dan vogelbach cubsOne factor often ignored in the ongoing DH in the NL debate is the status of DH’ing in the minors. Many, not all, but many of the minor league leagues use the DH. Many pitchers in National League farm systems do not see live pitching in games. This could lead to somewhat of a chicken-egg problem. Are NL pitchers bad at hitting because they are bad, or are they bad at hitting because they do not practice it consistently while they are in the minors?

From my perspective, the answer is a nice meaty omelet. Regardless which way the causal arrow points, the DH needs to arrive in every professional league. I prefer the game without it, but that’s a small thing on which to make a decision. Minor league games featuring the DH are not significantly less fun to watch than minor league games without the DH, so I am fairly confident the upside outweighs the costs.

Besides, every once in awhile I let my rationality go and start imagine a lineup in Wrigley that features Rizzo and Soler and Shoulders and Vogelbach and Candelario. That is not likely to happen (though it makes a great daydream), but it simply can’t happen at all until the DH makes it to the NL.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs suffered from a chronic lack of offense in this 4-1 loss.
Tennessee – The Smokies gave up three runs in the ninth and lost 4-3.
Daytona – The big bats went silent and Daytona was shut out 3-0.
Kane County – Rain caused a postponement in Peoria. Kane County will make up this game as part of a doubleheader on May 16.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] I hope you aren’t tired of hearing about Logan Watkins. He went 1 for 2 with two more walks in this one. His OBP is a remarkable .395. Why remarkable? Because he is only hitting .233.
  • [Iowa] Casey Coleman looked good out of the bullpen yet again. He struck out the side in the seventh and dropped his ERA down to 3.60 in the process.
  • [Tennessee] The Smokies got a gem of a start from Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks, who came to the Cubs in the Dempster trade, struck out 9, allowed 3 hits, and walked no one in seven innigs of work. It was easily his best start of the season.
  • [Tennessee] Zach Rosscup strikes again. He struck out the side for the Smokies and now has 16 Ks in just 9 innings.
  • [Daytona] He went 0 for 3, but that is not the big story for Javier Baez. The real news is that Baez drew a walk. And it was the only walk Daytona had all day.
  • [Daytona] Frank Del Valle had a fairly dominant outing himself. He picked the final five outs, four of them thanks to the K. Even better, he inherited two runners when he entered the game, and he successfully stranded them both. The only blemish is the one walk he allowed.

Other News

  • Watkins is not the only candidate to be the Cubs Lead Off Man of the Future. Matt Szczur has put together a nice line of .297/.365/.432 with 7 steals and 2 home runs for Tennessee. Even though Watkins still has the higher OPS, that line should be good enough to send Szczur off to Iowa in the not too distant future.
  • Matt Garza had been scheduled to pitch for the Smokies today. That is off. The Cubs hope it’s just a case of dead arm.
  • Jp3

    With Szczur probably on the move up, who slides into his spot in Tennessee?? Soler???? I know this all part of the domino effect but Ha shouldn’t be too far behind Szczur if he gets called first.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Andreoli would be my first guess. But the longer the delay before those promotions happen, the more likely Soler becomes.

  • Boogens

    “Regardless which way the casual arrow points…”

    Grammar police alert… by any chance do you mean “causal” instead of “casual”?

    BTW, I agree with you that I prefer the no-DH game. The fact that it’s used in the minors is of little consequence. MLB doesn’t need the Players Association to chnage it back.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Good catch. Thanks.

  • Johnathan

    Ha and shoulders both will be called up to replace triple a outfielders once they’re called up

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I don’t see Shoulders going straight from Kane County to Triple A. He’s doing well, but not that well.

  • Spencer

    Leadoff man of the future??? We have a perfectly capable Dave Sappelt batting leadoff sometimes with his incredible .160/.192/.240 slash line. Get in line, Szczur, looks like you’re blocked.

    • hansman1982

      Hey, that .032 IsoD is AH-MAH-HOLYCRAPBATMAN.

      I wonder what Sappelt is whining about these days…

      • Spencer

        Being bad at baseball?

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Lots of Sappelt hate…I’m not getting it. Is it because he’s had a bad start? He was pretty productive in limited time last year and can probably be a pretty decent 4th OF.

    • hansman1982

      Partially his bad start, partially his twitter activity last year after the deadline.

  • 5412


    Isn’t Sappelt related to Eddie Gaedel?

    If you don’t know who I am talking about try googling his name.


  • DocPeter Wimsey

    History answers the question about why modern pitchers are bad hitters: pre-DH pitchers were (with rare exceptions) bad hitters. Ted Williams always said they he never saw a pitcher who could actually hit. Now, his standards were pretty high: but the guys he watched were batting all through the minors.

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    I am ready for the DH in all leagues, including the National League. There are downsides, but mostly upsides. If we are going to have inter-league play, things need to be equal between the two leagues. And as much as I love watching three harmless swings and misses in a row by non-professional hitters, I think it is time for the DH to come to all of professional baseball.

