Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Hearn goes deep twice, Nwogu, Warkentin once as Pelicans bust out for 15 runs; Triantos signs; Miller, Avelino, Maldonado, and Artis stay hot

Ethan Hearn (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

MLB Draft

The Cubs signed 2nd round pick James Triantos yesterday, to a $2.1M bonus which eats up the final amount of the bonus money for this draft. It is still possible the Cubs can come to terms with 19th rounder RHP Daniel Avitia and/or 20th round LHP Wilson Cunningham for the maximum $125K bonus allowed in those rounds. We’ll see.

As for Triantos, I’m pretty excited about his bat. He takes an aggressive swing, getting his entire body involved, but it isn’t out of control. He isn’t hacking. Triantos does step in the bucket, which I wouldn’t mind seeing him work on, but at least in the prep ranks it hasn’t affected his ability to produce. He’s got emerging power and most exciting, Triantos was able to make contact at astounding rates, despite that aggressive swing.

There wasn’t as much hype around him as some guys who played more the last couple of years, but it is clear the Cubs are excited about his potential (2.1M is a big bonus, almost twice what Davis/Roederer/Strumpf got as recent 2nd rounders), and frankly so am I. There isn’t a ton of video available, especially on his defense, so I can’t give anything in depth yet, and he’s likely not to play outside Mesa the rest of this year, so we’ll have to rely on reports out of Arizona from other sources. He should open 2022 in Myrtle Beach though.

AAA

Columbus 4, Iowa 3

Top Performers

  • Abiatal Avelino: 2-4, 3B, RBI, SB (11) (.278)
  • Caleb Knight: 1-2, 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB (.333)
  • Ian Miller: 2-5, RBI (.279)
  • Alfonso Rivas: 1-3, BB (.276)
  • Joe Biagini: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K (5.09)
  • Matt Swarmer: 3 IP, 4 H, R, 0 BB, 0 K (7.41)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I didn’t watch how he did, but I see you out in left field Alfonso Rivas (.276/.376/.437). I also see you threw a guy out. It was his 2nd start in LF this year, and 17th in his career between RF/LF. That skillset would greatly improve his odds of securing a future bench role.

AA

Rocket City 6, Tennessee 3

Top Performers

  • Christopher Morel: 2-4, 2B, R (.211)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 1-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB (.294)
  • Edwin Figuera: 2-4, R (.360)
  • Darius Hill: 2-5, R (.278)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Keep doing your thing, Nelson Maldonado (.294/.375/.454). I’m still not sure it’s enough to get you a legitimate MLB shot given your defensive profile, but you are turning into a heck of a Minor League contributor with a chance at a long AAA career. And from there you are always just one step, one injury away from an opportunity in the bigs.

Edwin Figuera (.298/.365/.340) has been a slick Indy Ball signing for the Cubs thus far. The organization was desperate for middle infielders as injuries ravaged the position earlier this year. Since joining the org in June he’s contributed with the bat and glove. He mostly hits the ball on the ground, but enough of them have found holes, along with some line drives, at both Iowa and now Tennessee.

High-A

South Bend 6, Wisconsin 4

Top Performers

  • Dean Nevarez: 2-5, 2B, HR (1), R, 2 RBI (.400)
  • Jake Slaughter: 3-4, 2 RBI, HBP, CS (2) (.247)
  • Tyler Durna: 3-6, R, RBI (.250)
  • D.J. Artis: 2-4, R, 2 BB (.181)
  • Bryce Ball: 1-4, BB (.133)
  • Matteo Bocchi: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 4 K (3.16)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Matteo Bocchi has proven a valuable org arm for the Cubs this season. Expected to eat up some innings in middle relief for South Bend at the beginning of the season, he got off to a good start, even heading up to Tennessee when injuries struck there to absorb some innings, and now back in South Bend he’s been forced into the rotation… and been pretty good. He changes speeds from a low arm angle making him tough for young hitters to get a read on him. I don’t see it playing higher up the ladder, but he’s been a bit of a savior in South Bend this season.

Catcher Dean Narvarez is a 24-year old former Mariners IFA signing out of Mexico, who found himself out of organized ball during 2020. The Cubs signed him to a Minor League deal earlier this month to provide depth after a couple of injuries at the position. He got into one AZL game, and now makes a nice first impression with South Bend as he clubbed a double and homer last night.

The Cubs didn’t give D.J. Artis (.179/.338/.366) the easiest assignments this season. He functioned as an org guy the first 6 weeks or so, bouncing between High-A, AA, and AAA, whenever injuries struck down a regular. He never received consistent at bats until the last few weeks as he’s finally settled into left field for South Bend and it has allowed him to find a groove. He’s hit .265/.405/.559 with an unexpected 3 home runs in July.

