Since the last recap on April 24, there have been returns, streaks, and walks. The Cubs, in anticlimactic fashion, cut ties with their return in the most talked about insignificant trade in minor league history, by releasing Matt Scioscia, who came from the Angels for Trevor Gretzky. The most notable information to talk about is the return of Jorge Soler, who made his way back to the Smokies for Thursday’s game. That means, for the only the second day in the short season, all four of the big four are off the DL. Albert Almora has taken his first High A walk (and a couple more), and Kris Bryant went nuts on Wednesday night (in a transparent attempt to steal Chris Rusin‘s thunder…more below) with 2 HRs and 6 RBI. The other notable news is Arodys Vizcaino moving up to AA Tennessee from Daytona, as he works his way back up to the big league level.
I guess it’s worth mentioning, but Chris Rusin threw a freakin’ no hitter! He put it on the Marlins’ AAA team (No, not their everyday line-up) Wednesday afternoon. His line for the game was 9.0 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 3 K. Nice work down there, Chris. We’ll see you after the Hammel and/or Samardzija deal.
Kane County Cougars
Record This season: 23-10, 1st Place (+4.0) MWL West
After a brief cool down, the Cougars are on a run of winning 13 of their last 17. Jacob Hannemann has been quite good over the last 10 with a .293/.370/.488, including 1 HR and 2 triples. James Pugliese has returned from the disabled list and has thrown two scoreless innings of relief. Jen-Ho Tseng continues to pitch well for the Cougars, having made five starts, and posting a 2.93 ERA with a 5.4:1 K:BB ratio in 26.1 innings.
Record This Season: 10-20, 5th Place (-13.0) FSL North
It’s a little difficult to explain why the D-Cubs are having such a rough time winning games this spring, but I can say it has nothing to do with a particularly hot-hitting outfielder. No. Not that one. Bijan Rademacher has been pounding the cover off the ball down in Florida, to the tune of .360/.444/.558 in 25 games on the season. His 3 HRs and 14 RBI both tie him for the team lead with 3B prospect Jeimer Candelario. Jeimer’s slash line is less impressive, at .184/.304/.347. His 9 errors are also less than ideal. Felix Pena continues to slap the stupid off of the pitcher wins stat, as he is currently 1-3 with a 1.29 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.
Record This Season: 19-14, 2nd Place (-2.0) Southern League North
Kris Bryant’s continued dominance over the Southern League has not gone unnoticed. He is hitting .313/.428/.600(!!!!!). At this rate, promotion to Iowa in late June or July seems to be in his future. I’m guessing pitchers around the league are counting the days. As far as the non-NSFW prospects go, Armando Rivero is having himself a time with the Smokies. He has a 1.15 ERA in 15.2 innings, 5 saves, and 25 punch outs thus far. As I mentioned before, he’s about to be joined by Arodys Vizcaino in the bullpen down there. If any of you get the chance, this is a bullpen worth going to watch at the moment.
Record This Season: 18-13, 1st Place (+1.5) PCL American North
BREAK UP THE I-CUBS! From a middling .500-ish team the first couple of weeks, to opening up a 1.5 game lead in the division, on the heels of a 10-4 stretch. That run has not been on the back of Javier Baez, however, who still seems to be having some trouble adjusting to Triple-A. His .169/.250/.313 is still a small sample on the season, but a K-Rate of about 41% is a bit troubling, to say the least. There is no cause for alarm, yet, but this is not the start that anyone wanting to see Baez in Chicago this summer wanted to see.
* Major League Affiliations in parenthesis after opposing MiLB teams*