Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Thompson and Martini homer; Alcantara and Rivas make cases for call up; Clarke debuts in South Bend

Alfonso Rivas (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

Columbus 6, Iowa 5

Top Performers

  • Trayce Thompson: 2-4, HR (11), 2 R, RBI (.225)
  • Nick Martini: 1-5, HR (7), R, RBI (.253)
  • Ian Miller: 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SB (9) (.278)
  • Tony Wolters: 1-2, R, 2 BB (.273)
  • Sergio Alcantara: 1-4, BB (.333)
  • Alfonso Rivas: 1-4, BB (.284)
  • Michael Rucker: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (4.81)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Veteran outfielders Ian Miller (.278/.333/.354) and Nick Martini (.253/.388/.445) continue to swing hot sticks. Miller hit .343 in June and has followed it up with a .300 average in July. Martini spent the first couple of months getting inconsistent at bats in Iowa and Chicago, but he’s found his groove of late. Over his last 10 games he is batting .406 with a .536 OBP and 3 home runs.

Chicago fans have already seen a decent amount of Sergio Alcantara (.333/.474/.493) this season. They know he provides really good defense with a strong arm. He’s also got a decent eye at the plate and some unexpected pop in his bat (when he makes contact). The contact has not been as much of an issue at AAA (20 BB/20 K in 75 ABs). He’s picked up right where he left off when his excellent play at the AAA level prompted his promotion to Chicago (.171/.266/.354), as he’s reached base 7 times during his 3 games back with Iowa. It has only translated in spurts at the MLB level thus far, but Alcantara, who just turned 25, will undoubtedly get another shot after the trade deadline. Until then, he can regain some confidence.

Another player aligning himself for a post trade deadline call up is 1B/LF Alfonso Rivas (.284/.414/.474). Acquired from Oakland two offseasons ago, Rivas has finally gotten to show off the skills which made him appealing to the Cubs. He lacks the power profile of a typical first baseman, and his defense in left field is still an open question, but the 24-year old left-handed hitter does a few things at the plate the Cubs could use more of: he makes contact (< 20 K%), he uses the whole field, and he gets on base (21 BB/HBP compared to 23 K). He isn’t putting the ball in the air a lot, but since he opened the season a little rusty with 7 games in June (2-for-20), he’s gone on to hit .333/.468/.560 in July. Whether the Cubs move Anthony Rizzo or not, there should still be enough roster room after the trade deadline to begin letting Rivas get his feet wet in the Majors. He’s Rule 5 eligible, so they’ll need to make 40-man room regardless, and the Cubs will want to take a look at him with an eye toward 2022.

AA

Tennessee Susp

High-A

Wisconsin 3, South 0

Game Recap

A complete no-show by the South Bend offense (3 hits, 4 walks). Good news did come out of this one in the form of Chris Clarke making his first start for the Cubs. He’d made one appearance in Mesa earlier in the week, and then in his first taste of full season affiliate ball on Sunday he did pretty darn good. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but his line is kind of what I would expect from him at this level. Clarke features a fastball he can run up into the mid-90s, a really good curve, and has always managed pretty solid command and control. If he stays healthy, I’d expect him to make his way to AA at some point during the 2nd half, with an eye toward him competing for a slot in the Iowa rotation next spring.

Top Performers

  • Chris Clarke: 4 IP, 4 H, R, 0 BB, 3 K (L, 0-1, 2.25)
  • Jake Washer: 1-2, BB (.193)
  • Jake Slaughter: 1-2, BB, CS (3) (.244)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Rowan Wick completed his rehab assignment with South Bend. He looked ready to return to big league action.

Max Bain was placed on the developmental list. A big topic in the blogoshphere and social media over the offseason, Bain is a feel good story who went undrafted, lost more than 50 pounds, got big into the Driveline trend and started throwing mid-to-upper-90s with promising spin on his breaking balls. It’s been a rocky transition for him to take a turn pitching every 5 days in the South Bend rotation. There have certainly been flashes, his fastball in particular has popped at times, but the consistency just hasn’t been there.

Despite having the frame and stamina you look for in a starter, I’ve never been convinced he is the type of athlete capable of repeating his delivery to command his pitches well enough to be a starter. I certainly hope I am wrong, and there is still big reliever potential for Bain even if I’m right, but for the time being it appears they want to have him step back and worth through some things outside of game action. My guess is there is a mechanical issue they’ve identified which they want him to sort through before sending him back out.

