Daily Cubs Minors Recap: South Bend earns another resounding victory as they advance to MWL Championship Series; Iowa bounced from PCL playoffs; Happy Nico Hoerner day everyone, as Cubs are set to call him up!

Nico Hoerner (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Nico Hoerner (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)


Round Rock 10, Iowa 5

Game Recap

Things were looking up for Iowa in the early going. Jim Adduci singled home two runs in the bottom of the 1st, and then the Cubs add another run in the 2nd. It all fell apart in the 3rd, however. Starter Trevor Clifton was torched for six runs, and reliever Jordan Minch could not halt the bleeding. Round Rock would plate seven total in the inning, and would not relinquish the lead the rest of the night, in fact Iowa would get no closer than three runs from tying the game.

Top Performers

  • Vimael Machin: 2-4, HR (2), R, RBI, BB
  • Donnie Dewees: 1-2, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB
  • Jim Adduci: 2-5, 2 RBI
  • Zack Short: 1-3, R, BB
  • Trent Giambrone: 2-5
  • Dakota Mekkes: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It's not really Iowa news, but with Dixon Machado missing the end of the season due to a hamstring injury, the Cubs shortstop depth is really being tested. Zack Short finished the season as the I-Cubs man at the position, but with Javier Baez and now Addison Russell out with injury, according to Paul Sullivan the Cubs are set to call up Nico Hoerner from AA Tennessee. My thoughts this morning, in tweet form:


South Bend 7, Great Lakes 3

Game Recap

The Cubs swept their way through the first round of the MWL playoffs, and have now done the same through the semis. Their 7-3 victory advances them into the Championship Series which will kick off later this week.

Nelson Maldonado by Rikk Carlson

Nelson Maldonado by Rikk Carlson

The top of the Cubs order was lethal, with the first four batters combining to go 9-for-18. The cleanup man, Nelson Maldonado, drove home four of the Cubs seven runs. They even managed to get a big contribution from Levi Jordan at the bottom of the order, as he reached base four times, and led the team with three runs scored.

On the mound, Derek Casey got the start and pitched well over the first four innings, allowing just one run before giving way to the pen. Fauris Guerrero would fire two scoreless, and then after Brandon Hughes struggled, Brendan King came on to close out the final 2.1 innings without allowing a base runner.

Top Performers

  • Levi Jordan: 3-4, 3 R, BB
  • Nelson Maldonado: 2-4, 2B, 4 RBI
  • Clayton Daniel: 3-5, 2 R, RBI
  • Andy Weber: 2-4, E, BB
  • Brennen Davis: 2-5, 2B, RBI
  • Derek Casey: 4 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 2 K
  • Fauris Guerrero: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (W)
  • Brendan King: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Both Andy Weber and Brennen Davis are batting .500 in their 4 postseason games.

Dating back to his last game of the regular season, Brendan King has allowed no runs and just 1 hit (0 walks) over 8.1 innings, while striking out 11.


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  • I'd love to see Nico get a "cup of coffee," but I'd rather forfeit the rest of the season than see his development stalled. I hope they do things the right way.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Wow. Forfeit the rest of the season? Didn’t realize Nico was the second coming.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    What?? The Cubs have a bid need with Baez hurt and Russell getting hit in the head. Keep trying to win. He can develop in the majors.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Riiiiiight... Isn't that what they said about Almora, Schwarber, etc.??

  • Not to jinx the South Bend Cubs, but I believe we may have finally spotted our first wave coming in from South Bend!

  • Nico seems like the right move. Shortstop is a big hole and he can get a taste and 'the boys' can get a look at where Hoerner is at development wise. I'd still like to limp into the playoffs. Changes are coming, but who knows at this point what that will look like.

  • Nico. Nico, Nico........Nico.

    Peter Gabriel walk up would work.

  • The Cubs are desperate, Nico hopefully gets hot, and stays hot the rest of the season. He is the Cubs top prospect.

    The Cubs definitely need to shake things up this offseason. A few big trades, free agents, new manager, & I personally would like to see the Cubs replace a few guys in the player development, and amateur scouting department starting with Jason McLeod.

    The Cubs should always be competing for the NL Central just based on their huge revenue, and payroll advantages....

