4/30 Minor matters

Iowa’s game Tuesday against Omaha was postponed because of inclemente weather.

Tennessee was to face two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, who was scheduled to make a rehab assignment for the Dodgers’ Double-A Chattanooga team.

Daytona totaled two hits in a 7-0 loss to Lakeland. Dan Vogelbach and Marco Hernandez each singled.

Jacob Hannemann had three hits, including a double and a triple, and drove in a run in Kane County’s 2-1 win over Cedar Rapids. Will Remillard had three hits.

* Double-A Tennessee placed right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards on the disabled list, retroactive to April 25. Edwards was 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in four starts this season. Ranked No. 4 on MLB.com’s list of top 20 Cubs prospects, Edwards underwent an MRI on Friday in Chicago which revealed some fatigue and inflammation in his right shoulder. There was no structural damage. The plan was for him to rest, then resume his throwing program.


Kris Bryant vs. Clayton Kershaw: should be interesting! And as I posted on another thread, I did some Wikipedia searching and found that Kershaw spent less than a season in the minors. He was only 20 when called to L.A. For a season he was the youngest player in the major leagues. So if you prove you can do the job, why not get called up? Maybe Bryant could do that same (and he’s 22)? Kershaw is pretty amazing, though.

It’s dangerous to say “because this guy spent less than a year in the minors and made the majors by 21, we should call up our top young prospect right now because he might be good like that too.” Kershaw is the exception, not the rule. Just like every football team that drafts a QB in the 6th round shouldn’t start them right away just because Tom Brady was a 6th round pick. Again, he’s the exception, not the rule.
Keep in mind to that while Bryant is off to a good start, part of what the Cubs don’t know is how well will he hold up over the course of a long season? Sure, it’s easy to be fresh and focused 4 weeks into the season. Will you still be focused when you’re 8 weeks in? When you’ve played 20 games in a row without a break? When you have a series where you go 1 for 15? When your foot still hurts two days after you fouled a ball off it? When after every game, win or lose, the first question the reporters ask you is “Do you think you’re ready for the Majors?” Sometimes players are kept in the minors for extra work on their game. Sometimes, teams just want to see how their makeup as a player is, and would much rather see it in the AA spotlight than the Majors.
Lastly, as giddy as we all are to see Bryant in a Cubs uniform, we have to remind ourselves that AA is a long way away from the Majors. The worst pitchers Bryant will face in the Major Leagues are better than the best pitchers he will face at AA. You can’t just assume he’ll pick up in the Majors right where he left off at AA. He could just as easily struggle in his first week, and you know that if he starts off his career 0 for 12, people will start calling him a bust and bashing Theo & Jed, saying their plan didn’t work and questioning why they didn’t sign Cano and Ellsbury instead.
I want to see Bryant in the Majors too, but I would much rather see him when the team feels he’s ready, not just because they need something for people to tune in for, or because some other player happened to be pretty good at the same age.

Doug: I agree with everything you write. Every word. I just have a feeling that Theo and Jed and the team will decide he’s ready to go to Wrigley this year. It’s not so much that I’m antsy to see Bryant move up. And I don’t agree with moving him just to throw the fans a bone. I think they’ll do it because he’s ready. Maybe Baez needs more time; I’m cool with that. But when I look at Bryant’s box scores, and his history, and his make-up, I think we’ll see him in Wrigley. But who knows? Maybe he’ll go to Iowa and struggle?

Let’s hope we’re both right then! At best, I can see him being a September call-up. I think they’ll give Olt and Villanueva every chance to get going. If they do, then there’s enough time to get Bryant some innings in the OF in AA and AAA. If not, then September will pretty much be Bryant’s audition to be the starting 3B in 2015.

Olt and Villanueva: really? I see Bryant in RF. Baez at third. Alcantara at 2nd. But maybe Olt will catch fire and shift the equation. Someone in that group is the odd man out, and I think it will be Olt.

