javier baez aflHere’s a little something to wake you up this fine Monday morning. Thanks to BN comments regular TC, you can start your week by watching Dan Vogelbach hit a baseball a very, very long way. This film was taken at yesterday’s Kane County game and… well… just click here and watch.

According to TC, that pitch Vogelbach crushed was likely a fastball around 90 MPH. They hadn’t been throwing much off speed stuff and it looks like Vogelbach was ready and waiting to take advantage.

We do have the rest of the weekend’s games to run through, but if you just loop that video a dozen more times first I would not blame you a bit.

Scores From The Weekend

Friday – Iowa opened an 0-for-weekend with this 3-1 loss in Nashville.
Saturday – The Cubs came home on Saturday and stayed alive into extra innings, but ultimately lost 7-6 in 13.
Sunday – And on Sunday the Cubs lost 5-3 despite New Orleans gifting them two errors.

Friday – A late rally did not come close. Tennessee lost 11-3.
Saturday – Three Smokie errors did not help as Tennessee lost 9-3.
Sunday – This one was rained out. There is a doubleheader scheduled for today.

Friday – Daytona dropped this one in extras, 10-9.
Saturday – But they bounced back the next day to win in a 14-5 rout.
Sunday – That carried over into Sunday when they took a 5-0 win that was shortened by rain.

Kane County
Friday – The Cougars fell behind early and never recovered. They lost 5-2.
Saturday – And then they got caught on the wrong end of a blowout. They lost 15-2.
Sunday – But they bounced back on Sunday with a 3-2 win in ten innings.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] The long-slumping Logan Watkins has a six game hitting streak going now. It’s a fairly anemic hitting streak (7 hits in six game, only one for extra bases), but it is a streak.
  • [Iowa] Brett Jackson still has not gotten it going. He’s over 160 plate appearances now, and his OPS hast not broken the .700 plateau. His K% is down from last year, but is still disconcertingly high for a guy with a sub-.400 SLG.
  • [Iowa] Jeffry Antigua is in Iowa now. He fanned four in his first two innings of work. The lefty reliever has been flashing potential for a few years now, mainly in the low minors.
  • [Tennessee] Arismendy Alcantara is up to nine home runs. Even better, he has only struck out 7 times in his last 10 games.
  • [Tennessee] His performance has been eclipsed by Alcantara lately, but Rubi Silva is continuing to play well. He cooled off a little in May, but he still has a season OPS of .804 with 8 HR and 8 SB. The strikeout rate remains the stuff of nightmares, but he did walk 5 times in May compared to 1 in April. Progress!
  • [Daytona] Javier Baez got the headlines on Saturday with a 5 for 6 performance that included three doubles and a homer (his ninth). He picked up two more singles on Sunday.
  • [Daytona] Jorge Soler finished the weekend with five hits of his own, including his eighth home run.
  • [Daytona] The shutout on Sunday came from Austin Kirk. He struck out 7 in 6 innings, but also gave up 5 hits and 3 walks.
  • [Kane County] Albert Almora came up with 5 hits on Saturday and Sunday, including a double.
  • [Kane County] Third baseman Jeimer Candelario also had a five hit weekend (six if we stretch back to Friday). Over that span he struck out once.
  • [Kane County] When Vogelbach wasn’t hitting a ball a very long way, he was doubling for his second hit of the game. He also walked.

Other News

  • Antigua jumped from Kane County to Iowa. That is a huge jump, but I suspect the Cubs did it for one reason – geography. When Blake Parker went to Chicago the Iowa Cubs needed another arm in the bullpen. Antigua was rested up in Kane County. If that is the case, I don’t look for him to stay in Iowa for very long.
  • He isn’t the most exciting catching prospect in the system, but Chad Noble is still quietly producing at the plate. He took over as the regular catcher for Tennessee about a week ago, and so far he has put up an OPS of .711. The upside here is back up catcher at best (think Koyie Hill).
  • There are gaudy numbers everywhere on Daytona’s box score for Saturday. Scroll up and click on it if you need something more to cheer you up this morning. Ben Carhart and Dustin Geiger each had two doubles, Tim Saunders walked twice, P.J. Francescon struck out 6 over 5 innings… just an all around great game.
  • For more Low A prospect videos, stop by TC’s website Shadows of Wrigley. He posts some of the best prospect videos around.
  • Brett: A big thanks to BN’er Eric for the Javier Baez photo above, which he took at the AFL last year.
  • Austin

    Almora is absolutely RAKING in low A. He’s hitting .475, slugging .625, and only has 4 Ks in 44 at bats.

