Despite the Cubs lack of catching talent generally, they have gotten some nice performances from behind the plate this season. Rafael Lopez was the guy with the brightest future in the upper minors, and last night he apparently left Tennessee for his first Iowa call up (Tennessee manager Buddy Bailey confirmed via Smokies on the Radio). Lopez does well behind the plate as well as at the plate, so his promotion is both deserved and welcome. It keeps him on track for a possible major league future as a backup one day.
But Lopez isn’t the only catcher playing well this season. The Incredible Hitting Catchers of Kane County, a troupe consisting of Ben Carhart, Will Remillard, and Cael Brockmeyer, have provided most of the offensive muscle for the Cougars all season. Like Lopez they have all drawn plenty of praise in the Daily this spring.
One guy I have left lacking in accolades is minor league veteran catcher Charles Cutler. Cutler, who turns 28 in July, is in his fifth straight Double A season. So far it has been a very good season. Cutler’s season line reads .316/.422/.421 with walk rate of 12% and a strikeout rate of 12% over 117 trips to the plate. This left hander has primarily served as the backup to Lopez for the Smokies this season, and in that role he has fared quite well.
He is not a guy we should be adding to top prospect lists or should be monitoring as a major league candidate (though that OBP makes me think he could have a future as a backup if his glove is good enough to warrant that), but he still deserves a lot of credit as a key cog in the Smokies lineup.
Cutler hit cleanup behind Bryant last night, and finished with two more hits. All in all, pretty nice for a guy the Cubs grabbed in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - One run did not cut it as the Cubs lost 4-1.
Tennessee - A late rally closed the gap, but the Smokies were too far behind when it began. The final was 10-5.
Daytona - Three runs proved to be enough in this 3-1 Daytona win.
Kane County - Unearned runs allowed in the fifth cost the Cougars in this 5-3 loss.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Chris Valaika had 2 hits for the Cubs. The only other multi-hit game came from…
- [Iowa] Dallas Beeler, who finished 2 for 2 at the plate and pitched 7 innings. He allowed 3 runs on 5 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts.
- [Tennessee] Kris Bryant finished 2 for 4 with a walk, a strikeout, and no extra base hits. Dustin Geiger also had a pair of hits.
- [Tennessee] Super-sub Anthony Giansanti finished 3 for 4 with a double.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach finished 1 for 3 with a double and a pair of walks. That double was the Cubs only extra base hit.
- [Daytona] Pin-Chieh Chen, Zeke DeVoss, and Chadd Krist all had 2 hits for Cubs.
- [Daytona] Nathan Dorris pitched 6.2 quality innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk while striking out a pair.
- [Kane County] Jacob Hannemann finished 3 for 5 with a double and his 17th stolen base.
- [Kane County] Yasiel Balaguert and Daniel Lockhart both finished with a double and 2 hits.
- [Kane County] Duane Underwood had the start, and he pitched 5 innings allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 5 hit sand a walk. He struck out just one. Michael Heesch, on the other hand, earned three of his four outs by the strikeout.
- Jacob Hannemann is showing signs of breaking out. Counting his three hit performance from yesterday, he has multiple hits in four of his last six games, and has hit for extra bases in three of them. Over his last ten games he has just four total strikeouts, good for a rate below 10%. His season line is still not great, but keep in mind that he just picked up a bat again last year after taking two years off from baseball. It may be another season yet before the Cubs really know what Hannemann is capable of, but right now I can’t argue with how he is trending.