July is just around the corner, which means it will soon be time to start granting some wishes for young Cubs fans. Details coming this week …
- So, that was just about as well as you could have hoped Dallas Beeler’s debut would go yesterday, eh? The young man, whose delivery is evocative of Roy Halladay, went 6 innings, allowing one unearned run (on a wild pitch), four hits, three walks (one intentional), and striking out six. It was just one start, and you don’t do him any favors by trying to take too much out of it, but I can tell you what I saw with my eyes. I saw four big-league caliber pitches: a sinker/two-seamer in the 90/91 mph range, a cutter at around 88mph (that had great lateral movement about 50% of the time, and stayed kind of straight the other 50%), a split-change in the low-to-mid 80s with great diving movement, and a playable overhand curve in the upper-70s. There was no wipeout pitch, but he could throw all four for strikes, seemingly in any count. That kind of repertoire, if he continues to be able to command it, looks to me like a classic big league 4/5 innings eater – a guy who could have some good seasons and some down seasons, but pitch in the big leagues for several years. I mean that as a serious compliment, because we’re talking about a guy who is already on the doorstep of the bigs, but was not considered a top 20 Cubs prospect. Also, I really dig Beeler’s calmness yesterday. It’s an important skill, it’s not really something you can teach, and it’s also not necessarily something you’ll know a guy truly has until he faces a big league lineup in a big league ballpark.
- Again: it’s just one start, but I’m trying to focus on what I saw, rather than the results. (There were a couple of hard hit balls right at Cubs players in the latter innings, but even if you tack on a couple earned runs, that start still looks great, in terms of the results, for what that’s worth.) It’s totally fair to be impressed by what you saw yesterday, but I’d suggest keeping your excitement in perspective (so as not to crush Beeler under the weight of your own unrealistic expectations). What we saw yesterday, in terms of results, looks to be the very high end of what Beeler could get in some of his starts. But, as I said, that’s totally plenty to feel really good about. I already can’t wait to see if he gets the nod in the second half (together, perhaps, with Tsuyoshi Wada (both are already on the 40-man)) to fill in the rotation.
- You can read more on Beeler’s start here, including thoughts from Beeler, Rick Renteria, and John Baker. Renteria put it well when he said, simply, that Beeler looked like he belonged.
- It was a pretty fantastic day for Cubs positional prospects yesterday. You already know that Kyle Schwarber had a huge game, including two homers. But also, Kris Bryant had three hits, Arismendy Alcantara had a couple hits, Javier Baez took a couple walks (no strikeouts), Albert Almora had three hits, Dan Vogelbach had a couple hits (including a homer) and a walk, Jacob Hannemann (who is scorching hot, by the way) had three hits, including a double.
- Read this fantastic interview of Jason McLeod at FanGraphs. I still want to figure out a way to highlight and discuss specific portions, but, for now, the whole damn thing is just so good that you’ve got to read it. (And, as you read it, try no to worry about what might happen to McLeod in the future.)
- If you’re still wondering why the Cubs have a scheduled off-day today, the first such Sunday in something like a million years, it’s because the Cubs honored a request from Alderman Tom Tunney (good neighbors, eh hem) to have a doubleheader on Saturday (which is a business hit for them) so that the neighborhood wouldn’t be overwhelmed with traffic and parking insanity for the annual Pride Parade, which takes place today in Lakeview. It was absolutely the right move by the Cubs (and a poor move by the MLB schedule-makers in the first place), because it would have been absurd to try and have both in the neighborhood at the same time, but I think the Cubs deserve another nod – this one – for doing right by Tunney’s request.