Olt was a top prospect in the Rangers system before he got hurt and he’s getting his chance now. If he picks it up and hits .250ish with 20+ homers, he’ll have some value one way or another. If they wanted someone to just keep the seat warm until Bryant or Baez shows up, they could have signed any old veteran who can be easily discarded when the time comes (or just given the job to Donnie Murphy for the same reason), but Olt is still at an age that he can be considered a prospect and isn’t too far removed from being one of the top prospects in the game. He’s in the equation until someone takes him out of it.

Agree… U got to let olt play

Cubs Win, that “throwing fans a bone ” remark is demeaming to the fan base. How do you know he`s not ready? How does anyone know until one has the balls to try it? Low expectations are a big part of the reason this organization has sucked for 105 years.

I don’t meant to demean anyone. I’m just saying that I wouldn’t call anyone up before deemed ready just so the fans have someone to root for. I personally don’t need to see a particular player or a symbolic free agent signing or Olt play more or whatever, I don’t care if they win only 63 games this year. I want them to build a World Series winner. If they need to win only 63 games next year I’m cool with that. I want to look-up I. 2017 and see a team loaded with talent. That’s where I’m coming from. Besides, my whole point is that I do think Bryant will be ready – this year!

I`m not nearly as patient as you, and doubt most of the fan base is either. Sounds as if you are writing off 2016 as well? That`s unacceptable.

Like you said, we’ve waited this long, what’s a few more years? They have a plan and they’re sticking to it. I like the plan. But I hate the losing probably as much as you do. And I hope next year is the turn around year. I hope next year we’re debating who the fifth starter should be and who is the 5th outfielder. And I definitely don’t mean to demean anyone. Anyway, Rizzo and Castro are both starting to look pretty darn good!

I never said, what`s a few more years? You must have me confused with someone else. I have been meaning to ask you a question, as you strike me as one who knows the game. I`ve concluded that from your comments over the past month or so, not necessarily tonight. Do you see Castro as our long term ss? I`m unhappy with his lack of focus and discipline. He surely makes far too many errors, and sometimes in critical situations where the game`s outcome is in peril, as we witnessed recently when he cost us a game. He could adapt to an outfield position. What do you think, Cubs Win? I admired Omar Visquel and the superb way he played defense. He was a magician. I know finding those guys is rare, but one can dream.

You said Castro recently cost the Cubs a game? What you didnt say was: The pitcher walked two guys, then a ball was hit to Castro, Castro tried to hurry the play making a error.
It the pitcher throws strikes, there may not be two men on base with no one out. Therefore, no need for Castro to hurry the play. It really is a team game.

I hear you, Jasper. You make good points. There were many hands in that pie. But it still does not change my view that we can`t trust Starlin as our long term ss.

I wanted them to trade Castro for the reasons you mentioned. And I thought Baez could play SS, although he’s supposedly error-prone too. But hey: Castro is playing great! He seems to be improving. So I guess now I’d keep him. But as my brother likes to say, “It all depends what is offered.”

Do you think that grounder Starlin had to charge in Wednesday night`s game when he did not field the ball cleanly and therefore the play was lost, should have been scored a hit? I do not. It was a difficult play, of course, but one most major league shortstops make. Have you ever been to Williamsport to see a Little League WS? I`ve maintained for years, the official scorers there have a higher bar for fielding than many major league official scorers. If you doubt me, I recommend highly you go to that sleepy Pennsylvania burg and see for yourself. You might enjoy all the other experiences entailed there too. Did you know all the contests are free? No admission fee.

I didn’t watch the game so I can’t be specific on that play but lets look at Castro peripherals defensively…. he’s only had two slightly negative dWAR years (-.1 and -.2)… he has had a +.1 and +1.2 dWAR and is currently +.1 dWAR. That shows me that Castro is about league average at SS with some wild volatility no doubt. When you look at his Rtot you do see that he is negative every year but the last 2 years really haven’t been that negative and the trend could continue for his improvement so in this category yes he does look to cost us a few runs. Now here is the key to the whole Castro fielding issue…. Castro’s RF/g is consistently the TOP IN THE NL…. this means Castro is getting to, sometimes making/sometimes not making, more plays than the any other SS in the NL. Castro has AMAZING range. Simply the one of the rangiest SS in the NL. This is great and IMO “some” of those extra errors are on balls that most SS don’t even try to get to. I expect the errors to continue to trend downward and I am not real upset with our 24yr old two time AS who carries a .284 career ave and .729 OPS… ill take that everyday… I think he can continue to improve and isn’t in his prime yet. Especially when the errors he is committing are really honestly not affecting this team that much (even less affect on a terrible team)……….

