Will the Cubs’ slow start this season at 4-12 and the trade of outfielder Marlon Byrd to the Boston Red Sox begin the youth transformation sooner rather than later? OF Tony Campana was called up to play CF Sunday, with top prospects Brett Jackson and 1B Anthony Rizzo continuing to play at Triple-A Iowa.
Byrd was hitting just .070, and a change of scenery to Boston may be what he needs to jumpstart his 2012 performance. Boston’s outfielder injury woes prompted the Cubs-Red Sox trade, with Chicago receiving Michael Bowden, a former first-round pick in the 2005 draft from Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, IL. Bowden pitched at Triple-A Pawtuckett last season and had an ERA of 2.73 in 52 2/3 innings.
The 25-year-old Campana played in 95 games last season and hit .259 with 24 stolen bases in only 143 at-bats. Indications from the Cubs front offfice suggest both Jackson and Rizzo will continue to stay with Iowa until later this season, with August the likely call up date for both.
Rizzo, 22, is lighting up the Pacific Coast League with a batting average of .368, 7 HRs and 19 RBI in 69 at-bats. However, some seasoning is still in order, as evidenced by a .182 batting average and 8 strikeouts in 22 at-bats vs. left-handers. Jackson is off to a slow start, with a .239 average with 2 HRs and 8 RBI in 71 at-bats.
This from the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan:
Despite the terrible start, Cubs President Theo Epstein isn’t going to make any panic moves, such as bringing up Anthony Rizzo or Brett Jackson from Triple-A Iowa.
“Those guys are continuing their development at Triple A,” Epstein said, adding they’re “not giving up on guys” after 13 games.
The “building” project by Theo and company remains a work in progress and calling up top prospects Rizzo and Jackson would have been the wrong decision. Epstein and Hoyer understand what the future holds and having their core players of 2013 and beyond develop in the minor leagues shows prudence on their part. 2012 will pay dividends for the Cubs but only as a transition period for the development of a team that will surface in 2013, 2014, and beyond.