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kris bryant cubsIn the Minor League Daily for May 1, regular reader and commenter Edwin posted the following question:

So if you could grade the top 10 prospects so far, how would they grade out for April?

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the question and the more I realized I did not have an answer. It sounds simple, but what would the grades mean? What am I grading against? On what scale? They more I thought about it, the more I found to think about.

I still like the idea, though, and so I decided to use it as the basis for today’s article, but with some slight modifications.

Each player on the list will be graded against my expectations for that player coming into the season. That’s still a fairly arbitrary standard, but at least it is a defined one. Rather than stick with a classic (and, in this context, undefined) grading scale of A/B/C/etc., though, I will keep it simple and grade along the lines of ‘Above Expectations’, ‘As Expected,’ or ‘Below Expectations.’ I’m also expanding my sample for grading to include all of this past week and not cutting off the data at the end of April.

To make up a little for not quite answering the question as asked, though, I’ll expand my grades from the Top 10 to the Top 15. Naturally, the rankings used will be the latest Bleacher Nation Top 40 list.

So, Edwin, I’m five days late with this one, but your answer is coming up right after the weekly survey of the system.

Iowa Cubs : 15-12

Even though they’ve lost a few games lately, Iowa still clings to first place in the division by a margin of .004. They’ve played the fewest road games in the PCL, though, so there are some significant tests for this team yet to come.

They finish off a series in Nashville on Monday and then head for last place New Orleans for a four game set. They are back in town on Saturday to start another eight game home stand against Nashville and Round Rock.

Tennessee Smokies : 16-13

It has been a week since the Smokies lost a game. They have now won six in a row and are just two and half back of Huntsville for the lead in the North Division.

It may be tough to keep that up.  The Smokies schedule is entering one of the roughest phases of this season. They come home from Chattanooga on Monday to face Birmingham, and then hit the road for games at Jackson and at Mississippi before finally getting a day off on May 20.

Daytona Cubs : 9-17

The Cubs have yet to play a game in the month of May. Rain, more rain, and yet more rain has wiped out all their games for the past three days. At least they’ll be well rested as they attempt to turn around their current three game skid.

Nine of their next eleven games, weather permitting, are at home. If they are going to climb back into the first half division race, they probably need to win a bunch of those eleven games.

Kane County Cougars : 20-9

The first team in the Cubs organization to reach 20 wins is the Kane County Cougars, the best team in the Midwest League. Not only does Kane County have the best over all record and a two game lead in the Western division, their 13-2 home record is by far the best in the league. No other MWL team has more than eight home wins.

The Cougars stay at home for the first part of this week, finishing off a series with Burlington today and playing three against Wisconsin starting tomorrow. On Thursday they head to Burlington for three.

And Here Are The Grades

1. Javier Baez. As Expected.

My take on Baez has not changed since I wrote his Prospects Progress piece last November.

He’ll head to Iowa and open the year posting a K% in the mid to high 30% range again, and many fans will label him a bust and rail at the front office for not trading him while they had the chance. Baez will make adjustments and pull his K% down into the mid to low 20% range. And, after it stays there for 100 PAs or so, he will head to Chicago.

So far Baez is right on track. The injury slowed things down a little, but to be honest I thought his strikeout rate would be even a little higher than it is at this stage. His BABIP is much lower than an expected as well, so even if the K% doesn’t change his overall line should start to tick up noticeably soon.

2. Kris Bryant. Above Expectations.

I expected Bryant to dominate Double A, but not quite this quickly or to this degree. The strikeout rate and power are about what I thought they would be, but I did not anticipate this strong of a walk rate. I didn’t expect him to have nearly as many stolen bases as home runs, either.

3. Jorge Soler. No grade to give (Injury).

I thought we would have more than one at bat from Soler by this point. The injuries are more frustrating than concerning for me, and I don’t think they lower his stock as a prospect at all, but I really did think we would see him on the field this spring. Hopefully he will return to the Tennessee lineup soon.

