Cubs Among the Best, Morel Scorching Hot, Great Prospect Night, and Other Cubs Bullets
The Littlest Girl was very loudly up at 5:30 am this morning, and because I’m trying to help everyone else stay asleep so they can recover from their sicknesses, I tried to scurry her away from the other bedrooms. So I’m rather tired at the moment.
- The Cubs, at 12-7, have only the fifth best record in the National League, but there is an argument to be made that they are much better than that. The team’s +48 run differential is best in the NL (by a lot), and second in baseball only to the 17-3 Rays. It’s too early to worry about stuff like this, but by Pythagorean record and BaseRuns, the Cubs have actually been unlucky to the tune of two games – their underlying performance suggests they should be 14-5.
- Christopher Morel homered AGAIN at Iowa, this time on the first pitch of the game:
- Morel’s numbers at Iowa so far this year are just bonkers: .373 .486 .831/227 wRC+, 6 homers in 16 games, 16.7% BB, 26.4% K, .458 ISO, .471 BABIP. There’s some flukiness in there, yes, but there’s also just the reality that he is obliterating the ball. Constantly. Not even 24 yet, I can’t help but wonder what we’d think of Morel as a prospect if he’d done this last year at Triple-A, without ever having appeared in MLB first. We’d be over the moon, wouldn’t we? He’d be a top five prospect in the system, right? (And it should actually be a CREDIT to his “prospect” status that he came straight up from Double-A at 22 and held his own in the big leagues!)
- By the way, Morel is currently – literally – the best hitter in minor league baseball:
- I’m not sure exactly what will need to happen for Morel to return to the big league team – aside from a major injury, obviously, but there’s no way I’m rooting for that – but it’s crazy that the Cubs right now have at least three guys (Morel, Matt Mervis, and Nelson Velazquez) at Iowa who REALLY seem like they need a big league challenge.
- So, we should probably start talking about Brandon Birdsell pretty soon, because a guy making his pro debut at High-A is always a compliment, and then for him to be as dominant as he’s been so far? It’s really quite impressive. If he’d been a second or third rounder instead of a fifth rounder, I think we’d probably already be all over him:
- Speaking of outstanding Cubs pitching prospect performances in the early going this year:
- Brown, 23, still has only 46.0 innings total at Double-A, so I don’t know that the Cubs would be in a rush to bump him. Then again, he’s already on the 40-man, and his performance so far this year might leave the Cubs in a spot where they want to see him challenged by more disciplined hitters.
- Outta nowhere for the sliding catch to end the game:
- Alcántara hasn’t started hitting quite yet (not at all uncommon for younger guys in April in the Midwest), but he is still showing up routinely in highlights because he goes all out like this. Love this guy.
- How about one more prospect thing? Miguel Amaya homered TWICE last night, and continues to rake:
- Amaya, 24, is hitting .320/.455/.840/225 wRC+ in the early going. Basically, whatever you were hoping he’d show out of the gate at the plate this year after such a long layoff, he’s definitely showing it. I can’t speak to the work behind the plate, or whether he’s ready for Triple-A, but this is all a good step for a guy who’s missed so much time. This is Amaya’s final minor league option year, so basically the Cubs need him to get up to Triple-A at some point this year, and, ideally, have a lot of success. Because they’re going to need to know by the end of Spring Training whether he’s big league ready or not.
- I don’t know if the Pirates are “for real” or not, but I do know that so far they have played the Reds (twice), the Rockies, the White Sox, the Cardinals (split the series), and the Astros (lost the series). Not exactly a telling set of series so far.
- Both guys could be on here, actually:
- Not sure why it would be worrying to get stomped by an awesome team:
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