Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Giambrone jacks 15th homer; Amaya hits his 12th; Lacy and Rucker toss gems; Another round of promotions including Hoerner

Trent Giambrone

Trent Giambrone


All-Star Break

Alberto Baldonado faced two batters and retired both, one by strikeout as the Cubs lone representative in the AAA All-Star Game.


Tennessee 4, Montgomery 2

Game Recap

Michael Rucker

Michael Rucker

Back-to-back homers by Trent Giambrone and Zack Short in the 1st inning gave the Smokies an early advantage and they held on to the lead throughout as Michael Rucker dominated for six innings. He allowed just four base runner and the lone run was unearned. Tennessee tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the 8th to

Top Performers

  • Michael Rucker: 6 IP, 3 H, R, 0 ER, 3 K (W, 7-4, 3.49)
  • Daury Torrez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R (3.69)
  • Trent Giambrone: 2-3, HR (15), R, 2 RBI, CS (8)
  • Zack Short: 1-4, HR (11), R, RBI
  • Charcer Burks: 1-3, 2B, R
  • Connor Myers: 1-2, R, BB, CS (1)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Charcer Burks (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Charcer Burks (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

This makes two straight starts (10 innings) with no earned runs allowed for Michael Rucker.

P.J. Higgins has joined the Smokies after spending the past year and a half in Myrtle Beach. He is a strong defensive catcher with a good eye at the plate, but struggled with the bat in 2017.

Charcer Burks (.239/.349/.328) has thrived out of the leadoff spot in July. In 10 games he has hit .316/.422/.526 with 6 extra base hits and 6 walks.

Here is a nice trend. This is Zack Short's month-by-month numbers:

April: .187/.322/.320

May: .233/.365/.477

June: .282/.384/.482

July: .306/.359/.500

Neither are as hot at the plate as Trent Giambrone (.270/.331/.502) right now. In his 10 games this July he has a .389/.465/.833 line and already surpassed his RBI totals in any of the first 3 months, but when you have a 3-homer, 9-RBI game as he did on July 5th, it goes along way. His 15th homer tied Jason Vosler for the org lead.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 6, Carolina 3

Game Recap

Rollie Lacy (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Rollie Lacy (photo by Rikk Carlson)

A promotion to High-A didn't slow Rollie Lacy. The Midwest League ERA leader allowed only one unearned run in his Pelicans debut. He struck out seven while earning the win. The Pelicans committed three errors which led to three unearned runs but managed to overcome with a combination of good pitching and a patient approach at the plate. The team scored six runs on just nine hits thanks to six walks.

Top Performers

  • Rollie Lacy: 5.1 IP, 4 H, R, 0 ER, BB, 7 K (W, 1-0, 0.00)
  • Erick Leal: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 K (0.89)
  • Jose Paulino: 1.2 IP, H, K (S, 1, 7.71)
  • Jared Young: 2-3, R, BB, HBP
  • Wladimir Galindo: 2-4, 2 R, BB
  • Kevonte Mitchell: 2-4, R
  • Roberto Caro: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB
  • Andruw Monasterio: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Kevonte Mitchell (.232/.298/.351) has reached safely 9 times in his past 5 games

Not only has Rollie Lacy not give up more than 3 earned runs in any his 17 games (11 starts) this season, he did likewise in 11 games (1 start) last season. In 106 career innings, the 2017 11th round pick has allowed just 24 earned runs on 82 hits (.208 average against) and 25 walks (1.01 WHIP) while striking out 118.


Beloit 10, South Bend 3

Game Recap

This was not a great night for the South Bend pitching staff. Ryan Lawlor (5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K) took the loss (L, 0-1, 5.14) in his first start with the club as he tried to fill the void left by Rollie Lacy. Reliever Mitch Stophel followed with an even worse outing (2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, BB, 2 K).

Top Performers

  • Miguel Amaya: 2-4, HR (12), R, RBI
  • Zach Davis: 2-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB (23, 24)
  • Christian Donahue: 2-4

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Nico Hoerner received a promotion to South Bend was not in the lineup.

Miguel Amaya (.284/.352/.484) is hitting .375 over his last 8 games.


Spokane 8, Eugene 7

Game Recap

Eugene built a 7-1 lead through three and a half innings, but the offense dried up after that point (two hits over final 5.1 innings), and Spokane then began methodically chipping away until finally overtaking the Emeralds on the scoreboard in the bottom of 8th.

