Monday was getaway day in the Midwest League, and when it comes to Class A South Bend shortstop Andy Weber, the Lansing Lugnuts are undoubtedly saying, "Good riddance."One day after tying a career mark with four hits, the Cubs prospect one-upped himself by going 5-for-6 with a double, two RBIs
Monday was getaway day in the Midwest League, and when it comes to Class A South Bend shortstop Andy Weber, the Lansing Lugnuts are undoubtedly saying, "Good riddance."
One day after tying a career mark with four hits, the Cubs prospect one-upped himself by going 5-for-6 with a double, two RBIs and a stolen base in South Bend's 17-8 win over Lansing at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Batting from the left side, the 22-year-old shortstop got things going with a single to right field off Lansing right-handed starter Juan De Paula in the first inning. He doubled the other way to left to score Clayton Daniel as part of a four-run second inning for his lone extra-base hit of the day. Weber played an even bigger role in South Bend's six-run fourth inning, singling softly to left to lead off the frame before adding another RBI base hit on an infield single to short when the Cubs batted around. He picked up the final knock in the seventh -- another liner to left -- to round out the five-hit day. He was finally retired in his sixth at-bat when he flew out to left in the ninth.
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"I spread out a little in my stance and changed the grip on the bat a little bit so it feels better," Weber said of his offensive outburst. "I put it a little deeper in my hand because I had been losing the barrel a lot trying to make contact. My coaches mentioned it to me, and I tried it [on Saturday] and it seems to be working pretty well."
Weber had achieved his previous career high of four hits on two occasions prior to Monday's performance -- June 14 at West Michigan and Sunday at Lansing. Over the Cubs' three-game series in Michigan's state capital, the Ohio native went 11-for-15 (.733) with three doubles, seven RBIs and two walks. He boosted his season average from .256 to .276 in that stretch alone, while his OPS rose from .685 to .727 through 94 games.
"The hits will come and go. The feeling I have now in the box and the approach if I can maintain it, that's what I care about. Everything else will take of itself," he said.
Chicago selected Weber in the fifth round of the 2018 Draft out of the University of Virginia. The infielder broke out with the bat as a junior with a .344/.415/.536 line and five homers, leading to ACC First Team All-Conference honors as a second baseman. Weber got off to a slow start that summer, hitting .254/.327/.338 over 36 games between the Arizona League and Class A Short Season Eugene in his first taste of the pros. However, he was a Midwest League All-Star last month and entered Monday's career day with a 105 wRC+. Weber also provides defensive versatility in the Cubs pipeline; he has made all 83 of his defensive starts at shortstop this season but got playing time at second and third last year.
Playing his first full pro season has forced Weber to make adjustments both mentally and physically, he said.
"I think first and foremost I learned about the grind. Playing all these games takes a toll on the mental and physical side. But there are also a lot of opportunities to learn on both the offensive and defensive parts of my game. If I find something that's easy to put into place, then the grind is worth it."
Weber wasn't the only South Bend slugger to pick up five hits Monday. Daniel finished 5-for-6 out of the leadoff spot, adding a triple, three RBIs and three runs scored. Elsewhere in the lineup, center fielder Cole Roederer homered and walked three times out of the six hole while catcher Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled twice and plated a game-high four runs from the ninth spot.
De Paula (3-5) was charged with 11 earned runs on 11 hits and four walks over just 3 1/3 innings in the Lansing loss.
After completing the three-game sweep of Lansing, the Cubs head home for an eight-game homestand starting Tuesday against West Michigan.
"It's either going to be a really loud trip or really quiet because we'll all be tired from a big day," Weber said. "Either way, we'll be happy."
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.