brett jacksonWe have some shuffling of minor league rosters. Catcher Micah Gibbs, a good defensive switch hitting backstop who never really hit, has been released by the organization. Catcher Chadd Krist has has been promoted to Daytona from Kane County. Joining him in Daytona will be Wes Darvill, one of the raw-but-interesting infield prospects the Cubs have stocked up on over the past few years. Reliever Jeffrey Lorick has also been assigned to Daytona from extended spring training.

To make room for Darvill, the Cubs sent Anthony Giansanti (was an OF, now an INF) back to Tennessee (he has already appeared in one game there). And to make room for Giansanti, the Smokies placed Johermyn Chavez on the DL.

According to @BoiseHawksRadio on Twitter, catcher Carlos Escobar has been moved to Kane County. If I am counting right (and I may not be) that leaves Kane County with one open slot on their roster. Albert Almora, possibly? Hard to say yet, but stay tuned.

But we’re still not done. The Yankees acquired Alberto Gonzalez off the Iowa roster for cash or a PTBNL. Meanwhile, INF Edwin Maysonet was placed on the DL with a sprained ankle. Suddenly Iowa is looking a little thin on infielders. This could be a precursor to Junior Lake coming back, or to Ronald Torreyes or Arismendy Alcantara being promoted, but none of those moves look imminent. It could be that Iowa is going to stand pat for a time, or that a waiver wire move may be coming. Hard to say, really. There are a lot of moving parts right now, and very little insight into which parts are actually moving.

But things are happening. The May minor league roster shuffles have definitely begun.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The mountains have not been kind to the Cubs. Iowa lost again, 5-1.
Tennessee – Tennessee surprisingly falls two games under .500 with this 9-7 loss.
Daytona – Despite two errors, Daytona pulled out a 4-3 win.
Kane County – Rain bumped this game into a Friday doubleheader.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Not only did Brett Jackson have two hits, he also did not strike out. It was his first start in the outfield since mid-April, as he’s been dealing with turf toe.
  • [Iowa] Zach Putnam pitched two good innings of relief, striking out one and allowing one hit to end the game.
  • [Tennessee] Rafael Lopez continues to kill the ball. He homered and walked in this game, and over his last ten he has an OPS of 1.100. It’s good to see a catcher hitting in the organization, no matter how fringe of a prospect he may be.
  • [Tennessee] On the less successful side of things, Trey McNutt is having a rougher time of it. He took his third loss in this game, and his ERA is up to 4.80. McNutt is not having a great year.
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez doubled, tripled, stole a base, and did not strike out. Jorge Soler doubled, hit a sac fly, and also did not strike out.
  • [Daytona] By allowing one hit and recording one strikeout over the final two frames, Hunter Cervenka picked up his third save of the season.

Other News

  • One player we were hoping to see perform well early this season was Matt Szczur. The outfielder struggled in his late season promotion to Tennessee last year, but he is still generally seen as a major league fourth outfielder one day (Reed Johnson is a fairly frequent comparison). And there is some good news on the Szczur front. His BB% is up (9.8%), his K% is down (14.3%), and he already has two homers and nine steals. Unfortunately, he is only hitting .256/.331/.342. Those numbers are lower than what we were hoping for.  There is no need to give up on him altogether – he still looks like a better (but slightly slower) version of Tony Campana to me – but anyone hoping to see Szczur break out this season is going to have to go on hoping for awhile longer.
  • ssckelley

    Another 2010 draft pick bites the dust with 3rd round pick Gibbs being released. Szczur is the the highlight of that draft and he is projected to be a 4th outfield. That may end up being one of the worst draft classes in Cubs history.

    Speaking of the 2010 draft class, is there any word on how Reggie Golden is doing in Arizona? Will we see him in Boise later this summer?

    • On the Farm

      Out of the 2010 draft class my prediction is that Austin Reed makes it as a reliever with serviceable value for a number of years (nothing special in other words).

      My other prediction is that Hayden Simpson finally overcomes his mono and becomes the next Doc Halladay so take it for what it is worth. Why the Cubs felt they needed to use a 1st round pick on a guy that wasn’t on some peoples top 100 draft choices is something we will never know….

