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Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Tseng delivers on mound and at plate; Mitchell delivers game winning grand slam

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Tseng delivers on mound and at plate; Mitchell delivers game winning grand slam
Jen Ho Tseng

AAA

Iowa 2, Sacarmento 1

Game Recap

Jen-Ho Tseng just keeps on rolling. He is really dialed in right now, mixing his pitch types and speeds, and most importantly staying out of the middle of the zone. Getting ahead of hitters is the other key. He threw first pitch strikes to xx of the 27 batters he faced. Tseng is at his best when he gets ahead and doesn't have to challenge hitters in the strike zone.

Oh, Tseng also drove in the game-winning run. His fly ball to the warning track in left should have been caught, but it dropped, allowing Jacob Hannemann to score from third. It was the third straight game an Iowa pitcher drove in a run.

Top Performers

  • Jen-Ho Tseng: 7 IP, 8 H, R, BB, 5 K (W, 5-1, 1.95)
  • Jen-Ho Tseng: 1-2, 2B, RBI
  • Justin Hancock: 1.1 IP, 2 H, BB, K
  • Dillon Maples: 0.2 IP, K (S, 4, 3.09)
  • Jemile Weeks: 1-3, RBI
  • Taylor Davis: 2-4, 2B
  • Jacob Hannemann: 1-2, R, BB, SB (16)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Dillon Maples / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

Dillon Maples / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

It was an unusual outing for Jen-Ho Tseng in that he induced 9 ground outs and just 1 air out. He is generally not a ground ball pitcher but it came in particular use Thursday afternoon as he escaped jams in the both the 6th and 7th by generating inning-ending double play balls.

His first couple appearances in AAA at the end of July were rocky, but in 5 August appearances Dillon Maples has converted all three save opportunities and walked just 1 batter in 6.2 IP while punching out 10.

AA

Biloxi 3, Tennessee 2 (11 Innings)

Game Recap

Adbert Alzolay

Adbert Alzolay

This was a long night for the Smokies. First, the game was delayed over two hours by rain, the game then extended into extra innings as neither offense was able to mount any kind of sustained attack. Adbert Alzolay got the start for Tennessee and was as effective as usual, allowing just one run. Daury Torrez gave up a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh, but James Norwood came on and held Biloxi down for the next two. Jake Stinnett pitched a scoreless tenth, but the Shuckers managed to break through against him in the eleventh.

Top Performers

  • Adbert Alzolay: 5 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 4 K (2.32 ERA)
  • James Norwood: 2 IP, H, BB, 2 K
  • Jason Vosler: 1-3, R, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Adbert Alzolay has maintained or improved many of his numbers since his promotion to AA. The one downward trend was an uptick in BB rate over his first five starts, but he was under control Thursday as he issued just one free pass.

James Norwood

James Norwood

Another pitcher that received a second half promotion from Myrtle Beach, James Norwood, also hasn't let the bump in competition affect him yet. Norwood has let to allow a run and has given up just 8 base runners in 8 innings while striking out 8. Hitters have a .172 average against him in his time with the Smokies.

Advanced A

Potomac 8, Myrtle Beach 7

Game Recap

Oh, what could have been... The Pelicans climbed out of a 6-2 hole, mounting a fierce rally in the late innings to take an 8-7 lead in the eighth inning. A two-run homer by Roberto Caro sparked the rally and then another by Zack Short capped it off. But Potomac plated two in the bottom of the ninth against Myrtle Beach closer Pedro Araujo in what surely was a crushing defeat.

Roberto Caro / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

Roberto Caro / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

Top Performers

  • Zack Short: 1-2, HR (5), R, 2 RBI, 3 BB
  • Roberto Caro: 2-4, HR (1), 3 R, 3 RBI
  • Robert Garcia: 2-3, 2 R
  • Vimael Machin: 1-5, 2 RBI
  • Tyler Pearson: 1-3, R, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Roberto Caro was one of the top hitters for South Bend this year prior to his promotion (.306/.409/.435 with 14 steals). His success has not extended to higher levels though. He began the year in AA as an injury replacement, and unsurprisingly struggled in sporadic playing time (.143/.268/.171) before heading to South Bend. His time with the Pelicans has been equally frustrating prior to Thursday. Even including his big day (and first home run of the year) his numbers in Myrtle Beach are not pretty (.146/.241/.292). Hopefully he can use this game as a catalyst to get his bat going and close the year out strong.

