The Cubs' Woeful Bench, Happ's Work at Iowa, the Robel Question, and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Woeful Bench, Happ’s Work at Iowa, the Robel Question, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

As some of you know, our youngest – aka The Littlest Girl – has special needs, which include a number of developmental delays. Well, we’ve been working with The Littlest Girl on standing up on her own from a flat ground for a very long time. She could pull up using a ledge for while, and she could do plenty of walking on her own, too. But that thing you take for granted – being able to simply stand up from the floor – was not something she could do.

Until this weekend.

After so much focus on that specific skill, she finally got over that hump, put all the pieces together – you don’t realize how many steps there are to standing up! – and began doing it totally on her own. A lot. A whole lot. She’s all over the place now! Grabbing stuff she shouldn’t off the table, tugging at the back of our shirts out of nowhere for attention, leaving the room without us realizing it … real toddler stuff! Getting into trouble! It was a very good weekend.

  • Sahadev Sharma has your must-read on the state of things with Ian Happ, who remains at Iowa a bit longer than I think most were expecting when he opened the season there:

  • It’s eye-opening to be reminded just how much even a successful hitter like Happ has to work on if he’s going to be a long-term, impactful player in the big leagues. Better coverage at the top of the zone. More balls in play at two strikes. More focused damage early in the count. Less passivity to open at bats. That’s why you’re not seeing consistent “results” yet at Iowa, because truly, that is not the intention with Happ. He’s working on this thing, then stabilizing it, then working on this other thing while keeping that first thing locked in place, and so on and so on. With so many bench bats struggling at the big league level, it’s crystal clear that the Cubs were very serious about taking Happ to a more consistent next level by working with him at AAA – otherwise, he probably would have long been up by now, and the Cubs would’ve just taken what they can get. I prefer this.
  • … but speaking of those bench bat struggles, my god:

  • That is terrifying. With the Trade Deadline coming July 31 and no more waiver trade period in August, I wonder if the Cubs will be “surprisingly” aggressive in trying to add an impactful veteran bat, or if they will instead hang their hats on hoping that Happ can come up and contribute and/or Ben Zobrist will return at some point in August ready to go.
  • Or they have to hope Robel Garcia can come up and keep raking in the big leagues. The 26-year-old infielder is the story of the farm system after coming over from Italy to blow up at AA and now AAA, but despite the .295/.369/.604 line at Iowa right now, some things to keep in mind: (1) in the current PCL environment, that slash is actually only 30% better than league average; (2) Garcia’s strikeout rate is a scary 34.5% at AAA; and (3) his .400 BABIP would not last at the big league level (even with him ripping the ball). That is all to say, I love Garcia’s story and I look forward to seeing if he can become a surprise bench bat for the Cubs in the future, but I’m not sure we’re there quite yet.
  • Laptops and other gear are among your Deals of the Day today at Amazon.
  • It is still pretty unlikely that Kendall Graveman impacts the Cubs this year out of the bullpen (he gets a decent chunk of change if he does, by the way), but it’s good to see his progress. Would love to have him available as an offseason option for rotation depth, depending on how things go:

  • Speaking of depth, this is worth following, as it might be make or break time for the talented Oscar De La Cruz:

  • This is fun:

  • It’s ‘Stranger Things’ Night at Wrigley Field, which means there are special Snapchat functionalities around the park:

  • This really is such a brutal pitch – a slider/cutter that comes in at 93/94 mph. Despite the reputation, Javy Baez doesn’t really get abused by down-and-away sliders anymore. deGrom is just something else:

  • The latest Onto Waveland episode wound up becoming a really interesting discussion about Joe Maddon, and how what happened to the Mets just seems unthinkable with the current Cubs (which is wild!):

Author: Brett Taylor

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