      • http://Noclue Marc N.

        On the Simpson pick…There’s a pretty good idea that it was based on money.

        I like Austin Reed. Hes got a nice arm.

      • ssckelley

        Is Simpson still with the Cubs?

        • Jp3

          I think he has mono…

        • RoughRiider

          No. He was released last March 30, 2013

    • Mak

      AZ Phil over at TCR has written about Golden, who is playin regularly at EXST. He started pretty slow but has picked it up as of late. I’d expect to see him in Boise.

  • MikeW

    I was going to say: Both Micah Gibbs and Starling Peralta have disappeared from Daytona’s roster. Peralta has been bad the last couple weeks – maybe he’s going back to EXST? I’m sure we didnt release him.

    ANd Luke – I’m counting 25 on KC’s roster with the addition of Escobar as the 2nd catcher.

    • Luke

      Peralta was officially assigned to extended spring training. That move is dated yesterday, but it hadn’t hit the league transactions list as of last night.

  • Jp3

    I didn’t realize how bad Baez whiffs against lefties… Anyone seen the splits on that? He’s had 28 ABs against lefties and struck out 14 times… Chris Bosio needs to get down there and throw him some simulated games or something.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Wasn’t Bosio right-handed?

  • Kevin F.

    At the time he was drafted, I saw some comments calling Gibbs a potential steal in the 3rd round. The baseball community always had so much good to say about Tim Wilken but he produced some crappy drafts. Peter Principle, I guess – pretty good evaluator, bad drafter.
    (This is a great site for keeping up on minor league moves. Thanks, Luke.)

    • Luke

      Cash starved drafter would also be accurate. The Cubs held him to one of the lowest draft budgets in baseball until the final year of the Hendry era. Despite that, he did build a farm system deep on potential major talent. Much of that talent profiles as utility players, fourth outfielders, back of the rotation starters, and mid-bullpen guys, but those are still nice assets to have in the farm system.

      • Justin

        Having low budget drafts was just ridiculous for so many reasons. Ultimately it just costs the team much more money in the long run. I know the Cubs had their reasons, but the their reasons were just flat out idiotic and why the Cubs minor league pitching is still a train wreck to this day..

        • Justin

          Wouldn’t potential team buyers be more inclined to buy a team that had a wealth of talent in the minors? Ultimately, ownerships spends way less money on free agents when you develop from within, obviously. Anyone with knowledge knew the Cubs were going to hit a wall with their aging roster and lack of young talent. Frustrating..

        • terencemann

          “Ultimately it just costs the team much more money in the long run…” seems to be some sort of highly classified secret some teams still don’t understand….

        • Willrust

          If it was about saving money, why didn’t they just not sign the pick and get the additional pick in 2011?

          It wasn’t about saving money, it was about someone thinking they were smarter than everyone else.

          • Luke

            No, it was about saving money (at least in part). The money the Cubs saved on that pick went into picks later in the draft (round 2 and 5, mainly (if I remember right)).

          • hansman1982

            They wouldn’t have gotten a comp pick in the following draft since it was the 16th overall.

  • BluBlud

    This is the type of game i like to see from Baez. I think the guys want to hit a HR everytime, but if he just relaxes and hits, he will have better results. A good hitter who has good power doesn’t need to try and hit homeruns. If he just focuses on having good at-bats, the homeruns will come naturally and the overall results will be much better.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Swinging at bad pitches and trying to hit HR are two completely different issues. Baez swings at everything because he has no batting eye. Now, he might be swinging harder than usual to try to hit HR: but that has nothing to do with the fact that he’s swinging at pitches he cannot hit.

      In fact, swinging for HR *should* give Baez a *better* idea of where pitches are. After all, if you swing harder, then you swing a fraction of a second later: and you have a split second more to recognize that the pitch is going to be a foot outside the strike zone. However, Baez is still swinging at pitches that are not strikes.

