Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Add another to list of big days for Alcántara, Slaughter, and Young; Schlaffer continues June resurgence; Mora hits inside the park HR; Clarke strikes out eight

Kevin Alcántara (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

MLB

AAA

Omaha 9, Iowa 3

Game Recap

The I-Cubs were facing off against a potential future Hall of Famer on rehab assignment (Zach Greinke).

Jared Young had a big day at the plate (and it bears pointing out again that the Cubs are now giving him reps at 3B, presumably in an attempt to increase his versatility as a potential bench bat). Hitting a very long home run off Grienke is an accomplishment in itself.

The second time may just be the charm for David Bote as well. He looked good at the plate for the second straight game as he restarts his rehab. Fingers crossed, but Chicago may just have some reinforcements available soon.

It wasn’t a good day to be a Cubs pitcher though. Starter Robert Gsellman was knocked out of the game after giving up four runs in the 3rd, and then each of the three relievers allowed the Storm Chasers to score as well.

Top Performers

  • Jared Young: 2-3, HR (11), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB (.261)
  • David Bote: 2-4, RBI (.216)
  • Darius Hill: 1-3, 2B, R, BB, CS (1) (.396)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

It’s been a rough season thus far for Brendon Little. He missed April with an injury, then did manage to post a 0.00 ERA over 9.2 IP in May despite a very high walk rate, but things have taken a turn for the worse in June. He’s now given up a run in all six of his appearances this month (12.38 ERA) as opposing teams have now begun to get some hits against him in addition to the walks. The stuff still looks good and he’s missing some bats, but the command and control have got to improve if he hopes to make a run at a 40-man spot during the 2nd half of the season.

AA

Pensacola 5, Tennessee 3

Game Recap

The top of the order did its job as Yonathan Perlaza, Jake Slaughter, and Matt Mervis combined to reach base seven times and hit all four of the Smokies extra base hits. The rest of the lineup couldn’t hold up their end through, and the 5 run hole that Riley Thompson (0.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R, BB, 0 K) dug the team in the 1st inning proved too much to overcome.

It was Thompson’s first start since returning from a month on the Developmental List, and the results couldn’t have been worse. There wasn’t a good camera for the game, so I can’t comment on how, why, or if concern is warranted, so for now I’m just going to chalk it up to a bad day implementing whatever changes they made while working with him these past few weeks. Chris Clarke did have a great piggyback outing. He was forced to enter in the 1st, and proceeded to strike out eight while putting up zeroes on the scoreboard over the next 5.2 innings to give his team a chance.

Top Performers

  • Jake Slaughter: 1-2, HR (6), 2 R, RBI, 2 HBP (.367)
  • Yonathan Perlaza: 2-4, 2B, 3B, R (.235)
  • Matt Mervis: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB (.303)
  • Chris Clarke: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K (4.86)

High-A

Quad Cities 6, South Bend 1

Game Recap

I’ll take a solid outing from Kohl Franklin at this point. It at least gives him a bit of momentum to build upon in his next time out. He allowed just one hit and one run through three innings yesterday, exiting with his team tied 1-1.

There just wasn’t much offense for the Cubs in this one. They’ve recently lost much of their power production to promotion, and are currently forced to rely on stringing together singles and walks to score most of their runs. That’s a tall order, and the results have been inconsistent, as you would expect.

Top Performers

  • Kohl Franklin: 3 IP, H, R, 2 BB, 2 K (10.13)
  • Jake Washer: 1-3, 2B, BB (.298)
  • Yohendrick Piñango: 1-4, 2B (.260)
  • Luis Verdugo: 1-3 (.226)

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 6, Fredericksburg 2

Game Recap

For the second time this week Kevin Alcántara came up just short of hitting for the cycle. Well, he actually did better than hitting for the cycle earlier this week as he hit a second homer in lieu of a double, but this time around he did come up one hit short (a triple) of completing the cycle.

There are still the occasional rough games mixed in, as you would expect from a 19-year old in Low-A, but the big games outnumber the bad ones, and even when he’s just okay he tends to do something to help contribute to Myrtle Beach’s frequent victories.

Standing 6’6″ with long arms, he is a hitter who would be naturally susceptible to having a long swing, and it will be an ongoing battle with pitchers trying to bust him inside in an effort to prevent him from getting his arms extended. Think of how teams always attacked Kris Bryant, hard inside, and soft away. Alcántara will face the same test.

