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javier baez aflIt is has been a rough return from the disabled list for Javier Baez. In the 6 games since he rejoined the lineup he has 4 singles, one triple, 11 strikeouts, no walks, and a stolen base. Currently his season line sits at .164/.207/.327. Time to panic? Maybe not. He has played just 14 games so far this year, and if we look back to his Daytona numbers after 14 games last season we see that he is still a few weeks away from starting his systematic destruction of High A pitching.

Probably the most disturbing difference between his 2013 and 2014 lines after 14 games is the SLG; last season he was already slugging .484. The Florida State League is a pitching friendly league where an SLG of .484 is pretty good. The Pacific Coast League is a hitter friendly league where we would expect to see better than a .327. Then again, thanks again to his DL stint, Baez has so few at bats so far this season that one or two good games could jump his stats up quite a bit. In short, it’s still too early to be too concerned. His current .219 BABIP isn’t helping things, either.

If you’d like to inspect Baez’s at bats in person, he is expected to be in the lineup today when the Iowa plays Omaha at home. The starting pitcher for Omaha, Sugar Ray Marimon, is a bit of a fly ball pitcher so it is possible that if Baez gets ahold of a couple he could improve that slugging percentage substantially by sundown. As always, the radio feed will be available free through the Iowa Cubs website (linked below), and the video feed will be on MiLB.TV.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa
Friday – The Cubs piled on the runs late to pull away for a 9-2 win.
Saturday – It took thirteen innings, but in the end the Cubs were 9-6 winners.
Sunday – Rough weather meant the Cubs got the day off.

Tennessee
Friday – The Smokies gave up twelve runs in the last two innings and lost 15-1.
Saturday – This game was knotted at three for twelve innings, but in the thirteenth Tennessee lost 4-3.
Sunday – In a strange looking one hitter, the Smokies came away the 2-1 winners.

Daytona
Friday – The Cubs took the lead in the seventh on their way to a 6-3 win.
Saturday – Three pitchers combined for the shutout in this 2-0 win.
Sunday – A run in the bottom of the ninth secured Daytona’s fourth straight win 2-1.

Kane County
Friday – The Cougars scored all they’d need in the first, and then piled on anyway. They won 8-4.
Saturday – Another late rally, another Kane County win. Thanks to four in the ninth the Cougars won 5-4.
Sunday – They scored early, they scored often, and Kane County walked away 10-2 winners.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Arismendy Alcantara seems to like playing in Colorado. On Friday he hit a pinch hit triple in the eighth inning, and on Saturday he collected 5 hits, including another triple, in 7 trips to the plate.
  • [Iowa] Chris Valaika and Jonathan Mota each homered as part of 3 hit games on Saturday. Eli Whiteside also homered.
  • [Iowa] Kyle Hendricks gave up 10 hits and 2 walks in his 6 inning start on Saturday. That was enough to give up 4 runs despite his 4 strikeouts. Jeffry Antigua pitched 4 innings later in the game and allowed no runs on 3 hits and 3 strikeouts.
  • [Tennessee] Seen one way, Sunday was a great game for the Tennessee pitching staff. Pierce Johnson, Hunter Cervenka, and Armando Rivero combined to limit Huntsville to just one hit. Seen another way, Sunday was a near disaster. Johnson needed 75 pitches to get through his 4 innings thanks to giving up 8 walks (and the lone hit and run) against just one strikeout. Cervenka (3 IP, 1 K) and Rivero (2 IP, 3 K) did not walk anyone.
  • [Tennessee] More good things from Kris Bryant. His weekend included a home run, a double, a stolen base, and a pair of walks. His season OPS is now 1.009.
  • [Tennessee] And more good things from Dae-Eun Rhee. After Jake Arrieta made his short rehab start on Saturday, Rhee came in to pitch 7 innings, allowing 1 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Rhee has fallen off the prospect radar lately, but in the past he has been listed as having mid-rotation starter potential.
  • [Tennessee] John Andreoli is up to 10 steals on the season after swiping two more bags this weekend. That’s good for third in the Southern League. Bryant and Zeke DeVoss are tied for sixth.
  • [Daytona] Jose Rosario had the start in Saturday’s shutout, and he finished with a line of 6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K. Austin Reed allowed just a single in the next two innings, and Andrew McKirahan nailed down the ninth.
  • [Daytona] Sunday’s pitching was quite good as well. Tayler Scott gave up a run on 4 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4 over 6 innings. Michael Jensen struck out 4 and allowed 2 hits over the final 3 innings.
  • [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach stole his first base of the season on Sunday. He has now reached base in 7 straight games and has a line of .324/.439/.471 over his last 10 games.
  • [Daytona] Jeimer Candelario finished 2 for 2 with a double and 2 walks on Sunday. It was his first multi-hit game since April 21.
  • [Daytona] He missed about two weeks earlier this month, but since then Gioskar Amaya has been making up for lost time. He had 3 more singles on Sunday, 5 for the weekend, and now has a season line of .487/.533/.513 in less than 50 trips to the plate.
  • [Kane County] We have seen some very nice pitching from Kane County this spring, and Jen-Ho Tseng turned in another example on Sunday. Over 5 innings he allowed a run on a hit and 4 walks while striking out 7. Tyler Bremer got through 2 scoreless innings in relief, and Jose Arias and Zack Godley finished things off from there.
  • [Kane County] On Saturday the best pitching performance did not come from starter Duane Underwood, but from reliever Gerardo Concepcion. Through 4.1 innings Concepcion gave up just 4 hits while striking out one.
  • [Kane County] Friday’s game saw Daury Torrez and Juan Paniagua combine to strike out 11 while walking none.
  • [Kane County] Including his 3 hits on Sunday, Jacob Hannemann has 6 hits in his last 3 games. He also struck out twice and walked twice in that span. Daniel Lockhart, with 5 more hits over the weekend, has also been hot lately. He has now reached base in 10 straight games.