  • It is not difficult to understand why Cliff is concerned about rushing the development of Nico Hoerner , the Cubs top MiLB prospect.

    Let's look at a few examples.

    - Ian Happ played 26 games at AAA prior to being called up "for good". After striking out at near-historic levels last year, he was sent back down for more seasoning this year

    Kyle Schwarber played 11 games at AAA prior to being called up "for good". After struggling mightily last season, he was sent back to Iowa for more seasoning.

    Remember Arismendy Alcantara ? He played 89 games at AAA, was called up, and slashed all of .205 / .254 / .621. He was sent back down for good, wandered through Oakland and NYM, and I believe is now back in the DR.

    Finally, remember the infamous White Sox "White Flag" trade a couple decades ago? One of the Sox's 6 acquisitions was Mike Caruso a really promising shortstop who had never played above A ball. The Sox determined Mike was ready, handed him the SS job, and sent him back down for good when he struggled to hit .250 / .280 / .577.

    Sure, a 20 game end of season trial is one thing. But let's not get ahead of ourselves and think that Nico's development is over. No matter what Nico does in the next 20 games, I sincerely hope the Cubs FO does not go through this offseason believing Nico is their Opening Day 2B and leadoff hitter. That's all Cliff is trying to say.

    See how easy it is to make a comment without an insult?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    My comment was supposed to be a reply to MiniMind's insult to Cliff. Thankfully, the Den moderators took it down.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I wholeheartedly agree. No matter what Nico does in this stint, it should be nothing more than a so-called cup of coffee and chance to get his feet wet.

    Generally I defer to the professionals that know far more than I do, but a two half seasons in low to mid-level minors doesn't seem like enough development. The examples of Schwarber, Happ, and Russell are all too close to ignore.

  • Michael I respect your knowledge greatly, however Saying Hoerner isn’t being rushed is just wrong IMO. He missed a big chunk of AA with the wrist, he hasn’t dominated after returning. He’s done well, but the power hasn’t even returned yet. Skipping AAA at this point seems like the definition of rushed.

  • In reply to mcoley32:

    He’s being brought up for his defense. You play that at whatever level you play. If he hits , it’ll be a bonus. There’s no rush in playing defense.

  • I personally want to see the Cubs scratch into the WC game, the way Darvish is pitching he's well suited for that play-in game.

    Joe is gone. The best Cub manager of my lifetime (whilst also having the best roster too). Girardi is in? Someone to provide some more structure to our young team and less costume dress up BS.

    Cubs can actually shed a good amount of salary in 2020, so a few smart FA moves would bolster this roster (Castellanos, Gregorious, maybe even Alex Gordon if available)

  • In reply to LAX2ORD:

    I agree, I want to sneak into the wildcard at a minimum. It's been a disappointing season so far. I guess the Cubs are still in the mix tho, and things can change in hurry. I am unable picture it, but I'd still would take a division title.

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    In reply to 44slug:

    Yeah, I still feel like the WC game is the most likely outcome.

  • Dombrowski was just let go by the BoSox less than one year removed from a WS. We have are now three years removed from our WS with no real prospect of an imminent return. We have long discussed our "window", we have a couple years or three years of real potential strength.

    This team is not feared the way the 2015 and 2016 teams were feared. If the Cubs were down late, there was a sense that the lead would be overcome and those teams were going to win. We need to get that back.

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    I want the Cubs to get into the playoffs too, but I think that the best days of Lester and Hamels have gone. We need some more arms and I would target Gerrit Cole. He's still in his 20's and can pitch.
    Nico can learn here and see what the majors are like. I don't think it's going to be too much for him, for one reason because he's already 22. There are rookies up here at 18 or 19 and he's got much more experience than they do.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    One thing I do not worry about is Nico being overwhelmed. Dude's got his head on right.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Cole will eat up whatever salary they drop this year and keep them on the edge of the super cap level. Good addition but cubs need a lot more than a Hamels replacement. Where do they get them and how do they afford it?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I think the Cubs need to change 1/3 to 1/2 of the 25 man roster. I don't going for long term high price pitchers helps them improve enough. The window has closed for this current roster, to be a top team in the NL right now. Since winning the world series Cubs are still good, but they have not added enough talent, young players have not taken the next step, and the minor league system is one of the worst in MLB. The front office last offseason blamed everyone, but themselves. This offseason I would like the front office make major changes to the current roster.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I get what you're saying, but for one our minor league system is not one of the worst in the majors. There is still a lot depth there, and an entire new wave is being developed at the lower levels with a good stable of arms ready to step in next season. You're too tied to MLB farm rankings that are slow to adjust to the actual state of team's farm systems.

