The Triple A All-Star game was last night. The Pacific Coast League All Stars beat their International League rivals 3-0, but for Cub fans that was only a side show. The real story was Josh Vitters.

Vitters has enjoyed a breakout season in Triple A this season, and he was rewarded by being named to the All-Star Game. He was the only Cub prospect who played in this game. The promising prospect came into the game in the middle innings, played third base, and had a very non-Vitters-like day at the plate.

Think of the two things Vitters is least known for doing and you’ll have a pretty good idea how his at bats went. That’s right, he walked in one and struck out in the other. That’s the sort of game we are used to seeing from Brett Jackson. I can’t complain, though. Vitters has put together the best half season of his career while playing against the best pitching he’s seen in his life, and I am very glad he got the recognition of an All-Star appearance. That he had some success is just an added bonus.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Iowa Cubs were off on Wednesday.
Tennessee – The Smokies game was rained out. They will make it up as part of a double header today.
Daytona – Thanks to fantastic pitching the Cubs overcame two errors and won 7-2.
Peoria – Peoria won a classic pitchers’ duel by a final of 1-0.
Boise – Good pitching led to a 5-1 Hawks win.
Arizona – Five AZL Cubs combined to pitch a two hitter. They won 4-2.

Performances of the Day

  • [Daytona] Kyler Burke pitched six innings in which he gave up two runs on six hits and struck out four.
  • [Daytona] Burke’s bullpen was even better. Jeffrey Lorick sat down five batters, all of them with strikeouts. Brian Schlitter was perfect as he recorded the four out save.
  • [Daytona] Matthew Szczur was batting third in this game, and he responded with a 2 for 4, two doubles performance. Ronald Torreyes also had two hits, including a triple.
  • [Peoria] Starling Peralta allowed just two hits in seven shut out innings while striking out four. The tall, 21 year old right hander has an ERA of 1.81 in the month of July.
  • [Peoria] The Chiefs’ bullpen was also very good. Larry Suarez and Yao-Lin Wang pitched an inning each to complete the shout out. It was Wang’s 12th save.
  • [Peoria] Javier Baez hit a solo home run in the second inning. That proved to be all the scoring in this game.
  • [Hawks] Jose Arias gave up a run on a solo home run, but not much else in his five innings of work.
  • [Hawks] Eduardo Orozco, Pete Levitt, and Bryce Shafer combined to pitch four shutout innings in relief.
  • [Boise] Trey Martin hit his first home run for the Hawks in this game. Rock Shoulders hit his third.
  • [Arizona] David Henrie did the lions’ share of the pitching. He tossed four hitless innings in relief and struck out three.
  • [Arizona] Lendy Castillo (remember him?), Carl Lang, Corbin Hoffner, and Stere Perakslis all pitched for the Cubs in this game as well.
  • [Arizona] Daniel Vogelbach finished 2 for 4 with a double and his fourth home run. He drove in three of Cubs’ runs. Vogelbach also had a stolen base.
  • [Arizona] Daniel Lockhart had a three hit game that included his third double. He also had a stolen base.

Other Minor League Notes

  • The Daytona Cubs were off and running again in this game. The following players all had stolen bases: Micah Gibbs (his second), Matt Szczur (his 29th), John Andreoli (his 31st), and Eliser Bonne (his 14th).
  • The Lendy Castillo sighting in Arizona yesterday marked the first time Castillo has appeared in a game in the minors since he went on the disabled list. I imagine the Cubs will play his rehab assignments cautiously as they bring him up the farm system. He is very likely to reappear in the majors this season, but that may not be for a few weeks yet. [Brett: If the Cubs want to keep him (without spilling over into next season), they need to accumulate 90 days of him on the active roster, and not on the DL. So, with about half of that out of the way, I reckon he’ll get over his injury just in time for the Cubs to get those 90 days. He’ll probably come back up after all the trading is done.]

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 38 – 53.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 18.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 9-10
Southern League North Division – Third Place : 1.5 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 10-10
Florida State League North Division – Third Place : 1.0 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 7-12
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 4.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 9 – 17
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 7.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 13 – 4
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.5 Games Ahead

  • cole

    Did that say Vogelbach had a stolen base?

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Yeah, we better both get drug tested. I sure as hell seen the same thing. The catcher must have rolled the ball to second base. Next, someone will tell me he stole home.

