Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Davis and Morel each blast 2 home runs; Roberts maintains scoreless streak; Carraway punches out 5 of 6 batters

Brennen Davis (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Columbus 7, Iowa 4

Top Performers

  • 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.

AA

Tennessee 12, Rocket City 8

Top Performers

  • 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.

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.

High-A

Wisconsin 7, South Bend 2

Top Performers

  • 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.

Low-A

Charleston 11, Myrtle Beach 0

Top Performers

  • Ethan Hearn: 1-3, BB (.183)
  • Jarod Wright: 3 IP, 2 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K (3.33)

Comments

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  • Good stuff Michael !
    The only good thing that came out of last night's contest was that Hendricks didn't get saddled with the loss.

  • Michael , once the new top 30 prospects list comes out , where do think Jordan Wicks will rank ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I have him behind Davis, Marquez, Amaya and Howard.
    I haven't seen Hernandez or Preciado, but those guys have enough buzz from scouts where it would seem likely he falls in behind them as well.
    So, 7th probably. But if someone wanted to argue he's in the same tier as Amaya/Howard that's fine. Davis, Marquez, Hernandez, Preciado are the higher ceiling guys. I'd question any list which puts him lower than 8th or 9th.
    Franklin, Morel, Jensen, Caissie, Strumpf are sort of the next tier, and assuming Triantos signs (which I do), he'll fall somewhere in this group as well.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael !

  • Trader Jed, come on time to get really aggressive trade,trade, & trade some more. Stop with the nonsense of resigning Baez or Rizzo before the deadline. Let the free agent market dictate the price after you trade them in the next 8 days...

    Cubs have very little player control for established players, & not much in the upper minors. Please trader Jed don’t waste the remaining value of pending free agents. Jed you need the practice because Cubs will need to be aggressive again this off-season, & could be sellers again in 2022 mid season if things don’t go well.

    When it comes to Rizzo I don’t think another team would pay him what the Cubs would. Trade him now, get a little something in return, & let Rizzo see how valuable he is during one of the largest free agent markets ever.

    I’m a broken record- sell-sell-sell

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I’m with you Naujack, ‘let the games begin’. I have been surprised how slow the trades are occurring. Hopefully there are a lot of them, in the hopper.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    AGREED ! LET'S MAKE A DEAL !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Amen!

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Do you really think Rizzo is tradeable even for nothing? He’s got 3 RBI in July , runs as fast as the tortoise and his back is preventing him from making his Gumby stretches at first.

  • In reply to stix:

    Yes, I do think Rizzo is tradeable! Cubs offered him $60 or $70 million just a few months ago.

    I don’t think the return for Rizzo by himself will be a lot. Better to be the second part of a package.

    It is impossible to know what teams are thinking?

    Rizzo & 1/2 his salary to Boston for a package like M. Chavis about to Be 26 years old, former 1st round pick 1b/2b on Red Sox 40, & maybe someone like Red Sox #25 prospect J. Chacon athletic 18 year old outfielder???

    Rizzo trade has to be a lower priority.

    Bryant, Baez, Kimbrel, & Chafin must all be dealt in my mind.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Bryant value may be as poor as Rizzo if he has a hamstring issue. If he’s healthy his defense versatility is more value than his offense since 6/1/2021. If anyone is looking for offense I’m not sure what he brings. Most recently Mets were a landing spot. Perhaps they take a shot since Lindor is probably out for 4-6 weeks. Kimbrel has the most value.

    Chafin is not a closer so as a setup pitcher his value isn’t too exciting. Saw an article recently that trade value of setup relievers is not very good even for good setup pitchers.

    Any ideas where Baez might land? That might set his value not sure of any contender in NL except Mets need a ss. I guess A’s in AL could use ss but I’m not confident value is there vs supplementary draft picks.

  • In reply to stix:

    This front office has done package trades in the past. I assume most Cubs trades in the next week will be package deals?

    I think Baez is near perfect fit for White Sox, not sure if Jed would want to trade with them?

    The media seems to say fans won’t be happy with return in trades, but then make up nonsense deals like Bryant & Kimbrel both to Mets.

