Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Dewees grand slam triggers 7-run inning; Alcantara notches walk-off hit in MB debut; Strumpf and Perlaza homer in TN win

Donnie Dewees (photo by John Arguello)

First, a note:

AAA

Iowa 8, Toledo 5

Game Recap

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.

Top Performers

  • 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.

AA

Tennessee 4, Montgomery 3

Game Recap

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.

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.

Top Performers

  • 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)

High-A

Fort Wayne 5, South Bend 3

Game Recap

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.

Top Performers

  • 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.

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 2, Augusta 1 (12 Innings)

Game Recap

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:

Top Performers

  • 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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Comments

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  • Some nice pitching at levels that could soon help the Cubs (who aren't acting like they need much help in that department right now). Nice to see Davis take a couple of walks as he adjusts to AAA pitching. If he's ready to come up at the trade deadline, the Cubs could free up another outfielder for a strategic trade.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yes, plate discipline might be the final item on the Davis ‘check list’. I’m fine though if the Cubs decide not to rush him up to Wrigley. He’s already been moved along fairly aggressively.
    Off topic, but the other day I was reminded of the rumor that the Cubs had offered Correa a 7 year contract for about $32M per year. I hope that was a false alarm. I sure hope they learned their lesson from the JHey deal. I know it’s early, but I still maintain Correa just got hot, at the opportune time, is barely in the top 8 SS in baseball. Cubs don’t need to tie up so much salary for THAT long. And so far, I think Minnesota might be a bit concerned.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Correa, was not interested in Cubs 7 year offer.

    Long-term high priced contracts for position players rarely work out. I would much rather Cubs sign a hitter like Schwarber for his 4 year $79 million, & then use the other $12 million for other player/s on short term deals.

    This is the trend for free agent position players, they are not going to lock themselves into value driven long-term contracts if free agent market isn't happening liked they hoped that off-season. I assume more hitters will want player's options going forward-like Castellanos/Reds, & now Correa/Twins.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I think the Cubs pretty well established that they aren't interested in long-term contracts when they didn't sign back any of their previous "core." Detroit got Baez for far less than Correa wanted (according to the rumor...). In the meantime, there are middle infielders in the minors and a couple of pretty good young guys already on the team. Didn't Minnesota structure that contract where both they and Correa have a whole bunch of options?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    All you say here Cliff, is true. But it’s also true (apparently) that the Cubs did offer Correa a seven year deal. And Correa supposedly turned it down because the Cubs offer did not contain the ‘out options’ that Correa wanted. To me, that was way too much to offer a SS who isn’t a superstar. Mainly far too long, for my liking. Of course I don’t know for sure what the specifics were, I’m just going by the rumor mill. And it seems the out options that Minn gave Correa, are pretty one sided in Correa’s favor.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I think those player out options will give mid-market teams like the Twins the ability negotiate, & maybe even sign a few high priced free agents going forward, even if it is only for one season.

    I'd rather be in the Twin situation- on the hook for probably one year, to maximum three years for Correa. Than the Rangers 10 years at $325 for Seager.

    Cubs offered Stroman a similar deal, two years at $25 million each, with a player option for the third year.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Is Correa's contract only for three years?

  • In reply to OldFan:

    Twins/Correa signed a three year contract for $35.1 million a year for 22, 23, & 24. 3 year total $105.3 million, if it goes to the end.

    Correa, can opt out of the contract after each season. Correa, has 100% say on if he wants to be a free agent again after the 22, or 23 seasons.

    I personally would label Correa contract a one year contract, with two player option years.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Makes me wonder if the Cubs "leaked" the story of the offer to appease fans that weren't happy they didn't spend more money. Whether it was a bona-fide offer or a publicity ploy, I'm glad it didn't happen.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Good point!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Amen to that brother !

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    But, do the Cubs really need Correa ? Correa will be a free agent after this season will no compensation pick attached. The Cubbies will have several options in 2024, which will come soon enough .
    I really wish Heyward wasn't there blocking Brennen Davis.

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    Pitching has been good so far this year. I'm interested in seeing what Hughes can do, and am really interested in seeing how PCA does. The defense is apparently ML ready and if he can hit and/or take his walks he could be fast tracked to the majors. That was a major get for the Cubs for a few months of Javy.

