Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Biagini tosses 6.2 shutout innings; Gushue goes 4-for-4 with a homer; Davis homers; Wicks debuts with scoreless inning; Clarke settling in; Some stellar defensive work

Jordan Wicks (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Indianapolis 4, Iowa 3 (Game 1)

Iowa 9, Indianapolis 0 (Game 2)

Game Recap

After blowing a two-run lead in the final inning of the opener, wasting another fine performance by Matt Swarmer, the Cubs rebounded in a big way in the night cap. Joe Biagini came one out away from recording the org’s first CG shutout of the season. He ended up punching out 8 over 6.2 innings. Taylor Gushue went 4-for-4 with a double and his 8th homer. Abiatal Avelino also doubled and homered.

Top Performers

  • Joe Biagini: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 8 K (W, 3-6, 5.03)
  • Matt Swarmer: 5.2 IP, 4 H, R, 3 BB, 6 K (5.10)
  • Taylor Gushue: 4-4, 2B, HR (8), 2 R, 2 RBI (.232)
  • Abiatal Avelino: 2-6, 2B, HR (4), R, 3 RBI, BB (.261)
  • Trayce Thompson: 1-3, 2B, R, 3 RBI, BB (.226)
  • Trent Giambrone: 3-6, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB (.184)
  • Ian Miller: 1-3, 2 RBI (.272)
  • Greg Deichmann: 1-3, 2B (.231)
  • Erick Castillo: 1-3, R (.224)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Matt Swarmer has really turned his season around. Over his last 11 games (7 starts), he’s posted a 2.38 ERA in 53 IP: 40 H, 14 ER, 16 BB, 48 K

AA

Tennessee 4, Rocket City 2

Game Recap

Brennen Davis blasted a solo homer and Harrison Wenson drove in a pair to lead Tennessee to the win. Anderson Espinoza battled through five innings in his AA debut. He didn’t command his breaking stuff well, and it led to four walks, but his fastball and changeup were enough to get some big strikeouts when needed, as he allowed just one run. Scott Kobos continues to put up zeroes on the scoreboard. He recorded his first save with the Smokies.

Top Performers

  • Brennen Davis: 2-4, HR (12), R, RBI (.268)
  • Harrison Wenson: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB (.500)
  • Christopher Morel: 1-4, 2B, R, BB, SB (15) (.213)
  • Nelson Velazquez, 0-3, R, BB, HBP, 2 SB (3, 4) (.298)
  • Anderson Espinoza: 5 IP, 3 H, R, 4 BB, 6 K (1.80)
  • Graham Lawson: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, K (W, 1-1, 14.40)
  • Scott Kobos: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (S, 1, 0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Harrison Wenson is absolutely just a catch and throw guy and not an offensive force of any kind (career .193 hitter), but you wouldn’t know that as a Smokies fan. The 26-year old was called up to provide some depth while so many Smokies are on the COVID list, and in two games he now has a single, double, homer, he’s walked twice, scored twice, and driven in four. That’s generally what his output is for a month.

High-A

Lake County 1, South Bend 0

Game Recap

Jordan Wicks was in command during the short duration of his professional debut. He worked a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the first batter he faced. The Cubs then received an excellent performance by Chris Clarke, who followed with six innings of one-run ball. Unfortunately, that one run was all Lake County needed, as their staff held the South Bend offense to just two hits.

Top Performers

  • Jordan Wicks: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)
  • Chris Clarke: 6 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 5 K (L, 0-4, 4.30)
  • Gabriel Jaramillo: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00)
  • Yohendrick Pinango: 1-3, BB (.298)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 1-3, 2B (.273)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I usually don’t show highlights by the other team, but this catch to rob Bryce Ball of a hit was a true beauty:

Not to be outdone in the web gem department, I present Yohendrick Pinango and Luis Vazquez:

After missing a good chunk of the season, Chris Clarke is starting to find his groove in South Bend. The big righty has a mid-90s fastball and is capable of spinning a good curve and slider. His command and control are usually pretty good too. Health has always been the issue with him. If he can stay on the mound next season he probably opens in AA and works his way up to Iowa at some point. A mid-2023 ETA in the Majors is not out of the question.

