Chicago Cubs’ Youngsters Already Putting On A Show In Iowa


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The Chicago Cubs have had the worst two-year run in franchise history. This season, they have the third worst winning percentage in baseball. They have the second fewest wins as well. Attendance is down…again. Things are dismal, right?

Not so fast, buddy. Things may be tough right now, but the future looks bright. Theo Epstein’s plan to build up the minor league system is getting ready to yield dividends.

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There is something special going on in Iowa, where the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate plays. Some of the top prospects in baseball are assembled there, and they are getting ready to come up to the major league club.

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Third baseman Kris Bryant is doing his Babe Ruth impersonation. In 68 games in Double-A Tennessee, he hit .355. with 22 home runs and 58 RBI. He also had a slugging percentage of .702. Of his 88 hits, almost half of them (22) were extra base hits.

With those gaudy numbers, the Cubs recently promoted Bryant to Iowa. His first five hits there were all homer runs. He eventually got around to getting other types of hits, and as of Wednesday he was hitting .333, with 6 homers, 17 RBI and slugging .765 in 14 games. Of his 17 hits, 10 of them are extra base hits.

Cubs fans are already clamoring for Bryant to be called up, but Epstein told reporters that Bryant would not be called up this season. Don’t worry, fans, he will get there in due time.

Javier Baez started out horribly. A month ago, I wrote about how he was

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struggling, hitting just .153 and how he wasn’t ready for the majors yet. Well, since then he’s been on a tear.  He has raised his average by 86 points (.239), has 11 homers and 47 RBI. His slugging percentage is .735. He is back to his old self and both the fans and the team are happy about it.

Arismendy Alcantara has been on a hot streak. He is hitting .307, with 10 homers, 10 triples and 22 doubles. He also has 20 stolen bases in 23 attempts. Of the hitting prospects in Iowa, Alcantara may be the first one called up.

In 16 games this season, Kyle Hendricks has a 10-5 record, with a 3.58

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ERA. He also has a 1.17 WHIP. In 100 1/3 innings, he has 93 strikeouts. With a few pitchers possibly being traded at the deadline, there could be an opening for Hendricks.

Hendricks was obtained in the Ryan Dempster trade two years ago. He went 13-4 with a 2.00 ERA last year between Double-A Tennessee and Iowa, which earned him the team’s  pitcher of the year honor.

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From the left side of the mound, there is Japanese import Tsuyoshi Wada. Wada has a 9-4 record with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. In 99 innings, Wada has 101 strikeouts. A lefty who can miss bats is a hot commodity in the majors. He averages 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings. 

Even the less heralded

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prospects are leaving fans with hope. Dallas Beeler made his major league debut last Saturday. He only had a 5-3 record and a 4.03 ERA, but since it was his turn to pitch in the rotation, he got his shot. He made the best of it.

In six innings against the Washington Nationals, he went six innings and did not allow any earned runs. The Nats scored an unearned run and Beeler was stuck with the loss. Welcome to Jeff Samardzija‘s world, rookie!

There are more good prospects in the lower-level minors such as Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, and this year’s first round draft pick, Kyle Schwarber, who show a lot of promise.

The Iowa Cubs are currently in first place in their division. Things are going great there, and soon perhaps the happiness will travel to Chicago.