Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Davis doubles and homers; Roberts and Lugo continue putting up zeroes; Wick starts rehab; Ball debuts; Estrada still dominating

Jeremiah Estrada (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

Iowa 3, Toledo 2

Top Performers

  • Ian Miller: 1-3, HR (1), R, RBI, 2 BB (.275)
  • Michael Hermosillo: 1-3, HR (7), R, RBI (.312)
  • Nick Martini: 2-3, BB (.250)
  • Justin Steele: 3 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K (1.35)
  • Scott Effross: 2 IP, H, R, BB, 3 K (W, 2-2, 5.11)
  • Tommy Nance: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (3.09)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Matt Duffy started and batted 2nd, David Bote batted 3rd. Neither has worked up to finishing a game yet, but we’ll start seeing that this week. Possible one or both may be able to return to Chicago by next weekend, but the Cubs won’t rush either.

The Justin Steele starting pitcher re-conversion continues at pace. He ramped up to 60 pitches this time out, striking out 5 while completing 3 shutout innings. The slider he developed in 2020 has helped him become more efficient in getting ahead and putting away hitters than the last time we saw him as a starter in 2019, when he often had to rely solely on his fastball to put more advanced hitters away. His timeline for reaching 5-6 innings aligns well with the trade deadline later this month, when the Cubs figure to need a replacement for Zach Davies.

Ben Leeper saw his 15.2 IP no-hit streak snapped when he surrendered a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 9th. He’s walk two batters and throw a wild pitch in an uncharacteristically wild inning, but he still managed to nail down the save.

Ian Miller got off to a really slow start the first month of the season (.194). When the injury bug hit the org hardest, he was one of the few healthy regulars in the upper levels, but he wasn’t able to give the club a boost by performing up to his usual levels. However, since June 3rd, Miller has quietly been Iowa’s most steady performer, batting .336/.387/.421 at the plate. Miller still has speed but has not been running much on the bases this year. Not sure why.

Michael Hermosillo continues to make his case for a post-trade deadline promotion to Chicago:

It hasn’t been nearly the turnaround that Ian Miller has had, but all of a sudden Nick Martini has begun to hit after struggling for much of the year. He’s now recorded 3 straight mult-hit games to raise his season average from .211 to .250. Martini was due for some BABIP luck. Despite his average being in the low-200s most of the year, he has been drawing walks (.380 OBP).

AA

Tennessee 2, Mississippi 0

Top Performers

  • Luis Lugo: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 7 K (W, 3-3, 4.50)
  • Erich Uelmen: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (4.89)
  • Ethan Roberts: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 3, 1.63)
  • Brennen Davis: 2-4, 2B, HR (5), R, RBI (.282)
  • Tyler Payne: 2-4 (.218)
  • Chase Strumpf: 1-3, 2B, BB (.173)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 1-3, BB (.234)
  • Jared Young: 1-4, 2B, R (.397)
  • Levi Jordan: 1-3 (.264)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

What a turnaround for swingman Luis Lugo. I’ve mentioned it after some of his recent outings, but after getting off to a dreadful start to the 2021 season with a well earned 10.10 ERA in 7 games (6 starts), Lugo was moved to the pen, where he quickly seemed to find his game. Since then he’s been great. Over his last 6 appearances (2 starts) he has not allowed an earned run (2 unearned runs) to drop his season ERA to a respectable 4.50. In his 23.1 IP the big lefty has allowed just 11 hits, 11 walks (but just 2 over his last 12 IP), while punching out 30 batters.

Ethan Roberts extended his shutout streak to 14.2 IP (4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 20 K).

As well as Lugo and Roberts have been pitching, the big story from this one is the continued development of Brennen Davis. Not only did he line an opposite field double off the wall in RCF in his first plate appearance, but he then added an oppo bomb in his next. I love Davis’s gap-to-gap approach geared toward making contact, which just lets his easy plus power come through without having to overswing.

High-A

South Bend 7, Cedar Rapids 3

Top Performers

  • Delvin Zinn: 2-4, RBI, BB (.239)
  • Bryce Ball: 1-3, 2B, R, BB (.333)
  • Josue Huma: 1-3, R, RBI, BB (.237)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, 2B, R, RBI, SB (9) (.275)
  • Harrison Wenson: 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI (.122)
  • Samuel Reyes: 3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (4.04)
  • Eduarniel Nunez: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K (W, 1-1, 6.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Rowan Wick, who figures to be a key piece of the Cubs bullpen post-trade deadline, began his rehab assignment with South Bend in… nice fashion. He struck out the side on 13 pitches.

