Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Canario goes deep in 4th straight game; Martini homers for 3rd time in 5 games; Bain righting the ship; Lugo keeps rolling

Alexander Canario (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Iowa 12, Omaha 7

Game Recap

Iowa won a marathon 4+ hour 9 inning game as their bullpen was able to work through some traffic on the bases and their offense was able to deliver in two big innings. Nick Martini hit a solo homer in the 3rd, his third homer in five games, and then capped off a six-run 4th with a bases loaded double which brought home two runs. He was also a part of the Cubs four-insurance-run-rally in the top of the 9th, by driving in a fourth run on a groundout.

Top Performers

  • Nick Martini: 2-5, 2B, HR (10), R, 4 RBI, BB (.286)
  • Alfonso Rivas: 3-5, R, 3 RBI, BB (.271)
  • Abiatal Avelino: 2-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.276)
  • Zach Davis: 2-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB, CS (1) (.278)
  • Trayce Thompson: 1-3, 3 BB (.242)
  • Erick Castillo: 1-4, 2 R, RBI, BB (.239)
  • Ethan Roberts: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (W, 2-0, 5.40)
  • Dillon Maples: IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (3.38)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Nick Martini (.286/.407/.505, 145 wRC+) struggled in his stint in Chicago early this season. He was called up due to injuries but he received very inconsistent at bats (14 PA over a 4 week span), mostly just a few pinch hit appearances each week, so he can be excused for not finding a rhythm. It took him a bit to find his footing when he returned to Iowa and received regular at bats (although he has been drawing walks all along). Since the beginning of July he’s been a consistent threat to not just reach base, but do a little damage with the bat too. He batted .273/.404/.416 in July, and has followed up with a .417/.512/.833 line so far in August.

Dillon Maples pitched a scoreless inning of relief while on his rehab assignment.

The struggles continued for Cory Abbott (1-5, 7.34). He allowed 4 runs over 4.1 innings. It was the 11th time in 12 starts that Abbott has allowed at least 3 runs.

AA

Tennessee 10, Rocket City 5

Game Recap

It’s been a slow climb up the ladder for 26-year old utility man Cam Balego (.317/.425/.550 in 17 combined games between ACL/High-A/AA), in part due to injury, but also because he went through the catcher conversion program. He still spends the majority of his time at the corner infield spots, but the catcher versatility will no doubt help him down the road. He added a huge amount of strength and mass prior to 2019, which helped him increase his power (1 combined HR in 2017-18, he hit 12 in 2019). His offensive ceiling doesn’t really jump out at you, but the guy grinds at bats really well and continues to improve. He showed that last night as he drove home three runs and reached base four times, including his first homer with Tennessee.

I know I say it every five days, but Luis Lugo had another good outing that I didn’t watch. He deserves a deep dive into his turnaround this year.

Top Performers

  • Cam Balego: 2-3, HR (1), 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB (.258)
  • Tyler Payne: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB (.225)
  • Chase Strumpf: 2-4, R, BB (.189)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP (.286)
  • Brennen Davis: 1-3, R, BB, HBP (.275)
  • Luis Lugo: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB< 8 K (W, 5-4, 3.90)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Luis Lugo over his last 10 outings (7 GS): 41 IP, 25 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 15 BB, 53 K (0.98 WHIP, 1.10 ERA)

High-A

South Bend 5, Fort Wayne 1

Game Recap

The new and improved Max Bain was the big story in the early going of this one. Now pitching out of the stretch exclusively, and with a simplified pitch mix: fastball (looks like he is sacrificing some of the high-90s velo for command in the mid-90s), along with an improving changeup (which is flashing plus), and a breaking ball. It has allowed him to attack the strike zone more consistently and he just looks far more comfortable and fluid out on the mound. Bain turned in perhaps his best professional outing, with six shutout innings.

It took a while for the Cubs to grab a lead, but once they did, they never surrendered it. Fort Wayne did narrow the advantage to 2-1 in the bottom of the 8th, but then Alexander Canario stole some of the spotlight from Bain, when he blasted a three-run homer in the top of the 9th, his fourth straight game with a homer.

Top Performers

  • Max Bain: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 5 K (W, 3-6, 5.82)
  • Eduarniel Nunez: 2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, 3 K (S, 1, 5.55)
  • Alexander Canario: 1-5, HR (4), R, 3 RBI (.308)
  • Edmond Americaan: 1-3, 2B, R, BB, HBP (.204)
  • Tyler Durna: 1-3, 2B, 2 BB (.229)
  • Liam Spence: 2-4, 2 RBI (.500)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 1-4, 2 R, SB (4) (.254)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Yonathan Perlaza (.254/.332/.440) extended his on-base streak to 18 games.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Alexander Canario’s defense so far. He looks solid in RF, with enough arm, and has even made some plays when given a chance in CF. At the plate, obviously the power jumps out, but he also seems to identify breaking pitches pretty well. Canario hasn’t been expanding outside the zone much, and while it isn’t really leading to walks, he is working counts. That has no doubt helped do some damage when he gets pitches in the zone. And when this dude gets his arm extended there is some serious pop. He takes a violent swing, engaging his entire body, but it is well under control.

