Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Herz phenomenal in 10 K performance; Espinoza impressive as well; Windham raking; Triantos with 3-hit day; Caissie gets the call

DJ Herz (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

St. Paul 7, Iowa 4

Game Recap

The first start in AAA for big lefty Luis Lugo did not proceed as well as his final 10 appearances in Tennessee. He was tagged for a two-run homer in the 3rd, and then knocked in the 5th when the BABIP dragon allowed every ball St. Paul hit to find a hole. The Iowa defense also struggled in the inning.

Top Performers

  • Abiatal Avelino: 2-3, 2 2B, R, RBI, 2 BB (.277)
  • Jared Young: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI (.313)
  • Levi Jordan: 1-3, 2B (.189)
  • Trayce Thompson: 1-4, 2B, RBI (.236)
  • Brendon Little: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

The Cubs are beginning to see what they hoped for they selected Brendon Little in the 1st round back in 2017. His overall numbers in Tennessee were pedestrian, but he got better seemingly each time out. He was coming off the long layoff and also missed the first couple of months of the this season, so it took him a bit to find his footing. Over his final 8 outings with the Smokies, plus his Iowa debut tonight, he’s compiled a line of 17.2 IP, 13 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 22 K (1.53 ERA). Previously, heavily reliant on his curveball, Little has developed his slider into an important pitch, in a situation not unlike Justin Steele. He’s also found the couple of MPHs he was missing as a starter, and is now capable of running it up there in the 95+. His arm action also looks a little shorter than it was earlier in his career. Little is Rule 5 eligible in the offseason, and given the roster decision the Cubs need to make and the time he missed to start the year, I could see him as an AFL candidate.

Jared Young (.323/.389/.509, 5 HR in 44 games between TN/IA) hit his first AAA homer.

AA

Birmingham 2, Tennessee 1 (Game 1)

Birmingham, Tennessee PPD (Game 2)

Game Recap

recap

Top Performers

  • Cam Sanders: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K (L, 4-7, 5.32)
  • Scott Kobos: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
  • Chase Strumpf: 2-3, R (.204)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 1-3, 2B (.303)
  • Andy Weber: 1-3 (.214)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Scott Kobos received the call to AA, and pitched a scoreless inning in his debut. That is nothing new for the 24-year old lefty out of Coastal Carolina. He’s missed some time due to injury, but he’s allowed just one run across his 17 appearances in A/High-A/AA.

High-A

South Bend 4, Quad Cities 2

Game Recap

Anderson Espinoza turned in his best performance of the season as he fights his way back from two TJS and multiple missed seasons. The young righty was once considered one of the top pitching prospects in the sport, but all the time away took away some of his shine. There is still talent there though. He can run his fastball up to the mid-90s, his changeup has maintained plus attributes, and it looks like the Cubs may be helping him unlock his slider (which was always an issue for him). He struck out seven over five shutout innings while allowing just one hit.

Top Performers

  • Anderson Espinoza: 5 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, HBP, 7 K (W, 1-3, 5.09)
  • Eduarniel Nunez: 2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, K (S, 2, 4.76)
  • Bryce Windham: 2-4, HR (2), R, 2 RBI (.264)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 3-4, R (.264)
  • Tyler Durna: 2-4, R, RBI (.221)
  • Liam Spence: 1-3, R (.130)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Bryce Windham has been on a tear since he returned from an injury that cost him a month and a half. In 7 games back with South Bend he’s batted .417/.517/.667, a 219 wRC+.

Since July 10th (28 G) Yonathan Perlaza is batting .330/.388/.592 and is looking like he may be ready for the challenge in AA before the season ends.

Luis Vazquez has reached base in all 13 games he has played this year.

Low-A

Fayetteville 5, Myrtle Beach 4

Game Recap

D.J. Herz was phenomenal again, striking out 10 (!) in four shutout innings. He was simply unhittable (RHB were 0-for-10 with 10 K). Bryan did a great writeup on his performance this morning, so I’ll just link his article. Unfortunately, the Pelicans pen could hold the 4-0 lead Herz helped establish.