Top Performers

  • Clayton Daniel: 1-2, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB, SB (1)
  • Luis Diaz: 1-2, 2, R, 2 RBI, BB
  • Luis Vazquez: 1-4, HR (2), R, 2 RBI
  • Fernando Kelli: 1-4, 2 R, BB, 3 SB (15, 16, 17)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, 2B, 3 RBI
  • Brennon Kaliwahea: 2-4
  • Derek Casey: 2 IP, H, 2 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Fernando Kelli (photo by Jared Ravich at MiLB.com)

Fernando Kelli (photo by Jared Ravich at MiLB.com)

Fernando Kelli busted out of a stolen base drought with three steals in three attempts. He had converted just 1-of-6 attempts over his previous 11 games, after starting the year 13-for-15 over his first 14 games.

Clayton Daniel replaced Nico Hoerner in the Eugene lineup.

Ninth round pick Derek Casey got the start and tossed two  scoreless in his pro debut. The Cubs reportedly offered Casey a $900K signing bonus four years ago when he was eligible as a prep player, but Casey turned it down to attend the University of Virginia where he ended up requiring TJS in 2015. This caused him to miss the 2016 season. He battled back to earn the Cavaliers Friday night starter slot this season and signed with the Cubs for $145,100 a couple of weeks back. Fits the Cubs preferred mold of a strike thrower and features the classic four-pitch starter repertoire.


GiantsB 12, Cubs1 5

Top Performers

  • Orian Nunez: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R
  • Erick Gonzalez: 2-4, 2 RBI
  • Josue Huma: 1-2, 2B, R, 3 BB

Indians1 , Cubs2

Top Performers

  • Reivaj Garcia: 2-3
  • Cole Roederer: 1-2, BB, CS (1)
  • Blake Whitney: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Andry Rondon: 2.1 IP, H, o R


Rangers1 8, Cubs1 1 (Game 1)

Cubs1 9, Rangers1 3 (Game 2)

Cubs2 4, Rangers2 3 (Game 1)

Cubs2 8, Rangers2 5 (Game 2)

Seventeen-year old shortstop Fabian Pertuz (.333/.464/.425) went 2-for-3 in each half of the Cubs1 doubleheader. He has hit in the third spot in the order since the season began while compiling more walks (19) than strikeouts (13). His stolen base total (16/19) and success rate are both impressive but reports are Pertuz does not possess plus speed so I would not expect that to be a big part of his game as he moves up the ladder. He is known to be a flashy defender and obviously has a fairly advanced bat for his age, so he definitely needs to be added to the Cubs long list of intriguing up the middle defenders in the lower levels of the system.

Another seventeen-year old shortstop has led the way for the Cubs2 team, but rather than out of the 3-hole, switch hitting Pedro Martinez (.347/.434/.441) has been an igniter out of the leadoff spot that has gotten on base with regularity and then stolen 22 bases once he reaches. Like Pertuz he has amassed a greater number of walks (16) than strikeouts (13), but while Pertuz was one of the Cubs few max bonus IFA signings last year, Martinez was under the radar enough that I do not currently have a scouting report on him.

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  • fb_avatar

    Thanks Michael. It will be interesting watching Rollie Lacy this year and next. I love reading these reports, especially the ones about the new guys. Was it planned that Hoerner go to South Bend so quickly and do we think he'll stay there until the end of the season?
    Thanks again.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I do think they hoped Hoerner would ascend that quickly. I don't think it would be a surprise if he actually makes it to Myrtle Beach by end of season. My first impression of him through a handful of games I've sent indicates to me he can handle it. He is more polished and athletic than the 19-year old Ademan, for instance.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael I saw that Hoerner has 60 grade speed according to some websites what's your evaluation of his speed compared to other cubs and do you think he can handle the SS position?

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I think his speed floor is 60. I have some timings on him from college that would even suggest 70 speed, but I'm not sure if they were videos from 2016, 17 or 18. I haven't put a stopwatch on him since he joined the org.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Wow I didn't know that that would likely make him the fastest player on a roster with a ton of strong, intelligent baserunners but not a ton of team speed. If he can hit anything like what we're seeing from Almora this year with maybe a bit lower average but more walks with his speed and defensive versatility then that's a pretty darn promising player. Thanks for the info and I'm already excited by what I'm seeing from Hoerner. It's also hard for me not to be optimistic about this organizations ability to assess college hitters.

  • Michael,

    I haven't been following the cubs minor league system as I have in years past. What younger prospects in the cubs system have true all-star potential?

  • In reply to JLynch2247:

    I don't have a feel for the recent IFA and draft picks down in the rookie leagues but of everyone I have seen I don't think we actually have an All-star caliber player along the lines of a Bryant, Baez, etc. Their best guys have ceilings more similar to a guy like Almora where they might challenge for that type of status during a career year or two but shouldn't be counted on to perform at that level every season.

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