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cactusLate last night (or early this morning, depending on your time zone), the Cubs added a couple runs in the 9th inning courtesy of a dropped Javier Baez pop up (you can’t even catch his pop ups!), which tied the game against the Padres. At the end of that inning, the teams decided to call it a draw. Somewhere Bud Selig stirred and smiled amidst his slumber.

  • Fans were grousing that there was no way to watch last night’s prospect-heavy game, but maybe that wound up being a good thing. Starter C.J. Edwards showed some signs of butterflies, and couldn’t quite make it through three innings. In 2.2 IP, he gave up three earned runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out one.
  • Kris Bryant, who was a late addition to start at third base, struck out three times in four at bats.
  • Javier Baez had a single in his five at bats, but also struck out twice and had two errors.
  • In total, the Cubs offense mustered just one extra-base hit, that coming from outfield prospect Rubi Silva.
  • Ryan Kalish had an error in the field, but did notch a hit, a walk, and a stolen base. He’s on the roster bubble right now, but I get the feeling we’ll see him playing for the Cubs at some point this year, regardless of what happens on March 31.
  • Cubs pitchers, post-Edwards, had a good night (except for Jonathan Sanchez, who gave up the other two Padres runs). All of Zac Rosscup, Wesley Wright, Ryan Searle and Marcus Hatley threw scoreless innings with multiple strikeouts. Armando Rivero also had a scoreless inning, but he didn’t participate in the strikeout party.
  • ari gold

    It seems like Bryant has stuck out in 50% of his plate appearances this spring. He’s the guy I’m going to keep the closest eye on this year in the minors.

    • ssckelley

      20 spring training plate appearances

      • ari gold

        Absolutely correct. But he’s had contact issues since he started his pro career and is supposed to be a very polished hitter. Something to keep an eye on.

        • ssckelley

          24% in the minors, and I think 5 of his strike outs were in his first Boise game. If I remember correctly he was ~23% in the AFL. I will take those percentages all day from a guy with his kind of power. Bryant is ticketed for AA, let’s give him a little more time before getting all concerned about his SO percentage.

        • Head and Heart

          So after 146 minor league PAs, and 18 this spring, you’re worried about Bryant? I didn’t even think Cubs fans could get there that fast.

          • Norm

            What’s wrong with not ignoring an alarming strikeout rate?

            • Head and Heart

              Nothing. My contention with Bryant is that you would be inventing an alarming strike out rate without context or perspective.

              • ari gold

                So in 240 (AFL included) plate appearances before AA, he has a 25% strikeout ratio. That’s not alarming? Usually it increases the closer you get to the majors. Like I said, it’s something to keep an eye on. I didn’t say he’s a bust.

                • Head and Heart

                  Was Jay Bruce’s 24% k rate in AAA alarming? Giancarlo Stanton’s 26% k rate in AA?

                  Power hitters tend to strike out more for a number of reasons. He has a good eye and has a pretty good BB rate. It’s all about context.

                  • Norm

                    Not apples to apples.
                    Bryant hasn’t seen AA yet and is 21.
                    Stanton’s AA K rate including 341 PA as a 19 year old.
                    Bruce was in AAA at 20 years old.

                    And you’re taking this way too far. He didn’t say he was worried about him. Just something to keep an eye on, rather than simply saying “small sample size”.

                    • Head and Heart

                      I took issue with this “he’s had contact issues since he started his pro career and is supposed to be a very polished hitter”

                  • ari gold

                    No they weren’t too alarming since they were 20 years old in the respective leagues. It’s all about context :)

                    Look, I’m not trying to start a fight, just making an observation. I’m on board if he continues to SO @ 25% into the majors. With that kind of power he’s a superstar. I just hope it doesn’t start creaping into the 30-35% range. That’s what is destroying B Jackson’s career (even if he did have Bryant power).

                    • Head and Heart

                      Certainly there is a lot of context to be had and I didn’t want to spend a couple thousand words on it. I think you understand the point. Strike outs aren’t the end of the world for a hitter. Especially one with big power potential. And I don’t care too much for “ifs”. If his strike out rate rises then it’s a cause for concern. But why would we spend time be concerned about how concerned we will be if something happens?

                    • ssckelley

                      It was a bad observation.

                      If Brett Jackson hit with Bryants power and had over a 1.000 OPS he would be in the big leagues.

                • bbmoney

                  I think the 240 plate appearances thing speaks for itself. Especially when considering that’s over 4 different stops (AZL / Boise / Daytona / AFL). Never had a chance to really get adjusted.

                  Alarming? No. Something to keep on eye on? Sure.

                  Bryant is probably always going to have some K’s in his game because he’s tall and he works counts, but I’m not alarmed just yet.

      • Head and Heart

        He was also a late addition as Brent noted. Cashner is a pretty good strike out pitcher. So if Bryant wasn’t expecting to start and play that much he may not have been mentally in the game right away. Could be a decent little lesson for him.

        • ssckelley

          Plus those 20 PA are stretched out over ~3 weeks time. If he was playing every day and striking out 50% of the time I would be concerned, but he is getting an at bat here and an at bat there.

