Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Hatch earns first win; Singleton homers

Thomas Hatch

Thomas Hatch

AAA

Iowa PPD

AA

Tennessee 4, Montgomery 2

Game Recap

Now this is how I hope Smokies games will proceed on a regular basis. The team features a prospect-laden rotation and a talented bullpen. On this day, Thomas Hatch turned in a quality start, then turned matters over to Scott Effross and Dakota Mekkes who held the Biscuits in check the rest of the way. It is a formula that served much of this roster well at Myrtle Beach last season on the way to the Carolina League playoffs.

Top Performers

  • Thomas Hatch: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K (W, 1-0, 3.00)
  • Scott Effross: 2 IP, H, 2 BB, K
  • Dakota Mekkes: IP, BB, K (S, 2, 0.00)
  • Trent Giambrone: 2-3, 2B, RBI
  • Ian Rice: 2-3, R, BB
  • Jason Vosler: 0-2, R, RBI, 2 BB, HBP
  • Trey Martin: 2-5, R
  • Eddy Martinez: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Dakota Mekkes has picked up right where he left off last season. He is surrendering few hits (1) and even fewer earned runs (0) while striking out more than a batter per inning (8 in 6.1 IP). Control continues to be his one weakness (5 walks).

Advanced A

Buies Creek 9, Myrtle Beach 0

Game Recap

I can't. I just... can't. It has been a very rough opening month for the Pelicans. The defense has struggled, the pitching staff susceptible to big innings, and the offense prone to extended dry spells. Wednesday's game featured all three. They committed three errors. Jose Paulino (6 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) gave up seven runs in the 3rd inning. The offense managed just four hits.

Top Performers

  • Casey Bloomquist: 2 IP, 2 H, BB
  • Aramis Ademan: 1-3, 2B, E (5)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

One of the Pelicans only hot hitters, Kevonte Mitchell (.306/.350/.344), singled in his lone plate appearance but was caught stealing. He left the game early and was replaced by Connor Myers.

A

Dayton 4, South Bend 1

Game Recap

Jose Albertos (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Jose Albertos (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

This game offered a premier pitching matchup, featuring Jose Albertos and the #2 pick in last year's draft Hunter Greene. Greene came out throwing 100 mph darts as advertised. A rough bottom of the 1st for Albertos  (2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, K) began innocuous enough. Even after a one-out single and wild pickoff attempt, Albertos was able to strike out the next batter. But a run scoring single, then wild pitch, followed by a two-run homer gave the Dragons an early 3-0 lead.

Albertos ended it there, but little did he or anyone else know that the three hits he allowed in the inning would be the only three Dayton would manage all night. The org has clearly instructed Albertos to work on his fastball command in his first two starts as he has rarely gone to his secondaries, especially his plus changeup. It has undoubtedly affected his results, but in the end it will likely serve him well as Albertos has struggled with his release point, leading to a number of pitches spiked in the dirt. He walked another two batters and uncorked another wild pitch in the 2nd but wriggled out of it. Then the rains came.

After a lengthy delay Rollie Lacy and eventually Ben Hecht came on and held the Dragons without a hit for the rest of the way. Lacy suffered from his own unexpected bout of wildness that led to a run in his first inning of work, but the pair gave the South Bend offense a chance to mount a comeback. Unfortunately, a Chris Singleton solo homer is all they could muster.

Top Performers

  • Rollie Lacy: 4 IP, 0 H, R, 3 BB, 5 K
  • Ben Hecht: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Chris Singleton: 1-4, HR (1), R, RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Rollie Lacy (11 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 14 K) has thrown at least three innings in each of his three outings and given up no more than one run in any of them. After giving up just four hits over seven innings in his first two outings have gave up none Wednesday. He did walk three in this outing, the first of the season for him.

Ben Hecht has struggled with control, but has not allowed a run any of his 3 two-inning performances. He has struck out 8 in 6 total innings.

Comments

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    Any concern on Albertos? You would obviously rather see your prized prospect dominate.

    Do you think the Cubs will give Rollie Lacy the Michael Rucker treatment? (i.e., bump up a high-performing long relief guy up a level and into the MB rotation)

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Not much concern for Albertos. It is the first time he is pitching in a meaningful April game and also his first time pitching in cold weather. He is also not throwing his secondaries as he works on fastball command.

    The multiple throws in the dirt is something we saw last year as well. He spikes way more pitches in the dirt, especially fastballs, than most pitchers. Definitely has issues maintaining his release point and simply holds on to the ball too long. It tends to happen a few times in rapid succession then he'll right himself and go back to throwing with solid control/command.

    Inconsistency is not a big worry for a 19 year old. The only red flag to me is that Albertos is not a great athlete, nor is he very big. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll continue to have trouble repeating his motion, but it is something to keep in the back of your mind. Maybe that eventually limits him to the pen, but it is way too soon to be concerned over that. He is years away from the Cubs needing to make a decision on that front with plenty of time for him to make improvements.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I think Lacy would have no issue with a move to Myrtle Beach. He is definitely looking too polished and advanced for the MWL. I expect they will bump him up in May or June, but at least for the time being he offers a valuable crutch as a long man/piggyback to the plethora of young, inconsistent starters in South Bend, especially considering some will be on strict pitch count and innings limits.

    Myrtle should get help from Erling Moreno and Manny Rondon in the near future. Lacy and Abbott will get there during the season as well. I don't have much long term concern about the Myrtle Beach rotation. They have plenty of talented guys to fill that out. Their pen on the other hand does concern me. They really only have one shutdown capable reliever (Romero) right now. If Hecht can improve his control this summer he could be a welcome addition to MB in the second half.

    One thing to keep in mind is that all four rosters of the Cubs affiliates are young for their league. The Cubs are being aggressive and challenging many players against older competition. This will lead to some inconsistencies and rough stretches for the teams, but will likely be good for the individual prospects in the long run.

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    Probably too early to get too excited, but how about Jared Young? He's raking in A-Ball. Any inside dope on him?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I don't think it is too early to be excited. He looks like a potential steal as a 15th rounder. I didn't watch him much last summer after he signed, but with a good spring and now a terrific start, I've looked much closer at him.

    His swing is smooth, I don't see any holes, and he is willing to use the whole field. He is strong enough and has enough loft in his swing for double digit HR power as well as plenty of extra base hits.

    Where I am not sure on him is defense. He was a 2nd baseman at Old Dominion but South Bend has an abundance of middle infielders so Young has spent most of his time at 1B, with just a couple of games at 2B. He started one game at SS last year and I know he spent some time at 3B in the spring, but I haven't seen him at either position so I can't comment on whether he has the range or arm to handle the left side of the infield.

    He moves well for a 6'2" guy, but he is taller and not as athletic as players such as Russell and Baez. He is likely to end up more along the lines of Ben Zobrist in size once he finishes filling out his frame, but once again I don't consider him as athletic as Zo was in his prime, maybe more so in line with what Zo is now and I think he will end up being able to handle 2B/1B/LF and maybe RF/3B depending on his arm.

    As a left handed hitter with the ability to play multiple spots he profiles well as a bench player but I think it possible he could develop into a potential starter, even if it is a low end one. He is originally from Northern Canada and didn't get much playing time in college against high level competition. Definitely a potential late bloomer especially if he can add strength and I think he can add a good 15 pounds of muscle to his frame in the future.

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    I got to see Hunter Greene in person several times last year. He is a pretty good hitter, but definitely better pitching. He has a wipeout slider to go with his 100 mph heat. He will soon be a Cub killer.

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