Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Martinez with another multi-hit game; Cubs get some no-hit performances at Rookie levels; Mejia homers

Paul Richan (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Paul Richan (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AA

Tennessee PPD

Advanced A

Myrtle Beach 6, Salem 1 (Completion of of SUSP game)

Salem 5, Myrtle Beach 1 (Game 2)

Game Recap

The first game was all about the masterful job Paul Richan did on the mound. There are few in the system who can match his ability to work the edges of the zone. He executed his pitches, changed eye levels and speeds, which allowed him to entice batters to chase on offerings darting out of the zone.The offense also came to play, with Carlos Sepulveda leading the way. He recorded three hits, including two doubles, while scoring two and driving in two runs.

The regularly scheduled game did not go the Pelicans way however. The bats didn't deliver with runners in scoring position and the normally reliable Erich Uelmen and Jesus Camargo did not have their best games.

Top Performers

  • Paul Richan: 6.2 IP, 4 H, R, 0 ER, BB, 6 K (W, 10-4, 3.64)
  • Chad Hockin: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 4 K (0.00)
  • Erich Uelmen: 5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K (L, 4-3, 3.11)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 3-8, 2 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI (.242)
  • Delvin Zinn: 3-7, R, 2 RBI, SB (5) (.266)
  • Tyler Payne: 3-6, 2B, 2 R (.261)
  • Grant Fennell: 3-7, 2 2B, 2 R (.240)
  • Miguel Amaya: 1-2, 2B, R, HBP (.229)
  • Cam Balego: 1-5, 3 BB, CS (3) (.264)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Paul Richan (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Paul Richan (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Paul Richan's slider is probably his best pitch, and on its own I'd probably only label it above average, but it appears to tunnel well off his fastball (92-93), and when he locates both to his glove side hitters have little chance. Richan also has a get-me-over curve that he uses to steal strikes in fastball counts, while his changeup is still a work in progress.

While his stuff currently projects him best to the bullpen, his command and control keep the door open for Richan to stay in the rotation. The changeup will be the key. He'll need to develop that into a reliable pitch to give him a third option against more advanced hitters.

Grant Fennell (.240/.309/.363) is batting .354/.426/.521 over his last 14 games.

Over his last 12 games Cam Balego (.264/.374/.409) has been even better. The utility man is batting .353/.551/.559 with 15 walks and just 4 strike outs.

A

South Bend 6, Beloit 4

Game Recap

Fidel Mejia (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Fidel Mejia (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Sometimes all you need is one big inning. Riley Thompson pitched well over the first five innings, but due to a couple of errors (including one of his own), the Cubs were down 4-1 heading into the 6th. It was at that point the South Bend offense got going. Fidel Mejia hit a two-run shot to draw the Cubs within two. Three batters later, Rafelin Lorenzo doubled to left to narrow the deficit to one. Though the ball would not leave the infield again for the rest of the inning, the Cubs pushed across three more runs on a fielder's choice, a bunt hit and an infield single to take the lead. Ivan Medina relieved Thompson and tossed no-hit innings, followed by another clean inning from Carlos Vega in the 9th.

Top Performers

  • Riley Thompson: 5 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (W, 6-5, 2.78)
  • Ivan Medina: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1.02)
  • Carlos Vega: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 1, 3.86)
  • Fidel Mejia: 1-4, HR (2), R, 2 RBI, BB (.215)
  • Rafelin Lorenzo: 1-4, 2B, R, RBI (.259)
  • Clayton Daniel: 2-4, R, BB (.273)
  • Rafael Narea: 2-4, RBI (.198)
  • Cole Roederer: 0-2, 2 BB, SB (10) (.211)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Ivan Medina has been a welcome addition to the South Bend bullpen after arriving in late June. In 7 games he's pitched 14.2 innings, allowing just 2 earned runs on 12 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 13.

