Over the past decade or so, the Chicago Cubs have had some truly standout performances at the Futures Game. In 2015, Kyle Schwarber was named the Futures Game MVP for his impressive performance. In 2016, Eloy Jimenez made that wild over-the-wall catch along the right field line. And last year, Brennen Davis homered twice and was also named MVP.
Kris Bryant and Javy Báez are also among the Cubs former Futures Game attendees.
- This year, the Cubs have just one member on the All-Star Futures Game roster, but it’s a good one: Pete Crow-Armstrong.
- After a strong performance at Myrtle Beach (.354/.443/.557/176 wRC+ with plus-plus defense in center field and excellent speed on the bases), PCA has been a fast-riser across top-prospect lists this season and is pretty much a unanimous top-100 guy at this point — most lists have him in that 60-80 range, with a wink and a nod that he can rise further than that by the end of the year. Overall, his offensive numbers at High-A (promoted there last month) are underwhelming, but he’s got ten hits, including a double and three triples, in his last seven games (131 wRC+). So he might already be adjusting. He’s also one of the absolute youngest players in his league.
- Oh, and did you see that catch he made the other day? It’s already a candidate for catch of the year. That’s true ++ center field defense.
- In any case, I can’t wait to see what he does in the Futures Game this year, especially since we weren’t granted the privilege of also seeing Futures Game candidates like Cristian Hernandez or Kevin Alcantara. Maybe next year.
- Inside the Cubs system, we’ve got a couple of honors to share, as Ezequiel Pagán and Daniel Palencia were named the Cubs Minor League Player and Pitccher of the month for June.
- Palencia’s 3.63 ERA over five starts may not seem like player-of-the-month type results, but he struck out 28 batters (31.1%) to just 5 walks (5.6%) over 22.1 IP. He also finished the month up with two scoreless outings (9.2 IP) with just 5 hits scattered between them. Pagan, meanwhile, just went OFF: .367/.474/.595 (195 wRC+) with more walks (12) than strikeouts (11). Video game numbers.
- While we’re on the topic of stats, here’s a perfect example of why it’s important to let prospects get used to their new surroundings before lobbing judgement on them about their performance.
- Even though Caleb Kilian has taken over the role of headliner from the Kris Bryant trade last season, there’s a reason the title originally belonged to Canario. Despite far too many strikeouts, the 22-year-old outfielder dominated High-A early this season (154 wRC+), and was bumped up to Tennessee on May 10 (where he is the youngest player on the team). His overall numbers at Double-A are still down because of that slow start, but he’s turned it WAY up since then, most notably with what looks to be the strikeout rate of an entirely different hitter. Remember, he’s got big-big pull-side power, too. He still has a ways to go, but he’s just another one of the high-upside prospects the Cubs have bubbling their way up the system.
- Speaking of Canario, Alberto Camargo has a great profile on him at Knox News, which includes Jed Hoyer’s excitement to land him last season, as well as Smokies Manager Michael Ryan’s belief that he could be ready to play in the big leagues as soon as THIS year. I don’t know if I expect him to go quite that far this season, but Triple-A isn’t entirely out of the question, and the big leagues could be in sight sometime next season.
- The Iowa Cubs MIGHT need some place to play for a while, as a recent storm brought down the center field wall and new batter’s eye: “The plan is to build a new temporary batter’s eye and a chain-link fence with some padding and a wind screen. Wehofer didn’t provide any estimates for how much the damage may cos. But the hope is that it won’t impact Iowa’s schedule. The team is on the road and doesn’t come back to Principal Park until July 12.”