Iowa received great pitching throughout the game. Matt Swarmer shut down the Bees over the first six innings before eventually yielding two runs in the 7th. Wyatt Short got the Cubs out of the inning and then pitched a scoreless 8th. The 9th belonged to Danny Hultzen, who struck out two of the three batters he faced.
- Matt Swarmer: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 8 K (W, 8-10, 5.88)
- Wyatt Short: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K (0.00)
- Danny Hultzen: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 2, 1.42)
- Addison Russell: 2-3, HR (5), 3 R, RBI, BB (.276)
- Jim Adduci: 2-4, R, CS (4) (.306)
- Johnny Field: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB (.244)
- Mark Zagunis: 1-4, R, SB (4) (.304)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
It is very easy to overlook Matt Swarmer as a prospect this season given his 5.88 ERA, but you have to realize that number isn't particularly bad for the PCL, and also Swarmer has always been an extreme fly ball pitcher which makes navigating the league particularly difficult this season in light of the jump in home run rates as the MLB baseballs were introduced.
As of right now Swarmer has pitched the exact same number of innings (128.2) as he did in 2018, but has surrendered 21 more home runs (10 to 31). We are witnessing the same issue with Tyson Miller in the 2nd half. There have been times Swarmer has struggled to put guys away and finish off at bats quickly, which has led to a jump in his walk totals (21 in 2018 to 40 this year). His K-to-BB totals are still pretty good at a little under 3-to-1, but it is a dropoff from the 6-to-1 he pulled off last year.
I do believe we are seeing that Swarmer, despite having the size, command and stamina, may not be best suited for a starting role, or at least not one where he faces a lineup more than twice through. His low-90s fastball has late life, but I think hitters end up being able to time it better the second time through, and lefties in particular become more difficult for him to finish off. A move to the pen, where the fastball will play up a bit more, in combination with his solid slider and changeup could be a good role for him. In the meantime, he's needed in the rotation, but Swarmer will be Rule 5 eligible and pretty much MLB-ready, so I could see a team desperate for pitching taking a swing at him this offseason.
Speaking of MLB-ready with 40-man roster decisions this offseason, both of the lefties who followed Swarmer to the mound present interesting dilemmas as well. Twenty-four year old Wyatt Short made the jump from AA on Sunday and proceeded to do what he has done throughout his pro career, get batters out. Short is a bit of an anomaly in that he is a short sinkerball pitcher (5'8"), but the pitch is effective and along with his slider and changeup, he has three solid offerings which help him keep the ball on the ground and also miss enough bats to remain effective against hitters from both sides of the plate. His slider helps him hold lefties down more effectively, but his changeup has proven an effective ground ball pitch against righties. It will be interesting to see what decision the Cubs make with Short. He'll be unproven in AAA, but he's honestly a guy that is pretty polished and I don't think he has much left to learn. He should be an effective depth guy, capable of filling the Randy Rosario shuttle role the next couple of years, so I'm quite interested in holding on to him.
That shuttle role is not one that Danny Hultzen can fill, however. The former 2nd overall pick had all of his option seasons used up as a member of the Mariners, so once the Cubs add him to the 40-man, he'll need to stick with the big club. He'll turn 30 years old this November so the time is coming in the spring when he is going to need to make that leap (assuming the Cubs don't turn to him at some point this season).
Kyle Ryan has solidified one left-hander spot out of the Cubs bullpen, but the other will be up for grabs. The Cubs will not pick up Derek Holland's expensive 2020 option, although it is always possible they look to bring him back on a smaller deal. This leaves Hultzen in prime position to battle for that spot next spring. His fastball has been in the 92-95 range and both his slider and changeup are proving effective against all hitters. He's allowed just 4 hits in 12.2 innings (.098 average against) while striking out 20 batters. I can honestly envision a Ryan/Hultzen combo working well in the Chicago pen next year, with recent acquisition Brad Wieck providing an experienced power option (K% > 40% last 2 years) in AAA, along with Wyatt Short. That is pretty good depth.
The offense did its job, as did starter Erick Leal, but some defensive miscues (Jhonny Pereda despite reaching four times, was called for CI and had two passed balls) and spotty bullpen work led to a difficult loss for the Smokies.
- Nico Hoerner: 3-6, 2 R, RBI, SB (7) (.259)
- Jhonny Pereda: 2-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 BB (.254)
- Charcer Burks: 1-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB (.237)
- Vimael Machin: 1-4, R, 2 BB, SB (7) (.291)
- Erick Leal: 5 IP, 5 H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (5.45)
- Oscar De La Cruz: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (4.42)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Two relievers (Tommy Nance, Jordan Minch) combined to allow 9 runs (6 earned) on 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 hit batters, a wild pitch, and a balk in just 2 innings.