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 15, Charleston 1

Game Recap

recap

Top Performers

  • Ethan Hearn: 2-6, 2 HR (3, 4), 2 R, 2 RBI (.190)
  • Matt Warkentin: 3-5, HR (1), 3 R, 3 RBI (.207)
  • Jordan Nwogu: 3-6, 3B, HR (6), 2 R, 3 RBI (.200)
  • Ed Howard: 3-5, 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SB (4, 5) (.218)
  • Fabian Pertuz: 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI (.207)
  • Pablo Aliendo: 1-3, 2B, 3 BB, R, SB (2) (.282)
  • Yohendrick Pinango: 2-6, 2 R (.259)
  • Didier Vargas: 6 IP, 5 H, R, 3 BB, 2 K (W, 4-2, 4.79)
  • Danis Correa: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K (2.50)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

We’ve seen flashes of power from Ethan Hearn (.190/.286/.349) throughout the season, and over the last month he has begun stringing together better at bats. This was the first time we’ve really seen it blend together in one game though as the young lefty swinger bashed a pair of homers. There’s no doubting he is a strong young man, as he’s also shown off an impressive arm behind the plate. I do have concern that his power is derived more so from strength than by bat speed, which keeps him lower on my prospect rankings, but Hearn has been solid behind the plate, which was a question in pre-draft scouting reports. I do think he will stick back there and not have to move to 1B, so that takes a lot of pressure off the bat. I wouldn’t expect him to hit for high averages, but a catch-and-throw guy with above average pop has use in the Majors.

A guy whose physical skills were never in doubt, but who similarly struggled through the opening stretch of the season is 2020 3rd rounder Jordan Nwogu (.200/.298/.373). He was all out of sorts at the plate, with his timing off by horrendous amounts the first month (it seriously looked like his bat was coming through the zone as the ball was hitting the catcher’s glove). He’s slowly rounded into form after getting a few weeks off to retool, grinding his way back toward the Mendoza Line.

He finally made it last night thanks to a three hit game. One of those hits was a homer as part of back-to-back action with Hearn to kick off the Pelicans scoring outburst in the 2nd inning. As long as he stays on time with his swing and gets enough loft, I don’t question whether Nwogu’s power will translate. He is not only as strong as just about anyone in the system, but he has the bat speed to match. His exit velos are noticeably higher than other players without needing to check the data. As an added bonus, Nwogu has unexpectedly been able to man CF, and hasn’t looked out of place out there. I’m not sure it is a long term fit, but it is nice to know it is in his tool kit. You know how I feel about RH COFs.

Not to be overlooked amid the power outburst by Hearn, Nwogu and Matt Warkentin, is the all around offensive game turned in by Ed Howard (.218/.263/.299). Three hits, including a double, with 3 RBI, and 2 stolen bases. The numbers still don’t look great, but he was another guy who the rust was apparent at the beginning of the season, and his lack of experience certainly played a roll too.

Pablo Aliendo (.282/.389/.444) quietly reached base 4 times (double and 3 walks, plus a stolen base). He’s been beginning to show more patience at the plate of late, a good sign for him.

I’m not sure how relatively soft tossing Didier Vargas does it sometimes, other than being your quintessential crafty lefty.

Keep an eye on reliever Danis Correa (18 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 9 BB, 28) though. He’s pretty small (sub 6’0″ RHP), but he’s always had an electric arm capable of touching the upper-90s. Injuries have held him back in previous seasons, but he’s been healthy in 2021, and he’s starting to improve his breaking ball while throwing a decent amount of strikes. The 21-year old could receive a promotion to South Bend as a couple of college pitchers from the draft get ramped up. Have I mentioned the Cubs suddenly have a ton of hard throwing relief prospects this year?

AZL

Rockies 18, Cubs 2

Top Performers

  • Yeison Santana: 2-3, R (.333)
  • Reggie Preciado: 1-3, R (.379)
  • Owen Caissie: 1-3, RBI (.371)
  • Reivaj Garcia: 1-2 (.333)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

trends

DSL

Dodgers 5, Cubs Blue 2

Brewers1 5, Cubs Red 4

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Well, you were right Michael, the Cubs finally got their 3rd baseman of the future !
    Now, how about some trades ! Now, only if the Cubs could get Javy to listen to the hitting coach and get a designated
    runner for Contreras the Cubs would be in business !

  • Thanks Michael, and good call on Triantos.
    Have you seen enough of Aliendo on defense, to say how that part of his game should develop?

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    He's quick and his arm is strong enough. My one concern is he isn't very big. If he tops out as a backup that isn't a big deal, but I have a hard time projecting him to catch 100 times, unless he adds more weight than I expect.

    He's a good enough athlete though, where he could potentially play elsewhere. He's already played a game at 3B. I think he could fit there. Todd Johnson with Cubs Insider thinks he could play 2B. LF/RF also potential landing spots. I'm not sure he ends up full time anywhere besides C either, but I'll be curious how Cubs develop him the next couple of years. Does he become a C/CI/COF version of Christopher Morel?

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    That would be awesome, prayerfully he does; really like the guy............

