Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Roederer hits for the cycle; Garcia hits 20th homer; Kimbrel and Hultzen provide hope; Strumpf debuts; Thompson and Espinoza toss 5 shutout innings

Cole Roederer (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Cole Roederer (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Iowa 5, Omaha 1

Game Recap

Matt Swarmer was very efficient as he needed just 90 pitches to work into the 8th inning while allowing just one run. From there, he turned the game over to Danny Hultzen and Craig Kimbrel to close it out, which could be a bullpen combination we see in Chicago in by the end of the year. Kimbrel is expected to join the Cubs this week, but if Hultzen continues to pitch the way he is, and shows his shoulder is strong enough to maintain a workload of back-to-back and/or multi-inning outings, the former top prospect could make his way to the big leagues for the first time.

Top Performers

  • Matt Swarmer: 7+ IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, K (W, 5-7, 5.57)
  • Danny Hultzen: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
  • Craig Kimbrel: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00)
  • Robel Garcia: 2-4, HR (14), R, RBI (.299)
  • Taylor Davis: 2-2, R, 2 BB (.264)
  • Jim Adduci: 2-3, R, BB (.296)
  • Mark Zagunis: 2-4 (.333)
  • Dixon Machado: 1-4, 2 RBI (.251)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

According to Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register an undisclosed injury to Dakota Mekkes is not serious, but was enough to send him to the IL.

Hultzen is not the only I-Cub making a play for the Majors after being out of affiliated ball for multiple years. I refer of course to Robel Garcia (.298/.377/.617 overall) who smashed his system-leading 20th home run of the season in just his 66th game. Birch wrote up a profile on the slugger and how a Cubs scout noticed him.

AA

Tennessee 8, Chattanooga 6

Game Recap

The Smokies jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the back of a grand slam by Vimael Machin and a pair of run scoring hits by Jhonny Pereda. Tyson Miller cruised through the first five innings before allowing a two-run homer in the 6th. Chattanooga would score four more over the next two innings off Tyler Peyton, who was making his AA debut, to draw within two runs. Wyatt Short shut the door on any further comeback efforts to earn his 6th save.

Top Performers

  • Tyson Miller: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K (W, 4-3, 2.55)
  • Wyatt Short: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 6, 1.72)
  • Vimael Machin: 1-5, HR (3), R, 4 RBI (.298)
  • Jhonny Pereda: 2-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, (.249)
  • Jared Young: 3-5, 2B, R, SB (3) (.265)
  • Charcer Burks: 3-5, 2B, R, CS (3) (.237)
  • Christian Donahue: 3-4, 2B, BB (.190)
  • P.J. Higgins: 2-5, R (.272)
  • Connor Myers: 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, SF (.256)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Tyson Miller is good. That's the note.

Back-to-back 3-hit games for Christian Donahue (.190/.260/.265) have raised his average 23 points.

Over his last 18 games, Jhonny Pereda (.249/.359/.319) is batting .303/.370/.348.

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 4, Winston-Salem 3

Top Performers

  • Luke Reynolds: 2-4, 2B, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI (.202)
  • Cam Balego: 1-4, HR (8), R, 2 RBI (.254)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 1-3, R, BB (.243)
  • Grant Fennell: 1-3, 2B, HBP (.208)
  • Paul Richan: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K (W, 7-3, 4.48)
  • Manuel Rondon: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (6.23)
  • Ben Hecht: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (S, 4, 2.65)

A

South Bend 10, Fort Wayne 4

Game Recap

Delvin Zinn (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Delvin Zinn (photo by Rikk Carlson)

South Bend got off to a scorching start, as Delvin Zinn led off the game with a double as part of a four-run inning, that also featured back-to-back doubles by Christopher Morel and Cole Roederer. Zinn would also lead off the 2nd with a double on his way to a perfect 5-for-5 day. As good as his day at the plate was, he would not end up being the story.

Roederer would single in his next at bat, then doubled in the 5th after a single by Morel. In the 7th, Roederer followed another Morel single, with a two-run homer to put himself a triple shy of the cycle. With triples on the mind, it was Morel that led off the 9th with a three-bagger. Roederer then stepped to the plate and promptly fell behind 0-2 in the count, but he'd drive the next pitch deep into the opposite field. It went over the left fielder's head, but it appeared Roederer would need to settle for his third double of the game, until the ball kicked off the wall at an odd angle away from the defender. Roederer blew through the stop sign thrown up by his third base coach and proceeded to slide in safely to complete his cycle.

