Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Ely homers to continue amazing run; Short reaches base 6 times; Hidalgo reaches 5 times; Hudson sets career-best

AAA

Iowa CANCELLED

AA

Jackson 8, Tennessee 7 (11 Innings)

Game Recap

Charcer Burks

Charcer Burks

This was a tough loss for the Smokies. They jumped out to an early 5-1 lead courtesy of an Andrew Ely solo homer in the 1st, a two-run single by Charcer Burks in the 2nd, and then a pair of RBI singles in the 3rd. Starter Zach Hedges was cruising along, allowing two runs through 5.1 before handing the game off to Steve Perakslis and Jake Stinnett who held the Generals off the board through the 8th. Unfortunately, closer Craig Brooks (BS, 2, 4.46) did not have it this night. He was tagged for four runs on four hits and two walks which put the Smokies behind by one. Brooks failed to get through the inning before being replaced by James Pugliese who ended the threat and then followed with a scoreless 10th. The Smokies were only able to get to the 10th because after loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th, David Bote was hit by a pitch to bring home the tying run. James Norwood (L, 1-3, 4.86) came on for the 11th, and like Brooks, he struggled, giving up two runs on three hits.

Top Performers

  • Zach Hedges: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, BB, 5 K (3.49)
  • Steve Perakslis: 1.2 IP, 2 K (3.10)
  • Jake Stinnett: IP (0.71)
  • James Pugliese: 1.1 IP, H, (1.89)
  • Charcer Burks: 3-5, R, 2 RBI, HBP
  • David Bote: 2-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, HBP
  • Andrew Ely: 2-5, HR (3), R, RBI, BB
  • Trey Martin: 3-6, 2 R
  • Carlos Penalver: 3-4, R, RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Andrew Ely

Andrew Ely

Andrew Ely is hitting .440/.576/.600 over his last 9 games. I'll be honest, this run has gone completely under my radar. Not only is he riding a 9-game hit streak, he also has at least one walk in 8 of the 9 games. That's crazy. Shame on me for not calling this out earlier.

David Bote has scored 9 times and also driven in 9 runs over his last 10 games.

After a brutal July (.178/.276/.198) and a slow start to August, Charcer Burks got himself back on track and finished the month strong (.267/.375/.406), which is more in line with his season totals.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 9, Buies Creek 2

Game Recap

Tyler Alamo, Jesse Hodges, Eddy Martinez Photo by Stephanie Lynn

Tyler Alamo, Jesse Hodges, Eddy Martinez / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

Myrtle Beach hasn't gotten as far as it has due to an explosive offense. They won the first half thanks to dominate pitching (both rotation and pen) and timely hitting. Injury, trade and promotion took its toll in the second half on both the staff and the lineup but things have been looking up as of late. The offense lacks traditional middle of the order bats but they do have a collection of solid players that are all capable of coming through at various times. Well, they pretty much all came through Thursday. The club plated nine runs without the help of a homer thanks to seventeen hits and eight walks. Zack Short led the way by reaching base a career-high six times (three hits and three walks). In all, the Pelicans finished with five different players reaching base at least three times.

On the mound Michael Rucker gave a performance reminiscent of what the Pelicans regularly received in the first half. He absolutely breezed through the first five innings, requiring just 55 pitches, while allowing only one hit. He was tagged for two runs in the sixth, but by then Myrtle Beach already had a commanding lead. Scott Effross and Marc Huberman took over from there, allowing only two base runners across the final three frames.

Top Performers

  • Zack Short: 3-3, 2B, 2 R, 3 BB
  • Jesse Hodges: 3-6, 2B, R, 3 RBI
  • Eddy Martinez: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Trent Giambrone: 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI
  • Vimael Machin: 3-4, R, BB
  • Connor Myers: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB, SB (7)
  • Adonis Paula: 2-6, RBI
  • Michael Rucker: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K (W, 5-5, 2.51)
  • Scott Effross: 2 IP, H, BB, K (3.45)
  • Marc Huberman: IP, K (6.26)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Michael Rucker / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

