Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Iowa splits DH thanks to Swarmer and 3 homers; Howard homers; Caissie and Franklin debut in MB; Stevens and Triantos homer again

Ed Howard (photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

Omaha 8, Iowa 6 (Game 1)

Iowa 8, Omaha 1 (Game 2)

Game Recap

Iowa staged a five run rally in the 5th of Game 1 to tie to score 6-6. The game eventually headed to extras, where Ethan Roberts was unable to keep the Storm Chasers off the board.

Game 2 was all I-Cubs after the 1st inning. Matt Swarmer dominated after giving up a leadoff homer to begin the game. He allowed just four more base runners as he punched out seven over six innings. The Iowa bats came up big too. Three homers and five extra base hits in all led to eight runs.

Top Performers

  • Trent Giambrone: 2-5, HR (3), 4 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, SB (4) (.181)
  • Jared Young: 2-4, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI (.317)
  • Caleb Knight: 1-3, HR (2), R, 2 RBI (.357)
  • Alfonso Rivas: 3-7, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB (.289)
  • Nick Martini: 3-7, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP (.275)
  • Zach Davis: 1-3, R, HBP, SB (2) (.226)
  • Matt Swarmer: 6 IP, 4 H, R, 0 BB, 7 K (W, 3-6, 5.93)
  • Erich Uelmen: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (6.23)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It’s been a tough year for utility man Trent Giambrone (.181/.289/.265). He missed the first portion of the season on personal leave from the team, and it has been a struggle at the dish for him ever since his return. He’s been a bit more productive of late however (.238/.360/.524 over his last 7 games), so maybe he’s ready to get on a roll. Giambrone has always been a bit of a streaky hitter. When he’s right though, he can provide a nice mix of power and speed, as he showed last night with a homer and a stolen base.

A guy who hasn’t slowed down at the plate despite some time away due to injury is Jared Young (.324/.386/.518 in 47 games between AA/AAA). Putting his disastrous 2019 season behind him, the 1B/LF/DH is putting the ball in play more often, and most importantly using the whole field. He had gotten very pull happy in 2019, leading to a lot of soft roll-over grounders to the right side. This year, he is more often driving pitches on the outer half toward the LCF gap. Young doesn’t have a classic power profile for his defensive positions, and isn’t better than average anywhere in the field, but his return to a gap-to-gap approach has helped him amass 20 XBHs and a high average, which are the skills that earned him the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year honors in 2018.

It will be interesting to see how the Cubs handle the roster situation with Young and Alfonso Rivas (.289/.409/.422). Both are LHBs, both have a similar defensive profile (Rivas is the superior defender at 1B, but Young is probably better in LF). Neither hit as many home runs as you’d like from a first baseman. The most notable difference between the two is Rivas is far more patient at the plate (a very good 14.7 BB% vs 6.7% for Young) and puts the ball in play more (20.4 K% vs 28.9%), while Young is more aggressive at looking for a pitch to drive and doing more with it when he gets it. Rivas is two years younger (24 vs 26). I don’t think there is room on the 40-man for both. I expect Rivas gets the nod, due to his plate discipline and age, but Young is guy who could draw interest as a Rule 5 pick this offseason if he can keep up this offensive production.

Brendon Little tossed another scoreless inning in Game 2. He’s been sitting 94-96 this season. He’s always been able to spin a breaking ball and has improved his slider into an out pitch. The former 1st rounder has to be under serious consideration to be added to the roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft this offseason. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cubs drop one of their struggling relievers late in the season and then give the young lefty a cup of coffee with the big club in September.

AA

Chattanooga 8, Tennessee 3

Game Recap

It was a rough one for starter Dakota Chalmers. He’s been steadily improving during his time with the Cubs organization, and I still think they could salvage a useful reliever out of the former top prospect, but yesterday was not one he’ll want to dwell on. After his offense spotted him a two run lead in the top of the 1st, he gave up seven runs on seven hits and two homers over just 1.2 innings.

Top Performers

  • Carlos Sepulveda: 2-3, R, 2 BB (.229)
  • Chase Strumpf: 1-2, 2 RBI, BB (.211)
  • Christopher Morel: 2-4, 2B, R (.204)
  • Delvin Zinn: 1-3, BB (.196)
  • Wyatt Short: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (5.27)
  • Graham Lawson 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (19.29)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

The red hot Chase Strumpf (.231/.352/.381 overall in 78 games between A+/AA, but .364/.462/.636 over his last 17 games) exited in the middle of the game. He didn’t appear to be injured, but you can’t always tell. Perhaps he got sick. Tennessee has been playing with a short bench and his absence forced LHRP Brandon Hughes (a converted OF) to play LF and take a couple of at bats over the final few innings. It was his first action in the field since 2018 when he batted .237/.303/.307 with Low-A South Bend.