Other News

  • When the Cubs drafted Will Remillard they knew they were getting a good defensive catcher, but scouts were less sure about his ability to hit. It is early yet (he has just over 50 PA this season), but so far it looks like hitting in Low A is posing no problem for Remillard. After a 5 for 8 performance this weekend (Friday and Sunday) that included his first home run and 3 more doubles, Remillard’s season line is up to .356/.453/.556. Given that he was drafted out of college I would not be surprised if the Cubs were a little more aggressive when it comes to promoting this guy. A ticket to Daytona soon after he breaks the 100 or 120 PA barrier, provided he is still making it look easy, would not surprise me.
  • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

    I still feel that Bryant is the better of the 2 prospects and more polished at this point. Baez seems to always figure it out….and get on a hot streak…

    Bryant will probably see AAA this season you would think…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I suspect Bryant will see AAA very soon. Gotta think the Cubs would like to see him struggle just a little bit at some point before coming to the majors (well, I guess not technically – the dream is that a guy just kills it at every level, and then kills it right from the get-go in the bigs; but that almost never happens – need to learn what it’s like to struggle and then come out of it).

    • Brocktoon

      I expect Bryant to be ticketed for a late April ’15 callup, so I’d expect AAA promotion around late July-August, unless he begins making a complete mockery of AA while dropping the K rate down substantially.

  • terencemann

    I kind of forgot about Amaya with all of the new talent flowing into the system and the progress some of the other players have made. Good to see him call attention to himself in the best possible way.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For sure – the numbers will come way down, but scouts have liked him for a long time. His down-ish 2013 put him off the radar a bit (ditto Marco Hernandez), but he and Hernandez were clear top 10 prospects in the system back in 2012 when they were playing so well at Boise, given their age (well, and when the system was a lot weaker). Very legit prospects.

      Oh, also: both are Rule 5 eligible after this season …

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        The Cubs can probably sneak both through the Rule 5 without rostering them this winter (I’ll be nervous, though), but not next winter.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I think it really depends on how they look by the end of the year (and whether scouts say they could handle big league defense in a bench role next year). It would be SO hard to stash a guy so young and inexperienced, but if a team like the Astros sees the upside …

          • JulioZuleta

            Have to wonder if, in light of the increased focus on prospects/development, the Rule V will be altered in some way. I imagine the MLBPA would have something to say about that, though.

      • Brocktoon

        I think you’re misremembering their prospect status Brett. Hernandez ranked 16 and Amaya outside the top 31 for 2012 and they were 20/21 respectively for 2013.

        I can’t remember a middle infielder ever being drafted and sticking from below AA in Rule 5. Either one would have to show incredible growth this season to be capable of being hidden all year(or long enough to play DL shenanigans) while it still being worth it to stunt a year of their development.

  • chifords2000

    To drcub1908’s point, Jim Callis tweets “Agree w/Keith. Early 2015. @SammyLlenas: Heard K.Law say won’t get challenged much in minors, what’s your take on when we see Bryant? @Cubs”.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I think Callis might be on the slow side. I like the odds on Bryant hit Chicago in the second half of this summer – provided he continues to hit well, of course.

