Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

It might be a little early to say for certain if Trey McNutt has been converted to the bullpen permanently, but I would not be surprised if he has been. I like this move. Part of McNutt’s problem as a starter is his lack of third high quality pitch. A very good major league starter usually needs something off speed, either a change up or a slower breaking pitch. McNutt has a plus fastball and a hard, plus slider, but not much in the softer category. That works out very well for a back of the bullpen guy. If he can add a very good change up down the road there is no reason he cannot be stretched back into a starter in a few years, but for now I think his home is going to be in the pen. I also think he will be very, very good in that role.

With McNutt, Rafael Dolis, and Alberto Cabrera, the Cubs have a very nasty trio of flame throwers who could anchor the back of the bullpen in Chicago in the very near future. All three have some work to do, but the potential is there for the Cubs to build one of the best home grown bullpens they have enjoyed in a long time.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa rallied in the ninth, but they still lost by a final of 4-3.
Tennessee – A lot of things went right for the Smokies as they won 12-3.
Daytona – A strong wind a six errors resulted in a wild game that the Cubs lost 11-8.
Peoria – Stellar pitching carried the Chiefs to an 8-0 win.
Boise – The Hawks led for awhile, but not for long enough. They lost 7-4.
Arizona – The AZL Cubs sailed to an easy 7-3 win.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Esmailin Caridad struck out three while pitching the final inning. He has been very effective in relief for the Cubs in June and July.
  • [Iowa] Adrian Cardenas is still hitting. He finished this game 2 for 3 with both a double and a triple.
  • [Tennessee] Eric Jokisch pitched five innings of one hit baseball, striking out six. Thanks in part to four walks, he needed 88 pitches to get the job done.
  • [Tennessee] And when Jokisch came out, Trey McNutt came in. McNutt tossed two innings of one hit ball, striking out two.
  • [Tennessee] Logan Watkins is making it look easy. He finished this game 3 for 4 with 2 walks. In both June and so far in July, the second baseman has drawn more walks than he has strikeouts. His OPS in that span is well over .900.

  • [Tennessee] Micahel Burgess also turned in a good game, going 2 for 3 with a double and two walks.
  • [Daytona] P.J. Francescon started the game well, but the bullpen fell apart behind him. Francescon threw five scoreless innings, allowed just two hits, and struck out three.
  • [Daytona] I still think Rubi Silva could go to Tennessee any day now. A few more games like this one (3 for 6, triple) and that just might happen.
  • [Peoria] Joseph Zeller, the Cubs’ knuckle balling pitching prospect, tossed six innings of no hit baseball and struck out four. Of his 81 pitches, 51 were for strikes.

  • [Peoria] Not only did Chadd Krist catch six innings of knuckeballs cleanly, he also went 2 for 4 at the plate with a double and his first Low A home run.
  • [Boise] Gioskar Amaya hit his third home run as part of a 2 for 5 night.
  • [Boise] Rock Shoulders did not have a hit in this game, but he did draw three walks.
  • [Arizona] Arturo Maltos-Garcia pitched two hitless innings in which he walked two and struck out three.
  • [Arizona] Daniel Vogelbach might be the hottest hitter in the system. He hit his sixth home run in this game, and all six have come in his last ten games. His other two hits were doubles.
  • [Arizona] Jacob Rogers was the Cubs’ final pick in the 2012 draft, and so far he’s playing very well. He hit his fifth double as part of a two hit night in this game.

Other Minor League Notes

  • Micah Gibbs is one of the better defensive catchers in the system, but his overall offensive production has been lackluster. As we can see from his season line of .188/.303/.348, he does not have any problem drawing walks; it’s the making contact part of the equation that has been an issue. But, as is nearly always the case in the case in the minors, we need to check the splits to get the real story. Against left handed pitching Gibbs is hitting a robust .342/.468/.789. Versus RHP that drops to .108/.212/.122. That is a huge gap for a switch hitter (at least, I assume he’s still a switch hitter). Sample sizes are coming into play on this one, but if those splits stay that far apart and he is still switch hitting, maybe he should consider becoming just a right handed hitter.
  • Did I mention that knuckeballer Joseph Zeller pitched six no-hit innings? The Peoria Journal-Star has a nice write up of that game. Be sure to watch the video in that article; Javier Baez makes a nifty play going to his left right at the end of it.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 39 – 54.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 18.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 11-11
Southern League North Division – Third Place : 2.5 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 10-12
Florida State League North Division – Fifth Place : 3.5 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 8-13
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 4.0 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 9 – 19
Northwest League East Division – Third Place : 8.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 14 – 5
Arizona Rookie League East – Second Place : 0.5 Game Behind

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