Cubs Down on the Farm Report – 08/15/13

It was moving day for many of the Cubs’ prospects, as Kris Bryant and Dan Vogelbach now call Daytona home. Reliever Armando Rivero is now in Tennessee, while nomadic lefty Jeffry Antigua has returned to Iowa. Cael Brockmeyer is back in Boise and Trevor Gretzky has made his way to Kane County.

Meanwhile, Javier Baez just keeps on hitting and working counts in Tennessee.  Baez is 18-for-43 with six doubles, one home run, 13 RBI, three walks and nine strikeouts in last 10 games (.419/.452/.628/1.084).

To sort this all out, and along with an update from the Dominican Summer League, see what’s inside of this version of Down on the Farm Report.

Note: Monday’s report covers games from Wednesday to Saturday and Thursday’s report covers games Sunday through Tuesday.

Short-Season A – Boise Hawks (11-8) (32-25)

(W) Boise saw the return of some old faces on Sunday as they beat Vancouver in game one of a day-night doubleheader 3-1. Jose Rosario recently returned from Kane County and started the first game. Rosario allowed only an unearned run and struck out five in five innings. Another familiar face, Jose Arias, was back from rehab and tossed three scoreless innings. Tyler Bremer picked up a strikeout and earned his sixth save with a perfect ninth inning.

Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) reached with a one out triple in the first inning and scored on a sacrifice fly. The score stood at 1-1 in the seventh when Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4) led off with a single. A double by Rony Rodriguez (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Balaguert. And a fielding error allowed Rodriguez to score.

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(L) In game two, Kris Bryant (3-for-4 with two RBI) extend his hitting streak to 15 games but the Hawks fell 6-5 to Vancouver. Boise tied the game in the second inning after consecutive singles by Jordan Hankins (1-for-5) and Justin Marra (2-for-5) put two on for Trevor Gretzky (3-for-4 with a RBI). Gretzky single in Hankins. A base hit by Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-5 with two RBI) two outs later plated Marra. It was Marra again in the fourth, as he led off with a double and moved to third on single by Gretzky. Encarnacion singled in Marra, and both he and Gretzky scored on a double by Kris Bryant. Juan Carlos Paniagua got his first start for the Hawks and threw smoke. Paniagua struck out five but allowed two earned runs in three innings. Michael Wagner was roughed up for three runs (two earned) in three innings. Sam Wilson gave up an earned run in 2.1 innings while striking out two batters. Carlos Martinez-Pumarino picked up the final two outs.

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(W) It was total domination by Boise on Tuesday as they defeated Eugene 12-1. Duane Underwood seems to be improving with each outing. Underwood allowed an earned run in three innings. Paul Blackburn made his first relief appearance of the season and struck out a batter in three scoreless innings. Trey Masek picked up three strikeouts as he shut down the Emeralds for two innings, while Eddie Orozco struck out the side in the ninth.

The fun started in the first inning after Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-3 with a RBI) led off with a walk and Danny Lockhart (2-for-5) singled. Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) then tied for the league lead in home runs by belting his seventh of the season.  Jacob Rogers (2-for-2) walked to restart things and Rony Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. A single by Lance Rymel (1-for-5 with a RBI) drove in Rogers. David Bote (3-for-4 with four RBI) led off the fourth with a single and stole second base. A single by Carlos Penalver (1-for-5) moved Bote to third, and he scored on a force out. Balaguert led off the fifth with a walk and Rogers followed with a single. A double from Jordan Hankins (3-for-5 with a RBI) scored Balaguert. Bote then laced a double down the left field line and scored Rogers and Hankins. A fielding error allowed Bote to score. It was Balaguert again in the sixth as doubled, moved to third on a single by Rogers, and scored on a force out. Another force put Rodriguez and Rymel on second and third and a double by Bote brought both of them home.

