As I am sure you knew already, Javier Baez has been promoted to the High-A Daytona Cubs. He made his Florida State League debut on Saturday. That game did not go very well for Baez; he struck out twice in an 0 for 4 performance.

His lack of success in his first game is, of course, completely meaningless. There are a lot of changes and stresses that occur when a player changes leagues, especially when he is promoted to a new level, and the on field performance often reflects that. Long term, Baez will be fine. I’m not too worried about his ability to hit High-A pitching once he has had a chance to adjust to the new situation.

I still expect Baez to be sent to the prospect heavy Arizona Fall League after the season is over, and that is when I think he will be significantly challenged at the plate. The AFL usually features some of the best pitching prospects in the game. That will be Baez’s first notable test.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa rallied for a four run eighth inning. That proved to be the difference as they won 5-1.
Tennessee – The Smokies played a double header on Saturday to make up for Friday’s rain out. They took the first game 6-5, but lost Game Two 8-7.
Daytona – Poor pitching and poor defense doomed Daytona to a 12-5 loss.
Peoria – Peoria was held to just three hits in this 8-1 loss.
Boise – Boise scored early and kept tacking on insurance runs as they finished with a 6-2 win.
Arizona – Arizona had the day off.

Performances of the Day

  • [Iowa] Chris Rusin pitched a very good game. Over the span of seven innings he allowed a run on four hits while striking out eight.
  • [Iowa] A big part of the Cubs’ eighth inning rally was Josh Vitters‘ three run homer. He now has 17 this season.
  • [Tennessee] Nick Struck pitched five innings of Game One for his 12th win. Frank Batista pitched the final two frames for his 20th Double A save.
  • [Tennessee] Justin Bour homered in both halves of the double header and now has 14 on the season. Logan Watkins added his tenth triple.
  • [Daytona] Rebel Ridling homered and doubled to lead the Cubs’ offense. Rubi Silva and Elieser Bonne also had two hits each.
  • [Peoria] Chadd Krist had a good game. In addition to a double, his second Peoria home run provided all the scoring for the Chiefs in this game.
  • [Peoria] Larry Suarez and Bryce Shafer combined to pitch 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.
  • [Boise] The Hawks enjoyed some solid pitching in this game. Tayler Scott allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits in 5.1 innings. Matt Iannazzo struck out four in 2.2. innings of scoreless relief, and Nathan Dorris tossed a perfect ninth to nail down the save.
  • [Boise] Stephen Bruno, Jeimer Candelario, and Dong-Yub Kim all doubled in this game.

Other Minor League Notes

  • After slumping for a time, Junior Lake has been on a bit of a tear of late. Over his last ten games his OPS is a robust 1.064. More importantly, he has four walks against eight strikeouts in that span. The more evidence he shows of harnessing his tools and developing a more refined game at the plate the happier the Cubs will be.
  • Daytona suddenly features one of the most prospect-laden infields in a farm system full of prospect-laden infields. With Baez at shortstop, Ronald Torreyes at second, and Christian Villanueva at third, the Daytona Cubs feature potential major league talent at all three positions. I still prefer the Boise infield of Daniel Vogelbach (1B), Gioskar Amaya (2B), Marco Hernandez (SS), and Jeimer Candelario (3B) slightly, but Baez is clearly the best player of the lot.
  • Stinky Pete

    Who do you predict to go to AFL?

  • TonyS

    Appreciate your report as always Luke.
    It will be interesting to hear Brandons thoughts on Lake, given he was fairly critical of him earlier in the year. Genuine improvement or high babip?
    Its encouraging that so many prospects seem to have taken a step up this season and we havent seen much of soler, almora, johnson or maples and nothing of vizcaino or panigua (spelling?).

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      It was about two weeks ago that Lake adjusted his stance to a wider one. Buddy Bailey (Smokies’ Manager) mentioned this about a week ago on a radio interview and said that it seemed to improve Junior’s contact ability and power.
      He has been raking since then, including some tape-measure homers I happened to see.
      To me it shows that we shouldn’t close the book on kids too early–unless they simply refuse to make adjustments.

  • Jackalope

    Love the comment about multiple prospect-laiden infields. Keep them coming in waves!

  • Jason

    Why on earth would you prefer the Boise infield to the Daytona infield? Daytona has three guys who could legitimately contribute at the MLB level, while Boise’s most exciting guy there is probably future trade bait.

    • baldtaxguy

      Boise’s infield is interesting. Vogelbach has such a smooth swing, and Gioskar Amaya is a 2B with a .900 OPS. Infield is a strength!!

