Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

happy cubs old logoJim Callis has named his latest “Prospect Team Of the Week“, and the infield is basically the all Cubs slugger show.

Kris Bryant, still technically a prospect even though he looks like a ten year vet at the plate, gets the nod at third base. Dan Vogelbach earns the honors at first base. And behind the plate is Kyle Schwarber.

Second base and shortstop went to other teams, but that’s ok. We all know the Cubs have all the young middle infielders anyway.

Speaking of Schwarber, the big question remains his eventual position. We know he can hit for power, for average, and that he has a very new-Cubs patient approach at the plate, but we still can’t be sure if he can stick at catcher.

I am increasingly leaning towards the conclusion that he can. He has a lot of work to do, but the work ethic on this guy is pretty impressive and makes it easier to tend towards optimism. Take, for example, this Schwarber quote from a recent article on

“You really have to find time for the defensive things, because there are not many times set aside just for that. You try to push yourself every day because you want to be boring back there. You want to have the same footwork, the same arm slot, the same exchange. In the offseason, I spent more time working on my defense than offense by far. Now since we’re in the season and we have to find time, it’s more 50-50 because if you’re not good defensively, the game can change in a big way.”

This is a guy who gets it. He knows what he needs to do behind the plate, and he knows that he’ll have to put in a lot of extra work to get there. And so he’s going out and putting in the work. That explains how he made significant enough improvements last year to convince the Cubs to keep him behind the plate, and if he keeps it up he might yet turn himself into a decent enough of a backstop to spend some significant time there in Wrigley.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The offense was not efficient, but they found enough runs to win 3-2.
Tennessee – This game turned ugly in the fifth as Tennessee lost 11-0.
Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach had the day off.
South Bend – A late rally by the Cubs fell short as South Bend lost 7-5.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Donn Roach gave up 7 hits in his 6 innings of work, but Oklahoma City could only turn those into 2 runs (and just one of them earned). Roach struck out a pair.
  • [Iowa] The bullpen turned in a scoreless game, including work by Gonzalez Germen (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K), Drake Britton (0.1 IP, 1 K), and Blake Cooper (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB).
  • [Iowa] Matt Szczur finished this game 4 for 4, all singles, and stole his 3rd Triple A base. That base happened to be home.
  • [Iowa] Taylor Davis finished 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles.
  • [Tennessee] Tyler Ihrig, lately of Iowa, formerly of South Bend, and briefly on the Eugene roster while assigned to Arizona, made his Double A debut in this game. He allowed one run through 4 innings and got one out in the disastrous 7 run fifth. His final line reads 4.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 3 K.

  • [Tennessee] On the positive side, Willson Contreras hit his second triple of the season. That’s not bad for a catcher.
  • [South Bend] No way around it – Jeremy Null had a bad game. Over 5 innings he gave up 12 hits and a walk that turned into 5 runs. He struck out 5. His ERA rose from 0.74 to 1.73 as a result of this one game.
  • [South Bend] Cael Brockmeyer finished 3 for 3 with a walk. Three Cubs, including Charcer Burks, Gioskar Amaya, and Yasiel Balaguert, all had 2 hits each.
  • [South Bend] Stolen bases were provided by Burks (his 11th) and Rashad Crawford (his 5th).

Other News

  • The Venezuelan Summer League is underway, and the VSL Cubs are one of just five* teams participating. Joining the Cubs will be the Rays, Tigers, Mariners, and Phillies. The VSL Cubs will not receive the Daily treatment, but once enough games have been played for some meaningful stats to pile up, we will check in on the progress of some Cubs’ prospects in South America from time to time.
  • *(The Mariners are still listed, though they’ve yet to play a game. They had reportedly pulled out of Venezuela earlier this year.)
  • Baseball America has released their Top 200 prospects for the June draft. This is pretty much a must-bookmark page if you are going to follow the draft as it happens on June 8, 9, and 10. Alternatively, you could let Brett and I do the hard work for you and just be sure you are following @BleacherNation and @ltblaize on Twitter while checking this website frequently for updated articles. More details on our draft coverage plans will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • And now for some rampant speculation. Did you notice who else, besides Schwarber, caught for the Smokies yesterday? His name is Erick Castillo, and he was just assigned to Tennessee despite not spending a single inning above Short Season A in his short professional career. So why did the Cubs assign him all the way up to Tennessee? Why are the Smokies currently carrying three catchers on the active roster? I don’t know. But I do know that Schwarber has been crushing the Southern League from the plate and that Iowa comes home from Oklahoma City on Thursday … which happens to be the same day Tennessee hits the road for Montgomery. If the Cubs intended to send Schwarber to Iowa soon and did not want to rush Victor Caratini (who is only hitting .198/.291/.242 for Myrtle Beach), then moving someone like Castillo up from Arizona now would make a lot of sense.  That isn’t to say that Schwarber will be behind the plate in Iowa this weekend, but if I lived in Iowa I might start eyeing tickets.

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