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pittsburgh-piratesNever fails: if The Little Boy sleeps in (by which I mean the very late hour of 6:30am), The Little Girl gets up early. If The Little Girl sleeps in, The Little Boy gets up early. Coordinate, people.

  • The Chicago Cubs will get to experience a long-awaited promotion for a tip-top prospect tonight. No, it’s not Kris Bryant or Javy Baez coming up; it’s Gregory Polanco. The Pirates’ top positional prospect has been the subject of a great deal of spilled ink as he tore up AAA and the Pirates’ outfield failed to produce at the corners. It was quite clear that the Pirates were simply waiting until the projected Super Two cutoff had passed (you can’t know for certain, since it’s a backwards calculating kind of thing), and it’s pretty likely that they’ve now done it. The 22-year-old outfielder is very likely to be a pain in the Cubs’ ass for years to come, as a mix of power, contact ability, and patience, bundled up together with a whole lot of athleticism. In many ways, Polanco is everything the Cubs hoped Jorge Soler – also 22 – would be at this stage of his career. Unfortunately, as we saw yesterday, Soler’s ascent has been derailed by injuries.
  • (Query whether Polanco would have come up quite yet without a surprise appendectomy befalling Neil Walker (noted Cub-killer), and opening up a spot.)
  • I tend to think, over the course of a period long enough to make a difference, calling up top prospects does not move the attendance needle substantially (the marginal ticket-buyer is a casual fan who isn’t going to suddenly pay for 10 games so he can see Javy Baez 10 times), but this is certainly interesting:

  • Charlie Morton got to just one three-ball count last night against the Cubs. (Cubs.com) Unless that’s because you’re destroying the guy early, it’s a good bet that you just got dominated.
  • At least Starlin Castro had a big game, going 3-4 with a double and a homer. The effort raised his slash line from .269/.311/.434 to .276/.318/.455, and his wRC+ from 102 to 110. Castro is currently on pace for a 3-WAR season, which is obviously swell, especially given where he was last year. There’s room for positive regression, too, given that Castro’s BABIP – .303 – and line drive rate – 21.8% (best of his career) don’t quite square.
  • Speaking of line drive rates and BABIP, how’s this for bad luck: Nate Schierholtz is 27th in baseball with a 23.8% line drive rate, and yet his BABIP is just .273, far below his career mark of .297. Keep doing what you’re doing, Nate, and the numbers will come around.
  • Outfielder Ryan Sweeney (hamstring) has started a rehab assignment with Kane County, and could presumably then be about a week out from returning. It’ll make for an interesting decision when he comes back: do the Cubs finally relent, and go back to a seven-man bullpen? Or do they bump someone like Chris Coghlan from the outfield? You look at Coghlan’s line - .208/.300/.340 – and it seems like a no-brainer … but then you vaguely recall that Coghlan started out in a ridiculous slump, and wonder if that line is the product of a really hot stretch. So you look, and you see that he’s hitting .304/.429/.609 over his last nine games with four extra-base hits, five walks, and just five strikeouts.
  • What else is new: the Cubs will have to fight with the City to keep using the remote parking … that the City asked them to establish. (Tribune) Also, by every account I’ve seen – and heard from locals – the lot has been perfectly fine. But the alderman in whose ward the lot sits has to STAND UP to the Cubs.
  • If you looked up “duh” in the dictionary, you would find two examples: (1) Cats are awesome companions; and (2) if the 2013 MLB Draft were re-done today, Kris Bryant would go first overall to the Astros, not second to the Cubs. BP concluded the latter while redrafting the 2013 crop – it’s actually a really interesting read, as they go through the entire first round.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada has always been my guess as the first-in-line to join the big league rotation this year if a spot opens up (trade or serious injury), and it sounds like Mark Gonzales is hinting at the same thing. In case you missed thoughts on Wada before, there are some reasons that the lefty – even at 33-years-old – could make the most sense as the first fill-in.
  • Today’s the last day to get a BN t-shirt for 15% off if you use the coupon code MYSHIRT2014.

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