Top Performers

  • D.J. Herz: 4 IP, H, 0 R, 3 BB, 10 K (3.58)
  • Riley Martin: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00)
  • Josue Huma: 2-3, 2B, R, BB (.118)
  • Yohendrick Pinango: 2-3, 2 R, 2 BB (.272)
  • Kevin Made: 2-5 (.269)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-4, RBI, HBP (.269)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Riley Martin has made a positive impression in his short time with the organization. The lefty can run his fastball up there into the mid-90s and pairs it with an impressive slider. The 6th rounder from Salem, IL has now punched out 4 in 2.2 innings to open his pro career. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a fast mover in the mold of the Cubs UDFAs from last year.

ACL

Cubs 6, Athletics 2 (Game 1)

Athletics 15, Cubs 3 (Game 2)

Top Performers

  • Miguel Fabrizio: 1-3, HR (1), R, 2 RBI (.358)
  • James Triantos: 3-4, R (.281)
  • Owen Caissie: 2-4, 2B, RBI (.345)
  • Ismael Mena: 2-4, 2 RBI, SB (8) (.233)
  • Reggie Preciado: 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI (.350)
  • Felix Stevens: 1-3, 2B, R (.257)
  • Edgar Gamargo: 2-3 (.500)
  • Christian Franklin: 1-2, R, BB (.455)
  • Yeison Santana: 1-3, R, 2 RBI (.302)
  • Reivaj Garcia: 1-3, R (.314)
  • Jerrick Suiter: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (W, 2-0, 2.70)
  • Sheldon Reed: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Ahem:

DSL

Cubs Blue 3, Cubs Red 2

Comments

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  • Thanks as always Michael! Felix Stevens looks really promising, God-willing he continues to develop and reduce his strike outs.......do you think for a 1B, it's better defensively to be left handed?
    Also, do you think that Ball reminds you of Carlos Pena at all?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    It helps for a 1B to be left-handed because he is positioned better to make throws to other bases, but unlike the other IF positions, where being RH is a necessity, 1B do not have to make throws very often, so it isn't imperative they be LH.
    No, Ball doesn't remind me much of Pena, other than being a bit of a three true outcomes hitter. Pena was a great 1B. Ball is not.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Aha, makes sense; thanks............too bad on Ball being poor defensively.......do you think he has any possibility of prayerfully getting better there? Also, would you say Apostel, Stevens, Mervis, or Warkenin show any promise there; or is there any other prospect who can God-willing play good defense at 1B, while also showing promise offensively?

  • Looks like some scout deserves a lot of credit for uncovering Riley Martin, who was developing his craft in a small Midwest university in Quincy, Illinois. So far, he is a pretty tall glass of cool water.

  • Congrats to Caissie for moving to MB. Maybe Preciado should go with him. Those two spots can go to Triantos and Franklin.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think Franklin will go to MB some time soon too. With Nwogu and Wetzel heading to SB (and subsequently Perlaza heading to TN and maybe Davis to IA).

    Preciado is sort of blocked by Howard and Made. I do think he gets to MB by the end of the year, but it may not be right away.

  • I haven't heard anything about Franklin, although his first few stats are certainly impressive. Any first hand scouting reports available?

  • In reply to DaveAPol:

    Franklin is a very good defender in CF (and the corners as well). He's got very good pop too. Works counts. Was expected to be a 1st round pick heading into the year, but some unexpected swing and miss issues deflated his stock a bit. Still, he's an unusually gifted athlete and talent to swipe in the 4th round. Jordan Nwogu was a similar type of upside selection last year, but Franklin should require less of a swing overhaul and isn't as inexperienced in the outfield.

  • The bumblin, stumblin Cubs. The pitcher not covering 1st base, the 2nd baseman drops a double play ball and not in the correct position to accept a throw from the outfield . Bad tag at 3rd ! The Cubs gifted the Royals with six outs in the second !
    Q.
    Will Ross manage the Cubs next year ?

  • Hoerner hurt in South Bend.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    I just saw that. He was one of the bright spots of the Cubs' season. Right now I think he just should be shut down so he can be completely healthy for next year.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I definitely agree, let him heal fully before resuming activities............

  • Why is Heyward even playing? I would imagine we have an outfielder in Iowa who plays stellar defense, but is a liability offensively; let him play instead of Heyward, let anybody play instead of Heyward.......

  • Unreal how we have a billion dollar owner and this product is on the field.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Irrelevant..

