Daily Cubs Minors Recap: The Morel brothers continue breaking out; Rough day for the full season affiliates though

Christopher Morel (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Christopher Morel (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AA

Chattanooga 6, Tennessee 1

Game Recap

The Smokies managed just 4 hits, all singles, and rarely threatened to score throughout the game. Cory Abbott kept it close for a while, but the Lookouts plated three runs against Bailey Clark in the 8th to put the nail in the coffin.

Top Performers

  • Charcer Burks: 2-2, R, BB, SB (7), CS (2) (.238)
  • Cory Abbott: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 7 K (L, 4-3, 3.50)
  • Tommy Nance: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (3.21)
  • Jordan Minch: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (5.33)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Over the past 9 games Charcer Burks (.238/.330/.328) is hitting .344.

Advanced A

Fayetteville 5, Myrtle Beach 1

Game Recap

Like the Smokies, the Pelicans struggled to get hits (only three), but they were patient (eight walks) so they generated plenty of opportunities with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately, none of their hits came at critical moments as the team went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Top Performers

  • Jimmy Herron: 1-3, BB, SB (11) (.204)
  • Zach Davis: 1-4, BB, SB (21) (.270)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Last season Erick Leal (6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) experienced smooth sailing once he came off a season-opening IL stint. He'd eventually finish the year with a 1.41 ERA, allowing just 35 hits over 63.2 innings. This year, Leal has already allowed more runs in two starts than he did in all of 2018.

A

Lansing 11, South Bend 7

Game Recap

Cole Roederer (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Cole Roederer (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Finally, a bit of offense from one of the affiliates. South Bend scored a run in the 1st and 2nd on singles by Tyler Durna and Levi Jordan. Then added added three more in the 3rd on a two-run double by Cole Roederer and a sac fly by Christopher Morel. The Cubs held the lead until the 7th, when the usually reliable Jeffrey Passantino (L, 2-1, 4.24) was tagged for five runs before he could complete the inning.

Top Performers

  • Christopher Morel: 2-3, 3B, R, RBI, SF (.262)
  • Cole Roederer: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, SB (6) (.232)
  • Levi Jordan: 2-3, RBI, BB (.220)
  • Delvin Zinn: 2-5, 2B, 2 R (.253)
  • Tyler Durna: 2-4, R (.272)
  • Andy Weber: 1-4, BB, R, RBI (.253)
  • Brennen Davis: 0-2, 2 BB, 2 R (.333)
  • Faustino Carrera: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (2.78)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Brennen Davis (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Brennen Davis (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Since returning from the IL 3 games ago Cole Roederer (.232/.300/.351) is 5-for-12, and actually has a 5-game hitting streak now, dating back to before his injury.

Staying with the theme of 19 year olds beginning to find their footing with South Bend, Brennen Davis (.333/.452/.529) just continues to get on base, even when he goes without a hit. He has now reached in all 16 of his games with South Bend.

Over his last 22 games since 5/17, Christopher Morel (.262/.296/.435) is batting .328/.364/.557 with 6 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 homers.

DSL

Cubs1 17, Pirates1 6

Cubs2 6, CardinalsR 4

Christopher is not the only member of the Morel family swinging a hot bat. His little brother Rafael Morel (.353/.439/.676) clubbed a double and triple to extend his hitting streak to 7 games. He has scored 7 runs and driven in 9 in his first 9 games as a professional.

His teammate, and fellow 2018-19 IFA signing, Yohendrick Pinango (.344/.447/.406) had his own 7-game hitting streak snapped but he still managed to score 3 runs.

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    A bad day for the Cubs and affiliates yesterday (other than the DSL) but some are breaking out. The most successful has been Brennen Davis, but the Morel brothers and Zach Davis is having a very good season. He's not in our 30 top prospects, can you tell us more about him? He has a very good OBP, any chance he could be our lead off man in the future?
    Thanks Michael.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Zach Davis is a burner. Fernando Kelli is probably the only guy in the org who is faster (although I hear Rochest Cruz is pretty fast down in EXST). While he may be a half a step slower, he is a more polished base runner than Kelli, and there really isn't much competition for Davis as the top stolen base threat in the organization. Roberto Caro would probably rank second right now.

