We remember Opening Day, when the Cubs lost their first game of the season. A few days later was opening day #2, when the full-season clubs opened play. Monday was opening day No. 3, as the Venezuelan League Cubs lost to the Phillies 4-2. Eventually, the Boise Hawks and Dominican League Cubs (DominiCubs?) will get going, and the circuit will be running full. Don't expect the international squads to get front page coverage every day, though.
While I am a firm believer that each level adds to the mosaic, the international squads have no streaming, few fans in attendance, and even fewer that would ever post here. Should one wish, they could do the research, know who the major players are there, and do a weekly 300 to 500 word per week synopsis on the squads.
I won't, and Josh hasn't paid much daily attention to them either. Don't let that deter you from checking their box scores, or snycing up bonuses received to production. The V-Cubs, however, are six or seven (depending on your math) levels from Wrigley. Getting hung up on daily performances, when little information is available or reliable, seems rather a waste from my perspective. If someone is meriting notation, I'll do that. Failing that, someone might make the Sonogram every week. Or not. Either way, here is the team's roster.
Cubs system whipping boy Gerardo Concepcion is having a nice start his season. At least, as compared to his previous tries. What people sometimes seem to forget is that these players are humans as well. While, from our computer chairs, we can be critical of any player in any system, I'm reasonably sure the player himself is more wrought out about a bad performance, or string thereof, than we are.
As a communicator, it is my job to inform you of what happens in games. It is also important to me to do so without discrediting the player as a person. Some people on blogs seem all good with defaming someone who is giving a best effort. I'm not good with it, I haven't been, and I won't be. That, however, is beside the point. Aside from optional decorum, it's important to remember that players develop on their timeframe. Not ours.
I, for one, am very happy that Concepcion is having a good season. If nothing else, he is contributing to the success of a good team. It would grate on anyone to have a continued lack of personal success in their profession. I'm glad for him.
One final soapbox before the regular feature. Tennessee Smokies righthander Ivan Pineyro is having injury troubles. Which is creating some rather created cloaked language on Cubs blogs. Nobody is happy that Pineyro is injured, but there seems (in some quarters, and if it isn't you, then it doesn't apply) a certain sort of silent glee that "Flip trades suck. See, I told you so."
The truth to me is this: Pitching a baseball at a professional level is a really difficult, and unnatural, thing to do. Part of the reason there is a term "there's no such thing as a pitching prospect" is because any pitch can be a pitcher's last. To have a solid system, a pro organization needs about ten good arms at (at least) six different levels. This is a tough trick to accomplish.
One of the current problems with the Cubs parent club, no matter how many hissy-fits anyone wants to display, is that the parent club's pitching has been sub-standard for too long. Too many innings, at too many levels, have been relied upon from marginal types like Casey Coleman and Chris Rusin in recent years. Meanwhile, San Francisco has had a steady stream of arms like Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Madison Bumgarner. None of them was acquired through trades.
I have no problem with people being dismissive of my interest in the minor leagues. To me, they are fun these days. It will be nice when the parent club is good again, and I will cheer any step in that direction. That said, I was reminded again, the minor leagues is really closer to my speed. That doesn't make me brilliant or evil. What it does provide is a subject that I can commit to writing on in the Cubs system when the parent club's exploits are discussed (here and elsewhere) to beyond the point of saturation.
I have, and will continue to have, a problem with any Cubs owner or executive who is or has been obstructionist in regards to player development in the last hundred years. A joy of baseball is that there are almost innumerable reasons to enjoy this great game. I don't begrudge you for your preferences, and I appreciate you not throwing obstacles in my way. Any injury to a potential quality Cubs player is a sad thing. I saw that on a completely different level today.
Get well soon, Ivan.
Three Up /Three Down
Daytona's offense. While much of the story from the Florida State League so far has been bad weather and pitching, at least one of those might be being influenced by bad hitting. With the exception of Bijan Rademacher and Gioskar Amaya, the hitting has been basically putrid. They're 10th in OPS and homers, 11th in batting average, and have fanned the fourth most in the league.
Ben Carhart, catcher/infielder, Low-A Kane County. Carhart is four for his last 25.
Eric Jokisch, lefthanded pitcher, Triple-A Iowa. Over his last two starts, Jokisch has allowed eight earned runs in ten innings.
Jae-Hoon Ha, outfielder, Double-A Tennessee. Still cold for the year, Ha has hit over .300 since May 3. Sadly, all have been singles,and are only paired with two walks.
Stephen Bruno, second baseman, Double-A Tennessee. Bruno has an OPS of 1.230 since May 2.
Shawon Dunston, outfielder, Low-A Kane County. Dunston is 11-for-28 since May began. Two have been triples, and he's driven in five.
Lars Anderson, Triple-A Iowa. After struggling mightily early in the season, Anderson has an OPS of .943 this month.