This is my last post of the night, Cubs Win. Am going to sleep. I actually met Harry in Montreal, at a saloon/restaurant on Peel Street named The Hunter`s Horn in 1984. Don`t even think the emporium exists today. I struck up a conversation with the owner/bartender at the bar and told him I was a Cubs fan. Was close to 1:00 AM. Said Harry was in the back room and would I like to meet him. Went back there and Harry was sitting at a table alone enjoying an adult beverage. Congenial man. If I`m not mistaken, medical issues surfaced not long afterward and he stopped imbibing. Sutcliffe pitched the Cubs to victory the following day, and I departed Canada very pleased.

Aloha jhosk! Had to bring up 1984, huh?! Oh, I just remember the tv networks saying the Cubs could not have their 3 games at Wrigley because they would lose too much money due to the day games, so San Diego got the 3 home games. I felt like the Cubs should have protested more and told the networks to take a hike, this is baseball but it is water under the bridge. I remember seeing Harry enter his booth from the back, as we were in seats (with my grandfather) that could see that area and how the crowd around us all cheered him and how he waved to all of us. That was cool for a young fan. The following year, I was in the Midwest and went to my first Cubs Caravan that came through my grandparents city and met a rookie name Shawn Dunston. Made a banner titled “Ain’t No Jive in 85′,” which he and other players signed. I just wish for we fans that there would be more that we could point to than 1969, 1984, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008 but I think that is part of what keeps us going because when that day comes for the organization and us fans, we will truly appreciate it. Good Night! Mahalo!

Aloha Cubs Win and jhosk- for me what is also hard besides the bullpen having early difficulties holding leads are batters leaving runners on base, especially in scoring position. Look at tonight’s game, 3-17 RISP. Yes there were players with multiple hits and Schierholtz had a big hit when we needed it to open up the game but it has been hard to come by runs. I have also thought about Castro, he has moments of “greatness,” then the errors or what seems like his head is not in the game when on the bases, etc..jhosk brought up O. Visquel who I had the pleasure of watching with the SF Giants, just phenomenal! And he was in his late 30’s going into his early 40’s and won 2 golden glove awards (thought he could have easily had 3) in his four years with the Giants. He also did well at the plate and got on base. I would be so happy to have a player-leader like Visquel for our Cubbies at the shortstop position because even though he is not the “power-hitter” that Castro is, he brings so much more value to a club with his leadership, understanding of the game, bringing the team together. It was a joy, game after game after game how his teammates spoke about him. So, I would not be adverse to him being traded either if the right deal comes along. I also would like to see Olt get it going at the plate because if he is respectable at the plate and his defense keeps up, this gives the Cubs more options not only today but in the future with the other players that will hopefully come up from the farm system at some point. I have seen too many other teams when it seems like all is falling “apart,” rush folks up too soon which can not only hurt the player but the organization. Enjoy tonight’s win. Mahalo!

Hello k.g. I`m engaging in mendacity, I`m afraid, as I told Cubs Win was my last post. You make good points. I`ve been wanting to tell you something. Recall that game at Fenway I saw in 1962, and I thought Essegian was a former Cub etc.? That was wrong, as you pointed out. Essegian never played for Cubs. It was Jerry Kindall who was the former Cubs player who played second base that night for Cleveland. He had been traded to the Indians not long before I witnessed that game. Kindall finished his career with a .213 average, one of lowest, if not the lowest in major league history of a player with at least 2000 at bats. Kindall went on to coach at The University of Arizona in Tucson where he led his team to three national championships. I lived in Tucson in 2005-2006. Bottom line, I knew there was a former Cubs player in that game, and it was Kindall, not Essegian. Also, I`ve been wanting to ask you k.g., when you played college baseball, were you a pitcher or a position player? Have a good night.

