Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

It is official. Ian Happ, the Cubs’ first round pick of 2015, has exited Eugene and has been promoted to South Bend. As of last night the transaction had not yet appeared on the Northwest League wire, but the Eugene Emeralds themselves confirmed the promotion on Twitter. In his 29 games with Eugene, Happ hit .283/.408/.491 with 4 home runs and 9 steals.

It’s possible that Happ, who has been playing center field (but could add back in second base during instructionals in the fall), will finish the year at South Bend. The S.B. Cubs, however, may not make the playoffs this year, so it’s possible, late in the season, Happ could get the bump to Myrtle Beach (which has already secured a playoff spot by winning their division in the first half) to experience a playoff run like some other top prospects before him.

Meanwhile, down in Arizona, Javier Baez began his rehab assignment as he starts working his way back to Iowa and, eventually, Chicago. Baez was quietly enjoying a very successful Iowa campaign when he was injured, one that would have almost certainly had him back in the major league lineup by now. His walk rate was up to 7.0%, his strikeout rate was a perfectly acceptable (for a slugger) 25.3%, and through 158 plate appearances he had a line of .314/.386/.536 with eight home runs and seven steals. Of note, that on base percentage is the highest he has posted at any level in his entire minor league career.

Hopefully his rehab games go smoothly and he is able to make it back to Chicago in a hurry. Baez has a good history of adapting and adjusting every time he has been challenged, and I can’t wait to see what this new and improved Baez can do as a part of the Cubs’ lineup.

Brett wrote about Baez’s first rehab game earlier today.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – For most of six innings this game was tied. Then the Cubs coughed up a run and eventually lost 3-2.
Tennessee – With a three run rally in the eighth, Tennessee won by a score of 4-1.
Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach led briefly, but ultimately lost 7-3.
South Bend – The Cubs were shut out 13-0.
Eugene – Late heroics lifted Eugene to a 2-1 win.
Arizona – The Cubs could not keep their lead in the late innings and lost 4-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Felipe Paulino struck out 8 in 6.1 innings on the mound. In that span he allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and 2 walks.
  • [Iowa] Matt Szczur finished 3 for 4 with a walk.
  • [Iowa] Mike Baxter finished 2 for 4 with his first homer as an I-Cub.
  • [Tennessee] Rob Zastryzny struck out 5 over 5 innings of work during which he allowed a run on 7 hits. Zach Cates followed with 2 innings of one hit baseball.
  • [Tennessee] The Zac Rosscup Rehab Tour has made it up to Tennessee, and in this game it included one inning, one walk, and 3 strikeouts. He’s pretty much striking out everybody he sees in the minors.
  • [Tennessee] Billy McKinney doubled and walked in this one. His double was the only extra base hit for Tennessee.
  • [Tennessee] Jacob Hannemann singled, walked, and stole 2 bases. He has 14 Double A steals now.
  • [Tennessee] Jacob Rogers finished 2 for 4.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Chesny Young doubled and finished 3 for 5. His consecutive games on base streak is now at 42.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Josh Conway walked 4 and struck out 5 in his 2 hitless innings of relief. Dave Berg posted nothing but zeroes in the final frame.

  • [South Bend] David Bote was the only pitcher to toss a scoreless inning for the Cubs. I should note that he’s listed on the roster as a third baseman.
  • [South Bend] With a single and a walk, Gleyber Torres was the only player to reach base twice for South Bend.
  • [Eugene] Donnie Dewees hit his first professional home run in the bottom of the 8th inning, and it accounted for both of Eugene’s runs. He finished 1 for 3 with a walk and his 3rd stolen base.
  • [Eugene] Frandy Delarosa doubled and finished 1 for 4.
  • [Eugene] Pedro Araujo struck out 5 in his 3 innings of relief. He allowed 2 hits and a walk.
  • [Arizona] Dylan Cease allowed one hit and 3 walks in his 2.2 innings of work. He struck out one.
  • [Arizona] Javier Baez, playing shortstop, finished 1 for 3 in his first rehab game. He did not strike out.
  • [Arizona] Michael Foster and P.J. Higgins both doubled and finished with 2 hits. Robert Garcia and Varonex Cuevas also doubled.

Other News

  • Ok, so technically it is possible that Baez will be traded soon and will never play another game in a Chicago uniform. I think it would take a pretty significant trade to include him (after all, how many good defensive middle infielders with 30+ home run potential can you think of?), and I tend to think any team involved in a trade that significant will want to be very sure Baez can rebound at or near his full strength. No one would want to acquire him on a rehab assignment only to discover that additional complications in his hand would cause him to miss more of the season (or worse), for example. I think there will be a lot of chatter that includes Baez over the next week, but when the sun rises on August 1 I think (and hope) he is still a Cub.
  • Like the Cubs (all three flavors), the Smokies, and the Pelicans, the Eugene Emeralds are proving to be very good at Twitter. And one of the best parts of following Eugene on Twitter is their play by play of the taco race during every home game. Only by following the Emeralds will occasional gems like this light up your timeline.

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