      The “swinging for HR” issue is more pertinent to guys like Brett Jackson, who clearly loses some contact ability by swinging so hard. However, BJax swings and misses strikes while not swinging at non-strikes. Different diseases, different symptoms, different cures!

      • hansman1982

        Tell all of this to Sahadev, he and I had a discussion about this last night. I stole the line out of Moneyball, the movie:

        If he can walk, why isn’t he?

      • Jp3

        Did you see his splits against lefties this year? Crazy for a righty to be that bad against lefties. 28 ABs and 14Ks

      • Blublud

        Doc, like I have said before, I completely disagree with you 100%. No need to keep repeating this to me over and over.

        • Big Joe

          Good luck with that. There are 4-5 guys around here that live to correct folks.

          • TWC

            No, there are precisely 6 guys around here who live to do that.

            • MichiganGoat

              I wonder if I’m in the 6? And if so where is my power ring?

              • Cubbie Blues

                You have to eat the cracker jacks first. (good luck getting it open without your hoofs)

                • Ron

                  Have you seen a goat? They will eat the box and everything. The problem is to get the goat to not eat the ring with everything else.

                  • Cubbie Blues

                    You can always wait for the ring to come out the other end though. A little rinse and it’s as good as new.

            • Brett

              Some people will not get this, and I feel sorry for them. Because this was freaking hilarious.

      • mjhurdle

        I would agree with most of your analysis Doc, however, i do think there is something to be said for Baez trying to “swing for the fences” too much.
        He obviously swings at pitches he cannot hit, and that is independent of the strength of his swing. But I would be interested to see how many fouls he hit in the ABs that he ended up striking out.
        Swinging at balls he could not hit regardless is not a result of trying too hard to hit HRs, but getting down in the count 0-2 because he fouled off two pitches that he *could* have possibly hit singles on but instead fouled off due to poor contact could be related to swinging too hard.
        I guess in the end i am not saying you are wrong, just leaving the door open to the idea that, if he tried to control his swing more, you might see him make more contact earlier in the AB instead of getting himself in a hole where his tendency to swing at bad pitches results in a K.
        Just my theory, and a very poorly supported one at this time. maybe when i get off work i will try to find his ABs to see if there is any validity to this.

        • BluBlud

          I agree with this. Baez is very impatient and tries to crush everything. I have seen enough of his at-bats to know this to be true. I don’t have the stats, but I would bet he pulls more balls foul then most people in baseball. Also, he doesn’t wait on pitches like Doc suggest, but instead tends to get out in front of them because we all know the easiest way to hit a Homer is to pull it. If you were to watch 2 or 3 Baez at-bats, you would be able to tell this instantly. He tends to get out in front and try to anticipate the pitch instead of picking up the pitch. His approach is his biggest problem, not his skills. This is something analytics probably won’t show you.

          • BluBlud

            Also, once he get behind in the count, he doesn’t adjust his swing. Guys who strikeout less will check down their swing with 2 outs, and live with just making contact. Baez is not to different from Soriano, in that he does adjust his swing. He swings hard, even with 2 strikes. So like Sori, he may be at the top of the league in 2 strike homers, but he will also strike out a whole lot.

            • BluBlud

              “Guys who strikeout less will check down their swing with 2 outs”

              2 strikes, not 2 outs.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Adjusting your swing to reduce strikeouts is like streamlining your car to improve gas mileage. Yes, it helps a little. However, it’s a pittance next to replacing the engine with a fuel-efficient one or replacing the adjusted swings with, say, no swing at all on non-strikes.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          What it comes down to is, how often is Baez “swinging through” the pitch (like BJax does so often) and how often is he “chasing” the pitch? From everything I have read, it is the latter much more often than the former: Javier is pretty deadly on pitches over the plate. If I were a manager, I would tell my pitchers: don’t throw him a strike. After all, in MLB, a pitcher has to throw to completely different locations from one batter to the next: and low miLB is a good time to see if he can do it. If Baez walks his first two PAs, then worry about trying to get strikes past him. But until Baez shows that he’s able to distinguish strike from non-strike, do yourself a favor and don’t throw him a strike.

