Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Steele and pen combine for shutout; Lugo and Roberts continue dominant runs for Tennessee; Cabrera fires 5 no-hit innings

Justin Steele (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

Iowa 2, Louisville 0

Top Performers

  • Justin Steele: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K (W, 1-0, 1.21)
  • Ryan Meisinger: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K (4.56)
  • Tony Cingrani: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
  • Ben Leeper: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (S, 2, 1.53)
  • Frank Schwindel: 1-3, 2 RBI (.189)
  • Andrew Romine: 2-4 (.311)
  • Abiatal Avelino: 2-4 (.280)
  • Johneshwy Fargas: 2-4 (.275)
  • Ian Miller: 1-2, R (.286)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Firing 72 pitches over 5 innings, Justin Steele looks extremely comfortable and confident in his transition back to a starting pitcher. The same aggressive mentality which suited him so well out of the Chicago pen earlier this year (along with the new slider) has continued to work for him in the Iowa rotation. He’s also maintained his velocity jump (touching 97) with the move. Should the Cubs trade a starting pitcher at the deadline today, Steele looks ready for the challenge of returning to Chicago. He’s still not fully stretched out, but he should start throwing 80-90 pitches next time through, be it in Iowa or Chicago.

I missed Tony Cingrani‘s one inning of work, just as I have missed all of his outings since he joined Iowa earlier this month. I need to make sure I catch one soon. The veteran has not allowed an earned run in his first 6 games (5 IP).

Ben Leeper has bounced back after a couple of outings where he gave up solo homers last week. The fastball is sitting around 96-97 with carry and cut. He’s been improving his command of his upper-80s slider with hard downward tilt, and mixing in some high-70s curves as well. The Cubs will likely give 40-man roster members Manuel Rodriguez, Trevor Megill, and Tommy Nance opportunities during the second half as they look to replace Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel at the back of the Chicago bullpen, but it is likely a couple of 40-man spots are opened up as well, giving Leeper a chance to grab one, even if he will not be Rule 5 eligible for some time. My guess is though the Cubs might prioritize an opportunity for Ethan Roberts, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and perhaps even Cingrani, who will be Rule 5 eligible or free agents at the end of the season.

Greg Deichmann made his debut in RF and the leadoff spot for Iowa.

AA

Tennessee 2, Chattanooga 1

Top Performers

  • Luis Lugo: 5 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 6 K (W, 4-4, 4.44)
  • Brendon Little: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (3.78)
  • Ethan Roberts: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (S, 4, 2.03)
  • Brennen Davis: 2-2, BB, HBP (.266)
  • Cam Balego: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB (.261)
  • Zach Davis: 2-3, SB (9), CS (3) (.282)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 2-4, 2 R (.308)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I don’t know what’s gotten into Luis Lugo, but after being perhaps the worst pitcher in the org over the first month of the season, he’s maybe been their best since mid-June. Over his last 8 outings (30 IP) he’s allowed just 5 runs (3 earned) on 19 hits and 14 walks, while punching out 37. That’s a 0.90 ERA.

His 15.2 inning scoreless streak may have been snapped last time out, but Ethan Roberts got right back on track in this one, to earn his 4th save. As relievers begin filtering up from Iowa to replace traded bullpen arms in Chicago, I would expect Roberts to be the first callup to Iowa.

High-A

Quad Cities 11, South Bend 3

Top Performers

  • Bryce Ball: 2-4, 2B, R (.158)
  • Scott McKeon: 2-4, R, RBI (.095)
  • Delvin Zinn: 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB (.234)
  • D.J. Artis: 2-4 (.209)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

South Bend figures to receive some starting pitching help soon in the form of recently acquired LHP Bailey Horn and RHP Alexander Vizcaíno. Vizcaíno is 24-years old and already on the 40-man roster, so I would expect the Cubs would like to push him to AA at some point, but he had just gotten on the hill for the Yankees High-A affiliate after battling a shoulder issue this spring, so for the time being the Cubs may send him to the equivalent level as he works his way back.

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 9, Augusta 4

Top Performers

  • Ezequiel Pagan: 3-5, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI, SB (2) (.294)
  • Matt Warkentin: 2-4, 2B, HR (2), R, 4 RBI (.200)
  • Luis Verdugo: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI (.177)
  • Yohendrick Pinango: 2-5, 2B, R, SB (2) (.261)
  • Jordan Nwogu: 2-5, 2B, R, RBI (.212)
  • Alberto Sojo: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (W, 1-0, 4.40)
  • Carlos Ocampo: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (S, 3, 5.29)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

You aren’t going to find many starker contrasts in physical makeup than the two guys who homered for the Pelicans last night. Matt Warkentin is a mountainous 6’6″ 250 right handed first baseman. While Ezequiel Pagan (.315/.368/.480) is a wiry 6’1″ ~170 pound center fielder who swings from the left side. Warkentin is a former two-way Indy ball signing who isn’t much in the field. Pagan is a former 13th round sleeper prospect out of Puerto Rico who has been pretty good at the plate for Myrtle Beach out of the leadoff spot (and he lit up the AZL in a short stint). The 21-year old spent both 2018 and 19 in Mesa as he improved his size and strength. He didn’t hit much the first year, but picked up the pace the next season, and now looks even a little stronger now. He’s also a pretty good defender with above average speed.

