The Daily CCO: Alcantara is Creating Quite a Buzz for the Cubs

Arismendy Alcantara has already played his way into a longer-than-planned stay with the big league team and he could make the Cubs decision to send him down to Triple-A a little more difficult if he keeps impacting baseball games.

Before Friday’s game, Jed Hoyer said the team still planned to send Alcantara down in order to continue his development and spend more time learning how to play centerfield. Alcantara then went out and scored the winning run after reaching on a two-out single in the ninth and stealing second base.

Rick Renteria was asked about keeping Alcantara. Renteria told the beat writers, “When you have a young person come in fresh to the big league, there’s a lot of energy. There’s a lot of excitement. There’s a willingness to want to go out and show what you have. The easiest thing is for everybody to start to speculate: ‘Oh, he’s going to stick around.’ We’ll have to make that decision as an organization when we come to it. Right now, we can’t. It would be premature for me, and irresponsible for me, to say something like that. But he certainly does impact the way you view him, for sure.”

PrintAfter just three games, the comparison is being made to the way Junior Lake played last year when he made his big league debut. Lake hit .310/.333/.466 in his first 14 games. Lake is struggling this season, his playing time has diminished and his broken more bats over his knee lately than he’s hit home runs. Comcast SportsNet questioned why he has not been sent down to receive regular at bats and playing time with Iowa.

Arismendy Alcantara produced in Iowa and earned a spot on the PCL All-Star team, but he could be sent out in a numbers game, even if he keeps hitting, if trades are not made or if the Cubs decide to keep Junior Lake with the big league team to continue his development.

Emilio Bonifacio

Emilio Bonifacio played his first rehab game for the AZL Cubs Friday night. Bonifacio went 3-for-4 with a strikeout in his first game action in a month.

Bonifacio was placed on the 15-day DL on June 13 with a right oblique strain. The Cubs have not given a timeframe for him returning to the big league team.

After a hot start, Emilio Bonifacio cooled off before landing on the DL. For the year, Bonifacio is hitting .261/.307/.340.

Minor News and Notes

LHP Carson Sands made his pro debut Friday night. Sands, the Cubs fourth round pick in last month’s draft, pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, zero walks and no hits allowed.

Mark Zagunis keeps hitting and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games with four multi-hit games. Zagunis is 13-for-37 over his last 10 games and is hitting .348/.474/.413 in 12 games with Boise. Zagunis has a double, a triple, nine walks, eight strikeouts and a .887 OPS.

Kyle Schwarber is 11-for-39 over his last 10 games with four doubles. Schwarber has hit safely in seven of his last 10 and has reached base safely in nine of his last 10. Schwarber has a .362/.457/.652 line with eight doubles and four home runs with a 1.109 OPS in 19 games for Kane County.

Dan Vogelbach has reached base safely in each of his last 21 games. Vogelbach went 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI on Friday night and for the season, Vogelbach has a .274/.362/.427 line with 21 doubles, a triple, eight home runs, 41 walks, 59 strikeouts and a .788 OPS.

Albert Almora has reached base in nine of his last 10 games and is hitting .371/.405/.657 in July with two doubles, a walk, two home runs, two walks, five strikeouts and a 1.063 OPS.

After six games in the Cubs system, Billy McKinney is 4-for-17 with three walks and three strikeouts.

Addison Russell collected two more hits and drove in a run Friday night. Russell is 4-for-19 in four games with the Smokies.

Jorge Soler went 1-for-4 with a walk Friday night and did not collect an extra basehit. In 12 games for the Smokies, Soler is 16-for-41 with eight doubles, three home runs, six walks and nine strikeouts (.390/.468/.805/1.273).

Corey Black is 1-1 in his last three starts with a 1.53 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP (13 hits, eight walks, 15 strikeouts). For the year, Black is 4-6 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Black has given up 60 hits with 44 walks and 83 strikeouts in 83 innings.

This Day In Cubstory

2012 – Cubs released Mike MacDougal

1998 – Cubs released Bob Patterson

1997 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Carlos Zambrano

1977 – Bruce Sutter gave up a game-winning home run to the Mets’ Steve Henderson in a Cubs 4-2 loss to the Metropolitans. After the game Sutter asked to be excused from the All-Star Game due to pain in his arm. Bleeding was found in Sutter’s arm and he received the week of the All-Star Game off to rest the injury.

