Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Tseng, Rucker, Lange and Thomas kick off 2nd half with great outings; AZL offenses explode

Tyler Thomas (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Tyler Thomas (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Colorado Springs 5, Iowa 0

Game Recap

The game may have gone against Iowa, but there were positive signs from Jen-Ho Tseng. He was far from perfect but there were a few innings where he did a better job of commanding his pitches, staying away from up or in the middle of the zone, and it resulted in his best outing since 5/20 when he went seven innings and struck out nine batters.

Top Performers

  • Jen-Ho Tseng: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K (L, 2-8, 7.88)
  • Victor Caratini: 3-4, 2B
  • Ryan Court: 2-4, 2B
  • Mark Zagunis: 1-2, 2 BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Over his last 10 games Victor Caratini is hitting .371/.476/.743 with 4 doubles, 3 homers and 7 walks.

AA

Tennessee 4, Mobile 2

Game Recap

Michael Rucker

Michael Rucker

A very good breaking ball, with depth and lateral movement, allowed Michael Rucker to get strikes in the zone and force hitters to expand outside the zone and chase the pitch. He was also able to locate his lively fastball on the edges of the zone which enabled him to hold the BayBears without a hit the first time through the order and finish with just one run allowed over six innings.

Trey Martin led off the game with a homer, then with the bases loaded and the game tied 1-1 in the 7th, he drew a walk to give the Smokies the lead. They would score two more in the inning as Zack Short drew another walk behind him and then Jason Vosler was plunked on the leg.

Top Performers

  • Michael Rucker: 6 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 3 K (W, 6-4, 3.89)
  • James Norwood: IP, H, 2 K (S, 2, 2.53)
  • Trey Martin: 1-4, HR (7), R, 2 RBI, BB
  • Charcer Burks: 1-3, R, BB, SB (5)
  • Ian Rice: 0-1, R, 2 BB, HBP
  • Jason Vosler: 1-4, 2B, RBI, HBP

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Keegan Thompson (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Keegan Thompson (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Keegan Thompson has been promoted to AA.

James Norwood has struck out 15 men and not allowed an earned run over his last 8 outings (10 IP).

This was the 4th consecutive quality start by Michael Rucker. He has gone 6 innings in each while allowing just 5 runs in total, and keeping his WHIP at 1.00 or below in all 4 starts. Over his last 10 starts he is 5-1 with 3.00 ERA, has allowed just 43 hits in 54 innnings, and compiled a K-to-BB ratio of over 3-to-1.

Advanced A

Lynchburg 1, Myrtle Beach 0

Game Recap

Alex Lange (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Alex Lange (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Alex Lange gave up a homer to the first batter of the game, but then held Lynchburg scoreless over the next five innings. It was a performance worthy of a victory, but the Pelicans failed to rediscover their offense over the All-Star break. They dropped seven of eight games before the break and managed just ten runs over their final seven. They were not just shutout in this one but were held without a hit until the 8th inning for the second time this season.

Top Performers

  • Alex Lange: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K (L, 4-4, 3.11)
  • Jose Paulino: IP, 2 K (7.54)
  • Andruw Monasterio: 1-3, 3B

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Erich Uelmen has been promoted to Myrtle Beach.

Jose Paulino

Jose Paulino

Alex Lange has gone 5+ innings while allowing 1 or fewer runs in 5 of his past 6 starts. His 2 walks marked his highest total since a start on May 4th when he also walked 2. He has only walked more than 2 batters in one time this season.

Make it 4 straight scoreless outings for Jose Paulino since he converted to a relief role. He has not walked a single batter and struck out 8 in 8.2 innings.

A

South Bend 3, Dayton 2

Game Recap

The first half of the season began with Tyler Thomas receiving a tough luck loss in a game he deserved much better. That became a bit of a trend for Thomas throughout much of the half, as he finished with a 2-5 record despite a sterling 2.74 ERA.

Brandon Hughes (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Brandon Hughes (photo by Rikk Carlson)

So when he took to the hill to kick off the second half of the season for South Bend and looked even more dominant than he has at any point this season I grew concerned the Cubs would not reward him again as through the first three innings they had only the slimmest of leads. Thankfully, a couple of insurance came in starting in the 4th. Austin Filiere contributed an RBI single and Brandon Hughes belted his 5th homer of the year in the 5th.