  • Rich

    Soriano sitting today ? 2 SB and 3/4 …

    should sit Rizzo

    • Featherstone

      Probably just a day off rather than being benched. Soriano is old in baseball terms dont forget,

      • bob

        Day game after a night game is pretty standard day off for older players, especially on getaway day.

  • JR

    What is up with Brett Jackson? Is he still banged up?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Must be. Strange that a jammed toe would keep him out this long …

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Yep. He’s pinch hitting occasionally while he heals up, but it isn’t serious enough to go on the DL.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Eddie Gaedel. If I’m not mistaken I recently read somewhere that his signature sold for 25k! It is the only known signature from him besides his St. Louis Browns contract. It was on some sort of a legal document. Great uniform number too. 1/8

  • AA Correspondent

    Well, the Smokies dropped a heartbreaker last night thanks in part to Trey McNutt and his inability (once again) to close out a victory. A great night of pitching by Kyle Hendricks and Zac Rosscup was undone in quick fashion as our 3-1 lead in the 9th inning went to 4-3 deficit as 8 batters came to the plate. McNutt was terrible, and I don’t expect that Buddy Bailey (Manager) will be sticking with him in the 9th any longer.

    Rosscup looks like a completely different pitcher compared to last year. His fastball is improved as are his breaking pitches. He is confident and aggressive on the mound. Muy bueno!! This was my first look at Kyle Hendricks and I was impressed. 7 IP, several K’s and the ability to battle deep into the counts and come away with outs was a joy to watch. Jair Fernandez, the catcher of the evening, did a great job calling the game and showed a lot of emotion when we got some key outs. This was an excellently pitched game by both teams, which placed an emphasis on getting a key hit and playing great defense. Every now and then, I enjoy watching these types of duels as much as the high scoring affairs I have come to expect with this team.

    A few notes: Justin Bour has a broken wrist and is out 4-6 weeks. Ty Wright is back from AAA to provide a power bat in his absence. Jonathan Mota has been manning 1B this week and homered and doubled last night. Anthony Giansanti was sent down to Daytona to make room for Wright. He was buried on the bench and was being used very sparingly. I like this kid, and hope he gets some playing time down in Daytona and is back in TN soon. But to be honest….he does not have a spot at this time, so this was probably a good move for him. Arismendy Alcantara and Matt Szczur continue to impress and appear to be stealing bases at will. Christian Villanueva seems to be heating up with the bat, and has a knack for driving in runs (despite the low BA).

    Today is the rubber match to decide the 5 game series with the Montgomery Biscuits. Garza was set to begin his rehab today, but apparently has a dead arm. We are expecting rain today, but hopefully it will hold off. Gametime is noon eastern. GO SMOKIES!!

  • curt

    I totally appreciate the great job you do on the minors luke, but I couldn’t disagree with you more the dh should never come to the national league I’m sure it will but it shouldn’t , the dh is just a moneymaker for the union and a place for players who can’t play a position to go, baseball in my opinion is played by 9 players who play a position and field one too, I think it’s that simple but I seem to be in the minority and am resigned to the fact that its coming, I believe that’s a shame bc somehow baseball survived a very long time without one, it’ll be a sad day for me when it does happen.

    • MightyBear

      I agree with you Curt.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    I am a baseball purist, but I’m on board with having a DH now and two things really changed my perspective:

    #1. AL teams have an advantage going into the playoffs, because they already have a DH on their payroll who was signed just for that job and has been used to that role all season long.

    #2. Pitchers, who don’t usually run on the base path, are more likely to get injured if they reach base. Obviously, with a DH, that would eliminate that problem.

    • hansman1982

      Actually, there are only a few “dedicated” DH guys in baseball. However, you can sign guys as DH/a fielding position and be more comfortable handing out a couple extra dollars even if you already have a competant 1B or LF.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor (no relation)

    Oh, another reason… Since there’s an odd number of teams in the AL and NL now, there’s always going to be an inter league game going on throughout the season.

    • Boogens

      Hey Mike,

      Yes, that’s now the case but that last piece you mentioned was orchestrated and, as expected, will force a showdown on the DH issue. The AL will never give it up so it forces the NL to adopt it. Sucks.

      I like nothing they institued last year (moving the Astros to the AL, cutting down the number of rival interleague games, scheduling interleague through whole year).

  • #1lahairfan

    By the way Luke where is Marcello Carreno?

    On a side note why did you not put him your top 50 prospects, when most people had him in their top 30?

  • http://Www.aorrockstop.com JB sports guy

    Btw how is Dan the man doing in the minors
    Rarely hear about him

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He gets a mention time to time. He’s having no trouble with Midwest League pitching, at least not so far.

  • http://Www.aorrockstop.com JB sports guy

    Thanks luke