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Low Class-A – Kane County Cougars (18-31) (48–67)

(L) Kane County dug a hole early on Sunday and could not get out of it. The Cougars lost 8-4 to Cedar Rapids. Tayler Scott was the victim of poor defense, although one of the four errors was his own. Scott allowed six runs (three earned) and struck out three in five innings. Justin Amlung was tagged with an unearned run but struck out four batters in two innings. Nathan Dorris joined the fraternity as he also was hung with an unearned run while striking out two in two innings. The Cougars’ first run scored after Oliver Zapata walked to start the game and came home on a double by Giuseppe Papaccio (1-for-4 with a RBI). Kane County scratched out another run in the fifth after Willson Contreras (1-for-4) and Marco Hernandez (2-for-5) reached on one out hits. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch and Contreras scored on a sacrifice fly. It was a similar situation in the seventh. Rock Shoulders (2-for-5) and Hernandez singled and advanced a base on a wild pitch. Shoulders scored on a sacrifice fly, while Hernandez came around on a double from Reggie Golden (2-for-5 with a RBI).

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(W) The Cougars rallied late on Monday and were able to steal a 4-3 victory away from Cedar Rapids. Kane County took the lead in the fourth inning after Giuseppe Papaccio (2-for-4), Dan Vogelbach (2-for-4), and Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with a RBI) reached on consecutive one out singles. Candelario singled in Papaccio. A double play allowed Vogelbach to score. Candelario doubled to start the ninth and scored on a one out single by Rock Shoulders (1-for-4 with a RBI). Jose Dore replaced Shoulders as a pinch-runner, and intentional walks were issued to Marco Hernandez (1-for-3) and Neftali Rosario (1-for-3) to set up a double play. However, Reggie Golden (1-for-3 with a RBI) hit a sacrifice fly that scored the winning run.

Michael Heesch had one of his best starts of the season. Heesch allowed only an unearned run in five innings. Al Yevoli allowed the Kernels to get back into the game as he gave up two earned runs and struck out two in two innings. Andrew McKirahan worked around two walks in two scoreless innings to get the victory.

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High Class–A – Daytona Cubs (27-16-1) (62-47-1)

(W) Both teams saved their offense for the end on Sunday and Daytona ended up on top of Tampa 5-4. The D-Cubs held a precarious 1-0 lead for six innings after Taiwan Easterling (1-for-3 with a home run) hit a solo home run in the third inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Daytona opened things up after Elliot Soto and Wes Darvill (2-for-4 with a RBI) started the inning with walks. A single by Anthony Giansanti (3-for-5 with two RBI) scored Soto and Darvill came home on a ground rule double from Bijan Rademacher (1-for-5 with a RBI). After a walk to Ben Carhart (1-for-3), Giansanti scored on a force play. The D-Cubs scored an insurance run in the eighth. Zeke DeVoss (3-for-5) and Darvill singled and DeVoss scored on a Giansanti single.

Corey Black made the start against his former team and held them scoreless for five innings while striking out four batters. Austin Reed gave up an unearned run and struck out three in three innings. Then it was a wild ride for Armando Rivero as he surrendered three runs (one earned) while striking out two in the ninth as Daytona hung on for the win.

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(W) One inning sometimes makes a difference as Daytona scored all their runs in the fourth and held on for a 5-4 win over Tampa on Monday. The big inning started with a Wes Darvill (1-for-3) single. Darvill stole second and he scored after basehits by Anthony Giansanti (2-for-4) and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a RBI). After a walk to Dustin Geiger, Chadd Krist (1-for-3, RBI) singled in Rademacher. Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with a RBI) then delivered a two out single that plated both Geiger and Krist. Following a walk to Zeke DeVoss (1-for-2), Carhart scored on a wild pitch.

Ivan Pineyro pitched a fine game and allowed an earned run while striking out two in six innings. Lendy Castillo made the game close as he gave up three runs (two earned) in one inning of work. Jeffrey Lorick collected his second save with two scoreless innings.

