It is understood that players higher on the baseball prospect list will play more, but the skipper does his best to give all their shot.
“You know the guys you have to play,” Gonzalez said. “But, at the same time, you want to give everyone an opportunity.”
Through games played Saturday, April 25, shortstop Gleyber Torres, 18, had appeared in 16 of South Bend's first 17 contests. Torres is rated the No. 6 prospect in the Cubs organization by MLB.com. Pitchers Jake Stinnett and Trevor Clifton are Nos. 12 and 28, respectively.
It is the job of Gonzalez and his staff — hitting coaches Jesus Feliciano and Osmin Melendez and pitching coach Brian Lawrence — to develop the players. For many of them, 2015 marks the first full season as a professional.
Gonzalez (@gonzo3131 on Twitter) said most are smoothly making the transition from amateur to pro baseball and its demands.
“Things are going well,” Gonzalez said. “Guys are working hard and we’re seeing some good things happen on the field.
“Sometimes, at this level, you go through some bumps and bruises. (Players are) learning what it takes and getting used to the grind of (a 140-game regular season). For some, that’s going to be a lot.”
While the most of his players are in their early 20s, Gonzalez expects a certain level of maturity.
“They are grown men, living on their own,” Gonzalez said. “Guys come in and get the job done. It’s not something we have to worry about, the need to be able to take care of business on and off the field.”
SLEEPING AT HOME
South Bend has not experienced too much hotel time thus far. A Midwest League policy states that a team based within 100 miles of an opponent can bus back and forth rather than stay the night.
BY THE NUMBERS
Through April 25, Cubs batters ranked second in the 16-team Class A Midwest League in total bases (210), third in batting average (.261) and third in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging, .693).
South Bend pitchers were tied for second in the league in total shutouts, with two seventh in earned run average (2.76) and WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched, 1.22).
“The starters are doing a great job,” Gonzalez said. “They’re coming in and making their pitches.”
Among individuals, Brockmeyer led in OPS (1.085) and was tied for the lead in OBP (.492) and second in hitting (.389).
Other hot South Bend hitters included Young (.322) and Burks (.315).
Taking a proactive approach at the plate, the Cubs scored first in 15 of their first 17 runs.
“We have confidence in these guys,” Gonzalez said. “As long as they continue to be aggressive and keep their approach, (good) things will happen.”
How popular has South Bend baseball — Cubs style — been? The team averages 3,768 per game at Four Winds Field and has had two crowds over 7,000. In the MWL, only Dayton (65,057 for eight dates) has had more customers come through the turnstiles than South Bend (33,913 for nine).