4. C.J. Edwards. No grade to give (Injury).

This injury is a little more concerning. I’m not prepared to strike Edwards’ name off the future starters list just yet, but concern about his shoulder probably does make a move to the bullpen, if only for a time, more likely. When he was on the mound, though, he was pitching quite well.

5. Albert Almora. Below Expectations.

Almora’s value at the plate, is heavily dependent on his ability to get on base. He’s not a slugger like Baez or Bryant, and he’s not a great speedster like Andreoli or DeVoss, so his best chance of being a real weapon at the plate will come from just constantly getting on base by any means necessary. So far this spring he hasn’t gotten on base via a walk once, and his batting average is about fifty points shy of where I thought it would be. The very low strikeout rate is encouraging, though, and his status as a prospect does not change for me at all.  Not yet.

But if he could produce a Rizzo style four walk day, I would not complain.

6. Arismendy Alcantara. As Expected.

The walks are down from last year, and the strike outs are up a little, but in general Alcantara is hitting Triple A quite well and showing the same mix of switch hitting power and speed we saw last season. I would wait for the patience to return to his game before calling him to Chicago, but I have little doubt that phone call will come at some point.

7. Pierce Johnson. No grade to give (Injury).

Thanks to an injury delayed start to his season, Johnson has pitched just fourteen innings so far this year. In those fourteen innings he has walked too many and not struck out quite as many as I’d like to see, but it is just three starts. There just isn’t enough there for me to make much of an assessment.

8. Jeimer Candelario. As Expected.

He got off to a slow start, but Candelario is already showing the patience (16.5% walk rate) that has been his hallmark. His power numbers are down a little, but that is to be expected in the Florida State League. I would not be surprised if he finishes 2014 with a very similar to line to what he posted in 2013 despite the more difficult level. And that is not a bad thing at all, particularly given his age.

9. Kyle Hendricks. Above Expectations.

Who is this guy? The 2013 Hendricks was a pitcher who relied on extreme control to generate weak contact by putting the ball where the hitters could not handle it. The 2014 Hendricks is an extreme ground ball pitcher who is striking out hitters at a faster rate than he has since the year he was drafted. He has had some rougher starts this spring, but that’s to be expected and does not diminish from the body of work that has resulted in a FIP of just 2.74.

10. Arodys Vizcaino. As Expected.

The sample size is still small, but he’s been very effective as a late game reliever in High A. Considering he was one of the best young pitchers in baseball when he was injured, that’s exactly as things should be. The real test will come as he moves up the system.

11. Mike Olt. As Expected.

His glove has been good, and he has launched some memorable home runs for the Cubs, but he has also struck out a ton. Based on his minor league numbers and his current BABIP I think we’ll see some more hits and walks out of him than we have seen so far, but to borrow a line from the NFL, he is who we thought he was. Now it remains to be seen how high those stat-predicted extra hits and walks can push his overall line. As I said in the Top 40, I like his glove but I’m not buying into his bat quite yet.

12. Dan Vogelbach. As Expected.

Like Candelario, Vogelbach got off to a slow start, but when his bat woke up he started hitting like, well, like Vogelbach. I’m not concerned about the slightly depressed early power numbers in large part because he is in the Florida State League. On the other hand, I’m pretty happy to see his strikeout rate at a very comfortable 16.7%. I think we’ll see Vogelbach turn in another quality average, high walk rate, low strikeout rate, highish slugging percentage season this year.

13. Corey Black. Above Expectations.

His walk rate is up a touch, but he didn’t allow a hit in two of his five starts this season. Any time a pitcher has a 40% no-hitter rate (does anyone track no-hitter rate as a stat?) he’s doing something right.

14. Rob Zastryzny. Below Expectations.

He is striking out quite a few batters, but he is also giving up a lot of hits and walks. He hasn’t been quite as bad as his ERA makes it seem, but when a FIP of 5.03 qualifies as good news, you know you’re dealing with a rough season. I had thought that he might be in Tennessee for the second half of the year; I now doubt that will be the case.

