On the heels of their first three-game sweep of the season the Cubs have finally given their fans something to cheer about, at least for the time being. But the front office focus should not deviate from their plans for the future. Here is how Cubs minor league standouts fared this week.
Anthony Rizzos onslaught on opposing pitching continued this past week as he raised his season average 10 points up to .354 by going 9-for-21 (.429) on the week. Along with hitting for a solid average Rizzo added three more home runs and seven RBIs to his season total. His consistent approach at the plate coupled with unparalleled power produced a ridiculous 1.175 OPS and Rizzo now leads the Pacific Coast League in OPS (1.128), SLG (.713), and HR (17). He is also third in RBIs (46), and top 10 in AVG (.354).
Brett Jackson finally showed signs of improvement last week as he went 8-for-23 (.347) with two triples, a homerun, and five RBIs. This was the first week this month that Jackson has hit over .300. Jackson also swiped two bags showing off some of his great athleticism. The rest of the season is going to be an great challenge for the North Side hopeful, but with a few consecutive weeks of production, no one will ever remembered his rough start to the month of May even happened.
Tennessee AA standout Junior Lake had a rather pedestrian week at the plate as he managed to go 8-for-28 (.285) with a homer and only one RBI. Lake had trouble finding his way on base this week (OBP .283), which did not help a Smokies team in desperate need of wins (1-6 on the week). Although Lakes average still sits above .300 the Smokies are going to need to see better production out of what many consider a top five Cubs prospect.
Smokies right-hander Trey McNutt made one start last week and he tossed five innings allowing two runs on five hits with only one strikeout. McNutt did pitch his way out of a number of jams he got himself into but ultimately the two runs were enough to credit him with the loss. He is now 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 2.88.
Daytona Cubs first baseman Greg Rohan caught fire last week. He was 7-for-19 (.368) with six RBIs. Rohan showed the ability to spray hits to all parts of the field including over the fence as he homered in three consecutive games. This is nothing new for the 26-year-old righty, who has been providing solid run support for the Single-A affiliate all season long. In fact, he is leading the Florida State league in RBIs (45). Rohan can count on a promotion if he continues to produce at this accelerated level.
Matt Loosen made only one start last week but he made the most of it. Loosen was locked in surrendering only one run on four scattered hits. He struck out seven in his six innings of work, and improved his record to 2-1. Loosen also managed to give up no walks on his way to helping his club snap a three-game losing streak.
Last week Javier Baez received a long awaited call. The Peoria Chiefs added the Cubs first round pick of 2011 to their roster and in his first performance he did not disappoint. Baez went 2-for-4 and appeared comfortable both at the plate and in the field. The 19-year-old is ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs number two prospect in the entire organization. This talented youngster will be a solid addition for a Peoria club struggling to find run production and wins.
Joe Musso contributed to this report.