Morel's Progress, Thompson Hard on Himself, Miley and Suzuki Injuries, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Morel’s Progress, Thompson Hard on Himself, Miley and Suzuki Injuries, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Absolutely forgot that I have only two days left to get my bikini body back.

•   I’m trying to keep my head about me with Christopher Morel, who has been more or less perfect through his first 10 big league games (.314/.429/.543/174 wRC+, good defense all over). It’s just 42 plate appearances, and we’ve seen it time and time again that the league finds your weaknesses sooner rather than later. The work and the adjustments have to come eventually, and the ability to do that work and make those adjustments is what separates big leaguers from guys who just don’t quite make it (and the speed with which you do it is what separates the solid players from the outstanding players). It is very unlikely that Morel is already a big league stud, but I’m also trying to remember that this is a 22-year-old player with the kind of exceedingly loud tools where a switch-flipping-breakout is not impossible. Maybe he won’t stay at THIS performance level for much longer, but is it crazy that he could emerge this year as a guy whom you are expecting to start regularly heading into 2023? No, that’s not crazy, and not even if he eventually goes down to Triple-A Iowa later this year.

•   If you’ve noticed this, I’ve been thinking about it a lot:

•   By the time the pitch is coming, those two setups start to converge, but Morel is definitely longer and whippier when ahead in the count, and definitely smaller and shorter to the ball when at two strikes. If it works for you, the logic behind the approach is pretty obvious. We’ll see if the ability to keep working those great two-strike plate appearances continues – his strikeout rate in the big leagues, just over 20%, is lower than it was at Double-A, but then again, his final three weeks at Double-A, the strikeout rate was just 18.6% (and the rest of his numbers were bonkers). Makes you wonder if he is getting better at figuring out that balance of staying alive, and still being productive.

•   Keegan Thompson was pretty hard on himself after last night’s 5.0 IP, 1 ER outing:

•   Yeah, I suppose there was some luck in there, but I didn’t think he was nearly as bad as he suggests. Great movement and velo on his pitches, and when he was missing his spots, he wasn’t missing them belt high. Maybe that is, itself, lucky, but it’s a good way to keep getting soft contact even when you’re not as sharp as you’d like to be. Still managed 9 whiffs on 77 pitches, too, with a 25% CSW. Definitely not terrible.

•   Given the nine games in seven days ahead, I wonder if Thompson will stay in the rotation – either a temporary six-man, or five if Wade Miley has to miss a start – and the Cubs will use the 27th man to make starts on both of the double-header days. That’s gonna make for a pretty short bullpen, especially since the Cubs just swapped a reliever (Brandon Hughes) for a position player (Clint Frazier). Gonna have to be some wild maneuvering in the days ahead.

•   Speaking of Miley, it’s a sore shoulder that he isn’t too worried about:

•   Again, we’ll see if the Cubs want to risk having to play short with all the games and innings up ahead (good thing MLB decided not to do 7-inning double-headers this year … ). Also wonder if Miley DID go on the IL, is there any chance that would change the thinking on whether Caleb Kilian comes up to take a start, something David Ross said wasn’t going to happen?

•   Meanwhile, the Cubs have another injury issue to sort out, as we saw on the broadcast last night with that splint on Seiya Suzuki’s totally-not-all-that-injured finger:

•   Best guess would be that Jason Heyward, who is back with the team (COVID IL) but not yet activated, could take Suzuki’s spot if he hits the IL. Heyward’s return, by the way, will require a 40-man roster move, since he’s temporarily off the 40-man while on the COVID IL.

•   The Cubs bullpen is so good that it feels like Mychal Givens has really struggled this year by contrast … and he has a 3.12 ERA.

•   Andrelton Simmons looked perfectly capable at second base last night (he got eaten up by one rocket, but his view was screened by Thompson), which was to be expected given his talent, though it was his first ever game there. He had a turn at second base on a late double-play that was REALLY impressive. I still think his starts there are going to be fairly limited when you account for all the other second base options available/coming, but I suppose it’s nice to be able to show other teams he has some versatility …

•   Speaking of the second base returns, Nick Madrigal made his Iowa Cubs rehab debut last night with a HBP and three groundouts. At least he’s getting healthy. It might be a long stay at Iowa.

•   Frank Schwindel for Comeback Player of the Month, amirite! I kid for a handful of reasons, but your running update on Schwindel since he just missed that would-be-game-winning grand slam after being “optioned” and “recalled” from Iowa: .286/.318/.540/138 wRC+. Also, he just keeps that joy about him – this was when he realized he got to take third base on a throw that went out of play after a run-scoring double:

•   A reminder that, while Patrick Wisdom’s offense is almost entirely about one thing, he does that one thing REALLY well:

•   You can get a Fire TV Stick today for just 25 bucks (38% off). #ad

•   Oh my:

•   Even after the homer, Semien, 31, is hitting just .194/.254/.269/54 wRC+ in the first year of his seven-year, $175M deal with the Rangers. At least Corey Seager, 28, is hitting .237/.304/.422/112 wRC+ in the first year of his ten-year, $325M deal?

•   Ba dum tssss:

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.