With the big league season heading into the final month, the focus for the Cubs continues to be on the minor league system. The Cubs have two minor league affiliates that have already punched their ticket into the post-season. The D-Cubs and Smokies just keep on winning and appear to be hitting their stride as the minor league regular season comes to an end.
Daytona posted their tenth straight win on Friday night behind five big flies from Bijan Rademacher (3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI), Zeke DeVoss (2-for-5 with a home run and two runs scored), Dustin Geiger (2-for-3 with a home run, two walks and two runs scored), Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) and Kris Bryant (1-for-4 with a home run). Meanwhile, Tennessee smoked Chattanooga 12-1 behind an excellent outing from Eduardo Figueroa and a huge night at the plate from Justin Bour (3-for-5 with a home run, a double and six RBI).
Six of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system were named to their league’s post-season All-Star teams on Friday. OF Matt Szczur, RHP Kyle Hendricks, 2B/SS Arismendy Alcantara, SS Javier Baez and 3B Christian Villanueva were named to the Southern League post-season All-Star team. The five Cubs’ prospects represent one-third of the players on this year’s Southern League postseason All-Star team.
Rock Shoulders was named to the Midwest League postseason All-Star team, the only player on the Cougars roster to be named to both the mid-season and post-season All-Star team.
The Cubs are expected to add at least two position players to the active roster on Sunday when rosters expand. Luis Valbuena and Ryan Sweeney will be activated from the disabled list according to multiple reports. The Cubs will have to make a change to the 40-man roster to create a spot to activate Ryan Sweeney. Once the Iowa Cubs wrap up their season, J.C. Boscan and Dave Sappelt are expected to finish the year with the big league club.
Rafael Dolis is on his way back from the DL, and like Sweeney, the Cubs will have to create a spot on the 40-man roster before activating him from the 60-day disabled list. It is unclear if Dolis will be healthy enough to pitch for the Cubs again this season after being on the DL with a right forearm strain since May 27.
The Cubs are still hoping Scott Baker will be able to pitch in the majors this year. Baker is making another rehab start for Kane County on Monday.
Dale Sveum said on Friday there will be a lot of player evaluation over the last month of the season.
Arodys Vizcaino is going to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, which will be his first action on a mound since he had Tommy John surgery in March of 2012.
The Cubs view Vizcaino as a starter moving forward but according to a report from Patrick Mooney, Vizcaino might be used as reliever next season so the Cubs can control his innings.
Jed Hoyer said the Cubs are “excited” for Vizcaino to get back on the mound. Hoyer explained, “The hardest thing about him at this point is that you do have to be aware he’s missed two seasons. So we do have to bring him back slowly. I think he can start, for sure. Whether that means he starts at some point next year or maybe we control his innings a little bit as a reliever, I’m just excited for him to get back on the mound.”
Arodys Vizcaino does not turn 23 until November 13 and is currently preparing for the upcoming AFL season at the Cubs’ complex in Mesa.
News and Notes
Smokies’ hitting coach, Desi Wilson, discussed the changes in Javier Baez from last year to this season. Baez is slowing the game down and he is no longer afraid to hit behind in the count.
Jeff Passan posted a report on Friday that provided details of some of the language the Cubs include in their contracts. This is a must read. Passan’s research is excellent and well worth the time to learn how contracts are actually worded.
The Cubs have hit 88 home runs at Wrigley Field this season, second in baseball behind the Baltimore Orioles (94) for the most longballs in their home park.
Dale Sveum is trying to contain the frustration around the Cubs according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
Both Jeff Samardzija and Edwin Jackson have allowed at least five earned runs in six starts this season.
Lou Piniella reflected on his days as Cubs’ manager with Paul Sullivan just before he turned 70 years old earlier this week.
And … beating the Cubs is extra special for Ryne Sandberg according to Patrick Mooney. Sandberg rubbed it in a little bit after his team battled back and topped the Cubs on Friday. Sandberg made the comment, “The empty seats is something new to me. Most of my career, from ’84 on, it was a tough ticket and a sellout, so a little odd to see the bleachers that empty.”