Journeymen of Tomorrow: Week 3 Prospect Watch

Each Saturday, I'm going to summarize the weekly performance top prospects at each level. Hopefully, this will give more of a snapshot of how our future Cubs are doing.

AAA

Brett Jackson 2: The Two Flounders has come to a 31.9% K rate this season. That's not appreciably lower than his 33.8% AAA rate last year. His line of .244/.340/.366 is held up by a .385 BABIP, so something has to has to has to change. Even his walks are down to 8.5% (career number is around 11%). He's not a league-average player at AAA this year, which is pretty damning.

Logan Watkins has a pretty huge K% rate too this year (26.7%). His line is .224/.367/.408, and his BABIP of .290 suggests that's where his talent truly lies. When the Cubs talk about shaking up the roster, part of me hopes that means calling up Watkins. However, I'd rather him get to play every day and that probably won't happen at the major league level (unless you put Watkins at 3B, which isn't a natural position for him). If he gets his strikeouts down (and his career would indicate he will), he could force the issue at some point.

Josh Vitters still has just the 1 PA. Who knows? Who cares? He's on the DL.

Nick Struck didn't pitch last week. 

AA

Arismendy Alcantara rebounded from a really poor Week 2 to come up with a .288/.368/.407 line. That's a .364 wOBA and a 132 wRC+. The primary driver of his success this year isn't increased power but increased patience (11.6% walk rate); that's great to see. He's been an absolute butcher in the field, as he has been all his career. A positional change may be in his future.

Christian Villanueva has had a pretty awful start to the season. His .243 BABIP is quite low and his other peripherals are fine, so I'm not that worried so far (line: .204/.291/.347), but a prolonged slump can be self-fulfilling. I hope he turns it on soon and those balls start falling in for hits.

Matt Szczur finally broke the OBP/SLG barrier! .288/.348/.373 is good for a wRC+ of 116; what is problematic is his falling walk rate (7.6% this year). He needs to draw walks to have value so he's got to work on that.

Kyle Hendricks hasn't really blazed a trail so far this season. He's walked as many as he's struck out (6), and his ERA is a very Volstad-esque 5.54. However, his strand rate and BABIP are both poor. When those normalize, so too shall his ERA.

Tony Zych saw quite a bit of action last week and gave up his first 2 ER. He also has struck out and walked the same amount (3), but he has yet to surrender a long ball.

A+

Javier Baez has started to hit a little more; unfortunately, it's still not very much. His line to this point is .212/.239/.455 (an improvement over .147/.211/.324 to be sure), but his BB/SO ratio is now a sick 2/20. He is hurtling down prospect lists; Soler is clearly better at this point and Almora probably is too (though he hasn't played yet).

Jorge Soler didn't really miss anything after being suspended. He still stands tall with a .414/.514/.690 line, good for a wOBA of .526 and a wRC+ of 236. Those numbers lead the league, and after Jose Mojica (a 24-year old), 3rd place isn't really very close. He's destroyed this league, and in a month or so he should be promoted.

Stephen Bruno is 10th on the list with a .442 wOBA. His slash is basically identical to the one he had last year (.386/.463/.509), which is great to see. He's 22, so a midseason promotion wouldn't be out of the question with him either. The problem there is that he's "blocked" by Ronald Torreyes, who is still a prospect. 3B is manned by Christian Villanueva, and SS is blocked by Alcantara. I'd hate for Bruno to be shunted to the outfield just to play everyday, so I'm fine with him spending the whole year in Daytona unless he keeps murdering the ball.

Zeke DeVoss has had a great year. He has a walk rate of 17.3% and a K rate of 18.7%. That's pretty good. Also good is his way increased ISO (.211), despite his lowest BABIP of his career (still .317). Put it together, and you have a .263/.432/.474 line, better even then his breakout 2011 performance. He has 75 PA under his belt already and has progressed nicely.

Ben Wells has had 1 poor start and 2 good ones so far (this is being written before his start today). He's been lucky with his strand rate (81.3%), but his BABIP is .391 which is bound to regress. He needs to strike out more people to have sustained success, but he's been good enough so far. He should be an early promotion.

Starling Peralta has been ridiculously lucky and still bad. His strand rate? 95.2%. His BABIP? .238. His FIP? 7.36. He's had 2 starts and had 10.1 IP, 9 H (4 HR), 3 BB, 2 HBP, and 12 SO. 

A

Pierce Johnson pitches tonight. 

Gioskar Amaya has had a really rough go of it so far. His BB/SO is 2/13 and he has only 4 extra base hits this season. His .240/.264/.340 mark is really bad. Something is wrong here.

Jeimer Candelario has done what he's needed to do so far. He is walking a lot and striking out less than ever, and that's a recipe for success. His line is .292/.386/.375, with a .361 wOBA and a 128 wRC+. It's kinda cool that he's only going to be 19 this year; when I was 19, I was way too busy playing poker with the other actuaries to be good at baseball.

Marco Hernandez needed some good performances and he got them. He's up to .250/.279/.300 on the year, which is a lot better than .111/.111/.111. His walk and strikeout rates are absolutely miniscule this year, so he was just finding fielders early in the year. He has had problems fielding the ball this year, unfortunately.

Daniel Vogelbach has not shown any of the power we were accustomed to in his first 2 years. That has brought down his line to earth; he sits at .294/.333/.373 right now. That's not awful, but it's not exactly the stuff of greatness. He'll need to turn on the power at some point; his ISO this year is .078; at A- it was .287.

Performance of the Week

I'm going to give it to Eric Jokisch for the second week in a row. He had another 6 inning start where he walked none, struck out 7 and allowed 4 hits. He didn't allow a run to score, so he brought his overall line to 18 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 17 SO. That's phenomenal.

Prospect Performance of the Week

I'm going to give to Stephen Bruno. In his past 10 games (including today, the 20th) he's hit .378/.439/.514. He has struck out 10 times, but that's ok when you get around 2 hits a day.

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