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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.
  • Fishin Phil

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

  • 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.

    • Chad

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

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        Or Amaya, should Alcantara miss or be dealt.

        • Chad

          Interesting Luke. I hadn’t heard much on Amaya other than your comparison the other day that put Alcantra ahead of him. What does Amaya do well and where does he need to improve to move up the system?

          • BluBlud

            Not Luke, but I am not that big on Amaya. He doesn’t have much power, though it could develop, and he strikes out a lot for a guy who will not have some but not good power. He broke out last year, but that was riding a high .360 BABIP. He does has decent patience and take a decent amount of walks, but I see him as a utility type rather then an everyday player.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            Amaya and Hernandez are considered the best middle infield tandem the Cubs have brought out of rookie ball since Lake+Castro. Amaya has struggled somewhat adjusting to Low-A, but lately has been resembling what we saw in Boise last year.

            He has a good swing that allows him to spray line drives to all fields, and he is willing to use all fields. Good patience. Doubles power for now, but I think he’ll develop enough to launch a dozen or so a year. Not the greatest speed on the basepaths, but enough to be a threat. Very good defender, and still improving.

            Right now I’d rank him behind only Alcantara at second in the system, ahead of Watkins. He may ultimately wind up as a utility guy, but it is far too early to condemn him to that status yet.

    • 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
      easily

  • 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+

    • BluBlud

      Wells needs to start getting more prospect love.

      • 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.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        He has been. He’s frequently mentioned in the second tier of healthy Cub pitching prospects.

        • mak

          “healthy” is the key phrase here. If I recall, he opted to not have shoulder surgery to repair a (torn labrum?) and rehab instead. That always makes me nervous. Obviously, I’m not a doctor, but I wonder if his velocity is back up.

    • Drew7

      K/9:

      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.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com 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.

  • Kevin F.

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

  • dan

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

    • 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…….
      ;)

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        So you like Baez? hmmmm
        [img]ww.mybookmuse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/baby-shocked-face-03-copy.jpg[/img]

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          [img]http://i43.tinypic.com/11jyznm.jpg[/img]

    • ari gold

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

  • Austin8466

    Jake Arrieta….yikes.

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • Austin8466

        True. Hopefully he gets it back on track quickly.

      • 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

        • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • BluBlud

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

        • cub4life

          cool thanks. so 80 is the best for

          Batters -
          hitting
          running
          deffense
          power
          ??

          pitching -
          ??

          • Chad

            the scale is 20 to 80 for each skill

            • cub4life

              cool thanks.

          • cub4life

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

            • BluBlud

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

              • cub4life

                arm thats the one i missed…thanks

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              here http://www.performancebaseball.net/html/5tools.html
              1-speed
              2-power
              3-hit (average)
              4-fielding
              5-arm strength

              • cub4life

                thanks

            • 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!

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com 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
                3-Power

                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.

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com 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.

          • 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.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Interesting. I had not thought of doing a per-level list. It’d be a little tricky timing wise given how frequently players move around, but it’s worth exploring.

      • The Dude Abides

        Agreed as far as moving around, if that wouldn’t work a position top two or three analysis would also be interesting and free from level of play.

        • cub4life

          yea that would be difficult, would prob be easier a week or 2 after the deadline, less moving then and the seasons for the minors will be close to being over if I remember correctly.

          • cub4life

            oh and agreed seeing a position top 3 or 4 in the system as well as a top 10 (or so) at each level would be great.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

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

      • 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.

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

        • 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.

  • 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)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      He started at 2B, but his lack of a glove moved him to center.

      He’s essentially a one trick pony, a pure OBP+steals guy. I think he’ll need to hit more consistently to have success further up in the system.

  • sect209row15

    What’s up with Rock Shoulders?

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      [img]http://memecrunch.com/meme/O65U/rock-shoulders/image.png[/img]

    • 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.

      • DReese

        and his name is ROCK SHOULDERS!

        • Oswego Chris

          Is that a Boogie Nights reference?

