kane county cougarsOn the giant menu of minor league promotions, children running the bases after the game is pretty much routine. If you attend any minor league game, the sight of a steady column of kids galloping gleefully on the infield dirt is about as much a part of the normal experience as the dancing mascots. But the Kane County Cougars have taken that fairly typical and expected event and spiced it up just a touch. In short, they dropped the age limit.

Anyone can run the bases. All ages are welcome. And they do this after every game.

I know a lot of you have been looking forward to taking in a few KC games this season; I am throwing you all a challenge. Put on your BleacherNation gear, get out on those base paths, and make sure someone is standing by with a camera. Post your pictures of post-game enjoyment on Facebook, on Twitter, on the Message Boards, or anyplace else that will let you share the awesome with the rest of the BleacherNation community. Old, young, it no longer matters. Just head on out, have a blast, and send us the pictures.

And if you happen to get any really good shots of Brett, be doubly sure to pass those on.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – New state, same result. Iowa lost 13-5.
Tennessee – Runs were hard to come by in this 2-1 loss for the Smokies.
Daytona – Daytona had Monday off. They look to keep their winning streak alive tonight at home.
Kane County – It took yet another extra inning game, but Kane County finally broke through for their first win of the year. The final in ten innings was 6-5.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins continues to play well. His two hits in this game included his first Triple A double and home run.
  • [Iowa] With two hits, including a double, and only one strikeout, Brett Jackson also had a nice game.
  • [Iowa] The lone bright spot on the mound was Blake Parker; he tossed four hitless outs while walking one and striking out two.
  • [Tennessee] The story in Tennessee was quality prospects playing well. Matt Szczur had two hits, a walk, and a stolen base while batting lead off for the Smokies. And hitting behind him was Arismendy Alcantara who had a 2 for 4 day of his own.
  • [Tennessee] Zach Rosscup is flat out dominant right now. The southpaw has recorded nine outs this season, and eight of them have been on strikeouts.
  • [Kane County] In five innings as a starter, former Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo gave up one run on three hits while striking out four. That’s not bad at all.
  • [Kane County] Gioskar Amaya had his first triple of the season as part of a three hit game. Chadd Krist smacked two doubles as part of his three hit effort.

Other News

  • Rock Shoulders was the winning run in the Cougars game, scoring from second on a hard single up the middle by Bijan Rademacher. Shoulders got the start at first in this game, with Vogelbach moving to DH. That is a good way to get both of those big bats in the lineup, and it is something we are likely to see more of for the next few months.
  • The game was the first this season in which the Cougars even had a lead.
  • cubchymyst

    I like the offense Watkins is providing, would of liked to see him at 2nd for the Cubs while Barney is out.

    • Blublud

      Yeah, me too. Watkins can play in the bigs right now, and I really have no clue why he is still in the minors and Lillibridge, Valbeuna and Gonzalez, all inferior players to Watkins, IMO, are on the big team. And he was already on the 40 man, so we would have been able to keep Whitenack. Not that losing Whitenack really hurt us. Watkins is already using an option year, so we should be up right now until Barney is ready. Sometime you can worry about all this service clock crap. Sometimes you just have to try and win.

      • Blublud

        *sometimes you can worry about all this service clock crap*

      • MichiganGoat

        shrug… the best thing for Watkins right now is to have regular consistent playing time. If we bring him up he’ll be on the bench in a couple weeks or sent back down to Iowa neither of which is beneficial to this team. Watkins is not a difference maker and wouldn’t have won any of these games by himself but we could destroy his rhythm and confidence. As long as he looks great at Iowa is value (especially trade value) is at its highest.

        • Jp3

          MG I agree to an extent on breaking his rythem but if we brought Watkins up right now why would he not play everyday in this lineup until Barney comes back? Who do we have to split his time with at 2nd? I don’t think a big league cup of coffee ever hurt anyone, if he hits great its called a classy problem to have, if he hits like garbage then he just wasn’t ready yet and goes back down like Rizzo did.

        • Blublud

          I’m not interested in Watkins trade value. I’m interested in his value to the Cubs as player. If his future is a utility IF, then at some point he has to play third. He is a better third baseman now then Valbeuna, and unlike Valbeuna, has plenty of upside. Play him at second now, move him to third when Barney returns and DFA Lillibridge (what a waste). Valbeuna can be the utility guy.