      • Isaac

        Luke – can you provide logic as to why the Cubs would start his clock this year if we are already 20 games out? Why wouldn’t we hold off until May 1 2015 and save the year?

        • Sandberg

          It’s nice to get prospects up and let them see what they can do, that way they can make adjustments for the next year if needed.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          To allow him to see major league pitching this year, figure out what he needs to do to improve, make those adjustments, and improve his odds of being productive for a longer portion of next year. It would also allow him to become acclimated without dealing with the media-induced pressures of being expected save the franchise.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            And, keep in mind: just because he gets a taste this year doesn’t mean he starts the season with the big team. You always have to weigh the benefits of big league exposure against the cost of control issues.

            The tricky part with Bryant, specifically, is this: if he crushes AAA like he’s done at AA, it’s hard not to give him that taste in September (assuming you’re not projecting a serious 40-man crunch over the offseason). But if the Cubs are hoping to be competitive in 2015, you figure Bryant would be a big part of that. And if you’ve given him 30 or so service days in September, that means you’d have to hold him down well into May in order to get that extra year of control. Could the Cubs really do that if they were trying to win in 2015?

            Just thinking out loud about the issues.

            • Isaac

              There is also still the painful reality that losing games in August/September 2014 is probably beneficial. That being said, if 2014/2015 is the transition year to actually attempting to compete, the aforementioned thoughts brought up have to be thoroughly digested. I think my preference is a cup of coffee in September, and then holding him until May 2015 (partly because I don’t believe we’ll be ready to compete).

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

              The year of control loses some importance if the Cubs follow the emerging trend of ultra-early extensions.

              And if there is anyone in the farm system I think the Cubs might be smart to lock up on a Longoria style deal, it would probably be Bryant.

              • jp3

                I agree with that too, between the possibility of an early extension with what he’d actually bring to the club financially I’m not sure it’s really worth it to hold him down if you’re just looking for one more year of control

              • Jon

                Boras will do everything he can to talk Bryant out of that though….

              • ssckelley

                I can’t see this happening with Bryant. He just got paid a huge signing bonus and is Boras’s client. If I were the Cubs this is a guy I would not waste service time on this season. If he keeps raking the minors by the end of next April then call him up. If the Cubs ever hope to signing him to an extension they need every bit of leverage they can get. Not fair by any means but keep in mind he already has 6.7 million in the bank.

              • Isaac

                Agreed – it is a great thought in principle, but I don’t see Bryant doing that because of Boras. If anything, I see Bryant as the one guy we absolutely HAVE to stretch out as long as we can.

            • Kyle

              It’s not that hard at all not to give him the spot. You just don’t do it.

              Most of the season in AA and a taste of AAA. That’s not unreasonable even if he crushes AA for four months.

  • Jon

    If he’s ready from a development perspective he should come up. Clock games are silly and at some point you have to try and actually start winning games.

    • jp3

      Agreed jon, I get trying to get one more year but I’d rather him get a little big league experience in preparation of next year when we MIGHT try to compete. Also at some point he pays for part of the money he may cost in a lost arbitration year when he brings more people to the ballpark.

    • roz

      Agreed. I can see doing it at the start of the year, but if it’s clear that he’s ready for the majors come July/August, I think bringing him up does more good than keeping him down and delaying his clock.

  • bonger0493

    Cuz we would get a call from mlb asking what were doing with this kid since he’ll have almost 500 PA in AAA hitting .300/.380/.800

    • jp3

      But we could tell the mlb that he’s blocked on the big team by studs such as Olt, or any of our studly corner outfielders…wait a minute, that might not be too believable

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I sort of doubt he’ll slug .800 in Triple A, but I like how you think.

    • Brocktoon

      Well the call would be from MLBPA, not MLB. Selig is all for keeping salaries down. It’s not hard to come up with excuses as to why Bryant wouldn’t get called up this season unless as you said he’s OPSing 1.200.

  • DocPeterWimsey

    To an extent, this is just a SSS issue with Javier: he is always going to have a high base K-rate, so small bursts of really high K frequencies are much less improbable for him than for other players. It just stands out more if it happens early in a season.

  • Darth Ivy

    If bryant has a season anything like last year, wow. Im still more excited about him than baez (that says nothing about baez. Im not down on him in the slightest. Im just higher on bryant than most)

    • Darth Ivy

      Stepping out on a limb here, and setting myself up for future disappointment, I think bryant will he the next Miguel Cabrera (minus a little batting average with his swing-and-miss tendency ).

