Daily Minors Recap: Heyward rehabs; Cease hurt; Tseng, Steele, Frankoff continue to pitch well; Alamo, Rose HR

Dylan Cease had to leave the game after turning his ankle when he was covering 3B on a play in the 2nd inning.

I am literally running out of players to profile so we may put this on hiatus until short season ball starts and then we'll start it up again.  I'll likely tweak the format out a bit and spread them out a bit more.  Until then, I can do them on request if there is someone you'd like me to profile.  Just post in the comments section.

Iowa 6 - Las Vegas 5

Game Recap

John Andreoli led off the game with a double and eventually scored along with Mark Zagunis on a Victor Caratini single plus an error for an early 2-0 lead.

Seth Frankoff continued his outstanding start to the season and he may well be putting himself at the top of theseth-frankoff-close-a depth chart at this point as far as AAA starting pitchers.  He allowed just a solo HR over 5.1 innings and  he had to settle for a no-decision even though he did leave with a 2-1 lead.

The reason for that was a rare bad outing from Felix Pena, who gave up 4 runs to lose the lead in the 7th.  The I-Cubs would answer right back with 4 of their own in the next half inning.  Once again it was Andreoli leading things off with a walk, then singles by Chesny Young and Mark Zagunis loaded the bases.  From there the Cubs would scratch out 4 runs, including one on another RBI by Caratini and a go-ahead sac fly by Stephen Bruno.  Jack Leathersich pitched another scorless, walkless inning and Justin Grimm picked up his 2nd save.

Top Performers

  • Seth Frankoff: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 Ks
  • John Andreoli: 1-4, double, walk, 2 runs
  • Mark Zagunis: 2-3, 2 BBs, 2 runs
  • Victor Caratini: 1-4, 2 RBI
  • Stephen Bruno: 1-3, double, sac fly, RBI
  • Jack Leathersich: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
  • Justin Grimm: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 Ks (save)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Seth Frankoff is now has a 3,28 ERA with a 9.59 K rate per 9 innings and a 52.7% GB rate.  He has generally thrown strikes (2.78 BB per p IP) but if he has had any shortcoming, it's that he has given up the long ball.  The 7 he has given up in 35.2 IP already ties him for the most he has had since 2012 for a whole season.  That has lead to a big discrepancy with his FIP (5.33).  He has pitched extremely well, however, and has put himself in a good position at AAA if he can clear that last hurdle.

Jack Leathersich has now just walked one batter in his last 4 outings covering 5 innings.  He has struck out 6 in that stretch and has allowed just one run.  That good run has all come since returning from his stint in Arizona.  Like Frankoff, Leathersich has been on the brink of a big league roster the past couple of seasons and may be headed in that direction again soon if he can continue to be consistent.

Justin Grimm's stay at Iowa is almost certainly temporary until he can get himself straightened out.  He has yet to allow a run since his assignment but has walked 4 batters in 4 innings.

Mark Zagunis is hitting .343 with 9 walks in his last 10 games.  He has raised his line to .243/.408/.443 overall.  Those 2nd two numbers are acceptable already and should continue to improve as Zagunis gets closer to his normal batting average.

With Jeimer Candelario and Ian Happ spending time in Chicago, Victor Caratini has taken over the team RBI lead with 29.  That ranks 5th in the PCL.


Tennessee 2 - Birmingham 1

Game Recap

The Smokies played a little small ball to start the game with Jeffrey Baez walking, stealing 2B, advancing to 3B on a sac bunt, and then scoring on an error.  They would add a second run in the 5th on an Andrew Ely double and Yasiel Balaguert RBI single.  From there it was Jen-Ho Tseng who helped make that stick with 6 strong innings, allowing just an unearned run on his own throwing error.  Brad Markey would hold the lead for the next 2 innings, setting things up for another save by Andury Acevedo.

Top Performers

  • Jen-Ho Tseng:  6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (0ER), 2 BB, 4 Ks (W)
  • Brad Markey: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 Ks
  • Andury Acevedo: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (S)


    Andury Acevedo

  • Jeffrey Baez: 1-3, 2 BB, run, SB (4)
  • Andrew Ely: 2-3, double, run
  • Jason Vosler, double, 2 runs
  • Kevin Cornelius: 2-4, double

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jen-Ho Tseng has now compiled 159.1 IP at AA and with the way he is pitching, would seem to be in line for a promotion to AAA soon.  He is 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA (3.23 FIP) with just 1.37 BBs per 9 IP.  He isn't missing a ton of bats at 6.85 Ks per 9 IP but it is a marked improvement over his AA stint last year.  He is 10-9 with a 3.84 ERA overall at AA over the past two seasons.