    • cubs4life

      yeah it did.. has to be a typo right??

    • cubs4life

      yeah it did.. has to be a typo right??

    • Brett

      Yup. Stole third, even!

      • RoughRiider

        They were going to tag him out between the bases but with him running straight at them they lost a game of chicken and got out of the way.

  • chirogerg

    scouting report says “surprising speed”

    • TC

      While that may be true, I’ve heard he’s still basically a 20-25 speed guy (think Paul Konerko or Prince Fielder type slow)

      • Luke

        He could be as high as 35, but I doubt he’s any higher than that. Ever since he was drafted the reports were that he moves well for a big guy.

        • Pete

          Is that like saying, back in the day, that Heavy D danced well for a big guy?

          • Scotti

            The average MLB non-pitcher runs a 6.8-7.0 60-yard dash. SS and CF are a bit faster than that and premium speed guys can run around 6.3. Big 1B and lumbering LF types run much slower than 7.0. Vogelbach ran a 7.15 which is good for a 1B and really good for a powerhouse 1B like Vogelbach.

            Of course, that is his speed under way (60 yards) but he isn’t likely to lose speed because he doesn’t project to get bigger. He may get faster if he conditions himself more. That said, he doesn’t look smooth doing anything but hitting. But he has two plus tools ( power and hit).

            • DocPeterWimsey

              “But he has two plus tools ( power and hit).”

              But “hit” is not a tool: it’s the compound of two distinct tools (pitch recognition and contact). Does Vogelbach have both?

              • Luke

                Reports after the draft from everyone except Keith Law said he does. He received consistent praise for his eye, bat speed, raw power, and ability to make solid contact on a consistent basis.

                Nothing I’ve seen in his AZL numbers suggest any of that is false.

                • Scotti

                  “KLaw” is an idiot. Is he still comping Matt Szczur’s power to Juan Pierre?

                  • Luke

                    I doubt he watches Szczur anymore. He’s formed his snap judgement, and for Law that’s all that counts.

                    • Scotti

                      The Internets need to replace KLaw with David Rawlings (sp?) from Perfect Game. Used to be such a pleasure to get real information from a real scout…

                    • Scotti

                      *Rawnsley (or something like that–I’m sure his mom knows…)

                    • Spriggs

                      I don’t know how accurate Law has been in the past, but I can see how people could be more than just a little skeptical about Szczur’s swing. It sure looks a lot different than say Vitters or Baez… I mean a lot different (as in yikes! different).

                    • Scotti

                      For those interested how not “slappy” Szczur’s swing is, Baseball Instincts does a great job with prospect video and they have video up on their site and on YouTube. He takes a full, real swing with very little recoil (he’s “short to the ball”). THAT is why his contact numbers are good not some theorized slap-hitting.

                    • jr5

                      He’s more flexible than that gives him credit for being.

                      He was one of the first to come around on Samardzija this spring.

                      He also was really down on Vogelbach this spring after watching him in a B game, where he apparently looked way behind velocity (if my memory serves).

                      I don’t think the Cubs disagreed with that assessment, considering where they started him this season.

                  • Norm

                    Well, Szczur has one homer this year that went over a fence, so how far off is that?
                    And I don’t think he compared “power”. He just used Pierre as a comp. And people think a ..295 hitting speedy outfielder with no power is a negative?
                    The Cub fans obsession with Szczur is fascinating.

                    • DocPeterWimsey

                      What Keith Law wrote is that Szczur had the “slappiest” swing since Juan Pierre. I’ve not seen Szczur hit, but his numbers are certainly consistent with that.

                      There is one big difference, however, that does not pertain to KLaw’s review: Szczur obviously has a batting eye whereas Pierre never did. (Pierre had great contact skills but he would and will put the first pitch anywhere near the strike zone into play.) In 2 of Szczur’s 3 seasons, his OBA has been a LOT higher than his BA: clearly, he works counts and draws walks, which should (further on down the road) make him more of a Brett Butler than a Juan Pierre. (Butler also had a “slappy” swing: he just was selective about using it.)

                    • Norm

                      That’s the most promising part of his game this year.
                      Last year he only had a 2% walk rate in A+. The jump to 13% is ridiculous.
                      But we’ll see how that goes against better pitching. A+ stats still don’t mean much to me.

