Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Iowa finally plays (two); Sands returns to South Bend; Camargo Ks 8

Be sure to check out Tom's article on Roberto Caro in case you overlooked it this morning.

On to the recaps...

AAA

Colorado Springs 2, Iowa 1 (Game 1)

Colorado Springs 5, Iowa 4 - 8 Innings (Game 2)

Game Recap

Welcome back boys! It's been a while. Between the three days for off for the AAA All-Star game and then three straight rain outs coming out of the break Iowa played their first game in a week. In fact, they played two in an effort to make up for the previous three games. With the Cubs not making another trip to Colorado Springs this season, one of the cancelled games has been moved to Des Moines when the Sky Sox visit in August. The final game of the four game series will not be made up.

Williams Perez did everything he could while attempting to win his sixth straight start. He held the Sky Sox to a single run on two hits over six innings but he exited with the score tied as the Cubs offense failed to score after plating one in the first inning. Justin Hancock came on in the seventh and promptly surrendered a leadoff double to Ivan De Jesus Jr. who advanced to third on a ground out. He scored during the following at bat as Hancock uncorked a wild pitch.

Ali Solis

Ali Solis

Another walk off loss followed in the second game of the doubleheader. It was even more painful than the first though because Iowa fought back from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead thanks to a two-run homer by Ali Solis and RBI singles from Mark Zagunis and Elliot Soto. With Matt Carasiti taking the mound in the bottom of the seventh the victory seemed assured. The PCL leader in saves had not only not blown a save since joining the team he had not even given up a run yet. The streak ended however as he gave up a leadoff single, the runner advanced to second on a sac bunt, then with two outs Mauricio Dubon poked a single to left to tie the game and send it to extras. Jake Leathersich relieved Carasiti in the eighth and recorded two quick outs but Nate Orf followed with a walk off homer to left to end it.

Top Performers

  • Williams Perez: 6 IP, 2 H, R, BB, 2 K
  • Casey Kelly: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, BB, 5 K
  • Chris Dominguez: 4-7, 2B, 2 R
  • Ali Solis: 2-4, HR (3), R, 2 RBI
  • John Andreoli: 2-3, 2B, R, SAC, SB (16)
  • Mark Zagunis: 2-5, 2 RBI, 2 BB
  • Jacob Hannemann: 2-7, 2B, R, SB (12)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Chris Dominguez

Chris Dominguez

Williams Perez did not earn the victory despite a valiant effort. He did however continue his amazing turnaround to his season. After dropping his first 7 decisions while posting a 7.54 ERA, he has now gone 5-0 in his past 6 outings with just 9 runs allowed in 34.2 IP innings lowering his ERA all the way to 5.02 on the year.

After seeing his average drop below the Mendoza Line on June 22, John Andreoli has responded with a .379 average over his past 18 games.

The only hotter hitter in the Iowa lineup during that time has been Chris Dominguez. The corner infielder is hitting an even .500 (36 for 72) since June 24th.

AA

Mobile 6, Tennessee 0

Game Recap

Adbert Alzolay

Adbert Alzolay

He kept his team in it through five innings, but unfortunately Adbert Alzolay would have needed to be perfect to have made a difference in this game. The Tennessee offense was shut down by the Angels fifth best prospect Grayson Long for six innings, then went hitless over the final three innings against Mobile reliever Conor Lillis-White.

Top Performers

  • Adbert Alzolay: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K
  • James Pugliese: 2 IP, H
  • David Garner: IP, 2 K

James Pugliese

James Pugliese

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It was as dominating as his first start in AA (10 K in 5 shutout innings), but once again Adbert Alzolay held the opposition to three runs. This is the 16th time in 17 starts that he has given up no more than 3 runs, and in the one exception he only surrendered 4.

James Pugliese has always been difficult to hit thanks to great movement on his two seam fastball and his ability to keep hitters honest with a good change as well, but he has taken it to a whole new level in 2017, holding opponents to a .178 batting average.

