Cubs Minor League Daily: Smoke and Numbers

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Smoke and Numbers

Chicago Cubs

smoke monsterJavier Baez has had a rough time at the plate this season (and three more strikeouts yesterday did not help his line any), but despite his 39 strikeouts and K% in excess of 30%, Baez is not having the roughest time in the Florida State League. He is in a pack of players fighting it out for second place on the “Most Strikeouts By A Hitter” list, but Milwaukee’s Nick Ramirez is running away with the top spot. His K totals (48) and K rate (36.9%) are well ahead of Baez… but so are his BB totals (10 vs 5 for Baez). The two are tied in home runs (at 5).

So how does this aggressive swinger rank in the Brewers farm system? He doesn’t. Not on any kind of top prospects list, anyway. And that effectively demonstrates why we should not rely on nothing but numbers when evaluating minor league talent. Baez is a potentially elite prospect and Ramirez just isn’t, but based purely on their offensive production this season I think a lot of people might flip a coin between them. The stats just do not tell the whole story, something that is often the case in the minors. Scouting reports, physical tools (whether old school or new school), and context all matter and all have to be considered. Numbers alone are better than nothing, but they can be deceptive.

And that point applies at the major league level as well, particularly for young players and small sample sizes. Once upon a time the Cubs had a young player who finished the month of April with the line of .203/.229/.304. Had he been a Cub today I think half the fan base would have been on Twitter and the various forums screaming for his head. As it turned out, his slow start not withstanding, he was actually pretty good.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – Iowa welcomed Matt Garza with a 6-1 win.
Tennessee – The Smokies had Monday off as they traveled back home from a rough stay in Mississippi.
Daytona – The Cubs stumbled on the road, dropping this game 6-2.
Kane County – The hits were there, but Kane County did not have the pitching in this one. They lost 11-8.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Matt Garza scattered four hits and three strikeouts across 3.1 innings, but he was outpitched by Chris Rusin. The lefty struck out two and allowed just three hits over five innings to wrap up the game.
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters homered again, his second in as many games. Edwin Maysonet doubled and homered.
  • [Daytona] It definitely looks like Jorge Soler is back in form. He tripled (his first) and homered (his fourth) in this game. He has now reached base in seven straight games, and in that span he has homered twice, doubled twice, tripled once, walked four times, and stolen a base.
  • [Daytona] Frank Del Valle continues to get it done in relief. The lefty struck out three more while allowing a single hit in two innings of relief in this game. I am very curious to see what this guy can do as a closer or setup man higher up in the system.
  • [Kane County] Pin-Chieh Chen reached four times on two singles and two walks. He also scored twice and drove in two runs.
  • [Kane County] Dan Vogelbach and Jeimer Candelario had the only two extra base hits for the Cougars, both doubles. Candelario also added two walks to his day (Vogelbach had one).
  • [Kane County] Other than Chen, the only multi-hit game belonged to Bijan Rademacher. The right fielder finished 3 for 5 with his third steal of the season. And then to top things off, he took the mound and pitched a scoreless ninth.

Other News

  • Now that the Cubs have brought up Ryan Sweeney, Brian Bogusevic has to feel his turn is next. All Bogusevic has done is hit .419/.509/.591 with 1 home run, 2 triples, 6 steals, 17 walks and just 16 strike outs. There are not a lot of flaws in his game so far this season. Whether or not he can do anything in the majors this season, he has nothing left to prove at Triple A.

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.