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(W) It was the first of two doubleheader days for the D-Cubs on Tuesday and Daytona took game one 5-0 over Clearwater. Pierce Johnson was masterful as he struck out seven and allowed only four hits in 5.2 innings. Armando Rivero was able to gain his first save as he gave up only one hit in 1.1 innings. The scoring started when Zeke DeVoss (1-for-2 with a RBI) walked to start the fourth inning as he reached base for his 30th straight game. Two outs later, Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI), fresh up from Kane County, launched his first home run for Daytona. In the fifth, Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3) and Chad Krist (1-for-2 with a RBI) singled and Rademacher scored on a base hit from DeVoss. Dustin Geiger reached on a fielding error to start the sixth inning. Singles by Vogelbach and Anthony Giansanti (2-for-3 with a RBI) plated Geiger. Vogelbach later scored on a sacrifice fly.

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(L) Daytona just didn’t have enough offense in game two and they lost 3-2 to Clearwater. Yao-Lin Wang drew the starting assignment and did well enough to win. Wang allowed two earned runs while striking out a season high eight batters in 5.1 innings. Zach Cates gave up an earned run in the final 1.2 innings. In his Daytona debut, 2013 first round draft pick Kris Bryant (1-for-3 with a home run) smashed a solo home run in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Wes Darvill (1-for-2 with a RBI) had a one out single and scored on a double from Yaniel Cabezas (2-for-3).

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Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (27-20) (64-55)

(W) It was a double-dip on Monday as Tennessee completed a suspended game with Montgomery and won 3-2. Matt Loosen started the game for the Smokies on Sunday and tossed two scoreless innings before rain suspended the game. Eric Jokisch took over when the game was resumed on Monday and allowed two runs (one earned) while striking out three in 6.1 innings. Tony Zych recorded the final two outs to pick up his second save.

John Andreoli (1-for-4) led off the game for Tennessee with a single but was wiped out on a force play by Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4). A single by Javier Baez (2-for-4 with a home run) moved Alcantara to third. Baez stole second. A groundout scored Alcantara. Baez then tied the game in the sixth with a solo home run, his 12th longball with the Smokies. Jonathan Mota (1-for-2) singled with two outs in the seventh and scored on a double by Taylor Davis (1-for-3 with a RBI), his first Double-A hit.

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(W) It was over almost before it began in the regularly scheduled game as Tennessee cruised to a 9-4 victory over Montgomery. The first inning saw Rubi Silva draw a one out walk and score after a single by Javier Baez (1-for-4) and a double from Justin Bour (2-for-4 with a RBI). Christian Villanueva (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) then belted his 16th home run. After Rafael Lopez (1-for-3) reached on an error, Jonathan Mota (2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI) smashed his sixth home run. Villanueva doubled to lead off the third inning and Lopez followed with a walk. A double by John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a RBI) scored Villanueva, while a double from Mota scored both Lopez and Andreoli.

Yeiper Castillo drew the starting nod in the day’s second game and allowed four earned runs in three innings. Jeffry Antigua followed and blanked the Biscuits for three innings while striking out two batters. Frank Batista bounced back from a couple of rough outings and pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

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(W) Great pitching and timely hitting were the combination that brought Tennessee a 4-1 victory over Chattanooga on Tuesday. Eduardo Figueroa picked up his first victory with the Smokies. Figueroa recorded a strikeout in five scoreless innings. Hunter Cervenka shut out the Lookouts for two innings and struck out three batters. Dayan Diaz gave up an earned run but had three strikeouts in two innings.

Tennessee clung to a 1-0 lead for four innings after Christian Villanueva (2-for-3) doubled with one out in the second inning. A single by Rafael Lopez (1-for-3 with a RBI) plated in Villanueva. The Smokies finally got some breathing room in the seventh after pinch-hitter Nate Samson drew a one out walk. Singles by Matt Szczur (2-for-3) and Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with a RBI) scored Samson. A single by Rubi Silva (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated both Szczur and Alcantara.

