One big benefit of The Wife’s teacher schedule is that, during the summer, when I’m up late covering a Cubs game, she can be the one to rise early with the kiddos and get me that much-needed extra half hour or so of sleep. Well, she’s away at a conference, so no such luck. Why did last night’s game have to be so interesting that I stayed up past midnight my time reading and writing about it, and watching replays?
- With last night’s win, the Cubs won back-to-back games for the first time since June 5-6. That came as part of a five-game winning streak, which is theoretically matchable by the Cubs, given their upcoming match-ups. The Cubs are now 1.5 games back of the Brewers, but tied in the loss column.
- We talked at length about the Anthony Rizzo home plate collision thing earlier today, so if you missed the discussion, check it out.
- Luke talked about how productive Eloy Jimenez has been already as such a young player, and you watched him bust a light tower light with a homer in the Carolina League Home Run Derby, right? And we also talked yesterday about how he’d be the guy the Rays would want as the centerpiece in a Chris Archer trade. Dude is popular right now. Patrick Mooney writes a bit about Jimenez, with quotes from Jason McLeod on the aspects of Jimenez’s game that remind him of – wait for it – Kris Bryant. When you see people like me hesitate when they see Jimenez’s name pop up in rumors, even for a pitcher like Archer, hopefully you can understand why. This isn’t just a case of loving all prospects and not wanting to part with talent to acquire talent. It’s just the possibility that Jimenez could be in the uniquely special tier of bats that you simply cannot give up.
- Although he’s had some close calls recently, Wade Davis is still perfect in closing out games for the Cubs:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 20, 2017
- On the whole, Davis’s numbers with the Cubs have been almost perfectly Davis-like: 1.48 ERA, 2.10 FIP, 2.89 xFIP, with a 35.1% strikeout rate and a 9.3% walk rate.
- Travis Sawchik writes about the Cubs’ efforts to find an extra edge in Mexico, signing players to healthy bonuses despite the IFA restrictions they face (something we discussed recently in the context of a top pitching prospect the Cubs are expected to sign).
- A fantastic read at ESPN on the cultural adaptation of latin players in MLB, and the unique struggles they face. Like this, from Miguel Montero: “[Starting out] I had no money. None. But it was my own fault. I spent it on a pair of shoes, $60. I thought we had food in the fridge that they were going to give us. But when we arrived, there was no food. So I spent three days hungry, and I remember that I called my mom. She sent me money because I told her we were all hungry. And she started to cry. She told me, ‘Come back to Venezuela. You don’t need to go through this.’ And my dad grabbed the phone from her and told her, ‘Let him become a man. You want to be a ballplayer, then stay there. So put on your pants and go play ball, because this is what you wanted to do.’ I never called them again.”
- Hi, Javy:
- Cody Bellinger is the new Gary Sanchez:
Cody Bellinger has now homered 20 times in his first 51 games, tying the record. Dude. pic.twitter.com/YwzIDPRpTB
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) June 20, 2017
- Bellinger was a 4th rounder for the Dodgers in 2013, signed out of high school to an over slot deal but not a crazy one ($700,000). He played exclusively at rookie ball in 2014, showing decent but not overwhelming numbers. He played at High-A the next year in the notoriously offense-friendly Cal League, again putting up decent but not overwhelming numbers (but he was very young, at just 19). In 2016, he moved up to AA, and it was the same story: good numbers, not enormous. Then he erupted at AAA to start this season, and you’ve seen what he’s done in the big leagues at age 21. What a crazy trajectory, and although the insane production probably will settle back down, it’s a reminder that the numbers in the minors don’t tell you everything – there’s scouting and player development to consider. What a job by the Dodgers (and Bellinger).
- Diagramming with Michael:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) June 20, 2017
- We talked about it in the Lukewarm Stove yesterday, but I thought it worth mentioning here in the Bullets, too, in case you missed it: Gleyber Torres will miss the rest of the season after tearing his UCL on a slide at home. He’ll get Tommy John surgery on his left elbow to fix the issue, and should be good to go for Spring Training. I mention this not only because of the Cubs connection, and not only because it’s a shame that he won’t join a young and surprising Yankees team this year, but also because I can’t remember the last time I heard about a player tearing his UCL on a slide. That’s just not an injury you expect to happen as a guy reaches for the plate, but then I think about Rizzo’s slide last night – and the lane open to the right – and I wonder what happens if he goes headfirst, puts his left arm out to tap home plate, and the catcher swings across at the same moment and lands on his elbow with full weight and momentum.
- Pow-pow-powerwheels. Deal of the Day at Amazon today.