What I’ve love in his progression this season is that he already shows the approach and mechanics necessary to combat that approach by opposing pitchers. Alcántara regularly lets the ball travel deep and takes it the other way. And there are few 19-year olds I’ve seen recently who manage to do so with as much power as him. The other key is the way he has condensed his swing and shown the ability to stay inside the ball and get the bat through the zone on inside pitches. He does so fluidly, and again, with power.

His mechanics may need to change as he fills out his frame, and it’s possible he loses a bit of that fluidity and quick twitch, but it is such a good sign that he already knows how to use his tools at such a young age, and the hope is that someone so capable of adjustments at this stage in their career will be able to continue to do so as he ages.

Alcántara wasn’t the only story in this one. Sparkplug second baseman Juan Mora had himself another good game, with three hits, including his fourth homer. Tyler Schlaffer scuffled a bit in April when he would end up giving up a homer that would ruin an otherwise solid outing, then struggled a bit with his command in May. He’s settling in so far in June though. He did have one clunker, but even including that he’s posted a 3.79 ERA and 12-to-1 K-to-BB ratio over 19 IP.

Top Performers

  • Kevin Alcántara: 3-4, 2B, HR (10), 2 R, 2 RBI (.286)
  • Juan Mora: 3-5, HR (4), 2 R, 2 RBI (.279)
  • Ezequiel Pagan: 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI, HBP (.273)
  • Tyler Schlaffer: 5 IP, 4 H, R, BB, 6 K (4.65)
  • Jose Miguel Gonzalez: 2.2 IP, H, R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (6-0, 3.76)
  • Adam Laskey: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (S, 4, 0.00)

ACL

Cubs 6, Athletics 2

DSL

Cubs Red 9, Cubs Blue 1

Comments

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  • Somethings gotta give. The Cubs are loaded with corner outfielders. With Happ & Suzuki in Chicago what do you do with Davis, Young, Hill, Valazquez, Maldanado, Alcantera then after that Cassie and Canario? They will all need to go on the 40 man by next year (except for Cassie). Even if you trade Happ and or Suzuki that's still 8 guys for 2 positions. Then in Iowa you have solid backups with Frazier, Diechmann & Crooks. So 13 corner outfielders for 6 roster spots (3 in Chicago 3 in iowa).
    A few can play a solid CF but you have Morel Ortega & PCA to fill that spot.

    Many of these young hitters will have to be thrown in or used to make trades some time in 23' Hopefully we hold on to the right ones.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Don't forget Piñango.

    It's a good problem to have, and will no doubt sort itself out to some degree. Some will get hurt or won't develop. Others will get traded.

    No different than the "Cubs have too many SS" debate from 12 years ago. Only one of those guys (Javy) ended up a long term MLB SS.

  • You look at the last two cubs games, look at the milwaukee brewers and the 2016 cubs and great teams throughout baseball history. They all have one thing in common, great starting pitching. It really comes down to that in my opinion.

    This Cubs offense is a middle of the road offense. Better than some teams who will be in the playoffs. But our starting pitching has been injured or ineffective to often and it has ruined what was a good bullpen.

    If I am rebuilding this roster quickly I am looking for two (I know very expensive) top starting pitchers to go along with Hendricks, Stroman, Steele & Killian then sliding Thompson Alzolay and others to the bullpen making it stronger.

    Lets add Bogerts then move Hoerner to second (makes for a great defensive infield). Let Madigral heat up and trade him at the deadline along with Schwindel (we have several internal options for left handed first basemen).

    Keep Wisdom at third if he is hitting in the 7th or 8th spot I am good with him in the lineup everyday.

    To summarize, trade a bunch of players and add 3 high end free agents and we are back in business. I really think it could be that simple. If they can part with an extra $80-90mil per year we are good.

  • Michael, love reading the information about the minor leagues, thanks for all the work you have done. The South Bend Cubs we’re here recently and I had the chance to take my grandson to see them. Definitely some good looking players at this level. PCA didn’t play this week, is he injured? Keep up the great work.

  • In reply to 1945AD:

    Yes, PCA suffered a bone bruise about a week ago and is expected to miss a couple more weeks.

  • Yes Pinango & Nwogu as well. I believe this summer several of these guys need a chance to see if they are viable candidates for future Cubs teams. Specifically, Hill Valazquez, Maldanado & Young. Davis too if he gets healthy.

    I am currently most intrigued about Hill though. 3-4 last night in iowa just killing the ball. What kind of a defender is Hill?

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