The Iowa Cubs had a big day yesterday. With their 10-7 win over Reno, they evened their record at 68-68 and stayed within 4 games of division-leading Omaha. But at this point, it would take a miracle for the I-Cubs to make the playoffs. Yesterday’s game was bigger for individual players than it was for the actual team as a whole.
First, the part you have been aching to hear: Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler combined to go 7-7 with a double, triple, home run, and five walks. That’s right; those guys came up to bat thirteen times and got on base every time. I don’t have to tell you, ’cause you probably already know, but…that’s good.
Bryant now has 42 homers on the season between AA and AAA, and hasn’t slowed down a bit since his call-up. Of course, he still has 150 strikeouts on the season, but nobody is perfect.
Jorge Soler hasn’t quite been on the tear that Bryant has since hitting AAA, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been good. He’s hitting .262/.356/.563 in his 103 AB’s at AAA, which is slightly skewed by the 5/5, but they all count nonetheless.
So what else is notable, besides Bryant and Soler continuing their destruction of the Pacific Coast League? Junior Lake was 1/5, took a walk, and didn’t strike out. That’s a pretty solid victory for him. Rafael Lopez, while not really a prospect at 26 years old, had a good day at the plate, going 2/4 with two walks.
Andrew Ely, the 32nd-round pick in the draft this year, hit his first home run at AAA in his third game played. The 21-year-old second baseman is somewhat of an interesting story, even if the story is short. He was drafted in a late round, hit well in about 90 PA’s in rookie ball, and got sent to AAA. It’s possible the Cubs front office thinks it found a gem late in the draft.
Or it’s also possible that they see a limited ceiling for Ely and think that he’s already close to reaching it. They have the flexibility to leave him at AAA for a while and get a good, long look at him before making any decisions (like adding him to the 40-man roster, for example). But so far so good, as he is hitting .323/.363/.542 with only sixteen strikeouts in 102 PA’s in his short pro career.
The only downside is that Mike Olt and Josh Vitters couldn’t play and Ryan Kalish continues to struggle. Kalish went 0/6 with a strikeout, and is now hitting .236/.315/.376 on the season at AAA. Olt and Vitters are both on the 7-day DL, but obviously would’ve loved to have gotten a few hacks in last night.
The fact that the I-Cubs likely won’t be making the playoffs is too bad for them, but sneakily good for Cubs fans. A long playoff run at AAA lessens the chance that Soler gets called up when rosters expand in about a week. At this point, it looks like Soler should be with the Cubs in a short amount of time. I’d also expect Kalish and Lake to come back up, as well as Olt and Vitters (once they’re healthy).