Cubs Minor League Daily: A Different Good

tayler scottTayler Scott is probably as known for being that South African kid the Cubs drafted as he is his for his abilities on the mound, but I don’t think he is a pitching prospect we should ignore. That said, his success is not the sort of success we normally expect to see from quality pitching prospects. Scott does generate some strike outs, but not many. Through 38.1 innings this season he has fanned just 23.

He has also allowed just 30 hits in those 38.1 innings, has a batting average against of only .214, and a ridiculous GO/AO of 2.30. He pitched 7.1 scoreless frames for the Cougars in yesterday’s game.

Now, can a guy with low K/9, decent H/9, and a very high GO/AO succeed as he moves up the farm system? We’ll find out. But just as importantly in the case of Scott is this question: what can former Vanderbilt pitching guru and new minor league pitching coordinator Derek Johnson do with Scott? The the raw materials are there. It will be very interesting to see how Scott looks after he adds thirty pounds to his frame and works under Johnson for a few seasons.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Iowa Cubs had Wednesday off.
Tennessee – The Smokies led late, but after giving up a six run eighth inning they fell 8-4.
Daytona – Daytona was never in this one. They lost it 7-1.
Kane County – Good pitching and plenty of hitting add up to a 4-0 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Tennessee] Arismendy Alcantara (playing second again) finished 2 for 3. Just as importantly for him, he started one double play, turned another, and has yet to make an error at second (sample size alert).
  • [Tennessee] Rubi Silva has cooled off a fair bit lately. He doubled in this game, though, and also drew a walk – just his third of the season.
  • [Daytona] There were more positive signs from Javier Baez in this game. For the third time in six games he did not strike out, and in the process he went 1 for 4.
  • [Daytona] Luis Liria has had a rough season, but he tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Austin Kirk. Sheldon McDonald also pitched two scoreless frames.
  • [Kane County] As noted in the intro, Tayler Scott pitched an absolute gem.
  • [Kane County] Bijan Rademacher, Dan Vogelbach, Willson Contreras, and Marco Hernandez all had two hits for the Cougars. Contreras included a triple in his pair of hits.

Other News

  • Speaking of Contreras, this young catcher (he just turned 21) has hit a triple and two home runs in his last four games. He is destroying lefties this season (1.667 OPS (sample size alert)); he’ll need to find some consistency against right handed pitching for us to really credit him as a serious prospect, though.

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation. He can be found on Twitter as ltblaize.

44 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: A Different Good”

  1. fromthemitten

    Brandon Webb and Chien Ming Wang are two pitchers who come to mind that had success despite low strikeout rates because of their high groundball rate.

    1. Norm

      In the majors they had low K rates. In the minors they were any where from 6-10 K/9.
      Scott is a nice story, but I don’t think he is anything to get excited about. 88mph with 5K’s and 3BB’s per 9 will likely get hit once in AA.

      1. ssckelley

        You can get MLB hitters out without a 90+ mph fastball. But you need pin point control with multiple pitches and be able to mix up the speed. Greg Maddux had a hall of fame career by doing that and if you look at his minor league numbers back in the mid 80s he never had a high strike out rate either. Now that is an extreme comparison but it can happen, just by looking at his numbers you can see hitters are struggling to get good hits off Scott. He has given up 1 home run so far in his minor league career.

        He is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

        1. Norm

          Come on…Maddux was in the major leagues by the time he was Scott’s age, why even bring him up?
          The odds that a 21 year old in Single A with a 14.7% K rate and a 9.6% BB rate becoming anything significant are slim. Very slim.
          It’s a nice story though.

          1. ssckelley

            You completely missed my point.

            1. Noah

              Maddux spent most of his career with a 90+ mph fastball. Now, was it more 90-93? Yeah, but with crazy movement and pinpoint control. The velocity only slid into the mid to high 80s in the latter portions of his career.

              1. ssckelley

                I said it was an extreme example, Maddux is the first one I thought of as being a control pitcher.

                Again my point is you do not need an overpowering fastball to get MLB hitters out.

  2. Justin

    Thanks for the updates Luke. Have you or anyone else heard much about that hitch in Baez’s swing? It just seems that hitch when he loads may be part of the problem with the K’s. Good to see he has been better lately in that area.

    1. DocPeterWimsey

      Hmmm, that’s the first time I’ve seen swinging at pitches a foot outside the strike zone called a “hitch”! Seriously, Baez’s problem is not contact: he’s deadly on pitches in the strike zone. Baez’s problem is that he also swings at pitches well outside of the strike zone, and although he’s probably better at hitting bad pitches than most players, he still is not good at doing that. In other words, it’s the same problem that Corey Patterson and Shawon Dunston had.

      1. Justin

        Yeah, Baez has bad pitch recognition for sure. But he has a Gary Shefflield type load. I was just curious if that could make contact more difficult when he swings at pitches he should.. I know his bat speed is insane, but every video I see the load in his swing sticks out to me.

      2. Jp3

        Doc, that’s what I was actually thinking as far as the Corey Patterson problem. He was a master at hitting one hoppers as well.

      3. Kyle

        The scary thing is that the early results for Baez in this department (Ks and BBs) are *worse* than Patterson at the same age and level.

        I can’t help but recall McLeod’s comments about the first time he scouted Baez in highs school:

        “When I left that game, I’m thinking about my report and I call Jed and he was like: ‘How did Baez look?’ I (told him): ‘I don’t know if this kid is going to be Manny Ramirez or not get to Double-A. I don’t know what I just saw today.’”