Brad Markey lowered his ERA to 2.91 and is striking out just under a batter per inning (21 in 21.2 IP)

Andury Acevedo's amazing and unusual run at AA continues.  He picked up his 3rd save and has yet to allow a run in 11 innings.  It's unusual (for him) because he has just walked 4 batters (despite a hiccup 2 walk performance last

Jason Vosler (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Jason Vosler (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

time out) and has only struck out 3 batters.  It seems he has completely reinvented himself from a wild pitcher who struck out a lot of batters but gave up a lot of runs to a weak contact guy who throws strikes and induces GB outs.  Acevedo no doubt has the stuff to strike out hitters, but right now this kind of success has to be helping his confidence.

Jeffrey Baez is on one of his patented hot streaks after one of his patented slow starts.  He has hit .343 in his last 10 games, raising his average from.211 to .250 in that span.

Jason Vosler has cooled off a bit after his HR barrage earlier this season but he is still performing well.  He is slashing .282/.388/.524 with 7 HRs.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 7 - Buies Creek 1

Game Recap

Justin Steele

Justin Steele

The Pelicans jumped all over the first place Astros with 6 early runs.  The first two came on a 2-run HR by the red-hot Tyler Alamo and with the way Justin Steele was pitching, that was going to be enough.  But just in case it wasn't, the Pelicans would add 5 more runs, 3 on a HR by Matt Rose.

Top Performers

  • Justin Steele: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 2 BBs, 6 Ks (W)
  • Pedro Araujo: 2 IP, 2H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
  • Marc Huberman: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
  • Eddy Martinez, 1-4, 2 runs, RBI

    Tyler Alamo

    Tyler Alamo

  • Tyler Alamo: 2-4, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI
  • Matt Rose: 2-3, HR, 2 runs, 3 RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Tyler Alamo hit his 2nd HR in two days and 3rd in his last 8.  He now has 6 HRs, one more than he had last season (and all of the rest of his career combined, for that matter).  Alamo's emergence as a power hitter helps his chances as a prospect if he can stick at catcher, where he can be an old school type backstop who has a strong arm, hits for power, and can manage a pitching staff.

Justin Steele improved to 2-3 with a 2.65 ERA, a far cry from his slow start last year.  The peripherals don't match because of Steele's pedestrian walk and K rates and Steele's FIP is almost 2 runs higher than his ERA, but there is room for improvement if Steele can sharpen his command and locate a little better.  Given his athleticism and flashes he has shown this year, that certainly seems something worth betting on.  We should note that one of Steele's biggest improvements has been pitching with men on base.  After low strand rates thoughout his career, Steele's LOB% is right around the league average at 74.8%.

Matt Rose hit his 7th HR of the season and is slugging .538 with an ISO of .238.  The walk rate of 23.4% is acceptable for a young, long-levered power hitter but the walk rate is just 1.8%.  Rose does have good pitch recognition so we should see that number rise as more and more pitchers begin to respect his power.

Class A 

Lansing 5 - South Bend 1

Game Recap

The two most important stories had nothing to do with the final score.  Jason Heyward started and led off the ball game and is said to be back in Chicago already, though that game may rain out.  Heyward drove in South Bend's only run with a single.

The other story is Dylan Cease hurt his ankle on a play at 3B in the 2nd inning and had to be removed.  No word on the injury severity at this point but at least it is not his arm.  Matt Swarmer took over and did what he has been doing all season with a strong piggyback performance.  He went 5.1 strong innings and kept the SB Cubs in the game, but they just couldn't muster up any offense.

Top Performers

  • Matt Swarmer: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 Ks
  • Jason Heyward: 1-3, RBI
  • Vimael Machin: 1-2, double, walk, run

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I am told Dylan Cease will be fine.  In fact, he said so himself in a text to Mark Gonzalez

Jason Heyward is already back in Chicago and is expected to be activated tomorrow.


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