Luke’s vacation continues, so I’m still tapped in. A quick look around the Cubs’ farm system action yesterday, with your full box scores available here …
- Javy Baez got his hit streak up to 13 games at Iowa yesterday, though it was a single, his only hit, and he struck out twice in the game. He did steal a base. Baez played at second in this one, which underscores the apparent desire to keep him maximally versatile, though Mike Olt and Christian Villanueva were playing, which means third base was necessarily going to be occupied by someone else.
- Tsuyoshi Wada had his first solid start in a long time, going 6.2 innings and allowing just one earned run on six hits and a walk. He struck out just three. The calls for Wada have been strong of late, with Dan Haren struggling, but his performance at AAA this year has not been encouraging, with an ERA and FIP both just under four. Although he was fairly solid for the Cubs before he hurt his shoulder a couple months against the Dodgers, it doesn’t seem like Wada’s been quite the same since. Maybe it’s just taking him a while to get back on track? Maybe he’s almost there? Maybe and maybe, I guess. He started on the same day as Haren, for what that’s worth.
- Ryan Buchter has been an interesting lefty arm for the Iowa Cubs since the organization quietly picked him up mid-season. He had another good outing last night, and, on the year split between AAA for the Dodgers and Cubs, he’s posted a 1.58 ERA in 45.1 innings with 55 strikeouts. The 22 walks are the obvious hold-up, but it’s fair to wonder if he could contribute in September. Not unlike many other AAA/MLB reliever types, Buchter has always had huge strikeout totals … to go with huge walk totals.
- Big-time Cubs catching prospect Willson Contreras had another couple hits last night, including a double. Current line: .329/.407/.480.
- Daury Torrez was solid for the Pelicans, throwing seven innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and no walks. That’s pretty much what the 22-year-old righty has been in his time with the Cubs: not a ton of strikeouts, but almost no walks. He’s a big dude at 6’3″ 210lbs with a hard, sinking fastball (though his extreme groundball proclivities have been down considerably this year). He’ll be a guy to watch heading into 2016, as he’ll likely move up to the AA rotation. Watching him, I’ve always been a bit more impressed than his stats suggest, for what little that’s worth.
- Another couple hits in that game bumped Chesny Young’s average up to .331 at High-A, which is excellent for a guy who can play all over and is in his first full professional season. The real question is whether he can sustain his walk rate, enormous contact ability, and minimal power as he moves up and faces better pitching. You might be shocked to see how quickly a .331/.396/.402 batting line can become .280/.330/.330 in the upper levels for most slap hitters without any power (the lack of power doesn’t just hurt the ISO, it also usually pulls down significantly on the batting average, too). There are exceptions, of course, and there’s also the chance that Young adds some pop. I love the versatility and the contact ability, and it would be great if he emerged as a future utility option for the Cubs.