Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Another day, another farmhand hits 2 homers, this time Alexander Canario; Washer, Maldonado, and Velazquez stay red hot at plate; Wicks impresses

Alexander Canario (photo by Todd Johnson)

AAA

Indianapolis 4, Iowa 0

Game Recap

We won’t dwell on this game since Iowa managed just one hit. P.J. Higgins broke up the Indianapolis no-hitter bid with a one-out single in the 9th.

Top Performers

  • Adrian Sampson: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, HBP, 5 K (L, 0-2, 4.30)
  • Conner Menez: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (1.69)
  • Locke St. John: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (5.14)
  • P.J. Higgins: 1-2, 2 BB (.333)

AA

Tennessee 5, Chattanooga 4

Game Recap

The Smokies jumped all over Chattanooga in the top of the 1st. The top five hitters in the lineup all reached, three via double. Leadoff man Darius Hill started it off with a two bagger, and then cleanup man Bryce Ball hit a bases loaded double to score two, followed by another two-run double by Nelson Maldonado.

The score remained that way with Anderson Espinoza throwing a good 4S/Slider combo through the first three innings, but his command began to waver the further he went along (a common issue for him). Chattanooga eventually tagged him for a three-run homer in the 4th as part of a four-run inning to tie it. Espinoza has pretty good stuff, but his stamina and command remain lacking for a starting pitcher. An eventual move to the pen seems more and more likely every time I watch him.

The tie didn’t last long. Nelson Velazquez blasted a solo homer in the top of the 5th.

From there the Smokies pen shut the door. Kyle Johnson was a little wild over the following 2.2 IP, but worked his way out of jams. Bryan Hudson was much more dominant though in getting the final four outs. The former 3rd rounder is throwing harder than ever and his command improves every season.

We always expected it would take the lanky 6’8″ lefty more time than most prospects to work out how to keep his delivery in rhythm, and it appears the 24-year old may have turned the corner in that regard. His walk rate was still a bit too high, and he left a few too many pitches over the plate last year, but in 11 innings so far this year he’s been much sharper. He’s cut his walk rate to 7.1 BB% (12% in 2021) while increasing his K rate (35.7% compared to 22.1% in 2021).

Top Performers

  • Nelson Maldonado: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI (.465)
  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, HR (6), 2 R, RBI, BB (.276)
  • Bryce Ball: 1-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB (.236)
  • Darius Hill: 2-5, 2B, R (.339)
  • Christopher Morel: 2-5, R (.259)
  • Chase Strumpf: 1-3, 2B, HBP (.191)
  • Luis Vazquez: 1-3, BB (.263)
  • Kyle Johnson: 2.2 IP, H, 0 R, BB 0 K (3.86)
  • Bryan Hudson: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 1, 1.64)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

I’ve harped about it on Twitter since Opening Day. Cubs finally sending Nelson Maldonado to Iowa. He’s always been a natural high average hitter, but his lack of power and 1B only profile as a RH bat left him as a bit of a long shot early in his career. But his hitting hasn’t slowed as he’s moved up the ladder and this year he arrived to ST noticeably bigger. It’s translated into more gap power and more over-the-fence power. With the added power his 1B/DH profile doesn’t look as bad anymore.

High-A

South Bend 8, Quad Cities 2

Game Recap

I don’t know what’s gotten into Jake Washer, who hit hit another homer and double yesterday after jacking two homers in South Bend’s previous game, but I knew it was only a matter of time before Alexander Canario and his plus power profile started to produce. Seemingly every day the Cubs have a different farmhand hitting a pair of homers in a single game. Yesterday, it was Canario’s turn:

The Cubs also got a nice game out of 1st rounder Jordan Wicks. I didn’t get a chance to review video of his start, but his final line looked nice. South Bend got strong work out of their pen over the final five innings as well.

Top Performers

  • Alexander Canario: 3-4, 2 HR (2, 3), 3 R, 3 RBI, BB, SB (2) (.218)
  • Jake Washer: 3-5, 2B, HR (3), R, 2 RBI (.391)
  • Bradlee Beesley: 1-5, HR (1), R, RBI (.205)
  • Ed Howard: 1-3, BB, SB (1) (.192)
  • Pablo Aliendo: 1-4, 2B, R (.147)
  • Fabian Pertuz: 0-3, 2 BB, 2 R (.280)
  • Jordan Wicks: 4 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 5 K (3.18)
  • Eduarniel Nunez: IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (W, 2-1, 9.00)
  • Brad Deppermann: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, HBP, 4 K (3.38)

Low-A

Myrtle Beach PPD

Doubleheader scheduled for today.

Comments

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  • Thanks Michael. It’ll be interesting to see how Velazquez does in Iowa.

  • In reply to October:

    Oops I mean Maldonado

  • Thanks for the recap Michael. I'm single-handedly giving you credit for Maldonado's promotion. You were on that very early. I agree with October, too, I group the Nelsons into one also. Hopefully Velazquez is promoted soon so I can go on grouping them together.

  • I had almost forgotten about Hudson again. Does have have a chance to morph into a decent SP? Or is he likely destined to be a high-end RP/CL some day?

  • In reply to drkazmd65:

    He's a reliever. Hasn't started a game in a while.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I will take that. A 6'8" LH RP who is dominant and is still only 24 years old. There is value there. Who knows he might still be improving.

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