Low-A

Charlseton 7, Myrtle Beach 0

Game Recap

Myrtle Beach also had a rough day at the dish, managing just 5 hits and a walk. They too received a solid start, in their case from Richard Gallardo, who had his power sinker working (9-to-1 GO-to-FO). A throwing error by Ed Howard led to three unearned runs in the 3rd.

Top Performers

  • Richard Gallardo: 5 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 ER, BB, 3 K (L, 2-6, 4.60)
  • Bailey Reid: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (3.82)
  • Ezequiel Pagan: 2-4 (.264)
  • Kevin Made: 1-3 (.200)

Comments

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  • Good morning Michael,
    If the Cubs are going to trade , let's go Cubbies! Make the deal !
    For all of you that were upset about the Yu Darvish trade, its
    turning out pretty good for the Cubbies since Yu is getting
    shelled pretty good his last few outings.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Yu still has 2 yrs on his deal so a period of 7/8 games is not the determining factor. Given the cubs hitting woes,I don’t think having YU would have solved this years issues. Maybe some of the lottery tickets will be a winner and then we can determine whether the trade was worth it. If Yu was on the cubs would they be able to attract better free agents next year? Another factor to consider.

  • In reply to stix:

    Good point on trading Yu now than before when the Cubs traded him. I truly believe this trade will work out for the Cubs.
    The big problem with the Cubs is that their hitting philosophy is flawed. This all or nothing scoring with hitting home runs doesn't work. A mix with players that can put the ball in play and advance runners is sorely needed. Ross claims he wants to play small ball
    however, I don't think he has the players to do this !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I agree with you, the Yu trade will work out very well for the Cubs. The thing is we won't know for a while because three of the four prospects have high ceilings but are so young. I am assuming Yu will generate more value than Davies but who knows maybe not. If just one of Mena/Cassie/Preciado hit their ceiling the Cubs win the trade. If more than one hit their ceiling, the Cubs fleeced the Pads.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    His month of July has not been good, but prior to that he was very good. Maybe there’s a mechanical issue with him at the moment or dead arm period.

  • What's with Contreras leading off ? Am I missing something ? I can't believe Ross keeps putting him in the leadoff spot.
    Once again with men on bases, the Cubs cannot score. If Ross sent Hoerner to home on a ball hit to the third baseman its bad managing or a base running mistake .
    I really hope the Cubs acquire a new hitting coach.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    LOL.

  • Soler's pretty locked in............

  • Morgan actually did pretty good right there.......

  • fb_avatar

    Again JHey doesn't do it. If he had played 10 or 15 years that ball would have been into CF, now, with the shift, it's an easy DP.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Too true............do we ban the shift? And do we ask Rossi: "Really, JHey for Chirinos?"

  • 26 year old Greg Deichmann one of 2 from the A's.

    Fangraphs page doesn't impress.

  • In reply to Oneear:

    A outfielder, slow afoot for Chafin ! Just what the Cubs need, another outfielder.
    I can hardly contain my enthusiasm !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I checked a couple of sites and one had him at a 40 for speed and one had him at 50 or average. He’s a left handed bat, strong arm, hitting .300 in AAA and was the A’s 9th rated prospect. The pitcher throws 100mph so has upside. I’m fine with the trade.

  • That was thrilling and Wrigley was rocking. Part of me would just like Javy to just run to first and celebrate with his teammates, without the, in your face stuff, but apparently not in today's baseball. Baez is proving lately, that he is more capable of game situational approach, when he takes a notion. Now if he can convince himself to stay with it, the baseball world will be his oyster.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I'm glad the Cubbies picked up a pitcher in this trade, another outfielder, meh !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Fangraphs has the outfielder as Oaklands 8th prospect and the young starting pitcher as their 12th prospect. Both rated as 40+ prospects. Not bad in my opinion.

  • In reply to John57:

    Greg Deichmann has a high rating in raw power and carries a good batting average at this point. He plays corner outfield and first with a left side bat. I think fans forget sometimes, that a middle of the order lefty with a modicum of power is a must. I like the trade and expect to see Deickmann in Wrigley one day, tho he still has work to do.

  • OK,
    Who were the Red Sox scouting at Wrigley last night?
    Rizzo, Kimbrel ????

  • One think that has been interesting to watch yet overlooked, is the play of Rafiel Ortega. With the Happ struggles, he has stepped up with productive and good approach at bats from the left side. He plays all three outfield positions with confidence and one can see him craving a spot for himself as a forth outfielder in the mlb, maybe with Cubs. Ortega is starting to get that 'I can do this' demeanor.

  • What was the over/under on F-bombs dropped last night between
    Javy and the Reds pitcher?

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