Nico's Near-Term Future, Robel's Back On It, Rea Gets Love, and Other Bullets

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Nico’s Near-Term Future, Robel’s Back On It, Rea Gets Love, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The schedule was such that I had to miss my weekly heated pilates class (yeah, that’s right, and it’s fantastic) for a few weeks, and I just got back this morning. I sucked, and I’m soaked. But I did it, and my back is gonna thank me all week.

  • I don’t have an inside info on this just yet, so I’m only able to pass on the info, and the open wondering:

  • I would say it’s more likely than not it was a health issue, but the Cubs have absolutely shown a desire to get top prospects into minor league playoff races when possible. For Nico Hoerner, the only realistic way to do that is to bring him up to AAA Iowa, and soon. Yes, that seems aggressive for a guy in his first full pro season, but he’s repeatedly been described as uncommonly mature, and this is also a way to extend his season a bit (i.e., not just the “playoff” experience, but a few more games for a guy who missed a lot of time).
  • After Iowa, maybe Hoerner could then come up to the big leagues – not as an actual call-up, but as something of an apprentice. Just being around the team and the coaching staff, doing the workouts, etc. It’s something Bryan has advocated, and I really dig it for a guy who is likely to see big league action in 2020.
  • Of course, even if Ben Zobrist and Daniel Descalso (and already David Bote and Addison Russell) are gone from Iowa, the middle infield could still be pretty crowded. You’ve got Robel Garcia, Dixon Machado, Trent Giambrone, and Phillip Evans all playing well, and then there’s Zack Short at Tennessee, who really belongs at AAA, too. I’m not saying you couldn’t easily coordinate everyone (there is no true first baseman on the roster, and most of those guys can play third base, too), but it’s a healthy volume of bodies.
  • Speaking of Garcia, I know he fell off the radar a bit after his flash and fizzle in the bigs (very fun, and very much exactly as expected), but he’s still doing his thing at Iowa:

  • Straight out of Italian baseball. It’s incredible. Keep in mind, though, Garcia’s .272/.353/.576 line is good for a mere 116 wRC+ in this year’s PCL, and with a 33.5% strikeout rate, that’s not a guy you’d look at on paper and think he could translate to a solid bench bat in the big leagues just yet. He’ll have to figure out how to improve the contact without sacrificing too much power, and I reckon that’s going to be his big offseason/early-season task next year.
  • Dang. One of the Cubs’ big arms down at the lower levels. But what’s done is done, and now we can hope he kicks rehab’s butt. Good luck:

  • The Cubs haven’t needed many fill-in starts at the big league level this year, with Tyler Chatwood already there in the big leagues serving that sixth starter role, so Rea – who isn’t on the 40-man roster – hasn’t gotten a look. To be sure, his results this year in the PCL have been utterly absurd, and he’s likely been the most successful starting pitcher in the entire league. There are questions about whether the approach would translate to the big league level (he has yet to really put it together in the big leagues), but it’s worth noting that the 29-year-old was formerly a notable prospect, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017. It’s not entirely inconceivable that he has come back a better version of himself. In any case, the Cubs will have to make a decision about him soon, not just with respect to September call-ups, but more generally with whether they want to add him to the 40-man roster at the end of the year, or risk losing him in free agency. He’s currently on a minor league deal.
  • More from the PCL, where starting pitching prospect Tyson Miller not only put together his best AAA start, he also did this:

  • Heh. Oh, Kap:

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.