Zinn's wasn't the only great performance overshadowed by Roederer. Morel went 4-for-5 and fell only a homer shy of the cycle himself. On the mound, Riley Thompson punched out five over five shutout innings.

Top Performers

  • Cole Roederer: 5-5, 2 2B, 3B, HR (3), 3 R, 4 RBI (.247)
  • Delvin Zinn: 5-5, 2 2B, R, RBI, CS (3) (.275)
  • Christopher Morel: 4-5, 2B, 3B, 3 R, RBI (.261)
  • Andy Weber: 1-4, R, RBI, SF (.265)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-4, R, RBI, SF (.246)
  • Marcus Mastrobuoni: 2-5, 2B, R (.235)
  • Brennen Davis: 0-2, 3 BB (.298)
  • Riley Thompson: 5 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 K (W, 4-3, 2.29)
  • Jack Patterson: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (2.52)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

While this was the first 5-hit game for Cole Roederer (.247/.309/.409), it was the second 5-hit game of the season for Delvin Zinn (.275/.341/.365). Over his last 3 games, Roederer has 10 hits, including 5 doubles, a triple and homer. He's scored 5 and driven in 6 runs. That's a 1.429 slugging percentage.

A-

Boise 4, Eugene 0

Top Performers

  • Fernando Kelli: 2-4, 2B (.318)
  • Raidel Orta: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K (0.00)

AZL

Cubs1 10, Rangers 5

Top Performers

  • Brendon Little: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, BB, 7 K (3.68)
  • Zack Short: 3-4, R (.417)
  • Elias Herrera: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (W, 1-0, 0.00)
  • Ryan Reynolds: 2-5, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI (.400)
  • Ervis Marchan: 4-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI (.320)
  • Jacob Olson: 2-4, 2B, 2 R, HBP (.467)
  • Henderson Perez: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, BB (.300)
  • Ezequiel Pagan: 2-4, R, RBI (.286)
  • Zac Taylor: 1-4, R, HBP, 2 SB (1, 2) (.333)

Cubs2 4, DBacks 0

Top Performers

  • Manuel Espinoza: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (W, 2-0, 2.00)
  • Bryan King: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (0.00)
  • John Pomeroy: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (S, 1, 1.93)
  • Fidel Mejia: 1-2, R, 2 BB (.267)
  • Grayson Byrd: 1-4, 2B (.294)
  • Chase Strumpf: 0-2, R, BB, HBP (.000)
  • Abraham Rodriguez: 1-3 (.300)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Cubs 2nd round draft pick Chase Strumpf made his professional debut, and was promptly hit by a pitch in his first plate appearance, because apparently, that is what happens to prospects in the Cubs system this year. Just a rite of passage, I guess. Anyway, Strumpf was fine to continue playing.

One of the prospects still working his way back from an injury suffered on an errant pitch, Zack Short, compiled a 3-hit game. Seems he should be ready to return to Iowa in the near future. Meanwhile, Nico Hoerner has resumed baseball activities in Mesa, and I wouldn't be shocked to see him start getting into game action in the near future.

Brendon Little gave up a pair of homers, but he also punched out 7 batters in 4.2 innings. I've received positive reports of his progress down in Mesa. He's been throwing all three of his pitches for strikes. I am looking forward to getting a look at him in South Bend soon.

DSL

Cubs1 6, DodgersS 1

Cubs2 6, Mets2 2

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    What is Hultzen's status? Could the Cubs bring him up for a couple days. Even if his arm isn't up to full bullpen workload could he be a guy that they could put on the "shuttle" to Des Moines? Bring him up and let him pitch a couple days (not necessarily consecutive days) and send him back down.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    I know Hultzen spent at least some time on the Mariners 40-man roster, so I'm not sure if he has any option years left. He may not be a guy that can use on the shuttle.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Per AZ Phil .... no

    Danny Hultzen, LHRP (Rule 55 6YFA - 50/50 chance to be added to 40 after World Series if not during season) - 0+000 MLB-ST has Article XX-D rights & no minor league options left

  • In reply to stv711:

    Interesting.

