When the Cubs traded for Christian Villanueva last summer, he was immediately billed as a potentially very good glove at third with a bat that may not hold up. His .575 OPS this season certainly credits the questions about his hitting, but what about that glove?
I don’t think we have anything to worry about. Dallas Beeler flirted with a no hitter for Tennessee last night thanks in no small part to a couple of huge assists from Villanueva at third. But don’t take my word for it. BN reader @ballskwok snagged a pretty good video of one of Villanueva’s saves, and he was kind enough to pass it along.
If Villanueva can get his bat into shape, those instincts will serve him well in Wrigley one day.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – The Iowa game was snowed out. No need to reach for the calendar, it is in fact May. And that was in fact a snow out. Maybe the weather will have warmed up when this game is played on June 8.
Tennessee – Great pitching + prolific hitting = a fun game to watch. Tennessee wins it 7-0.
Daytona – Daytona was actually out hit in this game, but they won it anyway by a final of 6-2.
Kane County – Kane County was rained out. That turns today’s game into a double header. Add in the scheduled fireworks and this sounds like the ideal day for Chicagoland fans to head to the minor league ballpark.
Performances of Note
- [Tennessee] Dallas Beeler did not pull off the no hitter, but he did pitch 6.2 innings of one hit ball. His excellent final line included three walks and five strikeouts.
- [Tennessee] While Beeler and the bullpen had Mississippi completely shut down, the Smokies offense blew up for 7 runs on 14 hits. Rubi Silva led the way with a triple as part of his 3 for 4 night.
- [Daytona] Austin Kirk gave up 10 hits in 6 innings, but he somehow escaped with just two runs allowed. Not walking anyone helped his cause, as did striking out four.
- [Daytona] Stephen Bruno had the only extra base hit for the Cubs, and Jorge Soler had the only walk, but multi-hit games from John Andreoli, Bruno, Dustin Geiger, and Anthony Giansanti plated all the runs the Cubs needed.
- Rafael Lopez was drafted out of Florida State as a catcher in 2011 and spent the rest of that year in short season ball. In 2012 he motored up the system to Daytona, never stopping for more than 35 games at any level. This year he finds himself in Tennessee, and so far he’s holding his own. His season line reads .208/.333/.302, but when we look beyond that we see he has 10 BB and just 11 K. That is a lot better than we’d expect from the season line. In fact, if we look at just his last ten games that line jumps to .296/.457/.407 with 8 BB and 6 K. Keep an eye on Lopez. In a system starved for catching talent, Lopez looks like a breakout candidate.
- And now for something completely different. Did you know that Slugger, the Smokies’ mascot, starred in A League of Their Own? You do now!