Amid all the talk surrounding Dempster and Delgado over the past few days, some fans have expressed concern or surprise that some national analysts project Randall Delgado as “only” a number three starter in the majors. For Cub fans, a number three starter means someone like Travis Wood, or maybe Paul Maholm. That’s not exactly exciting.

For scouts and baseball analysts, though, the words mean something completely different. For that crew, the designation No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4/5 refers more to the stuff the pitcher has than his likely place in a rotation. A No. 3 starter is a pitcher with one definite plus pitch (a pitch that is significantly above major league average). He also likely has at least two secondary pitches that are no worse than league average. All of those pitches can be thrown for strikes, and he is able to maintain his composure and concentration throughout a game. That is not a bad pitcher. On most teams, a guy fitting that description would pitch second in the rotation. On some teams, that guy would be the ace.

So how high is the standard for No. 1 pitcher? Really, really high. A true No. 1 has at minimum two plus-plus pitches. That means he has two pitches that are among the best the in baseball for that pitch. He also has a third pitch that is no worse than average, and likely a fourth pitch as well. He has pinpoint control, can throw any of his pitches for strikes in any situation, and has that icy calm demeanor on the mound that we associate only with the greatest of great pitchers in baseball history. There are not many No. 1 pitchers. Not being classified as a No. 1 guy is no insult.

If the Cubs can land Randall Delgado, even though he projects as “only” a No. 3 starter, they will be doing quite well and will be acquiring a guy who has a very good chance to pitch at or near the front of the Cubs rotation for a very long time. If Zach Lee similarly projects as a No. 2 or a No. 3, although he is clearly behind Delgado. (You’ll want to keep tabs on the latest, though, as the Delgado possibility is slipping away.)

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – With the wind blowing out to left, the final score in the Cubs’ 15-9 loss was not surprising.
Tennessee – The Smokies won the opener in Jacksonville 9-2.
Daytona – Good pitching helped Daytona hold on for a 4-3 win.
Peoria – The Peoria Chiefs were off on Tuesday.
Boise – Boise pitching allowed just two hits as they won 2-1.
Arizona – The Cubs took advantage of six Indians errors in their 9-2 win.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Despite the wind blowing out, Brett Jackson was the only Cub to hit a home run. For Jackson, it was his 14th.
  • [Iowa] Alberto Cabrera was the only Cub pitcher to not give up any runs. He allowed one hit and one walk while striking out one in his one inning of work.
  • [Tennessee] Eric Jokisch allowed a run on four hits over five innings while striking out eight.
  • [Tennessee] Junior Lake doubled and homered in this game. The home run was his fifth. Greg Rohan also doubled and homered (the home run was his second in Double A). Michael Brenly hit his fifth home run as well.
  • [Tennessee] Nelson Perez finished the game with three hits, including a double and a stolen base.
  • [Daytona] Matt Loosen also had a good start yesterday. Loosen picked up his ninth win by allowing two runs and striking out eight over six innings.
  • [Daytona] Rubi Silva hit his 11th triple as part of a two hit game.
  • [Boise] Ian Dickson pitched a no hitter through six innings and struck out four in the process. Hunter Ackerman allowed the only two hits and the only run, but picked up the hold. Michael Hamann nailed things down for his first save.
  • [Boise] Daniel Vogelbach made his long awaited Boise debut last night, and finished 2 for 4 with a double.
  • [Boise] Jeimer Candelario also finished 2 for 4 with a double.
  • [Arizona] Jorge Soler hit his second home run as part of a 2 for 4 game. Ben Carhart also finished 2 for 4 with a double and his first home run.
  • [Arizona] Shawon Dunston double and tripled as part of his two hit game.
  • [Arizona] Draftee Ryan McNeil made his professional debut in the first inning of this game. He pitched one inning, allowed a run on two hits, and struck out two. Fellow draftees Justin Amlung and Paul Blackburn each allowed one hit over two innings apiece. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino pitched another two hitless frames.
  • [Arizona] Albert Almora did not have a hit in this game, but he did score twice. He also picked up his first outfield assist by gunning down a runner at third from center field.