David Berg

David Berg

David Berg (6.18 ERA combined on the year) was the only one of five Pelicans pitchers to hold the Nationals off the board. It was a welcome sight for the right handed submariner who has seen his season fall apart in recent weeks. This was his first scoreless inning in two weeks. His ERA with the Pelicans is 9.28 in 21.1 innings.

It was the 5th blown save of the year for Pedro Araujo. He is just 9 of 14 in converting save chances this year despite a 2.11 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 11.1 K/9.

A

South Bend 5, Dayton 2

Game Recap

Both teams scored a run in the first, but it remained knotted at 1-1 all the way until the bottom of the sixth, when Kevonte Mitchell delivered the big blow:

Erling Moreno, Mark Malave and Jhon Romero held Dayton to just nine hits and one walk in the game. They struck out seven.

Top Performers

  • Kevonte Mitchell: 2-4, HR (11), R, 4 RBI
  • Aramis Ademan: 2-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB, SB (2)
  • Andruw Monasterio: 2-4, 2 R
  • Luis Ayala: 1-4, 2 SB (22, 23)
  • Erling Moreno: 4 IP, 4 H, R, 3 K (3.77 ERA)
  • Mark Malave: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 K (W, 1-2, 2.70)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Erling Moreno

Erling Moreno

Erling Moreno missed a month from early July until returning last week and pitching 3 innings in his first game back. Now, in 7 total innings since returning he has allowed just 2 runs on 6 hits and no walks while punching out 6 and posting a 10-1 GO-AO ratio. Moreno is a big, strong right hander with advanced command despite his lack of experience. He pounds the zone with a fastball that he gets excellent downward plane on, and follows it up with a good changeup and a developing curve. If you are looking for a potential breakout candidate for next season, the 20 year old Moreno is a good bet. If he can add some bite to his curve and get more consistent velo on his fastball as he continues to physically mature you could see him jump up prospect boards in the near future.

A-

Boise 6, Eugene 3

Game Recap

Jose Albertos

Jose Albertos

Eugene jumped on the Boise starter for three runs in the top of the first to give starter Jose Albertos an early cushion. Albertos would give it right back however, allowing three runs in the bottom of the frame. Both hurlers would settle in after that and allow no more. The Emeralds offense was unable to breakthrough against either Boise reliever however, meanwhile both Keegan Thompson and Ricky Tyler Thomas surrendered runs after Albertos exited.

Top Performers

  • Jose Albertos: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 K (3.48 ERA)
  • Keegan Thompson: 3 Ip, 2 H, R, BB, 3 K (L, 0-2, 3.38)
  • Austin Filiere: 1-4, HR (4), R, 2 RBI
  • Chris Singleton: 1-3, 2B, R, BB, SB (1)
  • Gustavo Polanco: 2-4
  • Miguel Amaya: 1-3, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Austin Filiere (.240/.366/.420) has picked the pace back up of late. He is hitting .270 with 3 homers and 9 RBI in his last 10 games. He has struck out 16 times however and 37 total in just 100 ABs with Eugene.

Gustavo Polanco

Gustavo Polanco

Another guy rediscovering his stroke is Gustavo Polanco. He got off to an incredibly hot start in June, pounding out extra base hits while posting a .344 average. It was enough to get him added to the NWL All-Star roster despite a July swoon (.255/.282/.292). However in his last 10 games Polanco looks back in sync. He is hitting .368, with hits in 9 of 10 contests, and is riding a 6 game hit streak.

Miguel Amaya is hitting .381 with a .435 OBP over his last six games.

Chris Singleton has delivered a bit of pop and speed to the top of the Emeralds order since his promotion from Arizona. In 6 games he has 4 doubles and stole his 1st base Thursday night. In 18 pro games between the two levels Singleton has 8 XBH and 6 SB.