Got my first look at 5th round shortstop Liam Spence. A wiry frame and contact oriented swing (he even choked up with two strikes) are not going to generate power, but he seems to have some bat control, and his SEC-leading OBP this year indicate he’s got a pretty good eye. Only saw a couple of defensive plays, but he seemed to have smooth actions at short. He’s older for a draft pick, so the Cubs being aggressive with their assignment of him to High-A shouldn’t be a total shock. It also makes sense from an organizational point of view as the Cubs have a ton of 17-20 year old middle infielders who need playing time in ACL/MB, so getting the 23-year old Spence ahead of them on the ladder will keep him from muddying the waters there.

Command and control are still an issue, but Eduarniel Nunez continues to be an intriguing arm strength upside guy as a reliever. He can touch as high as 98 or 99 and has posted a high ground ball rate this year. Nunez earned his first High-A save last night.

Low-A

Charleston 7, Myrtle Beach 2

Top Performers

  • Matt Warkentin: 2-4, 3B, 2 R (.213)
  • Kevin Made: 2-4 (.255)
  • Yohendrick Pinango: 1-2 (.262)
  • Alberto Sojo: 2.2 IP, 2 H, R, 0 ER, BB, 2 K (4.34)

Comments

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  • A+Michael ! Keep up the good work !

  • Thanks for the roundup. Is it my imagination, or does Brennan Davis get HBP a lot? I worry about him getting injured.

  • He absolutely does. He's a big guy with long arms and pitchers do not want to let him get extended because of his plus power. So they constantly try to bust him inside. Think how pitchers attack Kris Bryant.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks, Michael. I really appreciate your work. Now that the Cubs are more focused on prospects, your insights are more valuable than ever.

  • Good by Jake and good luck !

  • fb_avatar

    Thank you Michael again for all the work you do.
    Jake has been released. He tried, but it just wasn't working. We'll always have 2016 Jake.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    It's sad, and I wish Jake well whatever he ends up doing as his next step, but yeah - he just doesn't have MLB starting pitcher stuff any more.

    More innings for the kids and an open spot on the 40-man.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    That's the way Jake should be remembered, a world series champ, not what we saw last night !
    Happ batting 4th ? Stop it Ross, your killing us !

  • Michael, or anyone: what is the deal with Amaya. Why is he through for the season? Thanks in advance

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    forearm/elbow soreness. Tried rehabbing but it didn't respond quick enough and there just won't be enough time to get him ready to return in second half. No surgery is planned though. They could try to get him into the AFL.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Hey cubbustible, there's an article from the 10th on BN that talks about Amaya; I'm gonna try to include the link, prayerfully it work.......

    https://www.bleachernation.com/cubs/2021/08/10/steele-mills-day-bad-news-on-amaya-mlbs-blackout-policy-and-other-cubs-bullets/

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    *works*

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Thanks, appreciate it.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    You bet............

  • What have they been feeding Nick Martini since June? I thought he was a good contact/OBP guy but the knock was that he didn't have a lot of power.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Popeye was spinich.

    Martini would be...

    Olives?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Well played lol.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Olive Oyl

  • In reply to IVYADDICT:

    BTW, welcome back. You were missed.

  • There Is no mistaken the pained look on Hendricks face as compared to the usual professor look. It has to be really difficult for veteran Cubs with contracts for next year to be a part of this. Kyle should develop an inflamed finger or a strained knee and fans can just enjoy watching the young guys showcase.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    What about moving Hoerner to the 60, optioning Happ, and designating Fargas for assignment? Then we can bring a couple out of: Hermosillo / Thompson / Martini / Rivas / Avelino up?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I was a little surprised they added Meisinger and not Leeper but still should happen.

    I have to believe they are looking at ways to add Hermosillo Vargas and Leeper. I believe w Jake gone they are at 39. Fargas is an easy dfa. If you move Hoerner to 60 day then that would do the trick.

    Your cubs for the rest of this year may be or should be:
    Lf hermosillo
    Cf Ortega
    Rf Diechmann
    3b wisdom
    SS alcantera
    2b avelino
    1b Vargas/Schwindel
    C contreras
    Let's see how bad or good that looks.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Better, in my humble opinion; Bote just needs to be a cheerleader for awhile, God-willing they'll do changes like this over the weekend, instead of in September.......

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Agree on the prospects. Sad to see the Cubs front office seems to be stuck in neutral.
    After the disastrous showings in the past week, one would think the Cubs would move forward and bring in new faces to show the fans there's hope coming down the pipe, but no, more excuses why they can't do this and can't do that.
    The front office is puzzling.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I think there will be more call ups as things play out. It probably won't happen all at once. Some Wiil happen in September.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Cubs want flexibility.

    I have trouble believing Cubs will bring up Leeper this season. He has pitched a decent amount in the minors already. Wouldn't Leeper be here already if the Cubs wanted to carry him on the 40 man during the 21/22 off-season?