15. Christian Villanueva. Below Expectations.

This may just be a guy getting off to a slow start, but after leading the Southern League in doubles a year ago, Villanueva’s early season OPS of .608 is somewhat short of what I had hoped for. The glove is as good as ever, but his offensive numbers are markedly down across the board. There is no need to panic yet, some hitters do need time to adjust after all, but right now it is safe to say that he has some work to do before we can start thinking about his major league debut.

  • Edwin

    Thanks Luke! Extensive coverage, as always.

  • Soda Popinski

    Hey Luke- off of this topic- but I remember you posting a couple times that Aiken was your #1 pick and Beede was #1a. I’ve read a few scouts say recently that they’d be surprised to see Beede go top 5 as of right now. Are you still really high on him? Do you have an updated opinion?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I’m hesitant to take a guy with a long record of quality and knock him down because of a few starts.

      That said, I’m swinging back towards Rodon. Aiken would be my first choice, but Rodon or Beede could be my second.

      • Soda Popinski

        Cool, thanks!

  • ssckelley

    So you rated Bryant above expectations because of his high walk rate and 5 stolen bases? To me the stolen bases mean nothing, he is not going to be a big stolen base guy in the majors and I really don’t want him to be. Not worth the risks IMO. But the 28% SO rate for me is still high, higher than what my expectations for him were and it trumps the walk rate. Are these rates high because he is taking a lot of pitches and he not identifying the hittable pitch?

    The power numbers are encouraging and he has brought up his batting average back over .300 recently.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Out of curiosity, what K rate were you expecting? With such small sample sizes so far, chances are pretty good that Bryant’s K’s are well within expectations for that.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Just to beat you to the punch, if you were expecting Bryant’s K-rate to be anywhere from 22.5% to 33.5%, then Bryant’s K’s are well within the range you predicted. So, he’s doing below expectations only if you were expecting a 34% K’s, then he’s doing better than expected!)

        (The thing that is easy to forget is that at only 123 PA’s, just 3 more K’s than expected is means added 2.4% in the K-rate!)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Wow, part of that got eaten: if you expected *below 22.5%*, then Bryant is doing worse than expected; if you expected *above 34%*, then Bryan is doing better than expected.

      • ssckelley

        I am still hopeful he can bring it down to ~20%. In college he was a career 17% and as a freshman he started off at 24% so it progressively went down his sophomore and junior year. I hope to see that trend continue in professional baseball as well, obviously he is seeing much better pitching in AA than he did in college.

        I realize we are dealing with small sample sizes, heck we are just talking April and a few less strikeouts here and a few extra PA’s there and we have a SO percentage that we can live with.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Kelly, comparing college strikeout rates to pro strikeout rates…Come on now.

          If 17% was his college strikeout rate, then I would guess that his pro rate would EASILY be above 20, probably closer to 25

          • ssckelley

            From what I understand college is comparable to low A in the minors, for me it shows a trend of being able to adjust to the level he is playing at. He had SO rate of 14.5% as a senior, again it was 24% as a freshman. I remain hopeful that his SO rate will settle around 20%, which we can all live with considering how much power he has.

            • Head and Heart

              Personally I could do a lot more than “live with” a 20% K-rate from Bryant. Giancarlo Stanton is striking out 29.7% of the time this season so far. I don’t think anyone is too concerned about that? Bryant’s OBP is a little more than 100 points higher than the batting average and the ISO is a reasonably healthy .255. I don’t see anything in Bryant’s numbers so far that would be cause for concern.

    • Aaron

      Five days later and Kris Bryant still can’t please ssckelley.

      • ssckelley

        Aw come on, I am still excited about Bryant. But these SO rates are high practically across the board. The last time I looked both Iowa and Tennessee were K’ing at a 23% rate as a team. Practically every Cubs prospects except for Almora has a high SO rate and the major league team is not much better with the younger players. Hopefully as the weather warms up so does the hitting.