    Davis is a former 32nd round pick that struggled to hit at all in college, but the Cubs liked his athleticism and his work ethic, so they picked him up and taught him to switch hit. It has taken a couple of years, but Davis is beginning to make a bit more contact, and also keep the ball on the ground where he can leg out some hits.

    He lacks power and while his plate discipline is solid right now, I'm not sure how well that will play further up the ladder as opposing pitchers gain better command, and will have no fear at throwing him a strike when they get behind. Sort of the same situation I warned about with Chesny Young a few years back.

    It is not out of the realm of possibility that Davis develops enough to serve as a pinch runner and defensive replacement when rosters expand, but he is also about to turn 25 so time isn't on his side.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Would he actually be moved up through the levels quick enough to be available to be a September call up?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    No. I was talking more like a year or two down the road.

  • I know we just signed Kimbrel, but with Brach and Ryan (in particular) struggling, who out of: Maples, Rosario, Tazawa, Mekkes, Barnette, Cedeno, Collins, Wick, Norwood, Underwood Jr., Webster, Hultzen and maybe Brooks are the best candidates to replace them?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Not sure about Tazawa & Rosario, but the rest of them would all be. Brooks just had a rough outing.

    The problem, or maybe not, with Brach & Ryan (besides their performances) is that they both don’t have options remaining. They can’t send them down unless they clear waivers & accept their assignments. They could reject & become FAs.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Brooks isn't even be considered an option at point. There are about a dozen guys ahead of him on the depth chart. There is a reason he can't even crack the Iowa bullpen.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    He just seems so lights out, is he rule 5 eligible?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    He graduated from Catawba in 15. Pitched them all the way to the DII world series championship game. Heck of a hitter too. Played third base when he wasn't pitching. Glad to see he got Cubs minor league pitcher of the month.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    He is Rule 5 eligible. I wouldn't worry though. His slider is legit and his fastball is average, but his command and control are just not MLB caliber. Brooks walked more than a batter per inning when he got his shot in AAA last year. I do think he can be successful at that level, and might eventually develop into a MLB-AAA shuttle player, but he isn't there yet IMO, but he is also going to turn 27 in September.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Hmm............maybe he rides the shuttle next year.......

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The other guy mentioned Brooks. I mentioned that just last night he had a bad outing. Didn’t think I had to, but Maybe I should have mentioned “also in AA & therefore wouldn’t be an option anyhow as he isn’t even on the 40 man, let alone Iowa roster way behind the other guys he posted.” So now I mentioned it. :o/

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I saw that after I posted, I should've mentioned that I was more thinking along the lines of after some pieces are moved up or leave Iowa; then Brooks might move up to to replace them, and if he's still lights out in Iowa, maybe he's a September call up.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    It is difficult to predict given how many guys are working their way back from injury (Barnette, Cedeno, Morrow, Hultzen, Webster, Graveman). And how few 40-man spots there are (Cubs would need to make 40-man room for any of Barnette, Morrow, Webster, Graveman as all 4 are on the 60-day IL). Cubs also have the trade deadline approaching, and figure to acquire at least one reliever, particularly a LHRP. Morrow and Hultzen are essentially wild cards. You hope they contribute late in the year, but can't count on it given their injury histories. Graveman seems on track for a late season audition, but he will have to pitch well as he completes his rehab to factor in.

    Barnette and Cedeno probably get first crack, but it will depend how they look as they finish their rehabs. If they struggle, the Cubs could release them. Tazawa likely has an out clause and his splitter is effective against LHB. My guess is the Cubs hold on to 1-2 of these 3 at most. Assuming the Cubs pick up a LHRP to upgrade from Ryan before the trade deadline, it seems likely that one of Collins and/Rosario lose their 40-man spot. Webster is also a threat to be DFA, but it may depend how long term his injury is. He may get to hang around on the IL if his injury keeps him out all year.

