Cubs Minor League Daily: Not Just All-Stars

tennessee smokiesWhat’s better than being named an All-Star?

Being named a starter in the All-Star Game. And four of the six Tennessee Smokies who were named to the Southern League All Star Team picked up that very honor yesterday.

Arismendy Alcantara is once again the headliner. He will start at shortstop for the North Division and bat second, right behind…

Matt Szczur. Generally considered a center fielder, Szczur will be playing in left for this game.

Joining Alcantara on the left side of the infield will be number seven hitter Christian Villanueva. With Alcantara on his left and Szczur behind him, the entire left side of the diamond will belong to the Cubs.

As will the pitcher’s mound. Right hander Kyle Hendricks will be the starting pitcher for his division.

The Southern League All-Star game is scheduled to be played on July 17th in Jacksonville. I suggest any Cub fans who plan to go buy tickets on the third base side of the diamond since that is where all the Cubs’ prospect action will be.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa - Iowa could not find the bats and gave runs in bunches in this 9-0 loss.
Tennessee - Tennessee had the day off.
Daytona - Daytona gave up four in the seventh and lost 4-3.
Kane County - Kane County also had the day off.
Boise - Boise had the day off as well.
Arizona - The AZL Cubs managed just three hits in this 5-1 loss.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] After his pinch hit single in this game, Anthony Giansanti is now hitting .538 in Triple A. Naturally the sample size here is pretty small (13 AB).
  • [Iowa] New farmhand Jake Arrieta started for Iowa, and it did not go well. He lasted just 3.2 innings and surrendered 7 of the runs the Cubs allowed. To his credit, only three of those runs were earned.
  • [Iowa] Marcus Hatley, Casey Coleman, and Eduardo Sanchez all pitched well in relief.
  • [Daytona] Zeke DeVoss does not hit for a high average, but he has a genius for getting on base. After two more walks in this game his season line reads .247/.391/.359.
  • [Daytona] Ben Wells was solid in this start. Over 6 innings he gave up 2 runs on 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 4.
  • [Daytona] Pin-Chieh Chen stayed red hot with another double (his second), two hits, and two more steals.
  • [Arizona] Erick Leal threw 3.2 innings in which he struck out 4 and allowed just one run on 5 hits.
  • [Arizona] The only extra base hit for Arizona came from Jeffrey Baez. It was his first double.

Other News

  • After about two and a half years of writing about the Cubs’ farm system, I just passed into quadruple digits of Twitter followers. Thanks to everyone who contributed to that milestone. And thanks as well to those of you who check on Bleacher Nation bright and early every morning looking for the Daily. Not everyone can say they get to write daily for the best audience on the internet, but the two of us who can are definitely happy that we have that privilege.

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

92 responses to “Cubs Minor League Daily: Not Just All-Stars”

  1. Fishin Phil

    Look forward to it every morning. Thanks for all of your work Luke!

  2. BluBlud

    Alcantara is a great base runner and has the speed and skill to still 30+ bases in the majors. I wonder is he’ll ever develop enough power to become a possible 30/30 threat. Maybe 20/20. Either way, he’ll look real good hitting in someones 1 or 2 hole at the MLB level if he keeps this up.

    1. Chad

      I truly believe Darwin Barney/Logan Watkins are placeholders at 2B for Alcantra.

    2. cub2014

      Alcantera is on pace for 30 HR this year and usually
      power numbers increase as they get older. AA hitter
      that hits .280 should hit around .260 with OB around
      .330 based on his current .350. Remember he is listed
      as 5-11 160lbs so he could add 20lbs of muscle pretty

  3. BluBlud

    Ben Wells is another guy who having a pretty good season, at Daytona, and is only 20 years old.

    Pierce Johnson 13G 3.10 ERA, 1.292 WHIP 22YO at A-
    Benn Wells 17G 3.30 ERA, 1.122 WHIP 20YO at A+

    1. BluBlud

      Wells needs to start getting more prospect love.

      1. ssckelley

        I think he would if his strikeout rate was higher. But I agree, we need to start paying attention to this guy as he is putting up decent numbers at high A at only 20 years old.

    2. Drew7


      Wells – 5.83
      Johnson – 9.56

      If you don’t have the raw stuff to strike out A-ball hitters, it’s gonna be tough to get a lot of love.

      1. Brett

        Absolutely true. One thing to keep in mind about Wells: he’s among the best groundball pitchers in the minor leagues. His GB rate is ridiculous.

