Cubs Minor League Daily: Uncharted Territory

Arismendy Alcantara (Scott Jontes/MiLB.com)

Arismendy Alcantara (Scott Jontes/MiLB.com)

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.

Other News

  • 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.

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

16 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: Uncharted Territory”

  1. MikeW

    We got to see how Maples responded to a bad start last night – he responded
    With another bad start

  2. On The Farm

    That’s rough for Maples, hopefully his rotation mate Johnson can pick up the slack and post another good outing.

    As always great article Luke, I look forward to tomorrow’s.

  3. cubchymyst

    Alcantara turning into a strong 2nd base prospect would be a nice surprise. Does anyone know if his defense has improved at 2nd base compared to shortstop?

  4. Cubbie Blues

    Arismendy Alcantara’s SLG is about the same as last year. His wRC+ is up 7 points walks are up and Ks are up. BABIP is down AVG is down and OBP is the same. Looks like a different approach to me. Oh, and he is going to eclipse his SB from last year within the next couple of weeks.

  5. abe

    Volgy is heating up. I remember last year the Cubs were nervous that he wasn’t hitting home runs early in the season then he went on his tear. I bet he will double his HR total by the end of June.

  6. NLIADad

    Smokies (TN) win on the road and at home (Daytona)? ;)

  7. Justin

    Great to see Iowa winning and playing much better. Luke what’s the book on Alcantara’s Defence? I love what he’s doing in AA at this age.

    1. Justin

      Just saw what you wrote above Luke about his D. That would be so awesome if he could stick at short..

  8. Koyie Hill Sucks

    What are the chances Batista get’s promoted? He had a good year last year and his having one this year(so far).

  9. terencemann

    I definitely wouldn’t have predicted that Alcantara would lead Soler and Baez in HR but it kind of makes sense given that he has a lot more experience than either batting against professional pitching (in America, anyway).

  10. Rich H

    I had said earlier in the year that I thought Alcantara would be a top 5 prospect on our list by the end of this year. I love this kid and do think he can stick at short stop. I also think with the value that is places on high end short stops he may be in someone else’s system (San Deigo?) by the beginning of next year

  11. LouBrown

    Mooney tweeted that Reggie Golden is going to KC. Has anyone heard anyone else moving? With Shoulders, Almora, and Redemacher all in the outfield already, it seems like they need to move someone.

    1. ssckelley

      This would be great news!

  12. cms0101

    I think there is an impending set of promotions about to happen. I’ve taken a quick look and I think it would make sense for Shoulders, Vogelbach, and Rademacher to move up to Daytona. Almora just got there, and now he’s got a pulled hammy, so he isn’t going anywhere just yet. From Daytona, Geiger, Andreoli, and Soler should move up to Tennessee. From Tenn, Alcantara, Ha, and Szczur should move up to Iowa. McDonald and Maysonet could be released.

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