Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

2015 mlb draftBaseball America has released version 2.0 of their 2015 Mock Draft, and this one features a major shakeup at the top and for the Cubs.

In the first version the Cubs were projected to draft one of my favorite draft targets, RHP Carson Fulmer from Vanderbilt. The basement on this guy is a solid late inning reliever, and the upside is something like a No. 2 starter. He’s a fairly safe pick (for a pitcher) with some tremendous upside. At number nine I like the pick.

But now he is slated to go first overall in the draft to the Diamondbacks. That sort of a jump in projection is an indication of how this draft is lacking in standout talent, but it also goes to show just how hard it will be to predict this thing.

So, with Fulmer off the board, where do the Cubs turn? The BA pick is a surprise, but it is a pick that I think shows that this publication has been doing their homework on how the Cubs’ front office likes to draft. The pick for the Cubs is a guy who was not thought to be a first round talent before the season started, has been perhaps overlooked by a lot of scouts for various reasons, but who has put together a great season and may well be the best college hitter in the draft. No, that isn’t a description of Kyle Schwarber. Ok, so it is a description of Kyle Schwarber this time last year, but it is also describing Arkansas sophomore center fielder Andrew Benintendi.

Benintendi was not known for his power or his hit tool before the season began, but in the very tough SEC all he has done this season is rank among the nation’s leaders in SLG while batting over .400 and mashing 17 homers. And he has excellent speed that makes him a true stolen base threat. And he hits left handed. And he has a very good chance to stick in center field.

Other analysts have Benintendi now listed as very likely to go in the first fifteen picks, so the Cubs taking him at number nine would not be a stretch. And you can immediately forget any thoughts of waiting to try to snag him in the second round.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this one. I love the idea of taking an excellent college hitter who had success in a major conference, and I love the idea of taking a center fielder who can hit for average with left handed power and speed, but I am also just a little leery of a guy who exploded up the boards in a single spring. If you are looking for a potential sleeper the Cubs could steal with their first round pick, though, this could be the guy.

Scores From Friday

Iowa – Despite three errors, Iowa won this one 6-5.
Tennessee – The Smokies offense found seven runs in the last two innings and came away the 9-4 winner.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans took a shutout into the eighth and won the game 7-3.
South Bend – The Cubs only had four hits in this 1-0 loss.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Possible Cubs future bullpen option Blake Cooper picked up 4 outs in this game, and all them came on strikeouts. He allowed a run on a hit.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez finished with 3 hits, 2 steals (he now has 5), and one strikeout.
  • [Iowa] John Andreoli stole 2 bases of his own (he now has 15), and he also hit his first home run of the season.

  • [Iowa] Other noteworthy events included the 2nd steal of the season from Mike Baxter, and the first homer of the season from Rubi Silva.
  • [Tennessee] Felix Pena struck out 8 over 7 innings while giving up 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Kyle Schwarber, behind the plate for this one, doubled (his 6th), homered (his 7th) and finished 3 for 4 with a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Fellow slugging lefty Dan Vogelbach also had a nice game: 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and 2 walks.
  • [Tennessee] And in the outfield, Albert Almora came up with a double and a triple while Jacob Hannemann finished 3 for 4 with his 6th Double A steal.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Duane Underwood opened the game with 3 strikeouts and 4 hits over 5 hits. Juan Paniagua extended the shutout an additional 2 innings.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Mark Zagunis finished this game 3 for 5. Pin-Chieh Chen, newly arrived from Tennessee, went 3 for 3 with a triple.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Jeimer Candelario picked up 2 hits, as did Ben Carhart.
  • [South Bend] Charcer Burks doubled and finished 2 for 4 while stealing his 9th base of the season.
  • [South Bend] Andrew Ely doubled for the Cubs only other extra base hit.
  • [South Bend] Trevor Clifton struck out 7 over 6 innings while allowing a run on 4 hits and 3 walks.
  • [South Bend] Jordan Minch struck out 3 in his 2 innings of relief.