A solid Cubs organizational debut for Bryce Ball:

Low-A

Columbia 7, Myrtle Beach 0 (Game 1)

Myrtle Beach 2, Columbia 0 (Game 2)

Top Performers

  • Jeremiah Estrada: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.46)
  • Jarod Wright: 3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (W, 1-1, 3.38)
  • D.J. Herz: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K (L, 1-4, 3.86)
  • Fabian Pertuz: 3-4, 2 2B, RBI, SB (2) (.243)
  • Yohendrick Pinango: 2-6, R (.265)
  • Ed Howard: 1-3 (.215)
  • Kevin Made: 1-3 (.206)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jeremiah Estrada reached 50 pitches. My guess is the Cubs don’t want to overtax him while he builds up his pitch counts, but Low-A hitters aren’t taxing him much either. They’ll need to get him to South Bend sometime in the near future.

AZL

Cubs 2, Athletics 1

Top Performers

  • Yovanny Cabrera: 3 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 2 K (2.45)
  • Rony Baez: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
  • Andricson Salvador: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (W, 3-0, 1.59)
  • Reivaj Garcia: 1-1, 2B, R (1.000)
  • Ismael Mena: 1-3, 2B (.213)
  • Flemin Bautista: 1-3, R (.333)

DSL

Cubs Red 6, Cubs Blue 2 (7 Innings)

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    thank you again Michael. It seems as though many of our top prospects are really finding their footing now. What did you mean about finding a pitcher for Zach Davies--is he hurt or traded?

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I'm assuming Davies gets dealt at the deadline. Even though he hasn't been great this year, with the need for SPs around baseball right now, he'll net a solid return.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I think so too, but so far I haven't found any news. When Scott Feldman was traded to the Orioles he was 7-6 and a 3.46 ERA. Today Davies is 5-6 and a 4.37 ERA so maybe we won't be getting a Strop and Arrieta.

  • Willson is sitting today after going 3 for 4 with a HR yesterday???

    WHY SIT A HOT HITTER ??? WHY NOT SIT A HITTER THAT IS SLUMPING INSTEAD??

    This is what Madden did. I just do not understand it, if you are playing to win each game.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Rules are different for catcher. Day game after a night game. Contreras has played more than any catcher in the league already.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I understand to be a little more careful for a catcher, especially Willson, and I realize he has played an enormous amount of ballgames but there were plenty of times to sit Willson when he was in a minor slump and will probably plenty more

    I believe we should never take out someone that is HOT especially with this offense. Streaks are just temporary and we should take advantage of them while they last.

    BTW, I really appreciate all you have done for us and I have a very deep respect for all your writings and opinions. Thanks Michael.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Generally I would agree with you but yesterday was a day game wasn’t it?

  • Anyone see that we claimed a 1B named Schwindel?

  • Mr Ricketts all I want for XMAS is a bona fide Lead - Off man.!
    Angel Hernandez, your still a lousy Umpire, you
    can't even Umpire 1st base !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    the best lead off possibilities are B Davis who is 21 and I Mena who is 18 that I see. There may be other good ones that were in the last draft.

  • fb_avatar

    Yesterday they were commenting the Cubs had their top hitters 1-4 in the line up, why not spread them out so if you get something going you can bunt or hit and run with the Happs, Wisdoms,Heywards.
    Right now Hoerner should be leading off, we have to find out where he fits in the lineup, batting him toward the bottom does no good, lineup should be Hoerner, Rizzo, Bryant, Wisdom,Contrares,Heyward, Baez. I know Baez drives in runs,but until he starts to go to right and ease up on his swing, he should be batting 6th or 7th.
    This is where we should have changed a month ago, now it is only till we trade half the team...

  • 3rd time though the lineup. It is time to take Davies out of the game. As bad as Arizona is, they are teeing off on Davies now. Don't worry about hurting Davies' trade value, leaving him in could make him look worse. We have plenty of relievers.

  • Is Happ even hitting his weight? He has been steadily moving up in Ks and is now tied for 3rd place with KB who has over 60 more ABs. Pretty soon his number of strikeouts could be higher than his Batting Average.

    How many times does it take Rossy and Cub's management to "bang their heads against the wall" before they realize something isn't working?

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    Does Happ have any options left? Prayerfully he does, and maybe they could swap him with Hermosillo? Unless he's not on the 40............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    He does this every year except this is his worst year so far.

    Sorry but they need to get rid of him somehow and I don't think it really matters how.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    I agree with you, it's too bad really............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I don't think so. We know Happ is much better than he has been this year. Actually, he probably will continue to get playing time in hopes that he can get back on his game.

  • After trade deadline. Hermosillo to chicago then Davis to Iowa! It looks like they are stretching out Steele to take over as a starter after the deadline. I would like to see them do the same with Thompson.

    After deadline I would love to see a rotation of: Hendricks, Alzolay, Stewart, Steele & Thompson.

  • Amen!

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    (in response to bleachercreature)

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