    We may not be the dodgers, but talented teams fluctuate year to year. Look at the bosox, the twins, etc. We've atleast remained competitive, and these past two seasons have been closer to our roster's floor vs its ceiling, whereas in 15 ane 16 the team performed at or near its ceiling.

    A retool is in order, and I believe its coming. I would be open to listening to offers on any player, and seeing what super young controllable talent we could get back. Bryant has 2 years left and could bring back a king's ransom in the right deal. He won't resign for less than a mega deal, and frankly i don't think he's worth a 300 million dollar contract. I would rather have some controllable top prospects if the deal is right than see him walk after the next 2 seasons or resign for an insane amount of money. We need to start spending smart

  • In reply to CubbieInfantry2327:

    The Dodger/Braves are the best NL teams this year. Both are young, and have better minor league systems than the Cubs.

    I think the Cubs and are a good team, they are in the with about a six other teams fighting for next best.

    Cubs have a major advantage in revenue and payroll over the rest of the NL central. I not going to pretend to know what players should be traded, or signed. This front office was real good at acquiring other teams young talent, and that was mostly from trading veterans on expiring contracts.

    I hope you are right-Cubs need to explore trading Bryant, & I would also consider trading Willson Contreras. They should focus on acquiring young position players, and prospects in trades. Cubs have been treading water, and need to move on from some of these depth pieces on the 40 man roster.

    I cannot see how the Cubs go into 2020 with Jason Heyward as a starting OF. The Cubs just need to eat a ton of money and trade him.

    I think a good offense could be built around Baez, Schwarber, Rizzo, Caratini, and maybe Castellanos.

    Minor league system-front office track record is not very good. I hope you are right about having some real players at the lower level. It looks like the Cubs have some pitching depth, and they need to start giving some of those guys a chance.

  • I don't see cause for concern with nico. This doesn't mean he's up for good. He's up to help down the stretch, not carry the team. Next year he can start at Iowa to continue his development. The team needs another spark. It seems that's all they run on nowadays.

  • I see Contreras is not in the lineup again. Has to be hurt. Even Crazy Joe isn't dumb enough to sit him for any other reason. If he's healthy he has to play.

  • In reply to ItFinallyHappened:

    Caratini could've played 3rd over Bote if he felt he had to get Caratini in there. I don't get it!

  • In reply to ItFinallyHappened:

    "Has to be hurt"? Of course he's hurt. The injuries don't go away because you are off the IL. He came back very early because we are desperate, and his playing time will be restricted until he is healthy.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    If he's hurt, and that's the reason he's not in there, why did he play previously? Inconsistent reasoning there. If he was good enough to go earlier, it's getting to be crunch time and he brings much more to the table than Caratini.

  • In reply to ItFinallyHappened:

    The highest risk for re-injury after coming back from an injury is right when he gets back. As BP said, it's not like an off/on switch, the hamstring is still a little weaker and you have to ease back into 100% effort. Willy plays as hard as he can all of the time, plus he's squatting and standing, up down, up down, for a few hours. If he were to re-inure that hammy it would be server and could have lasting impact on his career.

    Calm down a little bit and trust that the professional team trainers know what's best for the athletes.

  • Bottom line is Bryant needs to go for some pitchers. Remember everyone he has already turned down 200 million. I think we need to take care of Rizzo,Baez and Contrearas. We could get at least 1 front line pitcher and 3 top propects for him

  • In reply to cubbie forever:

    I definitely listen on Bryant but not for a veteran pitcher. I’d want 3 of a good systems top 10 with 2 being top 5 and 2 being near ready. 1 being a pitcher. The only systems that could do that would be Houston and Atlanta and both could use Bryant. If I can’t get that kind of a deal I don’t move him

  • In reply to TC154:

    You are right, but we could get Cole from Houston as part of this package. What I mean is we need another young veteran pitcher,cause right now our starting staff is average at best.

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