  4. Kevin F.

    ML Daily is not only entertaining but a huge service for those of us who can’t/won’t hit for box scores and local papers for detailed coverage (if it even exists). Thanks!

  5. dan

    Cal me nuts but I really think Alcantara is as good a prospect as Baez

    1. BluBlud

      You are nuts. Completely nuts. I mean like way over the top nuts. I mean you’re definitely the nutties nut of all the nuts. I mean you are so nuts that you have nuts growing out of you Nu…….

      1. MichiganGoat

        So you like Baez? hmmmm

        1. MichiganGoat


    2. ari gold

      If you mean Jeffrey Baez, then yeah I’ll agree with that.

  6. Austin8466

    Jake Arrieta….yikes.

    At least Strop has been lights out in the pen so far.

    1. andoalex

      Keep in mind they are most likely tinkering with his mechanics a bit so the results probably won’t be there right away. If the guy was a finished product we wouldn’t have gotten him for Feldman.

      1. mdavis

        agreed. i’m cautiously optimistic about Arrietta if for no other reason than the success they’ve had with Shark and Wood. Worst case he can develop into an 8th inning guy and blow smoke, but hopefully they tinker something and he can plug into the rotation end of the year, next season.

      2. Austin8466

        True. Hopefully he gets it back on track quickly.

      3. Lou Brown

        I was kind of hoping they would send him to Mesa for a week or two for an adjustment with D. Johnson before throwing him out there. Stuff is legit.

    2. DReese

      On the podcast Keith Law said that Arrieta has like 60 stuff (out of 80 scale) but only 40 command. Then he said if the Cubs vould improve his command to 45 he could be a 5 starter but if they could up his command to around 50 he said Arrieta could be a really nice 3 starter

      1. Austin8466

        Bosio seems like one of the best in the business right now, so hopefully he’ll have a lot of time to work with Arrieta during spring training.

        1. On The Farm

          Look what he did with Travis Wood, it was mentioned on one of the broadcasts that Bosio took on Wood as a special project this last off season. Now he is an All-Star

  7. The Dude Abides

    Luke – ever consider a top 10 prospect list for each level, IE A, AA AAA or a top two or three by position for the entire system. Would be interesting to see your take since you are most familiar and help us to follow some of the names we see here.

    1. cub4life

      I would love to see it to. and would love to see them on that scale (ie Bryant 80 power {is that 80 out of 100?}) for all the tools. Either way Luke thanks for they great work.

      1. BluBlud

        it actually 80 out of 80. A 80 power is the most you could have.

        1. cub4life

          cool thanks. so 80 is the best for

          Batters -

          pitching -

          1. Chad

            the scale is 20 to 80 for each skill

            1. cub4life

              cool thanks.

          2. cub4life

            could anyone tell me what the 5th “tool” for a position player is? as well as the “tools” for the pitchers?

            1. BluBlud

              5 tools are Hitting, Power, Speed, Arm, Fielding

              1. cub4life

                arm thats the one i missed…thanks

            2. MichiganGoat

              3-hit (average)
              5-arm strength

              1. cub4life


            3. DocPeterWimsey

              Actually, it’s “hitting for average,” not hitting.

              However, the “Five Tools” are an archaic concept. One, they omit one of the most important tools (batting eye). Two, these are not tools (especially batting for average), but outcomes dependent on true tools not listed here. Batting average is a product of batting eye + contact skills + power (which are true tools) and BABiP (which is largely luck). Guys with great contact skills but lousy batting eyes (e.g., Josh Vitters) and guys with great batting eyes but lousy contact skills (e.g., Brett Jackson) cannot hit for high average in MLB without incredibly improbable (= lucky) BABiP.

              “Arm” is a meaningless amalgam: strength, accuracy and quickness are all relevant tools.

              “Fielding” is a similarly meaningless amalgam: the ability to immediately judge where a ball is going (“fielding eye”), foot-eye coordination, hand-eye coordination and speed all are relevant: and, of course, so are the arm tools.

              “Power” has a truly independent component (raw strength), but is strongly affected by batting eye and contact skills: in particular, guys will sacrifice contact skills to increase power, so the more contact skill you have, the less damage you do to your K-rates while increasing power. And, of course, this has a tactical component: some guys sacrifice power for contact, other sacrifice contact for power.

              Even “speed” is an amalgam of raw leg strength and foot-eye coordination: the latter affects your ability to accelerate, and slower guys who accelerate quickly can get to bases faster than fast guys who accelerate slowly.

              So, the next time you read about a “Five Tool Player,” you’ve learned nothing about the player, but you’ve learned a lot about the person describing the player!

              1. MichiganGoat

                We really need to create a Doc’s KMSMA (“Kiss my shinny metal ass”) Tools and rate the players.

                1-Batting Eye
                2-Contact Skill

                then we can create a fourth that is the combination of all the previous tools and call it the

                4-sCRAP Tool

                And there are the new KMSMA (pronounced KissMA) BleacherNation tools.

                1. MichiganGoat

                  or we could call it BNrTOOL (Bleacher Nation Real Tools) which is pronounced like BeinRtool.

                  See I had too much sleep last night and I’m not any different.

          3. JoeyCollins

            SABR just tweeted about it this mornng and aparently the scale was a famous standard deviation system used in the 20′s for IQ tests and college SATs. Probably adopted in the 30s-40s, it uses 50 as the baseline/avg with 3 std. dev. in each direction.

    2. Norm

      There really aren’t 10 guys worth talking about at each level. Is there even 5 worth talking about at AAA?

      1. Cedlandrum

        Depends on if you can talk about guys on DL. Iowa still has some talent. I know people have written off Jackson and Vitters, but that is probably too hasty. It isn’t great talent, but they have some guys.

        2. Arrietta
        3. Watkins
        4. Jackson
        5. Vitters
        6. Ha
        7. Loux
        8. Schlitter
        9. Antigua
        10. Coleman

        1. mak

          Give me Negrin as my #10 guy. Even though he’s 28, he’s really playing his first year in American ball and looked good out of the bullpen.

  8. dsgn1

    anyone have an upclose look or info about Zeke Devoss? a switch hitter On Base machine. what does his defense look like? he’s 22 and at the make or break stage. (that’s just my take without having seen him)

  9. sect209row15

    What’s up with Rock Shoulders?

    1. MichiganGoat


    2. ssckelley

      Kane County had the day off yesterday. But I like him as a prospect, almost as much as Vogelbach. He hits for a ton of power and takes a lot of walks. But he does need to make more contact and hit for a higher average. He looks better defensively at first base than Vogelbach.

      1. DReese

        and his name is ROCK SHOULDERS!

        1. Oswego Chris

          Is that a Boogie Nights reference?

        2. ssckelley

          Yes, his name is worth prospect consideration. If I was doing the PA I would have fun announcing him as a hitter.

  10. Rebuilding

    Looks like I put my Derek Johnson comment in the wrong thread. Does anyone know if he is roving around to the various minor league teams? For instance, is he in Iowa working with Arrieta? Or is he stationed in Arizona? My original question was how much input he is having on potential arms for trade such as looking at tape for mechanical flaws that might be fixed

    1. Brett

      Fairly certain he travels *a lot.*

  11. Rebuilding

    Looks like our Dominican Summer League team is dominating their division at 21-10 with some strong pitching. Hopefully we got some good ones last year too

  12. Oswego Chris

    Angel and Blue Jays 10 games out…Giants and Pads worse records than Cubs(albeit 6 1/2 out of play-offs)…but I think it’s fair to eliminate them from Garza derby….so my non-scientifically formulated Garza team watch…

    1. Texas
    2. Indians
    3. Red Sox
    4. Nationals (worse run differential than Cubs)
    5. Dodgers ( as All-in as it gets)

    On the verge…Oakland if Bartolo gets suspendo, Orioles, Pirates(same division?…but they won’t sign him),

    1. beerhelps

      That’s a pretty darn accurate list. Me likey

      1. oswego chris

        think I am going to transfer that to the message board

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      What is unscientific about using the process of elimination? That is the quintessence of science!

  13. Le Cubs

    What is the future prognosis for Kris Bryant and realistically how soon could he be in the majors?

    1. DReese

      He’s not even on the Cubs yet

  14. Stinky Pete

    I was shocked to discover that I didn’t follow you when I tried tweeting from the ICubs game. Man, am I glad I went to that game.

  15. THEOlogical

    I will be there Wednesday for all the festivities. The autograph session will be nice but a Cubs all star game with fireworks afterwards sounds awesome. Any others here going to join me in Jax?

  16. someday...2015?

    This is why I have a man crush on Almora. Quote from Almora. Advice for Kris Bryant.

    “Just have fun,” Almora said. “This game can be taken away from you any day. So just play every day like it’s your last and have fun doing it.”

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