A handful of prospect news bits to catch up on …
- Cubs pitching prospect Rob Zastryzny, who was given quite a challenge in starting out his first full professional season at High-A, left his start yesterday after being hit in the left (pitching) arm by a comebacker. Sean Kernan reports that Zastryzny went for x-rays, and it sounds like more could be known today. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, and hopefully he can also continue to adjust, as it’s been a rough start for him so far: 8.33 ERA over 27 innings, featuring 46 hits. At least he’s showing a good strikeout rate (26 in those 27 innings) and a manageable walk rate (9 in 27 innings). But, as Luke pointed out this morning, you don’t give up *that* many hits by bad luck alone – clearly teams are teeing off on Zastryzny in certain situations, and you just hope it’s tied to the process of reworking a mechanic or working on a particular pitch, to the exclusion of trying to perform well. That does happen in the minors, you know.
- Interesting statistical aside: according to Minor League Central’s stats – pretty much the only place you can find this data – his line drive rate against is just 16%, which isn’t really all that bad. That makes me question how line drives are being classified there, but it’s certainly interesting. His BABIP against is a robust .438, so maybe there is, in fact, some bad luck going on (together with some other stuff).
- Speaking of interesting stats, how about AA second baseman Stephen Bruno? A college draftee in 2012 (7th round, slightly overslot signing), Bruno came out of the gate hitting at Boise, and then was promoted all the way to Daytona to start the 2013 season. Unfortunately, after a hot start, he had to undergo Tommy John surgery, and missed most of the year. Even after that, the Cubs had enough confidence in him to send him to AA to start this season, and he’s still hitting: .302/.412/.469 over 114 plate appearances. At 23, Bruno is age-appropriate for the level, and you obviously love to see that kind of production out of a second baseman. His BABIP is high – .378 – but that’s actually considerably lower than it was for him the last two years, and his line drive rate (18.7%) is 16th best in the Southern League among guys with at least 100 plate appearances (57 qualifiers). So he’s making solid contact. He’s also got a decent strikeout rate, and a decent walk rate.
- The only knocks against Bruno, I suppose, would be that his power is almost exclusively coming from doubles, which doesn’t always translate from the minors to the bigs, and he’s also getting a healthy OBP bump from 10(!) HBP already. (Then again, he’s been hit by a ton of pitches all three years, which you’d expect because low minors, but it also could be that he’s just a guy whose approach nets a lot of HBP – it’s not quite a “skill,” but there is year-to-year correlation there in league leaders.) All in all, he’s a legit prospect, about whom we’d have been hearing a whole lot more if not for the surgery last year.
- The Cubs have released pitcher Ryan Searle from AA Tennessee. The 24-year-old righty from Australia flashed some good stuff at times, but never quite put the whole thing together with the Cubs. He could probably easily catch on with another organization if he wants to stay in the States.
- The Cubs also sent outfielder Zeke DeVoss to Boise, in order to open up room on the roster for Jorge Soler. DeVoss, the Cubs’ 3rd rounder in 2011, has been a walking machine for the Cubs, and has good speed, but hasn’t done a whole lot else. Being sent from AA to short-season Low-A could be a transitional move, either for where he’ll be reassigned more permanently, or for a departure from the organization. DeVoss turns 24 in July.
- Kris Bryant had three hits, including two homers, and a walk last night. He’s awesome. Here’s his second home run for your swooning needs:
- Oh, and speaking of awesome video highlights, here’s Matt Szczur’s diving catch that sealed Chris Rusin’s no-hitter yesterday. It’s not the best catch you’ve ever seen, but consider the circumstances, man. This was the *last* out: