Daily Cubs Minors Recap: David Bote and the I-Cubs bullpen lead team to win; Jensen looks sharp; Big days for Roederer and Stambaugh; Made doubles and homers

Cole Roederer (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

MLB

Rookie Performers

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

The 13 pitcher limit on the 26-man roster finally goes into effect today, more than two years after it was initially planned. As the Cubs are currently carrying 14, they will need to send out one member of their staff and promote a position player. The only healthy position players on the 40-man roster are outfielders Nelson Velázquez and Alexander Canario. They have recently been promoted to AAA and AA respectively and are currently experiencing growing pains while adjusting to their new levels of competition.

Velázquez did receive a brief call up to Chicago a few weeks back, so we could see him again, especially if the Cubs feel David Bote is only a week or so away from returning off the 60-Day IL. Bote just restarted his Iowa rehab over the weekend, playing a partial game at 2B on Saturday, then playing 7 innings at 3B on Sunday. It is unlikely the club would call him up to Chicago before he proves he can handle back-to-back starts in the field, especially since he was forced to cut his previous rehab stint short.

The other option would be to make room on the roster for Jared Young. His name has popped up frequently throughout the year by coaches in AAA and by members of the Cubs front office in interviews. Iowa has begun using him at 3B recently (in addition to his normal 1B/DH/COF roles), and though it wouldn’t be a full time home for him, as a potential MLB bench bat any amount of increased versatility will assist Young in carving out a role. He was drafted as a middle infielder before quickly being converted to a corner guy.

To make roster room for Young (or Bote) they could transfer Michael Hermosillo to the 60-Day IL or DFA a pitcher (Mark Leiter Jr., Adrian Sampson, Alec Mills).

AAA

Iowa 6, Omaha 5

Game Recap

Iowa fought back from a 5-0 deficit to win the game and claim the series against Omaha. Cam Sanders lost command in the 3rd, issuing a walk, hit by pitch, and a wild pitch early in the inning and then also left other pitches over the plate which allowed Omaha to push across four runs and build their early lead.

From there, the Iowa offense began chipping away while the bullpen slammed the door. David Bote brought home Iowa’s first run, scoring Tyler Payne from third on a groundout. Two innings later he doubled home Payne, and Bote eventually scored as well as the I-Cubs managed two more RBI groundouts in the inning. The theme continued in the 6th and 7th, as Iowa once again scored via a groundout, this time on a base loaded double play ball off the bat of Carlos Sepulveda, but it pushed across the tying run. A second RBI double by Bote in the 7th capped off the comeback. Bote looks much more comfortable so far during this rehab stint.

Iowa has suffered some recent bullpen issues, but not in this game. Bryan Hudson relieved Sanders and fired two shutout innings. Bad news did follow however, as Ethan Roberts made his first rehab appearance but exited after one batter while holding his arm in obvious pain. Keep your fingers crossed, but it didn’t look good. Michael Rucker would replace him on the mound and continued the shutout work over the next 1.2 innings to earn the win. Ben Leeper worked an eight pitch 9th to close it out.

Top Performers

  • David Bote: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 3 RBI (.236)
  • Darius Hill: 3-4, 2B, 2 R (.421)
  • Tyler Payne: 2-4, 2B, 2 R (.344)
  • Jared Young: 1-3, RBI, HBP (.262)
  • Bryan Hudson: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (3.07)
  • Michael Rucker: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (W, 1-0, 0.00)
  • Ben Leeper: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (S, 3, 3.26)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Clint Frazier made his first start since clearing waivers and agreeing to forgo free agency. He went 0-for-3 with 3 K and a BB as the DH.

AA

Tennessee 5, Pensacola 1

Game Recap

It’s been a quiet assimilation, as it has not been accompanied by much in the way of power, but Cole Roederer is beginning to look comfortable at the AA level. Given his age (22) and the amount of time he missed due to his elbow injury over the past calendar year, this is a surprising and very positive sign. He had his biggest day so far with the club yesterday, reaching base in all four plate appearances while driving in three runs.

Ryan Jensen looked good in his second start since returning from the IL with a shortened arm path. He showed good command, worked at 97 and touched as high as 99 according to the broadcast. He was followed by lefty Dalton Stambaugh, who used his changeup to good effect, and did not allow an earned run over 4.1 innings. Blake Whitney completed the dominance with 1.2 shutout innings to earn his first save.

Top Performers

  • Cole Roederer: 3-3, 2B, 3 RBI, BB (.268)
  • Jake Slaughter: 2-5, RBI, SB (7) (.370)
  • Ryan Jensen: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (4.22)
  • Dalton Stambaugh: 4.1 IP, 4 H, R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (W, 4-1, 4.08)
  • Blake Whitney: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (S, 1, 2.79)

High-A

Quad Cities 2, South Bend 1

Game Recap

D.J. Herz continues to work through a rough patch with his control. He generally remains difficult to hit and score upon even in the outings he loses it, but there is no doubt he hasn’t been as sharp or as efficient over the past few weeks. Still, he kept the Cubs in it, and so did the relievers who followed. It was the struggling South Bend offense that failed to deliver.

Pablo Aliendo and Owen Caissie certainly held up their end. The pair combined to go 7-for-8, while the rest of the lineup managed just three hits (two by Luis Verdugo). But even their success gives a window into the team’s recent struggles, as all seven of their hits were singles. This team is just really struggling to hit for any kind of power right now.

Top Performers

  • Pablo Aliendo: 4-4, RBI (.234)
  • Owen Caissie: 3-4, R (.246)
  • Luis Verdugo: 2-3, 2B (.235)
  • D.J. Herz: 2.2 IP, H, R, 2 BB, 3 K (2.17)
  • Zac Leigh: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (5.63)
  • Walker Powell: 3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (4.88)

Low-A

Fredericksburg 4, Myrtle Beach 3 (10 Innings)

Game Recap

Kevin Made had been in a bit of a slump earlier this month, but was showing recent signs it might be ending as he had started to draw some walks this past week. Yesterday, he managed a full breakthrough. Not only did he take another walk, but he also doubled, and homered. As the one returning top prospect on the Pelicans club, it has probably been easy to overlook him a bit given all the exciting new additions who debuted in Myrtle Beach this year, but Made deserves some attention as well. He’s a slick fielding true SS, with an ability to barrel the ball. What he struggled with last year was a highly aggressive approach where he basically swung at everything, which mostly limited him to singles, or weak contact. It has been a different story in 2022 though. Not only is he bigger and stronger, but he is far more patient as well. He’s doing a better job waiting for a pitch to drive.

Made was basically the lone bright spot on offense for the Pelicans Sunday.

It wasted a solid start by Tyler Santana, and good work by Angel Hernandez and Alfredo Zarraga out of the pen. Hernandez worked two scoreless, and although he did load the bases in his second inning of work he then got a big strikeout before Zarraga came on to help him get out of it. Both of them are interesting recent additions to the Pelicans pen. They each struck out four without walking a batter.

Top Performers

  • Kevin Made: 2-4, 2B, HR (4), R, RBI, BB (.269)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 2-4, R (.207)
  • Tyler Santana: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, BB, 8 K (2.66)
  • Angel Hernandez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (0.00)
  • Alfredo Zarraga: 1.2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (1.59)

Comments

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  • Until the front office starts turning out impactful, viable prospects. The pressure should be on Jed, ownership, & the front office. It should only get more intense for the front office until- as Jed, Theo, and others have said-stack good decisions on top of good decisions.

    2021 MLB guess/estimates. The guesses said they factored in how pandemic impacted revenue for the 2021 baseball season.
    Cubs $425 million for 2021 estimated for 5th overall in MLB revenue.
    STL- $287 million estimated for 15th overall in MLB revenue
    CIN- $269 million
    MIL- $267 million
    CIN $266 million

    It looks like the trend continues of the Cubs having a substantial advantage in revenue over the rest of the NL central.

    The top clubs estimated revenues for the 2021 MLB season
    1-LAD $565M- 2-NYY$482M- 3-BOS $479M- 4-ATL $445M 5-Cubs $425M-

    During the lockout, agents, and some sport writers talked/wrote about Liberty Media 2021 financial statement for Braves revenue. It was reported that all the baseball related revenue streams totaled $568 million dollars on the financial statements. That included $42 million for rents on properties around the new ballpark.

    Jed is acting coy about rebuilds. Jed even said something close to you cannot do a rebuild like they did 11 years ago. Rebuild have gotten harder for multiple reasons according to Jed. All teams hold onto young MLB players, starting pitching prospects, & top prospects more than ever. All teams focus more resources on player development, draft, & signing international free agents. Plus more teams are tanking like the Cubs.

    Cubs started 2022 season with the 14th highest payroll at $143.4 million.
    6/20/22 Cubs are 25-41, .379 winning percentage.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Thanks for adding this info, Naujack. Excellent to know for any Cubs fan. Does anybody have a reasonable take for why the Cubs are just middle of the pack in payroll, yet top 5 in revenue (assuming these numbers are accurate)?

