Extreme Iowa Offense, Pitching Promotions, Morel, Wisdom’s Record April, and Other Cubs Bullets

When the Cubs have a very bad loss, I sometimes caution The Wife immediately thereafter that I may be making grumbling or sighing or other frustrated sounds. I want to apprise her that any such noises are not related to her or the kids or whatever might be in our surroundings.

Suffice to say, yesterday, late into the evening, she had occasion to say, “Oh my. Still thinking about that game, eh?” I guess I was making a lot of sounds. I’m still making sounds.

  • It didn’t help, after watching the big league Cubs lose a one-run game in part because of their repeated failure to come through in key spots with runners on base, that I then followed the Iowa Cubs game. It’s rare that an 18-2 win from the Cubs’ Triple-A team would actually annoy me, but the juxtaposition with the Major League team, in that particular moment, was galling. I mean, Christopher Morel WENT OFF:
  • I’m not going to sit here and tell you that if Morel had been up with the big league team, the Cubs beat the Marlins yesterday. That is a silly butterfly wings situation that you just can’t predict. I’m also not going to say that having a ton of offensive success at Triple-A is a bad thing. The Cubs have the best offense in the International League BY A COUNTRY MILE, and that may prove beneficial in the weeks and months and years ahead. I’m just saying that it stings to be in a position to wonder what might have been.
  • And what might yet be! How long are the Cubs going to continue with the group they have (which hasn’t been bad!), and not give guys like Morel, Matt Mervis, and Nelson Velazquez REAL looks as part of the big league roster? Having Velazquez stay up with the big league team feels like a solid start, but I’m so eager to see Mervis and Morel. And Velazquez is on the bench again today. Sigh. It’s a long season, Brett. Patience. Patience. Development is important. Something something.
  • Through his 23 April games at Triple-A Iowa, Christopher Morel is hitting .363/.463/.835/220 wRC+ with 11(!) home runs. Calling them video game numbers is an insult to the difficulty of video games.
  • Like I said last night, at least the bullpen was a very bright shining spot in that game. Adbert Alzolay really had the slider working (and that middle one actually had the look of a nasty cutter):
  • And how about Jeremiah Estrada getting seven whiffs on his 25 pitches, with a 44% CSW!? That’s mighty nice.
  • Patrick Wisdom has 10 homers in April, which is a rare thing for the Cubs:
  • https://twitter.com/MLBastian/status/1652423941145649154

  • Significant promotion news in the farm system, with righty Ben Brown and lefty Bailey Horn getting the bump to Triple-A Iowa, putting them very much on the big league radar for the second half. Brown has emerged as, arguably, the best starting pitching prospect in the system after opening year by humbling hitters at Double-A. Horn, a reliever, posted a 54.3% strikeout rate at Double-A to open the year (lol), so the Cubs pretty much had to give him the bump. He’s got a plus fastball and a plus-plus curveball (arguably both are double-plus), and it’s just a matter of throwing enough strikes to make them play.
  • At least the Cubs aren’t dealing with this kind of thing:
  • Robert got benched for that one, as you might expect. Here was his explanation after the game, though (ESPN): “What happened was, last [Friday] night, I hustled a lot down the line,” Robert said through the team interpreter after the Chicago’s 10th consecutive loss. “Today my legs were a little tired. My right hamstring was a little tight. Then I decided just to play conservative today. … I think my mistake was that I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t tell the manager because I knew if I said something to him, he probably wouldn’t let me play.”
  • Oh, by the way, not only did the White Sox lose their 10th straight, it was a game in which they took a no-hitter into the 7th inning … and somehow lost 12-3. Things could certainly be worse.
  • This throw is gorgeous:
  • written by

    Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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