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rock shouldersI hate wallpaper. I really, really hate wallpaper. I spent most of the weekend on a scaffolding scraping/washing wallpaper paste off a fourteen foot high wall. Do you know what you can’t do while scraping wallpaper paste off a wall? Watch baseball, that’s what.

I don’t feel too bad about that, though, since the Shoulders One Man Wrecking Crew was not available on video anyway. Nor was Soler’s Florida State Batting Practice. One of these days I really hope all the Cub franchises are hooked into the internet streaming video service. There is just too much awesomeness happening outside of Chicago, Iowa, and Tennessee that we can’t watch. I want to see all the baseball.

And I don’t want to see wallpaper ever again.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa
Friday – The Cubs turned a strong start from Loux into a 5-0 win.
Saturday – Despite outhitting the Redbirds, Iowa fell 8-5.
Sunday – This was a nail biter, but Iowa came up short 1-0.

Tennessee
Friday – The Smokies scored five times in the first and rolled to an easy 8-1 win.
Saturday – The Smokies pounded out 13 hits in this 11-4 blowout win.
Sunday – It went eleven innings, but Tennessee lost 9-6.

Daytona
Friday – The Cubs fell behind early and never recovered. They lost 8-3.
Saturday – They tied it the seventh but lost it in the ninth. The final was 6-4.
Sunday – Daytona manged just two hits in this one. The ugly final was 9-1.

Kane County
Friday – This game was rained out.
Saturday – The Cougars won Game One of the doubleheader 7-3, and followed that up with a 4-3 win in the nightcap.
Sunday – A 7-6 win finished off a great weekend for Kane County.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Barret Loux and Drew Carpenter both turned in good starting efforts for the Cubs over the weekend.
  • ]Iowa] And in the bullpen department there are quite a few guys pitching well. Yoanner Negrin leads a pack that includes Rafael Dolis and Blake Parker.
  • [Iowa] Brian Bogusevic continues to put up some good numbers in Triple A, but it is hard to see a path to Chicago opening up for him soon. The Cubs are crowded in the outfield right now, and even a line of .380/.475/.440 might not be enough to warrant a promotion.
  • [Tennessee] Matt Loosen (4 IP, 8 K), A.J. Morris (3 IP, 2 K) and Brian Schlitter (2 IP, 3 K) combined in Tennessee’s dominant win on Friday. This was Loosen’s first start for the Smokies this season. If he keeps striking people out that rate, he may find himself in Iowa fairly soon.
  • [Tennessee] Through six games and eight innings Zach Rosscup has continued to impress. The lefty has struck out 13, walked just 2, and given a up a single run.
  • [Tennessee] It has only been eight games, but Ronald Torreyes has yet to strike out. His line of .333/.483/.381 features a double and five walks, but not a single strike out.
  • [Daytona] It was a bad weekend for Javier Baez. 1 for 10 with a single and four strikeouts is not going to win that guy any fans in the front office. The Cubs brought him into the game from the bench on Sunday, and he responded by striking out twice.
  • [Daytona] And on the other end of the spectrum is Jorge Soler. The right fielder went 3 for 11 with two doubles, two walks, and three strike outs. Soler has hit safely in every game he has played in (only 10, thanks to the suspension) and has reached base at least twice in all but two of them.
  • [Daytona] John Andreoli is up to six steals now and is tied with Zeke DeVoss for the team lead in that category. Tim Saunders and Taiwan Easterling are falling behind at three steals apiece.
  • [Kane County] Pierce Johnson struck out six over fine innings in his Saturday start. Nathan Dorris again looked very good in relief.
  • [Kane County] The Best Name In The Minors had a weekend to remember. Rock Shoulders finished up the three games 7 for 10 with two doubles, two home runs, one walk and one strikeout. The lefty slugger is smashing right handed pitching to the tune of .452/.500/.810. His OPS against lefties is a more human 0.833.
  • [Kane County] I started talking about Jeimer Candelario during his DSL season, a season in which he finished with more walks than strikeouts. He’s doing it again. Through 15 games, the young third baseman has 9 BB against 8 Ks.

