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Javy is a Star, Iowa Bullpen is Also Absurd, Wisdom Strike Zone, Prospect No-Hitter, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The West Coast Road Trip – first edition – begins tonight in San Francisco, and while I’m certainly not saying the Cubs’ can’t keep up their winning ways, I do think you have to brace yourself with realistic expectations on these kinds of trips. Sure, the Cubs just swept the Padres – and that *is* a commentary on their goodness – it’s just a different animal traveling out West. We see it every year, when the tiniest physical differences at the margins can really impact the outcome of a given at bat, for example. So if the Cubs can go 4-3 over these seven against the Giants and Padres, you’d be ecstatic. I gotta be honest, if they can even hold the line at 3-4, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t still be very pleased.

•   Javy Báez hit his 14th homer yesterday, which places him 6th in baseball behind the top group of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuña Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Adolis Garcia, and Shohei Ohtani. Pretty awesome. (Also, whoopsiedoodle on the Cardinals for trading Garcia to the Rangers for cash before the 2020 season.)

•   It all counts, but something to note …. After the first week of the season, which was completely dreadful for a lot of guys, Javy Báez is hitting .271/.309/.548, with a 130 wRC+. He’s been a star. Might consider trying to extend him.

•   A procedural roster move for the Cubs, which doesn’t really do much except take a guy off the Injured List (and finish up Megill’s accruing big league service time until he’s called back up):

•   The more important part there is that Megill is healthy, the forearm injury was indeed not severe, and he is back to the mix at Iowa of “dear god, how many guys do they have that I want to see up with the big league team.” Seriously, Megill is a compelling option. Robert Stock has been touching 101 mph with absurd peripherals. Michael Rucker is impressing everyone who watches him. Ryan Meisinger’s strikeout numbers are ridiculous. Adam Morgan is a big league vet who is clearly a big leaguer when healthy. Dakota Mekkes has always been intriguing. Kyle Ryan’s numbers are crazy. And Jake Jewell has the lowest ERA of them all. I have never seen the Cubs in a situation like this, and that is not even to comment on the fact that the big league bullpen is already full of guys you like and want to keep, AND Justin Steele is going to be coming back from his hammy, AND Rowan Wick and Jonathan Holder have been out all year from injuries, AND Alec Mills is currently rehabbing at Iowa. (AND the Cubs have already DFA’d the Millers, Shelby and Tyson.)

•   My god. I seriously shake my head when I consider how ridiculously loaded the Cubs’ bullpen corps at Triple-A and MLB have become. I know you never want to risk shorting yourself on pitching depth, and I also know you cannot assume everyone will continue to be great every time they come up, but at some point, the Cubs are just gonna have to trade from this group.

•   This is now two hilariously outside strikeouts called on Patrick Wisdom (is there something about him that makes umpires think his outside strike zone is 4+ inches off the plate?):

•   Wisdom will keep on starting until more injured positional guys return, and I’d like to add – have I mentioned this yet? – that Sergio Alcantara should be starting every game at second base until Nico Hoerner is back. Period. You have him up, he has no minor league options, he may really have broken out, and you kinda need to know as much about him as possible before the roster gets squeezed again. Oh, and he’s a great defender who probably also has a better bat than the other primarily available option at second base. I’m not saying it’s likely he’s a big league regular, or even necessarily a certain bench guy. But he’s 24, he was a legit prospect whose timeline saw him rushed onto the 40-man with the Tigers when he was super young, who then got squeezed out in a roster crunch, and who looked liked a polished hitter in his first go at Triple-A.

•   Garden supplies, vacuums, standing desks, drawing tablets, rings, wallets, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad

•   Carlos Martinez was so wild last night to open his start against the Dodgers that he was getting knocked around and giving up walks and ultimately charged with 10(!) earned runs over 0.2 innings pitched before he was pulled. Having just lost Jack Flaherty for a long time, the Cardinals are probably REALLY hoping this was just a blip for Martinez.

•   Don’t do this, even if you think you have a good message:

•   Bold, but he’s got a point:

•   Cubs pitching prospect Ryan Jensen, the team’s first rounder from 2019 – who thus missed out on his first full pro season in 2020 – threw five no-hit innings yesterday at High-A South Bend. Here you can see him showing off (I believe) the one-seamer, the slider, and the four-seamer for his final strikeout:

•   Jensen, 23, is going to be such an interesting case for the Cubs. Drafted after they’d switch philosophies toward higher-upside, higher-risk pitching prospects in the early rounds, and developed mostly after the new development infrastructure was in place, Jensen kinda times up and lines up precisely with the Cubs trying to show they can draft and develop top pitching talent. Jensen was expected to be a second rounder or later that year despite his explosive fastball because there were questions about the quality of his other pitches, about his size preventing him from starting consistently, and about the arm motion. But the Cubs really liked him, really wanted to take a big swing, and so they grabbed him at 27. To be sure, every player is different, and one guy cannot prove or disprove anything on his own. But if Jensen *does* remain a starter on up through the system, and if the stuff holds up at the higher levels, it’ll sure feel like the Cubs’ long-term organizational changes in 2017-19 put them on the right track.

•   The Giants will be incorporating Pride colors into their team logo this weekend against the Cubs:

•   Miguel Castro versus Ketel Marte:



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.