                    • Scotti

                      Doc, slap hitters just don’t hit 10 HR in one season (at any level). You don’t just “slap” HR’s. Regardless, KLaw Tweeted “no power, no patience” regarding The Rat. Neither of those is true (the stats speak for themselves). I certainly wouldn’t put any weight in his opinion that Szczur is a 4th-5th OF.

              • Scotti

                A) I disagree given that you can break down each of the five tools into multiple componants (arm strength, accuracy) B) yes, he has both. I’ve seen numerous videos of him hitting and he is not just a HR Durby guy. I’ve seen him adjust mid-swing, keep his hands back, and take breaking pitches the other way. Looked like Buckner in that regard.

                • DocPeterWimsey

                  Then break down those other tools! The whole “5-tool” concept was always misleading.

                  • Scotti

                    There are really five “sets” of tools or skill sets. Within each set you have several tools. Even within the “tool” of pitch recognition that you referenced you can brake that down to A) initial recognition and then B) the ability to make a change if you don’t recognize it right off the bat. So those would be subsets of subsets. You’d wind up with 20 tool players (or some such).

                    I don’t have a problem with referencing the five tools but I do understand it goes much deeper.

              • Spriggs

                I can tell you this much — over the last few weeks he certainly appears to have both. He is crushing the ball right now and squaring up almost everything he swings at. Many of his outs have been of the very loud variety.

                • Scotti

                  Regardless of how he was looking in extended I was very surprised they senthim to Mesa.

                  • Luke

                    Extended spring training numbers are less meaningful than regular spring training numbers. If the games don’t count, don’t count on the stats.

                    • Scotti


          • Spriggs

            … or like the ultimate back handed compliment: “she doesn’t sweat much for a fat girl”.

            • Scotti

              More like, No one will care when he’s hitting .300 and a ton of HR’s…

        • Scotti

          I’d call him a 40 but, just like his defense, it’s an ugly 40.

  • Steve

    DV is a hustler. He’ll be a 30/30 guy.

  • baldtaxguy

    Not “scrappy speed?”

  • 100 Years of Tears

    I looked up Dan Vogelbach to find a picture… all that came up was John Candy and some of his look-alikes. Is that him? Anyone have a pic of this guy so I can put a shape to a name?

    • Featherstone

      Whoa now let’s not be quick to expect too much. John candy might be his ceiling,but an appropriate comp is john goodman.

      • Steve

        Feather, Id say Goodman is his floor…minimum.

      • Cerambam

        hahah nice

      • 100 Years of Tears

        So, I was looking at the right guy?!?!? Holy cow… literally. Maybe it’s just baby fat. Or he’s big boned.

        • Steve

          Yeah 100…Dan, it seems, was a regular at Hardees for the 5 biscuit and gravy value meal on a daily basis.
          Supposedly, he has shed quite a bit of the “baby” fat. Even so , If you look at the pics Brett posted with him standing next to Solar, it looks like Muscle and Fitness meets The Pillsbury Doe boy.

        • 100 Years of Tears

          This was pretty funny. A little Chris Farley comparison.

      • Richard Nose

        John Candy in Uncle Buck? Or more of a Great Outdoors John Candy?

    • Gabriel
      • 100 Years of Tears

        Thanks! Not your typical MLB/MiLB build, but he looks powerful. If Fielder can pull it off, maybe DV can too.

        • hansman1982

          well clearly, based on his build, he is the next coming of Babe Ruth

        • Gabriel

          he has definitely lost a TON of weight – still a big boy, but more in the john kruk mold at this point and I think he’ll work to get even stronger/lose more weight

    • BleedBlueinWNeb

      go back a couple days in the bullets to find the link to check out the Soler pictures in mesa…in one of those pics it shows Soler right next to Vogelbach. the main take away after seeing the pic is…Soler is a monster, because vogelbach looks tiny.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Yeah… this fat kid will probably never amount to anything, either.

      • 100 Years of Tears

        That was my point above… Fielder is a good example.

    • Spriggs
    • hcs

      Baseball Prospectus is predicting a john Kruk physique, with a Mike Singletary ceiling, but Fangraphs is calling comparables to a Ford F350 and a brick wall.