        • Diehardthefirst

          Bryant is Mike Schmidt redux- he gets called up in Sept and will be a star for 15 yrs avg 35 HR and 100 bi per on way to HOF– oh by the way check old posts and will see that I was first to argue that he should be # 1 pick- as they say you can look it up

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            Tell you what why don’t you look it up… Because the 1000 promises you make that are wrong make it difficult to dig through. Im also calling BS.

          • ssckelley

            Since your the guy who is still suggesting the Cubs should platoon Rizzo, lately it is giving him a break by starting Olt at first, I am not going to waste my time digging through your posts to find 1 of the 1000′s of predictions you make on this site.

            • Kyle

              *you’re

            • Diehardthefirst

              Castro 3B Barney SS Bonaficio 2B Olt 1B against tough lefties

              • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

                That is a horrible infield.

              • gocatsgo2003

                Terrible.

              • ssckelley

                If you are using Bonifacio at 2nd base that means the Cubs are having to start either Schierholtz or Kalish against that tough lefty in the outfield.

                I think I would rather take my chances on Rizzo being in the lineup against a tough lefty over Kalish or Schierholtz.

          • DarthHater

            “I was first to argue that he should be # 1 pick”

            That is – as they say – a crock of shit. Look it up yourself and prove it or STFU.

          • DarthHater

            “as they say you can look it up”

            Okay, I looked this up:

            Die hard
            July 11, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink | Reply
            Prediction— we will see Dunston before Bryant at Wrigley

            [img]https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5337/14108142495_3c9e31c92a_n.jpg[/img]

            • DarthHater

              Oh, and this one is not about Bryant, but still a classic:

              Die hard
              August 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm
              … Hendry bet on wrong horse calling up Castro instead of Lake …. Thereby delaying Lake’s progress for 3 yrs …

        • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

          Players that can hit like Bryant & Baez will have high K rates as long as the OPS is high don’t worry about it. Bryant BB rate is the really promising star it means he’s recognizing pitches very well. But with Baez I’m still concerned because the walk rate is not promising.

          • Kyle

            The problem is that when the K-rate is this high in the minors, it often means that OPS won’t be that high in the majors.

            Baez and Bryant both have reasons why they might be the exception, but I seem to recall a lot of “who cares what Brett Jackson’s AAA K-rate is, his OPS is fine” arguments.

            • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

              It would be an interesting exercise to compare all the players that have been as promising as Bryant and compare thier numbers at the same points.

            • OCCubFan

              Bryant’s OPS has been boosted this year by a BABIP around .400.

              • Johnny Five

                Bryant’s BABIP has been over .400 at every level so far. This year is not the exception in that regard.

                • Kyle

                  Yeah. Nobody in modern MLB history can sustain that.

          • ssckelley

            Goat, I still have a hard time finding successful major league players that had a SO rate of over 25% in the minors no matter what the walk rate was.

            • Diehardthefirst

              Mike Schmidt

              • ssckelley

                Sweet, found 1!

                • Head and Heart

                  Giancarlo Stanton

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      I expected Bryant to strike out quite a bit this season, particularly early in the season. I also expected he would hit for a ton of power. On those counts, he’s just right on track.

      I did not expect that he would walk this much this soon. For me, the amount of discipline he has shown so quickly in Double A is a pretty big deal. It tells me that he may be an even more polished hitter right now than I thought he was, and I thought he was pretty darn polished.

      The steals were just sort of a throw in. Nice to see, but not a big deal.

      As for that strikeout rate, I also expect it will trend generally downwards the longer he is in Double A. Even the best players need to make adjustments as they learn how pitchers will attack them, and Bryant is no different.