Thomas and the bullpen took care of the rest. He would set a career-high with 11 punch outs while tying his career-long of 6.2 innings. His curve looked better than it has all season and his changeup remained a plus secondary as well. Garrett Kelly and Brian Glowicki allowed just two base runners the over the final 2.1 innigs to secure the win for him.

Top Performers

  • Tyler Thomas: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 11 K (W, 3-5, 2.73)
  • Brian Glowicki: IP, BB (S, 12, 1.35)
  • Brandon Hughes: 2-4, HR (5), R, RBI, SB (18)
  • Michael Cruz: 2-4, 2B, R

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Brian Glowicki has a win and 7 saves over his last 10 appearances (0.77 ERA).

Brandon Hughes (.247/.333/.331) has finally broken out at the plate over the past few weeks. Since May 30th (14 games) he is hitting .392/.436/.569 with 3 homers and 6 stolen bases. It is being driven by a ridiculous .500 BABIP but he has been due for a hot streak after struggling the first two months.

Michael Cruz

Michael Cruz

A guy that was even more due at the dish was Michael Cruz. He hit well under .200 in each of the first two months as the BABIP dragon seemed out to get him on a daily basis. Things have turned around in June however. In 16 games this month he is hitting .356/.406/.593 with just 4 strikeouts. The left hand hitting catcher shows off solid power (8 HR) while also being one of the top contact hitters in the Cubs system (9.9% K rate).

A-

Hillsboro 4, Eugene 0

Game Recap

Each team managed just five hits but Hillsboro made theirs count and also took advantage of a couple of errors by Emeralds first baseman Rafael Mejia.

Top Performers

  • Kwang-Min Kwon: 2-4, SB (1)
  • Fernando Kelli: 1-4, 2 SB (3, 4)
  • Faustino Carrera: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K (L, 1-1, 1.80)

AZL

Cubs1 7, Angels 3 (Game 1)

Cubs1 7, Angels 6 - 10 Innings (Game 2)

Top Performers

  • Yonathan Perlaza: 5-8, R, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB (1, 2)
  • Yovanny Cuevas: 3-8, 2 2B, 4 R, RBI, BB, SB (1)
  • Franklin Tineo: 2-8, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI
  • Luis Hidalgo: 1-8, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB
  • Raidel Orta: 3 IP, 3 H, R, 3 BB, 3 K (W, 1-0)
  • Riger Fernandez: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 K
  • Fauris Guerrero: 3 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Cubs2 18, Reds 6

Top Performers

  • Luis Verdugo: 3-6, 2B, 2 R, BB
  • Reivaj Garcia: 3-6, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Richard Nunez: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB
  • Fidel Mejia: 2-4, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
  • Kevin Zamudio: 1-5, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
  • Jose Gonzalez: 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
  • Alonso Gaitan: 1-4, R, 3 RBI, BB
  • Ivan Medina: 3 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 2 K (S, 1)

DSL

Red Sox2 4, Cubs1 2

Brewers 10, Cubs2 2

Comments

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  • I see that MLB has banned signing any players from Mexico as it pertains to the international signing program, citing "fraud and corruption". Many speculate it is simply the majority of teams complaining to the commissioner about Theo and a small handful of other savvy executives gaming the current system.

    From my limited understanding many prospects from Mexico are somehow affiliated with a professional league, so when they receive a signing bonus, the team and/or league receives half that bonus, with the player getting the other half, and that half is all that counts against the spending caps.

    This allows teams to sign prospects they would otherwise be unable to afford under the cap limits. Of course any team can do this. If there are complaints my guess would be that we have invested much more resources into scouting these kids and have an upper hand in that area. The other teams can spend the money, but haven't committed to the infrastructure needed to do so wisely.

    So no international signings from Mexico until some sort of agreement is reached. We shall see...

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Basically, Mexico has a pro league and they draft the players at 15 so as to beat MLB clubs to their rights (16 is age for MLB). Then, once MLB teams want to sign the players, they have to compensate the club that holds their rights. Previously, up to 75% of the signing bonus to a player was given to the club as the compensation. This is why the Cubs were able to sign Luis Verdugo and Florencio Serrano for a little over a $1M last year because 700K+ of it went to the teams and the players only received the maximum of 300K allowed.

