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arismendy alcantara cubs featureThe first episode of BNTV will live stream on Tuesday evening (that’s tomorrow) at 8pm CT (9pm ET). You can participate then in the comments and on Twitter, and you can email questions in advance to bntv AT bleachernation DOT com. Cubs stuff? Baseball stuff? Truth or dare? Send along your thoughts/questions, and we’ll have a fun time on Tuesday night. And, if you miss it, I’ll be publishing the video for folks to watch later.

  • The Cubs have been pleased with Arismendy Alcantara’s defense in center field so far (ESPN), and I’d have to say that’s probably especially true given how little experience he has out there. My eyes tell me he’s been covering quite a bit of ground, has a good glove out there, and gets a pretty good read off the bat. His arm has been spotty, which is something you’d expect for a converted infielder, though I wonder if there’s also a strength issue that might take some offseason conditioning. It’s extremely early – just 12 games in center field – but, so far, UZR/150 thinks Alcantara is an elite center fielder, with a projected 32.6 runs saved above average in center (that would translate to more than 3 wins(!) over a season from Alcantara’s glove, alone). Again: crazy small sample, but that 32.6 would be the best defensive center fielder in baseball, and second best defensive player overall in baseball. At second base, he was at 33.9. In other words, he’s been unbelievable defensively so far.
  • The Cubs will try to get Jacob Turner back on track, and the pitcher, himself, is viewing this as a fresh start (Cubs.com). Some of getting him right may simply involve more patience than the Marlins displayed: Turner’s xBABIP (expected BABIP) is 59 points lower than his actual BABIP this year.
  • Although Rick Renteria sees Javier Baez working on his approach, he wants to make sure the 21-year-old doesn’t lose what makes him special in the first place (Cubs.com). And, speaking of Baez, a bit more on his family, for those who don’t know.
  • To make room for Jacob Turner on the 40-man roster, the Cubs DFA’d outfielder Ryan Kalish, who had been scuffling at Iowa. There he’ll stay, as he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Iowa, as expected. He’ll finish out the season with the Iowa Cubs, and then the sides will get together and figure out what’s next for Kalish’s career.
  • Theo Epstein, as an aside in a larger piece on CSN, speaks about the importance of having guys come up through the system and succeed in the big leagues, in part because of the boost it gives to the guys who were playing with that player in the minors, and in part because of the boost it gives to the staff who were involved in getting that player into the system and moving up the ladder. It’s a nice thought.
  • Neil Ramirez feels good after his two-week sojourn on the disabled list (Cubs.com).
  • The Cubs struck out 44 times against the Rays, while walking just 2 times. That’s insane, and probably not repeatable. Well, hopefully.
  • Darwin Barney will finally make his debut with the Dodgers, after being called up yesterday to replace injured shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the roster. Best of luck to him … and to the Dodgers? Yes? No? Tough.
  • Chris Valaika grew up a Cubs fan, and hopes he gets a chance to stay with the team in a utility role after this season (CSN).
  • Kate Upton had a real life Elaine Benes moment when the Yankees told her should couldn’t wear Tigers gear to a game at Yankee Stadium. So she wore nothing. No, not really, but that would be the most click-baity link the history of links, wouldn’t it?

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