    Wick is the probably the leading relief prospect in Iowa, with Maples and then Norwood next as far as righties go. They are on the 40 man, and will likely be the yo-yo guys from Iowa. At some point in the 2nd half though, Alzolay will overtake all of them, and he should be considered the primary potential contributor during the playoff push.

    Mills and Underwood have to be considered potential DFA candidates as they will be out of options next year. They may get a shuttle ride to Chicago if they are fresh arms on a day when Cubs need it, but I would only expect brief appearances from either.

    Mekkes is pitching much better of late, so he could make a case in the 2nd half, but may not have room on the 40-man depending on what moves the Cubs make at the deadline and how many of the injured guys get healthy. He is more likely not going to get a shot until 2020 unless catastrophe strikes ahead of him on the 40-man.

    It really is a nightmare trying to keep track of all the moving parts moving forward. Especially in light of the fact there are huge injury question hanging over several guys, and that the Cubs are likely to be active in the trade market and we can't predict who gets moved in any deals and how many 40-man spots will be needed (and when). Cubs will likely just take it a day at a time and patch the final couple of spots in the pen with whoever offers them the best option for that particular game/series.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    But one way to look at it is this, in a few weeks, Kimbrel replaces Brach (or whoever his short term replacement is) in the pen, and the Cubs could be looking at:
    RHP (6)
    Kimbrel
    Strop
    Cishek
    Edwards
    Kintzler
    Chatwood

    LHP (2)
    ***Trade***/Ryan/Cedeno/Collins
    Montgomery

    6 of those 8 guys are pitching reasonably well right now. Kimbrel hopefully would make 7. They just need to figure out the 2nd lefty.

    Alzolay, Wick, Maples, Collins give you reasonable AAA depth options (I doubt Ryan makes it through waivers). With Mekkes as further backup outside the 40-man if needed. At least one of Norwood, Mills, Underwood, Rosario figure to survive on the 40-man and all at least have minimal MLB experience.

    There's always a chance one of Brach/Barnette/Cedeno/Ryan pitch well enough before the deadline that they maintain a roster spot, or at least fill in if someone else gets injured between now and then.

    Anything you get out of Morrow/Hultzen/Graveman down the road is just gravy.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    If Brach and Ryan are already basically on their way out, do you think it's better to use them as innings/appearance eaters, so as to not use up their replacements (which seems to be what we're doing right now); or would it be better to see what you have in their in-house replacement options, before trading for anyone?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Ryan is fine as a fill in until they find an upgrade on the trade market. Cedeno could displace him, but he'll need to pitch really well in his rehab.

    Brach, they can do whatever they want with, as I think they have more RHRP options they can turn to without losing depth. I mean Wick or Maples would be an improvement over what he has done lately. They could give Barnette a crack at replacing him before turning to one of the AAA goes.

    Unfortunately, I just read that Cishek needed to be helped off the field in warmups after he was hit on the leg with a ball during BP.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Makes sense, I'm just thinking delaying sending down Brach, which seems inevitable when Kimbrel's ready; why not see what someone else has to offer, instead of the more known comorbidity in Brach............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    It is one of those situations where you have to weigh the odds of Brach recapturing a level of performance he has proven over multiple MLB seasons, against the odds of Wick/Maples proving themselves at the MLB level. In most cases, the odds are the guy who has done it before, has a better chance of doing it again. And it is not like Brach's stuff has been bad. The velo is there, the secondaries looks okay, he is just catching way too much of the plate right now.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I don't dislike him, I'd just like to see a few of these guys in Iowa get their chance; but we just need to decide if Brach is a high performance known commodity, or a sunk cost (where the money he's owed, or whoever made the decision is holding his place on the roster, rather than his performance)............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Brach has no options. He’s gone once the cubs want to replace him.

  • In reply to stix:

    Tough decision to be sure.......