Michael Rucker / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

The Pelicans may have lost Justin Steele to Tommy John surgery and Adbert Alzolay to promotion but the rotation is still in good hands thanks to the return of Oscar De La Cruz from injury and the emergence of Michael Rucker and Duncan Robinson, each of whom spent parts of the early season in the South Bend bullpen. Both have proven adept in the rotation and are two of the more advanced pitchers in the lower levels when it comes to fastball command (De La Cruz also ranks highly in that regard). Those three, along with Thomas Hatch will be a formidable quartet come the Carolina League playoffs. I wouldn't be shocked to see the club promote a lefty from South Bend such as Jose Paulino, Bryan Hudson or Manny Rondon (or all three) if the Cubs come up short in their playoff bid in the Midwest League. The Pelicans will not want for rotation options come September.

The Pelicans bullpen was nothing short of phenomenal in the first half of the season. To think that at one point the club boasted a guy currently on the cusp of the majors (Dillon Maples), three more (Craig Brooks, James Norwood and Tommy Thorpe) who have gone on to success at the AA level, along with Michael Rucker who has since moved into the rotation. It is no surprise the club has not managed to maintain the same level of consistency in the second half without any of those arms available.

Scott Effross (by Stephanie Lynn)

Scott Effross / Photo by Stephanie Lynn

However, the pen has begun to stabilize once again. The one constant throughout the season has been Pedro Araujo. The big righty has been rewarded with a brief AA stint as well as an opportunity in the AFL come October. He hasn't been the biggest story however. That would of course be an even bigger righty, 6'7" Dakota Mekkes. The former Michigan State closer has put up insane numbers since replacing Maples in early June. One guy who was lost in the shuffle throughout the season, but has since reemerged is Scott Effross. It is easy to forget that he was sharing the closer role with Maples and Brooks in April but some struggles, along with the emergence of so many other candidates, pushed him to lower leverage situations and even to a short stint as an emergency starter. Another Big Ten alum (Indiana), Effross has righted the ship in the second half (2-1, 2.08, 5 SV) and regained a key role at the back of the Pelican's pen. That trio, along with David Berg, Marc Huberman, Kyle Miller and Jordan Minch may not form a group as deep and dominant as what we witnessed on the way to the first half crown, but there is still plenty of talent there to get the job done. And just as with the rotation, should South Bend fail to secure a playoff berth, additional reinforcements (Chad Hockin, Wyatt Short, Jhon Romero, Mark Malave) may become available.

A

South Bend 3, West Michigan 1

Game Recap

Bryan Hudson

Bryan Hudson

It took a career-best 7.2 inning performance from Bryan Hudson, who outdueled a rehabbing big leaguer (Anibal Sanchez), but the South Bend Cubs won their 21st game of the month. They still sit one game back in the second half wild card race though with four to play as Bowling Green snapped a 10-game skid with a victory over Dayton. The Cubs pushed all of their runs across early with Aramis Ademan, Kevonte Mitchell and Austin Upshaw each driving a man home against Sanchez. After that, it was all Hudson (with a little help for Yapson Gomez and Wyatt Short). The three lefties combined on a three-hitter. The lone run Hudson allowed was unearned.

Top Performers

  • Bryan Hudson: 7.2 IP, 3 H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (W, 9-3, 3.91)
  • Wyatt Short: IP (S, 16, 3.19)
  • Kevonte Mitchell: 2-4, RBI, SB (21)
  • D.J. Wilson: 0-2, R, 2 BB, SB (15)
  • Aramis Ademan: 1-4, 2B, R, RBI
  • Luis Ayala: 2-4, R

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Bryan Hudson really had his stuff working, not only getting 4 strikeouts, but also inducing a 13-3 GO-AO ratio. He leads the MWL with a 66.2% GB%. The next best qualified pitcher sits at 56.4%. Teammate Jose Paulino is 5th at 52.3%. In fact, his GB% is the second best in all of the full-season leagues among qualified pitchers behind only Cardinals prospect Connor Jones (68.4%). The big lefty has now won his last 7 decisions.

A-

Eugene OFF

AZL

Cubs 9, Angels 2

Game Recap

This win was big in more than one way. Not only was it a seven-run trouncing, but it came against the team that entered the day in a first-place tie with the Cubs. The Cubs now sit one game ahead of the Angels with one game to play.

