Cubs Minor League Daily: What If You Had to Consider (Temporary) Life Without Kris Bryant?

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Cubs Minor League Daily: What If You Had to Consider (Temporary) Life Without Kris Bryant?

Chicago Cubs

mike olt at batNothing was scarier than seeing via Twitter on Sunday that Kris Bryant had to exit the game due to an apparent blow to the head while sliding into second. The later news that he may be just fine and not need to miss any time was a relief, in a tentative sort of way.

But in the meantime I had already been giving thought to how the Cubs might fare without Bryant for a time, and I came to a surprising conclusion: they’d probably be just fine for a short time.

Bryant is one of the most irreplaceable players on the roster long term, but over a short stretch the Cubs have an abundance of options who are mostly playing very well right now. Christian Villanueva, for example, is in the middle of a very good season at the plate and is coming off a July in which he hit .291/.333/.515 with six home runs for Iowa. Mike Olt, who has largely pushed Villanueva to first lately, hit .302/.378/.512 with four homers in July and appears to be back to normal after missing a few games around the trade deadline. Either of those two are very capable of coming up and filling in for Bryant both defensively and, possibly over a short stretch, at the plate.

And then we have Javier Baez. Baez has certainly been productive since returning from the disabled list (.296/.406/.630 with 2 homers in six games), but his strikeout rate has ticked up a bit as he readjusts to Triple A. He could provide ample value in Chicago now, but I tend to think another week or so to shake off the last of the layoff rust wouldn’t hurt him any. Then again, I can’t wait to see his refined two-strike swing in action at the highest level and this might be my chance.

In short, there are three good defensive options in Iowa right now who could fill in for Bryant over the short haul, and all three happen to be hitting pretty well. If the Cubs need to let Bryant sit out a week for a possible concussion, even if only out of an abundance of caution, it may not hurt them as much as we fear.

Scores From Friday

Iowa – In a game that featured plenty of early scoring, the Cubs held on for the 5-2 win.
Tennessee – Tennessee rallied late, but fell short. They lost 7-4.
Myrtle Beach – In their first pitching duel of the weekend, the Pelicans prevailed for a 2-1 win.
South Bend – South Bend fell behind early, and that turned into this 6-1 loss.
Eugene – Eugene completed a road shutout in this 7-0 win.
Arizona – Arizona was rained out.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] John Andreoli and Luke Carlin both finished with 2 hits. Carlin made one of his a triple.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez doubled, walked, and struck out twice for the Cubs. He also stole his 10th base of the season.
  • [Iowa] Matt Szczur (1 for 5) stole two more bases to bring his total to 19.
  • [Iowa] C.J. Edwards allowed a hit and a walk in 1.1 scoreless innings. He struck out 2.
  • [Tennessee] Juan Paniagua struck out 3 in his 2 innings of relief, giving up a hit and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Willson Contreras singled, walked twice, and scored twice.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Chesny Young doubled and finished 1 for 4. Jordan Hankins also doubled as he finished 1 for 3.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Paul Blackburn pitched 7 scoreless innings despite allowing 7 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 3.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Josh Conway also struck out 3, but he did so in a single inning. In that inning he also allowed a run on 2 hits. Jasvir Rakkar allowed nothing in his one inning of work while striking out one.
  • [South Bend] Tyler Ihrig (2.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K), Daniel Lewis (1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 K), Corbin Hoffner (1 IP, 1 BB) combined to pitch 4.2 innings of scoreless relief.
  • [South Bend] Jesse Hodges doubled twice and finished 2 for 4.
  • [South Bend] Ian Happ and Gioskar Amaya both doubled once in finishing 2 for 4.
  • [South Bend] Jeffrey Baez hit his 7th homer of the season and his 6th since the All-Star break.
  • [Eugene] Carson Sands started the shutout with 5 inningss of work. He allowed 4 hits and a walk while striking out 4.
  • [Eugene] Tanner Griggs and Jared Cheek each pitched 2 scoreless innings of work in relief. Griggs allowed a hit and 2 walks, and Cheek allowed 2 hits while striking out 2.
  • [Eugene] Donnie Dewees led the Emeralds with 3 hits in this one.
  • [Eugene] Andrew Ely, Blake Headley, and Ricardo Marcano all finished with 2 doubles. Frandy Delarosa and Adonis Paula each doubled once.