AZL

D'Backs 6, Cubs 4

Top Performers

  • Jeffrey Baez: 1-3, RBI, BB, SB (1)
  • Luis Vazquez: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Fidel Mejia: 2-4, 3B, R, RBI
  • Kevin Zamudio: 1-3, R, BB
  • Jose Gutierrez: 2-5
  • Jonathan Sierra: 2-5
  • Rollie Lacy: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 K (1.23 ERA)
  • Eugenio Palma: 2 IP, 2 K (2.60 ERA)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is 12 for his last 23 (.521).

He didn't get much publicity as a 14th round pick, but Puerto Rican SS Luis Vazquez has been a stabilizing factor for the AZL squad since signing. He is hitting .300/.327/.380 in his first 14 games, and more importantly, has yet to make an error.

Eleventh rounder Rollie Lacy has only received one save opportunity but has proven the club's most effective reliever. In 14.2 IP he has allowed just 2 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. He has struck out 13 men.

Comments

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  • Michael - do you think Tseng has a shot at the MLB rotation next year?

  • In reply to North Side Pat:

    I think he can compete with Butler/Monty as well as Zastryzny/Alzolay/Underwood for the 5th spot next spring. Butler will have the inside track given his experience and the fact he will be out of options. But if he struggles the door will be open for one of the young guys to take advantage. Tseng has the best command of the bunch, so he may be the most ready, but he also has the least pure stuff.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thank you. Really enjoy your work.

  • In reply to North Side Pat:

    Thanks. I enjoy doing it.

  • I would love to see Maples called up in September. Small sample size, but his August numbers are terrific.

  • In reply to October:

    Performance and stuff-wise there is no legitimate reason not to. They can make a 40 man spot for him easily enough. Of all the Cubs pitchers in the minor leagues he is the one guy that can impact the Cubs playoff push.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I've mentioned it a few times in the past month, but his slider rivals that of Strop, his fastball has incredible movement yet he throws it as hard as Rondon, and his curve is similar to Davis. When he throws quality strikes he is unhittable. Two legit plus-plus pitches and a third plus pitch. The biggest issue is fastball command. He will often pitch backwards and will go to his slider in tough situations but he still falls behind too often with the fastball. If he ever learns to throw that pitch for strikes consistently he can be as good as any closer in the game.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Is his lack of control to the point where MLB hitters will simply ignore his fastball or is it good enough and with enough velocity/movement to induce a lot of swinging strikes on balls outside the zone. Basically, making batters look like Javy against shoulder high fastballs.

  • Tseng is really impressive, pitching this well in a very hitter-friendly league. What is the likelihood that he could be another Kyle Hendricks-type player for the Cubs? Maybe not quite as good changing speeds, but pitch command looks similarly effective. What is the likelihood that he could be our 5th starter next year?

  • In reply to HefCA:

    He does not have near the movement on his pitches that Hendricks does, especially the fastball. Hendricks has a legitimate plus pitch in his changeup (both of them). Tseng has no such pitch. He has three average pitches (his change may be a tick above avg and his fastball a tick below). But he does command them well. Not only does he not walk many hitters, but he throws quality strikes on the edges more frequently than any other Cubs prospect at this time. I also like that he is not afraid to pitch inside and he does not get flustered when things don't go his way.

    The plus changeup in combo with the movement on his fastball allows Hendricks to get away with mistakes that Tseng will not be able to make. Tseng has a good chance to be a solid BOR guy. IMO his fastball will make or break him as a Major Leaguer. If he can consistently maintain good command and keep it out of the heart of the plate he should find some success. But if he starts catching too much plate or big league hitters force him into counts that they can count on the fastball coming he could struggle.

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    Was Jeffrey Baez hurt? This is the first mention of him I believe I've seen.
    Thanks for the recaps--you know we love to read about prospects and how they're doing, especially the recent trends.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Yeah, he has been out for over a month

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    Jeffrey Baez has been out for awhile. I believe Daniel Spingola took his spot, if I remember correctly?

  • In reply to Stephanie Lynn:

    Yes

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    In reply to Stephanie Lynn:

    Great photo of Caro, Stephanie. Getting the ball at almost exactly the moment of contact (or exactly the moment itself) is impressive.

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