After reaching in all 5 of his plate appearances Wednesday (a homer and 4 walks), Jordan Nwogu (.212/.327/.400) doubled and singled on Thursday. His overall numbers still appear kinda paltry, but his .280/.398/.585 line in July is among the best in the org. He’s really started to get dialed in. He’s on time with his bat through the hitting zone and being more selective at the plate. He’s an exciting athlete and one of the strongest guys in the system so it is nice to see him battle through the issues he had the first 6 or 7 weeks of the season.

AZL

Giants 1, Cubs 0 (Game 1)

Giants 4, Cubs 0 (Game 2)

Top Performers

  • Yovanny Cabrera: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K (4.05)
  • Johzan Oquendo: 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (L, 2-1, 0.75)
  • Marco Prieto: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K (16.20)
  • Ronnier Quintero: 2-3 (.125)
  • Malcolm Quintero: 2-3 (.333)
  • Juan Mora: 1-2, BB (.409)
  • Matt Burch: 1-1, BB (.455)
  • Owen Caissie: 1-3, 2B (.370)
  • Yeison Santana: 1-3 (.320)
  • Reivaj Garcia: 1-3 (.316)

DSL

Pirates 3, Cubs Blue 0

Giants 5, Cubs Red 3

Comments

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  • How did Greg Deichmann look as the leadoff hitter? I assume that since his stats are not listed in your summary that he came up empty yesterday.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    1 for 4 and scored one run.

  • In reply to John57:

    Thanks!

  • Nwogu is starting to get interesting. Good power, speed, and playing CF OK. I guess their tweaking of his swing is working so far.

  • Just read a comment on BCB about our 20th round pick signing with the Cubs for $10K and help with tuition at U of Chicago.

  • Kimbrel to the White Sox for a second baseman on the DL and a relief pitcher !
    I really thought the Cubs could have done much better.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    You clearly have no clue on who we got back.

    This is an awesome trade. Madrigal, Hoerner and Davis will be 1-3 in the lineup very soon.

    Madrigal doesn't strike out, makes a ton of contact. Great trade by Jed.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Sorry, I think the Cubs could have done better !

    Javy to the Mets ? Stay tuned !

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    And the manager will still put Contreras in the lead-off position !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Don’t worry. Jed will trade him soon.

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    And Kimbrel going to the White Sox too. At least they have a strong system.

  • So where does Hoerner play. I don’t think he has the arm long term for SS. I guess CF is a possibility or a super sub ala Zobrist. I think Madrigal would be a good lead off hitter but I would like it better if we didn’t have Hoerner.

  • Disgustingly bad move for Kimbrel. You don't trade your best trade commodity for a soft hitting 2B with limited upside. Sure Madrigal will be a half decent major leaguer for years, but he is what he is an average to slighly above average starter. Why do we want 2 soft hitting IF's in one lineup in Nico and Madrigal? Just not a good fit as a tandem. I would've preferred more higher upside prospects for the teams best trade chip, and the price to make a deal with our crosstown rivals starts with either Vaughn, Kopech, Luis Robert or Crochet after how they negotiated with us for Sale and Quintana. If you're gonna settle on a more limited upside return you have to at least get top prospect Jared Kelly to go with Madrigal. Officially losing my faith in Jed I didn't like his offseason moves, and the only return I've been happy with thus far was the return for Rizzo.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Kelly would have been a fair ‘ask’, for Kimbrel. Why the Cubs even ‘gave’ them Kimbrel, and Tepera for that matter, is a head scratcher. Reinsdorf would NEVER have allowed his GM to help the Cubs.

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    In reply to kkhiavi:

    Totally agree, with Kimbrel you have to get Abel from the Phillies, Allen from the Mets, Kelley Crochet or Kopech from the Sox, when do we realize we can't draft pitching ourselves....

  • Javy is indeed going to the Mets ! When Lindor comes back Javy
    will play 2nd base which is where the Cubs should have left him !

  • Haven’t heard return for Baez yet but who is left to watch. If they call this retooling I would hate to see what a rebuild looks like.

  • Just heard Armstrong is in the Baez deal. I’m starting to like the deal a little more.

  • In reply to PhillyCubFan:

    Yeah, me too ! Crow-Armstrong, former #1 pick, fast runner, could be the Cubs lead-off man in the future.
    Much better return than the W.Sox deal. And no, I'm not saying the players in the W.Sox deal aren't good. The Cubs should have gotten a front line pitcher in the deal.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Cubs weren't getting Robert back, so that wasn't an option.

    For the past 5 years, we have watched this team swing and miss and hit HR's to no avail. Having 2 guys that make contact, don't strike out and that can hit 35-40 doubles and 10-20 HR's while hitting 300 makes for a much more productive offense.

    And do not sleep on Heuer as a RP. Adds to the stock of guys at the MLB and AAA levels in the pen.

  • Appears cubs got another LT IL player in Baez trade Crow-Armstrong?

  • In reply to stix:

    By LT, are you referring to him being a lefthander?

  • Bryant to the Giants!

  • Just saw the highlights of Manuel Rodriquez last night. Wow!

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