- Trayce Thompson: 2-5, HR (9), R, 2 RBI (.222)
- Tyler Ladendorf: 1-2, 2B, R (.237)
- Alfonso Rivas: 1-3, 2B, R, BB (.274)
- Michael Hermosillo: 1-2, BB (.313)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Matt Duffy completed his rehab assignment and travelled to St. Louis yesterday. He could be activated from the 60-day IL today. To do so, the Cubs must make a corresponding 40-man roster move. It is possible recent waiver claim Frank Schwindel will be designated for assignment.
A rough season for Cory Abbott (4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K, L, 1-5, 7.21) continued. He’s been able to miss bats but he’s also been barreled up a bunch this season, especially by left handed batters. I expected his cutter to help neutralize the platoon advantage against him, but that has not been the case. Lefties have feasted on him, with the long ball being a particular thorn in his side. Last night, it wasn’t the lefties who got to him though. Both homers he surrendered were to righties.
It is important to keep in mind Abbott didn’t pitch much last year, as he was injured at the South Bend alternate site, so he might not be as sharp as many in AAA. But his issues with the long ball (12 HR allowed in 48.1 MiLB IP) can not be ignored either. Until he solves that any hopes for Abbott grabbing a rotation spot in Chicago need to be put on hold. Maybe he needs to a new pitch, or just tweak one of his existing, but something needs to change because I don’t see what is happening to him as bad luck. It was always a back burner concern in regards to him given his average fastball.
- Christopher Morel: 2-4, 2 HR (11, 12), 3 R, 4 RBI, BB (.205)
- Brennen Davis: 2-5, 2 HR (7, 8), 2 R, 5 RBI (.277)
- Cam Balego: 2-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI (.167)
- Nelson Maldonado: 1-4, 2 R, 2 BB (.292)
- Chase Strumpf: 0-2, 2 R, 3 BB (.173)
- Ethan Roberts: IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K (1.57)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
It is difficult to contain the excitement surrounding Brennen Davis (.285/.389/.552 with 10 home runs in 47 combined G) of late. He was already beginning to adjust to the AA level prior to getting the opportunity in the MLB Future’s Game. All he did there was hit a pair of moon shots on his way to being named MVP. And Davis has not stopped hitting upon his return to Tennessee. He’s now hit 4 homers in 4 days after going yard twice last night. His first was another oppo shot we’ve seen with increasing frequency of late. His second was a reminder that Davis can really turn on one when the opportunity presents itself as he hit an absolute missile over the left field fence. His wRC+ is now above 150 despite being one of the youngest (21) players in the league. He just seems to be getting better every day. Fangraphs recently elevated him to the 17th best prospect in baseball.
Cubs prospects, Brennen Davis and Christopher Morel both hit two dingers in last night's win. Davis went 2 for 5 and Morel went 2 for 4 with two, two-run home runs, scored three runs, and forced a walk. #SmokiesBaseball #GoSmokies #CubTogether pic.twitter.com/YAxhAY6hmC— Tennessee Smokies (@smokiesbaseball) July 22, 2021
Christopher Morel had been mired in a two week long slump heading into last night’s action. Since the 4th of July he’d batted just .111 with 3 walks and 19 K and drove in just 3 runs in just 48 PAs. Hopefully, the pair of homers and the walk he drew last night can snap him out of the funk. He’s still a steaky hitter, mostly tied to his plate discipline and how often he expands outside the zone. While Morel is an exciting player, and one who should fill an important role in Chicago eventually, he is still a work in progress on offense. He barely played in Low-A and then skipped High-A, so I expect the Cubs to slow his ascent from here on. Morel will likely spend the rest of 2021 in AA, and then all or the majority of next season in AAA.
The Cubs will need to add Ethan Roberts to the 40-man roster at the end of the season to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. If he continues pitching the way he has, the team may decide to make that move early, and perhaps give him a cup of coffee in Chicago before they end of the year, just as they did with Brailyn Marquez in 2020. With another scoreless inning last night, Roberts extended his shutout streak to 15.2 innings (4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 22 K). At the very least he should be moved up to AAA once a couple of relievers in Chicago are moved out leading up to the trade deadline.
- Burl Carraway: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (9.00)
- Bryan King: 3.1 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 3 K (5.68)
- D.J. Artis: 1-4, HR (3), R, RBI (.162)
- Edmond Americaan: 1-3, BB (.209)
- Yonathan Perlaza: 1-3, 2B, RBI (.228)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Ryan Jensen (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, BB, K, L, 2-6, 5.29) has put together some of the most impressive starts of the year in the Cubs system (5 starts of at least 5 innings with 2 or fewer hits allowed). But Ryan Jensen has now also failed to get out of the 1st inning three times. Now, there is the caveat that the Cubs have an organization wide cap of 30-35 pitches during an inning where they will remove anybody once they reach that mark. At the MLB level Jensen would be asked to push beyond that point, and under those circumstances might be able to salvage some of these outings, but as of now there are still times where his command and control take a little while to settle in. His changeup and breaking ball have been developing nicely throughout this season, but he needs to continue working to find a routine which helps him pitch efficiently out of the gate, and that applies equally whether he eventually ends up as a starter or reliever (I still lean toward starter with Jensen).
Joining Jensen on the rollercoaster in 2021 has been fellow top prospect Burl Carraway. Carraway has experienced more downs than Jensen due to a breakdown in mechanics and the corresponding control issues (31 BB in 18 IP), but he’s also continued to show the impressive stuff (wicked spin on mid-90s heat and breaking pitches) which made him such a high draft pick. Carraway punched out 5 of the 6 batters he faced yesterday afternoon (to up his season total to 32 in 18 IP). He got a little help from the ump on the first K, and had a couple of mechanical missteps throughout the appearance, but Carraway was around the plate the whole time, and as long as he does that opposing hitters at this level have little chance against him.
Burl Carraway, the @Cubs' 2020 second-rounder out of @DBU_Baseball, with his best outing as a pro: 5 Ks in 2 perfect innings.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 21, 2021
More on the 22-year-old lefty: https://t.co/vGn40QXMww pic.twitter.com/enVPTc0Iwm
- Ethan Hearn: 1-3, BB (.183)
- Jarod Wright: 3 IP, 2 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K (3.33)
Filed under: Daily Cubs Minors Recap