luis Valbuena also doubled as part of his two hit night. For the season, Valbuena has hit .303/.378/.507. He’s only 26, so there is a chance this guy still has something to prove as a backup infielder at the major league level.

AA – Tennesse Smokies. 32 – 34
Tennessee was out hit 12-9, but they won the game anyway with a final score of 6-3.

Dae-Eun Rhee did not pitch all that well, but he did get the win (his fourth). In five innings he gave up three runs on eight hits, including two home runs, and struck out four. Not a great day.

The bullpen, on the other hand, was very good. Casey Harman and Frank Batista both pitched two scoreless innings, and Batista walked away with his ninth save.

Junior Lake was dropped to sixth in the order for this game, and he responded with a two hit night that included his second triple. Justin Bour also had two hits, including a double. Jae-Hoon Ha reached twice on a double and a walk. James Adduci launched a two run homer, his fifth of the season.

High A – Daytona Cubs. 29 – 34
Thanks to some nasty looking weather, the Daytona game was suspended after three innings on Wednesday. The game will be finished today prior to the start of today’s regularly scheduled game. At the time of the suspension, Daytona trailed Brevard County 3-1.

Low A – Peoria Chiefs. 33 – 33
And the Chiefs are back to .500. They scored early and often to easily beat Beloit. The final was 7-1.

Jose Rosario did not strike out a lot of hitters in this game (only two), but he did keep them off the bases. In six and a third innings he allowed just three hits and two walks while amassing a fantastic GO/AO ratio of 13 to 3. Austin Reed collected five outs in scoreless fashion and Hunter Cervenka was perfect in the ninth to secure the win.

Zeke DeVoss, Dustin Geiger, Javier Baez, and Yasiel Balguert all had two hits in this game. Geiger and Baez both hit home runs (that’s three for Baez, two for Geiger), and Baez was promptly drilled on his next at bat.

  • Fishin Phil

    I do not even remember what Adrian Cardenas looks like.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Josh Hamilton.

      • jp

        Are you trying to start another “the cubs gave josh hamilton away thread” Brett?

        • hansman1982

          Brett is always trying to stir something up

  • Ben

    Was the Baez plunking likely intentional?

    • cubs217

      It didnt look intentional to me, more like a breaking ball that got away and hit him on the leg. But it wouldnt not surprise me if it was I guess, his home run the previous at bat as huge.

  • JB88

    Midwest League is nasty. Also surprised you didn’t mention how massive Baez’s HR was. It cleared a clock on top of the left field scoreboard, which looked a good 25 feet off the ground to me. Photo of clock/scoreboard posted on twitter by @nbaliva.

  • http://bleachernation.com JY

    Have not seen a line on Matt Sazczur (spelling?) down at Daytona….is everything OK?

    • JB88

      He’s on the DL. Thought to be more precautionary than anything.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    TRADE Dempster and Vitters to the tigers for Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos! Lets all just face it Vitters will never live up to his potential of where he was drafted at #3 overall. He has never developed the big time power people thought he could have(don’t get me wrong he has power but its not 30-35 homers a year power that people thought he could be), he has good bat speed but that isn’t translating into high batting avg. His approach at the plate it awful. I’ve seen this guy live and he chases pitches way out of the zone. He doesn’t have a good eye at the plate and is to aggressive.

    • Richard Nose

      I’d be alright with using him as a 2nd piece in a solid trade too.

  • Idaho Razorback

    What’s with Baez and his hit by pitches? Our pitchers better start protecting him.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      One of my good friends plays college ball and has played against baez in high school in some amateur tournaments. And he was telling me how people hate Baez because he kind of a real douche bag and he’s really immature. He “Pimps” his homers. If you don’t know what “pimping” is it when ever you get a hold of a dinger you usually stare at your homer go over the fence and show up the pitcher. They keep on hitting him to send a message, that its not right to do that. I have no problem with them hitting him as long as its not head hunting, which it probably isnt. Baez really needs to mature and grow up. I use to play ball and this kid has no class. He’s only 19 but he needs to learn to be a professional. I will support him on the field because hes our guy but there is no room for that in the game. If Theo wants our players to do things the Cub way then we need kid to learn game with class.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Personally, if it is a no-doubter, I have no problem with them (even the other team) watching the HR. That is one of the unwritten rules I have never agreed with. Though, if they want to give him a free bag I say take it. Now, if it isn’t a no-doubter and clangs off the wall and your still standing at the plate, that is when I have a problem with it. If you notice Soriano watches most of his (who is considered a great guy).

      • djriz

        Baez and his attitude could be an entire post. There is a lot to consider.

        Everyone wants their favorite player to be classy. They are role models. Just are.
        But, as much as I hated Barry Bonds, Pete Rose or Mike Schmidt, I sure would have loved them on the Cubs. Would any of us turn down Bryce Harper in a trade?

