Daily Cubs Minors Recap: De La Cruz sharp in debut; Morel homers; Hoerner reaches base 4 times

Oscar De La Cruz (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Oscar De La Cruz (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

New Orleans 8, Iowa 5

Game Recap

The transition to AAA hasn't been smooth for Matt Swarmer (L, 1-2, 6.00) so far.

Matt Swarmer (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Matt Swarmer (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

He hasn't generated as many whiffs as last season, meaning more drawn out at bats, leading to a higher walk rate and inflated pitch counts. The lucky HR rate he posted in 2018 has reversed into an unlucky number through his three starts. Most disconcerting, although none of the four homers he has allowed have been to lefties (my biggest concern with Swarmer), he has allowed a .300 batting average and struck out just of them pm the year. There are a lot of strong starting pitcher characteristics for Swarmer, but if there is one thing that may force him to the pen it is those platoon splits due to lefties picking his over-the-top delivery up better than righties.

It was the long ball that got him in this one as he gave up a pair of two-run shots in the 4th. He did stick it out to give his team six innings though, so I give him props there.

Top Performers

  • Zach Borenstein: 2-4, HR (1), R, RBI
  • Donnie Dewees: 1-1, HR (2), 2 R, RBI, BB
  • Dixon Machado: 1-4, HR (2), R, 3 RBI, BB
  • Jim Adduci: 2-4
  • Ian Rice: 1-3, BB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I missed doing the recap yesterday, but the I-Cubs welcomed back Alec Mills from EXST.

Ian Rice was also called up from Tennessee, flip-flopping with defensive-minded catcher Erick Castillo.

AA

Jackson 16, Tennessee 8

Game Recap

Nico Hoerner (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Nico Hoerner (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Good to see the offense explode for eight runs. Not so good to see three different pitchers (starter Zach Hedges, rehabbing lefty Xavier Cedeno, Michael Rucker) give up 4+ runs.

Let's focus on the positives in this one. Most notable was Nico Hoerner reaching base four times. Is a .333/.434/.489 line for a guy skipping High-A?

Top Performers

  • Nico Hoerner: 3-4, R, RBI, HBP (.333)
  • Roberto Caro: 1-2, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, SF
  • Connor Myers: 2-4, 2B, R (.233)
  • Bailey Clark: 1.1 IP, H, K (1.23)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Bailey Clark (1.23 ERA, 7.1 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 7 K) has gotten off to a strong start in the Smokies bullpen. Consistency and nagging injuries have been a constant hindrance to Clark the past few years, but hopefully he can sustain this early momentum.

Young shortstop Nico Hoerner has now reached base 11 times over his past 5 starts. I said it during spring training, I don't care what level you put this guy at, he is going to hit.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 9, Lynchburg 0

Game Recap

Now that's better. The Pelicans have won two straight and did this one in dominant fashion thanks to a helping hand from an old friend. Making his 2019 debut, Oscar de la Cruz stepped up from EXST and tossed five shutout innings. Tyler Peyton and Ben Hecht followed with two scoreless innings apiece as well. The trio struck out seven and walked just two.

Kevonte Mitchell (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Kevonte Mitchell (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

The Pelicans bats woke up as well. Carlos Sepulveda, who has been the one consistent hitter for average all year, led the way with three hits and two RBI. Kevonte Mitchell capped off a five run 1st inning with a three-run homer. Myrtle Beach has been lacking power the first three weeks of the season, but also got a couple of solo shots from Tyler Payne and Cam Balego in this one.

Top Performers

  • Oscar de la Cruz: 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (W, 1-0, 0.00)
  • Tyler Peyton: 2 IP, H, 2 K (6.10)
  • Ben Hecht: 2 IP, 3 H, BB, 2 K (2.00)
  • Kevonte Mitchell: 2-4, HR (3), R, 3 RBI (.220)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 3-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, CS (2) (.286)
  • Tyler Payne: 2-5, HR (1), 2 R, RBI (.296)
  • Zach Davis: 2-4, R (.286)
  • Cam Balego: 1-4, HR (1), E, 2 RBI, SF (.300)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Oscar de la Cruz is still under his 80-game PED suspension, but he is allowed a 15 day (unpaid) Minor League conditioning assignment because he was a member of the Cubs 40-man roster.

A

Lake County 12, South Bend 6

Game Recap

It was a blowout from the jump. The Captains scored multiple runs in each of the first four innings as Eury Ramos (L, 0-2, 8.78) and his replacement Zach Mort (4.00) both got bombed. The offense woke up late, but by then the game was well out of hand.

Top Performers

  • Christopher Morel: 2-4, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI (.304)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 2-4, R (.327)
  • D.J. Artis: 1-5, 2B, 3 RBI, SB (6) (.250)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It has been a rough start for Andy Weber. Not only has he hit just .173 with a .445 OPS, but he has also committed 7 errors so far. He is a better hitter and fielder than that, so I expect it will turn around quickly. The team has continued to hit him 3rd in the order which shows their faith in him as well.

Comments

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  • Great to see hoerner get hot again after a few down games. With all the negativity towards our farm system, people forget that he’s by far the most relevant prospect that needs to pan out. With Zobrist aging and Russell looking less like a part of the teams future by the year, hoerners development is pivotal. Miguel Amaya I like but I don’t believe that he’s as good as Contreras

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Amaya is nowhere near the physical specimen Contreras is. Amaya is more likely to top out as a Miguel Montero type (the AZ version).

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    I'm happy about Hoerner too. I hope we don't rush him, but if he dominates AA then he might have to be promoted.
    I wonder how hard ODLC threw, and one of my favorites DJ Artis is doing very well. Bailey Clark--please stay healthy, we will need you at some point this season.
    Thanks for the recap.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The MB game wasn't televised.
    I know AZ Phil had him noted as throwing like 92-96 in EXST at some point.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael.

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