I attended last night’s windy and cold Iowa Cubs game with some family and friends. Here is some analysis from seeing several of the Cubs top 20 prospects in action:
· Kyle Hendricks control is flat out impressive. I do not think he ever threw a pitch that was completely out of the zone. Hendricks does not exactly have an “out pitch” or a high velocity fastball but the guy hits his spots on both sides of the plate. The other thing that is superior to me for a 24 year old pitcher is he works up and down in the zone with ease and seems to calculate every pitch. That is something you just do not see in a pitcher especially at 24 year old. He only gave up two base hits and walked two (the ump had a really small zone last night) but that did not impress me as much as how quickly Kyle worked. Kyle Hendricks is a no non-sense analytical control pitcher who is going to be in Chicago sometime this year. Mark My Words! Oh.. and the guy has a tremendous pickoff move which Alex Bucholtz found out.
· One thing I learned about Javier Baez is that he does not get cheated when swinging the bat which could end up tallying up those Ks pretty quickly. He also needs to be more selective at the plate and lay off the high heat out of the zone. He had 3 swings and misses with high heat last night in his 3 ABs. In the field Baez looked pretty solid at SS. On this day Baez did not do anything special but his swagger and style completely set him apart from everyone else on the diamond. He does have superstar written all over him.
· Matt Szczur impressed me about as much as Hendricks. Matt has a pretty quick swing and the guy can fly around the bases. In the first inning he hit the ball on the line over the centerfielders head that made it to the wall which was about 15-20 yard behind him. Szczur slid into 3rd but he could have gotten their standing up. In fact I thought we may have seen an inside the park homerun if there is any bobble out by the outfielder. Szczur has 3 solid hits and should have had 2 SB but the 2ndbase ump blew a safe call at 2nd on an attempted steal by Matt. While I don’t think Matt will ever be an everyday OF for an MLB team he will be a very productive 4th outfielder in the ML very soon.
· Christian Villanueva went 0-4 with 3 Ks but watching him in the field is a treat. The movement he has without the ball, the range, and his arm makes playing 3rd base just look too easy. The guy is a smooth criminal out there at the hot corner and to me, defensively right now; he can play near gold glove defense at 3rd just from what I have observed in a 9 inning game last night. Defensively he reminds me a lot of watching Scott Rolen… seriously!
· Arismendy Alcantara had a good night getting 2 hits including a homer, two runs, an RBI, and a SB. Him and Baez seem to have a good relationship on and off the diamond. They were stretching, talking, and playing catch together. Something I like seeing 2 top 75 prospects do (chemistry man! CHEMISTY). As fast as Szczur is I am not sure he can beat Alcantara in a foot race. Yep he is that fast. The homer AA hit was a line drive to RF that cleared the high wall by 15-20 feet. It was a shot and you could tell it was gone just by hearing the sound it made off of the bat. He was simply awesome last night.
Overall last night was a good night to see the Iowa Cubs. With guys like AA, Hendricks, and Baez just one step away from Chicago it is easy to get excited about what the future has for the Cubs as a whole.
Until Next Time….