  • In reply to HefCA:

    Because you can't just go out and buy a team. Ask the Phillies how that worked out. These constant comparisons of "guesstimate" revenues and payroll rankings are just silly. The best teams combine producing prospects from the minor leagues AND signing free agents. They can let expensive FAs walk, saving the cash for needed positions, because they produce replacements. The Cubs weren't producing much of anything after Theo depleted the farm system trying to provide pitching for the under-performing core. That had to be fixed first, then the Cubs will spend to supplement.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    BTW, I agree wholeheartedly that the Cubs SHOULDN'T be in the position they are in and that mismanagement got them here. I believe they are sincerely trying to fix it, and that they are making progress.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    There is a difference between trying to buy a team, and playing with one arm tied behind your back. The cubs natural advantage is financial power, and their not using. Do the cardinals get to the end of the drafts first round and say ‘nope, we don’t want to use the competitive balance pick this year’.

    Forbes did estimate that the Cubs made 79m in profit last year. And this year their payroll is down 70 m from last year. So why isn’t it they can’t use their resources to have a more competitive roster?

  • In reply to Gunga:

    Good point Gunga.

  • In reply to Gunga:

    They must add two TOR's (that dont have an injury history) this off season plus one of the top SS (preferably Bogaerts).

    This team will score 4+ per game but they need starters that go 6-7 innings and are there every 5th day. If they do that I like the depth for the rotation.

    I am concerned with Hendricks he is going on a full year of ineffectiveness.
    But I am pretty good with him as a number 4 or 5 starter. If he regains his form that would be huge.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    Almost everyone in baseball will be looking for TOR’s.
    And Jed said within the last week, that ‘he’s confident the money will be there, WHEN ITS TIME to spend’.
    Lol, the $64,000 question, is WHEN will that time be? Don’t hold your breath.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Well, this wouldn't have been the year, and the next might not be either. Like you said, everybody is looking for TOR's and middle infielders. It's not going to happen without lots of help through the system. Actually that is typical Even the big spenders like the Yankees and your front office favorite Dodgers have to do it some.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    So your opinion Slug, is that ‘this wouldn’t be the year, and next year might not be either’ !
    Is that what the ‘small market’ Cardinals said too, when in back to back years - continued to build - and spend - and went out and got Goldschmidt and Arenado in back to back seasons?
    No, they continued to spend to take advantage of opportunities, as they presented themselves. You just continue to kick the can down the road and make one excuse after another for Ricketts.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Yes, it will be a process. I wouldn't call it kicking can down the road. I would think of it as adapting to the circumstanes. I'm not crazy about where we are, but here we are. I'm hoping for progress. I'm hoping for free agents with deals, that make sense for next year and the near future, teamed with coming of age prospects. Let's be honest here. There beaucoup missing ingredients. Tickets money alone won't determine success.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Sorry, Ricketts money alone.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    The place reporting the MLB revenue data for 2021 is not using the word estimate-or guessing. I threw that in, because we all know Cubs revenue is not publicly reported.

    I think the Cubs are happy with their plan. 2022 is working how the Cubs expected. Owner is generating lots of revenue in 2022. Cubs will get a low draft pick in 2023. Cubs/Jed will be sellers this trade deadline, & maybe selective buyers. Cubs will have lots of payroll flexibility going forward.

    Cubs are lucky that they can easily increase their payroll anytime they want right up to the luxury tax penalties. Can the other four NL central teams do that too based on their revenues?

    2021 Twins finished in 5th place in the AL Central 73-89. Twins management going into the offseason was they would RESET their roster. Twins 2021 MLB revenue was $268 million, being a lower revenue team the Twins actually had to get creative while adding some payroll. Roster reset included subtracting payroll by trading Donaldson 3B, & their 2021 all-star Taylor Rodger. Like most teams many of the Twins 2021-22 off-season moves have not worked as they hoped. Twins are in first place 38-30, & trying to make the playoffs.

    Phillies are 36-32-third place in a tough division, all 5 teams play in large metro markets.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Save your breath. Much of the Chicago press and fans need a whipping dog. Tom Ricketts dad supported Trump. That doesn't play for some. I don't think it's related to the position that the Cubs find themselves in, but it's like a tic.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Where’d this thought process come fromSlug? I don’t see any comments here, even implying politics. Take your mag a hat, to a political blog.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Put a sock in it and go pump your $6 gallon of gas and oh yeah Let’s go Brandon!

  • In reply to Oldno7:

    No, bustible is right. I was out of line. My apologies to nujack and the den.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I didn't sense anything political in Naujack's reasoning, I think, like many of us, he's frustrated that a MLB team near the top in annual revenues could find itself in the sorry state that the Cubs are in.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Agreed. It's been two years now of penny pinching payroll. I get that few teams are successful signing a lot of high priced FAs. You need to develop on the farm, need a good draft strategy, etc.. But they signed a middle-tier starter in Stroman and a possibly decent-to-good FA in Suzuki. Then...bupkus. That's the type of action you'd expect from a Cincinnati or Pittsburgh.

