Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Brennen Davis and Christopher Morel reach base five times as they show off their power and speed; Iowa and Tennessee offenses explode

Brennen Davis (photo by Rikk Carlson)


Iowa 12, St. Paul 2

Game Recap

The Iowa offense charged out of the gate with each of the first five batters recording a hit. They’d eventually score five runs in the 1st.

Iowa wasn’t done though. Tyler Ladendorf hit his first home run of the season in the 3rd. Then in the 4th, the whole lineup got in on the action again. A single, a double and then four straight walks to open the inning set the stage for Nick Martini:

It wasn’t just the offense that delivered last night. Iowa received a desperately needed seven inning performance by veteran starter Adrian Sampson.

Top Performers

  • Tyler Ladendorf: 2-4, 2B, HR (1), 3 R, 3 RBI, BB (.204)
  • Nick Martini: 1-4, HR (2), R, 4 RBI, HBP (.208)
  • Michael Hermosillo: 2-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB (.400)
  • Trent Giambrone: 1-2, 2 R, 2 BB (.333)
  • Dee Strange-Gordon: 2-5, 2B, 2 R (.265)
  • Trayce Thompson: 1-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB (.243)
  • Tony Wolters: 2-4, RBI, HBP (.209)
  • Ian Miller: 2-5 (.243)
  • Adrian Sampson: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K (W, 1-2, 5.73)
  • Ben Leeper: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1.59)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

All nine batters in the Iowa lineup reached base at least once.

Ben Leeper continued his astounding first year ascent with another scoreless inning. The righty has now recorded 31 Ks while allowing just 17 baserunners in 20.0 innings between AA and AAA. He’s got a plus fastball and a plus slider, and other than one outing, has done a good job controlling them so far this season. I hate to label him as an undrafted free agent because the hard thrower would have certainly been a 6-10th round pick last year had it been a normal draft. Credit to Dan Kantrovitz and the Cubs scouts for securing his services. Leeper may end up being one of the first 2020 draft eligible players to make his MLB debut. I know Bryan over at Bleacher Nation just completed an interview with him, and will be publishing it soon. I’ll make sure to provide a link when it comes out.


Tennessee 13, Chattanooga 7

Game Recap

Cam Sanders battled control issues in the early going, eventually putting the Smokies in a 6-1 hole. The Smokies first run came on a solo shot by Brennen Davis, his first AA home run. It was the start of an offensive barrage for Tennessee, as they would score at least once in seven consecutive innings to close out the game.

They’d put up crooked numbers in the 3rd through 5th innings and then again in the 8th as the received huge contributions from Davis, Christopher Morel and D.J. Artis. Each of them reached base five times. Davis and Artis homered, while Morel added a pair of doubles and pair of stolen bases. Carlos Sepulveda and Nelson Maldonado contributed three hits apiece as well.

It wasn’t just the offense who picked up Sanders, the bullpen threw six solid innings after he exited heading into the 4th. Lefties Ryan Lawlor and Bryan Hudson combined to toss five shutout innings.

Top Performers

  • Brennen Davis: 4-4, HR (1), 4 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB (1) (.250)
  • Christopher Morel: 4-5, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI, 2 SB (4, 5) (.203)
  • D.J. Artis: 1-2, HR (2), R, 2 RBI, 3 BB (.111)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 3-6, 2 R, 2 RBI (.296)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 3-5, 2B, 3 R, RBI (.250)
  • Grayson Byrd 1-3, R, 2 BB (.222)
  • Darius Hill: 1-6, R, 2 RBI, 2 SB (1, 2) (.310)
  • Ryan Lawlor: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (W, 3-0, 4.82)
  • Bryan Hudson: 3 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (4.15)


