Smyly’s Touch, Schwindel’s Enhancement, Kilian’s Plan, Pinango’s Smash and Other Cub Balls
I went down a REALLY weird rabbit hole this morning. recursive islands and lakes (i.e. islands inside lakes inside islands inside lakes…). Earth is wild, man.
• Drew Smyly correctly assumed he once again handled contact well last night – there were a few rockets in the third inning three-pointer but apart from that it was all shitty contact – but sometimes even a shitty contact will find holes, especially if the defense is not at full strength. “I could be tearing my hair out tonight” Smyly said after the 4-3 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field. “It’s just baseball. Sometimes you don’t get the results you want…. I don’t think they hit a hard ball after the third inning. They just kept some kind of fisting in the holes. There really isn’t much I can do about it.
• I still like what I’ve seen from Smyly this year. He has to be the back half of the rotation guy, but he keeps the ball down (and everything moves down), he throws shots and I think the ability to handle contact is legit. As we’ve seen with this profile, sometimes that means you’re going to have tough matches because the balls are coming in, but overall it’s perfectly solid.
• It’s not just a small sample, it’s a TINY sample, but I’ll take all the encouragement I can find from Frank Schwindel:
Frank Schwindel has two singles today – one with an EV of 108.6 mph and another with an EV of 105.7 mph.
It’s only the 2nd game with the Cubs (the first since Sept. 4 of last year) that he had two 105+ EV hits in a game.
Small sample, yes, but its xSLG has increased lately. pic.twitter.com/oIGzpGUTr1
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) May 14, 2022
• I’m still not sure he can avoid being sent off this year to do the job the Cubs were sure he needed, but if Schwindel continues to make good plate appearances that end in contact hard, it’s possible that everyone can tell themselves that the 12 hours spent being “sent” shook things up or something. The next position player to return from the IL will likely be Andrelton Simmons, but it’s possible he will take Nico Hoerner’s place on the roster if Hoerner is to go to the IL. Marcus Stroman and David Robertson – who we haven’t received any updates on – will hopefully be back soon ready from COVID IL, and it’s not a lock that the Cubs will send two pitchers at this time- the. So it’s possible that Schwindel will be in a hurry again, but I kinda doubt it.
• Speaking of Schwindel trying to fix his mechanical issues, a good profile on the Cubs coaching tandem:
It’s Frank Schwindel’s second hit.
I wrote about Greg Brown and Johnny Washington today, and this story leads them to watch a video with Schwindel: https://t.co/l8LXi6hPug
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) May 14, 2022
• As for coaches more generally, Nico Hoerner reminds us of everything they try to work on (Sun-Times): “I think it’s one of the toughest jobs in the sport. A ton of respect for the hitting coaches I’ve been with, because all of us hitters are a little crazy at our And just knowing the timing, knowing what guys can do at certain times, and knowing that there’s a difference between what’s happening right now and where you’re going to be in a few months, all of those factors, c is incredibly difficult to balance.”
• And speaking of batting coach Greg Brown, here’s what he had to say about Schwindel (Cubs.com): “Frank, his first 100 at-bats probably didn’t go as planned. But this [near grand slam] was a great at bat to start his next 100 at bats. I think you saw it boiling over the next day – there’s no doubt about it…. Are at [Friday], you just see that the ball comes out of the stick better. He uses all the land. That way he can become a good hitter again instead of having to chase after hits. This is an important distinction.
• If you are looking for a portable mini grill for your hot weather needs, there’s one at 40% on Amazon today. #ad
• The Cubs’ minor league teams continue to win, if not the big team. Another good night from Caleb Kilian, by the way:
The goodness, mid-90s speed and curveball puffs continued for four scoreless innings. The cutter also appears with modest and effective use in the middle of the handle
He has five strikeouts to two walks, five strikeouts to a steal.
— Cub Scouts Prospects — Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) May 14, 2022
Caleb Kilian’s night is over, and despite some misfortunes in his last run, it was a good one for the @IowaCubs ace.
Final line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 2 BB
Seven AAA starts for Kilian and he’s allowed an earned run or less…in all of them.
— Alex Cohen (@voiceofcohen) May 14, 2022
• Obviously, the Cubs are still very cautious with his use so far, and since he is eligible for Rule 5 post-season, you’re certainly wondering if there’s anything close to a ‘ plan” in place to get him into second-half starts if there are suddenly a few trade-related openings in the rotation.
• Speaking of which, I’d be curious to see Kilian’s development plan, because I suspect he’s just too polished at this point to be constantly challenged by Triple-A hitters, but that’s not as if he doesn’t have any places he can work yet. In other words, for a guy like Kilian, are you less interested – right now – in seeing him have “success” in these games, and more interested in seeing him work on specific things ahead of the big leagues? Almost like it was some kind of spring training for him? I just wonder out loud. And to be sure, prospects always have development goals at some point – it’s never just about getting results – but I wonder if that’s especially true in a situation where you already know, at sure, a guy can still get the results at Triple-UN. Everything the Cubs do with Kilian this year needs to focus on preparing him to be a full-time member of the rotation in 2023.
• Another minor league crush, with outfield prospect Yohendrick Pinango – the guy for whom the singular question is whether he’ll get enough loft to hit for power – homered twice last night, including a grand slam. They were both scary rockets:
— Todd ⚾️🐻🦌 (@CubsCentral08) May 14, 2022
108 mph, 400 feet pic.twitter.com/wGEGI941Ak
— Todd ⚾️🐻🦌 (@CubsCentral08) May 14, 2022
• The Fergie statue arrives:
• That scares me :
Marco Gonzales gets consecutive grounders eerily similar to Adam Frazier in the shift pic.twitter.com/QSb8xslig1
—David Adler (@_dadler) May 14, 2022
• It was quite an odious play from Josh Donaldson, but also some credit to the referee not only for tracking well – and quickly – but also for broadcasting the escalation potential:
Josh Donaldson is the worst pic.twitter.com/ukugDDKzuM
— White Sox talk (@NBCSWhiteSox) May 14, 2022
• Luis had fun with this one:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) May 13, 2022