Kris Bryant is off to a very good start to his first full season of professional baseball. Bryant is performing at the plate (.322/.418/.605/1.023, 20 walks, 10 doubles, 11 home runs) the way the front office expected he would when the Cubs selected him with the second overall pick in last June’s draft. Bryant is working on his defense and cutting down on the strikeouts (50) that figure to be part of his game throughout his career.
Jed Hoyer addressed a possible promotion for Bryant to Triple-A Iowa and the Cubs have not had internal discussions about promoting one of the top prospects in the system. The Cubs would like to see him continue to thrive at the Double-A level, work with his current teammates, and focus on improving his deficiencies. Also as part of a player’s development, seeing how he responds to adversity at the Double-A level would help him down the road. Bryant has made things look rather easy at the plate, and that is not going to be the case once he makes it to the majors.
Kris Bryant impressed Jose Veras while the big leaguer was rehabbing with the Smokies. Veras told the beat writers, “This kid’s unbelievable. Everybody loves him. Unbelievable teammate. He’s humble. He’s kind of the leader of the team.”
Jesse Rogers spoke with Kris Bryant on the phone Wednesday about being named Southern League Hitter of the Week and the way he has heated up at the plate after a solid start to the season. Bryant told ESPN Chicago, “I’ve gotten a lot of good pitches to hit lately and I’ve done what I’m supposed to do with them.” According to the ESPN Chicago report, “Many around Bryant say he is his own hitting coach. He admits to needing help.” On his ability to seemingly make quick adjustments, Bryant said, “Having a more solid approach, realizing how pitchers are trying to get me out and not letting them do that. I think the first couple of weeks was definitely a learning process.”
Kris Bryant is not focused on Chicago according to the report from ESPN, he is focused on his job with the Smokies and “blocks out all the distractions and things I can’t control.”
Arodys Vizcaino is healthy and he has already been promoted to Double-A Tennessee after beginning the season with High-A Daytona. Vizcaino pitched in nine games (9 innings) for the D-Cubs and allowed one run on six hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts (1.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP). In four games for the Smokies, Vizcaino has allowed one hit with no walks and seven strikeouts in four innings (0.00 ERA, 0.25 WHIP) and it is not a stretch to say Vizcaino will see the big leagues this year as long as he stays healthy.
Chris Bosio addressed Vizcaino’s progress this season with Comcast SportsNet. Bosio said, “He’s right on plan. Obviously, we’d like to get our hands on all these guys up here at some point. He’s maintained his stuff and he’s done well. It’s exciting what we potentially could have in a couple of months with this guy.”
The Cubs are being very cautious with the hard-throwing right hander. Vizcaino has not pitched on consecutive days and still has to show he can bounce back and pitch two days in a row. Vizcaino has pitched every three to four days for the most part season. Vizcaino did pitch on May 7 and May 9 after he was promoted to Double-A.
Arodys Vizcaino is one of the many prospects in the system to keep an eye on throughout the summer. And it will be important to not only read the box scores, if MiLB.TV is not available, but pay attention to the dates in which he pitches.
Jorge Soler left Thursday night’s game with hamstring tightness. Soler aggravated the injury that has sidelined him for a majority of the season. Soler ranged to the gap in right center to make a play. He caught the ball and threw it back in before he hit the turf in obvious pain. Soler stayed on the ground for a short time, facing down before turning over when the trainer arrived to check on him. Soler left the field on his own power.
At the time of the injury, Soler appeared to be suffering from a leg cramp and not a hamstring injury. He did not grab the back of his leg before he went down.
Jorge Soler was held out of the Smokies lineup on Friday night. Manager Buddy Bailey did not provide an update on Soler prior to the game according to Mick Gillispie.
Javier Baez keeps making headlines, right now though, they are for the wrong reasons. Baez is struggling at Iowa and hasn’t been able to get on track yet. Reports have surfaced that suggest Baez was disappointed about not making the team out of Spring Training, but if that is the case Baez should have been able to put that behind him by now.
Jed Hoyer addressed Baez’s struggles this week and the Cubs’ GM admitted he’s “in a big slump.” Hoyer added, “He’s going to have to figure his way out of it. He’ll be stronger for having to go through this. Now it’s just a matter of Javy kind of figuring out what he needs to do to get through this.”
As for a possible position change or seeing time at second base for Baez, as planned, right now the front office needs for him to get on track at the plate before determining how much playing time to give him at second base.
Gordon Wittenmyer spoke with Jaron Madison, the Cubs farm director, and he thinks a breakout is right around the corner for Baez. And as Wittenmyer pointed out, Javier Baez is the youngest player at the Triple-A level.
The Cubs have not provided an update on RHP C.J. Edwards yet. Edwards was placed on the minor league 7-day disabled list at the end of April (April 25) with inflammation in his right shoulder. Edwards was supposed to be shut down for at least two weeks at the time the news surfaced the MRI on his right shoulder revealed fatigue and inflammation, but no structural damage. According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi on Thursday afternoon, Edwards is still shutdown and no return date has been set.
News and Notes
Josh Vitters talked with MiLB.com about two of his teammates, Arismendy Alcantara and Javier Baez.
Ken Rosenthal made a list of prospects that could be on the way to the Majors. Javier Baez was mentioned and if he was hitting there would be noise about the Cubs calling him up.