In this edition of the WSD Chicago Cubs Minor League Report, top position player prospects will be the primary focus.
Iowa Cubs – Anthony Rizzo has increased his home run total to twenty-three on Sunday in Iowa’s 3-2 win over the Albuquerque Isotopes, but also committed his eighth error of the season. In Rizzo’s last ten games, he is batting .371, getting on-base at a .421 clip, and slugging a .943 for a 1.364 OPS, in spite of an injury suffered in a June 12th game that kept him out for two games. Rizzo has a 1.170 OPS on the season. Brett Jackson is batting just .257 in his last ten games, with just a .316 OBP, but good power numbers kept his OPS at a good .773 over the stretch. His season OPS is much higher, at a .824, but his strikeout to walk ratio has been poor (16K/3BB in his last ten games). Josh Vitters has been hot lately, batting .361 with a .869 OPS in his last ten games. Vitters holds a .793 OPS for the season.
Tennessee Smokies – The aforementioned Iowa trio aren’t the only Cubs position player prospects producing in the upper minors as of late, as rising prospect Junior Lake is in the middle of a good stretch for Tennessee. Lake has reached base in eight of his last ten games, batting .325 on the stretch with a .364 OBP. A triple and a home run kept his SLG up at .450, good for an OPS of .814. An .814 OPS is good, but for Lake it is actually below his season mark of .818.
Daytona Cubs – Matthew Szczur is still on the Disabled List, but now would be a time to look back on his rebound from an extremely slow start to the 2012 season for the center fielder who made the preseason BA Top 100 Prospects List. In his last ten games, Szczur was batting .306. Considering that he was at one point batting .132, it was a major improvement. However, despite this and a .395 OBP, Szczur still was not being effective. Slugging just .333 in the stretch, Szczur’s .729 OPS was below expectations. Szczur will have to develop more extra-base power in order to be effective at higher levels of professional baseball.
Peoria Chiefs – The big name in Peoria is still Javier Baez, though this could change depending on where Jorge Soler is assigned after he obtains his visa to make his signing official. In his eighteen games this season, all for the Peoria Chiefs, Baez has shown to be a good all-around offensive player, with both on-base and slugging ability. Baez’s most recent ten games have been better than his stat line from his previous eight games in nearly every category. In his last ten, Baez has a .344 average, .462 OBP, .594 SLG, and a 1.055 OPS, very impressive statistics at any level.
Boise Hawks – Jeimer Candelario is off to a slow start in his state-side debut after spending last season playing for the DSL Cubs2. However, his .250 average has to be taken with a grain of salt, considering the fact that we are only three games into the young season and even the likes of Javier Baez struggled in his first (and only) few games at the level as recently as last year.
Mesa Cubs – Daniel Vogelbach is the man to watch in Mesa, but the team has a .000 batting average and a 0.00 ERA so far in 2012, as they have yet to play a game. Opening Day is on June 20th at home against the division-rival Scottsdale Giants.
DSL Cubs1 and DSL Cubs2 – Little yet is known about the Cubs prospects playing in the Dominican Republic right now, but it is clear that neither team as a whole is seeing too much success, with a combined record of 11-15.
Unassigned – Albert Almora and Jorge Soler have yet to be officially signed and both will be top-five prospects in the organization when that day comes.