Other News

  • With Brent Lillibridge and Darwin Barney passing through town lately, the Iowa Cubs have a bit of a positional traffic jam at second base. Logan Watkins, despite a recent slump that has dropped his batting average to .218, has both hit well (OPS .758) and played well there defensively. Fortunately, Watkins is a flexible defender. The Cubs moved him over to shortstop for a few games recently, and on Sunday they stuck him in center field. I’d prefer to see Watkins groomed as an everyday second baseman, but his value to the major league team is no doubt higher (for now) as a super-sub with very good defense and a high OBP left handed bat off the bench.
  • Speaking of second basemen… sort of… Anthony Giansanti appeared at second base for the Tennessee Smokies on Sunday. This is fairly surprising for two reasons. First, Giansanti has played a grand total of five games in Daytona in his career. Second, he hasn’t played second base since 2011.
  • Mat B

    Is anyone else excited about what Matt Szczur is starting to do?

    • jt

      I’ve been watching the Szczur stat line. He seems to be trying and succeeding in driving the ball with the effect of taking fewer BB’s. I’m hoping that it is a conscious thing and if part of his learning process. Time will tell, but it is an interesting watch.

      • Mat B.

        I’ve noticed the lower walk rate, too. I’m hoping that once he realizes he can drive the ball under the right circumstances, that will return. I believe his OBP is still around .350. I’d take that.

        • hansman1982

          For his career he has walked at an 8.8% clip. This season he is walking at a 9.1% rate. His K’s are up (16.8 vs. 13.3) but it’s not too much to be concerned about.

          • jt

            Szczur has walked once in his last 9 games and not at all in the past 5.
            2011 he had 10 dingers and 26 BB’s while in 2012 that changed to 4 HR’s and 61 walks.
            That is not a static line. That indicates a change of approach.
            In the past 6 games he has had 2 HR’s, a 2B and a 3B. That does not define a change of approach but indicates that he may be doing something different.
            *
            Your assumption is that his development follows a linear path. I fail to see where that is true in all cases.

            • hansman1982

              “Szczur has walked once in his last 9 games and not at all in the past 5.”

              I bet I could go through Barry Bonds and Ted Williams’ careers and find similar 9 game stretches (it’d be tough to do, but I bet I could).

              “2011 he had 10 dingers and 26 BB’s while in 2012 that changed to 4 HR’s and 61 walks.”

              In 2011, his K rate dramatically decreased as well. This would seem to indicate that he was putting more balls in play. Since it appears he was swinging more, this decrease in both BB and K rate is a good thing as it indicates he is able to make good contact (if he were simply swinging more but wasn’t good at making contact, his K rate would have remained roughly similar).

              In 2012, his K and BB rates shot back up. The good thing about that is his BB rate increased by more percentage points (6.5) than his K rate (5.4) while his XBH percentage remained level (well that’s not true. It went from 7.45 down to 7.29%. Before you get your pants in a twist, that is 1 fewer XBH over the course of a season).

              The fact that his BB and K rates are around his career averages right now, seem to indicate he should continue his career trajectory (that is, the same trajectory most prospects follow in adding power as the get older).

              One thing I would LOVE to see is how XBH% change over a players career or if it is fairly static over the career just the numbers that go into that change (more HR than 2B).

    • Kyle

      I remain skeptical. He still can’t seem to show the awesome BB rate and adequate power simultaneously. Always one or the other.

      He’s almost 24 and putting up a .796 OPS in AA. That’s not terrible, but it’s nothing that gets me excited. I still see a mediocre outfield prospect.

      • Cedlandrum

        He is almost 24 he will turn that at the end of July, but it is his age 23 season. A .796 OPS would have been top 7 in MLB last year. I know that is a big jump in talent, but still it is pretty good. Southern league also tends to skew to the pitcher except in Smokies park, which should be good for Matt, but he has been brutal at home.

        • hansman1982

          His OPS and OBP (from this year) put him in the top 30 of the SL last year. He’s not a Jorge Soler but no reason to be too down on Szczur.

        • Kyle

          Unfortunately, MLB is a bit harder to perform in than AA, so what he does in AA isn’t likely to be what he does in the majors.

          The vast majority of .795ish OPS guys in AA turn out to be nothing in the majors.

          • Cedlandrum

            Wow who knew that it was harder to perform in the majors then it is in AA.

      • jt

        I agree that the “simultaneous” is the key.
        But these guys have to learn to control the K zone. That involves protecting the plate by spoiling as much as choosing the right pitch to strike. The high BB rate shows that he may have learned that part.
        He has not shown anything to indicate the next Johnny Damon but….
        I think he is an interesting watch.

