Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

cubs azl spring training logoThe Cubs promoted the two most obvious promotion candidates before the end of April, so it could be a little while before we see another potential impact player get the call to Chicago. There are some candidates, though.

First off, don’t forget about Javier Baez. Even though he struggled with strikeouts last season, he offers so much power that he does not need to hit for a high average to be a very valuable guy. His glove, which should prove to be very valuable in a utility role if that is how things set up, combined with his massive right handed power gives him the potential to make a difference for the Cubs as soon as mid-summer. He’ll need, at the minimum, a few weeks in Iowa (once he comes back from bereavement leave) to get ready, and possibly longer. When he is ready, though, he could be a very nice, versatile addition for the Cubs.

On the mound, C.J. Edwards seems likely to be the most impacty of the likely call ups. He is working out of the bullpen in Tennessee now (likely to reduce his 2015 inning count after an injury shortened 2014), but he could be available in short order if the Cubs needed a bullpen arm. Typically the Cubs front office places a fair bit of value on prospects spending sometime in Triple A, but Edwards’ has good enough stuff I think they would at least consider bringing him to Chicago if the bullpen needed a shot in the arm.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa scored three in the eighth to put this game away. They won it 6-4.
Tennessee – The Smokies gave up four runs across the final two innings, and it cost them in this 5-3 loss.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans used a big seventh inning to take the lead for good. They won this one 7-4.
South Bend – Lake County scored in each of the final three innings as South Bend lost 5-2.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Matt Szczur finished 3 for 4 and stole his first minor league base of the season. Chris Valaika also had 3 hits.
  • [Iowa] Donn Roach, the starting pitcher, doubled and finished 1 for 2. He also threw 6 innings and gave up a run on 4 hits while walking 2 and striking out 3.

  • [Iowa] Armando Rivero allowed a run to score on 2 walks while striking out one in his inning on the hill, but at least he didn’t allow any hits.
  • [Tennessee] Two hit were provided by Pin-Chieh Chen (who tripled for one of his) and Kyle Schwarber.
  • [Tennessee] Dan Vogelbach doubled (his 5th) for the only other extra base hit.
  • [Tennessee] Corey Black struck out 4, walked 2, and allowed a run on 3 hits. He pitched 6 innings with 84 pitches.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Jen-Ho Tseng gave up more hits than we’d generally like to see. Over 4.1 innings he allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 3.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Ben Carhart homered (his second) and walked twice as he factored into about half of the Pelican’s scoring.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Doubles from Jeimer Candelario and Carlos Penalver (who had 2 hits) were the other extra base hits for the High A affiliate.
  • [South Bend] Jake Stinnett was once again oddly wild, but fortunately it was less so. Over 5 innings he allowed a run on 2 hits and 5 walks while striking out 4. I have not had a chance to study the whole game yet (the game is archived if you are a subscriber), but from what I did watch it looked like Stinnett was attacking the lower corners of the strike zone and just missing very slightly. The walks are concerning, but I would not say they are worrisome just yet.

  • [South Bend] Charcer Burks finished with 2 hits; he was the only Cub to have a multi-hit game.
  • [South Bend] Justin Marra homered (his first), walked, and scored both the South Bend runs.

Other News

  • It is absolutely true that Rivero gave up a run without giving up a hit. We see oddities like that crop up in the minor league box scores a few times every summer, and generally I let you puzzle them out on your own. But the Cubs won and I’m feeling generous, so I’ll give you this one (besides, it is an easy one). In the top of the seventh Rivero walked Danny Black who promptly stole second. He then advanced to third on a ground out, and then scored on another ground out.  A walk and a strikeout ended the inning. Like I said, that was an easy one.

Today’s Game to Watch

If you aren’t watching the Chicago Cubs tonight (and, let’s face it, you’ll probably be watching the Chicago Cubs tonight no matter what I recommend… and I probably will be as well), or if you feel like watching two games at once, then the stream to follow is the South Bend game. One of the excellent early stories for the Cubs has been the emergence of 6’7″ starting pitcher Jeremy Null. With two starts and eleven innings behind him, he currently has thirteen strikeouts without allowing a walk. Null will be facing the Lake County lineup starting at 7:05 PM ET.

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