    Jed, suffered through the rebuild. I hope he is smart enough, & tough enough to make some good decisions before the trade deadline.

    Cubs are a .500 team, with very little player control beyond this season. That screams fire sale!!!! That is why I don’t understand the idea of holding onto any pending free agent.

    I assume Cubs will package players together & include money to get acceptable trade returns. Cubs focus seems to be lower level hitting prospects, & pitching prospects of all size, shapes, & ages.

    Cubs are a large market team that could have a big sell-off mid-season, & then be big spenders this off-season if they want. How many teams have actually done that in the past? I think the Cubs could compete in the NL central next year with some luck.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Key question , do you want to keep any of the core four? Do you think cubs could get more than supplementary draft type players in any trades(besides Kimbrel). Not sure cubs got much in Darvish deal and he had three years of control.

    If you don’t want the core four or don’t think the supplemental draft is better than cubs can get then please trade them all.

  • In reply to stix:

    I'd like to keep Baez. There are things about Javy (discussed) that are troubling, but the Cubs will hesitate trading that kind of pure talent. And basically, he is a pretty good teammate. He can prIce himself away or leave on his own this winter, but no team will offer what it would take to pry him loose at the deadline.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Regarding trading Javy, there was an interesting take that I saw earlier. Javy in Yankee Stadium, could become the player he should be. If he played in a stadium with an inviting RF like they have there - it could be enough to actually get Javy to seriously, make a real effort to go the other way.
    But staying here in Chicago, I don’t know if that would ever happen.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agree, plus the mega media exposure, that Javy gyrates on, would fit his personality. It wouldn't be the same for the Mets or Cubs even. He's designed to be a Yankee and expect them to out bid other orgs this winter.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    It's like high stakes poker. The big pots are on the last hand.

  • Q.
    Does David Ross use a OUIJA BOARD to help him make out the line-up card ?
    Swing Javy swing !

  • Adbert did a pretty good job tonight. It looks like he's figuring out how to be a successful pitcher. Its too bad he had to take the loss.

  • In Keith Law's new top 50, he pushed Brennen Davis up to the 20th spot !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Davis is very good. Not surprised that he is moving up the prospect ranks.

  • For me once again the 2021 draft shows how much the Cubs stink at draft bonus money management.

    The Cubs selecting a 2nd round high school player should know what his agent is asking for in bonus. If Cubs knew he wanted $900k or more over cap, why take two high school players in the 11th, & 12 round when you should know before you pick team would have zero extra bonus money to use?

    This seem like a little things, but the draft/amateur scouting is already such a crapshoot. Draft Slot bonus Money management Cubs just seem below average, good teams like the dodgers are better at it then the Cubs.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I think that they changed strategy when Wicks and Franklin were still on the board at one and four. They scrambled some after that. Not that I would know, but I believe that it was a good draft..

  • In reply to 44slug:

    You might be right, but in 2019 Cubs didn’t sign their 10th, & 11th draft picks. This year drafted & did not sign two high school players in 11th, & 12th round.

    Other MLB teams even ones with lower draft slot dollars just seem to most years do slightly better than the Cubs.

    The Cubs say they want to build a team that has a good/solid minor league foundation. That is hard too do, when all teams invest so much into those departments all trying to out scout, & out develop each other.

    Cubs system seems to be improving. They don’t seem as good in those department as other well run large market organizations. At least my 2 cents from a complete outsider.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I don't have any inside information. Do you? How do you know that the Cubs and their 2nd round pick did not sign at the pre draft agreed to price?

  • In reply to John57:

    I assume Cubs knew Triantos price, & paid an amount real close to that when they drafted him.

    Why would the Cubs the select two high school players in 11th, & 12th round, they usually require some left over bonus money?

    Not a big deal, but two out of last three drafts Cubs have not done as good a job of signing draft picks in rounds all other teams usually sign. Not a big deal by itself. I know the Cubs made changes, but being below average at player development makes it harder to build winners.....

    Maybe I’m not a realistic fan, but for the prices Cubs charge I now expect them to be the class act big market team of the mid-west!

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