The Iowa Cubs are on quite a roll. They've improved to 28-26 after this win and Willson Contreras wasn't even in the lineup. Even the great ones need rest. It's worth saying once again that Contreras should be called up immediately. His rest of season projection is now quite a bit better offensively than Miguel Montero (98 wRC+ vs. 91 wRC+). I used an average between ZiPS and Steamer for Montero and only Steamer is available for Contreras.
That projeciton is a massive drop off in production for Contreras compared to the last two seasons so I'd consider it a very conservative projection and it's still showing that the Cubs are not going with their best starting lineup that they can. Contreras had a monster season last year and has improved in nearly every way possible. I no longer see the value in wasting the premium years of a catching prospect who can hit the shit out of the baseball.
If Miguel Montero was hitting, an argument could be made that he's best left in the minor leagues, but that argument doesn't work. Not only is Montero not hitting, we shouldn't expect him to be all that good at the plate going forward. I'm not saying the Cubs should replace Montero on the roster with Contreras. I think a 2-2-1 situation in which Montero and Contreras get 2 starts through the rotation and David Ross gets his Jon Lester start would work fine for awhile.
I've never been one to believe in the idea that you can call a prospect up too soon. Even if he struggles and gets sent back down, these athletes are awfully confident of their abilities. Without that confidence, they'd not be where they are. So even if Contreras was called up and hit so poorly that you had to send him back down, that's not the worst thing in the world. It's not going to kill Contreras if he struggles a bit. At the same time, I don't think leaving him in the minor leagues is going to ultimately hurt his ability to succeed at the next level. It's just a waste of his best years and not something the organization should take pride in doing.
Arismendy Alcantara was 1-5 with 2 strikeouts. Albert Almora was 1-4 with a walk. Matt Murton and Juan Perez each added 2 hits. Murton hit a home run, walked and drove in 2. Dan Vogelbach was 0-3 with a walk. Pitcher Alex Sanabia was 2-2. When things are going well, they're going well.
Remember when Jerome Williams was a thing? Apparently he's still pitching and he's pitching for the Cardinals minor leagues. He got the start in this one, but whatever. Alex Sanabia got the start for the Iowa Cubs and threw 5 innings, allowed 3 hits, a walk and a run. He struckout 4. Armando Rivero struckout 2 and allowed a hit in an inning of work. Pelix Pena struckout 2 in 1.1 innings of work.
Jacob Hannemann, Cael Brockmeyer and Carlos Penalver each had multi-hit games. Hanneman hit a home run and drove in 4. Jeimer Candelario was 1-3 with a home run, 2 walks and a strikeout. Chesny Young has cooled off quite a bit and he went 0-4 with a walk and RBI.
Stephen Perakslis threw 4 innings and allowed 9 hits and 5 runs. Only 3 of them were earned. He walked a batter and struckout 3. Juan Paniagua threw 1 inning, allowed a hit and struckout 1. Paniagua is having a really good year. Miguel Mejia picked up the win with 2 innings of work. He allowed a hit and struckout 3.
Best way to do this when a team scores 15 is bullets.
- Rashad Crawford was 1-4 with a triple, 2 walks and 2 RBI. He struckout once.
- Gleyber Torres was 1-2 with 3 walks and a strikeout
- Ian Happ was 2-4 with a home runs and a walk
- Yasiel Balaguert was 2-4 with a home run, 4 RBI and a walk
- Gioskar Amaya was 2-5 with a home run
- Daniel Lockhart was 3-4 with a double and a triple
- Trey Martin was 1-4 with 2 RBI
- Shawon Dunston Jr. was 1-4 with a triple and a walk
- Charcer Burks was 2-4 with a double
Trevor Clifton was drafted in the 12th round of the 2013 draft. As an 18 year old he could already hit 97 mph according to scouting reports at the time. I'm unsure what his velocity is these days, but he's about the only starting pitcher who can strike a batter out. In 46 innings, not including yesterday's start, he had struckout 10 batters per 9 innings and walked 3.5. He has kept the ball in the yard (2 home runs allowed). His ERA is 2.35 and his FIP is 3.07. His walks could improve a bit and he's only 21 years old so there's plenty of time for that to happen. It's already much better than it was when he became a professional. He walked nearly 7 per 9 in rookie league (only 10.1 innings). In 61 innings in short-season A ball, he walked 4.4 per 9 and last year in South Bend, he walked 3.9 per 9.
Clifton is 6-4, 170 according to Fangraphs and the right-hander could be the one guy the Cubs currently have that has a legitimate shot at cracking the top of the rotation.
South Bend improved to 34-22 with this win, but they only had 7 hits so it wasn't all that exciting. Donnie Dewees was 1-4 and P.J. Higgins was too. Higgins had one of the two extra base hits of the game — a double. Ian Rice was 0-3, but drove in one of the runs with a sacrifice fly that scored Higgins. Eloy Jimenez was 1-3. Jessee Hodges was 1-3 with a double.