  • In reply to stv711:

    If no options then I guess you have to keep him down until you absolutely need him. Could happen late if they don't add a stud lefty before the deadline. Good depth for now and could be a piece next year if he proves healthy this year, I suppose.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Yeah, I imagine no decision will be made on Hultzen until after the trade deadline. That way the Cubs can properly assess what their depth and needs in the bullpen are.

  • Not sure I understand all the talk about Danny Hultzen. He pitched about 30 innings the last 6 years. He has pitch 1.2 innings this year. I think it is a little early to be talking about bringing him up to the big leagues.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    He was considered by many the best prospect in maybe the best draft class in recent memory (2011: Cole, Bauer, Fernandez, Gray, Rendon, Baez, Lindor, Springer, etc). Shoulder injuries kept him from reaching the majors. If his shoulder can hold up, there is nothing from a talent standpoint holding him back.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael. I was not familiar Danny Hultzen. I can now why there is hope for him. That was one heck of a draft in 2011.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    see*

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    No problem. He was the 2nd pick behind Gerritt Cole in that draft, and most scouts considered him the most polished arm, and among the best college left handers ever. He was cruising through the Mariners system before shoulder woes cropped up at AAA. He initially tried to pitch through them, a mistake that probably cost him in the long term, and Hultzen just never really recovered and after a few years of constant rehab/comeback cycles was out of baseball for a while.

    He decided to give it one more try last year. Cubs worked him in very slowly throughout the year, and he managed to get an audition with Iowa late in the year. His stuff was pretty pedestrian though (89-91ish with a decent slider/change), and he couldn't throw back-to-backs or work mulitple innings yet.

    Once again this year, they've worked him in slowly, and about a month ago in EXST they altered his arm slot lower with the idea of taking a bit of pressure off his shoulder. Hultzen started throwing harder, going from low-90s to mid-90s (even hitting 97 by some reports) and his slider and change also saw an uptick as well.

    The stuff absolutely looks MLB caliber right now, and in the reports I saw from EXST and in his brief AAA looks, the command/control is encouraging. What he needs to prove is his durability.

    They are still being protective of his arm as Hultzen has yet to go b2b or multi-innings yet. A MLB bullpen piece needs to be able to do one or the other. Best to take things slowly though, especially since Hultzen is out of options and so if they decide to make a move to Chicago with him, he'll need to stick. I would expect them to ramp up his usage over the next month, so that they can have an idea of whether he can help once the trade deadline roles around.

    Like Brandon Morrow, the Cubs shouldn't count on him, but if he does get and stay healthy, Hultzen should absolutely be able to help. Anything the Cubs get from these two is gravy.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That's great. Thanks for all the detail on him. I had no idea. I just looked at the stats and I was not impressed. I am impressed now though. If he and Morrow get healthy that would be a huge lift to the bullpen.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    You're welcome. That's what I'm here for.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    From the 2011 draft commentary

    College pitchers who perform, particularly in a strong conference, will always move up boards as the Draft approaches and do well on Draft day. Not only has Hultzen been as consistent, if not moreso, than any other pitcher in this class, his stuff has been better than anticipated, moving him into an elite category. His fastball is now a plus pitch, up to 95 mph, with his increased velocity and good sink. He's got a plus changeup, thrown around 82-83 mph, thrown with deception and with plenty of sink. His slider isn't as sharp, but is should be at least average down the line. He's got above-average to plus control and advanced command, throwing in and out at will. A lefty with outstanding pitchability and plus stuff, not to mention plus poise and instincts, is rare indeed and is a reason why Hultzen is being discussed by several teams picking at the very, very top of the Draft.

  • fb_avatar

    Has Cole Roederer made some sort of adjustment or change that is the reason for the streak? He was aggressively assigned to A-Ball less than a year out of high school, but started slow. All just part of the process?

  • In reply to Zonk:

    He has made an adjustment to his batting stance, with his knees more bent, rather than being straight up in the box like he was early in the year. That adjustment began at least a few weeks back.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Seems to be working. :-)

    I like Cole and B. Davis as future OFs. Both good 19 year old prospects.

  • White sox lost their SS for a while last night and their 3B came up lame today. Package deal of Addison Descalso for Dylan Cease sounds good. : )

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Can we throw in CarGo? Please?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I was going to use him to get a pinch runner at the deadline but you can twist my arm.