Not only did Jordan Wicks make a scoreless debut yesterday, but Gabriel Jaramillo threw two shutout innings in his first action since being promoted from Myrtle Beach. He’d been working very effectively (4-2, 4 SV, 2.33 ERA) as the Pelicans closer over the last month or so and it seemed like just a matter of time before he was called upon to help out an inconsistent South Bend bullpen. Jaramillo doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he’s got good stuff, and a bit of deception, along with pretty solid command.

The Cubs have released RHP Matteo Bocchi and INF Ryan Reynolds. Bocchi was a righty with a funky arm slot, but not a lot of stuff, but he gave the Cubs organization a ton of valuable innings as a swingman this season while so many of their top starting pitchers missed the year due to injury. Reynolds gave the Pelicans offense a much needed power boost early in the season, but it was clear even last season that the skillset of the son of former Astros hurler Shane Reynolds was short of MLB caliber.

Low-A

Lynchburg 10, Myrtle Beach 2

Top Performers

  • Kevin Made: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB (.274)
  • Ed Howard: 1-4, R, SB (6) (.217)
  • Jordan Nwogu: 2-4 (.251)
  • Owen Caissie: 1-4, 2B (.225)
  • Porter Hodge: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (5.25)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Not much to talk about in terms of game action from this one, but here is a little bit from Owen Caissie, talking about his swing:

Walker Powell made his full season debut. An undrafted signing this season, the 6’8″ righty has some raw talent the Cubs will try to mold:

Comments

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  • O.K.
    More good reporting Michael. The Cubs future looks bright !

  • I just noticed that all 6 bench bats for the Reds are left handed hitters............

  • Its too bad Steele couldn't get the win, he deserved it and should be in the rotation next year.
    A good problem for the Cubbies, with Frank Schwindel locked in at first base, where are they going to play Rivas ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Who would you say has superior defense at 1B out of the 2?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Probably Rivas, but Schwindel with his power, has all but locked down 1t base.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Rivas is definitely the better defender. He is very smooth over there.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael,
    If the DH ever comes to the National League, I think that would solve some of the player placement issues.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Anyone hear that it's actually happening? God-willing it does, just good for the pitchers and rosters and everything............

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    What about Schwindel playing left then, is he prayerfully able to adequately play the outfield?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I think Rivas had better learn a different position.
    Or multiple positions. He has played LF.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Agreed, According to Baseball-Reference.com, Rivas has logged a handful of games in RF, but looks like he has been better than adequate in LF when he has be set there defensively.

    Schwindel probably cannot sustain the kind of output that he's shown us so far over what, like 130 or so at bats, over the course of a full season,... but even if he we to drop to a more pedestrian 0.280/0.350/0.500,... that would be a darned fine bat to have in next year's lineup.

    If Wisdom can hold down 3B and Schwindel 1B - with at times being spelled by Rivas and Duffy,... that plus Contreras, Hoerner and Madrigal makes for an interesting IF for 2022. Add in Ortega, this last few month's version of Happ and Heyward, and maybe Hermosillo rotating in the OF + add in a solid FA SP and rebuild a solid BP,... They just might have a decent team for next year. And in the meantime they are fun to watch again this year.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Schwindel is a free agent after this season. I hope the Cubs don't pull
    a Theo and let him walk after trading for him like the Castellanos screw up.
    In reality a don't think the Cubs will make that mistake again !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Arizona Phil indicates that Schwindel is an auto renewal not a free agent in 2022.

  • In reply to stix:

    I didn't know that. Frank is listed as a free agent from MLB'S list..

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    The Cubs didn't trade for Schwindel, he was picked up from waivers.
    Schwindel can't become a free agent until 2027.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Unbelievable,
    Someone in the A'S organization should be canned for letting this happen !
    The sun is shining on the Cubbies !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Amen!

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Actually Schwindel, Ortega, Wisdom, Rivas & Hermosillo are all under team control until 26 or 27. I have to think those 5 are going to factor into the early roster next year.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    They have earned it ! They all have contributed to a more exciting club.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Nope - Frank is not eligible for Arbitration until 2024, and not for unrestricted Free Agency until 2027 - at least according to baseball-reference.com. Technically he still qualifies as a rookie in status for 2021 because he got close to zero major league service time with KC in 2019, and only got about 20 at bats with the A's earlier this season.

    Cubs have control of his contract for several more years because he took so long to start to click and stick on a major league roster.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Yeah... these guys don't have any service time.
    I doubt any of the 30-somethings ever become FAs if they continue to perform.