      I know I know, but I can’t help it. That’s what I think

      • roz

        “. . .I think bryant will he the next Miguel Cabrera (minus a little batting average with his swing-and-miss tendency ).”

        So not Miguel Cabrera?

        • Darth Ivy

          Yes, Miguel Cabrera minus a little BA.

        • Darth Ivy

          Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball (trout being the best all around player). I think bryant will be the next generation’s best hitter, therefore, the next Miguel Cabrera. I bet he puts up the same kind of HR, RBI, SLG, just with a little less BA

      • Javier Bryant

        I think Bryant is more Braun (- the roids) then Miggy

        • Darth Ivy

          I wouldn’t mind that. Is it too late for bryant to get a bar mitvah?

    • CubsFaninMS

      I have higher expectations of Bryant than any of them. Bryant seems to have a better batter’s eye than Baez, at least judging by the numbers and what I’ve seen on TV. Baez will almost certainly have more swing and miss to his game. In the end, I believe they will be more different players than we realize once they reach the MLB. I see Bryant having the potential to match Giancarlo Stanton offensively. With Baez, I expect a more Soriano-lite or Sosa-lite. Baez can really be something special if he can lay off the curveball low and away.

  • Cheese Chad

    I’ll be at the game tonight in Des Moines rocking my green bleachernation shirt. Hopefully it’s not cancelled because of rain.

  • Tyler_31

    To me Remillard could be similar to Kevin Plaweki from the Mets since he was expected to be a good defensive catcher but has showen a better hit tool then expected

    • Brocktoon

      Plaweki was the 35th overall pick.

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  • Javier Bryant

    Seeing Mark Appel struggle just makes the Bryant selection that much sweeter

    • Jon

      I wonder if there is any documented benefit/success to the Astos “tandem” starter thing or are they just trying to be hipsters?

  • Jon

    And after 4 years of college being the #1 he can’t hack it in A ball? Cubs def dodged a bullet there…..

    • ssckelley

      Jon, who you talking about?

      • Jon

        Appel

      • Edwin

        Mark Appel, I believe. Appel has had good K/9 and BB/9 so far this year, but his BABIP is pretty high (.375), and he’s giving up a lot of HR. His LOB% isn’t great either.

        • Kyle

          He got demoted back to extended spring training and was reportedly having trouble touching 90.

          For a guy who was supposed to be MLB-ready in college, he almost certainly has to be hurt. TINSTAAPP.

          • jh03

            Read a thing on BP today that said his body may not be adjusted to pitching every 5 days, compared to every week in college.

          • Edwin

            That’s too bad. I thought he seemed like a pretty polished prospect.

            • ssckelley

              Yeah, they were saying he was ready for the big leagues last season.

              Jon, you are right, it appears the Cubs avoided a bullet as I am pretty sure they would have taken Appel if the Astro’s had passed on him.

  • CubsFaninMS

    My estimation is that Bryant will be in AAA in a month if he keeps putting up these kind of numbers and, depending on Baez’s performance, may beat him to the Majors. I expect that Baez will adjust soon, though. The Iowa lineup may look VERY interesting in a few weeks. Bryant and Baez are both competitive so I can see them pinging off of each other. Hopefully they do not promote him before he plays the Smokies play in Mississippi though. I’d really lke to see Bryant in person (selfish request alert).

  • BlameHendry

    I actually am a little worried about Baez. Mostly because I know they are trying to mess with his swing at AAA. Don’t want a 2013 Starlin Castro 2.0 situation. Hoping he figures it out. Nice to see Alcantara starting off the year well though, I hope we see him in September.

    As for Bryant, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to throw him into big league action at the end of this year. I’d rather he finish his season at AAA and give him a shot at making the 2015 opening day roster.

    • Edwin

      Where did you see they are messing with his swing?

      • BlameHendry

        Can’t remember where, but it was earlier this year after he got ejected in a game where he said in an interview that they’re trying to get him to shorten his swing

    • Chad

      Have you seen him swing? They have not tried to change it. my guess is he is just struggling with laying off those unhittable pitches he thinks are very hittable.

      • ari gold

        I was at the game on Saturday and afterward I got thinking that his swing was different than in the past. He didn’t have that Sheffield wiggle (or at least not nearly as much). The bat was behind his head much more. Maybe it was just the angle as I was behind the dugout on the 3rd base side. It didn’t look like there was as much noise.

        Side note: He hit a moon shot about 400 feet just foul in left on his 4th AB. If not for a 30 MPH wind that blew it foul, he’d have hit a HR.

