Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Miley cruises through four scoreless in first rehab outing; Six strong innings by Gallardo and a 2-run HR by Made key another Pelicans win

Richard Gallardo (Photo by Stephanie Lynn

AAA

St. Paul 6, Iowa 3

Game Recap

It started off so promising.

In the best news of the night, Wade Miley kicked off his 2022 season with four innings of shutout ball in which he barely appeared to break a sweat. The lefty allowed just two baserunners and struck out three as he simply seemed to just cruise through the St. Paul order, needing just 41 pitches to record 12 outs.

Matt Swarmer followed with two shutout innings of his own. It’s been a struggle for the Iowa offense to score runs, but they scraped together three of them in the middle innings, and with the pitching performing the way it was the game seemed well in hand.

Iowa turned the game over to two of their most reliable arms in the early going of the season to pitch the 8th and 9th innings, but lefty Eric Stout and righty Erich Uelmen were not fooling anyone with their stuff on this night. Each allowed three runs, and the I-Cubs had no answer offensively, as they were held hitless over the final four frames.

Top Performers

  • Wade Miley: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (0.00)
  • Matt Swarmer: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, HPB, 0 K (1.93)
  • Nelson Maldonado: 2-4, R (.286)
  • Ildemaro Vargas: 2-4 (.261)
  • Trent Giambrone: 1-3 (.167)
  • Dixon Machado: 1-4, 2B, RBI (.294)
  • John Hicks: 1-4, 2B, R (.138)
  • Narcisco Crook: 0-1, R, RBI, 2 BB, CS (1) (.114)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Iowa activated LHP Brendon Little off the IL. Minor injuries have inhibited the former 1st round pick throughout his career, no doubt contributing to some of the inconsistencies in his performance during his career. He had developed into one of Iowa’s top relievers in the second half of last season thanks to a velocity increase and a new slider. Little appeared to be on the verge of a 40-man roster spot last fall and shot at competing for a MLB job this spring before getting hurt last September. Hopefully he can pick up where he left off in 2021.

The Cubs have built up a ton of depth from the left side in the Iowa and Tennessee bullpens. With the addition of Little Iowa is now up to five lefties in their pen (Brandon Hughes, Eric Stout, Conner Menez, Stephen Gonsalves), with Locke St. John also potentially rejoining the team should he pass through waivers after being designated for assignment the other day.

AA

Birmingham 15, Tennessee 6

Game Recap

I didn’t get a chance to review any of the footage in this one, but it was over quick. Riley Thompson has created a lot of early buzz with the way he’s been throwing in ST and the early part of the 2022 season but yesterday is no doubt one game he’d like to forget. The hard throwing righty failed to record a single out as he walked four batters and allowed three hits. All seven runners would score in the inning.

It put Peyton Remy in a tough spot as he came on to try and hold back the tide, but Birmingham kept up the pressure all night. Remy would allow one more run to score in the 1st, another in the 2nd and then four more in the 5th.

The potent Tennessee offense put up a good fight for a while, amassing 13 hits, but it’s pretty hard to overcome an 8-0 deficit after the 1st inning.

Top Performers

  • Nelson Velazquez: 1-1, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB (5) (.288)
  • Bryce Windham: 2-3, R, BB (.186)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 2-2, 2B, R (.148)
  • Levi Jordan: 1-5, HR (1), R, RBI (.360)
  • Bryce Ball: 2-4, 2 RBI, BB (.273)
  • Andy Weber: 2-5, RBI (.275)
  • Darius Hill: 1-4, R, BB (.302)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

trends

High-A

South Bend PPD

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 2, Salem 1

Game Recap

The Pelicans can be you by 18 one day, and just as easily beat you by one the next. Take your pick.

The video feed situation for the Myrtle Beach games the first month of the season has not allowed me to give much in the way of analysis on the club. The club ran into technical difficulties with their camera on their first home stand and they’ve also played a number of games on the road in stadiums without a CF view. It’s one of the reasons I hedge whenever someone asks about Pete Crow-Armstrong or any of the other prospects thriving (or struggling) with the club. I just can’t offer an informed opinion with the limited viewing that’s been available thus far.