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Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (57-67)

(L) Iowa just couldn’t get their offense going on Sunday and the Cubs lost 4-1 to Fresno. The I-Cubs were held without a run and were limited to only two hits until the ninth inning when consecutive singles by Julio Borbon (1-for-1), Dave Sappelt (1-for-4) and Jae-Hoon Ha (1-for-4 with a RBI) plated Borbon. Yoanner Negrin had a decent showing as he allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out seven in six innings. Marcus Hatley and Zac Rosscup each pitched a perfect inning. Hatley struck out two batters and Rosscup fanned three. Alberto Cabrera gave up an earned run with two strikeouts in an inning of work.

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(W) In a tense affair, Iowa used pitching and the longball to beat Sacramento 2-1 on Monday. Justin Grimm was looking for his first win with his new club and allowed an earned run while striking out six in 5.1 innings. Marcos Mateo hurled 1.2 scoreless innings, but Zac Rosscup got into some trouble and loaded the bases around two strikeouts. Brian Schlitter bailed Rosscup out. Schlitter struck out two and earned his 16th save.

The only offense for the I-Cubs came via the home run. Josh Vitters (1-for-2 with a home run) hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and Mike Olt (1-for-3 with a home run) went deep in the fifth inning.

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(L) It wasn’t as easy the second time around for Kyle Hendricks as Iowa fell 6-4 to Sacramento on Tuesday. Kyle Hendricks made his second Triple-A start and was hit for four runs while striking out seven in five innings. Marcus Hatley took over for Hendricks and picked up three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Alberto Cabrera continued his struggles in a reliever role and allowed two earned runs in two innings. The I-Cubs took the lead in the second inning after Dave Sappelt (2-for-4) reached on an error and Mike Olt (1-for-4) singled. A double by Edwin Maysonet (1-for-4 with two RBI) scored both runners. A base hit by Chad Noble (2-for-4 with RBI) plated Maysonet. Iowa tied the score at four in the seventh after Noble led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Edgar Gonzalez (2-for-5 with a RBI) later singled in Noble.

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Rookie League – AZL Cubs (8-7) (20-22)

(W) Once again, it was a big inning that helped the Cubs as a four run seventh inning contributed to a 5-4 win over the Rangers on Sunday. Trevor Graham made his first start and allowed an earned run while striking out three in three innings. Tyler Ihrig recorded four strikeouts in three scoreless innings. Brian Bogusevic was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Jesse Hodges (1-for-5) drove in two runs.

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(W) It took the offense a little while to get going again on Monday, but the Cubs were able to produce a 7-0 win over the Mariners. Mark Malave was 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Trevor Stevens went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two RBI. The Cubs needed three pitchers to pick up the victory. Erick Leal struck out six in five scoreless innings, while Brad Renner and Ethan Elias each fanned three in two innings.

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Dominican Summer League

The DSL Cubs kept their first place lead at five games in the Boca Chica South Division. After winning five straight games, the Cubs record now stands at 42-18. Second baseman Dalfis Otiz has moved into second in the league with a .347 average that includes a home run, 26 RBI, and 14 stolen bases.  Outfielder Shamil Ubiera remains the league leader with 50 RBI, and is hitting .293 with four home runs and 13 stolen bases. Third baseman Adonis Paula remained third in the league with 45 RBI to go along with a .286 average and two home runs.  Outfielder Jenner Emeterio remains in third in the DSL with 31 stolen bases and improved his average to .242 with a home run and 20 RBI. The Cubs improved to fourth in the DSL in team ERA. Jose Paulino slipped to ninth in the league with 59 strikeouts, to go along with 4-3 record, a 2.87 ERA, and a 1.09 WHIP. Jose Zapata is now third in the league with a 0.81 WHIP, and has an ERA of 2.25 with a 4-0 record that includes 39 strikeouts in 48 innings.

