The Chicago Cubs continue to pull from their incredible pool of talent in the minors, but there’s one who keeps getting snubbed.
The Chicago Cubs have been on a bit of a slide in last couple weeks, but it hasn’t stopped the joy of watching more and more of their farm system make their major league debuts. Ahead of Sunday’s game, the Cubs have made yet another move, but it has left some food for thought as to how one prospect, in particular, continues to be left out. We will discuss the latest move, the latest snub and recap the week in the minors on this week’s The Call-up.
Candelario gets the call
Jeimer Candelario moved up the ranks quickly this year. After turning some heads with his performance in spring training, the Cubs third baseman stormed through Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. The 22-year-old infielder hit an impressive .333 with the Iowa Cubs and earned his way to the majors due in part to the rib injury sustained by Chris Coghlan.
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Hitting 6th in Sunday’s lineup, Candelario will make his major league debut in his hometown of New York City.
Vogelbach remains on the sideline
2016 has been a bizarre season considering how dominant the Cubs have been, while having to mix and match lineups and positions. So far this year, we have witnessed the debuts of some of the top names in the system including catcher Willson Contreras, outfielder Albert Almora Jr. and now infielder Jeimer Candelario.
No one will argue these moves weren’t warranted as Almora and Candelario were called up because of an injury. Contreras was out-performing expectations in Triple-A and his call-up was demanded by many in the Cubs fan base.
Chicago Cubs first baseman Dan Vogelbach, for the lack of a better description, is getting snubbed. Every time the phone rings, and another prospect gets called up, Vogelbach is being marginalized more.
For every reason not to promote Vogelbach, there is already a prospect with the Cubs that has represented that reason.
Could it be that Vogelbach has 65 strikeouts in just 78 games? If you look at the strikeout rate in terms of total at-bats, Vogelbach is striking out about 25% of his at-bats. To compare, Javier Baez had a strikeout rate of nearly 30% last season.
How about the fact that his position is already filled by an MLB All-Star. Yes, Anthony Rizzo is an All-Star, and most likely the leader in the clubhouse. Positions can be changed and experiments are welcomed in the windy city. Take Contreras for example, who has started more games in left field than at catcher.
The focus is on getting the bat in the lineup, and Joe Maddon has made it clear he will try new things to make that happen.
When Kyle Schwarber got hurt early in the season, the Cubs missed a great opportunity. Vogelbach shares many of the traits that Schwarber has. He is a left-handed hitter who possesses great power and can also hit for a pretty good average. Oh, and they both struggle with not having a position on a major league roster.
If Rizzo is the future, and the Cubs have no desire to part ways with Schwarber, Vogelbach could have been given a chance to show what he could do. Vogelbach has a lot of value in a trade and perhaps the Cubs don’t want to risk it if he struggles against major league pitching.
I find it frustrating that every prospect to date, including guys like Schwarber, Rizzo, and Kris Bryant, have all been given a taste of the majors. So why is Vogelbach still waiting?
The 23-year-old Florida-native is young, however, he has been in the system since 2011. To his credit, Vogelbach hasn’t made an issue out of his status, which could speak to the maturity he has.
The Pacific Coast League All-Star has done everything that has been asked of him to this point, and he has started to reward that patience with the stand-out year he is having so far in Iowa. The Cubs need to reward him by giving him a chance at the spotlight. If at the very least, it would be a great audition for another team.
Dan Vogelbach’s time has arrived, it’s up to the Cubs to do the right thing.
Minor League round-up
Iowa Cubs (39-43) 3rd place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division
Last Week: (4-4), This Week: @Round Rock Express July 3rd, vs. Omaha Storm Chasers July 4th-6th, @Colorado Sky Sox July 7th-9th
Tennessee Smokies (6-3) 2nd place in the 2nd half of the Southern League North Division
Last Week: (5-1), This Week: @Jacksonville Suns July 3rd, vs. Jackson Generals July 4th-8th, vs. Chattanooga Lookouts July 9th
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (5-5) 2nd place in the 2nd half of the Carolina League Southern Division
Last Week: (4-3), This Week: vs. Potomac Nationals July 3rd, @Winston-Salem Dash July 4th-7th, @Wilmington Blue Rocks July 8th-9th
South Bend Cubs (8-2) 1st place in the 2nd half of the Midwest League Eastern Division
Last Week: (5-2), This Week: vs. Lansing Lugnuts July 3rd, @Fort Wayne TinCaps July 4th-7th, vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods July 8th-9th
Eugene Emeralds (12-4) 1st place in the Northwest League South Divison
Last Week: (6-1), This Week: vs. Salem-Keizer Volcanoes July 3rd, @Everett AquaSox July 4th-8th, vs. Hillsboro Hops July 9th