  • butlerdawgs

    Heading down to Daytona for vacation on Saturday and hope to catch a D-Cubs game. Can’t wait to see the speedsters in action.

  • Steve

    “Matt Szczur (his 29th), John Andreoli (his 31st), and Eliser Bonne (his 14th)”

    Ummm…really? I’m dizzy from the speed.
    We haven’t had a prolific base thief in…well…ever? Bob Dernier and Juan Pierre are the only 2 that come to mind. Yes, Crackhead Kenny Lofton was with us, albeit a very short time.
    I like me some base stealing.

    • Cedlandrum

      Ced Landrum was the most prolific base stealer. Campana isn’t bad. 25 already in very limited time.

      • Cedlandrum

        Oh and I forgot about Dwain Bacon. Hows that for a name. Dude was fast. Stole 74 bases in 03 and 60 the next. Don’t forget Chris Walker who stole 50 bases once and 60 twice in the minors.

        Andreolli is somewhat similar skill set to those guys. Fast. Good defender. Can get on base but NO power. SLG is real bad. Could be a good 5th outfielder though.

    • Richard Nose

      Take it for what it’s worth. Dude for Cincy’s AA has 105 SB’s on the year right now. Boink.

  • Spencer

    So, is Castillo really injured, or is it one of those “injuries” to help the Cubs get around the Rule 5 stuff. I’m sure that sort of thing happens all the time and I just can’t see that being beneficial to someone’s development. Clearly he’s not ready for MLB, but having him on the DL all year isn’t doing much for him either.

    • Luke

      As long as the Cubs kept him out of games altogether, I suspect he really had something wrong that was helped by an extended period of rest. But I don’t doubt that the timing of his return is set up to allow him to finish off his required stay on the major league roster primarily in September after rosters expand. If that is the case, he should be back in the majors sometime in mid August.

  • Spencer

    Also, the all-star break woulda been a good time for Castillo to go back on the roster. Unless he’s really hurt.

  • BlueHorizons

    Huh, Wha? Brett Jackson wasn’t in the AAA All Star game? In my mind, that doesn’t bode well for his near-future call-up chances…

    • Quintz

      Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn can’t figure out why Brett Jackson didn’t make the All-Star team.

    • Luke

      Brett Jackson has no chance of a near future call up until he can get his strikeouts under control. He’s not on the 40 man roster yet, so I really don’t expect him up in September either.

      If he can get that two-strike approach in line he’ll probably get a long look in spring training, head back to Iowa for a couple of months, and come up in early June 2013.

      • BlueHorizons

        I know he’s been having his struggles with the Ks, but I THOUGHT even though that was the case, that BJ was a “sure thing” to be called up this year, even if it were just a September call-up.

      • Beer Baron

        Speaking of 40 man roster, are the Cubs unusual in that they have 4 spots occupied by minor league guys nowhere near major league ready – Soler, Concepcion, Lake, & Szczur (and up until a month ago, add Vitters to that list)? If not for the upcoming purge of the major league roster that could really be problematic in September if they wanted to promote guys like Jackson, Chris Russin, maybe a Jay Jackson, etc (of course not many guys in Iowa deserving of a call-up)? Just seems unusual.

        • Brett

          The circumstances of having Soler, Concepcion and Szczur on there are definitely unusual. Lake, not as much, because he was added to avoid Rule 5 selection (which all teams do). Having four like that: definitely unusual.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Brett Jackson will never see Wrigley Field in a Cubs uniform! He either gets traded or he just falls into the abyss. I am sure Theo and Jed have already put a marker on him with an X and a circle around it. The smartest thing they could do with him right now is package him in a deal to pull better prospects in one of our trades. If he goes another month at AAA and continues to KKKK all the time his value will be almost zilch by end of the summer. IMO Theo and Jed cannot take that risk. We don’t need Adam Dunn Jr. on the big league club and we don’t need Jackson. If Jim Hendry was around Jackson would already be called up and would already be flamed out. The smart thing Theo has done is leave him at AAA so at least he isn’t as exposed as much. I know every scout in AAA has watched him play but GM’s haven’t seen him play. I say sell him now while he still has some value even if it’s very little. The Cubs fans who think he is going to be great in Chicago simply have blinders on and don’t want to see the truth about Jackson. Hey He just isn’t that good!!