    Get this kid to Daytona!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      The Cubs will wait for him to get at least 100 PAs before the move him, I suspect.

      • Kyle

        I’m pretty sure he’ll be spending most of the year at KC even if he hits .500.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          If he gets more than a two week reward visit to Daytona at the end of the year I’d be shocked (and impressed).

          • ari gold

            I know he lost a little bit of time to the injury, but if he’s doing well I can see an early August promotion similar to Baez. Just enough to get his feet wet.

    • Hansman1982

      Small sample size. Lets see what he does over the next month.

    • dan

      get him to wrigley

  • willis

    Almora is raking, but I’ll echo the rest and agree that he needs plenty of time in KC before getting a bump to Daytona. If he keeps similar play up, it’ll be tough not to bump him, but this FO is patient and very much will be with him.

    Some awesome numbers coming out of the weekend for the big offensive prospects. Baez is really turning his year around and hopefully squashing any doubts that he’ll be a big time player soon enough. He’s up to an .841 OPS in a tough league. Keep it up.

  • randy jones

    I think he will be in Daytona by the all star break. You are not pushing a so-so player.

  • mudge

    I think when it happens, it’ll be on a Thursday.

  • BluBlud

    I done with all the debate over who is better, Baez, Soler, Almora or Vogelbach. The bottom line is all 4 of these guys are currently crushing their leagues. I know it’s likely that or more will be traded eventually, but damn can we dream of a line with all 4 of these guys in it. I wonder if Rizzo could play left field.

    LF Rizzo
    RF Soler
    CF Almora
    2B Baez
    SS Castro
    1B Vogelbach
    C Castillo

    This team could only be missing a 3B at that point. It’s unlikely to happen with all these players, but until one is traded, I can inmagine right.

    • Corey

      LOL, put Baez at 3rd and leave Barney. WIth that lineup, a guy who hits .200 isn’t a problem. Put him in the 8th spot. You don’t find defense like that everywhere.

      • hansman1982

        nah, by the time we have this lineup, Alcantara will be ready for 2B…

        • jt

          Alcantara is some kind of serious hot.

          • gocatsgo2003

            … sittin’ in a tree.

    • cub2014

      If we are going to dream?

      CF Almora
      SS Castro
      1B Rizzo
      LF Solar
      RF Vogelbach
      3B Baez
      2B Alcantera
      C Castillo

      • Jim L.

        Let’s be realistic:

        CF Almora
        SS Castro
        1B Rizzo
        LF Solar
        RF Bryant
        DH Vogelbach
        3B Baez
        2B Alcantera
        C Castillo

  • Rich H

    We all know that defensively Almora is ready for at least one step up but at what point do we say his bat is ready? I think it will be at the earliest after he sees pitchers multiple times to see how he adjusts to different approaches against him. That may come as soon as 100 PA’s in KC but I would think it will take longer than that.

    On another blog after seeing him personally a person pointed out that his lack of walks is not a concern yet because he is still being patient enough to not get himself out. He mentioned a 7 pitch AB before he got something to hit he liked and drilled it. His bat may play like that in KC this year so a lack of walks should not be even mentioned yet because of the quality of the guys he is facing he is going to get mistakes to hit almost every time up.

    • hansman1982

      The lack of walks is ok (in an incredibly small sample size of 44 PA he has a 6.8% BB rate which is nearly double Baez’s walk rate in A ball) because he has such a low K rate (9.1%) and has a current OPS of 1.148 in A ball.

      As of right now, again SSS caveat, his production is suggesting that he is too advanced for A ball, but we need at least 100 PA to be able to have any degree of confidence with saying that.

      To put it mildly, Almora in A ball is making Baez’s A ball time look weak.

  • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com T C

    Thanks for the kind words Luke!

    Yesterday was the first time I’ve seen Vogelbach go deep, but I was more impressed by a few other things I saw yesterday. After that home run, he took a 92 mph fastball into the left-center field gap, and though it did not get past the left fielder, he still took off for second and just barely got into second safely. He then tagged-up and went to third on a medium-depth fly ball. On a passed ball that barely got away from the catcher, Vogelbach then rumbled home for the second run of the game. Watching him bust his ass like that was very impressive.

    All this came after a game in which he struggled, fouled a ball off his ankle, and looked generally upset with himself after misssing a few hittable pitches. That he came out the next day and had a huge game is just another example of just how much character Dan Vogelbach has. He’s an easy player to root for, and you can’t help but like the guy after seeing him play a bunch.

