Daily Cubs Minors Recap: D.J. Herz punches out 10 while leading South Bend to a 1-0 win. Mervis and Strumpf go back-to-back; Jensen resurgence continues; More hits walkoff grand slam

DJ Herz by Stephanie Lynn

AAA

Louisville 2, Iowa 1

Game Recap

Iowa got great work from their pitching staff on what was essentially a bullpen day. Luke Farrell has been in and out of the rotation since joining the club last month, and he got the start. He’d pitch pretty well, and that would be the theme: not overwhelming, but good enough to keep the I-Cubs in the game. Anueris Rosario and Blake Whitney followed. I actually though Whitney threw the ball a little better, but he would get tagged with the loss. Michael Rucker threw the final two innings and was definitely the best of the bunch. He has not surrendered a run since being sent to Iowa a couple of weeks ago.

There just wasn’t much in the way of offense from the lineup yesterday. Nobody had more than one hit. The one run they scored came off a throwing error. Narciso Crook stole second base after a walk, then while stealing third the throw went into LF, allowing him to head home.

Top Performers

  • Luke Farrell: 2.1 IP, H, R, 2 BB, 3 K (4.39)
  • Anueris Rosario: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, K (6.31)
  • Michael Rucker: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (0.00)
  • Narciso Crook: 0-2, 2 BB, 2 SB (9, 10)
  • Dixon Machado: 1-3, BB (.288)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Years after the Cubs moved him off the position, Jared Young made a start at 2B. It was the 5th (plus DH) different position he has started at this season (1B, RF, LF, 3B, 2B). Originally drafted as a middle infielder in 2017, Young played only two games at 2B (in 2018) since his draft year. I always thought it was a bit strange they limited his defensive profile so early in his career. He wasn’t amazing at 2B, but moving him to 1B really put a lot of pressure on his bat. I don’t think it is a coincidence the Cubs have recently expanded his defensive role. The bat hasn’t blossomed enough (.250/.328/.456) for him to be a full-time corner guy, but as a versatile lefty bat off the bench, Young has a shot at a big league future.

AA

Chattanooga 8, Tennessee 6

Game Recap

The Ryan Jensen rebound continues at pace. This time out he tossed another three scoreless. His command and consistency have been much improved since returning from the developmental list with a new shortened arm path. In three games he has now accumulated eight scoreless innings (5 H, 0 R, BB, HBP, 6 K).

Tennessee didn’t get great work from the pen after he left though. Eight runs over the final six innings off three different relievers tarnished a great start, and good offensive performance. Cole Roederer, Jake Slaughter, and Andy Weber stayed hot at the plate, and then Matt Mervis and Chase Strumpf hit back-to-back homers in the 7th to keep the Smokies in it before the comeback fell short.

Top Performers

  • Ryan Jensen: 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (3.70)
  • Matt Mervis: 2-5, 2B, HR (11), R, 3 RBI (.306)
  • Chase Strumpf: 1-3, HR (13), R, RBI, BB (.238)
  • Cole Roederer: 2-3, RBI, BB, CS (2) (.294)
  • Andy Weber: 2-4, 2B, R, RBI (.316)
  • Bryce Windham: 1-3, 2B, R, BB (.194)
  • Jake Slaughter: 1-4, 2 R, SB (9) (.368)

High-A

South Bend 1, Peoria 0

Game Recap

It hasn’t always been easy for D.J. Herz over the last couple of weeks. He remained tough to hit, but he was missing the zone a bit more, and wasn’t missing as many bats. The old D.J. Herz resurfaced yesterday. He did little but miss bats in this one, recording 10 of his 14 outs via strikeout.

Adam Laskey followed with 1.1 scoreless in his first High-A appearance, picking up right where he left off in Myrtle Beach. He’s now extended his scoreless streak to open the season to 27.1 innings. Laskey has generated a ton of ground balls while issuing few free passes. He suffered through a bunch of injuries in college and his early pro career which kept him from fulfilling his promise as a starter. Now healthy, and in a late inning relief role, Laskey has gotten on a quite a roll to begin the season. At 24, South Bend is a more appropriate level for someone of his experience and so we should get a better idea of his upside now that he’s facing hitters his own age.

The recently activated Michael McAvene fired two scoreless, and the recently struggling Hunter Bigge bounced back with a scoreless 9th to complete the shutout.

Despite the great pitching, the Cubs still needed a walkoff hit to win it. Other than Owen Caissie and Fabian Pertuz, who each went 3-for-4, South Bend hitters managed just two hits. But it was that combo who eventually won it. With two outs, Caissie singled, then swiped second base. One batter later, Fabian Pertuz put an end to it.

Top Performers

  • D.J. Herz: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 10 K (1.97)
  • Adam Laskey: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (0.00)
  • Michael McAvene: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (4.91)
  • Hunter Bigge: IP, H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (W, 4-2, 7.23)
  • Fabian Pertuz: 3-4, 2 2B, RBI (.253)
  • Owen Caissie: 3-4, R (.267)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Pete Crow-Armstrong returned to the lineup after missing a couple of weeks with a bruised hand that he suffered on a slide. He went 0-for-3.

