First off, apologies to our blogfather, Joe – it looks as if he was shouldering the burden of posting for a couple of weeks. In fact, being either 15 or 17 hours ahead (of my usual Pacific time) while I was gone, it would’ve been quite simple to post after the events of the day here in the States had long been put to bed…if I’d had a free moment.

I did, however, have reliable internet capability through one method or another for most of the time I was away. And it was thru these random, brief updates that I would hear of yet another Cub being dumped on a team who fancied themselves in the pennant race. I’ll admit, when I first saw that the Yankees were maneuvering to reclaim the player they’d used to acquire A-Rod – I thought for a second that being nearly a day ahead of the US had given me a portal into some alternate version of the internet.

It seemed too clean…and too easy. And not at all in accordance with the fact that the Tigers need another bat (and another bullpen arm).

But a few weeks later, and for those Cub fans who remember when Soriano would routinely propel the Cubs to a win streak seemingly on his own – the Yankees are getting a taste of that too.

The last two nights, Soriano has piled up 13 RBIs on the strength of 4 home runs. Tuesday night he was a measly 3-for-6 with 6 RBIs, so he followed that up with 3-for-3 and 7 RBIs last night. Ridiculous. The last player to have that many total RBIs in successive games was Sammy Sosa in 2002 (who actually had 14).

It’s actually only happened 8 times since 1920 – so it’s rarer than a no-hitter, a perfect game, a 4-HR game; a 20-strikeout performance is about the only thing that happens less frequently. A couple of good nights for Alfonso, made me wish I really was looking at an alternate internet and his 13 RBIs came in a Cubs uniform.

And Now For Something Completely Different…

That was really just half of a post; the other half is like nothing you’ve seen from me before – but my wife and I are at an impasse. Our third son is due in mid-October, and he’s yet to be named. We have two sons already, Ray & Max. It’s not that we can’t agree, it’s that neither of us has stumbled upon another name that we like. Soon I’m going to start dropping by the hospital on the way home from work to see what other people are naming their children, so give me some help. (There’s no reward because let’s face it, it’s the third child and ‘hey you’ or ‘stop that’ will probably suffice until he’s 14 anyway).


STATE OF THE SYSTEM
Left Field

by Rob Willer

Top Prospect: Oliver Zapata

Bio: Zapata was born in the Dominican Republic and started with the Cubs organization at the young age of 17. He got his start with Dominican Summer League where he batted .241/.328/.333 where he also got 14 extra base hits and 33 runs batted in. In 2011, Zapata age 18 spent the season with two minor league affilates with the Cubs (AZL Cubs and Boise Hawks). He combined to hit .278/.383/.412 where his walk to strikeout rate was almost even since he had 32 walks and 33 strikeouts over both affiliates. As with mentioned below Ty Wright he struggled with the second level in the 2011 season after being promoted to the Boise Hawks. His stats at Boise really tell the story .224/.287/.388 compared to the .324/.453/.431 at the Arizona Fall League. Surprisingly after Zapata’s poor season at Short Season Affiliate Boise he still got promoted to the Peoria Chiefs.

2012-2013 Season’s: Once Zapata got promoted to Peoria to start the season he ended up playing the full year there where he put up a sub par line of .225/.302/.282. The batting average worried me at first glance as I would like to see him hit somewhere around the .250 to .260 mark where he can realistically hit. When looking at Fangraphs.com I found that his BABIP or Batting Average on Balls Put in Play was surprisingly elevated at .286 which begs the question is Zapata really struggling this badly. Usually the numbers are flipped where a certain player has an elevated average due to a higher BABIP or a lower batting average due to a low BABIP. Zapata becomes an intriguing case as he fits in neither of those categories. Presently Zapata is at Kane County the Low A Affiliate of the Cubs refining his skills and playing a solid left field for the club. His line has greatly improved since last year where he is now hitting .243/.316/.378. Most likely Zapata will finish out the year at Kane County and be in the discussion for a call-up to Daytona next year. If his average creeps up to the .260 mark I can see him being moved up although with Almora being on the watch list for Daytona we’ll have to keep an eye if their is room for Zapata to play everyday.

Sleeper Prospect: Ty Wright

Bio: Wright was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 7th round of the 2007 amateur draft. Over the course of 2007 Wright jumped right into Short Season A Boise where he contributed a line of .317/.408/.529 which adds up to an OPS of .937. He was able to register 60 hits over 189 at bats, 22 of those went for extra base hits. Another impressive stat Wright had at Boise was his walk to strikeout ratio where it was 23 walks to 22 strikeouts which is unheard of in today’s game at any level. After Wright’s impressive start to his career he earned a call-up to Low A Peoria. Wright played 19 games there and had the line of .284/.329/.378 while stealing 5 of 6 bases.

2008-2009 Season’s: Wright continued his impressive run through the Cubs system as for the next two years he went from Daytona in (2008), Tennessee (2009). In comparison to Wright’s season at Boise he performed just as well producing a line of .300/.371/.411 while contributing 30 extra base hits. Wright also knocked in 72 runs. In 2009, Wright got the call to Double A where he did what he always did just plain hit. The line at Tennessee was .290/.349/.412 while achieving 34 extra base hits and 58 runs batted in.

2011-2013 Season’s: Iowa Cubs left fielder Ty Wright has had an amazing story throughout his six years with the organization. Wright is a loyal player, who has been in the Cubs system since 2007 and still hasn’t got up to the majors. For the past four seasons, he’s bounced between Tennessee and Iowa, filling in where he’s needed and not complaining. Moving on to the 2011 season Wright split the year between Double A Tennessee and Triple A Iowa. He combined on the season to hit .322/.382/.487 also getting 24 extra base hits on the season. The numbers really don’t tell the story as Wright tore it up at Tennessee after getting the second year of experience while he did struggle a bit at Iowa only hitting .240/.284/.309. His 2013 season has been just like his past four season splitting the time between Tennessee and Iowa. The line at both clubs is .260/.319/.396 where he has 28 extra base hits and 48 runs batted in.

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