High-A

South Bend SUSP

This game was suspended due to rain, and I’ll give the full review once it gets completed, but in the mean time it is worth posting this:

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 6, Columbia 1

Game Recap

A two-run homer by Ed Howard helped the Pelicans establish an early lead and then a two-run shot by Jacob Wetzel late helped them put it away. In between Richard Gallardo gave Myrtle Beach four solid innings to open the game, and Dawel Rodriguez provided four shutout innings to close it out and earn his first save with the club.

Top Performers

  • Richard Gallardo: 4 IP, 5 H, R, 2 BB, 6 K (4.32)
  • Sheldon Reed: IP, H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (W, 1-0, 0.00)
  • Dawel Rodriguez: 4 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (S, 1, 6.48)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 2-4, HR (7), R, 2 RBI (.237)
  • Ed Howard: 1-3. HR (3), R, 2 RBI (.197)
  • Ethan Hearn: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI (.186)
  • Peter Matt: 1-3, R, BB (.091)
  • Kevin Made: 1-4, 2B, R (.268)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Owen Caissie drew a walk and drove a couple of balls deep into the outfield in his Pelicans debut. He played LF, and in my first look at him out there he didn’t look very fluid or coordinated. AZ Phil has mentioned he has his doubts about Caissie as a long term OF, especially as he fills out his frame. I’ve only had this brief glimpse of Caissie in the field, but it wasn’t a great first impression, and gave me no reason to doubt Phil’s assessment. The good news is Caissie projects to be a good enough offensive player to profile at 1B. He’s supposed to have some of the best plate discipline in the system and while he hasn’t grown into his full strength yet and his swing is geared a bit more toward line drives at the moment, Caissie is expected to become a home run threat.

Caissie wasn’t the only outfielder to make his Myrtle Beach debut. Fourth rounder Christian Franklin started in CF. Now, Franklin is a very good defender, and should be able to handle all three spots without issue. He’s got speed and pop, and showed a decent eye in this game as well. Like Caissie, Franklin went 0-for-3 with a walk.

The last of the Cubs 2020 undrafted free agents has debuted in the full season ball. Reliever Sheldon Reed had fired three shutout innings with Mesa to begin his pro career, and then added another in his Pelicans debut. It got him his first career win.

ACL

Cubs 9, Angels 4

Top Performers

  • Felix Stevens: 3-4, 3B, HR (6), 2 R, 2 RBI (.284)
  • James Triantos: 2-5, 2B, HR (2), R, 2 RBI (.293)
  • Kevin Alcantara: 2-3, 2 R, 2 BB, SB (3) (.327)
  • Rafael Morel: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB (.198)
  • Dauris Valdez: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (W, 1-0, 0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Felix Stevens (.284/.356/.605, 136 wRC+) has hit 5 homers over his last 11 games.

Over his last 5 games, James Triantos (.293/.341/.488, 110 wRC+) has hit .409/.409/.773 (193 wRC+) with 2 doubles and 2 homers.

Hard throwing Dauris Valdez, an acquisition from San Diego this spring (trade for James Norwood), began his rehab assignment with 1.2 scoreless innings and 3 Ks. Capable of hitting triple digits to the big righty has been out since the first week of the season.

DSL

Pirates 5, Cubs Blue 1

Cubs Red 5, Giants 2

Pedro Ramirez (.365/.417/.500, 159 wRC+) went 4-for-4 with a double, triple, and a stolen base. The 17-year old shortstop is the organization’s youngest player and has been the Cubs best producer in the DSL this year.

Comments

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  • Burl Caraway is a "once in a generation pitcher". How many pitchers are averaging both 1.5 strikeouts and 1.5 walks per inning pitched simultaneously? And let's hope that Ed Howard can cross the Mendoza line before the end of the season, ie, show some improvement. And Michael, you're doing a great job !!

  • Great to see Young with a nice bounce back. It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do in September and this off-season when it comes to the 40 man roster. Lots of fringe prospects look to be either Rule 5 eligible or minor league Fa after this season. Thanks again Michael for these recaps.

  • Good morning Michael !
    Brennen Davis moving up to 14th on MLB's top 100. Cubs farm system looking good , arrow up after the trade acquisitions.
    Still not calling up Rivas ? Are the Cubs afraid they might start winning again ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I think they have to find out who they like least out of Duffy, Wisdom, Schwindel. Tough call right now.

  • In reply to DarBar15:

    Some players seem to take longer to develop than others is all,... Go take a look at what Jose Bautista did before he turned about 28-29, and what he did for a few years afterwards,...

  • Went to the south bend game. That Canario HR was right before they suspended the game because a storm came through, so yes, very wind-aided.