Cedar Rapids 12, South Bend 4

Top Performers

  • Max Bain: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K (5.79)
  • Delvin Zinn: 1-3, 3B, 2 R, BB, SB (25) (.244)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 1-2, HR (4), R, 2 RBI, 2 BB (.270)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 2-4, 2B, RBI (.306)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Over his last 23 games Yonathan Perlaza is batting .301/.389/.506 and has now homered in 3 of his last 4 games. A former high profile IFA a while back who got off to a slow start in his career, Perlaza suffered an early knee(?) injury, and eventually moved from the infield to the OF. His bat remained promising, if inconsistent, as he struggled to stay on the field and settle into a position. A decent athlete with a compact but powerful build, Perlaza is receiving his first everyday shot in full season ball and is beginning to show flashes. He’s not a top prospect, especially now that he is limited to the corner outfield, but there is enough potential there for him to be a late bloomer and someday a bat off the bench like Rafael Ortega.


Charleston 5, Myrtle Beach 0

Top Performers

  • Luis Verdugo: 1-3, SB (1) (.169)
  • D.J. Herz: 3 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 7 K (L, 0-2, 4.57)
  • Gabriel Jaramillo: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K (1.80)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Ed Howard was activated from the IL. He went 0-for-2, playing about half the game at short.

The Pelicans extended D.J. Herz to 72 pitches. He wasn’t very efficient on the day, as his control was off (3 walks, 1 HBP, also a balk). He pitched to just one batter in the 4th before exiting. At some point soon he’ll likely be stretched out above 80 pitches and then we can see how well he holds his velo and stuff into the middle innings.


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  • ? Is Brennen Davis ready for right field in Wrigley ? Were getting almost zero production from right field

  • How about trading Jason Haywood for Starling Marte ? Marte is a free agent after this year and would be an upgrade in the outfield.
    The Cubs would half to eat a lot of money to get rid of another one of Theo's mistakes.

  • I hope the Cubs can move on from Heyward this off-season? The off-season will be busy enough, that I think the Cubs will bring him back next year.

    You would need Heyward's approval. Cubs would probably have to include all/almost all the money due to Heyward. The return at most would be another bad contract, & Cubs might even have to include a second tier prospect for him.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    The Cubs do not need to move on from Heyward, they just need to stop starting him all the time (assuming he is washed and this isn't just a slump). They have so little money guaranteed for next year that Heyward's contract is not stopping them from making any moves.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    He's owed 22M in each of the next two years. To move him, I would expect they would need to cover about 25-30M of that. Hard to see that happening.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I assume, & agree Heyward will be on the team next year. Mostly because two years-$44 million left on contract.

    I was thinking in order for the Cubs to move on from Heyward. Cubs would have to cover almost the whole $44 million. Combination of a bad contract/s, & money.

    Jason might start playing well, but his underlying numbers are not very good. I would like to see the Cubs move on, even if they try to fill Jason's spot on the cheap with no name players for a season.

    Michael, I enjoy your articles!

    Which minor league players are surprising you the most so far?

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Cubs salary commitments for next year amount to:
    Heyward 22M
    Hendricks 14M
    Bote 2.51M

    Contreras will be due 8-10M in arbitration
    Happ will be due 6-7M in arbitration
    Williams will be due 3-5M in arb (potential non-tender)
    Brothers will be due 1+M in arb (potential non--tender)

    Kimbrel 16M team option or 1M buyout
    Pederson 10M mutual option or 2.5M buyout
    Arietta 10M team option or 2M buyout
    Chafin 5.25M mutual option or 500K buyout
    Marisnick 4M mutual option or 500K buyout

    That is it

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael,
    I thought Heyward's contract was signed through 2022 not 2023 ! Is that right ?
    I know some players are popular, but its really time
    to move on.
    I see the Cubs are drafting better now. They really
    need to be able to play small ball if necessary. It makes for exciting
    baseball to watch.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    So if you dont keep brothers, arrieta or William's you payroll for 22' is $85 million (assuming Bryant isnt coming back).

    The outfield with Pederson, Happ, Heyward , Marisnick, Hermosillo & Davis (if Davis is ready then you dont resign Pederson?) is all set. If you can resign Baez and Rizzo or equivalents (for $50 mil) that puts you up to $135

    For the rotation you will need a TOR which what would that cost? $35-40 mil per year? So you are at $175.