        One of Baez’ problems could be that he’s always been a man among boys. Look at the last 10 games of his 20 game career (sample size caveat applies). He’s hitting .394 with a 1.200 OPS.
        So what do you do? Keep him at Peoria? Then bench him every time he’s inappropriate? Do you keep promoting him until he gets ‘humbled’? Would that hurt his development?

        Until his teammates push him off a moving bus, I’m just going to enjoy dreaming about how good this guy can be. (The Cubs first 6 tool player. If being a ‘tool’ is a tool.)

        • Jp

          On both topics I love Baez, dude is a monster and I don’t care about his on field manners if he’s a 30/30 player who hits over .300. And Bryce Harper has made me a fan where when he was in high school I thought he would be a major douche when he came up to the show. He hustles like a little leaguer and he always seems to say the right thing including “that’s a clown question bro”.

          • Richard Nose

            Whaaaaaaat the hell was that??!!?!? Clown question??? hahahahaha I can’t figure Harper out, not that he needs me to figure him out. He’s odd. Seems like a huge dildo, but at the same time he’s a pretty real dude. I just have a hard time seeing him next to Trout in the breakout ranks (Trout’s an absolute stud in every facet including personality).

            • Jp

              You know what I thought about Harper wouldve been great if he was in Chicago vs Washington, how many shirts in wrigleyville today would have clown question bro on it? We should get a shot at him in about 6 years right since NO WAY the nationals can outbid us. Trout is a stud but as we see the angels will outbid themselves.

              • FrankAndBeans

                Jp, Lerner, the Nats’ owner, is the wealthiest owner in the MLB. They can definitely outbid us. Plus that team is built with talent in a great city. No reason to leave.

                • JulioZuleta

                  Our guys better be protecting him. This is getting absurd. My blood is still boiling from the Kane County coach that told his pitcher to plunk Baez after swinging 3-0.

        • Mrp

          I’ve said the same thing. The biggest thing the kid needs for his development is to be humbled. I thought sending him to Peoria might do that, but so far that isn’t the case. His ego is only going to get bigger with the more success he has. Hopefully he just starts calming down with age.

        • Drew7

          If the kid rakes, you promote him, end of story. People get way to caught up with these guys “playing the game the right way.”

          Score runs and prevent the other team from scoring them. Why is anything else of any significance?

          • djriz

            I hope I didn’t give you the impression that ‘playing the right way’ is the most important thing.

            Winning is the most important thing, and as long as Baez’ production on the field overcomes any clubhouse ‘problems’ he may cause, let him be. (and if the only problems he has is with opponents, who cares).

            But, a lot of people like their favorite athletes to handle themselves with class. Have any of you ever wanted to throw something at your TV when some Wide Receiver is doing a touchdown dance when his team is down 30 points? (and I love me some sack dance. not.)

            My advice for him. Keep hitting. Act like you’ve been there before.

            • Cubbie Blues

              I don’t know, from all accounts Lenny Dykstra was a grade A douchenozzle, but I always respected him.

              • hansman1982

                no is that advanced A, low A or short-season A?

                • TWC


                • Cubbie Blues

                  I heard Theriot talked to him once and came away saying, “man, that guy is a douche”.

              • Leroy K

                2 words…craig biggio….never liked him—ever.

            • Edwin

              MJ was one of the biggest showboaters ever. Still is. He is also arguably one of the most popular sports stars of all time.

              Tiger Woods pumps his fist like nobody’s business. Aaron Rodgers used to do some stupid belt thing. The 85 Bears made a music video about how amazing they were.

              I think it’s human nature to express emotion when you do something great. Scoring a touchdown, hitting a home run, striking out a batter, making it all the way through a Michael Bay movie. It’s also human nature to be pissed when letting up touchdown, letting up a home run, striking out, and staring in a Michael Bay movie. I think fans/players are usually less pissed about the celebration, and more pissed about the results. The celebration is just an outlet.

              • Serious Cubs Fan

                Different games. Different players. Let me ask you what Javier Baez has done? NOTHING!!! He is low A ball!! MJ won six championships! Aron Rogers won a championship and an MVP. Tiger has won 12 majors and one of the best golfers of all time!! 85 bears are one of the greatest football teams of all time. What the hell has Baez done!? He is tearing up low A ball! haha guess what that doesnt mean anything. You probably made the worst comparisons I have ever heard. Those guys are proven HOF players and team! Baez hasn’t done anything. I read everyone else comments about how they support him and understand because he’s only 19 and he is just showing confidence and I totally understand those guys points and agree but I am sorry u made awful comparisons. I don’t mean to be harsh be you honestly just mention MJ in the same breath as Baez!!! U lost all privileges to comment. I hope Baez becomes a HOFer and leads us to 5 world series but don’t make those examples. Those are proven players and earned the right to talk shit.