With that said, Richard Gallardo has put up some really solid results in his return to the club this year. I’d heard reports in spring training that he looked a little stronger this year, with a tick or two of extra velo, and an improved breaking ball. He treaded water with the club last year, but this year he seems to be the leader of the rotation in the early going this year.

He was a big IFA signing, and showed good polish at an early age, but he doesn’t possess the most projectable frame. His stuff last year looked more along the lines of an eventual AAA depth guy rather than a future big leaguer. He reminded me somewhat of Jen-Ho Tseng, who despite his success in the Minors, I always tried to temper expectations for fans because I just didn’t think it would translate at the highest level.

But if Gallardo is able to lock in 92-95 with a good breaking ball and solid changeup he should have good enough command and pitchability to fight for a MLB job down the road. He’s developed strong groundball tendencies so if he can continue to miss a few more bats the way he is in 2022 it greatly improves his odds. Still plenty of time before we see how it plays out.

All of the offense needed was provided by a two-run homer off the bat of Kevin Made. The SS got a late start to the year, then immediately suffered a minor injury in his first game with the Pelicans in Mid-April which kept him out until Tuesday of this week. The 19-year old showed great contact skills last year as one of the youngest players in Carolina League, but was often caught expanding the zone and settling for weak contact. His walk rate was abysmal.

‘The early returns in his three games this season are promising though. Made has already drawn two walks, and has reached base multiple times in each of his games. He isn’t the biggest guy, but he’s got strong hands and good bat speed, so if he is becoming more selective we should see decent power numbers out of him in the coming years.

Top Performers

  • Kevin Made: 2-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI (.556)
  • Peter Matt: 2-3, BB (.281)
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong: 2-4, R, BB, CS (3) (.397)
  • Kevin Alcantara: 1-3, BB, SB (3) (.236)
  • Richard Gallardo: 6 IP, 6 H, R, 2 BB, 5 K (W, 2-0, 2.28)
  • Bryan King: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00)
  • Sheldon Reed: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K (S, 3, 0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Comments

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  • With the addition of Made the MB squad just gets better. Wow this group looks to be loaded and deep. Love seeing the 2 Nelson's continue to rake in 2022 after both had really nice 2021 seasons. Lots of quality depth in the Cubs system. Looking forward to the weeks leading up to the draft the Cubs should have some great options with their 7th pick.

  • Michael, for a guy that is listed as 5’11” and 145 lbs, it seems Chris Morel has held his own in respect to his ability to hit the ball relatively hard. Have you heard or seen anything to give you a better idea, if those figures are outdated? Hopefully he’s been drinking a few milkshakes since those measurements were taken. It could help his timeline to Chicago (or at least to Iowa).

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Those are from when he was 16/17.
    Chris Morel is on the lean side, but he is nowhere near as slight as he was when he signed. He might have even grown an inch as well. My guess is he is more in the 6.0 180 range.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Morel is lean, but really strong and athletic. Just watching him circle the bases on a homerun, one gets the picture of his strength. That doesn't make him a baseball player, but it he is one, he will be a joy to watch.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Morel definitely fits the definitions of quick twitch athleticism and wiry strong. He's got one of the top three arms in the Cubs system, is a fantastic baserunner, and is now regularly hitting 425+ foot home runs while recording some of the highest exit velos in the system.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    If he can translate the stats he's putting up in AA to the MLB club, he might be the regular at 3b. I'm not confident Wisdom will bring down his strikeout % and I don't think he's the long term 3b.

  • While minor league news is exciting, maybe the best news is Miley's potential return to the Cubs rotation. A few more quality starts couldn't hurt...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    For sure, just watching the current level of play, is pretty depressing.

  • Eeeeesh! 3 hits and 9 walks to the Dodgers in game two. Can't win very many that way.

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