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Slug, why do you think the Cubs didn’t trade more of their core, last winter after they made the Darvish trade?
    Common sense would tell you that the return for any of the Rizzo, Baez, Bryant, Kimbrel group - would have been more - for a whole season of those players, than it was for two months of those players.
    What is your explanation?

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I don't know that and neither does anyone else not in on the details. Nor did anyone know the team would slump to that degree right before the trade deadline. It hasn't worked out, that we know.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Slug your a funny guy. How on one hand can you say ‘no one knows’ why moves weren’t made. And on the other you reply to Wickdipper that it’s irrelevant that the owner is a billionaire. You have your opinion and he has his.
    And mine is, that the billionaire owner didn’t want to trade the core last winter because he wanted to sell tickets to foolish fans. The ones that still felt they were actually trying to win.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I agree with 44slug when he says it is irrelevant that the Ricketts are billionaires. Every owner/ownership group of all 30 teams are billionaires. You have to be to own a team. Why are people implying that the Ricketts have to go above and beyond what other owners are doing financially because their family has a billion dollars?

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Cubs DFA Schwarber last off-season, and Nationals traded Schwarber mid-season while he was on IL for a prospect.

    Per the news media, most of those players mentioned have maybe been on the trade block since the off-season of 2018, 2019, & 2020?

    Cubs are great, really great at holding onto players until they decide to part ways when players values are near all-time low?

    Look at Happ this off-season. His lack of production will force this front office to non-tender him this off-season. 20/20 hindsight is always much better, how come Cubs never traded Happ or anyone else when they had more value to change the make/mix of a playoff caliber team? Who knows?

    Time to move forward, front office hopefully will continue to be aggressive, and make better decisions.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Happ had years ahead under team control. Rizzo, KB, Javy didn’t. And Happ was coming off a good year. THAT’s the difference.
    And you make a pretty weak statement when you say ‘per the news media many of those players MAY HAVE BEEN on the block’.
    MAY HAVE BEEN? Really, MAY HAVE.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    We all know Theo said in early October 2018 offense was/is broken.

    Three off-seasons in a row, probably over a hundred articles written about Cubs core trade talks/rumors. Written by the local, other teams beat writers, & national media. Why zero trades made

    Schwarber, was non-tendered last off-season, instead of the Cubs trading him. Maybe the Cubs miss-read the market? What about after the 2019 MLB season which had an offensive explosion-why no trades? 20/20 hindsight that, was that the off-season to make a few trades.

    After the 2020 season Cubs did about as good as they could when it came to trades.

    We all could easily speculate, & make good arguments that the offers Cubs received last off-season were even lower than what the Cubs received at the deadline. Higher priced players, last year of control, coming off down seasons, during Covid economics. Would the trade offers really been higher during the 2020-21off-season? I have a hard time seeing that, but you could be right about the offers being higher during the 2021 off-season.

    Isn't the old saying--- trade players a year too early than a year too late. That almost impossible to do for large markets. That means trading a player like Darvish, the core, or even players like Happ after a good/solid season, during normal economic times.

    Dodgers traded Ross Stripling RHP, during the 2020 season to Toronto for their 2019 2nd round pick who was a high school pitcher, & a second player. Stripling still had years of control.

    My hope is this front office gets better, & more creative. Cubs ownership group acts like a large market team during the reload starting this off-season.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I think that it was a little harder to let this core go because 15, 16, and 17 were so special, even tho 17 ended badly. Short of a blow my socks off offer, anyway. I not sure any gm would have done differently. Maybe going forward, Jed will be less attached to star players than Theo. We did wait 108yrs for these guys.

  • In reply to Wickdipper:

    Loses are loses,
    but this game was a disgrace, many mental mistakes. I hope management takes note of this mess.
    Fundamentals of playing the game correctly took a holiday.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    The rest of this season is about who can help in the future and to what degree., similar to Spring Training. I'd like to see a better effort thought.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Agreed. The 2012 squad was bad, and admittedly we had low expectations of that group that year. However, even though they were generally overmatched a lot of the time in 2012, they rarely looked like they weren't at least trying to play fundamentally sound baseball.

    KC is NOT a good team, but the Cubs sure made them look fairly good this last weekend.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    My biggest disappointment this last 2 weeks has been execution. Baserunning, defense etc. Some falls on the players but I am waiting to see what Ross does to straighten these guys out. The last 2 games have been bad.

  • Ortega had a tough game today in the field.

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