  • Wow, good callI, I don't know if I have ever seen anyone quicker through the strike zone than Nwogu I'm keeping an eye in him.

  • With the blown saves on the east and west coast last night, somebody should pull the trigger on acquiring Kimbrel.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Yeah, only a matter of time.

  • fb_avatar

    Does Triantos merit $2.1M? I'm sure I've read the reviews everyone else has and it seems he has some plus qualities but that's an awful lot of money for someone without an elite tool. I hope he succeeds, it's not my money and I like what Kantrovitz has done, but just wondering.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    As long as Theo isn't drafting, I'm comfortable with what the Cubs are
    doing in the draft !

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It's not our money.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    Of course it is. It's a business.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I thought I read he had consistent hard contact with only striking out 2 times last year. He batted .700. That sounds elite like an elite bat to me.

  • Why is Morgan pitching, rather than the myriad of other better options in Iowa?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Really, watching Morgan pitch does not evoke confidence. Another project from another team.

  • How many outings would it realistically take to stretch Thompson out, without having to send him to Iowa? Prayerfully we trade Davies, and Thompson seems like the best option to replace him; God-willing the front office / Ross agrees.......

  • Cubbies. are losing but it interesting watching the game to see if there are any goodby's in the dugout !
    Mills pitched a good five innings. Go Cubs!

  • Cubbies. are losing but it interesting watching the game to see if there are any goodby's in the dugout !
    Mills pitched a good five innings. Go Cubs!

  • It's good to see Bryant playing healthy. I don't know about those triples tho. Looks like a good to tweak a hamstring. Let the bidding began.

  • For Ross to protect his catcher, he almost had to push Willson to the clubhouse. That's why we like them both.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Ross stinks and Wilson Contreras is a big horses ass. Did he argue that call after 90 minute rain delay? What a clown!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    At least , Contreras didn't screw up on the bases !

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Reports are saying Contreras is available for the right price. Seattle needs a catcher, do we have a match ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Everybody is available fir the right price.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Bigger question do the cubs have a catcher if they trade Contreras? Took six tries to find a back up who turns out to be older than Methuselah.

  • In reply to stix:

    Miguel Amaya should be MLB ready, he is rehabbing in AZ.

  • Surprise team, the Phillies scouts are in Wrigley scouting Kimbrel ? Who else might the Phillies be interested in ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Bigger question, who do the Phillies have to offer?

  • In reply to 44slug:

    How about their manager Joe !

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Very good question, I saw NO ONE............except my cousin Damon Jones, who is their #13 prospect, and was GREAT, and now is prayerfully coming out of it.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    .......and now is prayerfully coming out of a little funk, after being great to start the season, sorry............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Jones is a big kid. If he can get harness his control, he would be an absolute stud ! Their #1 prospect Abel would certainly be worth
    waiting for ! (2014 ).

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Thanks! Yeah, God-willing he can; our Grandpa played in the NBA back when you didn't make any money (won a gold medal in the '60 Olympics), so there's definitely athletic ability there.......

  • Wrigley is rockin ! Stay tuned !

  • I know the D-Backs stink but I like the approach their hitters are taking at the plate. I wonder if their hitting coach will be available
    after this year ?

  • Cudo's to Williams ! Best pitched game in a while ! Unusual to see empty seats in the boxes, field boxes, and bleachers on a Sunday ! Is this due to Covid or a lack of interest in a sub par team?
    Contreras stealing a bag, o no, a monster has been created !

  • We need to trade, like everyone; bases loaded, no outs............and no runs, against the worst team in baseball?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Geez Rossi, Morgan again ? Wasn't Pedro Stroup available ? When the Cubs had bases loaded with no outs and couldn't score, this is
    a sign to rid themselves of certain players and a hitting coach !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Amen!

  • I'm glad the Cubs won, but there hitting philosophy is flawed and I can't be the only one who see's this. Whether its the players or the hitting coach, changes need to be made.

  • Trade Deadline is Friday. Jed Cubs are a 4th place team. Why would a large market mediocre team not squeeze out whatever value they can from Bryant, Báez, Kimbrel, Davies, Rizzo, Chafin, Tepera, Marisnick, & Duffy?

    This nonsense about not getting enough return in a trade, so you hold onto a couple Baez, Bryant, &/or Rizzo, to receive an extra draft pick after the second round around pick #75 is what good teams trying to win do. This team was taylor made to be massive sellers, what is the hold up? Be a massive seller!!!

    Jed your the President now, make your mark! Clean house this week, & get the best return you can.

    Jed you talked about roster turn over being natural enough, & this is the last week Cubs actually have control over the direction of the roster turnover!

    Make lots of deals, I personally see zero reason Báez, Bryant, & others to be on the team by Saturday.

    Sell, trade, sell, trade I’m a broken record. Cubs are in 4th place with the pending big name free agent World Series heroes. Cubs can be a 4th place team in 2021 without then too.

Leave a comment