Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Happ homers but exits with injury; Amaya and Ademan lead Myrtle Beach to win; Albertos debuts

Miguel Amaya (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Miguel Amaya (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

New Orleans 5, Iowa 2

Game Recap

The 1st inning has long been an issue for Duane Underwood, Jr. Monday was no exception, except this time it was exacerbated by a fielding error by Donnie Dewees and a passed ball by Taylor Davis, but while his defense let him down he did receive a little help to get through it.

Jacob Hannemann

Jacob Hannemann

With Underwood nearing the Cubs 35-pitch limit in an inning, the righty had only managed to record two outs. Rather than let Underwood hit the limit and remove him from the game, forcing him to burn his bullpen over the final 8 innings, Iowa manager Marty Pevey opted for a different approach. He sent Underwood out to left field, and summoned outfielder Jacob Hannemann to the mound. It took Hannemann just 4 pitches to strike out Isaac Galloway, stranding a runner on 3rd, and preserving the Cubs ability to pitch Underwood deeper into the game.

Ultimately, Iowa still lost, but they didn't end up wearing out any of their relievers, and Underwood was able to exit the game with a little bit of confidence.

Top Performers

  • Jacob Hannemann: 1-3, BB, CS (1) (.333)
  • Jacob Hannemann: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
  • Duane Underwood, Jr.: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (L, 2-5, 5.77)
  • James Norwood: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (4.95)
  • Ian Happ: 1-2, HR (5), R, RBI, BB (.223)
  • Taylor Davis: 1-2, BB (.211)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It was good to see Ian Happ hit a 1st inning home run, as he had struggled to make contact the last couple of games, but his day would end on a down note:

AA

Tennessee 3, Jackson 2 (12 innings)

Game Recap

Cory Abbott fought through some control issues for the first time in 2019, but still managed a quality start. The bullpen was even more effective, shutting down the Generals over the final six innings, while waiting for the bats to come alive. The game finally came to an end in the 12th on a sacrifice fly by Charcer Burks that scored Christian Donahue.

Top Performers

  • Cory Abbott: 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 5 K (2.96)
  • Craig Brooks: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (0.54)
  • Wyatt Short: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (W, 3-0, 2.00)
  • Tommy Nance: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K (S, 2, 2.84)
  • Christian Donahue: 1-3, R, 2 BB, SB (5) (.194)
  • Vimael Machin: 1-4, R, BB (.337)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Nico Hoerner will miss at least another month after it was discovered his bruised wrist actually suffered a hairline fracture.

This was the first time in 9 starts Cory Abbott (4-2, 2.96) allowed more than 2 walks this season. He's worked hard at repeating his delivery more consistently and it has translated into results. Even with the 4 walks issued Monday afternoon, Abbott is still averaging under 2 BB/9.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 8, Frederick 5

Game Recap

A five-run 3rd inning triggered by RBI hits by Miguel Amaya and Aramis Ademan put the Pelicans out in front. They would stay there as Cam Balego and Amaya added solo homers to extend the lead in the late innings.

Top Performers

  • Miguel Amaya: 2-4, HR (5), 2 R, 3 RBI, BB (.208)
  • Cam Balego: 1-4, HR (3), 2 R, RBI, HBP (.274)
  • Aramis Ademan: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB (.261)
  • Jimmy Herron: 1-3, R, RBI, HBP, SF (.210)
  • Luke Reynolds: 1-4, R, BB (.217)
  • Paul Richan: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, BB, 2 K (W, 5-2, 3.64)
  • Jesus Camargo: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 1, 2.54)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Aramis Ademan (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Aramis Ademan (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Miguel Amaya (.208/.347/.400) has been getting on base and hitting for power, but this was just his 5th multi-hit game (35 G) this season. His 20 BB against 29 K is impressive for a 20-year old in the Carolina League, and his BABIP is pretty low right now so expect continued regression in the batting average category. Amaya has been prone to rolling over and hitting ground balls to the left side of the infield, however, which isn't ideal given his lack of speed. He is capable of driving the ball to the opposite field gap and would benefit from executing that approach more frequently.

Aramis Ademan (.261/.393/.432) has compiled the same 22 BB and 29 K ratio over 35 games as Amaya.

A

Fort Wayne 9, South Bend 1

Top Performers

  • Jonathan Sierra:2-4, 2B, R (.255)
  • Levi Jordan: 1-3, RBI (.253)
  • Jack Patterson: 3 IP, H, R, BB, 4 K (4.50)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jose Albertos (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Jose Albertos (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Jose Albertos made his debut and did struggle (2IP, 2 H, 2 R, 3 BB, K) but how he responds is far more important. He cannot allow it to snowball like last season. The talented righty went from breakout star to biggest question mark in the system in the span of a year after he suffered through crippling control issues last season. He rebounded in Mesa this spring, getting his stuff back to 2017 levels, and most importantly, re-establishing a feel for the strike zone. That was the first step. Now, he returns to the place where his career was derailed last season, to take his next.

