Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

daytona cubs logoDerby Day is this Saturday, and it occurs to me that baseball really does not have any event that compares with the Kentucky Derby. There just is not a day in baseball that revolves heavily around huge, weird looking hats and guzzling one particular flavor of alcohol to the exclusion of all others. I think I’m OK with this.

But Derby Day marks the beginning of May, and that is a good time to survey the organization leaders in the various stats. Brian Bogusevic and Rock Shoulders are on top in most of the core hitting categories, but (somewhat surprisingly) Stephen Bruno and John Andreoli are lurking not far behind. On the mound, Eric Jokisch leads the organization in term of ERA and is near the top in the other categories as well. Felix Pena and P.J. Francescon also feature prominently near the top of the lists.

Speaking of lists, we have some games to talk about.

Scores From The Weekend

Friday – The Cubs tied it up in the ninth, but they lost 5-4 in the tenth.
Saturday – This game got ugly in the bottom of the first, and never really improved. Iowa was blown out 13-2.
Sunday – But the Cubs salvaged the weekend with a strong showing on Sunday. They won this one by a final of 10-6.

Friday – This game had plenty of offense late, but it was Tennessee who game out on top 5-3.
Saturday – Rain pushed this game to Sunday…
Sunday – … and more rain caused both halves of the doubleheader to be cancelled.

Friday – Daytona overcame three errors to win 7-3 on Friday.
Saturday – The Cubs scored in the first but were kept off the board after that. They lost 5-1.
Sunday – Not only did Daytona win 7-4, they did it by beating the Cardinals. That’s a nice bonus at any level of baseball.

Kane County
Friday – A bullpen meltdown led to a tenth inning 6-5 loss.
Saturday – A three run eighth pushed the Cougars to a 5-3 win.
Sunday – The rains turned Sunday’s game into Monday’s doubleheader.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Logan Watkins is starting to find some hits. He collected five over the weekend, including triples on both Saturday and Sunday, and has raised his average to .250. His OBP remains a very nice .412.
  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson is showing some signs of life as well. He had extra base hits in consecutive games this weekend (including a homer on Sunday), and even managed to go through five at bats without a strikeout in yesterday’s contest. The season is still very young for Jackson; his playing time had been inconsistent at best since April 15 as he tried to shake off a minor foot injury.
  • [Iowa] By allowing two runs on four hits over six innings, Chris Rusin continued his case to be considered a candidate for the Cubs rotation later this season.
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva erupted for a triple and a home run on Friday. That burst ended a three game hit drought and left him with an OPS of .891. Jae-Hoon Ha also had a nice game, reaching (and scoring) three times on two hits and a walk.

  • [Tennessee] In six innings of work Alberto Cabrera gave up three hits, three walks, and struck out six.
  • [Daytona] Somehow the Cubs managed to give up just three runs on Friday despite walking nine. Sunday’s pitching performance, 4 R and 10 K, was much more the sort of thing we like to see in the minors.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez is heating up. He is riding a four game hitting streak now, and three of those four were multi-hit games. This weekend he collected a total of five hits (including a home run and two doubles), walked once and struck out just twice. His OPS has now crept over .800, but his OBP remains a mediocre .291.
  • [Daytona] Speaking of OBP, Zeke DeVoss is closing in something that is very rarely seen at any level of professional baseball. His OBP is nearly .200 higher than his batting average. Entering today’s game he is hitting .237 with an OBP of .426.
  • [Kane County] Normally I don’t talk about hitless days, but I want to highlight the 0 for 5 performance Daniel Vogelbach had on Friday. It was a crappy day at the plate no matter how you slice it… except for the lack of strikeouts. He had none. I hate to see 0 for 5 in any box score, but when they do happen I like seeing that 0 in the strikeout column.
  • [Kane County] Sticking with that theme, Pierce Johnson fanned seven in his 5.2 innings of work on Friday.
  • [Kane County] Thanks to a double and a triple this weekend, Oliver Zapata now enjoys a six game hitting streak complete with two doubles, two triples, three steals, two strikeouts, and two walks. This 5’9″ switch hitter remains one of the more enigmatic players in the system.

Other News

  • Rubi Silva was well thought of when the Cubs signed him, but he did not do much of anything during his first couple of seasons in the organization and a lot of fans simply forgot about him. Now he is effectively beating up on the Southern League and firmly staking his claim as a prospect who cannot simply be dismissed. This is starting to look like a case in which we simply were not patient enough. While he did reach Tennessee last season, he only played twenty games there in 2012. We can’t explain his success this year by saying he is repeating the league, has become a veteran, or anything of that nature. His BB% is abysmal (and that in turn draws down his OBP), but everything else looks pretty good. I suspect the main effect of his 2013 early season surge will be to raise his trade value, but it is still good to see. Hopefully he can keep this up for the rest of the season.
  • Much has been made of Jorge Soler‘s decline in numbers since he came back from his suspension, but it truly appears to be nothing. His K% and BB% still look quite healthy. The numbers strongly suggest he just has a bad case of hitting balls right at people. Some of it, no doubt, is due to pitchers learning how to attack Soler and taking advantage of his weaknesses, but the contributions of bad luck can’t be completely discounted. Regardless of how we apportion blame, I see nothing to worry about. He did have a day off on Sunday; we’ll see if that rest helped him at all.

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