Cubs Minor League Daily: Reconsidering Concepcion, Watching Martinez and Dewees HRs

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Reconsidering Concepcion, Watching Martinez and Dewees HRs

Chicago Cubs

tennessee smokies logoGerardo Concepcion has a minor league career ERA of 5.02, and a 2016 ERA of 0.00 in 17.2 innings. In that span he has allowed just 5 hits, walked 4, and struck out 17. He has appeared in ten games and has pitched as many as three innings in a game, so he’s isn’t just being used selectively in favorable match ups. He just turned 24 in February, so he really doesn’t necessarily qualify as a minor league veteran taking advantage of less experienced hitters. I think we have to take his numbers seriously.

The problem is that I don’t know what changed.

Last season Concepcion, whom the Cubs signed four years ago out of Cuba for $6 million, spent 31.2 innings over 31 games in Tennessee, and he was rocked to the tune of a 8.24 ERA. His FIP said he was better than that … somewhat, at just 6.11. That lack of success was built on a huge walk rate (8.24 BB/9) and an unpleasant home run rate (1.14 HR/9); those numbers prior to yesterday’s game were 2.30 and 0.00 in 2016 respectively.

I need to dig into the archives and find some tape of Concepcion pitching last year to compare to what he is throwing this year; just watching him on (admittedly, I haven’t caught him on any of the really high quality video feeds yet), I’m not seeing much difference in terms of his delivery or in the scope of his arsenal. The change is likely more subtle, or in areas such as velocity and location that are much harder to pick out from online video feeds with the naked eye. If I had PitchFX data … but I don’t. Sadness.

I do think we need to put Concepcion back in potential prospects category, and possibly, if he keeps this up, back on the Top 40 when I re-rank it mid-season. Remember, Concepcion was considered a very good arm in Cuba before a difficult, injury-riddled transition to the States.

We’ll get a better idea of his Major League potential when the Cubs move him up to Iowa later this season, but for now I think it is safe to say he’s in the conversation when we’re discussing future bullpen options for Chicago. As a lefty, he could be a candidate to appear in the Cubs’ pen as soon as this September.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Nashville 8, Iowa 5
Despite the loss and an 0-3 from rehabbing Miguel Montero, the key prospects once again did good things.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Montgomery 4, Tennessee 3 in eleven innings.
The Smokies tied it up in the ninth, but could not find the extra run they needed.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 5, Winston-Salem 2
The Pelicans got most of their offense from their infield in this one.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 2, Dayton 0
Dayton 5, South Bend 4
It is tough to sweep a doubleheader on the road, but the Cubs came very close to pulling it off.

Other Notes

  • We’ve seen Alcantara’s name pop up several times lately, and it looks like most of the difference has been a bit of a recent power surge. There are sample size alerts all over these numbers, but in April Alcantara posted a slugging percentage of .415, but that has jumped to .538 so far in May. Three of his four total homers have come since the calendar turned over.
  • Myrtle Beach piled up six total steals in their win. In general, it feels like the Cubs farm system has been running more, and more successfully, this season than in past years, but I haven’t studied the numbers yet to see if there is anything to that.
  • The Iowa Cubs Perfect Game Burger (call it the Arrieta already!) is down to Number 19 in the Food Fight. One of the items that has emerged over it is a pork roll that is fried in funnel cake batter and topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Thanks for trying Lakewood BlueClaws, but I’ll give that one a pass.
  • Martinez’s homer:

  • And Dewees’s homer:

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Author: Luke Blaize

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