News and Notes

The Chicago Cubs assigned LHP Jeffry Antigua to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; RHP Armando Rivero was assigned to the Tennessee Smokies from the Daytona Cubs; C Chad Noble was assigned to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned IF Dan Vogelbach to the Daytona Cubs from the Kane County Cougars; assigned IF Kris Bryant to the Daytona Cubs from the Boise Hawks; assigned IF Brad Zapenas to the Kane County Cougars from the Daytona Cubs; assigned OF Trevor Gretzky to the Kane County Cougars from the Boise Hawks; assigned C Cael Brockmeyer to the Boise Hawks from the Iowa Cubs; assigned OF Jacob Hannemann to the AZL Cubs from the Boise Hawks.

The Iowa Cubs activated IF/OF Josh Vitters and C Luis Flores from the 7-Day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed C Taylor Davis on the 7-Day disabled list retroactive to August 13. The Daytona Cubs placed OF Taiwan Easterling on the 7-Day disabled list. The Kane County Cougars placed C Neftali Rosario on the 7-Day disabled list.

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  • Tom U

    One thing I forgot to add to the report: VSL hitting star Roney Alcala has joined the DSL Cubs. Normally an infielder, Alcala is now lining up at catcher.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    Looking over this entire system, what stands out the most is lack of pitching, lack of catching, lack of speed……..have lots of “Power Guys” coming up in the next few years……but the name of the game is “Pitching”……Johnson is a starter, but Cabrera and Vizcaino, whenever he returns, will be bullpen guys… it will be many years before we see anyone else on the radar who is a strong starting pitcher…….Cubs have a very big hole at catching…if Castillo goes down, Navarro is the option, if he resigns…if he does not, Theo has problems……..what made the Cubs great in 84 & 89 was speed at the top of the batting order……..we lack speed on this team…..our best base stealer was Soriano………..creating a baseball team is like creating a meal….lots of various parts has to blend together to make it good……..Pitching, defense, speed, power, hitting………this system is better off than a few years ago, but there is still a long way to go……..heard the guys on the local ESPN station talking about playoffs being here by 2015, or Theo will be in trouble……as the Cubs get stronger, so will the Cardinals, Pirates & Reds…..what will be the excuses by the FO in 2016 if the cubs have not made the playoffs by then?…….if the Cubs are going to win, they will have to dip into free agency of going after the best top line pitchers out there……this team lacks a true #1 starter…….Cubs need a pitcher who can stop the bleeding……Cubs will have to go after BOTH Price & Kershaw when the time comes.

    • Tom U

      I respectfully disagree on the assessment of speed, as their is a great deal of speed in the organization.

      Jae-Hoon Ha is one of the fastest players in the organization. It doesn’t show up in stolen base stats but does on defense, extra base hits, and advancing extra bases.

      We all know Matt Szczur has NFL speed, and John Andreoli is the best base runner in the the system. Arismendy Alcantara is also a base stealing threat while Javier Baez and Rubi Silva have above average speed.

      Zeke DeVoss is an accomplished base-stealer while Tim Saunders has the best top-end speed in the system (think Tony Camapana-type speed). Both Wes Darvill and Bijan Rademacher are above average.

      Kane County has some fleet players in Albert Almora, Oliver Zapata, Gioskar Amaya, and Marco Hernandez.

      Shawon Dunston Jr. has the ability to be one of the elites in the system as far as speed, with Kevin Encarnacion, David Bote, ad Danny Lockhart all with good to above average speed.

      Jeffrey Baez of the AZL Cubs is very fast and has the potential to be an elite base-stealer.

      • Thomas D

        Could not agree with you more Tom as I read your minor reports every time it comes out as well as my player searches throughout the day. I just wish they would post their fielding and war foe the minors and not just batting. It seems as if we are moving back towards the Sosa and Big Mac era again.

      • Dorasaga

        Taiwan Esterling, I thought he played football and ran well? Just thought to expand your inclusive list.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Duh. It’s been two years. The system has improved, but it’s not complete. But if you think about it, what system is completely balanced? None of them. That’s part of the fun.