Scores From Saturday

Iowa – Iowa committed another three errors on their way to this 1-0 loss.
Tennessee – The Smokies took an early lead and turned it into a 6-3 win.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans took a one run lead into the ninth, but they had to play twelve to earn this 3-2 win.
South Bend – South Bend mounted a crooked number in each of the first three innings on their way to this 10-4 win.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Carlos Pimentel struck out 4 over 5 scoreless innings while allowing 2 walks and 5 hits. Then it was time for Joe Ortiz to extend the shutout for 3 more innings.
  • [Iowa] The only extra base hit for the Cubs came from Javier Baez. He finished 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Carl Edwards Jr., formerly C.J. Edwards, struck out 3 and walked one in a scoreless ninth.
  • [Tennessee] Jeffry Antigua took the game into the 7th. He only struck out 2, but he held the damage to a single run on 6 hits and 4 walks.
  • [Tennessee] Tommy La Stella doubled and finished 2 for 5 as he began his rehab assignment.
  • [Tennessee] Albert Almora homered (his first) and finished 2 for 4
  • [Myrtle Beach] Paul Blackburn only struck out one in 5 innings on the hill, but he also allowed just one run on 4 hits and 2 walks.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Taylor Scott then put together another great relief outing in which he struck out 3 over 3 innings while allowing naught but a walk and a hit.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Jeimer Candelario doubled and finished 3 for 6.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Chesny Young stole his first High A base as part of his 2 for 5 night. Mark Zagunis and Ben Carhart also had 2 hits each.
  • [South Bend] Ryan Williams gave up 3 runs… but none of them were earned. He finished with 7 strikeouts over 6 innings while allowing just 5 hits.
  • [South Bend] A pair of catchers provided some power in this one. Gioskar Amaya (who was playing first base for the day) hit his first of the year, and Justin Marra (who was behind the plate) launched his 3rd.
  • [South Bend] The following players all had 2 hits: Charcer Burks (with a double and his 10th steal), Justin Marra (a homer and a double), David Bote (with a double), Jeffry Baez (with his 4th steal), and Rashad Crawford.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Would you believe the Cubs committed three more errors? They also lost 7-5.
Tennessee – During this doubleheader the Smokies held Jackson scoreless for fourteen total innings. Unfortunately, they played fifteen. That means Tennessee won the first game 5-0, but lost the second one 1-0.
Myrtle Beach – It was a back and forth contest, but the Pelicans prevailed. They won 6-5.
South Bend – The Cubs played from behind for most of this 7-4 loss.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Dallas Beeler allowed 5 runs in the first inning, but nothing after that. He left after 4 frames with 7 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts on his record.
  • [Iowa] Taylor Davis came in as part of a double switch when Beeler left the game and went on to double in all 3 of his at bats.
  • [Iowa] Rubi Silva (2 for 4) and Arismendy Alcantara (2 for 4 and his 3rd steal) had the only multi-hit games for the Cubs.
  • [Iowa] Jonathan Mota hit his second homer of the season.
  • [Tennessee] Frank Batista handled all 7 innings of the first game by himself. He struck out 4, walked 3, allowed 3 hits, and kept Jackson off the scoreboard.
  • [Tennessee] His catcher, Kyle Schwarber, raised his homer total to 9 on the year with two blasts in Game One alone. He walked twice in the second contest.
  • [Tennessee] Andres Santiago struck out 4 and allowed no runs on 2 hits and 2 walks over 5 innings in Game Two. Stephen Perakslis added another scoreless inning before Michael Jensen (2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB) coughed up an unearned run.
  • [Tennessee] Albert Almora walked and finished Game One 2 for 3. Ryan Dent had 3 hits in that contest.
  • [Tennessee] In Game Two, only Billy McKinney was able to provide much offense. He doubled and finished 2 for 2 with a walk.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Pelicans pitching combined to total 12 strikeouts in this one, thanks to Tyler Skulina (4 K, 4 IP), Daury Torrez (2 K, 2 IP), Michael Heesch (3 K, 1.2 IP), and Jasvir Rakkar (3 K, 1.1 IP).
  • [Myrtle Beach] Pin-Chieh Chen, after this 3 for 4 game that featured his first High A homer of the year, is now hitting .583 in his short time with the Pelicans.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Chesny Young and Jeimer Candelario both finished with 2 hits.
  • [South Bend] Ryan McNeil got the start in this game, but it did not go well. He lasted just one inning and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk.
  • [South Bend] Brad Markey, a product of the 2014 draft, then made his 2015 debut with 4 hitless innings that included a walk and 2 strikeouts.
  • [South Bend] Gleyber Torres doubled twice and finished this game 3 for 5. His line, as an 18 year old in full season ball, now reads .338/.423/.431.
  • [South Bend] David Bote and Cael Brockmeyer (who doubled) each had 2 hits for the Cubs.

Other News

  • You’ve been hearing a lot about Glebyer Torres lately, and for good reason. He is putting up very good offensive numbers in a pitcher friendly league at a very young age. And now that the Cubs have started shuffling rosters around a bit, his name is going to start appearing in some promotion speculation.
  • For Torres, the promotion problem breaks down into two parts. On the one hand, moving him to Myrtle Beach sooner rather than later is the best way to challenge his bat and to put him in a position to allow him to learn where he needs to improve to continue to advance his game. A successful trip to High A would also set him up for a possible (and very aggressive by the Cubs) stint in the Arizona Fall League and trip to Double A early next year. On the other hand, the Cubs could allow Torres to continue to work in the Midwest League for the summer. The caliber of pitching in that already pitcher-friendly league is likely to tick up a little as we move through the draft and college arms start to filter into Low A, so it is very possible that Torres could be challenged without a promotion. Leaving him alone would be easier on Torres the human as well, and would probably make it a little more likely that he could focus on baseball as opposed to living in his fourth region of the US in just a year and a half. At the end of the day it comes down to maturity, and that is something we’ll never be able to gauge from the stat sheet. I could see the Cubs moving in either direction, and I have no objections either way.
  • You probably noticed that Jeimer Candelario appeared a lot in the weekend game write ups, but you really need to look at his game logs to see just how ridiculously good he has been lately. Not only did the switch hitting third baseman come up with seven hits over the weekend, he has a five game streak going in which he has had at least two total bases in each game. He has posted multiple hits in four of his last five games. He has just seven strikeouts for the entire month of May. On May 9 he was hitting .250/.302/.368. His line now reads .280/.324/.386. That is about as good of a stretch of games as we can realistically hope to see out of any hitter this season.
  • Tsuyoshi Wada will join the Cubs rotation in San Diego this week. Javier Baez, despite sparking a flurry of speculation when he left Sunday’s Iowa game a little early, is apparently not coming up just yet (he could use some more time, even though he is playing well right now).

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