  • Diehardthefirst

    Report card shows why trading Shark and Hammel for a combined 6 pitching prospects is # 1 priority

  • Johnny Five

    Re. Baez: I’m more concerned about the dip in ISO than anything else. His BB% isn’t bad, and the BABIP should regress to norm, but his ISO, which seems to define his game, has never been this low.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, Javier also lost a two or three homers to the weather. Given such tiny sample sizes, that is going to have nuked his HR:FB ratio.

      What we really need are his GB:FB numbers: if Javier is suddenly hitting a ton of GB’s, then we should worry. However, as he has made put the ball into play all of 42 times, I really doubt that he has hit significantly fewer FBs than expected.

      • Kyle

        His HR/outfield fly ball ratio is basically dead on for his career averages.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Despite playing in the PCL, where it arguably should be somewhat higher. That said, I haven’t checked to see how large that adjustment should be yet.

          Also, per Minor League Central his groundball rate is consistent with previous years.

          http://minorleaguecentral.com/player?pid=595879

          • Kyle

            He’s had 13 outfield fly balls. Any adjustment to give him more HRs would be a *huge* overcorrection.

            Nothing has changed about his power. He just can’t stop swinging at pitches he can’t hit. Yet.

  • JulioZuleta

    Not that Almora has been awful, and not that I would overreact to a slow month, but if you follow him on Twitter/Instagram, I think there has been some off-field stuff that could have been weighing on him recently. I guess I don’t need to feel hesitant to post it on here since he posted it himself–he posted a pic next to his dad in a hospital bed the other day saying that his dad beat cancer. Fantastic news, but hard to imagine being a teenager trying to focus on playing baseball while a parent is going through something like that.

    • MoneyBoy

      Very, very well said, Julio. I don’t do social media so I wasn’t aware of this. I completely agree with your point about a teenager trying to focus while dealing an apparent life threatening illness to a parent.

  • JulioZuleta

    Amazing that Bryant’s numbers look so strong despite a 33.3% K rate. I guess a .420 BABIP helps. The BABIP will normalize soon enough; hopefully the K rate drops quite a bit to compensate for it.

    • Mike

      His strikeout rate is 27.6%, not 33.3%. BABIP is .404 not .420.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah just noticed I did the K rate on ABs instead of PAs. Don’t know how I messed up BABIP. Tried to do it in my head, something went wrong. Glad I was wrong on both though.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Also, with BABiP, we need to separate two components: singles and (doubles+triples). The latter component tends to be more stable (or at least it is after you factor in streaks where more/fewer well-hit balls go for homers) than the latter. If a guy is getting a lot if singles, then that is the frequency that will come down to Earth: it only takes 4-5 caught bloops or snagged grounders to turn a good BABiP month into a bad one!

      • Mike

        Just kind of thinking out loud here, but wouldn’t the difference between ISO and BABIP give us a good idea on how deserving the batting average is? If the gap is huge it would be more likely that the hitter is getting lucky with a few extra well placed singles.

  • Medicos

    Familiar name just popped up in the SOX-INDIANS game: GEORGE KOTTARAS

    2 HRS today
    1,000 average
    1.000 OPB
    4.0 SLG

    You never know what’s gonna happen each day in MLB!!!

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    Thanks for the excellent write up Luke. I suspect Bryant will at least spend the month of May at AA. I think they probably want to see if he can bring his strikeout percentage down before they send him to the next level. If he were to be promoted to Iowa in June then he would be on track for a September call up when the roster is expanded. I was looking at Alcantara’s stats yesterday and at that time he was hitting .333 over the last ten games. The problem is that at the present time there really isn’t a place for him or Valaika on the roster. I see Olt and Alcantara as being connected in the sense that if Olt continues to struggle then Valbuena may get the share of starts at third opening a spot to ease Alcantara into the lineup. If Olt should show improvement then that complicates things when you have three guys on the present roster competing for starts at second base. I just wonder at what point do they cut bait and release Barney if they can’t get anything for him. If we were a contender then we could afford to keep him, but right now he is taking up a roster spot that could be used to develope a prospect. My hunch is that if things continue as is with Olt and Villanueva then Valbuena plays third and Alcantara gets a call. Also if Bryant should go to AAA and both Olt and Villanueva are there too, then it will be interesting to see if maybe they give Bryant some starts in the outfield.

