Losing Close Games, an Old Friend Helps Out, Smyly Plan, Hoerner Promotion, and Other Bullets

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Losing Close Games, an Old Friend Helps Out, Smyly Plan, Hoerner Promotion, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

The bad news: an ornery but well-meaning friend of the kiddos inadvertently kicked my bare surgically-repaired foot with a soccer cleat. It hurt so very badly. The good news: the pain subsided rather quickly, and I was no worse for the wear. Lotta good healing going on in there, apparently!

  • On losing another extra-innings game in which the Cubs had so many innings there to win the game, Joe Maddon told Cubs.com, “We’ve done this way too many times this year. Part of our record is a result of not being able to score in the latter part of games and losing some one-run games. We just go away for a bit. We can’t let that happen.” Certainly he’s correct that losing a lot of one-run games will skew the difference between your actual record and expected record (no doubt part of the reason why the Cubs “should” have about four more wins than they actually have). As for why the bats have locked up at times late in these tight games, I’m still not so sure there’s signal there, or if it’s just a matter of that’s gonna happen sometimes against the other team’s relievers.
  • Thankfully, the Cubs didn’t lose a game in the standings to the Brewers because of an old friend:

  • As rumors swirl about the Cubs going after pitching this trade season (from pure depth, as Jed Hoyer hinted at, to Jacob deGrom, as Bruce Levine connected), I see folks mentioning Drew Smyly, so I want to drop a thought on him. Although the Cubs definitely signed Smyly with an eye toward having a starting pitcher – he has seen success in the big leagues as a starter, and was getting even better before his Tommy John surgery last year – that eye was always more about 2019 than late 2018. Although Smyly is up to three innings in simulated games and will go out on rehab – probably later this month – as a starter, I still think the plan is for him to be available out of the bullpen in September. Even if he bucked that plan and looked like he could do some starting, that isn’t going to come for another month, and it cannot possibly impact the Cubs’ deadline plans in any way. What Smyly offers this year is a bonus, not any kind of pre-planned consideration.
  • As Luke mentioned in the Minor League Daily today, top Cubs pick Nico Hoerner has already been promoted to full-season ball, after just seven games at Eugene, which got me curious about how that timing stacks up against a certain trio of (admittedly-much-more-heralded) college bats that preceded him in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Kris Bryant spent 18 games at short-season Low-A in his debut, but then was leaped directly to High-A. Kyle Schwarber spent just five games at short-season Low-A before getting the bump to full-season ball at Low-A, where he spent 23 games before ending the season at High-A, like Bryant did. Ian Happ spent 29 games at short-season Low-A before then finishing the season at full-season Low-A. My guess is that’s a more likely track for Hoerner than getting another bump this year to High-A, but if the bat is not challenged in South Bend, then it could happen for him. Clearly the Cubs felt he was ready to leave short-season ball very quickly.
  • Miguel Montero was back yesterday, visiting with his former mates:

  • Even after an exit that was precipitated by crummy comments about his pitchers being too slow to the plate, Montero was still very much liked by his teammates upon his departure, so I’m sure he was well-received yesterday. #WeAreGood
  • Don’t sleep on catching prospect Miguel Amaya, who is breaking out with the bat this year:

  • The 19-year-old clearly has a very good head on his shoulders, and what excites me most is how everyone talks about his catching skills at such a young age. Being where he is already on that front will allow him not only to develop into a very talented defensive catcher, but may also allow him to focus on offense earlier than most young catchers (and perhaps we’re seeing the fruits this year, as he’s hitting .284/.352/.484 with 12 homers and a 131 wRC+).
  • Prime Day is coming at Amazon in four days, and they continue to run short-term deals in the lead-up.
  • There is new and expanded clearance at Fanatics TODAY ONLY, so check out the Cubs stuff here. Free shipping, too:


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.