Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Morel brothers each double, homer, drive in four; Assad with a quality start; Triantos hits first career homer

Christopher Morel (photo by Rikk Carlson)


St. Paul 9, Iowa 4

Game Recap

Iowa carried a 4-2 lead into the 6th thanks to two-run hits by Abiatal Avelino and Ian Miller. They let the lead slip away however. Matt Swarmer had cruised through the 2nd through 5th innings, but a couple of singles, and an error to open the 6th set the table for a grand slam. St. Paul would add three insurance runs off new Iowa reliever Erich Uelmen the following inning.

Top Performers

  • Ian Miller: 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI (.278)
  • Abiatal Avelino: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, BB, CS (4) (.270)
  • Nick Martini: 1-3, R, BB, HBP (.276)
  • Trent Giambrone: 1-3, R, BB (.179)
  • Alfonso Rivas: 1-4, 2B, R, BB (.281)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Right hander Erich Uelmen was promoted from Tennessee. The former starter throws from a 3/4 arm angle and though it isn’t as low as side armer Scott Effross, Uelmen runs into many of the same challenges. His splits against lefties made it difficult to work multiple times through a batting order, but he’s got the stuff to succeed out of the pen.

The I-Cubs also added veteran free agent Marcus Walden. The 32-year old swingman will be asked to eat up some innings the rest of the season, given starters Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson figure to be getting work in Chicago the rest of the season, and Adrian Sampson figures to be working the shuttle frequently. Iowa also received starter Luis Lugo from Tennessee and reliever Blake Whitney from South Bend.

Relievers Dakota Mekkes and Juan Gámez were placed on the IL.


Tennessee 5, Birmingham 1 (Game 1)

Birmingham 6, Tennessee 5 (Game 2)

Game Recap

Tyler Payne drove in a pair on a double in the 2nd, and then Christopher Morel followed with a three-run double in the 3rd. It was more than enough for Javier Assad. The righty isn’t flashy, and if he ever gets a shot in the bigs it figures to be in middle relief, but there is no doubt he knows how to maximize his average stuff. Assad struck out just four, but he induced 11 ground outs over 6.1 innings of one run ball.

The Smokies went with a bullpen game in the second half of the doubleheader, with each of their three pitchers giving up two runs. Nelson Velazquez drove in two on a double. Carlos Sepulveda and Christopher Morel both homered, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace.

Top Performers

  • Javier Assad: 6.1 IP, 5 H, R, BB, 4 K (W, 4-6, 4.23)
  • Brandon Hughes: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (S, 1, 1.88)
  • Christopher Morel: 2-5, 2B, HR (14) 2 R, 4 RBI, BB, 2 SB (12, 13) (.207)
  • Carlos Sepulveda: 2-6, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, CS (3) (.226)
  • Tyler Payne: 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI (.236)
  • Brennen Davis: 3-5, 2B, BB (.278)
  • Andy Weber: 1-4, R, 2 BB (.203)
  • D.J. Artis: 2-6, 2B, 2 R (.182)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 2-7, 2B, R, 2 RBI (.313)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Brandon Hughes earned his first AA save in Game 1. He extended his scoreless streak to 6 games (10.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 14 K). The lefty lowered his ERA to 1.88 with Tennessee (after posting a 1.59 mark in South Bend earlier this year). He’s definitely put himself on the map as a legit option as depth in Iowa next season.

Ryan Jensen has been promoted to Tennessee. He will presumably take Luis Lugo’s spot in the rotation.


South Bend SUSP


Myrtle Beach SUSP


Cubs 12, Giants 11

Top Performers

  • Rafael Morel: 3-5, 2B, HR (2), 2 R, 4 RBI (.184)
  • James Triantos: 3-6, 2B, HR (1), R, 3 RBI (.240)
  • Felix Stevens: 1-4, HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.246)
  • Christian Franklin: 3-5, 2 R, RBI, SB (2) (.444)
  • Reggie Preciado: 2-5, 2 R, RBI, BB (.350)
  • Kevin Alcantara: 1-4, R, RBI, BB (.326)


Royals 4, Cubs Blue 3

Cubs Red 3, Tigers 2


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  • Good morning Michael .
    I see Pablo Aliento is coming up on the radar. What have you got on Pablo ?
    Thanks, Ron

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Good athlete for catcher. Could probably play other positions if the Cubs tried him there. Solid bat speed and control. He's doesn't have the most projectable frame, so an everyday catcher's role and significant power improvement is unlikely. Probably tops out as a backup who puts the ball in play and can drive the ball into the gaps. He's definitely intriguing.

