Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Assad and Amaya lead South Bend to big win; Iowa loses in controversial fashion

Miguel Amaya (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Miguel Amaya (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Round Rock 5, Iowa 4

Game Recap

The I-Cubs fought back from a 3-0 deficit to take a one-run lead into the bottom of the 7th, but then Andy Ibanez took Rob Zastryzny deep in the bottom of the frame. It was the second homer of the game for Ibanez and the third of the night for the Express, but it wasn't without controversy. There isn't good video of it, but as the ball sailed over the foul pole every Cubs player who had a view of the ball and basically the entire Iowa dugout exploded as the home plate umpire signaled the ball fair. Cubs manager Marty Pevey would be ejected after charging on to the field to voice his objections.

Top Performers

  • Jacob Hannemann: 3-4, RBI, SB (7)
  • Chesny Young: 2-4, 2B, R, CS (1)
  • Mike Freeman: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB
  • Lane Adams: 1-3, 3B, R, BB, CS (1)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Mike Freeman remained red-hot. He is currently riding a 9-game hitting streak (.351).

Jacob Hannemann

Jacob Hannemann

Two Iowa players who have completely turned their seasons around in May are Chesny Young (.256/.305/.308) and Jacob Hannemann (.250/.316/.298). Young hit just .183/.231/.217 while striking out in a third of his April plate appearances, but is not batting .333/.381/.404 in April. Hannemann began with .149/.200/.213 opening month but is now hitting .333/.406/.368 with 5 stolen bases in May after his three-hit, one steal day on Tuesday.

Advanced A

Lynchburg 8, Myrtle Beach 2

Game Recap

Bryan Hudson

Bryan Hudson

This game began on a positive enough note. Pelicans starter Bryan Hudson did give up a leadoff double in the top of the 1st, but quickly erased the threat with a pair of strikeouts and then a ground out to end it. Myrtle Beach took a 1-0 lead and even manged to chase Hillcats starter Justin Garza from the game as they ran his pitch count up over 30 in his first start back after returning from an arm injury.

Then the 2nd inning happened. Bryan Hudson completely lost all semblance of control. He hit the first two batters, walked the next man, back-to-back singles followed, then another walk, and finally a third hit batter ended his night. He faced eight batters during the inning and did not retire a single one. His ugly line (IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 HBP, 2 K) could have been far worse but Casey Bloomquist came on and struck out the next three batters, stranding three runners that belonged to Hudson.

Top Performers

  • Casey Bloomquist: 3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 K
  • P.J. Higgins: 2-4, BB
  • Daniel Spingola: 2-4, 2B
  • Andruw Monasterio: 1-4, R, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Casey Bloomquist (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Casey Bloomquist (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Casey Bloomquist has proven himself a valuable org arm in the lower levels of the Cubs since the Cubs selected him in the 17th round of the 2015 draft out of Cal Poly. He has compiled a 3.82 ERA and a 4.8:1 K:BB ratio over 80 appearances (27 starts). This season he has been even better, with a 2.01 ERA in 12 games. He has not allowed a run in his last 16.1 innings covering 9 outings

A

South Bend 9, Lansing 1

Game Recap

Javier Assad (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Javier Assad (photo by Rikk Carlson)

In his first 8 starts with South Bend, the 20-year old Javier Assad has already notched four games of 5 innings without allowing an earned run. He wasn't quite that good in this one, but he was close. He allowed just one run over 5.2 innings while punching out seven Lugnuts hitters. At one point he struck out five consecutive men as he commanded his 12-to-6 curve to great effect. He utilized the pitch within the zone and as a chase pitch as the afternoon progressed.

The Cubs broke the game open in the 5th. With the score tied 1-1, they got patient. After a Christian Donahue single and stolen base to open the inning, Zach Davis walked. A force out on a sac bunt attempt followed, but the next two men walked to force in a run and chase Lansing starter Turner Larkins from the game. Their new reliever fared just as bad. Miguel Amaya and Michael Cruz both walked to drive in two more runs, then Brandon Hughes capped the inning with a two-run single.

Top Performers

  • Javier Assad: 5.2 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 7 K (W, 4-1, 2.06)
  • Brendan King: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R (1.86 ERA)
  • Miguel Amaya: 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB
  • Jared Young: 2-3, R, RBI, BB, SF
  • Zach Davis: 1-4, 2 R, BB, SB (13)
  • Jhonny Bethencourt: 2-5, 2 R, SB (5)
  • Christian Donahue: 2-4, R, SB (1)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 2-4, RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It was a banner day for Miguel Amaya (.267/.353/.466), who reached safely in all five of his plate appearances.

The Cubs finally inserted Zach Davis into the leadoff spot in this one. The speedster has swiped 13 bags in 15 tries while compiling a .361 OBP almost exclusively out of the ninth spot in the batting order. Meanwhile, the team's two most-frequent leadoff hitters this season (Chris Singleton and Jhonny Bethencourt) have OBPs under .300 on the year. Singleton in particular has been a disaster at the plate. Despite a .174/.213/.248 overall line he has been the Cubs leadoff man 17 times this season. South Bend has struggled with an inconsistent offense all season and the top of the order has been a big culprit in those troubles.

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    Michael, Assad seems to be dominating at SB. You said before that you thought he would stay there all year, but if he continues to pitch this well, wouldn't it benefit him to face tougher opposition? I know he's young, but being this successful might force their hand.
    Again, thank you for all these reports. My morning starts with reading these reports; I miss them so much during the winter.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    There are older pitchers in SB dominating just as much (Thomas and Abbott) that will get first crack at promotions.

