To say Arismendy Alcantara is hot is like saying Santa Clause is generous. His last 7 days suggest he’s about ready to play at Wrigley Field everyday. He’s hitting .444 and slashing a ridiculous .444/.889/1.333! He just came off a 5 hit game last night. I know Luis Valbuena is having an excellent year getting on base, but what exactly is that doing for the team? Perhaps they keep running him out there, and deal him at the deadline for a team looking for a good utility guy who has some pop from the left side and gets on base. Than they bring Alcantara up. Either way I expect to see him up sometime around the all star break.
More of the middle infielders now turned utility players out of necessity continue to be hot. Even little thought of veteran 29 year old minor leaguer Chris Coghlan is killing it the last three days (.444 .615/.661/1.282). one of the higher value prospects who can possibly be part of a deal, or contribute directly Logan Watkins is steadily having himself a nice season. Last 7 days he’s pretty much doing what he’s been doing all season. Batting .286 .474/.357/.831. His slugging is down, but is getting on base at a torrid rate, and that may get him a look at Wrigley soon. Especially if the Cubs can somehow convince someone to take Darwin Barney off their hands. I do expect him to be used as trade bait either this deadline, or next off-season.
28 year old Chris Valaika doesn’t have much of a future with the Cubs, but if he keeps playing like he is he may get some interest from other teams. It’s getting late in the game for him, but he’s blistering hot right now. This is what his last 7 looks like. .500 .524/.750/1.274. I don’t care what level that’s on that’s pretty impressive.
Javier Baez has come off the DL still trying to find his rhythm. No reason for panic just yet, but with 4 hits in his last 22 AB’s 7 K’s and 0 BB’s in his last 7 at least creates a little anxiety for him to get it going here soon.
Another top prospect Christian Villanueva also continues to struggle. Batting .200 with no walks in his last 7. I won’t even post the abysmal slash line. The Iowa Cubs are off to a good start at 13-9 thus far, but it’s their close to, and actual 30 somethings who are making it happen. No prospect guys. However one possible legitimate prospect Matt Szczur is starting to show signs of life and is up to .261 now, but has to get that walk total up from a meager 6 in 79 PA’s. Doesn’t look like power is going to be his game so he better get on base and cause havoc on the base paths, and continue to play gold glove caliber CF.
Pitching wise it’s been better. Kyle Hendricks continues to show he’s ready for the bigs despite a not so stellar game Sunday. An extremely high BAbip .349 suggest some seeing eye hits have been leaking their way into the outfield. So far facing 125 batters he’s only given up 8 extra base hits and 0 HR’s, so that would suggest he’s not getting hit very hard. He’s still striking guys out with 29 in 30.2 innings, and a respectable 1.209 whip. He has a decent ERA at .411, but his FIP is much better at just 2.81. So he has pitched well beyond the surface stats.
Another starter absolutely lights out so far is international free agent Tsuyoshi Wada. 3-1, 0.68 ERA, ridiculous 0.646 WHIP thus far. At 33 he’s far from a prospect, but may be able to help short term in the pen and as a spot starter. We’ll see how he continues to progress.
Alberto Cabrera looks like a guy who hasn’t taken his exclusion from the 40 man lightly. He’s been seriously taking care of business. At age 25 he’s still is young enough to be a part of this bullpens core. He sure has the stuff for it with a 96 MPH fastball and a wipe out slider. 9.8 SO/9, and a 0.727 WHIP, and 0.82 ERA so far.
Jeff Antigua is a young lefty that’s pitched 4 good innings thus far and Eric Jokish another lefty still offer some bullpen flexibility from the left side of the mound. Both are only 24, and can factor into the future core, or as future trade sweeteners.