Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Vosler and Bote both go yard twice; Rondon wins 13th; Tejada tosses no-hitter in DSL

I'm back.

A very busy week, without internet (except for spotty reception with my phone), meant I could barely keep up with the goings on, let alone write about it. So, thanks to Tom for filling in when he could. From here on out I promise to be back to doing the Daily Minors Recaps on a daily basis for everyone. I'm am still playing a little catch-up here, so today's will be abbreviated, but will be back to normal beginning tomorrow.


Montgomery 8, Tennessee 7

Game Recap

David Bote

David Bote

Losing a game when your team out-homers the opposition 5-1 is a tough pill to swallow. The Tennessee bats were hot to begin the game, building the team a 7-2 lead through five innings, led by David Bote and Jason Vosler who both homered twice. Recent signing Chris Nunn worked effectively for five innings before handing the game off to the pen. All three relievers surrendered runs and including five off Preston Morrison and James Norwood over the final two frames, resulting in a walk-off comeback win for the biscuits.

Top Performers

  • Jason Vosler: 2-3, 2 HR (19, 20), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
  • David Bote: 2-5, 2 HR (12, 13), 2 R, 3 RBI
  • Andrew Ely: 2-3, 2B, BB
  • Ozzie Martinez: 1-4, HR (1), R, RBI
  • Chris Nunn: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jason Vosler apparently did not like Ian Rice creeping up on his HR lead or Yasiel Balaguert on his RBI lead. He is the first Cubs prospect to reach the 20 HR plateau this season and is now comfortably back in second place in the Southern League in both HR and RBI where he has spent the majority of the season behind Kevin Cron.

A 24th round pick of San Diego in 2012, Chris Nunn had  success in the lower levels of their system, but injuries and stiffer competition limited him as he moved up the ladder with the club, eventually leading to sitting out the 2016 season. He was signed by the Cubs last week and did not impress in his first start, failing to make it out of the first inning, but was much improved last night.

Advanced A

Down East 2, Myrtle Beach 0

Game Recap

The Pelicans managed just six hits in support of Kyle Miller, who along with two relievers held the team in the game, but the single runs against Miller in the second and fourth proved to be the difference.

Top Performers

  • Kyle Miller: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 K (L, 4-4, 4.13)
  • David Berg: 2.2 IP, 4 K (6.68)
  • Marc Huberman: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R (7.08)
  • Robert Garcia: 1-3, 2B, BB
  • P.J. Higgins: 1-2, 2 BB
  • Adonis Paula: 2-4

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

David Berg

David Berg

David Berg seems to have regained his previous reliable form. In his last four games (10.2 IP) the reliever has allowed just 4 hits, a walk and 2 runs while striking out an unexpected 12 batters over that time. Berg has never been a high strikeout guy and his season had spiraled from bad to worse as he was demoted all the way from Iowa back to Myrtle Beach and struggled more the lower in the system he went. Hopefully he has rediscovered the form that made him effective the past two seasons and allowed him to move quickly up the ladder through the system.

Manager Buddy Bailey remains at 1,999 career wins for at least one more day.

For those that may have missed the news, Pelicans starter Justin Steele had Tommy John Surgery last week and will obviously miss the rest of the season and likely the first part of next year as well as he recovers.


South Bend 2, West Michigan 1

Game Recap

Joey Martarano

Joey Martarano

South Bend stayed hot, raising their record to 6-0 on their current road trip, and keeping their hopes for a late playoff push alive. A fielding error by former teammate Isaac Paredes allowed the first run to score, then Aramis Ademan brought in Joe Martarano on an RBI groundout later in the third inning. Manuel Rondon and the Cubs pen made it stick. Jhon Romero closed out the game with three stellar shutout innings to earn his third save since joining the club last month.

Top Performers

  • Manuel Rondon: 5 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 3 K (W, 13-6, 4.67)
  • Chad Hockin: IP, 2 BB (3.96)
  • Jhon Romero: 3 IP, BB, 4 K (S, 3, 0.40)
  • Joe Martarano: 2-3, 2B, R

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Joe Martarano may be figuring this Midwest League thing out. The big OF/1B struggled after his promotion from Eugene, but now has a six game hit streak that has seen his average rise from .136 to .195.

Jhon Romero has been a revelation for South Bend as he has helped secure the end of the pen that has been a driving force behind the club's recent surge. He has punched out 32 hitters in just 22.1 innings, while allowing just 2 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks, a 0.54 WHIP.

Manuel Rondon

Manuel Rondon

He may not pitch deep into games, and he rarely dominates, but Manuel Rondon also rarely give games away either. His 13 wins are unusual for a pitcher that rarely goes beyond six innings and he has certainly been the benefactor of huge run support, but the lefty is also reliable for 4-6 innings and about 3 runs against every time he takes to the hill. While his results (4.67 vs 1.10 ERA) lag far behind last season's output, he has far exceeded the 57.1 innings he threw, giving South Bend 117.2 so far this year.