  • Javier Bryant

    We could be looking at Olt at 3B, Castro at SS, Baez at 2B and obviously Rizzo at 1st, along with Bryant, Alcantara and Lake in the outfield in 2015. Or even the end of this season, wow!

    • Chad

      Alcantara needs to play a game in the OF before I think he will be the cub’s starting CF, and Lake does not do much for me, I hope he can turn it around. Baez hasn’t shown much yet. This excites me a lot, but also has me very concerned that this is possible this season.

    • Edwin

      So far Olt can barely outhit Darwin Barney.

      • GoCubs

        Come on…Give the guy 600 plate appearances before starting to compare him to Barney.

        • TWC

          Mike Olt = Darwin Barney 3.0

          • BlameHendry

            I hope your kidding. Barney has never had anywhere near the kind of power Olt has…

          • ssckelley

            l laughed, good one TWC! I liked your use of 3.0, nice touch.

    • BlameHendry

      I’m not nearly impressed enough with Olt or Lake to want them on this team when Bryant, Baez, and Alcantara get here. With what they’ve shown so far I’d rather Olt and Lake hit the road so that we don’t have to move the incoming prospects to less valuable positions. We have so many 3B prospects that Olt really needs to make a very strong case for staying there, because I’d much rather have Bryant or Baez there. Alcantara needs to stay at 2B. His bat is good, but not good enough to make him a high-value player in the OF. He’s by far most valuable at 2B. Bryant, on the other hand, has such a good bat that he probably has almost as much value in the OF as he would at 3B. And Baez at 3B just makes the most sense to me. Unless Olt breaks out, he can hit the road when those guys get here.

      Now that Castro is performing, an infield of Bryant-Castro-Baez-Rizzo would be incredible, but Alcantara in the OF just seems like a waste to me.

      • Coop

        I like that infield well enough, but I sort of hope we end up with Baez at 3B and Alcantara at 2B, with Bryant moving to RF.

        My dream is still:

        1B – Rizzo
        2B – Alcantara
        SS – Castro
        3B – Baez
        LF – Soler
        CF – Almora
        RF – Bryant
        C – meh…? Castillo by default, but I would like to see an upgrade here….

        • Coop

          It is fun to dream… That lineup is really stacked IF the guys actually make it as big league players and live up to their ceilings. Obviously this is all dreaming on the future possibilities, but man it would be fun if everything came up aces for once. That lineup would have a ton of power potential. A little light on left handed hitting, but still a scary lineup (if everyone works out – gotta liberally pepper this dream with that caveat).

  • Norm

    Highly doubt Bryant is up this year. He’ll struggle with contact in AAA….same deal as Baez with the K’s. Sure, he’ll walk some and still have a respectable OBP, but I don’t see Bryant hitting even .280 in AAA. Since he won’t be crushing it, they’ll have an excuse to keep him down.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Bryant struggling anywhere would be the best case scenario for this year. I’d rather see players struggle and adjust while they are in the minors rather than have to do it for the first time at the major league level.

      • Brocktoon

        If you don’t struggle at any stop in the minors you’re less likely to struggle in the majors.

        • Norm

          Everyone struggles in the majors.

          • another JP

            Pujols didn’t struggle after making the big leagues. .. and Bryant has much better numbers in the minors than Albert did.

    • ari gold

      I agree Norm. Heck he’s a normal BABIP from hitting .240-.250 in AA right now.

  • Ivy Walls

    I will submit a message report on Saturday’s game which I saw live. Bullet points:

    Baez, not ready for even the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” meaning Cubs second-rate MLB roster now. He needs seasoning, and is being played by pitchers where he is swinging at unhittable balls. Unless there is a complete turnaround in his approach he will have a long summer in IA.

    Alcantara, he is almost ready to start at 2B for the Cubs. He really is the deal and with his approach, speed, good defense and willing to listen/adjust in the game we were all impressed.

    Hendricks, the got smacked around though he can work out of jams, looks like a reliever who might be a rubber-armed fireman type, he will throw strikes and his change is an out pitch, but he is quite hittable.

    Vitters, he needs a new scenery, he looked lost to us.

    Villaneuva, he definitely has a glove, he is short and stout, looks like tradable piece.

    Cubs played two middle IF’ers in the OF, well if you say Vitters is also an IF’er than all three, room for a big RF’er to ascend.

    Like the manager Peavy

  • Dingo

    Just like that Brett, he hits a homer.

    You are like Nostradamas. I must go to the track with you next time.

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