Our next-door neighbors are selling their house, which means, obviously, we’re getting new neighbors. Fingers crossed for either really awesome people, or at least quiet people.
• Zach Davies continues to kinda sorta get results, and to the extent he’ll have trade value in the weeks ahead, it figures to be more about the market than confidence that he’s a guy you can bring in to solidify your rotation. I don’t even mean that as a shot at Davies, who mostly has been who he is throughout his career – a decent back-half rotation guy who can usually get you 5-ish competitive innings – but instead as my own attempt to think through what his market could look like. If I’m a buyer with desperate needs in the rotation, yes, I’d be happy to add him. But would I give up an impact prospect, even in a market that might have only one or two CLEARLY better and CLEARLY *AVAILABLE* options (Kyle Gibson and … ?), no, I don’t think I could. Other better options could also be hitting the market in the next 10 days, depending on what happens with the standings.
• Davies’ peripherals, even if you throw out April by convincing yourself he was just adjusting to the new baseball or whatever, are still pretty poor. In that time, the ERA is 23% better than league average, but the FIP is 10% worse than league average. He has always been a FIP-beater because of the contact management, but THAT big of a spread? No, it’s usually been more like a 10-percentage-point spread in his career. So you could argue he projects to be about league average in results going forward.
• All that said, for a desperate team with rotation needs, a guy who projects to be about average in results in his five-inning starts is still a valuable thing, especially since you don’t really have to worry about sticky stuff issues there. Such is the need for starting pitching out there. If the Cubs want to trade Davies, they’ll find an acceptable offer. But his last two starts certainly haven’t helped improve the market.
• The Cubs grabbed another first base prospect yesterday in Frank Schwindel and sent him to Iowa. He just turned 29, so it’s a borderline non-prospect situation, but because of his development path and the pandemic, he hasn’t actually ever had a shot at the big leagues in a real way. So you could kinda still think of him in the prospect mold. Like I said yesterday, I don’t see the waiver claim being directly related to Anthony Rizzo (maybe a teeny, tiny bit of thinking on what happens if Rizzo is traded or walks after the season), and instead is probably just about grabbing a big bat for free when available and there’s a spot on the 40-man. Indeed, the Cubs might eventually try to get Schwindel through waivers, themselves. He’s definitely an interesting profile, having hit for really good power in the upper minors without developing much of a strikeout rate. He also doesn’t walk much, and hits the ball in the air a ton. So he’s … a launch angle guy, but who doesn’t strike out much?
• In the nearer-term, it’ll be interesting to see how the Cubs dole out the playing time at first base between Schwindel and Alfonso Rivas, who is himself a future big leaguer (and doing a good job effectively jumping from High-A in 2019 to Triple-A this year). Does this mean Rivas will start seeing more time in the corner outfield spots (you’d love for him to develop that versatility anyway)? Or will the Cubs just let them use the DH slot most of the time for one of the two? Either way, you’d really like to know what you have in both of them by the end of the season, just in case …
• As Bryan noted, it was a heckuva day yesterday for the farm system, with guys who’ve been really hot staying REALLY hot:
5 Recently Really Righteous Relievers
Brad Deppermann. 5 as RP: 10 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 12 K
Juan Gámez, last 8: 11.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 15 K
Trevor Megill has K’d 10 of last 14 BF.
Manny Rodriguez, last 17: 17.2 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 10 BB, 24 K
Cayne Ueckert. 4/4 SV in last 6.
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) July 19, 2021
• There’s not much more I can say about Brennen Davis that I didn’t say yesterday. You basically need him to struggle some point soon-ish to give him that next development target to work on. If he’s just able to beat up on Double-A pitching right now, well, then you’re going to have to make it a priority to get him regular starts at Triple-A Iowa. I tend to think that won’t happen immediately, even if Davis keeps crushing. Instead, I figure the Cubs will monitor, and if he hits a slump, great, let him keep working. If he doesn’t, then if the Trade Deadline clears out the big league roster a bit more in a couple weeks, and then a guy like Michael Hermosillo gets the bump from Triple-A, you can challenge Davis with that vacated spot.
BRENNEN DAVIS IS ON FIRE! 🔥 He goes opposite field for the second day in the row. 🤯
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) July 18, 2021
• There are just five hitters at Double-A with a better wRC+ than Davis’s 151, and all of them are at least a year older than Davis, with hundreds of games more of pro experience.
• Pablo Aliendo’s game-winning homer came on the day a Very Good Boy returned to duties at Myrtle Beach:
and just because:
The good boy Slider goes perfect in bat retrievals in his return to the dugout!
— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) July 19, 2021
• Aliendo, is hitting well above average overall, and doing so as a 20-year-old catcher at Low-A. He’s definitely on the radar as a possible top 30/40 system prospect going forward.
• Back to the big leagues, this is wild:
Across MLB, outfielders have a 99 wRC+ this year. This is the first time in MLB history that the position group has been below average offensively.
— Daniel R. Epstein (@depstein1983) July 19, 2021
• Over the past month, Jason Heyward is hitting .321/.406/.482, with a 145 wRC+, so I guess he’s pretty much Mike Trout now.
• Magnet tiles, beard trimmers, cameras, charging gear, subscription boxes, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad