#Cubs Minor League report

Monday’s results

Dan Vogelbach hit a two-run homer in the fourth in Iowa’s 6-2 loss to Memphis. Drew Rucinski gave up two earned runs over 5 2/3 innings. Willson Contreras had two hits and drew a walk, but had to leave the game with a foot injury. Reports out of Des Moines say Contreras is not expected to go on the disabled list.

Duane Underwood gave up two earned runs over 4 2/3 innings in Tennessee’s 3-1 loss to Mississippi. Cael Brockmeyer had two hits. Underwood walked five and struck out six.

Myrtle Beach’s game against Potomac was postponed because of inclement weather. The teams were to play a doubleheader on Tuesday.

South Bend had Monday off, and opens a three-game series against Dayton on Tuesday.


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Looking at tonight’s lineup, I can only conclude that if the Cubs had only 10 players available and 9 of them were pitchers and the 10th was Matt Szczur, Szczur would be sitting on the bench.

Bryant has played plenty of LF this year and Tommy LaStella isn’t exactly bad, so what exactly is your complaint here? And considering the Cubs originally had Kyle Schwarber in LF, brought in veterans like Shane Victorino and Matt Murton and have a hot prospect in Albert Almora, the fact that Szczur is even on the team this year shows that they think well enough of him. So again, what exactly are your complaints about how the reigning NL Manager of the Year writes out his lineup tonight for his 40-16 team?

I’m not saying that Bryant can’t play left field. With that said, LaStella presents a pretty significant drop in defense taking over at third. As far as Szczur is concerned, I didn’t want Schwarber to be hurt, but I thought “well, at least Szczur will pick up some of that playing time.” That didn’t happen. Now Soler is injured and it doesn’t appear he will pick up any playing time now, either. The fact is that with more than double the at bats, Soler has the same number of RBIs as Szczur. Szczur has outperformed LaStella, and Soler and I think he should be rewarded for it and for the dedication he has shown.

Yeah, that Joe Maddon never rewards players for good play. He just sticks with the same lineup every game and plays the same players at the same positions all the time. Never has any flexibility to work anyone into the lineup. I mean, Anthony Rizzo has been at first base pretty much every game the entire season. I’m sure he’s already cost the Cubs like 5 wins this season because he doesn’t allow the players playing the best to be in the lineup. I’m sure the clubhouse atmosphere stinks too. I mean, the players are probably all tired of it and will quit on the team. 10-game losing streak coming up, right guys? I’m sure if Rick Renteria were still here, he’d be playing Szczur every day because he’s EARNED it and all Tommy LaStella has ever done is hit .280 with a .372 OBP. How about you EARN it first, Tommy LaStrike Out! Carrie, care to comment on how the players are going to all revolt against the tyrannical Joe Maddon for never rewarding any of them for good play?

Go ahead. Be reactionary. That’s not what i said at all. I’m saying that I think Szczur has played his way into more playing time. LaStella is a heck of a hitter, but Szczur has outperformed him, and with injuries depleting the outfield, it makes sense to put him out there. And, yes, I do feel like Szczur had not been rewarded for his good play. No, I don’t think that reflects poorly on Maddon, but I do think he needs to look at the situation.

Reactionary? If anything, I’m being the opposite of reactionary. I say the Cubs are 40-16, so Joe Maddon can put whatever lineup he very well pleases out there! He can bat the pitcher 5th and if the Cubs continue to win, then who are we to question him? Obviously he’s doing something right, so excuse me for not getting all hot and bothered because everyone’s favorite 4th outfielder is still the 4th outfielder despite the injuries that have taken place. I mean, thanks to all those years of being bad are Cubs fans just conditioned to find something to complain about? What’s next, Addison Russell takes a 2-0 pitch down the middle for a strike with the Cubs up 7-0 and you want bench him for Baez because he’s letting too many good pitches go by? Hector Rondon blows a save and now we have to trade our top prospects to get Huston Street? Relax everyone!!! “We are good.” Just keep telling yourself that every time you feel the urge to lobby for more playing time for Matt Szczur or feel that Pedro Strop isn’t paying attention or decide that losing 2 of 3 to the Padres in May is just as bad as losing 2 of 3 to the Cardinals or Pirates in September.

