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.
  • Jp3

    Baez is heating up for sure. He’s 7-for his last 14 if I saw his stat line right and its having faced a couple teams over that span which is important. I’d like to see that OBP get over .350 sooner than later and have more walks than HRs in a week’s span of games. I’m pretty sure Dillon Maples is getting stretched out too in Arizona per Arizona Phil’s game recaps. His innings go up every start he has which is very encouraging.

  • Joe Borowski

    Hey Guys,
    Im intrigued to know a little more about LHP Eric Jokisch. His numbers over the last couple of seasons look pretty decent… anyone see him pitch? Does he have good stuff? Any word on Arodys Vizcaino?

    • Luke

      He gets good results, but he doesn’t have any standout pitches. Right now he probably projects more as a 4/5 starter than a No. 3 guy.

      The Cubs are easing Vizcaino back after his arm surgery last season. I haven’t heard any bad news, only that they are not rushing things.

      • Featherstone

        So any news on Juan Carlos Paniagua?

  • Joe Borowski

    thanks Luke. 4/5 starter projection you say…seems like those are the only types the Cubs have in the system above low A ball…ugh.
    Whats your opinion of Kyle Hendricks?

    • ssckelley

      Just wait until June then the Cubs will have a legit top of the rotation prospect.

      • Kubphan82

        Yeah and his name will be Atlas, with the entire Cubs fandom weighing down with expectations on his back….

  • BluBlud

    Baez’s numbers are just wierd this season. He has faced lefties 19 times. Of those 19 times, gotten a hit or a strikeout 17 time. Meaning in 19 at-bats he has only put the ball in play 2 times and created an out. He’s hitting .316 but only has a .300 OBP????? He is striking out at a 47% rate. has 0 HR’s and 0 BB’s.

    Against righties, he is hitting less(.250), but has 5 HR’s, 4 BB’s and is striking out at a lower rate(25%). Could it be he’s being more patient against Righties, getting good pitches, and driving the ball. He has 11 extra base hits(14.4%), but only 12 singles.

    I think he thinks he can crush lefties and is maybe being a little to agressive against them. Either way, it appears to me that he is trying crush everything because he thinks power is what’s going to get him promoted. If he calms down, and learns to take what is there, I think we’ll start to see a better Baez. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .351/366/.595/.960. He starting to produce at the rate of a top prospect.

    • Dynastyin2016

      If you really want to see some weird numbers, look up the stats of Courtney Hawkins. > 60% K rate. Baez and B-Jax have nothing on him.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Or these are just flukes of small sample sizes. There really is no need to explain these sorts of numbers: at this point, every player will have funky frequencies on one breakdown or another.

      As for Baez, I suspect that the patter that will emerge will be Baez hitting well against staffs with the strategy of “throw strikes” and poorly against staffs with the strategy of “get this guy out.”. (And, yes, these are different strategies….)

      • BluBlud

        You have a way of defending the players you like and knocking the players you don’t, regardless of what the numbers say. Maybe you are just not a fan of Hendry or something. It’s funny how you are so certain that Almora will be this great baseball player, yet Vogelbach and Baez will just flame out, never to be heard of again.

        Not sure what your knock is against Baez, but I definitely disagree with you. Baez will perform great against just about any competition over a proper amount of PA in the minor leagues because he is just that good of a talent. He is clearly coming around as his numbers over the last 10 games are showing. Small sample size, yes. But so is the first 13 games of the season when he was struggling.

        For future reference, maybe judge prospect by who they are and not who brought them into the organization.

        • ari gold

          Baez has a 29/4 SO to walk ratio. Unless that changes for the better he will absolutely get exposed in double A.

          • BluBlud

            I agree, something needs to change. However, I don’t think exposed he will be. He will still put up decent number with the a flag that he will be exposed in the majors if he doesn’t improve his contact. I think he just needs to relax and hit instead of trying to crush everything. He has it in his head, for some reason, that he has to hit a HR every time up. that whats needs to change.

            • Dynastyin2016

              You hit the nail on the head, Blublud. If Baez gets ‘it’, he may come close to those Sheffield comps. If Baez doesn’t get ‘it’, he will become a lower average, high power useful player. It’s up to him.
              However, still, it’s a small sample size..only 100 PA’s this year. Give it time.

  • ETS

    His OPS has now crept over .800, but his OBP remains a mediocre .291.

    That’s suggesting a pretty healthy ISOp.

  • hansman1982

    When you said Rubi Silva doesn’t walk much, I didn’t think you were talking about a 2.8% walk rate and a .019 IsoD.

  • butlerdawgs

    Heading to Daytona in mid-July, any idea as to if Baez, Soler, etc. will still be there then?

    • Brett

      Fair bet that Baez will still be there. Soler is probably no better than 50/50.

    • King Jeff

      Even if they aren’t, there are some really good prospects at Daytona, and they are a very fun team to watch. I’m hoping that some of what Stephen Bruno and Zeke DeVoss are doing at the plate rubs off on Baez and Soler while they are there. I will be in Daytona in late July/early August, we’ll have to see if we cross paths and have a brew or three.

      • butlerdawgs

        Yea, my family always goes there for vacation; I always enjoy seeing at least one game while I’m there. I’ll be there from the 13-20. Only a couple games during that stretch unfortunately.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Courtney Hawkins was a stud at one point. As I recall he was 15-3 one year, in AA I believe. I can’t wait for rookie ball and seeing the Hawks play at Spokane. 85 degrees at 1st pitch. Dreaming! We haven’t had a 70 degree day in 9 months!