Iowa Cubs – Anthony Rizzo was pinch-hit for in the sixth inning on Sunday, resulting in rampant speculation of a major-league call-up when he went directly through the dugout to the clubhouse. As it turns out, Rizzo had soreness in his wrist after a play at first base or a bad swing and was taken out as a precaution. The ETA remains at 27 days from now. Rizzo hit a double and went 1-for-3 in three at-bats before being pulled, and was hitting .333 in his last 10 games (12-for-36), with five doubles and three home runs for a 0.722 SLG and an OPS of over 1.000. Brett Jackson has cut his strikeouts down, averaging just 0.5 K/G over his last 4 games, and is OPS’ing in the .800′s in his last 10 games with 2 home runs, 3 triples, and a double. Jackson added a stolen base in Sunday’s game at the Memphis Redbirds. Josh Vitters has been effective, with an OBP in the upper .300′s in his last 10, and and OPS in the .900′s. (Iowa’s stats were not completely updated yet, so please pardon the rounding and vagueness). Carlos Marmol struck out three and walked one in an inning of scoreless relief which was much more adventurous than the line suggests as he mixed in a couple of wild pitches in his latest rehab outing. Chris Volstad has fared much better in AAA, and is currently 2-0 after a solid outing on Sunday.
Tennessee Smokies – The Smokies had an off-day Sunday following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Mobile BayBears. Jae-Hoon Ha has a batting average of .289 in his last 10 games, added with an even more impressive .386 OBP, .500 SLG, and .886 OPS. Second baseman Logan Watkins has had a terrible time over his past 10 games, batting just .132 over the stretch, with just five hits – all singles – and no walks, good for an OPS of .263 (in comparison, Koyie Hill‘s career low came in 2008, when he OPS’d .238 in just 10 games). Trey McNutt has a 2.88 ERA on the season, but that is very deceptive as he doesn’t last very long in his starts, going less than four innings per outing.
Daytona Cubs – The D-Cubs were rained out on Sunday, a common occurrence is the Florida State League. The Cubs won Saturday, and won 3-1 over the Clearwater Threshers. Matthew Szczur has turned his season around, increasing his average to .267 after batting .300 in his last 10 games. The power hasn’t come to him just yet, with just 2 doubles and a home run over the stretch, but he has managed an effective .781 OPS during the time frame. Rubi Silva has gone in the opposite direction, with a .257 average and a dismal .592 OPS in his last 10. Silva’s only extra-base hit in the timespan was a triple on Saturday. To Silva’s credit, he has put back-to-back two-hit games together over the weekend.
Peoria Chiefs – The Chiefs were crushed 11-3 at the hands of the Wisconsin TimberRattlers, and fell 3-2 on Sunday. They finished this week 2-4. The Cuban defector, Gerardo Concepcion, has been more of a batting tee than a pitching phenom as he’s shown control issues and an uncanny ability to miss bats. Expect a demotion to extended spring training or Boise when they start up if he can’t figure it out soon.
Kevin Goldstein has a pretty good scouts-eye-view of the Cubs minor leaguers on his Twitter account. The latest includes news on Javier Baez, who is about to be promoted to Peoria as soon as Monday. He also talks about pitcher Dillon Maples, one of the Cubs’ overslot signings last year in the draft, having elbow soreness but still on track to play in short-season leagues soon as he’s in a throwing program at the moment.