 

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 1, Buies Creek 1 - SUSP

A

Cedar Rapids 8, South Bend 4

Game Recap

Carson Sands

Carson Sands

This game could have begun better. Carson Sands (2+ IP, 4 H, 7 R, 5 BB, 2 K) made his return to the South Bend Cubs rotation after undergoing offseason elbow surgery but just could not find the plate in what proved to be a short outing. Five walks, a hit batter and four hits led to seven runs in two-plus innings as he failed to record an out in the third inning. The club received excellent relief efforts from Tyler Peyton and Marc Huberman but the early hole was just too deep.

Top Performers

  • Marc Huberman: 3 IP, H, 5 K
  • Tyler Peyton: 2 IP, 3 K
  • Tyler Payne: 1-4, HR (2), R, RBI
  • Luis Ayala: 2-4, R
  • Andruw Monasterio: 2-5, 2 R
  • Austin Upshaw: 1-4, 2 RBI
  • D.J. Wilson: 1-3, 2B, HBP

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Marc Huberman

Marc Huberman

A promotion to Myrtle Beach in May did not go well for Marc Huberman as his already fringy control abandoned him, leading to more than 1 walk per inning (12.1 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 13 BB, 12 K). But since his return to South Bend in June he has cut down his walk numbers significantly (6 in 15.1 IP). The improved command has also led to a spike in his strikeout numbers. He has punched out 14.1 batters per 9 in his 9 appearances since returning. The lefty throws an average low-90s fastball and below average curve, but relies mostly on a change-up that often is a plus pitch that allows him to be effective against hitters from both sides of the plate.

Austin Upshaw has hits in 11 of his 14 games since joining South Bend, showing both good patience and some pop, compiling a .333/.412/.483 line with 12 runs scored and 9 RBI.

Three consecutive multi-hit games by Andruw Montasterio has raised his batting average over 60 points, all the way to .290 over his first 15 games with South Bend.

Since returning to South Bend after a stint in Eugene Tyler Payne is batting .333 (10 for 30).

A-

Eugene 5, Everett 3

Game Recap

Jhonny Bethencourt doubled home a run as part of a three-run 3rd inning, one of three hits and two doubles on the day for the speedy infielder. Eugene piled on two more runs in the 4th, including the eventual game winner on the fourth triple of season by Aramis Ademan. Two of the Emeralds intriguing under the radar hurlers took it from there. Starter Jesus Camargo used his advanced command and ability to change speeds with his change and curve to keep Everett hitters off balance all afternoon while recording eight punch outs. Lefty Yapson Gomez came on for the three inning save, inducing five ground outs against none in the air.

Top Performers

  • Jhonny Bethencourt: 3-3, 2 2B, R, RBI, BB, SB (8)
  • Aramis Ademan: 2-4, 3B, R, RBI, BB
  • Michael Cruz: 3-4, RBI
  • Rafael Narea: 1-3, R, BB
  • Jesus Camargo: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K (W, 2-1, 1.73)
  • Yapson Gomez: 3 IP, 2 H, R, K (S, 1)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jhonny Bethencourt

Jhonny Bethencourt

Jhonny Bethencourt is hitting .359/.431/.590 (14 for 39) over his last 11 games with 3 steals, 4 doubles, a triple, a homer, 8 runs scored and 8 runs batted in.

Aramis Ademan is now riding an 8 game hitting streak (.466 average).

The free swinging approach employed by Gustavo Polanco not only worked well in his 2016 season in the AZL (.322/.351/.390) but it has not held him back at all in his time with Eugene this year either (.325/.347/.470). It does seem likely that he will eventually need to improve upon the 2.7% and 1.7% walk rates that he has posted these past two years if he hopes to continue making an impact offensively moving up the ladder.

Jesus Camargo may not overpower hitters with his fastball (88-92), but he has good command along with an impressive change-up and a developing breaking ball. The 21 year old Mexican hurler has been the Emeralds most consistent starter, although the club has been careful with his pitch and innings load so far. His 6 innings and 81 pitches Sunday were a season high.

Yapson Gomez

Yapson Gomez

Much like Wyatt Short in South Bend, Yapson Gomez is a sub-6 foot left hander that somehow still manages to generate ground balls at extremely high rates (62.5%). He combines his two seamer that sits in the low 90s with a good curve in the high 70s that functions as a chase pitch and which has also allowed him to miss plenty of bats (11.5 K/9) in addition to all the ground ball outs. The 23 year old seems ripe for a challenge and is a likely candidate for a promotion to South Bend in the near future, perhaps as a replacement for Short who is likely to receive a summons to Myrtle Beach at some point.