Aloha Doug- I know I probably should stay quite but I will take the risk for civility sake. I do not think anyone including myself will argue that 40-16 is not tremendous. I also think with some of the injuries that have happened, lack of offense at times it really is amazing where there are. Now for myself, I will admit I can get a little frustrated with “play” if it is not good. That is regardless of how well a team is doing or not, if I see bad play or what we players learned as “fundamentals/mechanics,” I (at least in my mind) call it out. My father a former collegiate coach told me that when his team won, that was when he used that “euphoria” after the game to go over the mistakes/bad plays that were made. My coach did that as well. On the flip side you try to build up a team after a lost, especially a tough one. I have been an advocate here as well as jasper and others for Almora. We all know he has the defense. But with many young players it is the hitting. Look at Baez, he has difficulty at times making contact because he wants to slug it out on every pitch instead of “shortening-up,” making adjustments. In the minors you can get away with that but not in the show where the pitching is much better. I think Mat B. was taken out of context as he did not say or infer anything disparaging about Maddon or the team not doing well. The other thing I would just put out there and this is not meant to be taken negatively either, is that all people are imperfect, that includes managers and coaches and FO folks. This includes current Cubs personnel but the wonderful thing is that with the team (every aspect) that has been put together over the last 5yrs, there are a lot less mistakes or bad calls and we are seeing the fruits of their labor. So I hope I am clear in saying no one is perfect, even Maddon (God Bless him) will make mistakes. Now, I will admit with the team having such difficulty driving in runs (look at tonight’s game with the bases loaded and no outs in the 8th, they could only score 1 run on a sac fly by Fowler), I thought if not Szczur that they might bring up Murton because he is doing fairly well, making contact and plays a very good outfield. Plus he has been in the show before and could and a nice veteran presence. But I also see Mat B’s logic about having Bryant stay at 3rd as much as possible as he has a .960 Fld% compared to LaStella’s .875. Szczur’s play has also been great in his 24/25 games in all outfield positions, mainly LF with no errors. I guess what I am saying is for this period in which Soler is out, Szczur with both bat and glove is not a step down. In fact I believe it is the bp that is in more need of attention right now as Richard had another tough outing tonight. So I thought instead of bringing up Almora, why not a pitcher? Anyhow, I hope you all have a great evening and hope the team can turn things around tomorrow! Mahalo & Go Cubs!

Oh and Szczur is hitting .333 with a .382 OBP. He also has 13 RBI in 51 at bats. LaStella has 7 RBI in 75 at bats. Hmm, that sure makes Szczur look more productive. Then you can also factor in that he is an excellent defender in all three outfield spots. On a separate note, how phenomenal would the outfield defense be with Almora, Szczur & Heyward out there?

And no, I am not taking a shot at Fowler’s defense. He has been far better than advertised, even last year.

You are really good at putting words in my mouth. I haven’t said anything about benching anyone. I have said that with the injuries they have incurred, it makes sense that you put Szczur out there. Yes, you are being reactionary to me you are ranting and raving at me, putting words in my mouth. Saying outrageous things that I haven’t even hinted at. Look at the stats. Has Szczur outplayed Soler? Has he outplayed LaStella? The answer is yes. Go ahead. Make up some other outlandish thing and accuse me of coming up with it.

Well, if you think Szczur should be playing, then someone’s got to be benched. I mean, I assumed you realized that this is not softball and you don’t play 10 fielders at a time. I would assume that anyone with basic baseball knowledge knows how many players are on the field at a time and that it’s understood that if there are 9 players in the lineup, and you’re complaining about someone who isn’t in the lineup who you’d like to see put in the lineup, then one of the 9 who is in the lineup needs to come out of the lineup. I just assumed you knew that, but if me pointing out that someone needs to be benched in order to get Szczur in the lineup is putting words in your mouth, then maybe you need to take a break and read up on the basic rules of the game before you are ready to talk more baseball.
And if you just assume that Szczur would join the lineup with no other possible scenario, like Bryant playing left and Baez/LaStella playing third, then you really haven’t been paying attention at all during the Joe Maddon era. And I’m not arguing that Szczur isn’t playing well, because he is. I’m arguing that it’s not like LaStella is hitting .210 and Baez has 80 Ks already. The Cubs not only have depth, but good depth. If they aren’t playing a guy who’s playing well, then they likely have another guy who adds something to the lineup in some way, shape or form. Maddon knows exactly what Szczur brings to the table, but maybe, just maybe, he wanted another lefty in the lineup tonight. Or maybe LaStella had some good at bats against this guy in the past? I don’t know for sure, but I’m sure that Maddon puts more thought into his lineups than just seeing who is hitting what and who has how many RBI.
And for all we know, Szczur will be in the lineup for the next 10 games, which will make you whining about him not being in the lineup tonight look pretty stupid. And I’m sorry, but when you’re complaining about someone not being in the lineup, you are complaining about the manager, so you might not have said “Joe Maddon is not making a good move by keeping Szczur out of the lineup” that’s exactly what you mean and that would not be putting words in your mouth.

Getting tired of Heyward lack of production.