1965 – Ron Santo singled in Willie Mays in the seventh inning with the winning run for the NL. The Senior Circuit beat the Junior Circuit 6-5 at the All-Star Game at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota

1946 – Peanuts Lowry hit two singles and a home run and drove in seven runs in a 13-2 win over the Dodgers at Wrigley Field

1945 – Cubs won their 11th game in a row with a 6-1 victory over the Braves at Wrigley Field

1931 – The Cubs and Cardinals combined to 23 doubles and 43 extra basehits as the Cardinals beat the Cubs 17-13 in the second game of a doubleheader. The Cubs hit 10 doubles, Cardinals 13, three by Gabby Harnett, Woody English, Rip Collins and Gus Mancuso. An overflow crowd of 45,715 in St. Louis caused the umpires to rule that any ball ending up in the crowd would be a ground rule double.

1917 – Phillies selected Johnny Evers off waivers from the Braves

1910 – The legendary verse detailing the Cubs double play combination of Tinkers to Evers to Chance, entitled That Double Play Again, was published for the first time. When the ‘New York Evening Mail’ republished the same poem six days later it used the title by which it is known best, Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.

1905 – Mordecai ‘Three-Finger’ Brown notched the first of nine straight wins over Christy Mathewson. Brown allowed two hits in a 8-1 victory over New York.

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Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Theboardrider

    Vogelbach looking better! All the young guys are. Zagunis keeps hitting!

    And sands gettig started is great news. Man our system is so loaded. Players at every level to get excited about. When Jimenez, Torres, Vogelbach, Zagunis and the lower level guys are ready (assuming they some day are), they will have some pitching accompanying them in Sands, Cease, Steele, et al.

  • Redlarczykg

    After bring Cub fans the worst win/loss record for 3 consecutive years in history I’d like to see Jed continue his development some where else. Maybe San Diego would like him back.

    • Craig York

      So your obviously not with the plan…

    • mutantbeast

      Funny, but didn’t Jason McLeod(who Id think is more familiar with baseball than you are) just turn down an offer to return to said Compadres?

  • cubtex

    Looking at Junior Lake’s numbers as well as Mike Olt….I think it is safe to say that these 2 are way overmatched. I think Alcantara won’t be as overmatched and has a chance. So….what have we learned in the 1st half??? Castro and Rizzo are our only 2 core players. They have both had a great bounce back seasons thus far. We have also learned that Mike Olt and Junior Lake are not starting mlb players or for that matter….mlb players period. Hopefully Alcantara gets ample playing time in the 2nd half and is added to our 2 core. I have doubts about Wellington Castillo being consistent enough defensively and offensively to be an everyday catcher. Long way to go. Need 5 or 6 more starters.

    • Denver Mike

      Alcantara seems pretty comfortable from what I’ve seen, in the batter’s box, on the bases, and in the field. I know there is usually a drop-off from a player’s minor league numbers to the majors, but it’s pretty wild how consistent he’s been across every level of his development. Now he’s adding some power to his game, to be expected in his early 20s. He has a lot of developing left to do, and we’ll see if he can adjust when major league pitching gets a book on him, but he’s proven able so far and 20/20 upside doesn’t seem out of the question for him.

      I have to wholeheartedly agree on Lake. After 7 years of minor league ball and a year in the majors with virtually no progress in pitch recognition and plate discipline, he is what he is. I have to think he has ML-bench player upside with AAAA player (see Felix Pie) the most likely scenario. Olt has a slightly better chance of making it in my mind, but only because he has had some success in the mid-minors prior to his injury. AAA is probably where he needs to be, but I can’t see bringing up Baez/Bryant right now, maybe call up Valaika and have him sit on the bench instead? He’s no longer a prospect, and might be able to have some success in a pinch hitting role?

    • Denver Mike

      Based on my admitted confidence in Alcantara, I will consider him as part of the “core”. I also think it is pretty safe to say that Bryant is going to have some level of success to stick in the majors, and he isn’t going anywhere. So at this point I am considering a core of:


      I am still pretty high on Baez, but think he is the riskiest of the high-upside guys at AAA right now. He should start next year with the big club, but I wouldn’t be heartbroken if he got dealt for a proven TOR arm (not a prospect). For those reasons I can’t really consider him core yet.

      You are probably going to think I’m crazy, but “IF” Soler can stay healthy I think he starts next year at AAA with a chance for a late season call-up. When he had been in the line-up he has mashed, he has decent plate discipline, and we can certainly use the OF help. I also think his age and contract will make him more likely to be moved up faster than most. He is still in AA and unproven, so I can’t put him in the core quite yet. But of the players outside the the ML team and AAA I think he is the most likely to be up next year.

      • BigJonLilJon

        I agree on those 4, but am not giving up hope on Olt. He has power and his lack of playing time is doing a huge disservice to his development. Baez is going to be ok… a Soriano type eventually. Streaky, with huge power and low OBP. Lake has had every chance to prove himself and needs to go down to learn how to take more advantages of each at bat from Manny. Call him a maybe at best right now. Soler is the wild card. Injuries have slowed him down, but at his age.. I think he could move quicker than others. If he stays healthy. Add in a Kalish and the ingredients are there for a huge meal.