Aloha jhosk! I was wondering if you would bring up a name like Jerry Kendall! I got to meet him on various occasions between the late 80’s and early 90’s, a very nice man, very respectable. One of our college coaches played for his 1980 Championship team! I was mainly an outfielder and my coach once mentioned because of my size-build that I should consider catcher. I wish I had but I also felt that I knew when it was my time and I wanted to get my business degree. At the college I went to one had to “apply” to the business school just before your junior year. I became a manager for the team and was blessed to finish out my schooling with the team. Many of my colleagues were drafted and some had long careers in the show which I thought was neat. Mahalo and have a great night!

Am impressed you met Kindall. The Cubs had high expectations of him when he was first signed. He was regarded as a “Bonus Baby.” That must have been a high profile Division I college team where you matriculated, k.g. Mahalo!

Aloha jhosk- funny at the time I did not know he had been a Cub. Also says a lot about one’s gifts: he may not have had the major league career he hoped for but found his path, as a coach and mentor. My father as a collegiate coach also got to know Kindall as they would meet up at the coaches convention and would speak about him and his character. I was part of what is known as the 6-pac when it comes to baseball. I was blessed to see some great ball in this league. Had thought about at one point trying to apply with a team for a job as I just love the game. Am getting excited as it is now May and towards the end of this month our Cubbies come my way! Wonder if Carrie will be on the trip and if they will let her walk the “park” during the game. Maybe she can meet some of us die-hards under the Coke Bottle in left field so we can give her our aloha-thank yous. You take care now, mahalo!

CUBS NEED OFFENSE… When will see these guys be given a chance?

Valaika is an unexpected surprise… If he’s a BUST… So what.

Alcantra is young and a #6 Prospect so risky moving him up to fast but he’s hit at every level… Gotta give him a shot sooner or later…

Chris Valaika 2B Iowa Born: 08/14/1985
AVG: .343
HR: 2
RBI: 13
SB: 0


Arismendy Alcantara 2B Cubs Born: 10/29/1991
AVG: .299
HR: 2
RBI: 15
SB: 7
Rank: 6 ETA: 2014
Position: SS/2B
Age: 22, DOB: 10/29/1991
Bats: S, Throws: R
Height: 5′ 10″, Weight: 170
Signed: Nov. 3, 2008 – CHC

Scouting Grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Scouts had long waited for Alcantara to put together his exciting package of tools. That finally happened in 2013, and he earned a spot in the Futures Game as a result.

Alcantara has a short, compact swing from both sides of the plate. His swing is more suited for line drives, but he does have some pop in his bat. Alcantara is athletic and has well-above-average speed, making him a threat to steal.

The Cubs have used Alcantara at shortstop and second base. He has a strong arm and is a good defender at both positions, but he is probably best suited for second base. Though the Cubs have a burgeoning group of middle infielders in Chicago and the upper Minor Leagues, Alcantara’s potential assures that he won’t be lost in the shuffle.

Aloha Denny- good points. I think the concern from the FO is not rushing any of them to fast, then again throwing them in the “fire” can be a good thing too. I have really been paying attention to how many runners are being left in scoring position. I like that Alcantara is not only a switch hitter that is showing he can hit from both sides of the plate effectively but that he as you stated can run and play defense, where there have been some issues this year especially at the ss position. I think come September we will see some of these prospects getting an introduction to the show, I know you, I and many fans are looking forward to it! Mahalo.

There are other things to be excited about this year as well: watching to see if Castro and Rizzo recover from off years in 2013? Can Wood continue his awesom efforts from 2013? Can Lake continue to perform as role player?
Who will the Cubs take with their first Draft pick? How will the rest of the Draft play out?
Then the trade deadline, who stays and who goes? A month later or so, your already around SEP 1st, who gets called up?
Will it be Baez, Bryant, Alcantrera, Hendricks, Jockisch? Anyone notice how well Carbrera is doing at AAA?

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