There are a lot of things I do not like about the Major League All-Star Game, but the Final Vote is a feature that is growing on me. Any one of the players on the ballot would be a quality addition to the All-Star roster, so there is no bad decision. It is almost a fool proof way to involve the fans.

And sometimes, that Final Vote can be a very tough decision. That’s the case this year on the National League side. I’ve narrowed my decision to Bryce Harper or Chipper Jones, and between the two I am not sure which one to pick. Harper is a rising star with one of the brightest futures in the game while Jones is a retiring Hall of Fame candidate and one the brightest lights from a clouded era of the game. This is a battle between honoring the old and celebrating the new, between a veteran lifer and a kid just starting out, between a holdout from a previous generation and a player who will help carry the game into the future.

This vote is a wonderful example of the complex, tradition-laced, yet ever changing tapestry that is baseball. I love the fact that I get to make this choice, but I still have no idea which one to pick.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa mounted a furious comeback in the second half of the game, but the Cubs’ fell one run short. They lost 13-12.
Tennessee – The Smokies were shut out by a score of 3-0.
Daytona – Daytona slipped down to third place with their 5-3 loss.
Peoria – The Chiefs were outscored 7-2 in this loss.
Boise – It took ten innings, but Boise lost 2-1.
Arizona – Arizona had to rally to do it, but with this 9-7 win they moved into a tie for first place.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Jay Jackson struck out two in his one inning of relief. Michael Bowden struck out the side in his inning.
  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson tallied one walk, strikeout, stolen base, double, and triple.
  • [Iowa] Adrian Cardenas and Josh Vitters each had three hits, including two doubles apiece.
  • [Iowa] Dave Sappelt hit his fourth home run of the season in this game.
  • [Tennessee] Justin Bour doubled twice and Jae-Hoon Ha doubled once, but they were the lone bright spots for the Tennessee offense.
  • [Daytona] Rebel Ridling (two doubles and a walk) and Matthew Szczur (double and walk) formed a fairly effective combo as the number three and four hitters for the Cubs.
  • [Daytona] A.J. Morris pitched two perfect innings in relief, striking out two.
  • [Peoria] Starling Peralta pitched a pretty good game. In eight innings he gave up just four hits (including one home run), one walk, and struck out two.
  • [Peoria] Taiwan Easterling finished the game 3 for 3 with his 15th stolen base of the season.
  • [Boise] Starting pitcher James Pugliese struck out five over four innings while allowing just two hits. The bullpen pitched well behind Pugliese, especially Eduardo Orozco who threw two perfect innings while striking out two.
  • [Boise] Dong-Yub Kim was 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, his third. Jeimer Candelario also had two hits, and Chadd Krist had three.
  • [Arizona] Daniel Vogelbach has his first home run of the season. The powerful first baseman hit it in the middle of a 4 for 5 night that also included a triple. His SLG is now .824.
  • [Arizona] Timothy Saunders had another two hits and a walk in this game, raising his early season batting average to .483.

Other Minor League Notes

  • One of the concerns some scouts have with Jeimer Candelario addresses his ability to stay at third. While he has all the tools needed to handle that position today, there are some who think that as he gets older and puts on additional muscle, he will start to slow. His long term position, they say, may be at first or in the outfield. It is by no means certain that this will happen or that Candelario will not be able to continue to play third base in the future. I mention it by way of noting that he did shift to first base as a result of some defensive shuffling and pinch hitting later in this game.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 34 – 50.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 19.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 5-6
Southern League North Division – Third Place : 3.0 Game Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 6-5
Florida State League North Division – Third Place : 1.5 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 3-7
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 3.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 6 – 11
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 3.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 8 – 2
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead

  • jr5

    Good to see Vogelbach raking, although it’s a level below where I thought he’d be this year. Although he had a rough spring, if I recall Keith Law’s (and others) analysis correctly.

    • Cedlandrum

      If he keeps playing like this he won’t be there very long.

  • Grant

    For what it’s worth, Harper has come out saying he’d support Chipper for the last spot. (MLBTR Link)

    • cjdubbya

      Wonder if he’d (Harper) give his spot to Chipper if the fans choose him? I think back to the lifetime achievement ASG spot for Ripken – didn’t he have a couple of homers in that game?

  • MikeW

    Chipper has played in just over half of his teams games, and hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire when he’s played. He doesn’t deserve the spot.

    • Patrick G

      Harper also missed all of April

      • MikeW

        I didnt say Harper deserved it either.

  • djriz

    What about one additional all-star spot for each side for lifetime achievement? Doesn’t even have to play, maybe just present the line-up cards, or something.

    • THEOlogical

      I don’t believe that will feel the same as playing in it. I’m sure if Chipper wants to go and be with his friends, MLB would have no problems with that. But I think it would speak volumes if he were to be voted in, and played, in his final season. I started watching when the Braves went from worst to first. I’ve watched Chipper his whole career, he deserves to go this year, to be voted in.