Top Performers

  • Luis Hidalgo: 4-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Marcus Mastrobuoni: 1-3, 3 R, 2 BB
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-2, 3B, 2 R, RBI, 3 BB
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 2-4, 2 RBI, BB
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-4, 2B, R, BB
  • Brailyn Marquez: 2.1 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 3 K (5.52)
  • Jeffrey Passatino: 2.2 IP, 5 H, R, 4 K (3.10)
  • Eugenio Palma: 3 IP, H, BB, 2 K (W, 5-1, 2.40)
  • Nathan Sweeney: IP, H, BB (5.91)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Carlos Sepulveda

Carlos Sepulveda

If Zack Short hadn't gone a perfect 6-for-6 reaching base for Myrtle Beach, Luis Hidalgo going 5-for-5 for the AZL Cubs would sound more impressive. It has certainly been an impressive turnaround year for the first baseman. After injuries ruined his last two years in the VSL/DSL Hidalgo broke out in the big way this season (.353/.419/.521) at age 21, earning a promotion to the AZL where he hasn't missed a beat (.345/.367/.517). He will be an interesting follow next year. It seems possible that Hidalgo could open next season as the 1B in South Bend.

I have to believe Carlos Sepulveda will be ready to rejoin Myrtle Beach (or perhaps South Bend) shortly. He has hit .313/.389/.344 in 8 rehab games in Mesa.

Comments

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  • DLROBERTSON,

    Just saw your question in yesterdays thread. Thought I would copy my answer here as well in case you miss it there:

    You are thinking of Daniel Lewis. He was put on the inactive list for Myrtle Beach at the beginning of the year and as far as I can tell has stayed there. They usually don't use that designation for an injury, so it is likely an off the field issue. Perhaps he still had military commitments? I honestly don't know. He is still with the org as far as I can tell as I see no record of him being released.

    I don't have anything on Erick Leal's injury, sorry. Obviously it has kept him out all year, so it must have been serious.

    Couple of mysteries there.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'm pretty sure Leal had TJ surgery, which would fit the timeline. I think I heard that from AZ Phil at ST.

  • I think my new favorite is Nelson Velazquez. Power, Speed, and isn't immune to taking walks. How does his D profile?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I didn't see your comment when I starting typing mine. Looks like we agree. :-)

  • In reply to John57:

    Yep, we certainly agree. He has my attention. To have 8 HR in AZ as an 18!year old shows impressive in game power. I would bet he has legit bat speed given his 6 foot listed height.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    He is supposedly a true five tool guy. From what I understand he had been playing ball in FL as a high schooler, but had some issues with his grades and was ruled ineligible in 2017 so he returned to PR for his final year. Apparently still considered pretty raw, and pre-draft concerns about swing-and-miss issues appear real (29.5% K rate). But it is very encouraging how much he has been able to contribute right out of the gate despite those flaws. Perhaps he isn't as raw as originally thought.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'm kind of hoping that Velazquez turns out to be the type of player that Eddy Martinez was hyped to be.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    May be a bit premature (understatement), but I kinda have a mental pic of Jose Bautista in my head for Velazquez.

  • Reading these minor league reports make me think the Cubs' farm system is still loaded with talent. It may be in the lower levels but it is still there. I like the Nelson Velazquez young man.

  • In reply to John57:

    You have to squint a little but there is still top end talent in the system. Albertos, De La Cruz are legit top 100 guys if they can stay on the mound. The team also just added three really good curveball pitchers from the college ranks (Lange, Little, Thompson) that all have solid upside. Cory Abbott really intrigues me as well. Good slider and seems to command his other average pitches well. Alzolay, Underwood, Hatch and Hudson are all finished strong in the second half. Maples is legit as a potential future closer.

    Things are less rosy on the position player side, and most of what they have is pretty far away. But they do have plenty of interesting depth guys in the upper levels that can fill a role and plug a hole for short periods if needed in the near future. And guys like Wilson, Ademan, Velazquez are fun to dream about if they manage to put it all together at some point down the road.

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