  • Jp3

    What do you think about Rock moving up a league so both he and Vogulbach can both develop at 1B? I’m also excited to see when Soler gets bumped to Tennessee, he is destroying High A baseball (pitching and dugouts).

  • Die hard

    Always considered AA last stop on way up and AAA first step on way down… If any of these kids are doing well at AA then believe should skip AAA and move em up

    • BluBlud

      I completely agree with this statement Die Hard. I just don’t get the must have 600 AAA at-bats, if any, before seeing the majors. If they can hit at AA, they usually can’t hit in the majors. I not, send down to AAA at that point for a tune up.

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        There’s a million guys who hit at AA and didn’t hit in the majors. A million of them.

  • Jp3

    Looks like Gordon Whitmeyer was the one throwing gasoline on the demote Castro and Rizzo fire per mlbtraderumors. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

    • Cedlandrum

      Those are Clown rumors bro.

      • Jp3

        Yeah I don’t even think Sveum mentioned the 2 players. I’m pretty sure he was generalizing that if you don’t make plays you’ll be accountable and the reporter threw the 2 big names in at the end. I don’t believe anyone on the planet thinks those 2 would be demoted

    • notcubbiewubbie

      gordon wittenmeyer is a clown. doesn’t like theo jed or the cubs.been bitching all year.

  • Jp3

    *Wittenmyer

  • Frank F.

    I’m becoming quite excited over Rock Shoulders. Maybe a bit too much. While I don’t expect him to be Albert Pujols, he may very well be worth a follow.

    He was one of the high priority signings in the overslot heavy 2011 draft, so he can’t be passed off as your average late round draft pick destined to be filler.

    I would like to see him in Daytona sooner than later and maybe Tennessee by seasons end, but there’s no urgency to leapfrog him, especially being only 21.

  • EQ76

    People still hang wallpaper?

    • hansman1982

      People still pay for the sins of the 80’s and 90’s.

      I am choosing to replace the drywall in my kitchen rather than scrape it off.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        You are a very smart man.

  • ssckelley

    Could Soler end up in Tennessee soon?

    • BluBlud

      If he keeps crushing the ball they way he icurrently is, he’ll be in Tennessee sooner than later.

      • ssckelley

        I wonder what the time table is on Soler, are we talking weeks/months? He is only 21, which is young for AA, but with his contract and success he has had it would be nice to see him moving through the minors at a faster pace.

        It might be time to give Szczur a shot at AAA freeing a spot up for Soler in Tennessee.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It does seem like Soler should get the first crack at filling a AA opening, whenever one arises. But, given the depth at AAA, it might take a trade at the big league level to start a chain reaction to open up that spot. I doubt the Cubs feel any sense of urgency to get Soler to AA before midseason. And even that would be plenty impressive.

          • Jp3

            Depth at AA😃. That’s a good word because other than Brett Jackson and Sweeney as 4th OF there isn’t one player that defines himself more than the others in the OF. There are a lot of bodies though. Maybe that’s the reason we keep getting all these fringe players. I think you’re right Brett on why its tough to find room @ AAA for either Ha, Schzer, or Andrellini(sp?) but why. None other than BJax is a possible everyday major leaguer and there are even reservations on that one.

            • Jp3

              I definetly meant AAA, AA has a productive OF to this point where AAA is filled with a bunch of fill ins. Sorry for the mix up

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Eventually, the Cubs are just going to have to give up the ghost with some of these guys, because they’re going to have to see what Soler and – to a lesser extent, but still legitimately – Andreoli can do at AA. And obviously you’d like to see Ha and Szczur at AAA at some point soon.

              • Jp3

                I agree 100%. At some point this season the lower levels should be pushing the Bogesivics out of jobs by pushing everyone else up. I really want to see these AA OFs against fringe major league pitching. Promote the young guys when they are ready, don’t let roster spots at Iowa dictate when they get a bump. I figured Ha might start the year in AAA? He’s about ready I’d guess for an early promotion

              • ssckelley

                I agree, the Cubs have way to many former prospects & top draft picks clogging up the outfield positions at Iowa. IMO the only one that really belongs there is Brett Jackson. Wright, McDonald, Bugusevic, and Sweeney all either need to find their to the bigs or find another line of work. It would not make any sense for the Cubs to hold Soler/Szczur back because they want to hang on to a 34 year old former big league bench player in Darnell McDonald.