    • Jim L.

      I was there also, sat on the first base side and got a good look at the ball he hit; it was a low rocket that rattled the Leinenkuegel sign out past the bleachers.

      The base running adventures on his double, then tagging on a fly ball then scoring on a wild pitch, that only got about 10-15 feet away from the catcher, were just as impressive.

      The catcher for KC, WIlson Contreras was impressive also, kid has a good arm fortunately a couple of steals he couldn’t get the runner because of the big lead but his throws made the plays closer than they should have been.

      • http://Www.shadowsofwrigley.com T C

        Yeah, I’ve been impressed with Contreras behind the plate as well. Strong arm and has a good idea of what he’s doing at the plate.

        Speaking of KC’s catchers, the new guy there, Carlos Escobar, is someone to keep an eye on. I saw him Saturday night, and he hit a ball as hard as I’ve seen or heard one hit in KC this season. The ball absolutely exploded of his bat into the right-center field gap. I know very little about him, but that was a hell of a first impression.

        • Jim L.

          From your video, it looks like you had a good view of that collision. What was your take on that play? It happened so fast, did the runner’s head slam into the ground or was it the force of running into Contreras?

          • http://www.shadowsofwrigley.com T C

            Yeah I had a great view of it, have it on video too. Basically, Goodrum led with his head and crumpled on contact with Contreras. It’s worth noting that Goodrum, though currently playing SS, is actually bigger than Contreras at 6’4 200 lbs, so seeing him just get knocked down by Contreras was surprising.

            I just don’t know why that play was necessary, especially since the ball beat him there by about 20 feet. I’ll be writing about it later this week, but I really think that MiLB should ban home plate collisions. The games are entirely meaningless except for player development,`and it’s tough to learn to hit when your ankle has been destroyed by a runner barreling you over in the 4th inning of a low-A ball game.

            • Cubbie Blues

              “Basically, Goodrum led with his head and crumpled on contact”

              Good rum tends to do that sort of thing.

              • cms0101

                Has anyone seen a report on how Goodrum is doing?

  • Cedlandrum

    Alright went to my first ICubs game this year. Almost embarrassed to admit it was just the 1st, but my kids are all playing ball now so I have less time to go. It is a good problem. Anyway, here are my thoughts.

    Brett Jackson looked much better with his swing. He just missed a home run with his first AB. Warning track power, but I thought it was gone off the bat. Slight wind blowing in might have had something to do with it. He didn’t seem to lunge as much at the ball yesterday. He also flew out to right another time. He was just under it. He did take a walk too. He still has a great eye. I should just get it out there that I love Jackson as a ball player. He does everything but make consistent contact well. He had 3 throws yesterday that were all absolutely perfect. For those that have said he has average tools across the board that is the tool I would disagree with. It is a + tool.

    Sappelt- Looked the way he does every time I see him. He hit the ball well. He covers a ton of ground in the outfield. He threw out a runner at the plate on an absolute rocket. Runner didn’t even slide and I think he was totally shocked that he was thrown out. He is a perfect 5th outfielder, the problem is that he hasn’t translated that to the ML field yet.

    There was a lefty pitcher on the mound for NOLA so it did cause some problems with the lefty parts of the ICubs lineup.

    Stewart looked horrible at the plate. He lunged at everything. There was no balance in his swing. His load looked good. His wrists didn’t look too slow, but he was cheating and got crushed all day. He wasn’t great in the field either.

    Bogie. was overmatched by the lefty, but when he got a shot at a righty he got a knock. It is a shame that there is no room for him in Chicago because he seems like a good athlete. He played well in the outfield and ran pretty decent.

    Rusin- had good control. Gave up 12 hits, but really most were bloopers. He had horrible luck. Really his path needs to be a loogy or he has no chance. He is just short on stuff.

    Bowden- Threw 91 and really looked sharp for the most part. I wasn’t sitting behind the plate so I don’t know what the life looked like, but he overmatched most the hitters he faced.

    Finally- Watkins. He has great range at 2nd. He got to a ball for no play that was well into the outfield and he went a long ways laying out to get it. The runner was to fast for a play to be made but if it were a normal speed runner he would have got em. He has some wheels about him. At the plate was a mixed bag. He is patient that is for sure, but because of it he will strike out a bunch. He did get a hit but it was a horrible play by the second baseman from New Orleans(who was brutal all day). He really needs to get his average going the other way. I seem to remember him doing this in Daytona too. Avg. was pretty low and came back to hit in the .280’s. Overall I thought he looked the part of a big leaguer.

