Ian Happ Leads Draft Class as They Begin Play Out West

Since June 1, 2015, the Chicago Cubs system received a large infusion of talent. Almost 30 draft picks signed contracts and some began play in rookie and short-season A ball. Two draftees remained unsigned in John Cresto and Jake Kelzer. Several others draftees (9) announced they would either be going back to school or honoring their college commitments.

Ian Happ has been playing for two weeks now, but many of the signees began play this past week in Arizona and Eugene. Some had better debut weeks than others, but you can’t overreact to what they have done so far when most of them have had as much as six weeks off.

Late on Wednesday night, it was announced that third round pick Bryan Hudson had signed. I was quite relieved and pleased! It’s not every day you can find a 6’8” lefty with a plus curve. Hudson will likely pitch sparingly in the Arizona Rookie League this summer. On Thursday night he got his first action as the bat boy in AZL Cubs vs. A’s game.

Another surprise this week was the signing of Indiana University closer Scott Effross. The news in the signing is that Effross will be developed as a starter. It’s a pretty cool story on @Savermetric ‘s Twitter timeline.

Also, the Cubs signed pitcher Heath Dwyer from VCU. He is a lefty, 6’3”, and 200 pounds, and was a workhorse in that program the last four years.

happ 66 15New Blood Doing Well

Ian Happ – OBP is almost 150 points higher than his average (.271 to .419) – he gets pitched around and doesn’t get much of anything good to hit. Last night he was on base four out of five times. Then, he just crushed a game-winning home run to straightaway center over a 15 foot batter’s eye. It was his fourth home run in two weeks.

Ryan Kellogg – 1 inning, no runs

Dave Berg – 3 innings, no runs, no hits, 1 save, 1 win – I watched him on Thursday night and everything he threw had a lot of movement even though it was in the low to mid 80s from a submariner arm slot. Balls, broke, left right, and down – it has to be so hard as a hitter to guess where his pitches are going.

Donnie Dewees – doubles machine, lots of speed, I can see why the Cubs picked him as he gets his walks too.

Doing OK…

Matt Rose – got off to a great start and quickly cooled going 1 for his last 11 – he got pulled for a pinch hitter last night. Still hitting .292.

Ian Rice – 2 for 9 in 3 games – catches a good game

Alex Bautista – hitting .263 in 5 games with 2 RBIs

Jared Cheek – 2 innings, 1 run, 1 save

Stuff to Work On

Sutton Whiting – Played some LF in addition to 2B and SS. Like Rose, hot start, quickly cooled – hitting .200.

John Williamson – only pitched one horrible outing in which he gave up 3 runs and didn’t get any outs in a relief role

Vismael Machin – hitting under .200 – he was 2 for 2 last night – promoted to South Bend this morning

Blake Headley – 3 for 19, but he did have a game tying RBI last night – does have a nice glove

Heath Dwyer – 1 inning, 2 runs allowed

These are small sample sizes with minimal data. Try not to judge too much. There are a lot of games left in both Arizona’s and Eugene’s seasons.

I think you could see Happ, Dewees, and Berg move up to South Bend in the next week to ten days. Happ doesn’t look challenged at all. Rather, he looks perturbed at how he is being pitched.

I am looking forward to seeing more of these players in action in the coming weeks.

Tonight will be the last night for a while I get to see Eugene on MiLB.TV at Hillsboro. It has been fun watching them rather than listening to the radio online.

Draftees Signed but Have yet to Debut

hudson 81 draftBryan Hudson, DJ Wilson, Preston Morrison, Craig Brooks, Tyler Peitzmeier, PJ Higgins, Kyle Twomey, Scott Effross, Casey Bloomquist, Kyle Miller, Marcus Mastrobuoni, Angelo Amendolare, Tyler Payne, Daniel Spignola, MT Minacci, and Donnie Cimino.

I am most interested in seeing how Hudson, Morrison, Brooks, Twomey, Effross, Bloomquist, and Miller do pitching. Most will be used sparingly, especially Hudson. Bloomquist intrigues me the most, as I am not sure what he can do. I find Morrison interesting if just for his arm slot, and I wonder how Effross transitions into a starting role.

As for the hitters, Wilson most interests me just for his speed. I likely will not see him this year unless he somehow makes it to Eugene. Like Hudson, he will be at Arizona all summer. As for college bats, I wonder if Higgins and Amendolare are in the Chesny Young mold – good control of the zone, hit-for-high-average type of guys. I don’t really know what to make of Spignola, who was solid his junior year at Georgia Tech but had an off senior year.


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