Salem-Keizer 4, Eugene 3

Game Recap

Brendon Little / Photo by Darin Spangler

Brendon Little / Photo by Darin Spangler

Brendon Little continued his professional struggles, failing to make it out of the first inning while allowing four runs on four hits and two walks. He retired just two hitters, both via strikeout. Elvis Diaz, Erich Uelmen and Jake Steffens responded with 8.1 shutout innings to keep the Emeralds in the game, but the club could not complete the comeback as a three-run fifth is all the offense they could muster.

Top Performers

  • Elvis Diaz: 4.1 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K (2.05)
  • Erich Uelmen: 3 Ip, 2 H, 3 BB, 2 K (2.30)
  • Jake Steffens: IP, 0 R (1.86)
  • Michael Cruz: 1-3, 2B, R, BB


Cubs 3, Padres 2

Top Performers

  • Jonathan Sierra: 2-4, 2B, 3B, R
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-3, 2B, BB, SB (4)
  • Luis Hidalgo: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI
  • Stephen Ridings: 2.2 IP, H, 3 BB, 2 K (4.50)
  • Eury Ramos: 2.1 IP, K (6.20)
  • Fauris Guerrero: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 6 K (W, 1-1, 3.77)
  • Ivan Medina: 1.1 IP, BB, 2 K (S, 3, 4.38)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Luis Hidalgo hit his first HR with the AZL Cubs after clubbing 5 in the DSL. The 21-year old hasn't slowed down with the bump in competition. He is hitting .354/.412/.525 in 63 games overall between the two levels.

Fifth round pick Nelson Velzaquez continues to show the power, speed, patience combo that makes him such an intriguing prospect. The 18 year old OF from Puerto Rico already has 5 homers (10 XBHs) and 4 SBs in his first 24 pro games. Strikeouts are an issue though. He has been punched out 28 times in 79 ABs, but for an 18 year old that is already producing against many players older than him it isn't a cause for alarm. The club knew he would be a work in progress. If he wasn't raw he wouldn't have been available in the 5th round.


Rays2  5, Cubs1  0

Cubs1  7, Rays2  3

Cubs2  2, DBacks2  0

Cubs2  1, DBacks2  0

Fernando Kelli stole 3 more bags. He now has 58 in 65 games and is hitting .326/.445/.453 on the year.

20-year old righty Jesus Tejada (7 IP, 2 BB, 9 K) threw a 7 inning no-hitter in one half of the doubleheader for Cubs2 while 17-year old lefty Jonathan Bruzual (4 IP, 2 H, BB, 7 K) tossed 4 strong and combined with two relievers to complete the doubleheader shutout. Tejada (5-7, 2.64) was coming off a 7 one-hit innings of shutout work in his previous start. He has punched out 19 batters during the stretch. Bruzual (3-6, 6.86) struggled out of the gate, but has held the opponents off the board in 4 of his past 5 outings.


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  • After taking a peek at Nate Pearson's dominance, I have a little buyer's remorse over Little. Hopefully a nice off season and fresh start to next year will be the ticket. So far, Little is pretty much below the cut line for a #1 pick.

  • The big, slow curve is there (although he is having issues commanding it). The velo I was told to expect has not been there.

    I suspect they are asking him to make mechanical adjustments that haven't clicked yet. Might just need the offseason to reset and start fresh as you said.

  • His velo drop reminds me when the Team claimed Zastryzny was throwing mid 90's when they drafted him. I doubt Rob Z has ever come close since becoming a professional.
    Hopefully Little does come back he threw a lot of innings during the college season, could be normal fatigue.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    Got to keep in mind a couple of things. First, this wasn't just teams reporting the velo, it was scouts too. Also, college pitchers don't pitch every five days, so sometimes they can air it out more and not need to pace themselves as much. And as I said, they may have him working on something and not focusing on velo. He could also just be tired.

  • Welcome back, Michael.

    Did Tom U. leave his Fernando Kelli keyboard shortcut behind for you? He pretty much wore it out while you were gone.

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    I also admit to being a Kelli promoter.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I'm pretty sure its the other way around. I left him the shortcut.

    I wish I could have gotten input from John on Kelli. As one of the few that actually saw him in person it would be nice to get his take. Never got the opportunity, unfortunately.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Are you planning on going to instructs this fall?

  • In reply to couch:

    I would like to, not sure I can do it though. I know readers will miss having an observer there, even for a brief time rather than the daily viewings would get, but I do have a job and am running out of vacation time this year. Since the situation with John cropped up unexpectedly this summer and there was still questions about whether the site would continue in his absence I really wasn't able to plan anything.