  • Dustin S

    Soler’s inability to stay healthy has to be a concern at this point. It seems like he is out as much as he plays.

    For all the hype Almora has had, I was able to see him play quite a bit last year and honestly wondered what it was all about. I hope he proves me wrong, and he’s a quality prospect for sure and only 20. To me, his ceiling best-case scenario if he pans out is a right-handed David Dejesus. I guess I’d hope for a little more ceiling from our #2 OF prospect a few years into a rebuild.

    On the more positive side, I noticed Bryant’s sneaky speed in college and although I’d agree he won’t be pushed to steal much, he definitely has strong speed running the bases which always is a great thing. Also, if I were to put the odds on most likely player in the minors to contribute this year I’d have to think it would be Alcantara. He’s a spark plug and they’ll find room for him somewhere later this year either in the OF or at second.

    • gocatsgo2003

      Best case/ceiling? No… DeJesus is probably an apt comparison for what most think Almora will be. And, for the record, DeJesus is a career 105 OPS+ and .278/.352/.416 career hitter. Throw in the fact that Almora projects to be better than DeJesus defensively (DD is a -1.9 dWAR for his career on Baseball Reference), and I think we would take that.

  • DarthHater

    Cubs will replace Theo with Towers as soon as D-Backs fire him.
    —- Darth Diehard :-P

    • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

      It’s impossible to mimic him many of us have tried and failed

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      That doesn’t make any sense Darth. If they fire Towers then they have to buy out the whole year that they just extended him for. And truthfully who wants to come to Chicago right now with all of the financial restrictions? You can second guess Theo for some of the signings like Jackson and Veres, but for the most part he has done what he has said he would do. Sure they probably have a spin doctor working for them to sell the plan to all of the disallusioned fans, but let’s face it the business plan has laid a big fat turd so far. And Theo is operating with one hand tied behind his back. I question how commited Theo is to the organization behind closed doors. At some point the corner has to be turned towards respectability. Best case scenario is that it is happening now. With Arietta in the rotation now and the bullpen shored up we may see a team that can hang around .500 in a division that is visibly weaker than last year.

      • Diehardthefirst

        Nothing either of them says makes sense leading me to believe Darth and Goat are the same person- has anyone ever seen them together in same chat room? There’s your proof

  • salesguy

    In looking at this year, if the big club can just keep it close to .500. I would be very curious to see what a lineup of Rizzo Castillo, and Castro (and perhaps Bonafacio and Olt if he hits) would do flanked by Bryant, Baez, and Alacantra. It would be a young team, that I’m sure would struggle at times, but man will it be fun to watch.

    • gocatsgo2003

      I don’t think they’ll keep it close to .500 over the long haul because we will likely subtract at least one or two of our starting pitchers at the deadline (Shark and possible Hammel seem like great trade candidates). Even a guy like Villanueva might garner some interest at the deadline.

  • willis

    Baez just struck out swinging, again. We’ve seen his struggles adjusting to higher levels at the beginning, and then becoming a monster. But I’d like to see something soon.

    Black on the other hand, is throwing another dandy today thus far.

  • JacqueJones

    I dont see how you can rank olt 11th best prospect and say that he has been as expected. There arent any promising numbers for him. The k and bb rates are abysmal and while he may not have a high babip, hes also not hitting many line drives, and hes been very lucky with his flyballs that happen to leave the yard at a 20% rate which is really high

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      If you put Alcantara into the mix then you have a big five. If he and Bryant were to be the only ones that make the grade so to be we would be a much improved team with those two guys in the lineup. Baez will figure it out at some point. What I would like to see is the FO shore up the outfield as that is the weakest point on this team. A studly left handed hitter that can play plus defense would be the ticket IMO. I have to believe that we can get one if we dangle Hammel with a prospect or two thrown in.