    So I guess the question is what do you want to spend on for those 3 spots? More importantly who will they be? Those 3 decisions will be critical to the Cubs next phase.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    BleacherC, I know inflation is something to consider, but I sure hope it’s not going to be as bad as your figures for FA’s, lol.
    First, Brennen Davis is only 21, and just getting settled in AA. I don’t think he’ll be in consideration for Chicago until 2023 - and that’s if everything goes as planned.
    If the Cubs spend $50M/yr on 2 players, I hope it’s on 2 TOR SP’s, not Javy and Riz. I’d guess Javy and Rizzo combined, should get around $30-32M/yr. (Darvish looks like a bargain at $20M/yr).
    Also don’t discount that the Cubs could bring one or two of these guys back on QO’s. Although $19M is more than I believe anyone except KB will be getting in 2022 - except JHey of course.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Who knows what players will make next year? This season 41 players make $20 million or more in MLB.

    I have a hard time believing Cubs will add/keep 3 players making over $20 million a year during one off-season. During the 2022 roster influx. I'm thinking the upper middle of the market type of free agents, might be the high end for Jed outside of potential extensions.

    2021 doubt Cubs will trade the prospects required to add an ace. I think the Cubs are two playoff caliber starters away from being a playoff favorite. It has to be a really tough time to evaluate pitchers with all this sticky stuff hanging over all of their heads? How will it affect games/players.

  • With that much money coming off the books next year, I hope the Cubs can sign a front line pitcher if he's available. I like what Joc Peterson brings to the club and hope he's here next year. Eric Sogard has a great approach at the plate and hope the Cubs retain him. With Wisdom and Alcantra it looks like the Cubs struck gold with both. They should save the Cubs some money for years to come.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    With Alcantera, Wisdom & Bote they can handle 3rd base and the utility spots until the shortstops start coming. But until then someone will have to play short. If you dont sign Baez then maybe you get a inexpensive rental (Hoerner or Alcantera can play short but I am not yet sold on alcantera as a hitter).

    I am most worried about first base. We will have to spend money there. If we dont sign Rizzo then we will miss his leadership, power, on base, consistency and most importantly his defense. But I wouldnt want to go more than 3 years. I just dont trust his health (back) to hold up. The cubs have some tough decisions coming.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I'm not sure how next year will play out. The Cubs are in the thick of it this year and need a stud starting pitcher. I do think Jed will resign Rizzo even if its an overpay and I hope that they do, but I don't know. Obviously, we need help with the rotation now. Alcantara and Wisdom' s continued success is yet to be determined. Our Cubs have not been hitting much lately, especially Happ and Heyward. We kind of need to get things going again.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    In regards to 1st base, Alfonso Rivas , who the Cubs obtained from the A's in the Tony Kemp trade is a 1st baseman with top defensive reviews, a good contact hitter, but hitting w/ power is still in question. Rivas is very close to being MLB ready.
    The only free agent I would retain is Kris Bryant. Javy Baez is so popular now, there would be a riot if the Cubs don't retain him.
    If the Cubs don't mix in small ball and keep swinging for the fences , they will be 3 and out in the playoffs if they make that far.

  • As far as Happ and Heyward go , the Cubs would be better off letting them go except with that ridiculous contract Theo gave to Heyward, he hung an albatross around the Cubs neck and that would cost the Cubs a ton to get out of that contract.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Javy is valuable and dangerous just as he is. His gifts are many, creating wins with plays never seen before. His power is prestigious especially for a shortstop. The Cubs don't want to coach those instincts out of him so they put up with the frustration off his swing and miss. I think that he does ease up on his swing some according to the count and game situation. He just does not recognise strikes. It makes him look bad and frustrates fans.

    Heyward and Happy are both struggling, buts lots of season left.

  • Looks like the Cubs brought a knife while the Marlins brought a gun to battle !

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