Both pitching staffs dueled throughout the first nine innings, with neither allowing a run. Alexander Vargas had his sinker working through the first six innings before handing it off to Tyler Peyton who went two, and then Manny Rodriguez pitched a scoreless 9th and 10th. This set up Wladimir Galindo to be the walk-off hero in bottom of the frame:
Wladimir Galindo provided some early fireworks tonight with this walk-off single!!!
— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) August 12, 2019
- Alexander Vargas: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (4.86)
- Tyler Peyton: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (5.11)
- Manuel Rodriguez: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (W, 1-3, 3.83)
- Miguel Amaya: 1-3, 2B, BB (.237)
- Delvin Zinn: 1-3, BB (.233)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
A modest 2016-17 IFA signing out of Mexico, 23-year old Manuel Rodriguez features a mid-90s fastball and high spin rate breaking ball which has allowed him to punch out 159 batters in his first 110 innings in the Cubs system. He entered last season expected to be South Bend's primary closer but control issues (36 BB in 40.1 IP) plagued him all season, leading to a 7.59 ERA. He's largely been able to put those problems behind him in 2019, allowing just 14 walks in 40.0 IP so far, putting him more squarely on the map as a potential power bullpen arm down the road.
South Bend found themselves down 3-1 entering the bottom of the 6th, but from there they'd post three straight crooked numbers, and actually end up walking away with a fairly comfortable win in the final two innings.
- Yonathan Perlaza: 2-4, 2B, HR (1), R, 2 RBI (.242)
- Nelson Velazquez: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI (.294)
- Darius Hill: 2-5, 2 2B, 2 R (.292)
- Nelson Maldonado: 2-3, R, RBI, BB (.294)
- Fidel Mejia: 2-4, 22B, RBI (.239)
- Marcus Mastrobuoni: 2-4, R, RBI (.264)
- Ivan Medina: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (0.89)
- Eugenio Palma: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, K (W, 4-3, 3.77)
The pitching staff combined to punch out twelve batters, and though the offense was sparse, they were able to get the big hit when runners did reach scoring position.
- Chris Clarke: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K (1.38)
- Blake Whitney: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K (2.91)
- Hunter Bigge: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (W, 2-0 1.20)
- Josue Huma: 1-3, R, RBI (.300)
- Caleb Knight: 1-3, RBI, BB (.260)
- Pedro Martinez: 1-4, 2B, R (.378)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Fourth round pick Chris Clarke is a huge righty with a good curveball who worked in relief for USC as he battled back from injury, but the Cubs figure to try him as a starter next year. He throws low-90s with his fastball and touches higher, but his delivery is a bit awkward. My first impression is that there may be more in there, and I am curious to see what the Cubs can unlock with him in the future.
A guy with plenty of present fastball that you need to be aware of is 12th round pick Hunter Bigge. I've mentioned him often, as he is a former two-way player at Harvard converting to the mound full-time as a pro, but also because he makes an impression every time out. Bigge is powerfully built at 6'0" 205 and regularly runs his fastball up into the upper-90s. It is the type of power arm the Cubs are placing more emphasis on drafting and I am all for it. If they can harness his control a bit, something that should come with more experience on the mound, they could really have something.
Hunter Bigge with a gas delivery. pic.twitter.com/JUzeoooxaj
— Eldrad (@thats_so_cub) August 12, 2019
- Luis Rodriguez: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, BB, 5 K (L, 2-4, 4.12)
- Aneuris Rosario: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (1.42)
- Carlos Pacheco: 1-4, HR (4), R, RBI (.294)
- Ezequiel Pagan: 1-3, BB, SB (18) (.304)
- Ryan Reynolds: 1-4, 2B, R (.244)
- Widimer Joaquin: 4-4, RBI, CS (2) (.292)
- Luis Verdugo: 2-4, 3B, R, RBI (.276)
- Ricardo Verenzuela: 2-4, 2B, 2 R, SB (2) (.235)
- Jhonny Bethencourt: 2-3, 3 RBI, SF (.444)
- Bryce Windham: 1-4, 3B, 2 R (.275)
- D.J. Herz: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (1.93)
- Danny Zardon: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (W, 1-0, 0.00)
- Jaime Galazin: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (S, 4, 3.93)
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap