Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Riley Thompson pitches another gem; Steele and Moreno also strong; Garcia and Giambrone homer

Riley Thompson (photo by Rikk Carlsson)

Riley Thompson (photo by Rikk Carlsson)


Omaha 6, Iowa 2

Game Recap

A guy that was already suffering at the hands of BABIP saw it taken to a new level in this game. Alex Mills allow 15 (!) hits over 5.1 innings, but somehow managed to hold the Storm Chasers five runs and keep the I-Cubs in the game. All Iowa could manage on offense though was a pair of solo home runs by Trent Giambrone and Robel Garcia.

Top Performers

  • Trent Giambrone: 2-4, HR (8), R, RBI (.227)
  • Robel Garcia: 1-4, HR (4), R, RBI (.283)
  • Matt Carasiti: 2.2 IP, H, R, 0 BB, 3 K (2.82)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Hopefully Trent Giambrone (.227/.300/.461) is heating up. Giambrone has traditionally been a streaky hitter, and after starting fast in 2019 he fell into a slump that has seen his average hovering in the low-.200s while his K rate shot up. He now has back-to-back two-hit games, and his first homer since May 2nd, and just his second in his last 30 games.

The move to AAA has not slowed Robel Garcia (.290/.369/.565) much. His OBP has dropped a bit, but he is still hitting for plenty of power. His 4 home runs in his past 8 games make him the first farmhand to reach double digit homers.


Tennessee 5, Pensacola 1

Game Recap

Justin Steele

Justin Steele

This is more like the Justin Steele we became used to seeing last year. He was pumping his fastball up to the mid-90s, spotting it up and down in the zone, while mixing in his secondaries. The Smokies bullpen followed up with some impressive work of their own, with four hitless, scoreless innings. Jordan Minch walked a few guys over his two innings to earn his fifth win, and Craig Brooks fired two perfect frames to lower his ERA to 0.48.

Top Performers

  • Justin Steele: 5 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 4 K (7.71)
  • Jordan Minch: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K (W, 5-1, 4.50)
  • Craig Brooks: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.48)
  • Charcer Burks: 2-3, 3B, R, RBI, HBP (.227)
  • Jesse Hodges: 2-3, 2 RBI, BB (.178)
  • Roberto Caro: 1-3, 2 BB (.255)
  • Ian Rice: 1-4, 2 R, BB (.270)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Justin Steele worked five innings for the first time this season. He's been bothered by a couple of minor injuries, the first during ST which caused him to begin 2019 without being fully stretched out, and then spent some time on the IL after a slow start.

Craig Brooks

Craig Brooks

Command has been more the issue than control this season (5 BB in 18 IP), but as I said earlier Jordan Minch was able to work around the walks yesterday. He's been good of late, extending his scoreless streak to 7.1 innings.

No one on the Smokies is pitching as well as Craig Brooks. The 26-year old who spent half of 2018 in Iowa really is really the biggest victim of the overcrowded pen in AAA. Brooks and his slider are just too good for the AA level. In the past two years he has struck out 73 batters while allowing just 27 hits and 19 walks in 48.2 IP. He was less effective in his 18 games with Iowa last year, but he deserves another crack at it.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 2, Wilmington 1

Game Recap

Each team scored one run on a wild pitch. The only other run scored when Kevonte Mitchell grounded into a double play in the 2nd. That means there were no RBI in this game. Which is fitting for a Myrtle Beach victory.

Top Performers

  • Erling Moreno: 5 IP, 2 H, R, 4 BB, 3 K (W, 4-5, 6.69)
  • Tyler Peyton: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (4.88)
  • Ryan Lawlor: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (S, 1, 1.50)
  • Cam Balego: 2-4, R (.259)
  • Aramis Ademan: 2-4, R (.252)
  • Grant Fennell: 0-0, 3 BB, CS (1) (.223)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Inconsistency remains the theme for Erling Moreno. Thankfully, this was a good game from him, as he held the opposition to 1 or fewer ER for the 4th time in 9 games.


South Bend 4, West Michigan 0

Game Recap

Riley Thompson put on a show. His sinker danced in the bottom half of the zone and he could also elevate with mid-90s, while mixing in his secondaries. He used his changeup quite a bit in this one it seemed, and to great effect. Thompson was followed up by three perfect innings of relief by Jack Patterson and Ethan Roberts.

Top Performers

  • Riley Thompson: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (W, 3-2, 2.31)
  • Jack Patterson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (4.00)
  • Ethan Roberts: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (1.93)
  • Rafael Narea: 2-3, RBI (.169)
  • Tyler Durna: 1-3, R, RBI, BB (.272)
  • D.J. Artis: 1-2, 2B, R, BB (.238)
  • Delvin Zinn: 1-3, RBI, BB (.267)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Nelson Velazquez (.293/.333/.401) exited the game in the middle of his first AB. Injury not disclosed.