    It isn't clear (to me) by the statement released exactly the type of fraud going on, but I would presume some Mexican teams were pushing for extra money under the table or other benefits, and/or they were holding the players hostage and taking more than 75% that they were allowed.

    The Cubs released Serrano last week (or his contract was voided, unclear as to which) so there were some indications that something funny was going down. I imagine we'll get more details in the coming days.

  • Glad to see that Tseng had a decent outing. Having watched Tseng in AA I like him a lot; hope this portends a permanent change.

  • In reply to wthomson:

    Tseng has been first in line for a big-league spot-start, though Underwood and Alzolay have caught up. Mills is throwing well. We'll most likely see someone come up to start on Saturday, unless we go with Ferrell who's already here.

    Alzolay is out and Tseng just pitched. I'm not familiar with how anyone else lines up. Maddon has said he will use Ferrell if necessary to win a game and won't hold him out simply with an eye on Saturday. Chatwood is scheduled to start Sunday, but his wife is expecting and he will be called away for a couple days on a moment's notice. Add in the uncertainty of the Cincy weather and this will be an interesting juggling act to follow.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Mills (and De La Cruz) are both 40-man options for Saturday if they choose to recall someone to make the start. Mills has flown to Chicago on two separate occasions this year to be ready in case a starter couldn't go, but ultimately was not needed in either case. He did make a handful of appearances for KC two years ago, but were all out of the pen so this would represent his first MLB start if it happens.

    I'm still pretty much expecting Farrell to make the start though.

  • 11K’s and 0 BB’s are impressive at any level of baseball. Starting to become intrigued by Thomas.

    Alex Lange has been close to dominant of late, yet it is Keegan Thompson that gets the promotion to AA. Shows you that there might be some depth at SP in the lower levels.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    There isn't much fastball (about 90 give or take a MPH or two), his curve is a bit inconsistent right now, and he is small. So Thomas isn't really a starting pitching prospect in my eye. But as a lefty with a really good change he has a chance to be a decent middle reliever because he throws strikes and has a weapon against both righties and lefties.

    To be fair, Keegan Thompson has been really good too, and actually just pitched the most dominant game of any Cubs prospect this season when he had a perfect game going through 7.

  • Not to dampen anyone's day, but the White Sox made a couple minor-league promotions. Eloy to AAA, Cease to AA. I wish both of them luck.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    They're rushing Eloy which I think will prove to be a mistake. I get the current trend of moving youngsters up more quickly (Soto, Acuna) to capitalize on youth but it's not going to work every time. Personally I would have let him have 500 PA in AA before promoting him. I still root for the kid though and wish him success, even in the dreaded black & white.

  • In reply to TC154:

    Not sure I understand why you're saying they are rushing Eloy? Bryant, Schwarber, Russell, Baez and Happ did not have 500 PA in AA. Baez did have the most AB at AAA. Maybe I am missing something.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Except for Baez those were all college players though.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Bryant, Schwarber, and Happ were all fairly polished college bats in their low-20's when drafted. They will move much more quickly. Russell and Baez were drafted out if high school, similar to Eloy in the international market. These players take longer to develop. I just think that pressure from an impatient Sox fan base may influence management to rush him along.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    TC and Barley, good points I did not think of that. That makes a lot of difference. Thanks.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Thank you. I find it funny how when someone asks a question, different people are typing and responding at the same time. The variance in these opinions is interesting to me, yet there is not much variance at all.

  • In reply to TC154:

    There's also a massive backlash among White Sox fans. They've seen other clubs, most notably the Cubs, execute the tanking diagram. They have no problem with the losing part and finishing last and acquiring all the talent and eventually winning, except for the losing part. They want it all yesterday, which is basic human nature. I think White Sox management may rush him to partially appease an impatient fan base.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I remember the days of Theo saying "no cookies" and I was good with that. Maybe I'm the exception?

