Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Hatch tosses shutout; Abbott punches out career high 11; Mitchell homers

Thomas Hatch

Thomas Hatch

AAA

Omaha 4, Iowa 2

Game Recap

Adbert Alzolay (4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K) was able to navigate the Storm Chasers lineup two times, allowing just one run through four innings, but his luck ran out the third time through. Three straight hits by the top of Omaha's order greeted him in the 5th. After a strikeout, a single brought home the third run of the inning and Alzolay was lifted. Iowa scored a couple of late runs but it wasn't enough.

Top Performers

  • Wynton Bernard: 2-3, 2 2B, R, RBI
  • Mike Freeman: 2-4, RBI
  • Kyle Ryan: 3.2 IP, 2 H, BB, K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Wynton Bernard has five hits, including three extra-base hits, over his past two games. His OPS has jumped from .478 to .596 on the year.

Mike Freeman (.268/.329/.423) now has a 6-game hitting streak.

The Cubs welcomed David Bote back into the lineup. Mark Zagunis had rejoined the team a day earlier. The two should provide a much needed boost to the Iowa lineup.

AA

Tennessee 4, Mississippi 3 - 10 Innings (Game 1)

Tennessee 4, Mississippi 0 (Game 2)

Game Recaps

Duncan Robinson (by Stephanie Lynn)

Duncan Robinson (by Stephanie Lynn)

Starting pitching led the way as the Smokies swept the doubleheader. Duncan Robinson struck out nine over six innings, allowing just one run. Craig Brooks pitched a scoreless 7th to send it to extras. Each team pushed across the inherited runner in the 8th and then Mississippi did the same in the top of the 9th against Dakota Mekkes, but the Smokies responded with a pair to win it in the bottom of the frame. A throwing error allowed the tying run to score. Tennessee would eventually load the bases, then Charcer Burks ended the game by drawing a walk to force home the winning run.

The nightcap was all about Thomas Hatch. He needed just 89 pitches to toss a seven-inning complete game shutout. Hatch allowed just six base runners while striking out seven men.

Top Performers

  • Thomas Hatch: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 2 HBP, 7 K (W, 4-2, 3.06)
  • Duncan Robinson: 6 IP, 5 H, R, 0 BB, 9 K (3.83 ERA)
  • Dakota Mekkes: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (W, 2-0, 0.52)
  • Charcer Burks: 2-6, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB
  • Jeffrey Baez: 1-3, HR (5), 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Trey Martin: 1-3, R, SAC

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Thomas Hatch has now gone at least 6.2 innings in each of his past three starts.

Charcer Burks (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Charcer Burks (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

It was a nice bounce back effort from Duncan Robinson after he was pounded for 5 runs on 12 hits his last time out. Robinson is always around the plate, and that generally leads to the opposition coming out of a game averaging more than a hit per inning, but Robinson also does a pretty good job of managing the damage because he does not give up many homers or walks.

The Smokies offense continues to be sparked by Jeffrey Baez and Charcer Burks. While Baez (.333/.400/.586) has been a fairly steady contributor all season, Burks has only turned in on in May, but what a month it has been so far (.343/.436/.507). Baez walked away with the organization's Player of the Month award for April and now Burks is making a strong case for the award this time around.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 4, Frederick 3

Game Recap

Matt Swarmer (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Matt Swarmer (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Down two runs in the top of the 7th, Tyler Alamo started a rally by reaching on an error to open the inning. The next batter, Kevonte Mitchell, smashed a two-runner homer to tie the score. After a pitching change, Connor Myers singled with one away. Another error and a sacrifice fly moved him to 3rd with two outs. A wild pitch brought him home to give the Pelicans their first lead of the game. Matt Swarmer was solid over seven innings before handing the game off to the pen, who tossed two shutout innings to preserve the victory.

Top Performers

  • Matt Swarmer: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K
  • Tyler Peyton: IP, BB, K (S, 2, 1.29)
  • Connor Myers: 2-3, R, RBI, HBP
  • Kevonte Mitchell: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It was the first home run of the season for Kevonte Mitchell (.247/.309/.299). The 6'4" outfielder has good raw power, and he began to flash it in games last season (11 HR), but thus far in 2018 he has just 3 extra base hits. Even with his home run Saturday his SLG is only .299 for the season. Hopefully, this can get him going a bit. At 22, he is still an obvious work in progress, but Mitchell is one of the premier athletes in the Cubs system and if his game comes to full fruition there is definite 20-20 potential with him.

