Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Stop it, Eloy. I mean it. Mercy.

As we head into the home stretch of the Minor League season, the Cubs have only one affiliate assured of a playoff spot, Myrtle Beach, who won the first half crown in the Carolina League. A couple of weeks ago it looked like the Pelicans could be the lone postseason representative with the Emeralds having an outside shot. Now, thanks to two improbable winning streaks, two other affiliates have jumped into the picture.

South Bend is currently one game out of a wild card spot thanks to a recent 9 game winning streak which corresponded with a long losing streak by Bowling Green. They have erased a huge lead and find themselves within striking distance. Meanwhile, Eugene is looking for an opportunity to defend its Northwest League title and is currently neck-and-neck with Boise heading into the final four games of the regular season. And perhaps most surprising, the Arizona Rookie League team, after a disastrous first half, is riding a six game win streak that has vaulted them into first place in the second-half standings.

AAA

Memphis 3, Iowa 2

Game Recap

Iowa dropped its fourth straight game after a nice run in the middle of August had even their record at .500. The loss will make it difficult for the club to return to that mark before the season ends next week.

Top Performers

  • Victor Caratini: 2-3, 2 2B, RBI, BB
  • John Andreoli: 2-5, R
  • Taylor Davis: 1-3, RBI, SF
  • Rob Zastryzny: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 6 K (L, 2-3, 5.94)
  • Brad Markey: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 K (1.29)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jacob Hannemann

Jacob Hannemann

Just a reminder, Victor Caratini is hitting .345/.391/.562 for the I-Cubs this year. Not bad. Caratini was named to the PCL postseason All-Star squad along with teammate Matt Carasiti.

Jacob Hannemann went just 1-for-4 but the hit extended his hitting streak to 11 games and he also stole his 20th bag of the season with Iowa (26/31 overall between AA/AAA). I haven't seen him mentioned on other sites but I still maitain that Hannemann will be a September call up and will contribute off the bench as a pinch runner, bunter and defensive substitute. It will certainly help that the speedy center fielder is swinging a hot bat of late.

Rob Zastryzny has gone 5 innings in each of his last 4 starts. The results have not always been pretty (11 total runs allowed), but what has been encouraging is the lefty has not hurt himself with walks which has been an issue throughout his career. He has a 19/2 K/BB ratio during this stretch and is sitting at 31/4 K/BB in 38.1 innings (3.99 ERA) since he returned from the DL. If he maintains that level of control the ERA will sort itself out.

Brad Markey

Brad Markey

Another pitcher throwing strikes and humming along nicely is Brad Markey. The 25-year old reliever has walked just one batter in 14 innings since his promotion to AAA while punching out 10 and allowing just 9 hits and 2 runs. He has struck out almost 5 times as many hitters as he has walked this year (69 K/ 14 BB). The move to the bullpen full time has allowed Markey to best utilize his skills and allows him to air out his fringy fastball a bit more as he mixes in his good breaking ball and changeup. He has struck out more hitters in 75.1 innings as a reliever this year than he did in 130.2 innings as a starter with Tennessee last season.

AA

Birmingham 7, Tennessee 0

Game Recap

Eloy, Eloy, Eloy... you are making it difficult for me to maintain my stance that I would continue to root for you after your departure. I appreciate that you did not hit another home run in this game, but I'd also prefer you not get three hits against a Cubs affiliate as well. Save those hits for when you play the Indians. Please and thanks.

Top Performers

  • Andrew Ely: 1-2, 2 BB
  • Duane Underwood Jr.: 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 4 ER, BB, 2 K (L, 13-6, 4.40)

Advanced A

Buies Creek 4, Myrtle Beach 2

Game Recap

It started off well. A double by Jesse Hodges knocked in a pair in the top of the first inning but Alec Mills struggled in his first rehab start with the club, surrendering three runs in the first two innings and the Pelicans offense was unable to respond.

Top Performers

  • Alec Mills: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, BB, 2 K (L, 0-1, 6.75)
  • Ryan Kellogg: 3 IP, H, HBP (5.08)
  • Jesse Hodges: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Robert Garcia: 1-2, 2 BB

Robert Garcia / Photo by Stephaniie Lynn

Robert Garcia / Photo by Stephaniie Lynn

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

He hasn't hit for power (.318 SLG) but Robert Garcia has quietly put together a strong second half for the Pelicans with a .273 average and .347 on-base-percentage. Garcia has also cleaned up his defense a bit. His season total of 11 errors is still ugly for an outfielder, but the majority came in the first half.

