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

  • Goat buster

    Jokisch is from my hometown. It’s good to see him doing well!

    • Jimmy james

      Same here…

  • Jackalope

    Thanks for the write up, as always, Luke.

    Sad to hear a pitching prospect consigned to the bullpen, but it seemed inevitable with McNutt, and hopefully he will thrive in that role.

    It seems that Vogelbach is screaming to get out of the Arizona heat and take his talents to Boise.

    Interesting note on Gibbs. In 2010 at Boise, he hit .412/.487/.527 vs. lefties and only .140/.210/.167 vs. righties. I can’t find split data on 2010 at Peoria, as Minor League Splits seems to only go through 2010, but it seems to be more than a small sample size issue for him.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    I think its a good thing that a pitcher is moved to the pen. All to often pitchers flame out as starters and never get to the pen to learn how to pitch there. IMO the Cubs have never been good at training pitchers in the Minors to be good bullpen pitchers. It’s always the starters from Iowa come up and pitch out of the pen in the Majors. Well these guys are trained to be starters and when the get to Majors their role changes. A role they are not familiar with. If Theoyer and the staff is making decisions that McNutt needs to be a bullpen pitcher that means his career as a starter is probably over. I realize he was our best pitching prospect. Well he still is a good prospect just not a starter. Under the old regime he would have been ruined and discarded.

  • Cub Gone Wild

    Soriano only dropped a couple of ounces on his bat. I have never heard of anybody being able to swing a bat over 38 ounces in pro ball. That is a boat oar. A 34 ounce bat is normal. A 34 -34 is common. I think I saw on her a 52 ounce bat. That would be like swinging a log not a bat.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Luke, in regard to Welington Castillo, as I saw him catch in person and threw out two Spokane baserunners and was 8 of 10 in throwing out runners, why is he not catching. When the Cubs signed Chadd Krist and assigned him to Boise I guess I can see Krist getting the starts at catcher especially now that he has been promoted to Peoria. Now that he is been promoted to Peoria why is Castillo not catching. He has a cannon of an arm.

    • Jackalope

      Not Luke, but probably just a way to give him a day off from catching, but still get his bat in the lineup. Beef Castle is at AAA, so Krist moving from Boise to Peoria has not impact on him.

    • Luke

      I think you mean Willson Contreras, not Welington Castillo. Castillo is the primary catcher in Iowa. The guy you saw in Boise was Contreras.

      And it turns out that this is the first year Contreras has caught as a professional. With Boise in 2010 he was primarily a third baseman, as he was in the DSL before that. It looks to me that the Cubs are wanting to transition him into catching, but they also want to keep his bat in the lineup, so they have him catch a few games a week. He has appeared in 26 games for Boise this season; he was the catcher in 13.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Jackalope, he hasn’t been catching, been DH’n and playing RF.

    • Jackalope

      Really? I could see him at DH if he’s still recovering from injury, but I have no idea why he’d be in RF.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Thanks Luke, the Natty Ice’s have gotten to me. Geez……

  • João Lucas

    Luke, what about Jay Jackson? Do you think he might be called up in the near future? He’s been really good since his transition to the bullpen.

    • Luke

      As soon as the Cubs need another guy in the bullpen, he should be a candidate for the call up.

  • cubs1967

    mcnutt going to the open is why i don’t think garza should be moved. demspter sure and even maholm is looking good now; but suspects are suspects until otherwise proven. all we heard about was mcnutt was better than archer and now he’s gonna be long relief. garza can pitch. never say never that the suspects they get back will even make it to the majors.
    garza-t wood-smardz-sign a FA and 1 suspect from demp or maholm makes a decent rotation.

    • Bric

      We heard McNutt was better than Archer because it was Hendry you were listening to. in any case, what trade rumors are you talking about? Cubs are going for the pennant!