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    Yikes, I sure hope the Cubs add a lot more to the offense this off-season.

    I can see Happ, Wisdon, Schwindel, & Ortega playing next year.

    I hope Cubs let Duffy walk as a free agent. Trade Bote in a package . Alcantara, & Hermosillo could be an off-season 40 man roster crunch cuts. Rivas should start next year as depth in AAA.

    I don't see the Cubs signing any free agents that require Cubs to lose a draft pick. Cubs hopefully will be aggressive in making trades, &/or free agent signings to add four or more real MLB bats to the lineup.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Looking at the Cubs position players, I wouldn't have a problem with the Cubs continuing to roll with these guys.

    Of course, they are going to cool off, but why get rid of guys that are playing well. Let's see what they can do with a larger sample size, then make a decision on them.

    Don't forget, the Cubs will be adding Hoerner and Madrigal, which should be a real offensive upgrade. In the meantime, Duffy and Alcantara are filling in admirably.

    What the Cubs need is starting pitching!!
    Would they cut bait on Heyward?
    If Nick C. wanted to return, I'd do it in a heatbeat!!

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I don't see any reason why next seasons payroll shouldn't be equal, or higher than the $150 million 2021 season starting pandemic payroll.

    Why wouldn't the Cubs add a few real MLB hitters? Even MLB hitters looking to bounce back.

    A lot will depend on the new MLB player/league contract. I don't see Cubs signing players who will cost draft picks.

    Cubs are rebuilding, but they need to act like it is a large market. increase offense payroll spending by $25 to $50 millions. Add another $50 to $80 millions to the pitching staff payroll. Most of the contracts should be short term deals wither trades or free agent signings.

    If the Cubs want to add, they only have 40 roster spots available.
    Cubs front office will have to clean up the roster while adding MLB talent.

    If it doesn't lead to a winner, some of the talent they add should have trade value.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I agree, I see them adding a couple of quality hitters (hopefully a left handed power bat in the outfield and a left handed shortstop)

    Then add top starter and two or 3 bullpen guys and I do like this teams chances. If these guys fail flip'em

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I agree, I see them adding a couple of quality hitters (hopefully a left handed power bat in the outfield and a left handed shortstop)

    Then add top starter and two or 3 bullpen guys and I do like this teams chances. If these guys fail flip'em

  • Hey Michael, is Stevens being promoted to Myrtle Beach to play 1B, or is that a sign that Nwogu is prayerfully going to be promoted to South Bend?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    We'll find out more today, probably. Sometimes we don't get final word until the lineups are posted for their next game on Tuesday though.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Awesome, we'll God-willing find out today; thanks Michael!

  • Great stuff as usual!

    Loved the clip of Caissie talking what the Cubs saw. They have a lot of good young bats between Myrtle & South Bend. I was able to watch Wick’s debut & Clarke piggyback. Both looked good but that outfield of Pinango, Canario & Perlaza looks exciting.

    I’m glad they are taking their time with Brennan Davis being as patient as can be expected with a #1 prospect as they can.

    It will be interesting to see what they do this offseason. How they blend the roster with what they have found in some of these callups who jumped all over their opportunities & having Madrigal & Hoerner in the mix & Brennan Davis just a stones throw from Wrigley. Starting pitching has to be more priority. Good starting pitching that is.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I enjoyed that clip of Caissie too. Also the Cubs seemed to have fixed many of Nwogu swing flaws. They just seem to be pretty good with developing hitters. That and the sheer volume of good hitters in the rookie, A, and A+ levels to work with says to me that there will be a number of good position players getting to the majors.

  • In reply to John57:

    And that doesn’t even take into account guys like Roederer & Pete C.-A. who are injured. Plus AA Tennessee.

  • In reply to John57:

    I'm not sure Nwogu's swing is ever going to be pretty. They've simplified it a lot, but it's not what you were describe as a sweet looking swing. If I had to comp it, he's sort of adopted some of the Glenallen Hill mechanics.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    It may not be sweet looking but the results are much better the 2nd half of the year compared to the 1st half. I will be curious how he does next year at a level higher. And like you said earlier, he is fast and can play all 3 outfield positions. Wonder if he is able to play 1B in case he slows down in the future.