Riley Thompson (photo by Rikk Carlson)

Riley Thompson (photo by Rikk Carlson)

The 7 strikeouts were the second highest total of the season for Riley Thompson. He's struck out nearly a batter per inning over the course of the season (74 in 77.1 IP) but its been a pretty consistent effort and he's never really had that big game. Thompson has struck out between 3-6 batters in 12 of his 16 starts this year. It think partially this is due to his curveball being a bit inconsistent during the season. His above average-to-plus fastball and solid changeup have both been effective but he's not always had the feel for his curveball, which flashes as his best putaway offering. If he can get that pitch locked in over the coming years, Thompson could really take off.

A-

Hillsboro 4, Eugene 0

Game Recap

Three hits and one walk, that is all the Emeralds managed in this one.

Top Performers

  • Brandon Hughes: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (4.91)
  • Chris Allen: 4 IP, 4 H, R, BB, K (2.63)
  • Luis Vazquez: 1-3 (.240)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Chris Allen (24 IP, 28 H, 12 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 17 K) has yet to allow more than 2 earned runs over his first 7 games. He also pitched in 7 games last season, where he did not allow more than 1 earned run, after being drafted out of the JUCO ranks in the 20th round and given an overslot bonus. The 6'4" lefty has a 1.88 ERA in 38.1 career innings. My guess is we see him in South Bend before the year is out.

AZL

Cubs1 7, Royals 3

Top Performers

  • Ezequiel Pagan: 2-5, 2B, R, RBI, SB (13) (.327)
  • Pedro Martinez: 2-4, 2B, R, RBI (.360)
  • Yovanny Cuevas: 2-3, R, BB, SB (3) (.316)
  • Fabian Pertuz: 1-3, 2B, R, RI (.356)
  • Carlos Pacheco: 1-4, 2 R, SB (5) (.333)
  • Misael Garcia: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, K (13.02)
  • Raidel Orta: 3 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, BB, 3 K (W, 1-0, 1.00)
  • Shane Combs: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (1.69)

Cubs2 7, GiantsB 3 (7 Innings)

Top Performers

  • Luis Ramos: 4.2 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, HBP, 5 K (5.14)
  • Alex Moore: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, K (W, 1-0, 4.15)
  • Josue Huma: 1-1, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB (.232)
  • Luis Verdugo: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI (.232)
  • Richard Nunez: 1-3, HR (1), R, RBI (.250)
  • Bryce Windham: 1-3, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB (.353)
  • Rochest Cruz: 1-2, R, SB (8) (.269)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Luis Ramos doesn't strike me as much of a prospect going off his numbers. He struggled to throw strikes as a 20-year old in the DSl in 2018, and that issue has continued to plague him so far this year in his stateside debut. He has been difficult to hit though (.201 AVG against in 2018, .234 this year) so maybe he has some stuff, but just hasn't managed to consistently harness it. He did throw 4.2 no-hit innings yesterday. The caveat being that he also walked 5 and also hit a batter.

How's this for a July performance by switch-hitting middle infielder Pedro Martinez? .424/.507/.593 with 5 doubles, a triple, a homer, and 7 out of 9 in stolen base attempts. He's posted 9 multi-hit games out of the 16 he's played. The 18-year old was one of the Cubs top players in the DSL last year and with the way he is playing and the way the Cubs have handled his playing time so far this season, it seems reasonable to expect Martinez  has emerged as one of the organization's top prospects in Rookie Ball. He's currently ranked 5th in AVG, 7th in wRC+ (156), and 8th in OBP among 18-and-younger players in the AZL.

DSL

Cubs1 6, Indians/Brewers 5

Cubs2 3, DBacks2 0

I don't know anything about 18-year old righty Kevin Feliz, except he threw 5 no-hit innings yesterday. He struggled in 13 DSL starts last season (5.54 ERA), but he's striking out a batter per inning and dropped his ERA to 2.88 in 9 starts so far this year.

