Cubs Minor League Daily: Happy International Free Agency Day!

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Happy International Free Agency Day!

Chicago Cubs

Today is July 2, and that means it is the start of the annual International Free Agent Signing period. We can expect some good news for the Cubs in the coming days as a result. More on that in a bit.

First, since it is also Sunday, we should take a look at the standings.

Iowa remains in last place, but they are moving in the right direction. Their 37-44 record on on the right side of ten games under now, and they have been one of the hotter teams in Triple A of late. Unfortunately, they are twelve and a half games back of the best record in all of Triple A, division leading Colorado Springs. The Cubs will need an amazing winning streak to put any serious dent in that deficit.

The Smokies (5-3) find themselves right where they ended the first half, just behind Chattanooga. They have won five straight, but they still trail the division leaders by two games. That’s ok, though. If Chattanooga stays on top, second place will get Tennessee into the playoffs.

Since they already won the first half division title, getting into the playoffs is not something Myrtle Beach is worried about. And that’s good, because the Pelicans (3-6) are in dead last, two and a half behind Buies Creek. I have feeling that the Pelicans won’t be in last… or under .500 in the second half for that matter… very long.

South Bend faded down the stretch in the first half, and then they kept right on fading at the start of the second half. At 2-8, the Cubs have the worst record in the entire Midwest League. They are already six games out of first, and five back of a playoff slot. They have the time and the talent to close the gap, but they will need to find a way to break their three week funk.

Even though the season just started for Eugene (11-6), we are already within weeks of the end of the first half. The defending Northwest League champs are in first place in the division by two games, and are fighting Vancouver and Tri-City for the best record in the league.

The 3-4 AZL Cubs are in third place in their division, two games back of the Angels. The division is mostly tight, though, with the Cubs joining a group of four teams that are all within two games of each other. Typically the Arizona League stays fairly close, so I imagine we’ll see a lot of bouncing up and down the standings before the season ends.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa 13, Round Rock 4
This game was suspeneded during a series in Round Rock a few days ago and just completed last night.

Iowa 5, Round Rock 2
Schwarber doing what Schwarber does best.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies

The Smokies were rained out.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 4, Down East 1
After allowing a run in the first, Pelicans’ pitching put up eight straight zeroes.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 5, Lansing 4
Despite three errors, that’s a badly needed win.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 5, Vancouver 2
Four different Emeralds stole a base in this one.

Rookie: AZL Cubs
Angels 6, Cubs 0
The Cubs had almost as many errors (three) as hits (four).

Other Notes

  • As I’m sure you already know, despite being in the ‘can’t sign anyone for more than $300k’ penalty zone, the Cubs are expected to take advantage of some oddities with how signings from Mexico are handled to land two fairly high end talents in this IFA signing period. That’s not all, though. The Cubs will also sign plenty of players for less than $300k from around the Caribbean, and some of those players may very well break out. For example, several years ago the Cubs signed a well regarded infield prospect named Junior Lake for a relatively hefty bonus. And they also signed a much lesser known infielder for a substantially smaller bonus. His name was Starlin Castro. Sometimes those lower bonus guys can surprise you.
  • Between the two games yesterday, Schwarber went 2 for 4 with a pair of walks and a pair of homers. That brings his Iowa season home run total to four. One of the two homers yesterday went to left center, and the other to right.
  • You don’t often see references to exit velocity in the minors, but in some parks it is tracked. And, when it is tracked, Eloy Jimenez is going to put up some fun numbers:

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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.