Low-A

Kannapolis 6, Myrtle Beach 4

Top Performers

  • Jacob Wetzel: 1-4, HR (2), R, 3 RBI (.198)
  • Kevin Alcántara: 2-4, R (.270)
  • Malcolm Quintero: 1-3, RBI (.234)

ACL

Cubs 6, Athletics 3

Top Performers

  • Cristian More: 1-3, HR (1), R, 4 RBI (.342)
  • Miguel Pabon: 1-2, 2 BB (.263)
  • Cristian Olivo: 2-4 (.229)
  • Marino Santy: 3 IP, H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K (3.12)

DSL

Orioles 5, Cubs Blue 3

Pirates 11, Cubs Red 8

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    Thanks Michael. There are a number of prospects we should feel good about but I'm especially hopeful that Jensen can make it. Most felt he was undersized for a starting role but there have been a number of players that succeeded that weren't that big. He's got a big enough arm, that's for sure.

  • Both Darius Hill and Matt Mervis seem to be making a great case to to move up a level soon. I know the MLB OF is a bit crowded but you can't ignore a guy who puts up multiple hits almost every game. Mervis could be a nice LHB the Cubs need to balance the lineup in the near future. Did not see either player having such a good MiLB season to this point. Michael did Mervis rework his swing this past off-season or his he being more aggressive early in the count?

  • fb_avatar

    I know a lot of denizens would like the Cubs to take a bat in the 1st round, but unless it is Parada or one of the HS top bats fall to us, I still think we jump on pitching the first 2 or 3 picks, we still have the IFA to get some young hitters plus we have the trade deadline to get some pitching, we also have a good pick coming next year in both drafts.
    We have a plethora of bullpen arms and possible 3-5 starters in the system, although I'm not sold on any starters yet, we need some top of the rotation guys, we still haven't addressed that in the last 3 years in my mind. Comments?

  • In reply to tater:

    got to get best player available. If it is a hitter, you get the hitter. If it is a pitcher, you get the pitcher. Cannot pick based on need. Personally I want Parada, Collier, Johnson, or Lee. They all seem very good.

  • In reply to tater:

    And my favorite pitchers are Barriera, Prielipp, Whisenhunt and Schultz. But I am hoping to get one of these as the 2nd round pick. I like LH pitchers and it seems the FO does too based on last year picks.

  • I don’t have a strong preference on taking a P or hitter in the upcoming draft. But in response to an earlier comment on the previous thread - I find it hard NOT to be surprised if the Cubs were to develop 1 or 2 TOR P in the next couple of years. After all, it’s hard to remember the last 2 that were developed. They don’t grow on trees, especially in this org.
    Also you can’t just snap your fingers and say, ‘OK, we’ll sign one or two this offseason’. There is competition, and the SP just might prefer a different org. So when 1 becomes available, the cubs better be ready to make a strong financial offer.
    Joe Musgrove is a FA this offseason. If he is healthy, he should be targeted. Enough sitting on your hands and wallet, Mr Ricketts.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I believe, that when the time and free agent/trade makes sense, the money will be there.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Empty rhetoric. No program or ideas for making headway. In other words, ‘ok, let’s just kick this can, down the road’.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    agree with you 100%

  • fb_avatar

    A long time ago I said I wanted Druw Jones but we aren't getting him. There are some others, Jackson Holliday, Justin Crawford but I would seriously think about Dylan Lesko or Brock Porter.

  • fb_avatar

    Most of the top pitchers are reportedly going in the first round and supplemental 1st round, I doubt they'll be there at 2nd.

  • In reply to tater:

    I think we got Greg Maddux in the 2nd round. Just saying it is possible for the Cubs to do it.

  • In reply to John57:

    I remember seeing the scouting report on Maddux. I believe the Scout stated if he were a little bigger he would definitely be a top of the first round pick.

  • I think Keegan thompson is blossoming into a very good starting pitcher. Should be slotting him in the rotation for next year.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I thought Alzolay would get to be a solid SP before K. Thompson and Steele but he keeps on straining hit lat. The two have passed him up.

  • In reply to John57:

    I see Anderson Espinosa threw a combined no hitter last night. He was a top mlb prospect before he got hurt.

    He looked good when he was up in Chicago last month. I think he will be in the rotation discussion next year.

    Merisnick was traded for Espinosa. So these guys like Simmons, Ortega, Schwindel & Bote have some value and should be moved.

    Hopefully, somehow Heyward can be moved as well.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    yep you have to like getting Anderson Espinosa for Marisnick. Hoyer is very good at trading. Hopefully Anderson gets and stays healthy. It would be great if he made the rotation.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Did you see that PCA is playing again after his hand injury? He had two triples yesterday. Let's see him put a good run at SB. Very good trade by Hoyer.

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