  • fb_avatar

    Thanks Michael. I’m interested in Brandon Hughes. I know he’s a converted outfielder but how is his stuff? Does he throw 95+? I’m also interest in Jensen and see how he does this year and next.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Hughes is one of the relievers who jumped from the 91-94 range into the 95+ since we last saw him in 2019. Breaking ball is pretty good. Kind of a lower arm angle too. Helps him give his fastball up in the zone a different trajectory.

  • Looks like Morel has some legit bat speed. I see the Javy comparison in that swing. Mid-season 2022 call ups could be fun.

  • Start printing the T-shirts, Wisdom on Waveland !
    I wish the Cubs would match the Wrigleyville navy jerseys with the white or grey pants so they don't look like the CTA bus drivers !

  • Happ and Heyward are probably the 2 worst hitters in their lineup.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Maybe Michael can tell us why the Cubs are giving Happ a lot of leeway ?
    I just don't get it !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Because he is a player who has produced before and they have a financial decision to make on him this offseason. He already won in arbitration last year, and so he could very well be in line to make 6-8M next year. Cubs may non-tender him, but want as much information on him as possible. He's going to play nearly every day the rest of the year. Everyone just needs to accept this.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael,
    Its still hard to accept. I just don't think Happ will
    fit in the future for the Cubbies !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Maybe because he is showing signs of coming out of his season long slump? I don't know just a hunch.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    HA HA HA ! A fool and a tool ! I haven't heard that expression since I left Chicago in 86 .
    Thanks for the memories !

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Olno7: I hope you talk nicer to your nurses and caretakers. And don’t forget your Prevagen tonight when you get tucked in.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Very true but do you remember 2020? They were the best hitters even when the core was underperforming. Was 2020 an aberration?

    I think it was for JHey. Happ has had a few good years and actually has the cub HR record for switch hitters. Cubs need to probably not tender Happ as they did for Schwarbs and probably DFA Heyward and eat his remaining $45M . Maybe they could make him the cheerleader and greeter coach since he’s a sunk cost but at least he won’t take up a roster slot. I think he finally got his pay per RBI this year to about $1M per . Obviously not worth the ctt.

  • Well,
    This business about Happ and Heyward is way above my pay grade so I won't have to worry about them anymore. I just hope the
    front office knows what their doing.
    This loss to the Royals may pay dividends down the line. Both
    the Royals and the Cubs have similar records and their records
    may have an impact on where they draft.

  • Hey the drafted players are starting to heat up. Triantos and Franklin both got 3 hits. Triantos got his first HR. Not bad for an 18 year old who was in high school a couple months ago.

  • I am hoping that the lower minor league teams turn into a goldmine of talent.

  • Loving the Walk rate Cassie is displaying in Mesa. Probably being pitched around quite a lot but at least he is taking what the pitchers are giving him. Howard's Ks to BBs reminds me of another Javy Baez. Yikes. Hopefully he adjusts and improves this off-season. Marquez has me concerned 2 straight lost seasons for him. Surprised he was able to maintain Top 100 status. Probably a reliever going forward just my hunch.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    Random thoughts. I think contact is one of the hardest things to coach. It's more of gift type skill. The Cubs have had scores of athletic draftees that just didn't make enough contact.

    I think Jed has a good eye for young talent, and the knowledge of the mind set and ingredients needed to build a winner. It could be the reason for the Kimbrel/ Madrigal surprise at the deadline. Also the Duffy bench piece, return for Darvish, and rule five signings that pan out like Ortega and maybe Hermosillo. I'm feeling optimistic despite all the recent losing.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I don't believe Hermosillo or Ortega were rule 5 players. I believe they were just free agents.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:


  • In reply to 44slug:

    You should feel optimistic about the Cubbies ! I had the same feeling and after seeing the Ricketts conference at Wrigley it told me the Ricketts are in it to win and bring back the Cubs to the top. Its time to evaluate the pitchers that are coming up and get them ready for 2022.
    I don't know why Pete Crow-Armstrong isn't in the top 100 list now that he is a Cub ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Do you think that maybe it could be, because he has only played in 6 games in his minor league career?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    A guy gets injured and is out for the season and you expect him to move up the rankings? How pathetic would the sport be if that’s actually the case…

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