  • In reply to KJRyno:

    Can we send them Montgomery, Delasco, and Russell for Michael Kopech?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Treebeard:

    I dislike Russell as a person, but who is our backup SS if Javy hits the DL for something(hopefully he doesn't)? Alot of people want Russell gone, which I understand, but I highly doubt he gets traded this season for what I said above.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    I'm serious about Michael Kopech though, might be worth letting Russell go.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    That wouldn't get the conversation started. Why would they want to trade Kopech?

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    I hear you on that, I just wish could take advantage of their need for a SS, or a SS/2B; and I like Kopech as a target.
    Maybe some combo of Russell/Garcia/Delasco/Happ/Giambrone for their need, and throw in a Montgomery if they want someone MLB-ready, or an Assad type, or Ademan/Galindo type if they want a prospect; just my knee-jerk reaction to hearing they needed a SS............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Sox would just as soon lose this year, for additional draft talent. They don't want to win now and aren't really trying.

  • Maybe throw in CarGo?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    CarGo has no value

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Lmao. I completely agree. But they paid very little for him, so they could just DFA him if they need a roster spot. I'd rather keep Descalso over him. Only because he can still play a decent 2b. That's more valuable to the Cubs than CarGo.

  • fb_avatar

    OT, but how come the the all star vote only let's you pick a DH from the AL? I know DH is exclusive to the AL, but I think any NL player should have a shot at DH also.

  • In reply to Wrigley0923:

    There is no DH in the NL so how could you vote for it. They will use the DH once they fill the NL roster. Just like the AL will do the same.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Thank you. That kind of makes sense. I just think the NL should have an extra spot to vote for a DH(although we don't have one for the regular season). But I guess the amount of players on each team will be the same. Just wish we had a say in it instead of the manager picking it. Jmo.

  • Hey Michael, what are your thoughts on Zach Short; is he a capable backup option at SS, and if not him, is there anyone at Iowa that fits that mold?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Yes, Short can play SS. He has the arm and the range, he just gets a bit lazy with his footwork and doesn't put himself in the best position to make a play at all times. The arm plays at 3B as well if needed, and he is more than capable as an athlete at 2B.

    I have no doubt he could handle all three OF positions at a passable level if given time to adjust, but I think he mostly sticks to being an IF utility guy.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael, how soon do you see him back in Iowa; and do you see him as a better option than Happ or Garcia or Giambrone to help the big league club this year?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I'd expect him back in Iowa soon. Maybe a week?

    As for helping in Chicago this season, I would have said it was a possibility at the start of the year, but missing most of the 1st half kind of diminishes those chances. I think he is a guy that needs some time at AAA.

    Giambrone has always projected as a shuttle guy to me, and his struggles in AAA this year reinforce that in my mind. He has solid power/speed, but not much consistency, and he isn't a particularly good defender anywhere. Also, he's a bit older (25), so he isn't likely to improve his glove much anywhere. Just a guy that can get you by for short periods at 2B/LF and fill in at other IF/OF spots in a pinch. I can see him being

    Garcia is more likely to get a 40-man spot this year than either. And I would give Happ a chance before either Short or Gaimbrone as well. The only advantage Short has that could leapfrog him forward a bit is he is the only one I'd be willing to field at SS at the MLB level.

    Hoerner will bypass all of these guys next year, and if he gets healthy soon, he could conceivably even do so by the end of the year.

  • Michael -- your efforts here are invaluable and something found nowhere else among the Cubs coverage. I try to watch minor league games and, even at my most active, never have insight anywhere near your views here.

    Based on your views, what are your thoughts on midseason trades? Absent unexpected injury or situation, I can't imagine the Cubs trading for anything other than middle relievers. In a scenario of a trade for a top middle reliever (say Will Smith), who would you consider untouchable? What is the trade were for Brad Hand or Felipe Vazquez (unlike Smith, both closers and both of whom are under control past this season)? I'd assume we have a lot more untouchables than in 2016-18 trade season based on our needs, improved minors, and potential trade targets (i.e., not a starting pitcher or position player), but wanted to get your thoughts.

  • In reply to springs:

    Thanks, springs.

    I don't like to get into specific trade scenarios because I just don't watch enough of guys like Smith, Hand, Vazquez to determine who I would value more, what I would be willing to give up in each case, etc beyond cursory looks at their stats and contract statuses. I watch the Cubs Minor Leaguers, and I watch the Cubs (when I have time). I just don't have the time to watch other teams.