        • Denver Mike

          I like Kalish, but thought he’d be hitting a lot better than .207 in Iowa.

          I know that Soler has only had 1/6th the ABs at AA as Bryant had, but I thought this was pretty impressive. If you take Soler’s 41AB and average that out over the 248AB Bryant had:

          Soler: 48 2B, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 54/36 K/BB, .390/.468/.805
          Bryant: 20 2B, 22 HR, 58 RBI, 77/43 K/BB, .355/.458/.702

          I know Soler got off to a great start, and it will be really tough to keep up that pace, but it was pretty impressive to see how good he has been when on the field this year. AA hasn’t really challenged him yet.

      • cubtex

        Never questioned Soler’s physical ability. He is a big strong boy but he needs to stay healthy and be more disciplined. Hopefully he can do that.

    • SuzyS

      Tex, first off, nice call on the risk of the Tanaka signing. The Yankees have the wherewithal to recover as a franchise in the coming years if he goes down with TJ surgery, which seems likely. It would have been disastrous for us if we signed him.
      I’m comfortable with Alcantra making a fine mlb career…he’s made his adjustments throughout his milb career…and I expect him to continue do so in the majors.
      Olt and Lake might still have serviceable mlb careers…but they need more time in the minors to put it together.
      Baez has struggled a bit at AAA…and it might be a good thing for him in the long run. Until he shows he can make more consistent adjustments I’d leave him in the minors.
      I agree about Castillo and believe we’re going to have to make an upgrade at catcher before we can truly contend.
      Pitching is another long post/discussion altogether…but I’m not really happy that 3 years into the rebuild no TOR candidates have emerged.

      • cubtex

        They will have to make a blockbuster deal to get a TOR starter. A Wil Myers/James Shields type of deal. I think that is obvious.

      • gary3411

        Arrieta? Not a candidate?

        • Craig York

          Even if arrieta is a TOR we will definitely need another TOR to truely contend.

          • BigJonLilJon

            I think the direction of this FO has obviously been on the offensive side. They’re hoping between trades and pure numbers in TJ retreads or drafting, what we have now etc, to have the 4 and 5 of the future. Signing one or two TOR guys in FA or trade to go with Arrieta makes the staff. If the prospects can pan out ( and that’s a big “if”), the field is set. Just depends on when team Theo decided its time. I’m hoping for 2015 but expect a chance at 2016.

        • SuzyS

          Alright Gary, I should have said probable candidate(s).
          Arrieta is possible…but his body of work is full of question marks. If Kane county was at the AAA level, I would be excited. Look at how many years it took Samardzia to get to the level he was at…and there were still a lot of questions (was he a 1, a 2, or a 3 on a contending team), surrounding him. We have a lot of guys that could be major league starters…but no clear cut shut down TORs.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree, Lake will only be around until he runs out of bats (may be sooner than later) Olt leaves a lot to be desired, not only with the bat, but with the glove ( his range is suspect IMO), Lake as well defensively.
      Alcantara I hope sticks, but who knows where they have planned for him. I suspect that CF is the goal from the FO. Too bad, because he looks good so far at 2B, pretty comfortable. They have to (FO) save room for Baez, which may be a mistake. Bonificio is a punch and Judy
      hitter and depends on a lot of luck for hits, and don’t think he is in the future plans. They really need the help at catcher, Castillo lacks. They need help, period. They better figure out where they are going with the great prospects they have right now and get them settled in a position.

      • Denver Mike

        I keep seeing Charlie Cutler’s name pop up in the minor league reports, and his numbers at AA are solid. I don’t know how he is defensively at catcher, but maybe he has a chance?

        • Tom U

          Mike, Cutler is roughly the equivalent of Steve Clevenger. Clevenger is a bit more athletic and has more power. Cutler has a better overall hit tool. Both can play multiple positions, but will be no great shakes at any of them.

          • cubtex

            Well since Clevenger never had a lot of power that isn’t a ringing endorsement

          • SuzyS

            No, but Clevenger is ok as a back up.

          • Denver Mike

            Thanks Tom, certainly doesn’t sound like the lynch-pin of a starting staff I’d like to see.

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      I think Ramirez, Strop and Arrietta have a chance to join that core group. I have not given up on Castillo.

      He is never going to be a Molina or even a perennial all-star, but he has a chance to be above average catcher.

      He has a decent arm and his D is improving. I think the biggest thing is that Cubs pitchers are POOR at holding runners on and have slow times to the plate.

      If there is a chance in the future to upgrade catcher, then by all means go for it, but he is not the biggest reason the Cubs are losing.

      Olt needs to go down and get ab’S EVERYDAY. Even if that means sending him to AA until Bryant is promoted.