  • The Cubs got major gets for all three top free agents. And the Javey return might be the least of the three.

    Kilian looks like a steal, and Canario has interesting potential.

    And Alcantara might be the best of them all. And Vizcaino was looking pretty good before he disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

  • In reply to OldFan:

    Yep, kilian is a horse and on a roll. Jed did good trading two months of quality veterans for future major leaguers.

  • In reply to OldFan:

    From one old fan to another, the player who interest me the most is Crow-Armstrong, projected to be a top line center fielder. This kid could be the lead off man the Cubs have sorely missed for years to come !

  • Not sure when the 1st round of promotions typically is. But a guy like Hughes is looking pretty intriguing & could be making a case to get to Iowa in that 1st batch.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    Well he got promoted yesterday. Riley Martin is another Lefty arm in the pen to watch. He’s been filthy.

  • Tbh, the next wave of talent — not including Davis or Killian — is three years away. They also have tens of millions available to spend, and made a purported profit of 79m last year while crying poor. Why not offer Correa or several others 3 year deals to bridge when the talent arrives.

    Yes, I get the loss of a draft pick for Correa, so the specific deal he signed with the twins wouldn’t work — but Jed is smart enough to figure this out. This team has a significant talent deficiency. Hopefully they look to appropriately use their financial assets at the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    I'm not sure that there's enough talent on the MLB team that supplementing at the trade deadline gives them a shot at the playoffs. I think the Cubs have cash to spend but want to stick with short contracts to avoid creating bottlenecks for talent that's already in the system. A lot of free agents aren't interested in short-term contracts.

  • Tbh, the next wave of talent — not including Davis or Killian — is three years away. They also have tens of millions available to spend, and made a purported profit of 79m last year while crying poor. Why not offer Correa or several others 2-3 year deals to bridge when the talent arrives.

    Yes, I get the loss of a draft pick for Correa, so the specific deal he signed with the Twins won’t work — but Jed is smart enough to figure this out. This team has a significant talent deficiency. Hopefully they look to appropriately use their financial assets at the trade deadline.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    Hope I'm wrong, but this Cubs team looks really bad to me.

    With all prospects you hope it works out. I'm not a fan of the idea that if some Cubs prospects don't pan out, or if the Cubs miss on some draft picks. That should not keep the large market Cubs from winning.

    Cubs are selling fans on prospects. No one knows, if all of the Cubs prospects will make it, or none of them. What do the Cubs have in Alzolay? Alzolay has spent part of the last 3 seasons in the majors? Development is never linear. The Cubs player development, & minor league talent has improved, but really it could only go up.

    Hope more than a few prospects pan out. Great, Cubs had a selloff that focused on lower level prospects with upside, great.

    Why didn't the large market Cubs, high revenue Cubs get their 2022 MLB payroll in line with other large market payrolls? Cubs payroll does not match their large market peers.

    This off-season spending, matched what the Cubs did the last few years. Cubs reek of being a frugal organization, that is not concerned about improving the team, if it requires real spending.

    These are the long-term contracts Cubs handed out this off-season.
    Stroman 2 yr $50 million-plus player option, Suzuki 5 yr $85 million,
    & Gomes 2 year $13 million-plus team options.

    Miley $10mil, Villar $6 mil, Smyly $5.25, Given $5.0, Simmons $4.0, Roberts $3.5, Martin $2.5, Norris $1.75, Frazier $1.5, & Chavez $1.0.

    Cubs organization, & payroll should be the highest out of all NL & AL CENTRAL teams.

    Were the Cubs creative this off-season, on how they built the roster?

    I hope the Cubs have a bottleneck of too much talent, that is when you know have a good team.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    I personally think you are wrong. This team does not look really bad to me. The current team is going to be in the middle of the pack and the farm is loaded to the gills in talent, hitting and pitching. Patience is a good thing to have. I think Hoyer and Hawkins are doing a very good job. I have confidence in them.

  • Supposedly, the top prospects will be here in 2024.

    How many of these guys will ever make it who knows. Some will be traded, some will fail.

    If some of Schwindel, ortega & wisdom have success I think 2023 they will target a high end starter a closer a shortstop to complete the 23 roster. They definitely have the cash to do it.

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