    As of right now, I'd group my top 11 Cubs prospects as:

    Hoerner, Alzolay as above average 2020 contributors.

    Davis, Marquez as high ceiling, but probably 3+ years from MLB.

    T. Miller, Abbott as good bets to be BOR starters within 1-2 years.

    Amaya, Roederer, Ademan, R. Thompson, R. Jensen as potential solid regular contributors, but at least 2-3 years away.

    Beyond those 11, I would be willing to trade anyone, save maybe Richard Gallardo (I haven't seen him pitch enough to know how to properly rate him).

    Among those 11, I'd like to see them limit their dealings to maybe 1 of Miller/Abbott and then some combo of the Amaya/Roederer/Ademan/Thompson/Jensen grouping.

    If a real difference making bat with term beyond this year becomes available, the top 4 guys would be options, but I wouldn't deal any of them for a rental this season (especially a reliever rental). Not with Kimbrel coming onboard, and Alzolay's ability to give the BP a boost, and then the possibility of Hultzen/Morrow/Maples types contributing as well. I'm less concerned about what the bullpen can be in the postseason than most fans, I think.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Great insight, thanks Michael; I'm guessing you weren't a huge fan of the Chapman trade then?
    I've always wondered why we didn't make more of an effort to sign Chapman long term, instead of just letting him walk; especially after giving up Torres............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I wouldn't have signed Chapman to save my life. I think they made the right move there. While this year looks like it may be a return to form, if he isn't overworked, the first two years of the Yankee deal were a little ugly and nowhere near where he was before he got here. Davis was a much better fit in 2017 IMO even if Morrow was a crapshoot that didn't work out.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I'm can justify the Chapman/Davis trades (my issue with Chapman was the off-field stuff, I just didn't want him on the team). Those guys added to the top and pushed guys down the roster into more favorable matchups. I'm willing to give up top trade assets to acquire top talent, even if it is short term.

    I'm not willing to give up top trade assets to acquire a guy to pitch the 7th inning, or be a 4th starter, or hit at the bottom of the batting order.

    The Cubs added Kimbrel. Unless they are looking at acquiring a legitimate 1B to go with Kimbrel's 1A, the reliever is likely not going to make near enough impact to justify the trade.

    If you need a 7th inning guy you sign Brad Brach and Tony Barnette to a short term deals, and if that doesn't work out you try guys from the Minors, and if that doesn't work you look for Jorge de la Rosa types on waivers, and if that doesn't work you trade Tyler Thomas for Jesse Chavez and Andruw Monasterio for Brandon Kintzler. You don't trade anything of real value for a LOOGY or deal Jon Garland for Matt Karchner.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I'm with you on Chapman, et al above; one of those necessary, but not ideal deals that needed to be done........what are your feelings on the Q for Jimenez trade? I know it would be a little different if the NL had a DH, or the AL got rid of theirs.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I've never been a fan of the deal, although I don't hate it like many fans. I was never as high on Cease as others.
    I understand the reasoning, but I wouldn't have done it.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Imaginary thumbs up............

  • Michael, you do not list Robel Garcia as a top prospect. To me, other than Alzolay and Maples he is the only prospect.
    And what about a speed guy like Straw or Gore or Hamilton. Do the Cubs have any fleet feet they can call on in September who can also play baseball?

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Garcia and Maples both have intriguing talent (Garcia's power, Maples's breaking balls), but they are old enough (Garcia is 26, Maples is 27) and still have a big question mark (Garcia's K rate, Maples's BB rate) to keep them outside consideration of being a top prospect for me. They would be in that next tier though, along with guys like Cruz, Albertos, Morel, Little, Velazquez, etc).

    Each has the ability to make an impact though, and I hope to see both get a legitimate shot on the roster either later this year or out of spring training next season.

  • In reply to Swarf:

    Cubs don't have any plus-plus runners like Gore or Hamilton in the upper Minors.

    Roberto Caro in AA has plus speed and is a good baserunner/stealer, but not an impact type like those two. Hannemann runs well too, but never became a great base stealer. Zach Davis is probably a notch ahead of Caro, but he isn't much of a hitter, and would be strictly PR only. And while he is probably a 65 runner and the base stealer in the org, he still falls a little shy of a guy like Gore.

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