  • miggy80

    Saturdays I-Cubs game was soooo Long. Cubs were up 1-6 at the end of 3 innings and managed to let the game get to extra innings. There were a few things that you don’t see in every game. New Orleans lead off hitter struck out 6 times! and the I-Cubs staff struck out a franchise record 21 batters in the game. A wacky play in the top of the fourth lead to a New Orleans run when after a single down the right field line.Brian Bogusevic’s throw in to first base hit off the runners helmet and bounce towards the Zephyrs dugout.

  • ssckelley

    Did we really have to bring up the name Koyie Hill?

    • Cedlandrum

      He played against the ICubs yesterday and drove in a run. Ugh!

  • Boogens

    This is a bit off-topic, but time’s running short… I’ve got three free tickets to the KCC game tonight to anyone that’s interested. Please visit the BN message board under “Cubs tickets”.

    • Bilbo161

      I would expect Almora to head to Daytona quicker than Baez did last season. From all reports I’ve seen he is already MLB ready defensively in CF and early on at least the pitching he’s facing at KC does not appear challenging. Unless his performance drops off considerably it would really just be holding him back on principle rather than what is best for his development.

  • JayPaul

    Hey Brett, long time reader here, first time poster.

    In regards to the Antigua promotion, it became aware to me that he is a 6 year minor league free agent after this season. Having already spent some time in AA last year, I believe this is simply a move to see if he like others will keep a roster spot. With the draft (yay!!!!!), extended spring assignments and subsequent promotions I feel some old regime players with less minor league control may be getting shipped out soon or at the least put in “show me what you got” situations. Love the site, keep up the good work!

  • JayPaul

    SIX-YEAR MINOR LEAGUE FREE-AGENT: Jeffry Antigua, LHP Brian Bogusevic, OF J. C. Boscan, C Kyler Burke, RHP Yeiper Castillo, RHP Jaye Chapman, RHP Johermyn Chavez, OF Dayan Diaz, RHP Jair Fernandez, C Eduardo Figueroa, RHP Marcus Hatley, RHP Marcos Mateo, RHP Edwin Maysonet, INF Jose Morales, C-IF Guillermo Moscoso, RHP Jonathon Mota, INF Blake Parker, RHP Larry Suarez, RHP Casey Weathers, RHP Ty Wright, OF

  • JayPaul

    Meant to give you kudos as well Luke…..I see what everyone means about the edit button now.

  • Mysterious4th

    I am pretty sure that HR blast landed in my backyard. That def made the blow of the farm system not looking too sharp this weekend easier to digest.

    Question: I think Texas really will end up trading Profar since he’s blocked everywhere and he is not a platoon player. What would it take for us to get him?

    • JayPaul

      Giancarlo Stanton….seriously though, Garza packaged with others doesn’t get a package started with Profar. I see 3 scenarios that could land him and wouldn’t be interested in any at this point. The first 2 being dealing Rizzo or Castro for a package headlined by Profar and the last being a prospect based package of our own for him. In other words, definitely do not see a fit.

    • cms0101

      Texas will make room for Profar. They’ll move Kinsler off 2nd base, possibly even trading him, to get Profar into the lineup permanently.

      • Mysterious4th

        But from an article I read it doesn’t seem that way. But, why would they take Castro or any of our infield. They have that covered. I see them wanting pitching. But Kinsler and Andrus are locked up long-term as in Castro/Rizzo longterm

        • JayPaul

          Not presuming they would want Castro or Rizzo(although both could be upgrades). More so saying those are the only two players on this Cubs roster that could warrant a return headlined by Profar, which ultimately probably works for neither team.

  • JayPaul

    That being said, if Garza continues to progress, goes deeper into several games, and is willing to sign an extension with Texas, crazier things have been negotiated (note: still extremely very virtually and so on unrealistic)

  • nkniacc13

    I wonder if that’s part of the reason Garza and Wood got flipped to showcase Garza vs an AL team

    • cubfanincardinalland

      I think it has more to do with not taking the bat out of Wood’s hands. He is a .5 WAR this season just for his hitting.

      • JayPaul

        I think just a decision that made since for both those reasons. Additionally pushing Wood back in a small part will help contain his innings for this season. Without actually looking it up, I’m certain he’s on pace to blow away prior inning highs for his career.

  • cubbie blue thru n thru

    I’ve seen that the DSL Cubs have started their season, does anybody have a list of bonus babies that are on the team?