Cubs Talk, it`s good to see you back. I thought you were bounced from this blog a while back. All power to you for being resurrected. I have to agree with you re: Heyward. I know he hit a big dinger Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. I sat behind the Phillies dugout and had an excellent view of that long ball to right field. But looking at Jason`s overall season to this point, it has been disappointing at the dish. In view of the extravagant contract he received in the winter, we Cubs` fans expect more production. It`s not unreasonable. Heyward`s defense has been ” as advertised.” His effort has been there in every respect, just not the offensive production.

Hey Doug, telling me what I mean is the very definition of putting words in my mouth. If you are so full of baseball knowledge, how is it that you can’t figure out that nobody needs to be benched? The two players who were manning left field are both injured. That means there is an opening in the outfield. You’ve had a lot of negative to say, while I haven’t disparaged anyone. The most negative comment I’ve made is that LaStella is a significant downgrade defensively at third base. You know why that isn’t a negative comment? It’s because he just started playing the position. My whole point in all of this is that I feel like Szczur HAS earned more than 51 at bats to this point in the season. I’ll make some concessions here. When I made my original statement, I did not realize there was a right hander on the mound. My second concession is that I do realize that Szczur lost 2 weeks on the disabled list. Even with 2 weeks lost that might put him around 60 at bats for the season. Stop being so ridiculously combative. I like Szczur. I like what he’s done with his life, in saving the young Ukrainian girl. I believe he could be an every day player. I even called for him too be traded before the season so he could get a better opportunity. The problem with that is that he hasn’t had the opportunity to play his way into being of greater value than a defensive replacement/pinch hitter/pinch runner. So, let’s all start acting like adults and stop throwing out inflammatory statements.

I’m still not exactly sure what words you think I’m putting in your mouth or what negative statements you think I’m making? If you think I’m making negative statements, then maybe you are the one who is putting words into my mouth? And I guess I’m sorry for being combative. I need to remember that this site is full of people who want to state their opinions, but don’t want to engage in actual baseball discussion. And if someone has the audacity to come by and disagree with an opinion or remind everyone that the Cubs are good and there’s no need to get all worked up over what Matt Sczcur is doing over the next two weeks, they get treated like they just slapped you with a glove and we have to wake up at dawn for a good old fashioned duel. I’m wrong, you’re right. Matt Szczur is clearly the best player to ever put on a Cubs uniform and if Joe Maddon thinks that Tommy LaStella and his .180 batting average or Javier Baez and his 97 Ks or Albert Almora and his .000 lifetime batting average deserve to play over future Hall of Famer Matt Szczur, then he’s clearly the worst manager in the history of all sports and he should be fired and replaced by you right away! Now THAT’S putting words in your mouth!

Again, I never made any suggestions like what your are attributing to me. All I’ve said about Szczur is that he has played well enough to earn more playing time, especially in light of the fact that two players playing in front of him are injured. Of course, they didn’t bring up Almora to sit on the bench, so he will be playing, and with Coghlan back in the fold, he will get the playing time against right handers. Maybe K.G. is right and the prospects are being highlighted. If not, I would just like to see them package Szczur in a deal to see him get the opportunity he has played well enough to earn.

Starting to get GOOD, summer time blues need something to keep me cool, throw some stats at me CubsTalk, always informative,always good for a laugh,did they let you out on good behavior, good having you back, Go Cubs!

Aloha Mat B- I wanted to write about this earlier but work gets in the way as they say and you all are back “East (MidWest)” so things happen earlier/sooner of course as you are by Wrigley. Mat one of the “strategies” I was taught in finance/investments was what we called “contrarian.” I have been thinking about this, not saying it is right by any means but I think Szczur is safe because he is a “known” quantity to Maddon, the team, MLB (NL for sure). But what is not as “known” are all the prospects or young folks playing at the moment for this organization. If I look at it this way, it does not surprise me that Almora was brought up now if only to let other teams see what one of our prospects potentially can do. Do you get what I mean? There has been a lot of chatter on the net about the Yankees being sellers by the end of July and one of the names that comes up big time is Andrew Miller the LF-Handed reliever. Well, after the Cubs FO were able to get the Yankees to take Castro and his salary to make room for Zobrist, I am sure if Theo and company come knocking again for Miller they will have to cough up some prospects+. There is a lot of talk in my area about the Giant’s big interest in Miller too so if the Cubs want him, what are they willing to give up because whoever gets him, controls him for a couple of years. And for the Cubs, it would be a reunion for Maddon and Miller. So, back to Almora or anyone else they might bring up between now and the deadline: besides filling spots it could also be “auditions” for the other teams. Teams like to take risks on prospects even though we know only so many of them will ever make it to the bigs with a long career and part of that risk is having control and keeping the “labor” costs down. Anyhow, this was a little long but I think if a contrarian strategy is in place, Szczur is fine but “PT” may be affected to accommodate possible trade deals in the near future. Just a theory. Take care now. Mahalo!

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