If you have not visited the South, you have not eaten breakfast. Yesterday my wife dined on a cinnamony, nutty, sugary pancake stack that looked like the product of a delightful accident involving a steamroller and a cinnamon roll factory. If the Cubs farm teams started selling those in their stadiums they’d win every food award in the country.
Equally sweet is the welcome news that that both Dan Vogelbach and Kris Bryant are on their way to Daytona. Bryant, as expected, is vaulting Kane County for the tougher challenge of Florida State League pitching. Vogelbach has been handling his duties as Kane County’s first baseman and DH with ease lately; this promotion should be a welcome challenge for the first baseman.
Once those two arrive and get settled in, the Daytona Cubs are going to find themselves in possession of one of the most potent lineups in the minors. Both Bryant and Vogelbach have the power to pile up the home runs, and both are patient hitters who are not likely to give at bats away. With Zeke DeVoss wrecking havoc atop the order and Dustin Geiger helping to anchor the middle, these High-A Cubs are absolutely stacked. If Jorge Soler does make it back by the end of the year the lineup will be even scarier. This is a very good time to be a Cubs fan in northern Florida.
Scores From Yesterday
While I am on vacation the scores will be presented as a single link. Box scores and recaps just an extra click away from this page. It was a pretty good day in the farm system yesterday, and especially so if you were a third baseman. Bryant got promoted while Josh Vitters, Mike Olt, Javier Baez (not yet a third baseman, but could be one day soon), and Christian Villanueva all homered.
Observations From Tennessee
I was at the Smokies game in person last night, both of them, actually. Here in no particular order are a few observations from last night’s games.
- The home run Baez hit got out to left field in a hurry, but I was equally happy to see him fly out to right later in the game. His raw power is without question, but it will be his ability to take what the pitcher offers and drive the ball the other way that will allow him to maximize his talents.
- Baez also showed pretty good range at shortstop, especially when going to his left. His arm will play just fine from short … or anywhere else I suspect … but is nowhere near the unbelievable cannon packed by Junior Lake. If the Cubs do need to move Baez to find him a home in the majors, I saw nothing that makes me believe he could not slide over to second base with ease.
- Last year Tony Zych showed an odd pitching motion that included a number of short, abrupt motions. This year that is all gone. His delivery is balanced, smooth, and much more conventional. I think this has resulted in some extra life to his fastball, and it almost certainly reduced his chances of arm injury. It also, I think, explains why Zych returned to Double A this year. With his new and improved mechanics I like his odds of opening next season with Iowa and finishing it in Chicago.
- John Andreoli can hit. The young outfielder made solid contact in several at bats and lined some very hard hit balls to all parts of the outfield. Speed is a big part of his game, but he is not a one trick guy. His power is more of the doubles variety, but if he keeps squaring up the ball like he did last night then he will have a lot of doubles in his time. I’m still not sure if he is a third or fourth outfielder long term, but so far I like what I see.
- I also liked what I saw from Matt Szczur. I would love to see the Cubs challenge Szczur with a September callup. Since he is already on the 40 man roster that is not an impossible hope, but I am not sure how likely it is.
- Eric Jokisch was still tossing in the low nineties at the end of his day, and until the very end was still hitting his spots. He ran into one bad spot when he gave up some base runners, but that seemed to correspond with his mechanics falling apart a bit. When he was in rhythm he mowed down the Biscut hitters.
- Jokisch has added a slight hesitation right after he hits full separation that I do not remember from last season. It is subtle, but I can easily see that momentary delay adding some deception and causing problems with a hitter’s timing. I wonder if this is the work of the Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator Derek Johnson.
- I’ll be back in the stands tonight, wearing my customary black and sitting in my favorite spot on the first base side of the dugout. Maybe tonight I’ll remember to take some pictures.