  • Bizarre ball-strike zone today, balls are strikes and vice-versa.
    Sitting here in L.A. wishing I was at Wrigley with a dog and a beer !
    Go Cubs !

  • Wisdom has so much raw power.

  • Wisdom on Waveland !
    If the Cubs can fix a couple of holes in his swing , that would be one heck of a pick-up for the Cubbies !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    And whenever I see him at 3B he seems very comfortable there.

  • In reply to John57:

    He is a better defensive 3rd baseman than Bryant. If he can bring his strikeout rate down to 30% then he will be that 1-2 round pick that he was drafted as and the Cubs will be lucky to have picked him up.

    Bryant and Wisdom have the same batting average. But Bryant is definitely better OBP. I would love to bring Bryant back. But Wisdom is a player.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Wisdom's emergence might have the Cubs thinking about not bringing back Kris Bryant. As you just said, if Wisdom's strike
    rate comes down, it would be like getting a first round pick as
    a bonus.
    Glenallen's moon shot that landed on the building
    across the street was awesome, possibly on roids but it
    was still one of the best shots I ever saw.

  • Absolutely crushed! Kingman & Glenallen have some competition.

  • Hill's home run onto the roof is legendary, but Sosa hit one to left center that went even further.

  • In reply to OldFan:

    I remember that one where the ball was last seen going down a side street !
    If Bud Black doesn't have a nervous breakdown after this game it will be a miracle.
    O.K. Its starting to rain. On a seven inning game what inning is considered a complete game ? Anyone !

  • Thanks Michael! I just saw that Nelson Maldonado is on the 60 day injured list, what happened?!? Not sure how I missed that, prayerfully it's nothing too serious; God-willing he recuperates quickly.......

  • You think (Joe) Ross got a call and was reminded he's supposed to try and lose the game? Right when Megill came in, I was thinking: not a winning move right there............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    If they wanted to win these games they would bring up Maples, Nance, Little, Robert's and Effross. It's time to dfa Jewell, Meisinger, Megill, Brothers and Rucker.

    Besides it would be nice to see what you have in Little, Robert's and Effross since you may have to protect them in the rule 5.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I hear you on both counts, some of these rule 5 guys are going to be gone if we don't God-willing protect them; but knowing what we are and aren't protecting is paramount, prayerfully they're able to really see what they have in some of these guys.......

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    P.S.
    Don't forget Rivas !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Rivas and or Young. Young is tearing up AAA.

  • Significant game for the Cubs! Heyward and Bote have both climbed over the Mendoza line and Happ is inching towards it.

  • Is Casey Opitz a plus runner? He keeps getting infield singles.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I don't know but I am guessing since he is a catcher that he is not a plus runner.

  • In reply to John57:

    That would be sound logic............

  • Hey Michael, prospect question again; in what round do you think Jacob Wetzel would've been drafted in a typical 20 or 30 round draft, and what are your thoughts of him as a prospect?

  • Strange game ! 2 out of 3 ain't bad ! I guess Trevor Story stats away from Colorado are not the greatest ! I looks like Trevor is off the free agent list.
    Sampson looks to be a good reliever, someone who knows how to pitch.
    How about bringing back Davies next year as a middle reliever ?

  • The good news, Happ is getting his game back.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yeah,
    But why did Ross have him bunt in extra innings ? Strange move !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Not that it actually was, but it seems like tanking to me............

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Maybe because Happ can’t hit RH and Ross was trying to avoid a GIDP.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yeah - both Happ and Heyward are trending in the right direction now.

  • Jim Bowden commented on Brennen Davis being a future All-Star and could not believe the Mets traded Crow-Armstrong for two
    months of Javy Baez. Stating this trade will haunt the Mets for
    years to come !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Amen!

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Well it is OK we got PCA. They got Almora. :-)

  • fb_avatar

    If Happ continues this hot streak I would trade him in the off season. We've seen this before and keep thinking he'll stay this way but it won't last. Maybe one or more teams will believe it could.
    I hope the Cubs draft between 5-8; don't go on a 5 game winning streak and have us down past 10.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    J.F.
    I doubt if that will happen, but anything is possible !

  • Hey Michael, do you have any information on 1B Wally Soto on the DSL Blue team?

  • If Happ and Heyward turn it around these last six weeks, plus; Wisdom, Schwindel, and Ortega, Steele and Thompson(others) indicate that they can contribute, it will make filling in the still numerous holes in the roster much more simple. The last two months of a uncompetitive self off season is important for 2022. The Cubs have a really pathetic look the last part of July and August. I'm hoping for a fair share wins in the stretch run.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Sure slug, what you say and adding about 15 new faces next year - ‘is important for 2022’. Good observation.

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