I’m heading home from a near week in Chicago, and I’ll have more on my exploits later this week. I’ll be on the road for a chunk of the day, so you’ll have to forgive a little absence today. Posting should be normal for a Sunday, though.
I had a great time meeting so many of you this week, between the Cubs games and the Wrigley tours and the get-together and the Under Armour Game. You’re swell people.
- No Jorge Soler today for Cubs fans. It was always the less likely outcome – but possible – that Soler would come up earlier than expected, and take Junior Lake’s spot on the big league roster. As it stands, the Cubs will instead call up Matt Szczur, another outfielder already on the 40-man roster. A big congrats to Szczur on the big league call-up, which comes four years after the Cubs started the process of trying to woo him away from a football career. Szczur was a start wide receiver at Villanova before turning to baseball full-time.
- Although he runs well and plays quality defense (he was the top defensive outfielder in the entire PCL to Baseball America this year), Szczur is hitting .261/.315/.312 on the year, which is a pretty healthy drop from his .281/.350/.367 line last year at AA (which was good for a 112 wRC+). Unfortunately, in the transition to AAA, Szczur’s BABIP dipped slightly, his strikeout rate climbed slightly, his walk rate fell slightly, and his modest power fell a bit. Take that all together and a bunch of small negative changes become one big negative change. It’s fair to question whether Szczur will ever hit enough to make it as a big league bench guy, even with the other tools (he’s been a fair bit hotter since the All-Star break, at least, with a .351 OBP). Perhaps that’s a part of what this look-see will be about. Luke will have more on Szczur later this morning.
- I won’t have a chance to get a close look at Dan Straily’s start yesterday until later, but you can read his and Rick Renteria’s thoughts here. He certainly had some tough luck with the hit sequencing, but he also allowed too many baserunners.
- As Jed Hoyer notes to the Tribune, the composition of the Cubs’ upcoming roster is such that there will probably be a lot of strikeouts. Even still, the last 10 games or so have been absurd, with the Cubs collectively striking out at something like a 30% clip.
- Great read from Patrick Mooney on new MLB Commissioner (in January) Rob Manfred.
- Matt Gelb writes about the hot seat upon which Ruben Amaro sits as GM in Philadelphia, and, when discussing the possibility of a change, the very first up-and-coming candidate he mentions is Cubs VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod. Like I’ve said before, get used to this kind of thing, because that’s how well McLeod is viewed in the industry. When openings pop up, he, and a collection of about five other guys, will always have their names circulate. McLeod elected to back out of the Padres’ GM search in June rather than take an interview, saying he believed in what the Cubs are doing and wants to be here when they win.
- If you missed it earlier this morning, Kris Bryant is getting an MRI on his left big toe.