  • This week and weekend would have been a great time to have Caratini on the varsity squad. Willy is struggling with the bat. Lefty's hit well in Cincy. And really wasn't Giminez called up predominantly to catch Yu and also for Victor to get some more at bats. Well, Yu been no go and Victor is hitting, Giminez is not. Call Jed. Let's make a switch.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Gimenez was not called up to catch Darvish. He was called up because he had an out in his contract on June 1st that he was going to exercise and the Cubs wanted to keep all three catchers. The only way to do that was to recall him and send down Caratini. Contreras is going to be catching Darvish in the playoffs and I imagine will continue to catch him for the most part in the 2nd half. Just like Contreras is fine catching Jon Lester.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    that's all fine and dandy but I haven't seen any reason to worry about loosing Giminez and his out in the contract doesn't change my stance. Bring up Caratini. I don't care if it costs us Giminez or not. He is journeyman at best.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    It matters because if Contreras or Caratini get hurt you are then stuck with Taylor Davis as your backup catcher.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    so far with what I have seen out of Gimenez and Taylor Davis, I could live with that.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Look, I am not even a fan of Gimenez so I hate to be the one defending him, but there is a vast defensive difference between those two.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Hey, I'm not arguing with you. I know he is better defensively. But I can have my opinion on the matter too. Just saying I think I have seen enough for the limited time that he gets. To me, Willy catches 9 games out of ten. Victor is a better hitter than Giminez. I would rather have Caratini give Willy a day off every week against the toughest right handed hitter. Maybe give Riz a day off every now and then and be a switch hitting pinch hitter other days. I also don't think Victor is worth a boatload in a trade so I would just as soon have the better option at my major league discretion on a day in day out basis than down in AAA.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Caratini will be back when it matters and there is nothing preventing him from making the playoff roster over Gimenez

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I think this is a circumstance involving roster spots and options, much like the LaStella fiasco. There are no easy answers.

    I do believe Caratini is a trade piece, unfortunately, and we're manipulating our roster to maintain that possibility. He wouldn't be a center piece, but who knows what we are targeting at this point?

    I've seen that the coaching staff seems to believe that Gimenez can connect with Chatwood, and may help him by calling a better game. Yu needs to get back on track as well. If Gimenez can help in those two areas, the offensive difference between him and Caratini is insignificant to me.

    I hate to be Debbie Downer, but Contreras isn't lighting the world on fire. He's showing some serious flaws, more than we know, and the FO is well aware of this. I wouldn't be surprised if we actually add to the C position, short-term, before the deadline.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    I think Gimenez was called up because if he wasn't he could have opted out of his minor-league contract and become a free agent. He also seems to be settling in as Chatwood's personal catcher in an attempt to straighten him out. I've always been of the mind that I would give up offensive production on any given day if that helps the SP's performance. That trade-off is well worth it to me.

    Gimenez has no options and can't be sent back without his consent. Caratini does, although I think he may be dealt in whatever move we deem necessary. I like him, a lot, but we have many other catching prospects on the rise. Victor's value to the club at this point may be what he can return in current needs.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    If the Cubs are going to make a trade at the deadline, it seems likely they will keep the ML team intact (so stop dreaming about Machado) and trade from the minor leagues. Caratini would be an awesome backup for the Cubs, but he may end up being a key trade piece for a controllable pitcher.

  • Does anybody else have a hard time getting it through their thought process that there is a distinct chance that Jason Heyward could pass Kris Bryant in batting average by the end of the night?

    Wowsers! Things that make you go Hmmmmm.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to KJRyno:

    Who would have said that at the start of the season? It shows that we can't be so focused on the day to day or even a season or two to see what the eventual outcome will be. Now Jason looks great now, and his idea of going the other way is working--hitting where the ball is pitched. I don't know if this is a permanent change and mindset, but if it is then we are that much stronger. I do believe that KB is too smart to not realize what he's doing wrong. He keeps pulling off the ball low and away--basically "The Javy" pitch. Look at what Javy has done by going where the ball is pitched, doubles and triples.
    I hope that Caratini will be brought up before Sept, and would love to see ODLC pitch, or even Underwood.

  • i have said for awhile that I liked Jhey's swing vs. Lefties because they tend to pitch him away with the ball going away and he usually takes that to left. But, he was hitting so bad that he didn't get to face lefties (can't blame Jjoe) so never got in a groove that way. Now, he is seeing his share and the left center power alley is paying dividends. This combined with his faster wrists mean that RH pitchers no longer just go down and in or bust him on the hands. Both mean more pitches on the outer third to outside. His long reach makes that a plus.

  • Michael - James Norwood has been in the system for quite a while, but I don't remember any reports on his stuff since he was drafted. Is he a prospect, or has that passed him by?

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