    • Alan Griffin

      Luke was basing these grades off of *his* expectations of the prospects, not ours. Many, myself included, ignored the weak numbers with Olt in favor of his strong ones. We hoped that everything wrong with Olt could be explained away by his, now corrected, vision problems. As it turns out, the holes in his game are just that and have always been there. Luke had pretty realistic expectations for Olt and has been proven right, ergo Olt=Luke’s expectations.

      • Alan Griffin

        And I noticed that you did ask how he can be ranked at 11 and still be performing as expected. It’s simple. Olt was ranked 11 out of all *Cubs* prospects and not all national ones. Given that he is playing in the majors and not AAA, I can understand the justification for him playing “as expected”. If he had these numbers in Iowa, I’m sure that he’d have the tag “below expectations”.

        Olt is definitely playing below my expectations, but mine were always based on hope and not numbers.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Olt was ranked 11th for the Cubs in part because his risk value, as I figure it, was low. He was already in the majors, and his glove was going to play just fine there. As a major league ready good defensive player with inarguable power, I don’t think No. 11 was too high at all.

      As I said in the Top 40, though, I still was not sold on his bat.

      And I’m still not.

      However, I do see some positive signs even at the major league level. I thought his K% would be higher, for one thing, so I’m not unhappy with the 35% it is sitting at now. I also thought his ISO would be quite a bit lower than the .203 it currently is. So that’s good.

      Factor in the lowish BABIP, indicating that he may be a little better at the plate than his slash line shows, and the fact that I think his walk rate is going to tick upwards, and I think Olt is doing about as well as I thought.

      He’s a powerful hitter, but one with difficulty to make consistent contact. His glove and obvious power will keep him around the majors, but it remains to be seen if his K% will completely tank his ability to be a productive player. For me, that jury is still out.

      So, yes, he was the Cubs No. 11 prospect for me, and he is performing about as well as I expected for this early stage of the season.

  • Medicos

    DAYAN VICIEDO 3 run blast to give the Sox a 4-3 lead in the 9th. The Crosstown Classic this week is going to have some interesting young ball players on the field. Too bad Chris Sale is on the DL. Rizzo against Sale would a classic confrontation.

  • Cubbie Blues

    At the game yesterday, Hendricks looked very good, hitting his marks and plowing through the lineups. The Sounds starter was the exact opposite with his command, but sadly had the same outcome. It appeared that the ump was very generous with strike calls with the looks of the faces from some of players. Baez seemed especially dissatisfied with some of the calls and looked a little lost. He didn’t make good contact all game. Then Rosscup came into the game and if memory serves, he gave up 3 runs before getting the hook. The inning that got away was the 7th. Man on 1st and 2nd with 1 out and only got one across home plate.

    • long strange trip

      Hey Cubbie Blues, do you happen to live in Tennessee. I recently moved to Spring Hill from Chicago this past winter. I went to Sat. and Sun. games and the strike zone was even worse on Sunday. Baez got a strike called on him that was down by his ankles. Are you planning on going to any of the games at the end of May/ beginning of June?

      • Cubbie Blues

        Yes, I will probably go to one of those games as well.

  • Isaac

    Kris Bryant – “above expectations” = A

  • fieldofdreams35

    It’s finally over! Almora got walked!

  • FlCub

    Hey Luke, not sure if you already saw this but I read it in the Daytona Beach News Journal this morning, maybe Almora has had some family things weighing on him this year. Hopefully his dad fully recovers.

    http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20140503/SPORTS/140509799/1077?Title=Albert-Almora-s-father-is-his-hero-and-role-model

  • Stogie

    I’m going to see Iowa’s game tomorrow. Hopefully Baez breaks out of this slump.

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