For years the hallmark of the Cubs’ farm system was power. Year after year the Cubs cranked out one young slugger after another. Along the way that crop of power hitting prospects not only produced several good players for the Cubs, they were also key parts of several important trades. On the whole, the Cubs’ focus on power paid off nicely.
But the last of that bunch was Eloy Jimenez, and now the farm system has a distinct lack of thunder.
Iowa ranks third from last in the Pacific Coast League in homers (25) and dead last in slugging percentage (.351). Myrtle Beach is next to last in the Carolina League in homers (24) and slugging (.348), and South Bend sits fifth from the bottom in homers (22) and fourth from last in slugging (.360).
Tennessee is somewhat of the aberration. The Smokies rank third in the Southern League in homers (36), but their slugging percentage (.366) is third from last.
There are some young hitters who could, in time, help turn this around – Jonathan Sierra, Nelson Velazquez, and Miguel Amaya to name three – but they have a long way to go and will not themselves reverse this trend.
As we head into the draft, I would not be surprised to see the Cubs put some effort into adding some power back to the farm system. I doubt they focus on power as singlemindedly as they have focused on pitching in recent years, but adding some sluggers to the system could help shorten the time before the Cubs again have a farm system that allows for some trades to help the Major League team.
- Luke Farrell: 5 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K
- Rob Zastryzny: 2 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Anthony Bass: 1 IP, 2 K
- Lane Adams: 1 for 3, 3B, BB
- Mike Freeman: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Jacob Hannemann: 3 for 4, SB
- Chesny Young: 2 for 4, 2B
Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee had the day off.
- Bryan Hudson: 1 IP, 5 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K
- Casey Bloomquist: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 K
- P.J. Higgins: 2 for 4, BB
- Daniel Spingola: 2 for 4, 2B
- Javier Assad: 5.2 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 7 K
- Brendan King: 2.1 IP, 4 H
- Enrique De Los Rios: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- Zach Davis: 1 for 4, BB, SB
- Jhonny Bethencourt: 2 for 5, SB
- Jared Young: 2 for 3, BB
- Miguel Amaya: 3 for 3, 2 BB
- Nelson Velazquez: 2 for 4
- Christian Donahue: 2 for 4, SB
- Now that I think about it, a case could be made that the Cubs started to focus on power hitting a little more in last year’s draft. In addition to Nelson Velazquez, both Austin Upshaw and Austin Filiere projected for good power when they were drafted.
- Hudson pitched to eight batters in the second inning, and didn’t retire any of them. For the day he threw just 17 strikes out of a total of 43 pitches. His struggle in the second began with back-to-back hit batters, and was all the more surprising given that he struck out two in the first and looked good doing it. At one point play was stopped and he threw a few pitches for the trainer as if evaluating a minor ailment, but stayed in the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that that there was something physical behind the way his control completely vanished in that inning.
- After Hudson left the game without an out recorded in the second, Casey Bloomquist came on and struck out the side. And all three strikeouts were swinging.
- Struggling pitching prospect Jose Albertos has been sent back to extended Spring Training, presumably to work on whatever mechanical issues caused his walk rate to explode.