    • Theboardrider

      Vizcaino will get a shot to start. Many players return from that surgery and start. About 1/3rd of starters in MLB have had TJ. Not saying it’s a done deal, but I promise you the FO wants him to have every shot to start. Don’t write him off.

  • BosephHeyden

    I’m curious: how did Gretzky get moved up to Kane County? Whenever I’d see his stats posted here, it always seemed like his average and on-base were fairly low, and when I double checked MiLB’s website, he’s only hitting .256 with a .281 on-base percentage. I figured those numbers would be overlooked if he was crushing the ball and driving in loads of runs, but then I also saw he only has 6 RBI’s.

    How did he get moved up? Does he have a phenomenal glove? Or is it because he did his 100 games in Boise and was just due? I can’t believe for a second it would be name-recognition.

    • Tom U

      Boseph, I believe it was need. Vogelbach was promoted and Shoulders isn’t the best first baseman out there.

      Gretzky has experience at first and is both more versitile and a bigger part of the future than someone like Jacob Rogers.

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  • CubbyDenCritic

    Tom, you talk about future Cubs having speed….only guy who can crack the lineup with 30 plus steals might be Alcantara……….can you see Almora stealing 30 plus bases?……these two seem the most logic to be at the top of the order by 2015……having speed is one thing, knowing how to steal a base is another…….going on the right pitch, having a good jump and knowing the opposing pitchers moves all have to be consider…….then there is how to run the bases correctly…….a player might be fast, but can use his speed for his advantage?…..Ha, Szczur and others are reserve players…..but to steal a base, you need to get on base…..Campana was fast, but couldn’t hit……….I see you didn’t reply on the pitching part dealing with the Cubs…….or who will be our future catchers………but we know the answers to that.

    • Tom U

      Cubby, the guy that rally intrigues me is John Andreoli, Andreoli appears the Theo prototype lead-off man.

      Andreoli can hit (career .294), take walks (127 in 242 games), and steal bases (93 in 117 attempts over 2+ seasons) Advance scouts I spoke with at Kane Co. earlier this season absolutely raved about his ability, both offensively and defensively.

    • Tom U

      I’m sorry I can’t respond to your answers full, but on Thursday’s I’m time limited.

      • Theboardrider

        Thanks for the information about Andreoli. I believe Almora does have the potential to steal 30 bases in a season during his career. Also, I’m not convinced they won’t go after Jacoby Ellsbury and if the price is right I’d like the signing. He is the best base-runner in the league. Would be a great table-setter and still have some productivity (although at that point probably more as a power guy and not as much a base stealer) by the time the youth movement happens and we are post-season competitive circa 2016.

    • 07GreyDigger

      Speed does not always equal stolen bases. In addition, to speed you have to be a good base runner. That’s almost more important than speed. Castro has great speed, but sucks at stealing bases. Pujols doesn’t have a lot of speed, but always seems to have 8-10 SBs every year (not lately), do you see what I mean?

      • cubtex

        You really want to go with “great” speed to describe Castro? I am a big believer in speed at the top. You can create so many scenarios with speed. Hit and run, straight steal, sac bunt, runner going 1st to 3rd on a play that most average baserunners can’t. With so many close games that can make a difference in winning and losing. So many of these saber baseball stats are so crazy to me. Steals aren’t worth the risk…etc. Speed can win a hell of a lot of games.

        • 07GreyDigger

          I like speed on a team as well. I was just trying to say that speed is only part of the conversation on SB. I noticed earlier in both years of his tenure, Sveum used SB’s to try to score more runs, but I can’t remember the last time anyone on this team stole a base.

  • Dorasaga

    Nice article about Austin Reed, his Southside closer bro, and family. Too bad I never had a dad who built me a batting cage. We didn’t have a yard, actually:

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    It is not the lack of pitching or speed that bothers me most. It’s the non-development of Rizzo and Castro.

    • cubtex

      That is another issue all in itself.