    • Ryan G

      This is silly. Calm down. Jackson is exactly the type of player Theo and company like. He’s struggled a bit making contact this year after working the count, but I think he’ll be okay.

    • Luke

      Despite the fact that he as struck out something like 40% of the time over his last several weeks, he still has an OPS over .800. I wouldn’t say he’s a complete bust or should be dumped by any stretch. His approach at the plate will always yield a lot of walks, hard hit balls, and strike outs. He just needs to reign those strikeouts in a bit and he’ll have a good shot at being the solid, league average outfielder he’s been projected to be.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cubs trade him, but it won’t be just to dump him off the roster. It’ll be because he still has a lot of value and could be a quality part of a lot of teams for many years to come.

    • Jared

      i dont really care if the guy strikes out 40 percent of the time if he hits the ball hard the other 60….now look we obviously need him to make better contact, hit for a better avg and strike out less…but guess what, in most cases a strike out is the same as a ground out or fly out

    • Quintz

      I don’t think the Cubs are even close to bailing on Jackson (yet).

      That being said, does anyone know what the single season strikeout record is for AAA ball? I have a hard time believing he isn’t at least close to being on pace to break it.

      I joked about Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn, but those guys struck out at a 20-23% clip in the minors and Jackson is at 38%. It’s mind boggling to me. It’s almost like he has a Ricky Vaughn (pre-glasses) thing going on.

      • Scotti

        It’s key to remember that Brett Jackson has not struck out 38% of the time in the minors. He’s done so in half a season. It isn’t even true that he’s K’d that much in AAA since he had a much lower rate in AAA last year.

        My own personal opinion is that, with the arival of Theojed, he has become too selective. I’ve watched video of his swing and he doesn’t have the hitch in his swing that he got rid of after being drafted (he coiled his torso like Lake used to). His current stats (at least a week ago) suggest that he is striking out more with a runner on first that he does with no one on or with runners in scoring position. That is when a pitcher is least likely to walk you but if you are just up there taking you are going to see some 0-2 and 1-2 counts. So, IMHO, I’d like to see him start hacking a bit more. When his numbers go up dudes will start pitching around him and he can become more selective again.

        • Drew7

          Jackson isnt K’ing 38% of the time, hes K’ing 33.8% of the time. The warning signs were there last year when he K’d 29.8% of the time in AAA.

          The more troubling stat for me is the pretty substantial decrease in his walk rate, which is at a career low at the same time his K-rate is at a career high (not really a sign of trying to be patient).

          The only thing holding Jackson up right now is his approach of finding the pitch he can drive and hitting it with authority. If he starts *hacking*, I see his walks will plummeting further and much weak contact being made, causing a drop in power (or he may even K more, given his poor contact skills).

  • Jzwizard

    Lol Vogelbach with the SB! Hypotetical question, although not really. What happens if Vogelbach maximizes his potential. I mean we can always trade him, but do you think Rizzo would change positions? I highly doubt it, I am just wondering what you all think

    • Ted

      Having too many good prospects is a great problem to have; they’re just assets after all and can be moved for more of what you do need. Obviously we’re too far off to tell if DV (or RS etc.) is major league-caliber, but its so far off that we’re probably best assessing it when the time and context are clear. That said, have to hope that the FO is smart enough to avoid a youkilis/middlebrooks situation so that our assets’ value isn’t diminished by the fact that we have no use for it. (that said, a great 22-yo would prob fetch a lot by market forces alone so less of a concern than the red sox embarrassment.)

    • Cheryl

      Let’s put a couple of positive responses to your hypotheticals – Vogelbach maximizes potential and continues to lose weight. His power is on a par with Fielder. He develops into a powerful hitter and a good first baseman. If the cubs are set with Rizzo, no matter how good Vogelbach is or becomes the cubs will probably trade him.

  • moving estimates Chicago IL

    I spammed all over myself.

    • hansman1982
    • Tommy

      I’m sure Brett would love to have completely random and anonymous posters writing ‘guest articles’ for him. What could possibly go wrong?

    • Tommy

      btw superfan – you realize the article you posted on was from 2012, right?

      • MichiganGoat

        Tommy you realize this is total spam, these have been popping up overnight for a couple weeks. 😉