Comments

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    Michael, what kind of stuff does Brandon Hughes have? Does Riley Thompson have the makings of a #1 or #2 if he can control his curveball?
    Thanks for the recap.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I really haven't paid much attention to him yet, sorry. I tend to wait a while on relievers, their upside tends to be low, and the sample size is just small. Pretty AZ Phil reported he uses a cutter in the upper-80s as his best pitch, and then had another decent secondary (either a slider or change).

  • Hi Michael great job with the recaps. I enjoy reading them very much. I was wondering what you see as the ceiling for Ryan Jensen if he remains a starting pitcher. Also how far away is he from the majors. Thanks Eric.

  • In reply to cubfaneric61:

    I'll try to answer your and Jonathan's question above in one comment here.

    In terms of pure arm talent (velo, movement + ability to spin the ball) Jensen is right up there with Marquez and Albertos as the best in the system. Alzolay, Thompson and a couple others would be a notch below. I really can't say how close Jensen is. I want to see what he looks like next spring after the Cubs work with him in the Pitch Lab. They were very upfront when the picked him that they think there is more to unlock with him moving forward.

    The key for Jensen (and Marquez for that matter) will be how well their secondaries and control develop. Both have the ability to hold velo deep into games. Marquez might have a tick or two more velo, but Jensen produces more natural movement. When all is said and done, they could each end up with 70 grade fastballs, especially if used in relief.

    They each throw a slider which flashes potential. I think Jensen gets a little more snap at its best, but it seems more inconsistent right now. Marquez's slider/slurve has more consistent shape, but I think it probably ends up an avg or above avg offering unless he makes adjustments. Marquez does flash an above average changeup and that could end up being his go-to secondary rather than the breaker. I haven't really seen much of Jensen throwing a change, so I'm going to hold of grading it.

    Considering the movement Jensen creates, I'm not sure he ever ends up with great command. The stuff might be good enough where he can become a top level SP without it though. He's a good athlete, so I think he'll iron out any mechanical issues and figure out the offspeed stuff. A decent comp might actually be Brandon Morrow, who was an effective starter until injuries cropped up. But same kind of raw talent. Marquez is more of a big, classic hard thrower (6'4" maybe taller by now with a strong lower half). Not quite the athlete Jensen is, but probably good enough where nothing should hold him back.

    So, those two could end up dominant late inning guys if only one of their secondaries develop, or they could become very good starters as well. In all likelihood they end up somewhere in between, but there is unquestionable talent with them. Injury luck and an aptitude to refine their games are the determining factors I can't gauge right now.

    Alzolay, R. Thompson, Tyson Miller, Yovanny Cruz, Kohl Franklin, Brendon Little, Richard Gallardo are kind of the next tier. Alzolay and Thompson are probably the closest to being in the Marquez/Jensen category, but I think MOR is likely their ceiling. Miller I think is probably as good a bet as any to be a solid BOR guy, but I also think there might just be a little more depending on if he can take one more step (be it command-wise or refining an existing or developing a new pitch). The rest are either really young or still really raw, but could end up more than BOR if things break right.

  • I gotta think that Pedro Martinez is on the cusp of a promotion to Eugene at some point if he keeps playing like he has been over a couple more weeks. What I really wonder, since Michael has way more knowledge than me on the farm system, are the guys ahead of him also ready to advance in order to open a spot for Martinez in Eugene?

    Or is this a situation where they keep him in AZ this entire year just to acclimate better to living in the US and being under a closer watch rather than traveling around in a bus, staying in hotels, and getting into the same shenanigans that other minor leaguers are participating in?

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Strumpf could go to South Bend at any point. That would open a hole in Eugene. The Cubs sent Reivaj Garcia there to open the season, but he hasn't played since struggling there and then returning to the AZL. He may be hurt, which would likely mean Martinez would be next in line for the shot. Not really something I can say as an outsider though. As you said, sometimes they want them to acclimate somewhere specific, English or other learning may be in progress. Sometimes, especially with middle infielders they may want them to develop chemistry with someone specific. I know the Cubs paired up Marco Hernandez and Gioskar Amaya together when they first arrived. Sometimes they want them to work with a specific coach, etc....

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