A

Fort Wayne 5, South Bend 4

Game Recap

This was a tough loss, and a waste of a brilliant performance by starter Cory Abbott. Last season's 2nd round selection set a career high by punching out 11 Fort Wayne batters across six shutout innings. He handed the game over to the pen with a three-run lead, but Enrique De Los Rios, who had not allowed an earned run yet this season, promptly allowed four runs (two earned) in the 7th to surrender the lead.

Top Performers

  • Cory Abbott: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K
  • Chris Singleton: 2-5, R
  • Zach Davis: 1-4, 2 R, SB (12)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Cory Abbott (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Cory Abbott (photo by Rikk Carlson)

A day after committing seven errors in an embarrassing loss, a throwing error by Austin Filiere contributed to Fort Wayne's four-run rally in the 7th. It was the third throwing error by Filiere in the past two games and his 11th miscue already on the year. For as consistent as he has been at the plate this season, I still remain greatly concerned regarding Filiere's ability to stick at 3B long term. His range seems fine, but he is not very fluid and it leads to the occasional misplay of a grounder but also prevents him from getting into good position to throw across the diamond.

It is worth pointing out, that for all the talk of Matt Swarmer and a couple of other breakout pitchers this year, that Cory Abbott is quietly having one of, if not the best season of the starters in the system to date. Opponents are hitting just .204 against him and he has allowed just one batter to reach per inning while compiling a 2.72 ERA. Take out his start on May 1st marred by about 5 broken bat singles which contributed to 8 runs (5 earned) on 11 hits in 3.1 innings, and Cory Abbott season line looks even more incredible: 33 IP, 16 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 10 BB, 42 K. That is a .144 batting average against, 0.79 WHIP and 1.64 ERA over 6 starts.

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    It seems like the 3 pitchers who have separated themselves this year are Javier Assad, Abbott and Hatch. Assad has really improved since last year and he's only 22 but he's one to watch for.
    I'm hoping Hatch can improve enough to be a second half contributor or at least a Sept call up, maybe the same with Jeffrey Baez.
    As always, thanks for the updates Michael.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Hey Michael, what do you think the chances are of each of the 4 players Jonathan mentioned being promoted, either around the all-star games, or at all this season?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Hatch will get promoted. Thinking 2nd half sometime.

    Abbott is ready for MB right now, but might have to wait a bit for an opening.

    Assad likely stays is SB all year. Only 20 and he will be on an innings limit. Doubt they let him go more than 100-110

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    At some point Erling Moreno, Erick Leal and potentially Justin Steele will return which will make MB more crowded. I'm curious to see how it shakes out there in 2nd half.

    Maybe I'll throw together an article regarding potential promotions coming up.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    With Abbott being a college pitcher and playing in his 22 year old season, you would think they would fast track him a bit, but if he is blocked, there isn’t much you can do other than piggy back starts. Though I am sure that isn’t something you want to do at the higher levels.

    Having too much talent/depth is a good problem to have.

  • That would be awesome! I really look forward to reading your stuff - especially the daily minors write ups.

    Thanks for all your work. It's much appreciated!

  • fb_avatar

    I am a long time reader but don't post much, but I would like to ask a question. Does anyone seem worried about all the errors I see? From the parent Cubs all the way through the system? Almost every pitcher you mention, you end up having to list the unearned runs given up?? I can understand some in the minors, they are all working still on their craft, but does it not seem like it has been unusually high this year?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Daniel Stone:

    Glad you joined the commenters. I am so frustrated about the number of errors we've seen. Our defense was one of the beautiful things to watch during the 2016 season. It seems like everyone was concentrating so much to get the job done that season and once we won it that concentration has wavered.
    I don't know about the minors, but I can remember at least 3 flies that Heyward had bounced off his glove. That needs to be corrected.

  • fb_avatar

    What about Smyly? As I recall he probably won't be ready until later this summer. Is he doing any pitching yet, and what can we expect from him? Thanks.

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