AZL

Giants 6, Cubs 2 - 8 Innings, completed early

Game Recap

The Cubs dropped their seventh straight game. Once again poor defense led to multiple unearned runs, the pitching failed to bail them out, and the offense failed to muster any sort of support. The team has been outscored by an astonishing 43 runs during the losing streak (58-15). They now have sole possession of the worst record in the AZL.

Top Performers

  • Ramsey Romano: 2-3, RBI
  • Yovanny Cuevas: 1-3, BB
  • Alfredo Colorado: 4 Ip, 3 H, R, 4 BB, 2 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Infielder Ramsey Romano (31st, Long Beach State) has multiple hits in 2 of his 4 games since signing.

Comments

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  • I was at the South Bend game yesterday.

    To be frank, Carson Sands was awful. Even in warm up he was struggle to hit the catcher's glove... he should have been pulled during the first innings as his pitching line doesn't mention he was hit hard almost giving up another home run, only held back by the wind, and by a couple of good defensive plays in the infield.

    Upshaw looked superb with the bat in hand making good clean contact - it sounded very good.

    Paredes I thought has the potential to make it and also Huberman was excellent in long relief - by far the best of the Cubs pitchers.

    On the negative side, DJ Wilson looked poor as did Kevonte Mitchell.

    It was surprising to see how much more physically developed the Kernels side were than the comparatively small Cubs players.

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    Control is often the last thing to return post-surgery. I'm holding off on any proclamations regarding Sands until next spring.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'll hope for the best - I was excited when I saw it was Sands pitching... but it wasn't just poor control. It was wild.

    If the management felt he was ready for this assignment then they sold him short... you could tell very quickly his head was down. Surely a pitcher should be getting fine tuned in EST or Eugene rather than thrown in in Low A.

  • In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    He did make 4 rehab starts in Arizona. His control wasn't good but it apparently wasn't as bad as it was yesterday otherwise I'm sure they wouldn't have thrown him out there. They had other options, such as promoting Matt Swarmer from Eugene.

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    Candy hasn't been good since his return to Iowa. He's hurting his trade value. What's going on there?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He has never been a consistent hitter. There have been rough stretches in every one of his campaigns.

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    Lots of rumors have the Cubs still looking to be buyers. If you were an opposing GM looking for impact prospects, who would you be targeting? Jose Albertos maybe, Oscar DeLa Cruz, who else?

    Outside of Candy (and Caratini I guess), our farm seems more about raw projection right now than results.....

  • In reply to Zonk:

    If the Cubs are looking to acquire a player that can have a significant impact I don't think they could complete a deal without including on of Candelario, Albertos, Alzolay or De La Cruz. To get a player with multiple years of control it would likely require two of those guys.

    The Cubs do have several players on the cusp of the majors (Candelario, Zagunis, Young, Burks, Maples, Vosler) and a couple that could take quick jumps with a little luck/opportunity (Alzolay, Hatch) that would be intriguing for teams that are nearing the end of their rebuild phase. All of those guys could contribute in the majors by the end of next year.

    For a team in the early stages of rebuild I would target one of Albertos, Alzolay and De La Cruz as the centerpiece in any deal. Then I would move on to a safer player like Candelario, Zagunis, Hatch or even a lower level player that I feel are pretty safe projections in Ademan, Amaya, Paredes. Finally, I would look at the some of the raw, projectable types like Wilson, Galindo, Hudson, Steele, Paulino, Moreno, Assad. I feel a package containing 1 from the first group, 1 from the second, and 1-2 from the last group could return a nice player, though obviously not a player the caliber of Quintana, especially considering his contract status.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I've heard a rumor that the Cubs may be targeting Zach Britton. I usually don't believe rumors, but this one makes sense to me. Baltimore is clearly selling. Britton has one more year of team control in '18. He could replace Wade Davis next season, and Edwards, Britton, and Davis would be a devastating trio of relievers in the playoffs.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I think it is a deal that would have to wait for the deadline for the Cubs. They need to show well in the next two weeks before the club decides whether to go all in for this season. I know Britton has another year of control, but you would still be paying a high price to have him this year. The Cubs would need to know that they have a reasonable chance this season. The issue becomes, does another team jump on him prior to the deadline?