          • willis

            It’s noticeable. And it’s something to really keep an eye on this season. As has been said, way too early with way too small of a sample to be alarmed, but definitely something to key on as we watch his development.

            • ssckelley

              willis, 20 plate appearances stretched out over 3 weeks of spring training to me is not even worth talking about. There have been a few games where all he gets is 1 at bat.

              • Head and Heart

                Plus in terms of the spring at bats we don’t know if he’s working on something. It’s ST after all. Maybe he’s staing back trying to go the other way more in spring. Maybe he’s taking fastballs looking to see as many breaking balls as possible. Maybe he’s tweaking his hand position. There is so much that is going on that I wouldn’t be too worried about a young player’s spring results.

              • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                Given his college and K rates last year, it’s something to keep an eye on.

                It’s not as alarming as Baez since Bryant has a good BB rate to go with it, but it’s an all-caps footnote.

                • ssckelley

                  bah, small font down in the corner of the page, next to the greasy thumb print from eating a hamburger.

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    How about All-Caps but it was smudged by the greasy hamburger thumb print?

                • Head and Heart

                  But I think they knew there was some swing and miss in his game before they drafted him right? That was in the scouting reports. He’s a tall guy with a patient approach. So there will always be strike outs in his game. I’m not sure the K rate is something to keep an eye on. The BB% and ISO is more important to keep an eye on, in my opinion.

  • Q-Ball

    It’s an interesting development choice to have CJ Edwards start this game, isn’t it? How does that fit in with the Cubs Way?

    We clearly have alot of more seasoned pitchers that could have started that game no problem. Instead, we chose Edwards. He had the opportunity to face real live ML hitters. I imagine that was to a) build confidence, or b) remind him what he has to work on still, or both.

    Not sure what it means myself, but it’s an interesting choice……the Cubs decided to put him in front of ML hitters. Edwards, not any number of older, more polished, but lower ceiling pitchers we have in the minors

    • Edwin

      I wouldn’t read too much into it. I think all it means is that they wanted to get him into a game, and it was easier to just have him start as opposed to fitting him in to later innings.

    • ssckelley

      I think it was neat to give him a start and I doubt it hurt his confidence at all.

    • jp3

      Not sure there are many MLB level hitters on that lineup the padres sent out last night. Seemed like a good opportunity to get him in against decent competition but not great.

  • Edwin

    Another short start for Edwards? Man, that guy just can’t go deep into games.

  • Javier Bryant

    Rangers are interested in Darwin Barney. They have some intriguing arms in the 12-20 range of their prospects. Barney for Wilmer Font?

    • ssckelley

      I think part of the value in trading Barney is his 25 and 40 man roster spots. IMO, I doubt they would trade for a guy they have to protect. Think low level pitching prospect with a little upside.

      • Javier Bryant

        I just looked at the Rangers top 20 prospects and saw Font. They’re looking at both Barney and Murphy but apparently like Darwin

        • C. Steadman

          They have a lot of intriguing arms at the back end of their top 20…Keone Kela is a RP prospect with a 97-100mph heater and a hard slider…there’s other guys as well

          • ssckelley

            Something else to think about is that it might not even be a pitcher the Cubs are after. Per Lukes article yesterday the Cubs have an abundant of low level pitchers they have acquired the past couple of years through the draft, IFA’s, and trades. The Cubs may want a low level outfielder with upside or a mid level catcher to help fill a need.

            • C. Steadman

              That was why I was listing a RP prospect who has a live arm, he wouldn’t push out any of the high upside SPs…I would suspect C prospect over OF because Cubs still have prospects like Dunston, Golden, Martin and others…i would like a C prospect back

              • Javier Bryant

                It appears the Rangers have a bit of an abundance of Catching prospects. Maybe Cantwell for Barney?

              • ssckelley

                Sure, and you can never have enough arms. I just wonder if at this point the Cubs will take the best player they can get for Barney. I’ve been saying the same thing, get more pitching, it just occurred to that maybe a pitcher is not the only thing they will take for Barney. The biggest asset the Rangers might be giving the Cubs is the 25/40 man roster spot.

                • C. Steadman

                  “The biggest asset the Rangers might be giving the Cubs is the 25/40 man roster spot”

                  Completely agree, I’m looking for an Ivan Pineyro or Corey Black type guy…probably means I should be looking outside the Rangers Top 20 but I didn’t want to put too much research into it haha :)

                  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

                    I’m looking for Jurickson Profar to come back.

                    • itzscott

                      I can’t see the Cubs getting a Top 20 pitching prospect for Barney. I think the Cubs are going to need to draft and develop those on their own, except thru a Samardzjia trade.

                      Also, the Cubs are stacked with prospects just about ready to filter up.

                      I think Epstein & Hoyer would do well by focusing on the following wave of prospects by using Barney to keep the assembly line moving.

    • jeff1969

      Maybe a guy like Roman Mendez for Barney, he’s a former Theo signee with the Red Sox. If Kotteras also went, maybe a guy like Alec Asher could be in the deal. My fear is that Daniels will be leary of Theo & Jed now.

      • Javier Bryant

        Eh since the Rangers would be trading for Barney, I don’t think they’d be too leery. It would be hard to “hose” them in a trade like that

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