While the big league team spent Monday trying to figure out a way to put runs on the board, the front office promoted two of the biggest bats in the system and another one hit his 29th longball of the season.
The Cubs promoted Kris Bryant and Dan Vogelbach to High-A Daytona on Monday. Both Bryant and Vogelbach will report to Daytona on Tuesday and finish their seasons trying to help the D-Cubs win games.
Javier Baez went yard again in the first game of a twin bill on Monday. Baez is up to .273/.329/.580 with a .909 OPS in 34 games with the Smokies that includes eight doubles, 12 home runs, 12 walks and 46 strikeouts in 34 games. In 110 games between Daytona and Tennessee this season, Baez has hit 29 home runs while walking 33 times.
Welington Castillo has made a lot of improvement this season. The light seems to have turned on at the plate as well as behind it. Even with his 0-for-3 performance on Monday night, Castillo is hitting .316/.474/.474/.947 in the 20 games since the break with one double, one home run, 15 walks and 14 strikeouts in 57 at bats. Castillo has bumped his overall numbers to .275/.358/.376 with 18 doubles, four home runs and a .734 OPS in 89 games (298 at bats).
According to a report from the Sun-Times, Castillo has proven to Dale Sveum and the coaching staff that he is “a front-line defensive catcher” and the team is very happy with the way he is developing at the plate.
Right now, Welington Castillo is the only back-stop at or near the Major League level in the organization that has the ability to be an everyday big league catcher. The Cubs will likely re-sign Dioner Navarro in the off-season to keep him in the fold as they try to develop catchers.
Jed Hoyer said the team plans on addressing the lack of catching in the system this off-season.
Dioner Navarro told the Sun-Times that he has liked playing with the Cubs this season and would like to re-sign with the team in the off-season. Navarro has mentored Welington Castillo and Dale Sveum called Navarro “the perfect back-up catcher.”
Navarro signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract last winter and figures to command a little more this off-season.
Prior to the news surfacing that Kris Bryant had officially been promoted to Daytona, Bryant was named Northwest League Player of the Week. Bryant was a homer shy of a cycle on Sunday and extended his hitting streak to 15 games in the second game of a doubleheader, in what turned out to be his last game in a Hawks’ uniform.
Kris Bryant went 9-for-17 with three doubles, one triple and one home run last week.
Eric Jokisch was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Jokisch pitched a nine-inning no hitter last Tuesday against the Jacksonville Suns. Jokisch then went out Monday afternoon and picked up the win against Montgomery.
Sunday’s game against the Biscuits was suspended due to rain and was resumed on Monday afternoon. Jokisch pitched the last 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
The Northwestern product is 10-10 in 23 games, 22 starts, this season with a 3.47 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP … 124 hits, 51 walks and 117 strikeouts in 135 innings. The lefty is 2-0 in his last two starts with a 0.59 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP.
Junior Lake and Albert Almora
The Cubs switched Junior Lake from left field to centerfield prior to Monday’s game. Dale Sveum said the original lineup was a typo and that Lake was supposed to start in centerfield, and not David DeJesus. The Cubs want to take a look at Lake in center, where he has been playing against southpaws. The Cubs do not have any lefties on the schedule and Sveum wants to see Lake in centerfield a lot between now and the end of the season.
Sveum indicated Albert Almora could be the Cubs’ centerfielder in two years, which led many to say that Almora is on the fast track to the majors. According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, the Cubs want to get a better idea of what Junior Lake can do over the next seven weeks.
The Cubs might have found their closer for next season in Pedro Strop. According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Dale Sveum could use Strop in the closer’s role this season when Kevin Gregg is not available. Sveum also said that he could see Strop in the role next season, but next year is a “long way away.”
According to the report, the Cubs planned on using Strop in the closer’s role this season once Kevin Gregg was traded. But no one met the Cubs’ asking price for Gregg prior to the deadline.
One of the top pitching prospects in the Cubs’ system landed in BP’s Monday Morning Ten Pack. Kyle Hendricks has garnered a lot of attention this season after coming to the organization last July in the Ryan Dempster deal with Texas.
According to Baseball Prospectus, Hendricks may lack “big stuff” but he throws strikes and “commands a deep arsenal that includes four-and two-seam fastballs, a cutter, slider, curve and change.” Hendricks has the ability to keep hitters off balance by varying speeds on his fastball. Hendricks can throw his fastball anywhere from 88-94 mph, sits comfortably in the 88-90 mph range and throws a mid-70s changeup. His command and deception “give him a chance for success” and he projects as a no. 4 or no. 5 starter.
Cubs and the Mesa HoHoKams
According to a report from the Arizona Republic, the Cubs have reached an agreement with the Mesa HoHoKams that will carry over to the Cubs’ new Spring Training home. According to the report, “the Cubs have a memorandum of understanding that will lead to a five-year contract.”
The HoHoKams will have many of the same responsibilities they had at HoHoKam Park except now they will be a subcontractor of the team. The HoHoKams ran the Cubs’ previous Spring Training park and will now serve as ambassadors at the new facility.
News and Notes
Jed Hoyer told the Sun-Times that baseball is a young player’s game again and it is difficult to find power in the game today.
Dale Sveum told Comcast SportsNet that the Cubs have to get Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro going over the last seven weeks of the season.
Josh Vitters was activated from the DL on Monday and started at third base for the Iowa Cubs. Vitters had been on the disabled list since July 26 with a right hamstring strain. Vitters hit his fifth home run of the season in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game.
Jason McLeod and a couple of the Cubs roving instructors were in Des Moines on Monday night watching the I-Cubs. Vitters and Mike Olt both homered and Justin Grimm pitched a good game.
Scott Baker threw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Monday. Baker is scheduled begin a second 30-day rehab with the Daytona Cubs on Wednesday. The Cubs are still hopeful that Baker will be in the rotation at some point in September. The Cubs would like to re-sign Baker for next year but need to see him on a big league mound this season.
Prior to Monday’s game, the Cubs’ offense was second in the National League and fourth in Major League Baseball with 84 walks since the All-Star break. The Cubs were averaging 3.5 walks per game after the break after managing just 2.6 walks per game before the break.
Darnell McDonald became the 50th different player used by the Cubs this season on Sunday when he hit for Nate Schierholtz and stayed in the game. The Cubs have used more players than any other team this season and are just three short of the franchise record (53) of players used in a single season that was set a year ago.
Derrek Lee returned to Wrigley over the weekend to participate in Woody’s Wiffle Ball Classic.
And lastly … the Dodgers released Ian Stewart on Monday.