Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA infielder Kolten Wong (rear) steals second base as World infielder Arismendy Alcantara (7) is unable to handle the ball in the 5th inning during the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
This is going to be more like a 2 week wrap as I kinda took the week off from my Cubs prospects focus to focus on the Bears prospects as the NFL Draft just dominated the sports world, and mine as well. But I’m back to blogging about Cubs minor league affiliates, and will have Blogs coming for the Smokies, Daytona Cubs, and Cougars right behind this one in the coming days.
When I began writing these Arismendy Alcantara was still trying to find his way. The last time I wrote a blog about the Iowa Cubs Alcantara was starting to put things together. Well ladies and gentlemen Mr. Alcantara is officially white hot. Not just hitting, but he’s even starting to find his batting eye. In his last 7 games he’s drawn 4 BB’s, and has only 3 K’s. But the main story is how he’s squaring the ball up on the bat. His power numbers are way up. Slugging over .700 in his last 7. Overall he’s slugging .490 with 21 of his 40 total hits going for extra bases. Could a call up to the majors be coming in the not too distant future?
On the down side Javier Baez still has struggled since last I wrote, but he has had 3 good games in a row. So lets hope he’s finally made the adjustments, and found that comfort level at the plate along with it. in his last 13 PA’s he has 4 hits with 1 HR, and 3 RBI to go along with a walk. Hey you gotta walk before you run. Let’s hope he starts jogging soon building up to a dead sprint.
At this point it’s time to start taking a hard look at Louis Flores. If he keeps this up he may be with the team soon backing up Wellington Castillo. Sure he may not be a prospect for the future of the team especially with Castillo firmly entrenched as the teams franchise catcher, However the 27 year old has been hitting well, playing solid defense, and handling the staff like a true leader, and he’s been getting on base. With this regime that’s the magic ticket to the show. In 64 PA’s he has an incredible 18 BB’s against just 6 K’s. Hasn’t hit for much power, but as a back up and pinch hitter getting on base could be a significant offensive contribution. The 29 year old Chris Goghlan made his way up taking a similar path. He was only hitting .243 with an OPS under .700, but he did have an OBP of .379, and played fundamental ball and showed leadership.
Another guy fitting the same profile is Chris Valaika. Valaika too has taken to the organizational philosophy in an effort to be called up, and he’s done everything possible to merit that call up. Sporting a well above average OBP of .387 he certainly fits the bill of what the Cubs are looking for. He’s also an older guy at 28, and could be a solid leader to show the kids what Theo Epstein has coined the Cub way. He’s put up a solid line to along with that OBP too. .310/.387/.460/.848
You have to also add Logan Watkins to that mix. He’s slashing .400/.411/.811 while hitting .305. He had a pretty good run with the parent club last season once he was called up. He is younger (24) and still has a chance to surprise everyone and sneak in as a core player. Doubtful he will be one for this team, but not completely out of the question he gets dealt, and takes advantage of that opportunity with another team.
The real story for the Iowa Cubs is what pitchers will be the first to infiltrate the MLB club. The most likely guys will be from the pen. Although Chris Rusin can play multiple roles as a reliever and spot starter. Rusin doesn’t give you anything spectacular, but is a total pro and a steady eddy that can be counted on to give a team quality innings.
Another reliever that may be part of what is a developing shut down bullpen in Chicago is Marcus Hately. Hately has the profile of what the Cubs want in their relievers. Heck what any team wants in their relievers. He had a rough outing yesterday which really inflated his stats, but even with that being the case he still has very good stats. Big strong kid who brings the heat. almost 13 K’s per 9, no one is hitting anything on him Only .188 BA against. Equally as impressive he has allowed only 2 walks. Add it all up and he has a microscopic 0.764 WHIP. I’d say he’s a sure bet to get called up very soon with production like that.
Another kid that may get a call before seasons end is 2007 international signing Jeffry Antigua. He’s got a live lefty arm. He throws mid 90’s with sink, a hard biting slider, and a plus change. He’s relieving now, but can also spot start if needed. He’s having a very good season too, and is still only 23 years old despite being with the organization in what seems like forever. He has a more than respectable WHIP at 1.100 while striking out 8.1 per 9 with a solid 2.75 ERA.
As for the possible starter call ups once the inevitable pitcher purge happens up north two names stand out. Tsuyoshi Wada is having a sensational season thus far. With 8.9 SO/9 you can see why they call him Dr. K. His command has been good which is what helps him maintain a spectacular 0.974 WHIP. Also has an amazing 2.10 ERA. Once the Cubs start trading their pitchers it’s kids like Wada that should help the Cubs stay respectable.
Another arm that will help the Cubs once they trade away their short term assets is Kyle Hendricks. Slightly above average stuff, but an above average feel for pitching. He’s having another fantastic showing in the minors. It’s just a matter of when he’s finally in the Chicago rotation not if. He could very well be there to stay once he does get called up. He could be a core pitcher as one of the Cubs mid to late rotation pitchers of the future. Coming off a very impressive 8 inning 11 K performance he’s likely the first call up starter once the trades start to go down. Hendricks is striking out nearly 10 per 9, and a 1.120 Whip to go along with a 3.06 ERA.He should be a Chicago Cub sometime in late July early August barring a promotion due to injury.