      • SuzyS

        If Vizcaino can put it together at AAA this season…(He’s not doing it so far), I’d likle to see the Cubs stretch out Ramirez next year and give him the opportunity to start. That’s a big if though.

  • paulcatanese

    I just got thru posting Alcantara looked comfortable at 2B and here he is today, in CF. Oh well:)

    • Jeffrey Rogers

      I think CF is his future, so I have no problem with that.

      If he is not going to play CF here almost every game, I have no problem sending him back to Iowa to play CF everyday, until September call ups.

  • Jeffrey Rogers

    What I would really like to see is Bryant, Baez, Solar, Alcantara, and Russell play about 20 straight games together at AAA. It probably won’t happen but it would be fun to see how they mesh.

    If Solar can stay on the field, I think he is right up there with Baez, Bryant and Russell as far potential impact bats in the lineup. When he is in the lineup, he mashes.

    • GaryLeeT

      If he’s stays healthy, mark my word, Soler will be the best all around player, of the bunch.

      • Denver Mike

        Soler was signed by Theo/Hoyer in June 2012…and I agree he could be hitting 3/4 with Bryant for a long time if he can put the injury bug behind him.

        • BigJonLilJon

          Now would be the time.

        • GaryLeeT

          I just took a quick glance at Baseball Reference and saw that his pro career started in 09. Didn’t think they would include his Cuban stats.

          • triple

            So you can’t remember that your favorite team signed a guy just 2 years ago. And you go and look up the facts, and yet you can’t make proper comprehension out of the words and numbers right in front of you? This is all beginning to make so much sense!

      • triple

        That’s great that your getting excited about a signing by THEO and the BOYZ!

        • GaryLeeT

          Since only Theo knows how to find prospects, you must be pretty down on Castro, Alcantara and Baez, right?

          • triple

            Why do you assume so much negativity out of me? Where have I ever said I don’t like those guys? Why do you have so much to prove about Jim Hendry and how great he was? Seriously. For the record, I liked Hendry. He did a lot of good things for the Cubs. But near the end he was doing more harm than good for the big league team! Sure he’s got some nice players coming through the system now, but remember, that it was THEO and JED’s “CUB’S WAY,” that is helping to finish off their development.

            You can’t give all the credit to Hendry for the progress that anyone in the Cubs system is making over the last 3 seasons as they are being coached up with continuity through the entire system. Many people involved in the Cubs organization have said they’ve seen a positive difference in the entire organization starting from the bottom and moving up, as far as the changes that the new FO has installed here.

            If you want to continue to have a “conversation” with me, please be mindful about your replies, instead of just twisting words, implying, using absolutes, and assuming what any of my thoughts and beliefs are. You don’t know me.

            BTW- I’ve read plenty of your posts in the CCO threads and some political stuff, and it does not surprise me one bit that you interact this way with people, as there are many who you do not understand in any way, and then you make all these accusations and absolute statements that always seem to make you look kind of pathetic.

      • triple

        And just to clarify your statement here: “Mark my words, Soler (a guy signed by THEO AND THE BOYS) will be the best all around player of the bunch.” Because that is the truth behind what you said, and the delusional statement you made above that IMPLIES that Hendry was behind the Soler signing.

        • Ripsnorter1

          If I understand you correctly, you are saying that Soler will be better than Bryant, or Baez, or any other prospect. Correct?

          I do not agree, but time will tell.

          • triple

            Rip- Please understand that I was quoting GaryLeeT there. That’s why the quotes were used. He said it himself, but somehow had forgotten that Soler was signed by Jim Hendry and not Theo, so I was fixing his quote to make it more factually accurate…. To make this easier, I have cut/pasted GaryLeeT’s original statement from above that are his words and not mine. I just corrected his falsities that he is spreading.

            For emphasis I will capitalize that THESE ARE GARYLEET’S WORDS AND NOT MINE: “If he’s stays healthy, mark my word, Soler (another Hendry “left the cupboard bare” signing) will be the best all around player, of the bunch.”

            As you can see, even while he tries to throw punches, he fails to share truthful information, not to mention bad grammar. Notice his use of “he’s” in a possessive way? And the improper use of the comma before “of the bunch.” I was just trying to do him a service and edit for truthfulness and grammar.

            Rip- I myself like the looks of Soler’s potential, I don’t think he will be better than Bryant, but maybe he will. Wouldn’t that be great? If he can stay healthy, I think he has the potential to be as good, or hopefully even better than Baez. I don’t like to make absolute statements in predicting the future, and it’s not easy to try to predict the future success of all these prospects we are collecting, but I’d say that as of now, Bryant looks to be the closest thing to the real deal. But his strikeout rate is somewhat alarming. Notice how I was not speaking in absolutes still?