Cleat Geeks

Wrigley Weekly Wrap-up

The Cubs announced last Thursday that they have signed left-handed pitcher Brendon Little, the 27th pick overall in the Major League Draft. It’s been reported that Little signed for $2.2 million. They also announced that they have signed 13 other Draft picks, including right-hander Cory Abbott (second round), right-hander Keegan Thompson (third round), right-hander Erich Uelmen (fourth round), left-hander Ricky Tyler Thomas (seventh round), infielder Austin Filiere (eighth round), and outfielder Chris Carrier (ninth round). Other Draft picks who have signed include right-hander Brian Glowicki (10th round), right-hander Casey Ryan (18th round), right-hander Brendan King (20th round), right-hander Sean Barry (21st round), right-hander Mitch Stophel (25th round), right-hander Jake Steffens (29th round) and infielder Cam Balego (30th round). Little averaged 14.03 strikeouts per nine innings in his sophomore season with the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota in Bradenton, Fla. He finished with 133 Ks over 85 1/3 innings and walked 33 while posting a 2.53 ERA. He has a fastball that typically registers in the low to mid 90s, but he can reach as high as 97 mph.

The Cubs demoted Kyle Schwarber (to get a good look at his 2017 numbers and our opinion on his demotion click here) to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs last Thursday following continued struggles at the plate during the opening months of the 2017 MLB season. “We think this is best for him right now,” Maddon said of the young slugger. “We know he’s gonna be back, and obviously just look forward to it. I really personally love having him here, too. It’s just even when he’s struggling, whenever he walks up to the plate, everyone expects something good to happen. So let’s just get him right for him and for us.” Following last Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Padres, Maddon sat down to deliver the news to the player who helped lead Chicago to a World Series championship after recovering from a knee injury he suffered in early April 2016. He headed to Iowa after hitting .171 in 64 games for the Cubs this year. Maddon doesn’t anticipate the demotion will be a lengthy one, but said there was no timetable. “Get him out, get him playing away from here,” Maddon said. “Let him relax a little bit. Unwind a little bit, focus, reset, and we really anticipate those things.” Maddon said Schwarber will work with Triple-A hitting coach Desi Wilson, along with Minor League hitting coordinator Andy Haines while in Iowa. The break is not only mental, but a chance to reevaluate some mechanics in Schwarber’s swing. While Schwarber’s slump this season has extended beyond just the last month — during which he was 9-for-46 (.196) with four home runs, three doubles, nine RBIs and 15 strikeouts — Maddon said this felt like the right time to give him some time off. “It happens almost in every organization. It happens to a lot of good players,” Maddon said. “Then when they come back, things turn out pretty well. So it’s not a matter of us not sticking with him anymore. We just thought this is the best way to go to really get him really well so that we can utilize the best side of Kyle moving forward.” He made his first Minor League start with Triple-A Iowa, batting third and playing left field in a 1-0 victory over New Orleans on Monday night. Schwarber didn’t have much success at the plate, striking out in each of his first three at-bats. In his fourth and final time up, however, Schwarber crushed a line-drive single off the wall in the eighth inning.

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