Make it three outings with 0 ER allowed, as well as three others with 2 or fewer, over Riley Thompson's 8 starts this season. His season line: 39 IP, 35 H, 15 R, 10 ER, 10 BB, 42 K


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    Great article as always! Couple questions:
    --Steele should be a starter in the minors, but in the majors, does he have the right mix to be an impact reliever? Or is rotation really a better fit?
    --Does Craig Brooks remind you of Mike Wuertz?
    --Is Jared Young hitting a AA wall? He's doing OK, but as an older bat-first prospect he needs to rake to keep moving, no?

  • Thanks for the updates Michael. I check out the box scores for the minor league clubs, pretty much nightly. But to follow that up with your commentary and insight helps to put it all into better perspective.
    We should be getting to the time when promotions begin to take place. Regarding the starting pitchers, which 3 or 4 do you see as the first likely candidates?

  • fb_avatar

    Just a note of our upcoming draft,as we all know our propensity to take college bats in the first round(Happ and Schwarber) because we hit on them so often, also they were taken at 4 and 11, which we most likely won't be drafting at in the near future.
    Tell me again how taking pitchers early carries so much risk and these position players we take don't.
    And please don't tell me about Nico and how he changes anything with his hot start, what maybe 150 at bats since he came to the cubs and you all see him as some kind of wunderkind, do you remember whar Happ and Schwarbs were doing in the minors at first with a lot more at bats.
    Michael spoke of his upcoming draft prospects coming and I hope
    he has some pitchers coming .I for one would like to see JJ Goss,
    Brennan Malone, Daniel Espino,and Seth Johnson mentioned, with Johnson being the only college player.
    Someone mentioned the cubs inability to procure and develop pitching, especially high school arms and I say to you where have the cubs taken a chance on a high ceiling pitcher out of high school regarded in the top 15 picks in the draft since Ephoyer has been here? The answer and only one was Dylan Cease who they took a chance on because of tj injury in his senior year, we took him and babied him and traded him when he started coming around, now he is one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

  • In reply to tater:

    New York Mets.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Cliff1969:

    Like you wouldn't take Degrom, Syndergard,Wheeler or Matz, what are you talking about?The Mets took pitching as their priority and not positional players, look at their organization, they have pitchers in the minors the cubs don't have....

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    In reply to tater:

    And I realize Noah wasn't drafted or Wheeler, but both young HS pitchers drafted and in the majors, both had TJ and both are ok,
    the feeling you can't draft HS pitchers because of injury concerns is pure bs , it's just an excuse to cover asses.

  • Lets all take a step back, cool off, relax and then begin to look at the overall picture instead off every little detail.

    First of all, we are in first place of our division after playing approximately 30% of the total games to play this year. Actually, this is quite good so far. After all, at the start of the season, how many of us thought that we would be in first place of our division? Instead, how many of us were worried that we may be behind in the standings below Milwaukee and the Cardinals, especially after looking at all the acquisitions of the previous off season?

    OK, now lets start all over and begin to analyze the current season up 'til now. Try not to dwell on any one detail or player. Instead, lets look at the overall problems that seem to keep popping up and then concentrate on the one glaring problem we think needs the most attention. I think we would most all agree it would be our relief pitching at this particular time.

    OK, now lets try to determine what is the one biggest problem our relievers have. Is it walks, HRs, hits in the late innings, etc.? Actually I think that all 3 of these are a big problem however, the one problem, above all, is the WALKS given. It seems all our relievers are, or have been giving up 2 many walks especially when compared with most other clubs.

    If I am right, this must be a TEAM problem instead of just an individual problem since most of our relievers have or has had this problem. What could be causing this? I believe our pitchers are trying too hard to hit certain spots (nibbling) as opposed to just letting loose and just try to throw strikes and trust more in our defense. Remember Javy asking a pitcher "why don't you trust us?" I am sure that some of you are now thinking: what about throwing the "cookie" right down the middle of the plate (or to the batter's sweet spot). But we already have that problem don't we? However, if we cut down the walks we would also cut down the runs given up and just might win a few more of those "blown saves". After walking a batter, the pitcher probably tries even harder not to give up the HR/hit thereby giving up another walk, hit or even a HR.

  • Good day for South Bend hitters yesterday. Brennan Davis made his debut with a 2 for 4 including a double & Weber was a double shy from a cycle. Zinn was 3 for 5.

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