        • cubchymyst

          I agree he needs to play every day, so once barney came back he be returned to Iowa. Not to sure about destroying his confidence, Give him a taste of the big leagues for a couple weeks and maybe he sees something he needs to work on. It could help him in the long run. Also, we would still have whiteneck in the organization if it was done this way (though unless his velocity comes back he likely will not be what he once was).

        • InTheoWeTrust

          I couldn’t agree more about leaving Watkins down right now to get reagular playing time and continue to develop, but I think we should trade Barney. Watkins is fine defensively and has a much better approach at the plate. He actually works counts, takes walks, and gets on base. He can replace Barney and Cubs would get more for Barney.

    • Jp3

      Well yeah but we can’t afford to option Brent Lillibridge!!! To be sure someone would pick him off waivers, oh wait who wants a utility infielder that’s not that great in the field and is 0-14! Ok rant over

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Watkins would have been jumping straight from Double A to the majors, and that’s a big leap. I think he could have handled it, but I can’t blame the Cubs for playing safe and letting him open in Iowa.

      I just wish they hadn’t lost Whitenack in the process.

      • Jp3

        Yeah I know the percentage of former major leaguers is higher at AAA than AA but to say the talent pool is so much greater between the 2 leagues is a stretch. I believe there are a lot of has beens and never weres at AAA. I’m fine with losing a lot this year but I don’t like feeling like we’re tanking on purpose.

        • hansman1982

          Two weeks of Watkins over Lillibridge is going to account for a MAX of 1.5 wins (and I’d say that’s the top side of the ceiling). Now, if it were August and we were tied with the Reds for the lead and we went with Lillibridge over Watkins, then yes, be mad.

          This team isn’t sucking because we have Lillibridge starting, it’s sucking because none of our hits are falling in, when we do score 4+ runs, the staff gives up 4+ and 3/4ths of the team isn’t hitting.

          Right now the team is on pace to score 350 runs over the season. An average team would score double that amount. Watkins being here or not being here is NOT going to solve that problem.

          • Jp3

            It’s still part of the problem and however marginal the difference is you have to put your best lineup on the field and Lillibridge AND Valbuena in ANY starting lineup is shameful and wreaks of not putting the best product within reason on the field. The combination of having Lillibridge, Valbuena, and letting Marmol keep getting us into a pickle has absolutely contributed to us having too many losses.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Gotta love sample sizes. Soler has a wRC+ 287.

    • Timothy Scarbrough

      Haha, that is almost as good as 2008 Koyie Hill’s -57 wRC+ was bad. I didn’t know either were possible.

      • Timothy Scarbrough

        I looked at his fangraphs page again, somehow he managed to lose us .4 wins below average in 5 games.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That has nothing to do with sample size. That’s Soler’s floor.

      • Spriggs

        … in cold weather.

  • Mark

    Who in the minors are best chances for closer/bullpen help this year for the big team? Thanks

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Dolis, McNutt, and Zych would be the three most likely candidates to emerge by year’s end.

      • Cedlandrum

        Forgot about McNutt.

    • Cedlandrum

      Are there guys that could be called up and help? Sure. Dolis, Coleman, Putnam, Chapman, Parker, Zych, Hatley, Rosscup are all guys who could be added to the pen at some point and have shown some promise, but none are likely to be brought up to be a closer.

      Now Zych and Dolis for sure have some of what is needed for that pedigree but I’m not sure this year they will do that.

      • Blublud

        Dolis will never be a big league pitcher.

        • Cedlandrum

          Ah maybe you never know a ton of guys flame out, but Dolis has changed his delivery to make it more consistent. Which has always been his problem. If stuff alone were to get guys to the majors he’d be there already. he can throw the ball just needs to be more consistent. Still only 25.

      • Spriggs

        Dolis has a great arm. He could be really good if he figures out how to throw strikes consistently.

        Also kind of wish that Cabrera would have stayed in the pen. I mean, I hope he succeeds as a starter — and his start the other day was nice — but I just see him more as a late inning guy.

      • brickhouse

        That list of minor league pitchers may be able to pitch at the majors someday but besides Zych I don’t see much upside and most are bottom of the bullpen arms

        • Spriggs

          I predict you’ll be saying the same thing about Zych around this time next year.

          • Cedlandrum

            I know I asked this before but I think it got buried spriggs. Do you think some of your thoughts on Zych might have to do with him being a fastball slider guy and the slider not being a great pitch to throw in AZ?