Comments

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  • Hi Michael. Totally disappointed in Hoerner’s injury. Figured something else was wrong as a bruise doesn’t keep a guy on the shelf that long.

    Clarification on what you meant in your Amaya comments—if his BABIP is low why would we expect regression in his batting average?

    Nice to see Albertos log a couple of innings. Any reports on his velocity?

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    In statistical terms regressing toward the mean carries no inherent negative connotation.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Yep, excellent point, I think that's often misunderstood. Regressing to the mean simply means that the numbers will move closer to the mean, regardless of direction.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I don't have velo readings from yesterday but AZ Phil has been reporting him in the 93-95.

  • Thinking Brooks being squeezed out in Iowa is pitching with a little chip on his shoulder. Saw him at Catawba in college and that slider was devastating. Made the low 90's fastball good enough. Would like to see him make the jump. He has some similarities with Maples. Both with wicked sliders and control is their biggest enemy.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Brooks pitched in AAA the 2nd half of last year to a 4.03 ERA, but he was exceedingly lucky, because he walked 24 guys in 22 IP (22.2 BB%). The slider is a no doubt MLB caliber pitch, and his fastball would likely be good enough to compliment it, but only if he is capable of spotting it where he needs to. Brooks cannot get away with walking too many or with catching too much of the plate.

    As you said, control is the issue. Even this year he is walking too many hitters (14.3 BB%)

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The Cubs actually have a similar pitcher in Myrtle Beach, Ben Hecht. Wipeout slider and control problems (12.8 BB%). Hecht's fastball is a sinker though that generates GB at a high rate, as opposed to Brooks who is a FB pitcher.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I know Ben and his family. He grew up around and my sons played against him. I know weird coincidence both my sons played against Ben and his older brother in high school and then one of my sons played in the same college conference (the SAC) that Craig Brooks played in. I also went to college with and had several classes with Ben's dad Jerry. Still see him every once in awhile around Effingham area. Great family. Family has run a Chevy dealership for many years.

  • How hard was Hannemann throwing??? New rule next year pretty much eliminating loogys...

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    I didn't see that game, and didn't see any notes on his velo online, sorry.

  • Just a general question here to Michael (or anyone else who might want to chime in).

    What is your personal opinion of the quality of coaching staffs throughout the minor league system for the Cubs this year?

    I realize coaches only have a small influence on players in general, (probably more so in the Major leagues) and realize that players still have to implement what the coaches are telling them, but still wondering if we lack the "type" of coaches who can really help players change their approach and become better instead of regressing, as we see a lot of right now (especially with hitters in the system).

    I'm sure the organization would say they have hired the very best coaches available, but based on the results, I would question that to some degree.

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    Marty Pevey (AAA) and Buddy Bailey (A) are two of the longest tenured and successful managers in all of the Minors. So they at least have that going for them. The org has also done a good job winning MiLB championships, despite not having a great farm system in recent years, so that would indicate the coaches are getting a lot out of the talent they have been given.

    As for the staffs, it is really difficult to say. We just don't have a good way of measuring it. It should be noted that the Cubs have lost multiple MiLB pitching coordinators and other coaches to MLB staffs in recent years. So, the industry has viewed at least a handful of guys in good light, but hard to say how well they have been replaced.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Seems like the loss of roving pitching coach Derek Johnson has hurt the pitching development a bit the last few years.

    I know hiring of coaches is a lot of "Who you know" and are comfortable with from an organizational viewpoint, but I wish there was a subjective way to measure a coach's track record of how he consistently took a lesser prospect and made that player better for years to come (not for just the year he had him on his team).

  • In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    I'm not saying you're wrong, but it may be a reach to put that kind of blame on minor league coaching. For instance, Derek Johnson was the Cubs minor league pitching coordinator from 2012 to 2015, yet none of our own self-drafted minor league pitchers ever did anything to really garner any real chance on the MLB level. Sure Hendricks developed in that system for a couple years, but as far as I can tell, he already possessed the mental tools to pitch the kind of game he pitches. I think it's more of telling sign that Theo and his guys are not quite as good at identifying the right pitching to draft and develop. Plus no matter how good some guys look, they just reached their peak way to early and won't materialize into big league players, no matter what coaching they get.

  • Hi Michael, have you heard anything on the severity of Happ's injury? I know he's had his ups and downs in Iowa, but it seemed like he was on his way towards trending upwards more, and prayerfully maybe even breaking out in a big way.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I don't.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    From Iowa Cubs beat writer Tommy Birch:

    Early report I’m hearing is that Ian Happ’s injury will keep him out 2-4 days. Nothing official yet so we’ll see.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Whew! Thanks for checking into that for me Barley and Michael, I'm glad to hear that it's minimal impact; prayerfully he'll heal quickly and come back better than before............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    He is in the lineup tonight as a DH. So they may be giving him a day or two off from fielding, but swinging a bat must not hurt.

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    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Swinging the bat has never been the problem for Happ. It is having the bat collide with a baseball that sometimes gives him problems.

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