soler and bryant mbdI am at all times in my office surrounded by pictures of The Little Girl. The Wife is in here, too, and so is The Little Boy. But when I think about the whole cliche “pictures in the office” thing, it’s The Little Girl who springs to mind, because hers were the first pictures I ever had in here.

This morning, The Wife and I will be walking The Little Girl to her first day of kindergarten. There’s nothing to be said in these moments that hasn’t already been said thousands of times over by parents before me. Everything about this moment is so wonderful and terrible. It just hits you.

And I gotta just get through these Bullets …

  • Jorge Soler didn’t just knock a baseball to the moon last night. He continued a stretch, spanning past his long hamstring injury, where he’s been hittingĀ .342/.435/.685 since mid-May (85 plate appearances). He has an 11.8% walk rate in that span, and a mere 18.8% strikeout rate. The BABIP is .360, which is high, but not ridiculously high for a guy who destroys the ball like Soler. The ISO is .342, which is definitely high, but he’s a guy who can have a very high ISO. That is all to say, the peripherals for Soler in this stretch are not necessarily crazy – they’re just good. He probably won’t keep this up for the rest of the year, and on into the future, but he’s giving a nice long flash of what he always had the potential to be. He’s showing why his offensive upside has always been discussed as among the best among young players in baseball – patience, contact, and elite power. He has theĀ potential to be something close to the guy he’s been for this stretch.




  • The Joe Smith hamstring injury, which landed him on the DL yesterday in convenient conjunction with Trevor Cahill’s return to the active roster, doesn’t sound like a phantom injury. It’s something he dealt with back in May, which apparently screwed up his mechanics, and that he’s been feeling for a little while since coming to the Cubs (Cubs.com). It’s one of those tricky things for players to know, especially as the end of the year approaches and everyone’s a little banged up: am I just hurting a little or am I actually injured? For what it’s worth, from the time Smith returned from that initial injury to the time he was traded to the Cubs, he posted a 3.65 ERA, a 3.39 FIP, and a 3.01 xFIP, by far his best month of the year.
  • Meanwhile, Pedro Strop is already playing catch following meniscus surgery on his knee last Friday. I still wouldn’t expect him before mid-September, but this seems like very rapid progress.
  • A little residual fun from Anthony Rizzo’s incredible catch. Over at Cut4, a look at the various fan reactions to the catch.
  • Dylan Cease had an outing last night for the Eugene Emeralds that is pretty much him in a nutshell: 3.2 innings, no hits or runs, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Wow. That’s quite a line. The fastball and the stuff, as we already know, are clearly really strong. The command, it seems, remains the part for polishing, as it so often is. That performance came, by the way, as part of the Emeralds’ 13th straight win.


  • Meanwhile, the Cubs’ other low-level top pitching prospect Oscar De La Cruz must’ve had his ears burning this week with all the gushing chatter, because he was knocked around in a short, three-inning outing at South Bend for the first time this season. It happens. Who knows what he was working on. As long as he’s healthy, I have zero concerns about De La Cruz’s future.
  • I know that it’s not exactly the same as MLB, but what Shohei Otani is doing in Japan – at age 21/22, as a pitcher AND a hitter – is absolutely blowing my mind.
  • At 12pm CT, this Jimmy Butler signed basketball goes on a lightning deal at Amazon. So, if you’re a Bulls fan, be ready.
  • Earlier, I wrote about the Cubs’ rotation shake-up.

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