        • ssckelley

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

  • 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

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Fairly certain he travels *a lot.*

  • 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

  • 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),

    • beerhelps

      That’s a pretty darn accurate list. Me likey

      • oswego chris

        think I am going to transfer that to the message board

    • DocPeterWimsey

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

  • Le Cubs

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

    • DReese

      He’s not even on the Cubs yet

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Sign this week, head to Arizona for a time, and then take a late season assignment too ______.

      I think it’ll be Daytona, but nothing from Boise to Tennessee would surprise me greatly. I doubt the Cubs know for sure where he’ll land.

      Then next year he’ll open up likely with Daytona with the opportunity to hit his way to Tennessee by mid season. And if all goes well we could see him in the majors in late 2015. Mid 2016 would be a more likely projection, though.

      • BluBlud

        Luke, I think a Sept 2014, or mid 2015 is more likely then 2016. If he hits like he capable of doing, and starts next year at Daytona, he move to Tennessee by “Rainout time”, similar to Baez. I would the arguement that needs less AAA then any of our top prospects, so once he gets his time in in Tennessee, he could be called up at anytime.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          “If he hits like he is capable of doing” is a huge if.

          Some players take time to adjust to the pro game. I’m not quite willing to assume he’ll dive right in and produce immediately with no lag. Many prospects don’t.

          • ssckelley

            I have this nightmare rolling around my mind, the Cubs end up oversigning for him which keeps them from signing other good players they drafted. He goes to Arizona and starts off 1 for 10 with 7 strikeouts and we have a meltdown on BN.

            • hansman1982

              The other “nightmare” scenario being he goes to Arizona, goes 10-10 with 5 homers and the call-up cries begin immediately.

              • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                CALL UP ALL THE PLAYERS!

                • On The Farm

                  Starting with Baez…Jeffrey that is

                  • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                    ALL THE BAEZ!

              • ssckelley

                I do not find that to be a nightmare situation at all, the debates on that would be fun and I would love to see him get off to a hot start.

                • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

                  Yeah just like Campy was such a fun debate last year…

                  • ssckelley

                    BELLYFIRE!!!

          • On The Farm

            Not too mention its been a while since he has swung a bat. I am sure he has been working out since being drafted, but he hasn’t seen “live” pitching for quite some time. That could have just enough effect on him where he ends up going to KC rather than Daytona, which could slow his development a touch.

            • hansman1982

              He hasn’t seen live pitching in maybe 2 months. The bigger challenge will be adjusting to wood bats.

            • Lou Brown

              I don’t think KC. They want Candelario to get regular work at 3B, and he is not ready for Daytona. I don’t think they would send Candelario down to Boise. Daytona would make sense for Bryant, but with rainout season coming, they may just start Bryant at Boise with most of the college draft class this year.

              • On The Farm

                Well they are going to run into the problem eventually as next season Candelario should be in Daytona and there is a good chance that would be the best place for Bryant to start as well.

                • ssckelley

                  I would be shocked to see Candelario start the year in Dayton. IMO, he needs to prove he can dominate low A pitching before moving on.

                  • SenorGato

                    Yeah, nothing wrong with Candelario in KC again to start. He’ll needto make itquick since Bryant will not be long in High A.

                    • ssckelley

                      Right, what people tend to forget is Jeimer is only 19 years old and does not turn 20 until November. Him starting next year at KC puts him right where he should be for his age.

                  • On The Farm

                    I guess I didn’t realize how young he was (should have known considering Kane County is the youngest team in the MWL). I guess him repeating there isn’t as big a deal as I thought. I do like his walk rate and his OBP is 80 points higher than his average.

                • Cedlandrum

                  I think Luke is right and he goes to Daytona. That still allows Candelario and Villenuava to get there work in.

        • ncsujuri

          I agree with Blu, seems a bit slower than many projections I have seen but then again I don’t pay near as close of attention as Luke.

  • Stinky Pete

    Luke,
    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.

  • 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?

  • http://bleachernation.com 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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