arismendy alcantara featureAs far as Sunday’s go, today’s is going to be a fairly busy one. The Cubs close out the nominal first half of the season as they try to rebound against the Braves. All-Star festivities get under way in Minnesota. And the 2014 Futures Game – featuring Kris Bryant and Javier Baez – is today at 4pm CT.

I’ll also be hopping on The Game with Jordan Bernfield and John Arguello at 10am CT this morning, so you’re going to want to check that out, as both are swell dudes. You can listen at 87.7 FM, or at The Game’s website. I believe they’ve also got an app.

  • It was very good to get to see Arismendy Alcantara in person in center field yesterday, as it can be hard to get a sense of outfield defense on TV. What I saw: efficient routes and no mistakes. He was tested once with a deep throw from just about the wall in center, and, while it was clear that he’s got an infielder’s throwing motion – and he’s not a big dude – it looked like an arm that would play in center. I don’t think it’ll ever be plus, but it was good enough. In short: from one game (can you ever tell enough from just one game?), Alcantara looked like a big league capable center fielder. And he’s been playing the position for all of a month, and only sporadically. Kid is gifted.
  • Speaking of which, it’ll be really fascinating to see what the Cubs do with Alcantara coming out of the break. I can see the merits of sending him down for a couple weeks while the rest of the roster sorts itself out (i.e., trades – and you want to give those guys playing time), but I can also see the obvious merits of keeping him up. First and foremost, he’s earning it. And that matters from an organizational message standpoint. Second of all, how much value can the Cubs really wring out of a guy like, for example, Darwin Barney, by playing him more over the final two weeks of July? Probably very little. Teams know what Barney is: great defender, light bat. That is all to say: either decision is reasonable to me, because, whatever happens, Alcantara will be back in August.
  • Edwin Jackson’s start was embarrassing yesterday, which is both accurate and his word (ESPN).
  • Patrick Mooney profiles Kris Bryant.
  • Say what you will about Cubs ownership, but when I hear word of emails and letters the Cubs’ owners have sent to fans behind the scenes, they are really nice. Not quite like what the Rockies’ owner has been sending fans who complained to him recently.
  • I’ll be heading back home today from my Chicago sojourn, which will delay the EBS. I’ll put up a Futures Game post later today, too, with some info on what you need to know (and to provide a game thread for that one).