Scores From Saturday

Iowa – Iowa piled up a bunch of early runs and turned them into a 13-8 road win.
Tennessee – The Smokies took the lead in the fifth and made it last. They won 5-4.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans tied it in the eighth, but ultimately lost 4-3.
South Bend – The Cubs rallied for two in the ninth to pick up a 5-4 win.
Eugene – Eugene was shut out in this one, 4-0.
Arizona – Arizona had the day off.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Javier Baez doubled on his way to a 3 for 6 performance. The other 3 at bats were all strikeouts.
  • [Iowa] Christian Villanueva also had 3 hits, as did John Andreoli and Chris Valaika. One of those hits for Andreoli was his 3rd home run.
  • [Iowa] Rubi Silva, with 2 doubles, and Mike Olt each finished with 2 hits to their record. Olt also drew a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Corey Black pitched one of his best games out of the bullpen so far. Over 2 innings he allowed just 2 hits and struck out 4. P.J. Francescon struck out one in a flawless final frame.
  • [Tennessee] Willson Contreras and Jeimer Candelario both turned in 3 hits games. Candelario sent one hit over the fence for his first Double A home run.
  • [Tennessee] Jacob Hannemann tripled (his 7th) and finished 2 for 4. Albert Almora, Jacob Rogers, Stephen Bruno, and Ryan Dent all contributed a double to the cause.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Mark Zagunis had the big blow in this one, a 3 run homer in the eighth. It was his 6th for the Pelicans.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Trey Martin, 2 for 4, had the only multi-hit game.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Brad Markey pitched 6 quality innings, allowing a run on 4 hits and a walk in the process. He struck out one.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Thanks to lapses in the field behind him, James Farris needed 34 pitches to get through his 0.2 innings. He struck out 2, walked 2, and allowed a run on a hit.
  • [South Bend] Jeffrey Baez stole his 21st base of the season and finished 4 for 5 at the plate.
  • [South Bend] Gleyber Torres tripled (his 5th). Doubles by Ian Happ and Jesse Hodges completes the list of Cubs extra base hits.
  • [South Bend] Jake Stinnett allowed 2 runs on 5 hits and no walks in his 6 inning start. He struck out 5.
  • [Eugene] Kevonte Mitchell doubled for the Emeralds only extra base hit.
  • [Eugene] Casey Bloomquist allowed a hit and struck out 2 in his 2 innings of work.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs rallied back from a three run deficit to win this one 9-7.
Tennessee – Tennessee scored all their runs in the third, but they walked way with the 5-2 win.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans kept the game scoreless through six innings, but in the end lost 2-0.
South Bend – The Cubs pulled away in the late innings to secure this 7-2 win.
Eugene – Eugene led for much of the game, but not when it counted. They lost 4-1.
Arizona – The Cubs were out hit, but not out scored. They won 7-3.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] John Andreoli doubled, tripled (his 5th), walked, and finished 2 for 4. Taylor Davis (2 for 4) hit his 2nd triple.
  • [Iowa] Adron Chambers and Mike Olt both doubled on their way to 2 hit performances. Arismendy Alcantara also had 2 hits.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez walked and singled. He also struck out twice.
  • [Tennessee] Andres Santiago struck out 8 over 6 innings in which he scattered 3 hits and a walk.
  • [Tennessee] Jacob Hannemann and Tommy La Stella each doubled and finished 1 for 4. Hannemann also walked.
  • [Tennessee] Willson Contreras doubled and finished 2 for 4. Stephen Bruno doubled twice and also finished 2 for 4.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Chesny Young added yet another hit, this time a single.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Jordan Hankins doubled, and Daniel Lockhart doubled and finished 2 for 4.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Tyler Ihrig allowed only 5 hits in his 6 shutout innings of work. He walked one and struck out 3.
  • [South Bend] Zach Hedges struck out 3, walked 2, and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits in his 7 innings of work.
  • [South Bend] David Bote hit his 4th homer of the year. That home run also happened to be a grand slam.
  • [South Bend] Rashad Crawford finished 2 for 4 with 2 doubles. Jeffrey Baez doubled and finished 2 for 5.
  • [South Bend] Ian Happ and Yasiel Balaguert each finished with 2 hits.
  • [Eugene] Andrew Ely doubled twice and finished 2 for 5. Blake Headley also had 2 hits.
  • [Eugene] Oscar De La Cruz allowed a run on 6 hits and 2 walks in his 5.2 inning start. He struck out 3.
  • [Arizona] Ben Carhart doubled and finished 2 for 3. Jose Paniagua also doubled for the Cubs.
  • [Arizona] P.J. Higgins finished 3 for 5. Carlos Sepulveda added 2 hits.
  • [Arizona] Heath Dwyer struck out 4 and allowed just one hit in the final 2.1 innings.

Other News

  • I believe this is the first time Luke Carlin has appeared in the Daily. Carlin is a veteran catcher (34 years old) who spent part of the season playing for Nashville. He does have some major league experience with Cleveland, Arizona, and San Diego, but his last game at the highest level was in 2012. The Cubs signed him as added insurance and to protect against needing to rush any of their catcher prospects (Contreras and Caratini in particular up the system).
  • You may have noticed that the strikeouts numbers for Baez are running a little higher right now than they were before he went on the disabled list. I don’t think that is anything to worry about. After missing about a month and a half, some rust is to be expected.  Fortunately, the productive side of his game is already in place. He may not need a whole lot longer to re-find the patience he showed earlier in the season.
  • If you had not heard of Tennessee’s Sunday starter before, don’t feel bad. This is not a guy we have discussed much (he was a minor league signee in the offseason), but his recent run of rotation success may warrant a closer look at some point. In his four games as a Double A starter, Andres Santiago has an ERA of just 1.27. He has allowed just 3 runs on 16 hits in those 21.1 innings of work, and has struck out 18 while walking 7.

Author: Luke Blaize

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