    Assad needs to continue refining his changeup and find a way to better cope when his fastball command isn't there. Every 3 or 4 starts he gets hit pretty hard as he leaves his fastball over the heart of the plate.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks. That's the kind of information that we don't get by just looking at the record.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    A lot of people are getting hyped about Assad and while I love the enthusiasm expectations with him need to be tempered. There isn't much difference between Assad and Tseng. Both were advanced for their age and it appears Assad will dominate A-ball the same way Tseng did. But they are similar ceiling pitchers. Might become solid #5 if their command becomes razor sharp but their fastball is likely to limit them. Both are avg velo at best and don't get a ton of movement. Assad has a bit bigger frame so I can't rule out him eventually getting his FB to sit 94 and touch higher, but I think he is more likely to stay in the 91-93 range like Tseng. And that could limit both to the pen or maybe even to being AAAA guys.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I was wondering after reading the original article how good of a prospect Assad is. Thanks for already answering the question!

  • Casey Bloomquist might be earning a callup sooner than expected if he can continue his great work. Thanks, Michael.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The Tennessee staff is very deep. There just isn't room. Swarmer and Minch would be first in line for promotion and both are ready right now but have nowhere to go.

  • fb_avatar

    AZ Phil reports that Jose Albertos has been assigned to EXST from South Bend. Makes sense, given his immense struggles this year

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Yeah, that news came out yesterday. Can't be unexpected. They tried moving him to the pen while he worked out his issues, but nothing changed. Time to let him figure it out in Mesa.

  • Micahel do you see Velazquez going to Eugene when short-season begins. He is not been very good in South Bend. I was hoping he would hold his own as he has some very good tools to work with, but the K's, lack of BB, and power outage say he may not be ready for that jump. I would bet he destroys the NWL if that is his next assignment.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    Not unless he continues to struggle without improvement. They are killing him with breaking balls early in the count. No one is giving him a first pitch FB for him to jump on and so he is essentially starting every AB down 0-1. He seems to have a decent eye once he is in protect mode, but early in the count he seems to be guessing fastball and it has been exploited.

    This has been the pattern the past couple of weeks. You would like to see him make an adjustment in the near future. Maybe it is simple enough to tell him to take a strike for a few days and see if he can into a few 2-1 counts without taking the bat off his shoulder.

    I'm always ere on the side of patience with young prospects. Especially guys we know are raw. As long as they are not falling into poor mechanics and being in danger of picking up bad habits during rough stretches then I like to give them plenty of time to learn and make an adjustment.

  • At the beginning of the season, the Braves had 8 players ranked in the top 100 prospects, mainly pitchers.
    Acuna Jr and Albies, Braves phenoms, are already in the majors. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2774978-mlbs-next-bash-bros-meet-baby-braves-phenoms-ronald-acuna-jr-and-ozzie-albies

    Another phenom is 19 year old Juan Soto of the Nationals. https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/nationals-juan-soto-becomes-youngest-mlb-player-to-hit-a-home-run-in-six-years/
    And here are Juan's minor league credentials......AWESOME!!!
    http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=665742#/career/R/hitting/2018/ALL

  • fb_avatar

    We used to be the young exciting team in the majors. All our prospects were at the major league level. Now I feel we're old compared to Atlanta and to the other teams who have brought up their young talent. I know we're still very young though, maybe I should say experienced rather than older.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    If the Cubs had not already won a WS this team would be considered one still on the rise. Now people no longer see potential growth, only potential holes.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Couldn't agree more Michael it definitely feels like a lot of cubs fans today are so impatient in trying to win a WS now that we proven that we have that potential that they forget that a lot of these kids aren't even entering their primes. Schwarber is only in his 2nd full season of getting AB's and Happ is really almost a rookie yet I'm hearing chants of demoting them to AAA or that schwarber isn't really a good hitter. I also hear a lot of "this is what they are" when it comes to guys like addy or baez who are only 24 year old kids that are still a few years from reaching their primes which I think is ridiculous personally. My only point is that it's very early and some of these guys may not get take the steps forward that fans are looking for I'm not saying they'll all improve but I don't buy the notion that because they've been in the league for a few years that some of them won't/can't take steps forward as they hit their primes. We have to remember guys that these guys are young and I know there's going to be people that read this post that think that I'm making excuses but I don't see that as an excuse I see that as common logic and we have to remember that the game of baseball can be frustrating and improvement sometimes happens at a more incremental pace then we'd like. I'm not saying that all of these kids are going to take major steps forward moving forward and some of them probably won't improve drastically from where they are now but I think that Michael's point about how all of these guys are still very much young enough to have "potential growth" is very valid for a lot of these kids.

  • I know he had a lot of fans interested over the course of his career here, so I'm sure some will be interested to learn that John Andreoli has been called up by the Mariners today. The 27-year old signed with Seattle as a 6-year Minor League FA this past winter. Judging by his numbers in AAA this year he seems to be doing typical John Andreoli things: getting on base, smart base running once he gets there, but also striking out a lot.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That's great news about Andreoli. I always rooted for him. As for the age of most of the Cubs, it used to be that baseball player's prime years were between 28-32. Only Heyward and Rizzo are on the lower end of that--everyone else is a few years away. That's why this window is wide open.

  • fb_avatar

    A question about baseball rules. Since Andreoli was just called up, does he get a raise and is that only for his time in the majors and does someone qualify for the pension by playing time--is there a minimum number of games or time to qualify for a pension. Thanks.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think he gets MLB minimum wage per game and if he gets 43 games he qualifies for a lifetime $43k per yr pension .

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    MLB players must play 43 days in the majors to earn a minimum $34,000 annual pension plan. Just one day in the majors gets them lifetime healthcare coverage. After 10 years in the big leagues, benefits grow to $100,000 annually.

    That's not bad one day in MLB life time medical.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Thanks 2016. I appreciate it.

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