A

South Bend Off

A-

Everett 10, Eugene 5

Game Recap

Brendon Little / Photo by Darin Spangler

Brendon Little / Photo by Darin Spangler

Eugene also got off to an excellent start. The Ems scored four times in the first three innings and Brendon Little looked strong through the first two, but in the bottom of the third his spotty control led to a two-run homer and then some spotty infield defense led to four unearned runs in the middle innings off Erich Uelmen. Three more runs against Ricky Tyler Thomas broke the game open for Everett.

Top Performers

  • Jared Young: 4-4, 2B, 2 R
  • Zach Davis: 2-5, 2 RBI, SB (22)
  • Miguel Amaya: 2-4, 2B, R, RBI
  • Michael Cruz: 2-4, 2B, RBI
  • Austin Filiere: 2-4, R
  • Chris Singleton: 2-4, 2B, RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Austin Filiere stayed hot at the plate. Two more hits gives him a .306 average over his past 10 games. He has also walked 8 times over that stretch and driven in 6 runs. His fifth inning error helped trigger a 5-run inning by Everett that proved the turning point in the game. It was the 14th error in just 34 games at 3B for Filiere.

Boy, did Jared Young (.207/.267/.256) need that. His 4-for-4 performance raised his average above the Mendoza Line for the first time since his second week with the club. The 15th rounder out of Old Dominion entered August with a .131 average but thanks to this big game his August numbers appear far more respectable (.283/.338/.367).

AZL

Cubs 11, Giants 2

Game Recap

The lone win in the system came courtesy of a huge offensive explosion in the first two innings down in Arizona. The Cubs plated seven runs in the first then another two in the second on their way to an easy 11-2 victory.

Top Performers

  • Marcus Mastrobuoni: 2-2, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB
  • Luis Hidalgo: 1-4, 3 RBI
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, R, BB
  • Jose Gutierrez: 2-5, R
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 2-5, R
  • Stephen Ridings: 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K (4.09)
  • Eury Ramos: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 K (W, 2-2, 5.63)
  • Fauris Guerrero: 3.1 IP, H, BB, 3 K (S, 3, 3.06)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Nelson Velazquez (.250/.330/.560) has been the driving force behind much of the Cubs August turnaround. The young outfielder has hit .304/.407/.667 in the month while putting both his power and speed on full display. He has 6 home runs (12 XBH) and 5 stolen bases in 20 games this month. He has scored 18 runs and knocked in 13.

Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez

The one constant for the club has been Marcus Mastrobuoni. The veteran C/1B has hit .320/.383/.568 for the Cubs in 38 games. He has hit at least .296 in each month.

The catalyst at the top of the order for much of the run (at least up until rehabbing players Jeffrey Baez and Carlos Sepulveda took over the role) has been CF Jose Gutierrez. The switch hitter has slashed .368/.388/.500 in August.

A late addition from the DSL, Luis Hidalgo has added another consistent threat to the middle of the order. In 14 games since his arrival he has knocked in 11 runs and hit .320/.333/.500.

Comments

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  • Be glad Michael Jordan isn't still playing for Birmingham.

  • In reply to jack:

    Why is that?

    Even though Michael Jordan only played one year (1994) and didn't do very well (.202 / .289 / .556 and a .952 fielding "%"), a LOT of us Southerners came out to see him. If you look at the highest attendance record for several SL franchises, you'll see that the visiting team was the 1994 Birmingham Barons. And I'm not positive on this, but I believe the Barons still use the upscale bus that Michael Jordan bought for the team.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    People gave Jordan (and Tebow currently) lots of crap but they are competing at relatively high levels of baseball with almost no experience and what little they had came way earlier in their lives. What they are did/doing is amazing, not a joke. Plenty of much more experienced guys can't hit over .200 in A-AA.

    Baseball is hard.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I was one of Michael (the baseball player)'s biggest fans and was part of the record setting crowds when the Baron's visited Huntsville in 1994. NOBODY wanted Michael (the baseball player) to succeed more than I did. BTW, I recall MJ getting a standing ovation when he first took the field and at every at bat.

    Which was why I was asking Jack (above) to clarify his comment. Heck, if Michael wanted to give baseball another shot, I'd go watch him again (even though the Huntsville Stars moved to Biloxi, Ms. last year)

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    It was only in the context that if Michael Ernst was concerned about Eloy dominating the Smokies, guess what the world's greatest athlete of all time would have done. Either you over analyzed it, or you concurred with me.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Agreed. I'm almost as impressed with Michael Jordan's baseball career as I am with his basketball career.

  • Similarly, I will continue to root for Dylan Cease after his departure. Unfortunately, Dylan is winless in 8 starts (0-7, 4.29 ERA) since joining the Sox's A affiliate (Kannapolis).

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