There were two stories in the Cubs farm system yesterday that, on the surface anyway, could be considered candidates to be the headliner for the Daily. Only one was actually a significant story.
The true headliner from yesterday was the absolute gem of a game tossed by Kyle Hendricks in Tennessee. In Game Two of the doubleheader Hendricks took a no hitter into the sixth inning and finished with the nice line of 6 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 8K. For the season Hendricks has 23 Ks in 26 innings.
Hendricks, who came over with Christian Villanueva in the Ryan Dempster deal last year, was frequently overlooked during the off season prospect ranking season (I know I overlooked him), but he is rapidly emerging as a pitching prospect we cannot ignore. It is too early to start tossing around the “Breakout” label, but I will say his early season reminds quite a bit of the spring Robert Whitenack had a few years ago. If I were to redo my Top 40 today, Hendricks would be on it. I’m not sure where he would be on it, but he would be on it.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – The wind was blowing out to left, and the run total shows it. The Cubs lost this slugfest 10-9.
Tennessee – Pitching was on display all day in the Smokies. Tennessee lost Game One 3-0, but won the nightcap by the exact same score.
Daytona – The rains arrived in Daytona, but only after enough ball had been played to secure Daytona a 2-1 win.
Kane County – Kane County also had a doubleheader on Monday, but they dropped both games. The final in Game One was 7-6, and Game Two ended 4-2.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Logan Watkins had another Logan Watkins kind of game. He reached three times on two hits and a walk. Brad Nelson and Ryan Sweeney also enjoyed multi-hit games.
- [Iowa] Brett Jackson‘s home run meant this was his third straight game with an extra base hit. On the downside, he had two more strikeouts.
- [Iowa] Despite the wild conditions, Blake Parker was able to strike out two as part of a hitless ninth.
- [Tennessee] Hendricks gets the headlines for his pitching gem (and rightfully so), but don’t loose track of the other hero in that game. Jae-Hoon Ha sent fans home happy with a two out, three run blast in the bottom of the seventh. It was his first home run of the year.
- [Tennessee] Tony Zych and Frank Batista both pitched well in relief in Game One. That is bad news for the rest of the Southern League. Once Tennessee irons out their bullpen issues, their one Achilles heel will be pretty much gone.
- [Daytona] Dustin Geiger hit his third home run of the year for half the Cubs scoring, and John Andreoli knocked in the go ahead run in the bottom of the eighth.
- [Daytona] Keep an eye on Yeiper Castillo. He struck out eight in four innings of work in his first start of the season.
- [Kane County] With a home run in both games Daniel Vogelbach raised his season total to four. Rock Shoulders also went long; it was his fifth of year.
- [Kane County] Michael Heesch struck out seven in five innings in Game Two of the twin bill, but he also coughed up six hits and a walk.
- Yes, Jorge Soler was benched as a disciplinary measure. As Brett indicated, though, there really is not much of a story here.* Players, even the highest rank of prospects, get benched in the minors just like anyone else when they deserve it. This does not mean that Soler is a bad person, a failed prospect, an expensive mistake, an irresponsible player, is too lazy to succeed, is too emotional to succeed, should be traded, will definitely be traded, or any of the other over reactions that, while perhaps understandable, really have no place in the conversation. It means he is a young baseball player in the minor leagues and, like any other young player, he has some work to do. It means that the Cubs have an organization that is going to do the best it can to make sure he, just like any other prospect, becomes as good as he can be. That’s pretty much it. This probably won’t be the last time he is benched, and he won’t be the only highly touted prospect in the organization (not to mention all the other organizations in the game) to be benched. I know it makes a juicier to story to spin it into a potential catastrophe or to paint Soler as a flawed personality on the edge of a spectacular flame out, but there really is nothing here. Prospects get benched. It happens. This just happens to be one of the very, very few cases where someone writes about it.
- *[Brett: As it relates to Soler, specifically, I totally agree. It’s a non-story. As it relates to The Cubs Way, and sending the right messages to your young players, it’s a great story. But that’s not what Luke’s talking about.]