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kris bryant iowa cubs featureKris Bryant is well on his way to claiming the home run crown for all of the minor leagues. Yesterday he launched his 43rd long ball of the season; that put him three ahead of Joey Gallo with about a week to play. Both play in hitter friendly leagues, so I don’t see an advantage for either slugger in that category. This race will come down to whether Gallo can out-homer Bryant by three or more bombs over the span of a week’s worth of games. Barring an injury, that won’t be easy.

If you’re wondering how common a 43 homer season is in minor league baseball, the answer is “It isn’t common at all.” Fangraphs has data going back to 2006, and in that data the closest to Bryant is Dallas Mcpherson with the Marlins Triple A team in 2008. He had 42. That means you could argue, if you wanted to, that Kris Bryant is putting together one of the best seasons in history from a minor league slugger.

Bryant will likely be in Wrigley next April.

Scores From The Weekend

Iowa
Friday – A late rally did not cover the gap as Iowa lost 11-6.
Saturday – Then it was Iowa holding off the late rally for a 10-7 win.
Sunday – After fourteen innings the Cubs lost 5-4.

Tennessee
Friday – This game went sour right from the start as Tennessee lost 18-1.
Saturday – The pitchers suffered through another rough day in this 15-7 loss.
Sunday – The Smokies rallied late, but fell short. They lost 9-7.

Daytona
Friday – The Cubs opened the weekend with this 10-6 win.
Saturday – Saturday’s doubleheader began with the Cubs winning 4-2 in eight followed by the Cubs winning 4-0 in the second game.
Sunday – Daytona then completed the perfect weekend with this 7-1 Sunday win.

Kane County
Friday – Kane County never trailed in this 9-1 win.
Saturday – The final win of the streak finished 2-1.
Sunday – After two weeks of wins, the Cougars finally lost one. The final was 2-1.

Boise Hawks
Friday – The Hawks broke this game open early and ran away with a 10-3 win.
Saturday – They avoided the shutout with a run in the ninth, but Boise lost 4-1.
Sunday – Boise had Sunday off.

Arizona Cubs
Friday – The Cubs gave up one big inning, and it cost them in this 6-5 loss.
Saturday – Not very much went right for the Cubs as they lost this one 14-3.
Sunday – The offense was very quiet as the Cubs lost 5-1.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Kris Bryant homered twice over the weekend to bring him to 21 for the season with Iowa, and 43 for the year.
  • [Iowa] Jorge Soler also homered twice. He is up to 7 for Iowa.
  • [Iowa] Dallas Beeler struck out 6 and allowed 5 hits over 5 scoreless innings in Sunday’s start.
  • [Tennessee] Addison Russell belted his 12th homer in Sunday’s loss. He finished with 2 hits on Sunday, and on Saturday as well.
  • [Tennessee] Albert Almora and Lars Anderson each hit their second homer as a Smokie in Saturday’s contest.
  • [Tennessee] Not a lot went right for the Smokies on the mound this weekend, even from pitchers who have been reliable all year. This recent string of rough games aside, I still think Tennessee has the pitching to close out this division title race.
  • [Daytona] Nathan Dorris walked 4 and struck out 5 over the first 5.2 innings of Saturday’s shutout, and Zack Godley struck out three to finish the game.
  • [Daytona] Kyle Schwarber now has: a 12 game hitting streak, a 4 game streak of multi-hit games, a 5 game home run streak, 10 home runs for Daytona, and 18 home runs for his season. It certainly appears that he has solved High A pitching, at least for now.
  • [Daytona] Billy McKinney has not been as awesome as Schwarber. He only has a Daytona slash line of .308/.402/.455. He also just turned twenty over the weekend. Happy Birthday!
  • [Kane County] Starts from Tyler Ihrig, Ben Wells, and Daury Torrez anchored a solid weekend from the Kane County pitching staff.
  • [Kane County] Cael Brockmeyer hit his 7th homer over the weekend, and Jacob Rogers launched his 16th. Also this weekend came homer number 5 from Jeffrey Baez.
  • [Kane County] The Cougars pulled off a rare feat on Friday when three different batters tripled. Carlos Penalver and Daniel Lockhart both hit their 4th triple of the season, and Jeimer Candelario hit his 3rd.
  • [Boise] Erick Leal allowed a run on 6 hits and a walk while striking out two in his 6 inning start on Friday.
  • [Boise] There were no homers for Boise over the weekend, but Rashad Crawford did stay hot with a triple on Friday.
  • [Arizona] Jordan Brink made his second appearance of the summer, pitching a scoreless inning on Sunday.
  • [Arizona] Jeferson Mejia struck out 6 allowed a run on 4 hits over 5 innings in Friday’s start.
  • [Arizona] There were no homers in the desert, but the Cubs did get stolen bases from the rehabbing Rubi Silva (1), Ho-young Son (11), Gleyber Torres (8), Ricardo Marcano (5), and Kevonte Mitchell (17).

Other News

  • Albert Almora struggled mightily when he first got to Double A, but lately he has been hitting quite well. In fact, he has been playing so well lately that his Double A average is up to .259 despite that rough start. Given that he was hitting just .175 on August 10, that’s quite the turnaround.
  • Gerardo Concepcion continues to work out of the bullpen for Daytona, and he continues to be effective. After his 2.1 hitless innings on Sunday his ERA in the Florida State League is down to 1.29 over fourteen innings.
  • Keep an eye out for Schwarber’s name when fall and winter league rosters are announced. I suspect the Cubs are quite pleased with the bat, but they may be interested getting him more work behind the plate during the colder months. That could come in the form of an offseason league, or it could come in instructional ball. We shall see.
  • Andrew Ely was drafted this summer out of Washington and was recently promoted from the Arizona Rookie League (where he had an OPS Of .898 in 25 games) all the way to Iowa. How? Basically, he was in the right place at the right time. Iowa was on a road trip through the West when Logan Watkins got the call to Chicago. Without Watkins the Iowa Cubs needed another infielder, and Ely was available and playing well and was already out West himself. That’s why Ely vaulted the entire farm system in one leap. We have seen Gioskar Amaya and Daniel Lockhart make similar leaps in recent seasons. Once Iowa’s need for an infielder is finished, Ely will go back to his previously scheduled developmental track.
  • Brett: BN’er Nate was taking in Smokies games this past week when he heard through the grapevine that the Smokies are considering putting in a brick wall in the outfield, complete with ivy, a la Wrigley. Setting aside the injury risks, I suppose it would be a good way to start schooling youngsters on how to pull up when a ball is approaching the unforgiving wall. (This is not confirmed, or a sure thing, by the way – call it a fun discussion.)

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