    • Drew7

      I count 3 guys in Boise that could legitimately contribute.

      • Luke

        All four of Boise’s infield could. Marco Hernandez may have the lowest ceiling of those four, and he still projects as a switch hitting infielder utility guy. I wouldn’t rule him out as a lower tier major league starting shortstop either.

        Make no mistake, Boise is absolutely loaded. That doesn’t mean all that talent will play out, but the talent is clearly there.

        • Crockett

          Unfortunately, Vogelbach is a one-dimensional DH until he proves otherwise. Another guy the Cubs could’ve had 3-5 rounds later. Ugh.

          • baldtaxguy

            Really? I see only an error or two in this year’s stats. Is he “creating” errors for others with his play at 1B?

      • Flashfire

        Boy, Peoria is prospect wasteland at the moment. Chadd Krist kinda intrigues me, but after a fireball hot start he’s resembled the guy he was at Cal. Guess it’s to be expected this early in the rebuilding process.

        Maybe we got a hot low-A guy for Jeff Baker! (Yeah, I know, I don’t believe it, either.)

  • http://Bleachernation Jay

    I’m hearing Vitters & Jackson were both called up today. Can we attain confirmation?

    • willis

      Muskat is tweeting that it’s legit. No idea about corresponding moves yet.

  • Crockett

    Well, Jedstein are shooting themselves in the foot with Jackson as far as maybe having any trade value this offseason.

    When Jackson fails historically with this call-up, it’s gonna be bad.

    PS – who is disappearing? Soriano?

    • willis

      What would you consider failing? And on the flip, what would you consider to be ok? I think my mendoza on this for him is around .250/.330 the rest of this season. With some very good defense.

      • Crockett

        I would honestly be very surprised if Jackson hits above .220 with a .280/.350 split right now. His BABIP has been insane in AAA, and the statistic Keith Law pointed out is that if Jackson struck out 175 times in 600 PAs…that rate would be LOWER than his current AAA strikeout rate. Yeesh.

        If he hits above .250 with a .320/.400 slash, I’ll be pleasantly surprised and anything above that, you’ll hear my stunned-ness on this site very soon. lol.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      1) The minor leagues are not played under a secrecy veil: the other 29 teams have scouts and analysts who will tell their GMs that BJax was striking out at a hellacious rate in AAA, and telling them what that projects to for MLB playing. It is know different from every time someone says “let’s see what he can do!”: just because we have not gotten to see it does not mean that the 30 FOs have not.

      2) Very few of the FOs these days are so ignorant about sample size issues that they will take 2 months of performance seriously. This is both for good and for ill: if BJax plays without striking out as much, then people will (and should) still say: “well, 2 months was nice: but what about the prior 4 months?” If Vitters looks OK at 3rd or draws a few walks, then people will still say: “well, 2 months was nice: but what about the prior 4 years?”

      • Crockett

        My issue with this is that the gap between AAA and MLB is still difficult to quantify and while scouting/stats are utilized, every GM uses them differently. And if even one team valued Jackson more highly than the consensus, this call-up jeopardizes that overvaluation.

        • Brett

          It’s possible that the Cubs have already given up that ghost – they know his value is sunk if he doesn’t show something in the bigs anyway (in other words, bouncing back at AAA for two months or even to start next year doesn’t do anything for his value), so they figure, let’s see if he’ll fit into our own plans for 2013. It’s not like Szczur is going to be ready for CF by next year anyway (at least not to start the year).

          • Crockett

            I guess. I just still don’t like it.

            Of course, I’ve thought Jackson was a good 4th OF’er-to-be anyway…I don’t know what I’m whining about.

            PS – Szczur is bad too :)

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Also, the difficulty in projecting AAA performance to MLB performance is: will he continue to do that well in that area? If a guy is doing poorly in an area, then it’s easy to project: he’ll do as bad or even worse in MLB. So, a guy who does not K much in AAA has us wondering: how much will his K rate increase in MLB? A guy who K’s a lot in AAA might have us wondering the same question, but at that point it’s a grotesquerie.

            If there are any teams left that ignore AAA to the extent the Cubs need, well, then chances are really good that they have not exactly stockpiled a lot of players of the sort that the Cubs want. These are two aspects of the same FO skill.

            • Crockett

              Quit using facts, sir.

              This is a discussion of the heart.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Heart? Mine was forcibly removed in 1984. I subsequently upgraded and motherboardly recommend it: you will become like Bender, Baby!

                • Crockett

                  Impossible. I do not watch Futurama.

                  And I just met another hot Irish chick. While on the computer. Looking up baseball stuff. I win.