Other Minor League Notes

  • It is possible that Geovanny Soto will be traded this week, and if that happens Welington Castillo appears to be ready to come up and fill the void. Castillo is hitting .333/.364/.524 with two home runs over his last ten games.
  • Jae-Hoon Ha showed off his arm again on Tuesday. He collected another outfield assist from center field, this time by throwing out a runner at third.
  • Boise’s record of 1-0 is no mistake. The first half of the season in the Northwest League is over and records have reset. Now the Hawks have a brand new shot to fight their way into the playoffs.
  • Now that Vogelbach is in Boise, what happens to Rock Shoulders? Look for the two first basemen to split the first base and DH jobs for the time being.

Farm System Standings

AAAIowa Cubs : 41 – 63.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Third Place: 21.0 Games Behind.

AATennessee Smokies : 14-17
Southern League North Division – Third Place : 5.0 Games Behind

High ADaytona Cubs : 13-18
Florida State League North Division – Fifth Place : 6.0 Games Behind

Low APeoria Chiefs : 11-19
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fifth Place : 5.5 Game Behind

Short-Season ABoise Hawks : 1-0
Northwest League East Division – First Place (tie) : 1.0 Games Behind

Rookie LeagueAZL Cubs : 20 – 7
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place : 1.5 Games Ahead

  • Cerambam

    3 K’s for jackson again.. turn it up dude

    • Chet Masterson

      Out of his 5 ABs, the first 4 of them went to 3-2 counts. I happened to take in last night’s I-Cubs game in person. His ABs went like this:

      1st) took a walk
      2nd) struck out waving at an offspeed pitch low and away
      3rd) struck out looking on a pitch on the outside corner. interesting in this AB that he swung through a fastball on strike 2 and appeared to lose his grip on the bat kind of like Soto does from time to time.
      4th) homered to the opposite field just over the wall (right around the 350 sign). very pretty swing and homer
      5th) struck out on 3 pitches, including waving at strike 3 low and away. by this AB, it seemed like not many of the I-Cubs wanted to be there anymore.

  • Patrick G

    Soler another Home Run. Keep em comin!

    • Wester

      Thats it! Bring him up to the big club now! What is the FO waiting for?? 2 home runs in 3 games? I expect to see him manning all three out field positions by the end of the week

  • Oswego chris

    I wonder if Brett Jackson is dating Kim Basinger like when Roy Hobbs was dating her in The Natural…Glenn Close better stand up pretty damn fast….you young guys have no idea what I am talking about….

    • Joker

      No, but us old fellas do.

      Really want to confuse them? Tell them the Rifleman once wore Cubs pinstripes.
      (Who? What? Is that a videogame character?)

      • Kurt

        Mr. Conners was a shortstop to boot

        • Spriggs

          First base. Lefty, lefty.

          And don’t believe what you read about him being dead.

  • willis

    I’m liking me some Eric Jokisch. Dude has been nails since arriving in Tennessee. He and Struck pack a nice 1-2 punch in that rotation.

    I wonder what his ceiling is? I don’t know a ton about him other than his results have been very good to this point.

    • When the Music’s Over

      His ERA is smoke and mirrors. Can’t have a K/9 around 4.5, and a BB/9 of about 3.2 and expect long term success. In other words, while the sample size is small, he’s been very lucky in AA so far. This is further backed up by his .212 BABIP.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Probably time to move Loosen to AA. He’s old enough to justify it not being an over-push either.

    • When the Music’s Over

      Geeze, didn’t realize Loosen was rockin’ such an artificially low BABIP either (.220).

      • Scotti

        Or some would say that he’s pitching really well.

  • When the Music’s Over

    Also, and further indication on when (and where) Maples is going to make his professional debut? I thought it was supposed to be mid-July, and then sometime early this week. Both have come and passed. More towel drills and side-sessions (I joke, I joke)?

    • AB

      I’m convinced Dillon Maples isn’t real. His name sounds like one of those fictional player names on Baseball Mogul.

    • Spriggs

      Dillon Maples is supposed to make his debut on July 29th in Goodyear vs the Reds AZL team. He’ll probably pitch one inning. He’s been working out with the team in Mesa.

      • When the Music’s Over


  • Idaho Razorback

    Luke, do you think Almora and Soler will be playing for Boise when they travel to Spokane August 3-5?