                • Kyle

                  You don’t get it.

                  Those guys didn’t act like that because they were great. They were great, in part, because they acted like that.

                  Complete, unwavering self-confidence. Aggression. Competitiveness. Those are the kinds of traits that allow great athletes to succeed. Michael Jordan was a trash-talking jerk from the day he arrived in the NBA. He didn’t wait until he’d won four titles before he felt like he’d earned the right.

                  I hope Baez continues to do whatever the f#%! he wants.

      • BluBlud

        If you don’t want him to show you up, get him out. I’m tired of this, “the other guys showed me up”, BS. You showed yourself up when you left that spider hanging over the plate. Get over it and get this guy to the majors as fast as his talents will allow.

        • Richard Nose

          Fa sho.

        • Edwin

          Agreed. There is nothing worse than hearing about the “correct” way to celebrate a home run. He could ride his bat around the bases like a horse for all I care. Let him live in the moment.

          • Javier Baez

            I think I’ll try that. Hee haw!

            • Edwin

              After the game, sign your name and number on the bat and give it to opposing pitcher’s girlfriend/wife.

      • King Jeff

        I have read several reports of Baez at games being friendly with the opposing teams, staying late to sign autographs, joking around with teammates during fielding practice, and being a generally well-liked guy. I can see why opponents don’t like a guy who shows some confidence after wiping the floor with your team, but I think for anyone to label him a douchebag and immature isn’t looking at the whole picture. He’s got a high motor personality, he plays hard, and he lets his emotions show, I see nothing wrong with that.

        • Edwin

          Plus, he probably is immature. He’s what, 19 or 20? I expect him to act like a 19 or 20 year old. It’s foolish to expect someone who is 18-20 to act 38-40.

          For the record, I hope he stays cocky (and talented enough to back it up) all the way to the show. I like having a cocky emotional player on the team. It’s why Sammy Sosa and Carlos Zambrano are two of my favorite players ever. I love high motor high emotion players.

          • Billy

            This is the comment I agree with the most. He’s 19. Let him be 19. Think of how big of douchebags all of us were at 19. Most of us were in college doing beer bongs and trying get girls back to our dorm room, he’s smacking homers and watching them. Who cares, let him enjoy his success

  • jp

    I’m pretty sure it’s too early to give up on a top 3 pick especially since he’s only 22 i think. He has moved up every year and often times struggles the first half the season. I dont think he’ll ever be a star but could be a decent player yet. And on the Baez point, everyone else seems to have not gotten the memo on what his M.O. is…

  • oswego chris

    Luke..if you get a chance…I was noticing this Batista guy at Tennessee when I was persuing the stats the other day….any idea how hard he throws?…legit bullpen prospect?

    • King Jeff

      He’s not a fireballer, but he throws nothing but strikes. I couldn’t tell you how that’s going to translate as he moves up towards the majors, but he’s been pretty damn good every where he’s pitched so far.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      There is absolutely nothing about Batista’s game that the scouts are in love with, except the fact that he throws strikes and gets outs even in the most pressure filled situations.

      He’s not a prototypical late inning reliever prospect, but I’m not betting against him.

  • BluBlud

    I hope Theo and comp don’t start this slow through the minors crap. I agree with taking your time to develop a player, but if they are ready to play, let them play.

  • Myles

    If I played professional baseball I would show up every single HR. I’d walk on the mound from first to the dugout and break every single “unwritten rule” they had. If the result of my being a huge jerk is getting some free bases, I’d strap on the Bonds’ body armor and go to town. After they hit me, I’d stroll to 1st and wave.

  • Steve

    Myles…my junior year in hs I got hit by a fastball in the mid 80’s,…mid thigh. It took 2 weeks before it stopped hurting.
    Step up my son….get your 95 mph ear burger.

  • dreese

    Hey Luke, what ever happened to Casey Weathers? Is that his name, I cant remember, but we got him in a trade over the winter.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The Cubs got Weathers with Ian Stewart from Colorado.  Weathers has good stuff… closer stuff in some books… but he also has trouble consistently finding the strike zone.  He was making progress in that department with Tennessee when he went on the disabled list.

      • dreese

        Ok, I just remembered him and I thought he was in Iowa, so I checked the roster and he wasn’t there so I got confused.
        Thanks Luke

  • ETS

    Rodrigo Lopez vs Doug Davis?>!?!?! AAA baseball at it’s most exciting!

  • ETS

    And until Vitters cuts down on errors, he probably won’t see much MLB 3rd base.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He’s only a year older than Castro.  The errors are going to be there as he learns the position.