    Didn't the September rules for expanded roster changed to 28 players for all teams?

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Yes, just a couple spots. That sounds right on Leeper. Could be some players doing the shuffle and getting an audition.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I didnt think about that on leeper and roster flexibility. So the same will probably hold true with Davis for 21'.

    The more I think about it for 22 the Cubs are, more than likely, going to bring in a lot of flippable one year free agents to fill the holes from who doesnt show capable the rest of this summer.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Davis is the #1 prospect, & will have to be added to the 40 after the 2022 season, he should be up next season.

    Leeper, is having a breakout season. Maybe Cubs will still promote him, but I doubt it.

    Cubs absolutely need to spend money this off-season! Some of the deals should be longer than one season. Cubs have no other way to spend their huge revenue dollars. Really the Cubs have zero excuses not to spend right up to the first penalty limit most seasons. Rules might change this off-season, but MLB has taken away all the extra spending teams use to do to acquire amateur talent.

    I'm happy Jed made all the trades, but was disappointed when he was promoted. He was here, when the amateur scouting, & minor league development was not delivering, and the MLB lineup became broken!

    Happ has earned a DFA this off-season, this Cubs front office has gotten real good at holding onto players until value is at all-time low.

    Theo realized, said the offenses was broken after 2018. How come they did nothing to make changes?

    The core did not perform, but the so called supporting cast also underperformed too for many seasons.

    Cubs pitching development seems to be improving. Per Michael Cubs are adding better/more athletes to the system. Amateur scouting seems to have changed strategies. There is some hope, but this front office needs to get better! That in my book mean finding more players like Leeper, & spending the Cubs large market bucks wisely.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Naujack, I couldn’t agree more with your comments above. Only one minor point of difference is that I don’t necessarily think they have to spend up to the cap level - but their salary base needs to be at least around $175M. And to put a cherry on top, they could buy out JHey.
    They need to take advantage of as many market inequities as they can - because they need help everywhere. With about $150M to spend this winter, NOW is the time to start building the bridge to 2023. No excuse not to. They have so many players already to evaluate next year at Class A and A+
    It’s time to start spending money on a couple building blocks. I’d like to see Corey Seager and Marte and Gray. And if you need to outbid someone, dig deep Ricketts.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I agree they should spend but dont use up all your money on long term contracts. That will hamstring you for 23' when you need to add a Lester, Fowler, chapman & Zobrist etc.

    For next year at the minimum they will need an outfielder, power hitting first baseman (unless vargas/schwindel platoon can work). A starting pitcher (I would say an innings guy, Wait til 23' to sign the TOR). Two veteran relievers (I would wait until 23' to sign your closer). So four or five veterans on 1-2 year deals. Then in 23 look to sign the studs that are going to tie up the payroll for 4-5 years.

    The speed/cost of this rebuild really hinges on few players like (steele, thompson, alzolay, wick, rodriguez & leeper). If most of these guys dont go to the next level then Ricketts will have to spend all of his cash unless this is a 4-5 year rebuild. The Cubs cant afford to do that.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    The cubs cant afford a 4-5 year rebuild.

  • I think that lhp Luis Lugo has shown in Smokies that he deserves a chance to be at another level. over his last 10 outings (7 GS): 41 IP, 5 ER, 53 K (0.98 WHIP, 1.10 ERA), this numbersnspeak for themselves.

  • Hey Michael, I saw that Yohendrick Pinango was pinch hit for in the 6th of the Myrtle Beach game; did you hear anything about that? God-willing it was a planned switch with Sierra.......

  • Anyone notice that Darvish since July began is pitching as poorly as Jake. Must be sympathy pains for the Cubs. Doubt the Padres are very happy with him for the last 6 weeks. Maybe he’s trying to perform poorly and join Hosmer on San Diego’s dump list and Hope the cubs will pick them up.

  • In reply to stix:

    Timing is everything. Yu's record this year certainly would not have helped the Cubs.
    Jed looking like a winner for this trade, cutting the Cubs payroll and netting four prospects in the trade.

  • Happ should disappear.

  • In reply to Hagsag:

    If Happ disappears, who would we have to hit into double plays and drop balls in the outfield ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Heyward

  • The Brew Crew beat us like a rented mule. Wait...I guess that's what kind of what Ross has to work with. Cubs roster has a few rented mules right now. Milwaukee had nine batters in the on deck circle in the top of the first.

    Jake sealed his fate in the after game interview. Sometimes old baseball stars can be prideful creatures. Ross and Hoyer had to escort Arrieta to his taxi. I can't hold that against Jake. Good luck old warrior.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I guess I missed the interview. What did Jake have to say?

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    It wasn't any one thing that he said. He just attributed his performance as the result of bad luck. Soft contact and seeing eye base hits instead of the hard contact that it was. He jumped on a interviewer for wearing a mask with no one close to him. Jake is one of those guys that will have to have somebody rip off his uniform. He wants to compete.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Jake at times, is a Neanderthal. Adios.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    You’re just mad cause he snubbed your hero.

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