  • I was just thinking about the job Hoyer has done trading the old core and replacing it with basically AAA players. I looked at Fangraphs to find the WAR of the old core with the WAR of their replacements.
    Total WAR of Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, Pederson and Marisnick while on the Cubs was 5.7 WAR. Comparing it to the total WAR of Wisdom, Schwindel, Ortega, Chirinos and Alcantara which is 6.0 WAR and counting. To top it off the first five players had many more games and at bats than the replacement 5 players. And the cherry on the top is Hoyer restocked the farm. IMO Hoyer's grade is A+

  • In reply to John57:

    Caution, short sample size. Wisdom was lights out and now in a bit of a funk. Schwindel could yet struggle, although he is more of a contact hitter. In general things are looking up for 2022 and beyond.

  • Unbelievable that replacement players have outplayed the players (
    who were offered millions of dollars and were insulted at there offers)
    and made the Cubs a better team . Lessons to be learned, that throwing money at players is no guarantee that will fix a team's woes ! When Derrick Lee came to the Cubs he had a hole in his swing and the Cubs helped him correct this. I hope the Cubs can work the magic with Patrick Wisdom to eliminate the high strike out rate.

  • ESPN just applauded Frank Schwindel for player of the week !
    Contreras leading off tonight, am I missing something ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Hermosillo! We're missing Hermosillo!!! Miley is a LHP, Heyward SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING!!!!!!! That was the only excuse I was giving Rossi, Heyward was starting against RHP. I'm just totally flabbergasted at this point, God-willing someone in upper management says something to him about playing Hermosillo; unless their the one's telling him to play Heyward........................................

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Well, at least they got rid of one of the Romines ! In regards to Contreras, I wonder if Ross made up the lineup tonight ? Heyward is actually hitting better lately, but that contract is really a downer. A while back, I kept thinking Castellanos would be manning right field.
    Thanks Theo !

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Now if they could get rid of Sergio Alcantara they’d be in business. He’s BRUTAL.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Alcantara's a decent backup, not a starter.
    If Hoerner and Madrigal weren't injured he'd be riding the bench.

    I don't have a big problem with him unless he's getting Neifi-level usage when better players are healthy.

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Banged up left forearm. I guess that means injured.

  • In reply to stix:

    Okay, I MAY have been overreacting then............

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Hermosillo to IL.

  • In reply to stix:

    Dang.......

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Same as last time you asked .check out his splits vs LHP.

  • In reply to stix:

    Stix,
    If Willson batted 600 against lefties, I still wouldn't bat him in the lead-off position. A below average runner and a base clogger, I hope the Cubs will have better options next year for the lead-off spot.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Based on today’s lineup, who do you recommend as leadoff today. I don’t see anyone any better vsLHP Or a runner. I’m not in Ross’ head but Contreras makes as much sense as any alternative.

  • In reply to stix:

    You have a good point. If a righty was pitching, Rivas would be my choice. A moot point against Miley. It was good to see Wisdom
    barrel up on a ball for a double. Too bad it got stuck in the vines.
    Next year the Cubs will have better choices to lead off.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    Contte

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Contreras has really good career numbers against Miley.......

  • I agree with most all the posts here with only a few exceptions. Noone has mentioned what Ortega has done lately. He is a real good leadoff man and plays a great outfield. Wisdom has been in a little slump lately because of his Ks but he has continued to get good wood on the ball otherwise and great defense. For a power hitter, he is good to have on the team. Schwindel has been unbeleivable and as long as Happ can stay consistent, he is a great addition to the team.

    With that said, the first 4 batters in the latest lineups (Ortega. Schwindel, Happ, Wisdom) and Contreras batting 5th is a lot better than what we had in the previous 2-3 years and the stats show it. The current Cubs batters are basically going for contact instead of swinging for the fences. And yet, they are still getting their share of HRs. Most HRs (if not all) are a result of swinging under control and making good contact anyway and NOT swinging hard for the fences.

    All in all, I am really enjoying watching the Cubs again. This has been how team baseball should be played.

  • fb_avatar

    Owen Caissie seems like a smart kid. I think you're right about his ability to make adjustments when he gets to the majors. I was originally disappointed in what the Cubs got back from trading away the original core, but the more I read, in Cubs Den, the more I like them. Anderson Espinoza is going to be a great success story. I really like the minor leagues so I'm actually a big fan of rebuilds. Just went through a successful rebuild with the White Sox and now I can follow another one. The Sox created the blueprint for a successful rebuild in my opinion. They just did everything right(with a little help from the Cubs).

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