      • Edwin

        He’s played in 409 professional games as a 3B. If he hasn’t learned the position by now, he probably won’t get dramatically better at it. He may be young as far as age goes, but he has way more pro experience than a typical 22 year old.

        I’ve heard that defense typically peaks at age 22-24, and then starts to decline (obviously not for everybody, but for most players). I think it’s unrealistic to think that Vitters will be anything more than below average at 3B.

        • Kyle

          It’s a physical skill. It takes repetition over years to develop, and in the meantime the player’s body is growing and changing as well.

          Vitters’ defense has been reported to have improved incrementally in each of the last few years. There’s no reason to think he can’t continue to make small improvements and get to adequate.

          • Edwin

            I heard his defense was bad in 2011. That was from a fangraphs article from a guy who watched Vitters play and talked to scouts at the game. I really haven’t seen anything else scouting related, either good or bad. He played 25% of his games in 2011 at first base, which indicates to me that they’re considering moving him off 3B.

            He very well could end up being adequate, but the odds are not in his favor. Considering most players get worse at defense, I think there’s more reason to be pessimistic about his defense than optimistic. Again, he’s had over 400 games at 3B. That’s a lot. Even if he does improve, it probably won’t be by much.

            • Kyle

              His defense was probably bad last year. That doesn’t mean it didn’t improve. He’s gone from abysmal to really bad to bad in the last few years. I don’t see why he can’t make the next step from bad to okay.

              Why do most players get worse at defense?

              I agree the odds aren’t in his favor. If I had to place the odds on him getting to adequate defensively at 3b in the majors at 20-30%. But that’s not nothing, and that’s how non-elite prospects work.

              • Edwin

                Maybe saying “most get worse” is a bad way to put it. I was wrong to use that phrase. It’s not as much as them getting worse as it is them not improving.

                • Kyle

                  Well that’s probably true.

                  I think we’re talking past each other a bit.

                  Vitters is a bad defensive third baseman.
                  Vitters has improved in recent years defensively at third base.
                  Vitters probably won’t ever be an average defensive third baseman.
                  Vitters has a chance to be an average defensive third baseman, and that’s an important component of his value as a prospect.

                  All four of those statements can be, and are, simultaneously true.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I would like to see the basis for the idea that defense peaks in 22-24 range.  That makes absolutely no sense to me.  Experience is a major part of what makes a good defender good; a player will gain a lot of experience after age 24.  Reaction times should not start significantly slowing until the late 20s or early 30s, and even then that slowing is usually not enough to matter until the late 30s.

          I could be horribly wrong, that that assertion just doesn’t make sense.  I’d probably buy that defense peaks around 32-34, but not ten years prior.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm


            First one I saw, didn’t search for more…but I’m sure there are some out there.

            *not much here, but some charts:

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              With the exception of that horrifically flawed first chart in the first link (so flawed that even the author spent the rest of the article trying to fix it), the numbers seem to show defensive peak happening around age 28, or a year or two prior.

              It is an understudied area, though.

              • Hansman1982

                I have seen 22-23-24 listed as the peak for the physical side of defense (range, arm strength, etc…) so I may be that 27-28 is still close enough to that physical peak so that the mental peak makes up for the declining physical skills.

          • Edwin

            I think defense could very well be a skill that is much harder to develop than we give it credit for. Some players are very good at it, and some aren’t. It’s just not something that improves drastically for most players. Vitters might just not have the skill set needed to play 3B, and no amount of reps will help him get there.

            • Scotti

              While any given aspect of the average player may not improve (the average player simply doesn’t improve thus most get stalled in the low minors) defense is an area where intense repetition creates stronger neural pathways and thus GREATLY improved defense. A 26-y/o MLB SS will typically be much improved from when he was a 22-y/o and that much more from when he was an 18-y/o.

              • Drew7

                Partially agree: Some elements of defense fit what you are saying, but some don’t.

                The fundamentals of defense (footwork, glovework, etc) can be greatly improve with repetition. Others, like reading the ball off the bat and diving (skills making up most of a player’s range) are skills you either have or you dont.

              • Edwin

                I’m just not accepting your premise that “defense is an area where intense repetition creates stronger neural pathways and thus GREATLY improved defense.” Which 26 y/o SS are you talking about, and are they actually the normal expectation?

                I think certain skills reach a plateau. While a large number of reps might increase defense initially, a player will soon reach a point where the number of reps has a decreasing rate of return on improvement. I think that point is normally by the time the player hits age 22-24.

                • Jack Weiland

                  Skills probably do reach a plateau. But this assumes we can definitively say what a person’s “true” skill level is. We’ve been shown time and again how a simple change can dramatically increase a player’s production. (Jose Bautista, Jeff Samardzija, etc).

                  Did their skills magically increase? Or did an adjustment just make the difference?

                  Also do you have any evidence of the 22-24 range you keep hitting on?