First, a note:
It's starting to come together.— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst) April 13, 2022
And it isn't just the relievers this year.
The Cubs have actual, healthy starting pitching prospects this season who are showing good stuff and velo this first week of the season. https://t.co/E4WkvDR32r
Robert Gsellman made his first start for Iowa, striking out three, while tossing three perfect innings. Connor Menez, who had taken Gsellman’s turn in the rotation the first time through, moved into a piggyback role. He earned the win with three solid innings of his own.
Almost all of the damage the Iowa offense managed came in the 4th. Three straight singles loaded the bases for Donnie Dewees, who promptly unloaded them:
Iowa wasn’t done. Another single and two walks followed which re-loaded the bases. A sac fly and then two more singles brought home three more runs. The I-Cubs sent 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run inning.
- Donnie Dewees: 2-4, HR (1), R, 4 RBI
- P.J. Higgins: 3-3, 2B, R, BB
- Greg Deichmann: 3-4, 2B, R, 2 RBI
- Brennen Davis: 1-3, R, RBI, 2 BB
- Robert Gsellman: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
- Connor Menez: 3 IP, 3 H, R, BB, K (W, 1-0)
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
Brennen Davis threw out a pair of runners from left field.
A 1st inning jack by Chase Strumpf and then a solo shot by Yonathan Perlaza in the 2nd helped the Smokies build a 4-0 lead that they managed to ride until the end of the game. The two homers were encouraging signs for a couple of players who need to add that element to their game in order to make their case for future 40-man roster spots.
Get used to this. Yonathan Perlaza….easy power pic.twitter.com/bWPPJiLu4o— Todd (@CubsCentral08) April 13, 2022
The Smokies pitching staff did just enough to make that lead hold up. Javier Assad did his usual job of working through traffic on the bases (1 R in 3.2 IP). He was followed by Bryan Hudson who looked excellent while striking out the first four batters he faced. His command faltered in his third inning of work and he got tagged for a pair of runs which narrowed the Smokies lead to one. Hard throwing Dauris Valdez and nasty lefty Brandon Hughes slammed the door the rest of the way, allowing just one baserunner.
Hughes even registered 99 on the gun with one pitch in 9th, which is a few mph higher than I ever remember him hitting before, so that is definitely something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. If he can consistently work in the 93-96 range while touching higher he becomes a legit late inning relief prospect. He’s already got one of the better sweeping sliders in the org.
- Chase Strumpf: 1-4, HR (1), R, 3 RBI
- Yonathan Perlaza: 1-4, HR (1), R, RBI
- Darius Hill: 2-3, 2B, R, BB
- Nelson Maldonado: 2-4, 2B
- Javier Assad: 3.2 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 4 K
- Dauris Valdez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 K
- Brandon Hughes: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (S, 1)
South Bend jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st on a bases loaded double off the bat of Matt Mervis. The offense would muster just two more hits the rest of the way and a couple of defensive miscues would prove costly in the middle innings as Fort Wayne eventually fought back to earn the victory.
- Matt Mervis: 1-4, 2B, 3 RBI
- Ed Howard: 1-2, 2 BB
- Bradlee Beesley: 1-3, R, BB
- Daniel Palencia: 2.2 IP, 2 H, R, 4 BB, 4 K
- Brad Deppermann: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Injuries, Updates, and Trends
We’ve yet to see any power, but there have been encouraging signs at the plate over the first four games for Ed Howard. The young shortstop struggled offensively throughout 2021, but thus far in 2022 he is showing far more selectivity (3 BB), as well as better pitch recognition and plate coverage (1 K). He’s seemingly spoiled more 0-2 pitches in this first week than he did in any month last season. And if he keeps up this type of approach some power will follow as Howard possesses good bat speed and is beginning to fill out his frame too.
Myrtle Beach 2, Augusta 1 (12 Innings)
It was a night of exciting debuts in Myrtle Beach. There were technical difficulties with the video feed last night, so we didn’t get to see the organizational debut of Pete Crow-Armstrong or the season debut of Kevin Alcantara, but both made an impact in their first game. PCA reached base three times out of the leadoff spot, and although it sounds like there was a couple of rough at bats for Alcantara (he left 8 on base on the night), he came through in the end.
The game had remained knotted 0-0 through 11 innings. Starter Porter Hodge, an intriguing breakout candidate with a nasty slider, struck ouot six through the first four innings. He gave way to a succession of relievers who continued the domination. Luis Rodriguez, Jake Reindl, and Sheldon Reed each fired two shutout frames. Reindl struck out six of the 8 batters he faced. The righty has long been an intriguing relief prospect, but injuries have marred basically every season of his career, even going back to college.
Walker Powell came on to pitch a scoreless 11th, before Augusta broke the tie by bringing home the inherited runner in the 12th. Yeison Santana would immediately retire the game in the bottom half, with a leadoff double to score the runner from 2nd. A Crow-Armstrong single put runners on the corners. One out later, Alcantara’s walkoff single brought the game to a close:
Drive Home Safely !!!! pic.twitter.com/D8wXq31nKn— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) April 13, 2022
- Porter Hodge: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K
- Luis Rodriguez: 2 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
- Jake Reindl: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K
- Sheldon Reed: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 4 K
- Walker Powell: 2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, BB, 2 K (W, 1-0)
- Yeison Santana: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB, HBP
- Jacob Wetzel: 2-5, R
- Pete Crow-Armstrong: 1-4, BB, HBP
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