In addition to being a development league, Triple A is the level from which the Major League team is mostly likely to summon reinforcements if the need comes up. Having players who are performing well in Triple A can act as a nice additional insurance policy for an organization. So far as that insurance policy is concerned on the positional side, the Cubs are in good shape.
As a whole, Iowa has a top five offense in the Pacific Coast League when ranked by OPS, so it isn’t a surprise that they have some individual players who are high on the league wide leaderboards. Without diving into the exact ranking for each player (plenty of time to do that once early season numbers have stabilized a bit more), there are five players in the lineup who are regularly ranking fairly high in various categories and all five provide some needed insurance for the Cubs.
Iowa’s leaders include Vogelbach (Rizzo insurance), Contreras (catcher insurance), Kalish (outfield insurance), Kawasaki (infield insurance), and Almora (also outfield insurance). No matter where on the diamond the Cubs need reinforcements, it looks like they have a player performing well in Iowa ready to come up and help out in a pinch. Hopefully the prospects are able to stay in the minors and develop all year, but it is nice to know they are there if needed.
- Ryan Williams: 5.2 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K. On a day when the wind was blowing out to right at nearly twenty MPH, that’s a good line.
- Carl Edwards Jr.: 1 IP, 1 K
- Spencer Patton: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K. His ERA is still 0.00. His batting average against is just .143.
- John Andreoli: 1 for 3, 2B, 2 BB
- Ryan Kalish: 3 for 4, 2B, 3B, BB.
- Willson Contreras: 0 for 1, 4 BB. Probably the best hitless day he’s ever had.
- Dan Vogelbach: 1 for 4, BB
- Albert Almora: 3 for 5, HR, SB. Watch his blast below.
- Arismendy Alcantara: 0 for 4, 1 BB, SB
- Munenori Kawasaki: 1 for 3, BB, SB
- Ryan Williams: 1 for 3. Even the pitcher got a hit in this one, and that gets him on the list twice.
- Rob Zastryzny: 6 IP, 5 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K
- Jacob Hannemann: 2 for 5, HR. You didn’t write off Hannemann already, did you? I warned you not to.
- Chesny Young: 2 for 5
- Victor Caratini: 1 for 3
- Billy McKinney: 2 for 4
- Taylor Davis: 2 for 4, 2B
High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach was rained out.
- Justin Steele: 1.2 IP, 6 R (3 ER), 7 H, 2 BB, 1 K – Game One
- P.J. Higgins: 2 for 3 – Game One
- Ryan Kellogg: 6 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K. Kellogg in Game Two was the bright spot on an otherwise rather dismal day.
- Eloy Jimenez: 1 for 3, 2B – Game Two
- Daniel Spingola: 2 for 3 – Game Two
- Matt Rose: 1 for 3, 2B – Game Two
- Jesse Hodges: 1 for 3, 2B – Game Two
- I’m still not sure what to make of Ryan Kalish. His stats are off the charts good in pretty much every area, but the sample sizes are still small. And on top of that, his BABIP is ridiculous (.432 prior to yesterday’s game). That probably means he is making a lot of hard contact (in addition to his good speed), but as anyone who watched Jason Heyward drill line drives right into Cardinal mitts in at bat after at bat in St. Louis will tell you, hard contact alone does not not a high BABIP make, and that BABIP is well over a hundred points higher than his career norms. He’s definitely playing well, but it looks like he’s been really lucky as well. We may need a few more weeks before we really know what the Cubs have here, but it is always possible that, just as they did with Luis Valbuena and Chris Coghlan, the front office may have struck gold.
- Almora’s homer was his third of the season, and it was not a cheap one, even if it was a bit wind aided. He is off to as good of a start as any of us could realistically have hoped. Check out the blast: