In this installment of my Weekly Organizational report I take a look at 15 players who had notable weeks for their respective teams. It was quite the week for the Tennessee Smokies as they claim both my Hitter and Pitcher of the week. Myrtle Beach is also on a roll going 4-0 on a short week game wise.
Hitter of the week
Kyle Schwarber- (7 G, .360/.467/.880) Schwarber had a monster week and continues to smash AA pitching while working on his catching skills. I don’t know what else can be really said Schwarber is a great hitter who not only displays power but has a good approach at the plate and puts together great ABs. In 25 ABs he hit 4 HRs with 8 RBI while walking 5 times, striking out 7, and scoring 8 runs. I’d argue the bat his Major League ready right now and if he would switch to the outfield he could be in the Chicago by the end of the year. I would expect to see him get tested in Iowa sooner rather than later. On the season he is hitting: .333/.448/.657 with 9 HR and 23 RBI.
Pitcher of the week
Frank Batista: (2 G, 12 IP, 10 K, 5 BB) Batista has been a revelation in the starting rotation this year for the Tennessee Smokies. Especially considering he hasn’t started a game since 2010 prior to this season. The RHP who signed in 2009 went 1-0 on the week with a 1.50 ERA. He just turned 26 in April and is 4-0 with a 1.28 ERA in 7 starts this season. In 42 IP he has 33 Ks, 12 BBs and has only given up 26 hits. If he can continue this pace he could be a nice sleeper option for the back of the Cubs rotation.
South Bend—Week Record: 3-4 Season Record: 18-19; 5th Midwest League Eastern; 4 GB
Gioskar Amaya- (6 G, .304/.385/.478) Amaya is starting to hit out of his slump after a strong week at the plate. Not only did he hit .304 for the week he also hit his 1st HR of the season and drove in 4 runs. In 26 PA he had 3 strikeouts and 3 walks while also stealing a base. His season totals are now up to .204/.300/.257. I am not worried about any of his offensive numbers this year. The only thing I’m focusing on for the 22 year old is his transition to playing Catcher, and so far, so good. Amaya looks like he may be able to stick at Catcher which would be great from an organizational standpoint.
Gleyber Torres- (7 G, .414/.452/.586) The 18 year old SS has been crushing Single A pitching all year and this week was no different. Torres pounded out 5 doubles while driving in 7 runs. Torres is one of the Top 100 prospects in all of baseball and his season line has been amazing for a player who is 3.4 years younger than the average player in the MWL: .338/.423/.431. Torres has great baseball instincts with a good approach at the plate. Everytime I watch him I come away impressed with his ability and willingness to hit the other way.??
Ryan Williams- (1 G, 6 IP, 7 K, 0 BB) The 23 year old RHP had another solid start against Great Lakes on Saturday and was credited with his 3rd win of the season. In 6 innings he gave up 5 hits and 3 unearned runs while striking out 7 and not issuing a walk. Williams has been dominating the MWL and I’d like to see him get a challenge in Myrtle Beach. Tsuyoshi Wada is expected to be called up to Chicago on Tuesday and we could see a domino effect throughout the minor league system for pitching prospect movement. For the year Williams is 3-0 with a 0.72 ERA. Last year’s 10th round pick has shown good command all season, in 37.2 IP he has 32 strikeouts and has only walked 2 batters.? Work To Do
Zach Hedges- (1 G, 5 IP, 4 K, 1 BB) Hedges took the loss in his only start this week. In 5 IP he gave up 8 hits and 7 runs. The 22 year old RHP was drafted in the 26th round of the 2014 draft. He has been pitching pretty well this season and owns a 2-2 record while posting a 3.48 ERA. In 31 IP he has 19 Ks and 4 BBs.
Myrtle Beach—Week Record: 4-0 Season Record: 23-12; 1st Carolina League Southern; 3.5 gm lead
Jeimer Candelario- (4 G, .381/.381/.476) It’s hard to believe that Candelario is still only a 21 year old playing in A+ ball. In 21 ABs he pounded out 8 hits, 2 of those being doubles and drove in 2 runs. The switch hitting 3rd baseman is quietly putting up a very good season in which he is hitting: .280/.324/.386. After a rough season last year which began with an aggressive start in the pitcher friendly Florida State League Candelario was demoted back to Kane County and was never able to bounce back. It is nice to see him get off to a good start this year and is a prospect to keep an eye on.
Chesny Young- (4 G, .412/.450/.412) Young was rewarded with a promotion after a hot start with South Bend and continues to hit with Myrtle Beach. In the three games he has played with the Pelicans he is hitting: .385/.438/.385. The 14th round pick in 2014 has a nice compact line drive swing and good bat to ball skills. Young has only struck out 8 times in 121 ABs this season. Right now I would project Young as a guy who could come off the bench and would love to see him work at different positions to be a versatile utility player.
Mark Zagunis- (4 G, .421/.476/.579) Had one of the best weeks in the system, in his 8 hits he had a double, a triple, and drove in 3 runs. Zagunis is a very athletic player who has a good approach at the plate. In 117 ABs on the season he has more walks than strikeouts! (26 BB, 20 K) The bat will have to play up now that it looks like he has abandoned catching. I don’t see enough power for a prototypical corner outfielder so his on base skills will have to make up for that at the Major League level.
Work To Do
Jacob Rogers- (4 G, .056/.143/.056) It was a tough week for the power hitting First Baseman only managing 1 hit in 21 ABs. The 2012 40th Round pick also struck out 7 times while walking twice. Rogers is 25 and only in A Advanced ball he leads the team with 5 HR on the season after hitting 16 in 2014.
Tennessee—Week Record: 6-2 Season Record: 21-17; 2nd Southern League North; 2 GB
Daniel Vogelbach- (7 G, .421/.633/.684) If it wasn’t for Schwarber hitting 4 HRs on the week, Vogelbach would have been my Hitter of the Week. Vogelbach has been showing off his potential all year and this week was no different. He has worked extremely hard to lose weight and get down to 250 but he still a 1B/DH only. This may be the year the Cubs choose to package him in a big deal at the trade deadline to an AL team. Vogelbach is a professional hitter who not only has tremendous power but can shoot the ball to all fields and has a great approach at the plate. On the season he is hitting: .344/.464/.549 with 4 HR, 22 RBI, and a near identical walk and strikeout total. (28/27)
Work To Do
Starling Peralta- (2 G, 0.2 IP, 0 K, 1 BB) It was a week to forget for Starling Peralta who failed to record and out in his 1st outing of the week. In that outing he gave up 5 hits, 7 runs, 3 earned runs, and 1 walk. In 13.2 innings this year between Myrtle Beach and Tennessee the 24 year old has struck out 12 batters while walking 4. He is a promising RP who was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft as a flyer, but was later returned to the Cubs after not being able to stick on the 25 man roster.
Iowa—Week Record: 3-4 Season Record: 18-19; 2nd PCL Am. North; 8 GB
Javier Baez- (7 G, .400/.483/.560) It was an eventful Sunday after Baez was pulled from the game early in what turned out to be just a normal double switch. There was a lot of speculation that he was being called back up to Chicago. If Baez continues to swing the bat like he is, I don’t think it will be long until we see him in Chicago again. From the few times I’ve seen him play on MiLB.tv he looks to have changed his approach a bit at the plate and toning down on his ultra aggressive swing. It looks as if he has an actual plan up at the plate and not just seeing how far he can hit the ball. A few ABs come to mind when he waited on a few pitches in the zone and then unleashed on a pitch he liked and hit it for HR. Baez was also looking to hit the ball the other way more than I’ve seen in the past. These are all very promising signs from the 22 year old who is hitting .299/.382/.433 on the season.
Work To Do
Dallas Beeler- (2 G, 8.1 IP, 9 K, 6 BB) Beeler has had a rough year trying to come back from an injury this season. In his 2 starts this week he went: 8.1 IP, 12 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 9 K. Hitters had a slash line of .324/.444/.486 off the RHP this week. On the season Beeler has thrown 19.2 IP, 28 H, 15 BB, 15 K. It is still early and he may still be a little rusty but those numbers are pretty scary for a guy who was thought to be able to help out the Cubs rotation this season.