After yesterday’s win, the Iowa Cubs are 24-26. Given that they are in Nashville playing the amazingly terrible Sounds through Friday, I really like the Cubs’ chances of closing the rest of the gap and finishing the week at or over .500. Given how far down the Cubs looked a short time ago, this is nothing short of a remarkable turnaround.
Should that happen there is a very good chance that all four full season league teams in the Cubs’ farm system will be over .500 after Memorial Day. It has been awhile since we’ve seen this. I’m not sure just how long, but definitely awhile.
That does not mean that all is well on the farm, though. Not yet. Iowa is winning thanks in large part to minor league veterans and major league bench players signed and stashed in Triple A. There are some quality prospects on the roster, but they are the icing on the cake, not yet the cake itself. Iowa is becoming more prospecty with every passing month, a trend that will continue throughout this season and likely into next season, but what we are seeing here is more the effect of experience than upside.
Deeper in the system, however, it is primarily prospects doing the heavy lifting. And those prospects will continue to rise as they have for the past two years. Slowly but surely the Cubs are building a deep, rich, lasting pipeline of talent the likes of which this organization has not had in many years.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Even over the Sounds, a win is a win. This win was a 6-2 win, to be exact.
Tennessee – A road win against one of the best teams in league? That’s a nice accomplishment. That’s what the Smokies accomplished in this 3-2 win.
Daytona – It took eleven innings, but the Cubs won at home 6-4.
Kane County – Kane County scored three times in the fifth to make it close, but the rains ended the game in the sixth with the comeback left unfinished. The Cougars lost 7-5.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] The good news is that Chris Rusin pitched 8 innings, allowed just one run on 6 hits, and struck out 8. The bad news is that he did it against a Nashville lineup that featured just one batter hitting over .300.
- [Iowa] Brett Jackson doubled, walked, struck out, and scored in this one.
- [Tennessee] So who held the league leading Birmingham Barons to just 2 runs in 6 innings in their home stadium? Kyle Hendricks. Don’t even pretend to be surprised. Add in the 2 walks and 6 strike outs and you have yet another very nice outing for the blossoming starter.
- [Tennessee] And credit Kevin Rhoderick and Frank Batista for putting the game away in relief. It was Batista’s 7th save.
- [Tennessee] Arismendy Alcantara launched his 8th home run. He was the DH in this game.
- [Tennessee] With both a double and a triple making up his two hits, Christian Villanueva also had a nice game.
- [Daytona] Javier Baez hit his 7th home run of the season in the bottom of the 11th. I doubt that will be his last game winner.
- [Daytona] Chadd Krist just keeps hitting. With a another double in this game he left his Daytona line a very respectable .311/.415/.400. The Cubs might have found a catching prospect who can hit. Sample sizes are small: stay tuned.
- [Kane County] Dan Vogelbach hit his 7th home run of the season, a three run blast in the fifth.
- [Kane County] The prettiest stat line of the day might belong to Gioskar Amaya. He finished with a double (his 11th) in his one official at bat. His other two trips to the plate ended in a walk.
- [Kane County] Dillon Maples did not have such a nice line. Through 3 IP he gave up 7 R on 4 H with 5 BB and 5 K. Those 5 K are a silver lining in an otherwise cloudy game. Now for the really interesting part; in five days we should get to see how Maples responds to a bad game.
- Be honest. How many of you expected Alcantara to have more home runs than Baez at this point in the season? More home runs than Soler? Than Vogelbach? I’m not sure when Tennessee’s infielder morphed into one of the best sluggers in the farm system, but he is rapidly hitting his way to the top of the second base prospect chart. With 200ish plate appearances under his belt it is getting tough to write this off as a statistical fluke. Is this a case of a player responding to the crush-the-high-mistakes hitting philosophy being taught in the organization? Maybe. But Alcantara is definitely a player to watch as we move into the second third of the season.