        He’s not going to literally not make AA, but he’s got a .261 OBP in 241 PAs at A+, so he’s definitely having trouble proving he belong at that level.

        Dunston had a BB problem, but he didn’t really have a big K problem. 15.9% for his career.

        1. Justin

          I think McLeod nailed it with that statement. Baez is so hard to figure out.. High A has his number for sure. It’s got to be frustrating for the Cubs decision makers on what to do with this dude.

        2. DocPeterWimsey

          Yeah, just to clarify, Dunston’s problem was swinging at bad pitches, not K’ing per se. Ordinarily these are synonymous, but Dunston had a ridiculous ability to make contact. There were times where it looked like his bat actually went under the dirt to hit pitches. On more than one occasion, he saved the opposing pitcher from a wild pitch by making contact on a ball that the catcher never would have gloved.

          Had Dunston ever had any pitch identification, then he would have been a run-creating machine. As it was, he still managed a long career while swinging at everything. I doubt that Baez is up for that.

        3. Dynastyin2017

          Kyle, you’re saying Jed and McCleod scouted Baez in HS. Were they with San Diego at the time?

          1. Kyle

            I believe so, yes.

        4. svazcub

          Kind of scary to think that Baez could potentially be the next Jose Hernandez: an erratic defensive shortstop with power who kills LHP but racks up strikeouts and has trouble with RHP. I’m holding out hope that he’ll be better than that, but he has some big adjustments to make.

          He’s probably not as bad as he has looked this year, but probably not quite as good as he looked in the MWL last year, either.

          1. Kyle

            I’ve looked at that comp before, and the icky thing is that Hernandez was much better at drawing walks than Baez.

      4. Norm

        Patterson’s worst K rate with the Cubs big league team was just a tick under 25%…I’d actually be happy with that for Baez (or even B.Jackson for that matter)

      5. hansman1982

        But, but, but, that is only because he has an ego that screams that he can hit everything!!!!!

        Batting eyes are, often, well hidden in prospects…

    2. Jp3

      Straight ball he hit very much…Pedro-cerrano-Major-League-Sports-Dad-Hub1.jpg

  3. Kyle

    You know a guy is flailing badly when a .500 OPS for the game is considered a positive sign :)

  4. RoughRiider

    Luke,
    Good take on Scott. I looked at the box score this morning and then his stats for the year and then his bio. My first thought was that he won’ be able to be a quality pitcher as he climbs the ML ladder unless he gains about 30 Lbs. But so far he’s made an impression.

  5. Jp3

    In other news, David Price pulled last night in the 3rd due to some sort of triceps strain. His pricetag is going down every start this year. Tough break for the Rays but this is the 1st time I can recall them not dealing someone at absolute peak value…so they were due.

    1. Kyle

      Triceps strain + velocity dip = do not want.

      1. ssckelley

        I would still take a chance on him if the Rays would take Baez. Seems like a fair trade with both players having down seasons but with big upside.

      2. Chad

        I think the price tag has gone down considerably, and I don’t think it would take near the haul of prospects but would probably be a huge extension still. I went on the record earlier saying I wanted Price, but I’m starting to agree with you Kyle, I would only want Price if it was not too prospect heavy of a deal with a decent extension in place.

        1. hansman1982

          The price tag has gone down but only because the Rays are not dealing him until next year now.

      3. JulioZuleta

        It’s the natural progression: 1. Dip in velocity, 2. Triceps “tightness” 3. Major arm surgery, often TJ.

        1. Dynastyin2017

          4). Signed by Theo as a reclamation project.

          Finished it for you.

  6. Chad

    I’m not sold on Baez and I have a feeling the cub’s aren’t either and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a part of a deal in the next year or two.

  7. terencemann

    I haven’t been keeping up with Vogelbach’s numbers but I see he’s hitting .292/.363/.438 right now. It seems like he’s cooling off a bit from earlier in the season or is that just me?

    1. ssckelley

      He is still hitting and getting on base, the ball is not going over the fence right now. But a something to remember about Vogs is this is the first time he has played every day in cold temperatures. As it warms up I think he will improve.

  8. Idaho Razorback

    Jorge Soler has sure struggled this past week after winning the player of the week award.

  9. isuquinndog

    It’s so nice to hear the local sports report here in central IL and hear that the “Chiefs were shut out by Kane County.” after the Peoria Chiefs became a Cardinals team. Take that!

  10. Ralph

    Luke, what is the latest word on Almora’s rehab?

    1. King Jeff

      He’s playing in extended spring training games now, should be ready to go pretty soon.

      1. Ralph

        Thanks King, I’m going to catch the Cougars over the next 2 days in Cedar Rapids… was hoping he would be back since it is Mid May now.

        1. King Jeff

          No problem, I’m kind of hoping that he skips KC altogether and comes straight on down to Daytona so I can spend the summer watching Baez, Soler, and Almora. When the team’s not rained out that is.

  11. hansman1982

    Well shoot:

    Baez April:
    K%: 27.68%
    BB %: 3.42%
    XBH%: 12.5%

    May (SSS ALERT):
    K%: 32.56%
    BB%: 2.33%
    XBH%: 6.98%

    Last 5 games:
    K% 13.95%
    BB%: 0%
    XBH%: 4.65%

    Hopefully these are the growing pains that will do something positive.

  12. King Jeff

    Luke, I just saw that Dillon Maples has been assigned. Rumor was that he was going straight to Kane County. Any thoughts? With his history, shouldn’t he be going to Boise first?

    1. Dynastyin2017

      He’s already pitched 5 innings at Kane County. Next start should be Fri or Sat this week.

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