          • Blublud

            Once again, its his approach. Baez tends to swing early, which reduces his time to recognize rather a pitch is a ball or a strike. The way to tell would be to see how many times he swings through the pitch verses how many times he out in front of the pitch.

            • hansman1982

              Then the $FB pulled rate.

              Baez is sitting in the low 50s% which is 5-7 percentage points above average. For reference, Soler is 72% is A+ and a career ~70ish%.

              Baez doesn’t have a batting eye and he doesn’t have the contact skills to make up for this. Honestly, right now, I’d rank Vogelbach over Baez.

      • davidalanu

        I saw the kid play twice last year, and he simply swung from his ass on every pitch. My then-14 year old even mentioned it. If he gets himself more under control, he will see the pitches much better. Hard to have a good batting eye when you’re loading up and trying to hit the ball 500 feet on every swing.

  • On the Farm

    “Unfortunately, he is only hitting .256/.331/.342. Those numbers are lower than what we were hoping for. There is no need to give up on him altogether – he still looks like a better (but slightly slower) version of Tony Campana to me”

    How long are we supposed to wait on this guy who has been taking up a 40 man spot for far too long to not be a Major league producer? I have always been a big fan of Matt, but it might be getting to that time that we start looking to see if anyone is interested in him in a package this July. Maybe I am being to harsh, but lately I have just been annoyed by Szczur.

    Also regarding McNutt, he hasn’t had a good season since 2010.

    • Brett

      The Cubs won’t wait longer than this season – if they make it the full season. If they need his 40-man spot in November, they’ll make it happen.

      • ssckelley

        What risk is there removing Szczur from the 40 man roster? I assume they would have to DFA him but another team claiming him would have to use one of their 40 man roster spots, right?

        • Brett

          Correct. And a team like Houston or Miami might be happy to do it.

    • Grant

      Bear in mind that Matt was a two-sport player in college and has only had a couple years of being solely devoted to baseball. As we saw with Shark, these guys can be late bloomers, but when they bloom…

    • AA Correspondent

      I agree with you whole heartedly with McNutt. This guy is not progressng and I just cant see him getting batters out at a higher level. At this point, having him enter a game with a lead of less than 3 runs is simply nerve racking. The Cubs may pull the plug soon. It is not like he is a high dollar bonus baby anyway. He has done NOTHING since advancing to AA 3 years ago. Cut bait.

      I actually disagree on Matt Szczur. I think he is doing exactly what a leadoff hitter should be doing. He is getting on base, and stealing bases when he gets there. I just think that folks have put too much hype into his his 2 sport athlete status and expected him to climb the ladder much quicker. He is still young, and from where I sit, there are plenty of other candidates who are ahead of him before we can picture him in Wrigley. Personally, I’m not sure he ever projects as a Big Leaguer…….but he has been pretty effective so far in AA. I would be shocked to see a AAA promotion this year. They kept Logan Watkins at AA all season last year, and he hada lot more polish.

      At this point, I am excited about an outfield of Soler, Szczur and Silva.

      • Norm

        “At this point, I am excited about an outfield of Soler, Szczur and Silva.”

        I initially thought you meant for the big league team.

      • Kyle

        Nothing says “getting on base” like a .331 OBP.

        • terencemann

          When speed is the most important part of a player’s arsenal, I feel like getting to the majors as soon as possible so he can use that speed when it’s at its peak is also important.

          McNutt has had a pretty good career in pro ball for a guy chosen in the 32nd round.

    • Norm

      They should wait until he is out of options.

  • Cubbie Blues

    Is this the first time that Baez and Jackson both played on the same day and neither one struck out?

    • On the Farm

      I was thinking the same thing when I read the story. There must be a correlation there.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Baez had his 14th error last nite and we are in early May. What’s the over/under, 37.5?

  • cub4life


    Correct me if i’m wrong, but with what you said that would leave (in addition to the 1 spot on KC) 2 spots on Iowa? or is it now 3 with Loe being gone?

    Oh and how does the MLB injured player/s go towards the roster size (as far as I know Garza is the only one left on the 15 day)?