            • Spriggs

              It could very well be, because I am used to seeing him throw a couple good pitches, then get hit hard on the third (for example). To me his pitches look just above borderline and his fastball looks straight. I do not like his mechanics at all. He has that quick, short armed push motion. I have trouble seeing how his stuff will translate into a real effective MLB late inning guy.

        • Cedlandrum

          Yeah you are right, I wasn’t trying to glow about any of them and in truth most will never amount, but just trying to give a list of guys who “could” be help.

  • Die hard

    Fire sale in Philly with mgr change could be sooner than later

    • Spriggs

      Ryno to manage?

      • hansman1982

        No, we trade them Sveum. Sandbourg gets all pissy and quits. Theo gets fired and the new GM, Richard Tidrow the Third, hires Ryno.

  • Blublud

    Brett, I’m signed up for Friday’s fantasy contest a draftstreet, but it doesn’t mention bleachernation. How do I get to the bleachernation contest.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Hmm, if you’re signed up for ours, it should say “Bleacher Nation Fantasy Baseball 2013” in the upper left when you’re picking your team.

  • Dan

    The only reason Watkins is not up yet is the controling years

    • JulioZuleta

      If you’re talking about why he isn’t filling in during Barney’s injury, then yeah probably. If you’re saying he would be the starting 2B this season if not for service time, that’s incorrect. He’s definitely not ready to have a full time gig handed to him. He isn’t the type of talent that should completely skip AAA.

      • Blublud

        I beg to differ. I swear, this is what makes me not like Theo. I still think he’s the right guy for the job, but this AAA crap is the dumbest shit I ever heard. A minor leaguer hitting at the AAA is the most overrated part or being a prospect. I think all good prospect should go to the majors from AA. AAA is for fringe major leaguers, fill-in guys, career journeymen, rehab assignments, demoted players trying to return to the majors, and guy like Rizzo who are call up and then sent down. AAA is mostly a waste for a good prospect.

        • unccubsfan

          I think Watkins fits into one of the categories you mentioned. He is a prospect, but not an elite one. Even Jurickson Profar is playing at AAA right now. And Watkins is not a Profar-caliber prospect.

  • Grant

    I’m really happy to see Matt Szczur get off to a great start this year (seems like his name is always popping up in these posts). Since this season is kinda do-or-die for him, do you see him turning the corner and regaining some of his elite prospect status?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Elite? No. But his stock fell a lot further with Cub fans than it really should have.

      He still looks like he’ll wind up as something between a Reed Johnson type 4th OF and a quality starting center fielder / leadoff hitter.

  • Jeffery

    Haven’t heard alot about this Rock Shoulders guy… But that is THE best baseball name that I have ever heard of. Bring him up!!

  • mysterious4th

    Last night I was at the TN Smokies game against the Pensacola Ble Wahoos.

    My thoughts:

    Rhee was not hitting his spots at all. He is lucky the wind was blowing in and Pensacola seemed a bit off as well. He was staying around the 90mph area but his command just wasn’t there. He left the game in the 4th with only 1 out. A little bit later I saw him leave the dugout with the trainer. Maybe he had some arm tightness (nothing major I hope). I was very very impressed by McNutt. He hit as high as 96mph a couple times. He was ranging 73-96mph and seemed to have very good command. I saw him throw 3 different pitches and he left one batter scratching his head. The Cubs did him a service by moving him to the bullpen. I could see him being a very good set-up man and I dare say a closer. If he can perfect his pitches a little better he will do really well as a late inning guy.
    I was not to impressed by the offense. Bour did put some pretty good wood on a few hits. But the wind was blowing in off the Gulf. Ha made a few impressive catches. He really reads the ball off the bat well and seems to take good routes. Alcantara goofed early in the game. He had a routine grounder but he took his eye off of it too soon and was looking at 1st before he even had the ball. For some reason I like Rubi Silva. No real reason I just do. I snapped several pictures. I was sitting next to their dugout

    • mysterious4th

      Also, as I was sitting behind home plate…well between home plate and the smomikes dugout. I saw a handfull of scouts and it seemed they were there looking at Rhee, schlitter, mcnutt. They were busy with the gun and writting stuff down while they were pitching but not much of anything else when the blue wahoos were on the mound.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    ANYBODY can run the bases? Even more of a reason for me to go to Kane County. Thanks.