Matthew Szczur, the Cubs’ speedy center field prospect and one of the preseason Top 100 prospects in baseball (to some), has been promoted to Double A. He takes the roster slot left open when Jae-Hoon Ha was placed on the disabled list.
While Ha’s collision with the outfield wall was no doubt a factor in Szczur getting the promotion now, he has definitely earned it. He finished his stint with Daytona sporting a .295/.394/.407 line. He stole 38 bases in 50 tries, hit two home runs and four triples, and compiled 47 walks against 50 strikeouts. If he can maintain a healthy OBP as he moves up the system, he could be the Cubs’ lead off hitter of the not too distant future. If he can’t, he still projects as a quality fourth outfielder.
There is no definite time table yet for Ha’s return and I do not think the Cubs will rush him. When he does come back, I do not expect Szczur to return to Daytona. I think Szczur is in Tennessee for the remainder of the season.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa won a surprising shutout 5-0.
Tennessee – The Smokies rallied late, but they fell to Jacksonville 6-4.
Daytona – The Daytona pitchers combined on a four hit shutout in this 2-0 Cub win.
Peoria – The Chiefs scored twice in the eighth to win 3-2.
Boise – Boise sailed to an easy 8-3 win.
Arizona – The youngest Cubs lost 3-1.
Performances of the Day
- [Iowa] Surprise! Chris Volstad pitched a very good game. The struggling right hander tossed 8.0 innings, allowed just four hits and three walks, and struck out five in a dominant performance.
- [Iowa] Dave Sappelt hit his second triple and stole his 13th base.
- [Iowa] Adrian Cardenas started at second base and hit his 20th double. If the Cubs need him, he’ll be ready to go.
- [Tennessee] Matt Szczur opened his Double A career by striking twice in an 0 for 4 performance. It is perfectly normal for players to start slow when they are promoted to a new league; Szczur will be fine.
- [Tennessee] With Szczur on the roster, Junior Lake was dropped to third in the batting order (for what it’s worth, I prefer him batting third). He responded with two more doubles.
- [Tennessee] Greg Rohan homered in his second consecutive game, his third time in the last four games, and for the fourth time as a Smokey.
- [Daytona] Good news Cub fans! Robert Whitenack pitched five innings, walked three, allowed two hits, and struck out four in what is definitely his best start since coming back from elbow surgery. His GO/AO was a fantastic 9-1. Whitenack remains a legitimate pitching prospect with No. 3 starter potential. It is good to see him starting to enjoy a little success again.
- [Daytona] Eduardo Figueroa and A.J. Morris combined to finish off the shut out.
- [Daytona] Rebel Ridling homered as part of a two hit night. He also had a stolen base.
- [Daytona] Speaking of stolen bases, Timothy Saunders stole the first two of his High-A career. John Andreoli picked up steal number 37.
- [Peoria] Zach Cates struck out seven over 5.1 innings. He only allowed two runs on three hits, but he still wound up with a no decision. Sheldon McDonald and Austin Reed combined to pitch three scoreless innings in relief.
- [Peoria] Javier Baez hit the go ahead two run homer in the eighth inning. It was his 11th blast of the season.
- [Boise] Gioskar Amaya hit his eighth triple as part of his two hit game.
- [Boise] Daniel Vogelbach doubled and walked as part of his own two hit performance. Marco Hernandez, Trey Martin, and Xavier Batista also had two hits on the night.
- [Boise] In the first inning, catcher/outfielder Wilson Contreras hit his second home run of the season.
- [Arizona] Lendy Castillo continues to be stretched. He tossed four innings in this game, striking out six and allowing just one run on two hits.
- [Arizona] Jorge Soler finished 2 for 4 with his second stolen base. Albert Almora hit his second double.
Other Minor League Notes
- Once again, the key number in Volstad’s start was his Ground Out / Air Out ratio: 15-2. When Volstad is on, he gets ground ball outs. If he can build on this success, he just might be an option for the back of the 2013 rotation.
- Ty’relle Harris is back in Tennessee, but this time he is a starting pitcher. Harris, a promising reliever who was recently with Iowa, struggled some in his 2.2 innings as the starting pitcher in this game. I suppose it doesn’t hurt anything to see if he can be stretched into a starter, but I continue to think his long term future is in the middle of the bullpen.
Farm System Standings
AAA – Iowa Cubs : 42 – 65.
Pacific Coast League American Northern Division – Fourth Place: 21.0 Games Behind.
AA – Tennessee Smokies : 15-19
Southern League North Division – Fourth Place : 5.0 Games Behind
High A – Daytona Cubs : 15-20
Florida State League North Division – Sixth Place : 6.0 Games Behind
Low A – Peoria Chiefs : 14-19
Midwest League Eastern Division – Fourth Place : 6.0 Game Behind
Short-Season A – Boise Hawks : 2-2
Northwest League East Division – Second Place : 0.5 Games Behind
Rookie League – AZL Cubs : 20 – 9
Arizona Rookie League East – First Place (tie) : 0.0 Games Ahead