  • Beer Baron

    After slow starts for both, Vitters and Szczur are both close to .300 for the season. Have to think Szczur is due to be bumped up to AA soon, and Vitters should get to Wrigley later this summer (although I’d personally wait until September and let him continue to gain confidence in Iowa). While both are by no means ‘can’t miss’ guys, it is good to see 2 of the more highly touted prospects having some success – seems to be far too many lately that have fizzled and didn’t live up to the hype

    • Luke

      If Szczur does get bumped up, I think it will only be at the very end of the season.  While he is more polished than a lot of two sport college athletes are, he still needs plenty of polish.

      • RoughRiider

        I debated and thought about it. Sorry I can’t help it.

        You can’t get much more Polish than in Chicago.

        • D.G.Lang

          At least you made an effort before falling

    • Grant

      I’m happy to see both Vitters and Szczur doing well, but I’m really concerned about rushing Vitters now that he’s finally showing the potential he supposedly had. I’m not necessarily opposed to giving him a September cup of coffee, but I still think he’d probably benefit from starting in Iowa next year, and that’s harder to do after a September callup.

      • Frank

        I agree, Grant–he’s still only 22 and would benefit from more time in AAA.

        And Brett Jackson struck out only once????

        • Luke

          I thought about making Jackson’s one strikeout the headline, but figured I’d save it for the next game in which he has no strikeouts.

          • Drew7

            The sinking BB-rate has me a little concerned. I just hope he isnt caving under the pressure of all those K’s and changing his approach.

  • Patrick G

    I like Chipper. As much as I like Harper and what he brings, you gotta vote Chipper for his last ASG. it would be a Ripken-esque type of ovation. Harper will have plenty of ASG in te future

  • Chef

    Is Michael Bowden getting it figured out at Iowa, or still up and down? K/BB looks pretty good, but the WHIP is higher than what you’d want to see in a call up.

    • Luke

      He’s pitched some good games, but I’m not sure he’s got the consistency the Cubs will want to see yet.

  • steve

    I am really excited for Matt Szczur, real gamer competative and could be a great lead off guy for the Cubs. I think Vitters could be real good and may actually be a better major leagues than he is at AAA if that makes any sense. I dont know what you guys think but I am real concerned about Brett Jackson he reminds me way to much of J.D. Drew who did not lead up to the hype when he got brought up to the majors. Would love to see a future of Baez at second and Vitters if he pans out at third or Candelario and Junior Lake as a utility guy and Szczur in left and Soler in right if he pans out and Almora in Center if he ever frickin signs.

    • Drew7

      “I dont know what you guys think but I am real concerned about Brett Jackson he reminds me way to much of J.D. Drew who did not lead up to the hype when he got brought up to the majors.”

      If Jackson turns out to be JD Drew, I will be thrilled.

      • @cubsfantroy

        “If Jackson turns out to be JD Drew, I will be thrilled.”

        I was thinking the same thing.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Am I missing something? Jeimer Candelario is 6′-1″ and only 180 lbs. I understand he’s only 18 year old, but why does everyone think that he is going to get too heavy?

    • Luke

      Something to do with his build.  Baseball America describes him as having “thick legs”, and I’ve seen him referred to elsewhere as “potentially stocky.”  I’m not entirely sure what any of that means, and I remain skeptical that he’ll have to move until his play on the field proves me wrong.

      He’s not that fast on the bases, either, and that could play into the perception as well.


      • Cubbie Blues

        I’m not really sure why so many people think that you can’t be fast and 210-225 lbs. If that was the case the NFL would be a lot more boring.

      • Webb

        The international signings are flying off the shelves but I’ve yet to see MLBTR report any movement by the Cubs. Any idea who they might be keen on Luke?

  • steve

    1. M. Szczur LF
    2. S. Castro SS
    3. J. Vitters or J.Candelario 3B
    4. J. Soler RF
    5. A. Rizzo 1B
    6. A. Almora CF
    7. J. Baez 2B
    8. W. Castillo C or future stud whoever we can find Jeremy Martinez? if,if,if Cubs get him

    • gocatsgo2003

      With that lineup, you would think Rizzo would be batting #3 or #4 to break up the string of right-handers (though Candelario as a switch-hitter would change things).

  • steve

    Probably because he is not done growing doesnt mean hes going to get heavy love how people speculate how someone is going to physically mature.

  • steve

    Or Vitters and Brett Jackson can be great trade bait if they bite it in the bigs or trade them before for some more pitching

  • npnovak

    I’m voting for Michael Bourn. I voted for him to start, so it’s a no brainer for me

  • @cubsfantroy

    I wish we could get Gary Scott back to play third for one more year. Guy was a stud at third and he hit everything that came near him.

    I was hoping that I would be able to type that someday when he made the club out of ST in ’91

    Anyhoo, I voted Chipper. Always been a fan and would like to see him go out as an AS. Harper is deserving as is Bourn and Hill. I hate Freese, so he would never even be close to getting my vote.

  • #1lahairfan

    Where lendy castillo

  • Bric

    Luke and co. -Why do some of the minor leagues revert back to no record after half of their season?

    • TWC

      They play “half”s of the season, and the championship is structured as “first half champion” vs. “second half champion”.

      • Bric

        Makes sense. I’ve seen the 1st half and 2nd half champ thing but never realised they play each other at the end. Thanks, brother!