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Wow, that sucks; prayerfully it's minor, on both time and impact. Did they say where he got hit?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Originally reported shin, but officially reported as the inside of the knee. It also wasn't during BP, but rather while playing catch, the guy he was playing catch with bounced one and Cishek missed it.

    Sounds like a bad bruise.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    We talking a friendly game of catch, or a 90 MPH fastball?

  • Forgot to ask if you knew why Mastrobuoni was catching for South Bend, instead of Lorenzo or Palanco?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    They are all just org guys, and Mastrobuoni is a better athlete, especially in comparison to Polanco, so he might be a guy with more position flexibility and longevity. He's been hurt quite a bit the past couple of years, but he's healthy now.

  • A la Taylor Davis?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Don't think any of them fall into that category. They are more like Tyler Payne. Higgins would be a better comp for Davis.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Oh, gotcha; what about Peredes?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Is he in the range of Higgins?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I like Pereda more than Higgins, and the Cubs seem to as well, since Pereda has been given the playing time priority at AA. He is a potential MLB backup, but is a couple of years away. Pereda will be a Minor League free agent, so he'll need a successor contract.

  • For fun I was looking at Theo's major trades and I ranked them from best to worst. Let me know if I missed any or how out of order I have them.
    I think we all know the what the worst trade was.

    1. Feldman for Strop Arrieta
    2. Cashman for Rizzo
    3. Dempster for Hendricks
    4. Samardijza for Russell McKinney
    5. Butler for Hamels
    6. Garza for Edwards
    7. Torres for Chapman
    8. Soler for Davis
    9. Jiminez Cease for Quintana
    10. Vogelbach Blackburn for Monty
    11. Russell Bonafacio for Caratini
    12. Candelario for Wilson
    13. Godley for Montero
    14. Maholm for Vizcaino for Lastella
    15. Castro for Warren
    16. Castillo for Medina
    17. Lemehuie for Stewart

    Two trades (7&9) helped the Cubs but long term they are pretty painful.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I’d put 9 lower just because I think that one was most damaging to the cubs long term interests. For me at least also what we lost in 12, 13, 15, and 16 were completely irrelevant to this teams success or failure. Castro in a way was traded for zobrist, Castillo for David Ross, Montero to me helped the cubs in 2015 when they needed him plus godley wouldn’t break this rotation IMO, and candelario just didn’t have a place on this roster. I just feel like all of those losses are mostly irrelevant. Losing Eloy and cease maybe very relevant so I’d have to move that trade back

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I’d have to move the Chapman trade back to. With few closers available that deadline, I think the cubs just had no leverage in trade talks with NYY. I truly don’t believe they win a WS without Chapman so from that vantage point the trade was worth it. But Torres maybe a perennial all star so I still am not happy with that trade, even though I think theo did what he had to in order to end the WS drought. For me at least 12, 13, 15-16 we just didn’t lose Anything of any real relevance

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I also look at the Montero trade as a clear win from the cubs perspective. Godley has expectedly regressed as the league has figured him out as a starter. Montero helped the cubs at C in 2015 when they were desperate at the position on the field and in the locker room. He also got what amounted to the game winning hit in game 7 of the WS. Godley just was never good enough to break into this golden generation cubs teams loaded rotation. Montero was a placeholder when he was needed for the team while they waited for young C of the future Willson Contreras.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Also have the caratini trade high up there I think that’s a big win for this front office trading 2 mostly worthless assets in James Russell and Emilio bonofacio

  • I think the only bad trade was Lemahuie trade. It didnt make sense. Otherwise Theo has done an amazing job.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Agree and honestly even that trade really didn’t hurt the cubs as much as it helped Colorado. The cubs have have some nice middle infield play in general until this season. But Russell, javy and zobrist were all huge parts of our championship team. Who knows if they win a WS if they never needed zobrist. I’d guess no considering his tremendous overall season in 2016

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    you are right on the money

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Keep in mind all this roster shuffling is going to get you close to 475 wins over that 5 year period.

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