Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

It was a rough start to the season for former Chicago Cubs utility man Arismendy Alcantara, who was sent back to AAA Iowa to work on some things at the plate after he really struggled to adjust to big league offspeed stuff. It took him a little time to get going at Iowa, too, hitting just .111/.238/.167 through his first five games there this year.

Alcantara put together a huge day during a doubleheader yesterday for Iowa, however, homering in the first game:

And then again in the second:

Alcantara, who also tripled, saw his line climb all the way to .200/.286/.560 after the two-game set. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a nice hot stretch, and one that features a little better pitch recognition. Whether it comes as a full-time fill-in, a mid-season trade piece, or a super utility player, the Cubs could almost certainly use a contribution from Alcantara before the season is over.

Meanwhile, down at AA Tennessee, center fielder Jacob Hannemann made his debut, taking the spot of Albert Almora, Jr., who was placed on the DL. And what a debut it was, as Luke noted this morning: not only did he have three hits on the day, score a couple runs, and steal a base, but he homered in his very first at bat.

Here’s Hannemann’s blast:

It would be great to see him continue to evolve his game as he climbs the ladder. Hannemann is a heck of an athlete, and it’s just a question of whether there will be enough polish at the plate.

And, not to be left out, for the second time in as many days, Kyle Schwarber went deep for the Smokies:

He just hits the ball so damn hard.

Schwarber’s line on the year is up to .388/.484/.735, with a 17.7% walk rate and 22.6% strikeout rate over 62 plate appearances. He’s got a long way to go to get to the 297 plate appearances Kris Bryant saw at AA when he opened his first full professional year, just as Schwarber is now. But, so far, Schwarber’s ahead of Bryant’s numbers there (.355/.458/.702, 14.5% walk rate, 25.9% strikeout rate).

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