              • AA Correspondent

                Ha and Szczur could be logical callups to AAA when the dominos seem to fall. I believe Ha will go first, as this is his 3rd stint at the AA level and ha seems to be very comfortable up here. I am not sure where the power has disappeared to, as he is still homerless but defensively he is a superior OF’er.

                I like what I am seeing in the early returns from Matt Szczur…but he is not ready for a AAA call up yet. He is an average defender and still hits his share of weak ground balls to third (rolling over on pitches). His ceiling is high, but I’d say he needs to probably spend all of 2013 in AA. If I am being honest with you, I do not see him as a major leaguer. He may be a fan favorite….but I cant envision him roaming the OF of Wrigley Field.

                Brandon

                • Spriggs

                  Have to agree with you on Szczur. With his swing and the way he plays CF (he’s the anti-Almora when it comes to judging and reading balls hit to the OF), he has a lot of work to do. He’s still only 23 and doesn’t have a lot of baseball experience, so he does have some time. But he really needs to show something this year… more than he has so far in my opinion.

  • Timothy Scarbrough

    I spent a week this past summer sanding a wall down that had been covered with wallpaper. It was rather torturous.

  • Patrick G

    Luke,

    I was looking at minor league games today, and Eric Jokisch is tossing for Tennessee. He has very nice numbers so far this season, so it made me want to look up more on him. He had an impressive season last year and I have never heard of him. Maybe I am just more focused on the higher touted players, but what is his potential and could he be a candidate for a call up if he continues his success? Thanks

    • AA Correspondent

      Erik Jokisch was arguably the ace of the Smokies staff last season and by all rights may be again this season. He is poised, polished and a true definition of a pitcher. He won’t overwhelm you with “hard stuff” but he is a strike thrower and more importantly (from where I sit) he is smart. He is not a gun slinger who is going to blow the ball by you……I hate to do it…..but he reminds me of Tom Glavine. Don’t sleep on this kid. i feel very confident that we are looking at a future major leaguer here.

      Brandon

      • Patrick G

        Thanks for the info. I was looking at his stats last night and everything looks very impressive. Watched a video on him and his delivery is very easy, which doesn’t look like he is using all that he has. But if he can outsmart hitters and use craftiness to succeed, I’m all for it

  • Dynastyin2016

    We can’t fall asleep on Ernie Alcantara. It looks like the kid could be a REAL lead-off candidate for the future.

    • AA Correspondent

      Is “Ernie” what we are supposed to call him? I’ve been wondering…..for now, my buddies have been referring to him as simply “AL”

      If we could get the walkup music to be Paul Simon’s “You can call me Al” we be all set.

      Where did “Ernie come from”?

      By the way….I love this kid!! He is wonderful to watch on defense and seems to be adjusting nicely to AA pitching. He looks like the real deal to me so far.

      Brandon

      • Jp3

        Yeah not sure if he meant Ernie but either way you’re both right he does look impressive this season. That’s all we need is one more candidate for the “move Castro off short” campaign 😀. The more people that can provide options the better. Our infield minor league options are aplenty as of late. Up and down the minors we’re giving ourselves lots of options in about a year and a half.

        • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

          Doesn’t this guy make about 50 errors a year?

        • AA Correspondent

          Over the weekend, the season ticket holders in our section would marvel at his defense. We have seen some great plays, but more importantly, his approach on the routine plays has been smooth, efficient and for the most part….stellar. in this short season so far, we have come to expect these plays be made (which is GREAT). Last year, you NEVER knew what you were going to get when Junior Lake approached a defensive play.

          I like what I see so far from Arismendy Alcantara.

          Brandon

      • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

        He has 8 errors in 17 games and had about fifty last year. Where are you getting good defense from? And he is batting .270.

        That’s gold, Jerry.

        Real gold.

        Next.

  • Jp3

    Vogelbach is 2-3 today with a homer. Rock Shoulders is 0-2 with 2 BB while Candelario is 1-3 with a BB as well. I like the patience all 3 show, everyone has reached base in one form or another. Kane County is stacked 3-4-5 holes.

  • nkniacc13

    anyone know where you can buy Kane County and Iowa Cubs clothing?

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