    If the Cubs do get him it would also deal a blow to the Dodgers and Nationals who would both love to add him as well.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    There are now so many rumors that the Cubs are targeting him that I should stick to my usual philosophy and think the Cubs won't do it! Still...

    The Nationals would be the obvious landing spot. I just heard yesterday, however, that there is a LOT of bad blood between them and the O's over TV rights. The Cubs and White Sox did pull off a trade, however.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Angelos should be mad at the league, not the Nationals for any territorial rights dispute.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    I think if the Nats thought Britton was an option they wouldn't have pulled the trigger on two guys with solid arms that CAN close but neither screams "closer" either. Or they could be dumb but I don't think Mike Rizzo is dumb.

  • In reply to TC154:

    They still need more relievers. And their window with Harper/Strasburg/Zimmerman/Murphy is closing fast. They can't expect those guys to keep up that pace forever.

    I have heard that they have payroll constraints though. They simply may not have the flexibility to add the arms that Rizzo wants to, but instead he is being forced to make due. Especially since they may need to find another starter now with Ross out.

  • In reply to TC154:

    According to Susan Slusser, the A's beat reporter, the Nationals were able to pull off that trade without giving up their top two trade chips. She expected more deals from them. So, we'll see.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Victor Robles is a future stud for them. If the Orioles can pry him away from them he will be their future replacement for Adam Jones.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    What about Justin Wilson from the Tigers? And Avila? Would that dig into the core? Both are 1 year contracts for 2017.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I honestly don't see the need for Justin Wilson. The Cubs have a good relief core already and Montgomery can function in a similar capacity to Wilson once he returns to the pen.

    Britton is a difference maker though. He is Chapman/Miller/Davis level impact potential. Not only that, but he can replace Davis as closer next season if needed. The only reliever I would be interested in for the Cubs would be Britton. The Wilson/Hand/Watson level guys would be nice adds if the club was struggling in the pen, but it just isn't enough of a priority to empty the farm even further.

    Avila makes sense, but only if the cost is reasonable. Contreras is a horse that can play a lot. The Cubs do need to add someone behind the plate, simply for insurance, but I don't think acquiring someone that necessarily displaces Caratini from the roster is a must.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I would feel pretty good about the Cubs chances if their offense can become more consistent AND they made the post-season. Imagine a rotation of Lester, Arrieta, Quintana, Hendricks. Then a bullpen of Montgomery, Duensing, Uehara, Edwards, Britton, Davis, Strop.
    And for hitters have Contreras, Caratini, Rizzo, Zobrist, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Schwarber, Almora, Heyward, TLS, Happ, Jay, +1 more spot for "hot hand."

    Obviously nothing is guaranteed but that would be a roster VERY capable of doing real damage in the playoffs.

    Further, Britton allows the Cubs to break Edwards into the "closer" role slowly and gives them a "back up" plan if Edwards doesn't succeed.

    But, again, I get ahead of myself.

  • If you want a real slap in the face on the season thus far, look at pitching WAR for our Cubs.

    Carl Edwards Jr and Wade Davis are 1 and 2. The top 3 starting pitchers in order are Mike Montgomery, Eddie Butler and Kyle Hendricks.

    Jake Arrieta is barely in positive WAR terriotory while Jon Lester and John Lackey are both -0.2.

    That, my denizons, is sobering.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    Takes a lot more than that to sober up this cub fan.

  • In reply to TexasCubsFan:

    I am always sober so I know the Cubs are within striking distance of making the post season. Once there anything is possible.

  • I see Dillon Maples is being promoted to AAA.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Maples is another option to help out later this season. He has been absolute filth this season. 96-99 with movement, a wipeout slider, and he still has the pretty good 12-6 curve. Interestingly, the curve is the pitch that he was always known for but it is probably his worst pitch now.

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    Maples to AAA!! That's great to hear. AT AAA tonight Tseng has been absolutely brilliant. I still can't believe that he's still only 22 because he seems like he's been in the system forever.

  • If Dillon Maples has good control he is lights out!!!

  • In reply to Andrew444:

    Let Bosio work with him to improve his control.

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