    If everything goes well this winter and nothing changes with my job I will plan to go to AZ next spring and fall for at least a short time.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I understand, and with everything you do for this site and us readers you go above and beyond what we could ask. I only asked because I slightly remember somebody saying they were going to try to go to instructs. Fuzzy memory.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    It would have been a shame for it to end, and I am VERY thankful that it hasn't!!!

    Forgive me if this comes off poorly (it is never me intent to be negative to anyone on this site - I'm just curious), but why would the site cease to exist as a result of John's unfortunate early passing?

    Would the writers explore other opportunities, or just kind of stop and focus on life and their job that actually pays? Was he the only one that could renew any licensing agreement, or domain ownership? Or would the site close since the founder is gone and it didn't feel right to continue without him? All of these would make more than enough sense.

    From the writings that were posted after his passing, it seemed as though he was a galvanizing force and had a direction for the site, but it also seemed that many of the writers had their niche - wouldn't each writer have been able to maintain their area of expertise?

    I never met John, but I have grown to love this site and the community that he has built. I am VERY thankful and grateful for all the writers, and commenters, that maintain his legacy.

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    In reply to 2Toes:

    I'm not one of the writers here but the impression I had was that there was concern that it "just wouldn't be the same without John as a presence on the site." Many people's experience of this site was so connected with their experience of John himself that to go on would feel inappropriate. Almost like him not being with us anymore didn't really change anything.

    I think part of it was also grief, plain and simple. When someone passes sometimes it is difficult to just "go on like before."

    Again, I am not one of the writers, but that was the impression that I had reading the comments and articles here. I think consensus of the readers was "PLEASE CONTINUE!" But each writer had their own grief to get through so it wasn't necessarily so easy.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    That is definitely a big part of it.This was John's passion project and especially early on it was very much driven by his writing style and commitment. It obviously did expand beyond that as more writers came on but it was always with John's approval and blessing. The sheer amount of content (let alone the quality) that John created over the years is staggering and we need to make sure we respect not just that level of quality but also the quantity. We take to heart when readers say things like this is the first site that they check in the morning and then come back multiple times throughout the day. If we couldn't commit to providing enough quality content to justify those expectations we would not be honoring what John created here.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The Cubs Den team does a great job! it is much appreciated!

  • Looking forward to reading more about Nelson Velazquez. He sounds like he could develop into an impact player.

  • What do you think about Ademan?
    A 103 wRC+ in the midwest league with a slash of .272/.292 /.446.
    Pretty good, especially as an 18 year old shortstop.

  • In reply to couch:

    Really like Ademan. In my top 10. What I like most is actually his defense. A true shortstop. Nice hands and actions. Smooth. Not flashy, more Russell than Baez, but he has the take charge attitude you like to see.

    At the plate, his swing is geared more for line drives, but has some pull side pop. Uses whole field, and has a decent eye. Still incosistent with discipline, pitch recognition and mechanics but that should all come with experience.

    At worst he is a utility guy, but I think he ends up a starter quality player at SS. His ETA should put him right in line with when Russell/Baez start getting expensive and nearing FA so Ademan will give the club the opportunity to move on from one of them if they choose and hopefully not miss much (with more potential batting average replacing some lost power).

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    His defense is something I haven't seen. But I read from John, you and others that he will stay at short, so I knew that much. Add that to being able to keep his head above water in the pitching friendly midwest league at such an early age and perhaps a top prospect in the making.

  • Oscar De La Cruz has been activated from the DL and will start for the Pelicans tonight!

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thats good to hear. If he can get healthy he is probably headed to the Arizona Fall League?

  • In reply to couch:


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    We don't have too many SS in the system so if Ademan's defense is as good as you say he is (and he's only 18) he could be ready in a few years. Let's not trade him too soon. Just kidding--Theo knows what he's doing. I can't wait until our restraints are off and we can sign more IFA. We signed 2 good Mexican prospects this summer from what I read, a pitcher and a SS. The SS is highly rated too.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    jonathan, it just means they can spend more than 300,000 on an individual player. with the new cba they can't spend over 4.75 million total on players with two exceptions, any player 10,000 or under doesnt' count or they can trade for additional money up to 75% over the 4.75 mil. and can't do that until july 2.

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    In reply to DLROBERTSON:

    Isn't everyone limited to that?

  • This is the first time I have had to comment, so I would like to say thank you to Michael. I was glad to help out.

  • I know this is not as detailed and knowledgeable as most of the comments here, but I am so excited about the South Bend team! I am also very sad John and I won't be at instructs this year. It is where I really learned so much about the game. So much about the process. If I knew more and thought I could stay on my own I would love to have covered it. Thank you denizens for everything.

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