Anthony Rizzo has gone to big leagues, and the privilege of chronicling his potential greatness now lies with Brett. So, now that all Pacific Coast League pitchers are breathing a tremendous sigh of relief, who is the next significant Cub prospect we can look forward to making the jump?
Before the season started I expected the answer to that question, when it came up, would be Brett Jackson. Then Brett Jackson began his improbable run of hitting productively while whiffing at a huge rate. With Jackson delayed while he works out his strikeouts, Josh Vitters is likely to be the next man up. Unless Iowa goes on improbable run and makes the playoffs, I think we can expect to see Vitters in Chicago in early September. He will also likely get a long look in spring training and could be the starting third baseman out of camp.
After Vitters things become much harder to decipher. There are some pitchers that could come up at any time (Jeff Beliveau and Chris Rusin among them), but no one likely to generate much fan excitement. The next player with that potential is probably Junior Lake. He too could be up in September for a cup of coffee, but he is not likely to stick in the majors until late 2013 or early 2014. He is still in need of a lot of polishing before that day comes.
This could all change very quickly, though. July is almost on us and trades could be coming down literally any day now. I would not be surprised if the next prospect to generate Rizzo-like excitement for the Cubs arrives sooner than we think and is not currently in the farm system.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Anthony Rizzo was not on the roster, and the Iowa Cubs lost 3-1. Coincidence?
Tennessee – The Smokies hit four home runs in their 11-6 win.
Daytona – The Cubs played another extra inning contest with the Mets, but this time they lost 4-3 in twelve.
Peoria – This game went into the tenth, but Peoria made sure it would go no further. The Chiefs won 7-2.
Boise – The hitters didn’t hit and the Hawks didn’t win. Boise lost 3-1.
Arizona – The Cubs had ten hits, but they had trouble turning those hits into runs as they lost 9-4.
Performances of the Day
- [Iowa] After his single in this game, Josh Vitters has a nine game hitting streak. In that span he has three home runs, three doubles, and just six strikeouts.
- [Iowa] Ryan Rowland-Smith and Michael Bowden were both effective out of the pen. Rowland-Smith pitched three scoreless innings and gave up two hits while striking out two. Bowden threw the final inning in hit-less fashion, striking out one.
- [Tennessee] Michael Burgess was the star in this one. He was 3 for 3 with a two home runs, three RBI, four runs scored, and a walk. For the season Burgress now has eight long balls.
- [Tennessee] Michael Brenly also had a great game. He was 3 for 4 with a double, three runs scored, and his second home run of the season.
- [Tennessee] And that’s not all. Jae-Hoon Ha hit a three run homer, his third of the season.
- [Tennessee] Logan Watkins was 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and his 14th steal.
- [Tennessee] The final two innings were pitched by Frank Batista, and once again he was nearly flawless. The right hander allowed one hit and struck out three as he earned his 12th save.
- [Daytona] Elieser Bonne had a three hit game that included a double. Rebel Ridling also had two hits. Arismendy Alcantara had just one hit in six at bats, but it was good for three bases.
- [Daytona] John Andreoli might have had the best game of the day for Daytona. He went 2 for 4 with a walk and a strike out, stole his 25th base of the season, and had two outfield assists, including one at home.
- [Peoria] Pin-Chieh Chen hit his fifth triple as part of a two hit night. Along with Paul Hoilman‘s double, those were the only extra base hits for the Cheifs.
- [Peoria] Starling Peralta tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out three. The win, however, went to converted outfielder Matthew Spencer. Spencer, recently promoted from Boise, struck out three in his two hitless innings of work.
- [Boise] James Pugliese put up solid numbers, except in the walks category, with four and two thirds innings in which he allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
- [Arizona] Daniel Vogelbach was 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a strikeout in this one. Trey Martin also had a good game with three hits, including a double.
- [Arizona] Bijan Rademacher has begun playing for Arizona, and the early results from the 2012 draftee are good. Through two games he has two hits, a double and a home run.
- [Arizona] The Cubs used a lot of pitchers in the desert yesterday, but the standout performance goes to Ethan Elias. In three innings of relieve he allowed two hits and no runs while striking out two.
Other Minor League Notes
- Nick Struck was not particularly good yesterday, but he pitched well enough to collect his league leading ninth win. Effective but not particularly good might be the best way to describe the young right hander. In 89 innings this season Struck has an ERA of 3.74 and an opponents batting average of .242. He has 72 strikeouts against 30 walks. Those numbers are good, but they aren’t the sort of number you’d expect to see from a guy who leads the league in wins. They also are not the numbers you’d expect from the guy who is third in the league in home runs allowed. On the other hand, wins are one of the most meaningless stats we can use to evaluate a pitcher. I think the lesson to take away on Struck is that he is a guy who can consistently keep his team in the game. He probably won’t win the game himself, but he probably won’t lose it himself either. If he can keep that track record going, he could stick around baseball a long time as a fifth starter type.
- Hayden Simpson had another effective game (three and a third innings, one run on two hits, one walk, four strikeouts), but the goal with Simpson now is just to throw strikes while working to get his velocity back. The results in Boise should be pretty good, but I don’t think those results are especially meaningful at this point.
Farm System Standings
AAA – Iowa Cubs : 33 – 46.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Second Place: 16.0 Games Behind.
AA – Tennessee Smokies : 3-3
Southern League North Division – Second Place : 0.5 Game Behind
High A – Daytona Cubs : 4-2
Florida State League North Division – Second Place (tie) : 0.5 Games Behind
Low A – Peoria Chiefs : 3-2
Midwest League Eastern Division – Second Place : 1.0 Game Behind
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks : 4 – 8
Northwest League East Division – Second Place : 2.0 Games Behind
Rookie League – AZL Cubs : 4 – 2
Arizona Rookie League East – Second Place : 2.0 Games Behind