    Let's look at Philadelphia. At least they are in the playoff picture. The Mets signed Lindor, the Dodgers get Betts, Freeman. The Yankees went out and got Cole and Stanton. Smart FA signing, not cheap FA signing, makes a big difference.

  • Looking to the future. I dont see any reason to keep Wisdom, Schwindel or Ortega. I love these guys. I love there story. I dont know what you can get for them. I do believe all have lottery ticket value. I would also trade Happ, who has more value.

    There are a ton of OF/1B/DH prospects at AAA level. Also with Higgins, Bote, Jordan and I did see Young has played some 3rd, that position is serviceable without Wisdom. it's time to unload completely. Can the team be worse?

    Have you guys noticed the chink in Morels armor? He struggles with curveballs mostly in the strike zone. I will be curious to see how or if he can adjust.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    To answer your question, ‘can the team be worse’. I absolutely think the answer to that, is YES.
    With Bote, Jordan and Young, taking the place of Wisdom, Schwindel and Happ and/or Ortega. And I always was a fan of Young, lol. Yeah that would make them worse.

  • The Cubs are where they are because Epstein, the best executive they have ever had, and a sure bet to be in the Hall of Fame, made an incredibly stupid decision.

    After they won the WS in 2016, they decided to do it again BEFORE THE WINDOW CLOSED. So they decided to sacrifice the future for a slight increase in the chances for a repeat in the near present.

    They traded Jiminez and Cease, two potential superstars, for a slightly more than mediocre pitcher to "fill a hole". They traded Soler for one year of a closer, and in general, stripped their farm system of the ability to supply their future needs. Thus we end up where we are today.

    Good systems NEVER lose sight on the future, while filling their present needs. Epstein did, and now Hoyer has to live with the consequences.

  • The Cubs are where they are because Epstein, the best executive they have ever had, and a sure bet to be in the Hall of Fame, made an incredibly stupid decision.

    After they won the WS in 2016, they decided to do it again BEFORE THE WINDOW CLOSED. So they decided to sacrifice the future for a slight increase in the chances for a repeat in the near present.

    They traded Jiminez and Cease, two potential superstars, for a slightly more than mediocre pitcher to "fill a hole". They traded Soler for one year of a closer, and in general, stripped their farm system of the ability to supply their future needs. Thus we end up where we are today.

    Good systems NEVER lose sight on the future, while filling their present needs. Epstein did, and now Hoyer has to live with the consequences.

  • The Cubs are where they are because Epstein, the best executive they have ever had, and a sure bet to be in the Hall of Fame, made an incredibly stupid decision.

    After they won the WS in 2016, they decided to do it again BEFORE THE WINDOW CLOSED. So they decided to sacrifice the future for a slight increase in the chances for a repeat in the near present.

    They traded Jiminez and Cease, two potential superstars, for a slightly more than mediocre pitcher to "fill a hole". They traded Soler for one year of a closer, and in general, stripped their farm system of the ability to supply their future needs. Thus we end up where we are today.

    Good systems NEVER lose sight on the future, while filling their present needs. Epstein did, and now Hoyer has to live with the consequences.

  • The Cubs are where they are because Epstein, the best executive they have ever had, and a sure bet to be in the Hall of Fame, made an incredibly stupid decision.

    After they won the WS in 2016, they decided to do it again BEFORE THE WINDOW CLOSED. So they decided to sacrifice the future for a slight increase in the chances for a repeat in the near present.

    They traded Jiminez and Cease, two potential superstars, for a slightly more than mediocre pitcher to "fill a hole". They traded Soler for one year of a closer, and in general, stripped their farm system of the ability to supply their future needs. Thus we end up where we are today.

    Good systems NEVER lose sight on the future, while filling their present needs. Epstein did, and now Hoyer has to live with the consequences.

  • In reply to OldFan:

    Good point!

  • In reply to OldFan:

    I'd add that stripping the farm system didn't take long, because Theo didn't draft well and didn't develop pitching, so the farm was already pretty thin.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cubs traded some prospects. Has the Cubs farm system every been loaded?

    Dodgers farm system is loaded & since 2015 Dodgers trade for Darvish, Machado, Betts, Price, Scherezer, & Turners--- Dodgers traded 1 young MLB player, plus 14 more prospects, including 5 ranked as top 100 prospects. Dodgers also paid David Price $32 million half of the $64 million over two seasons.

    Those are the big Dodgers trades, but of course they have made many more deals. Dodgers traded away in three different mid-season trade packages for pitching/bullpen help--Yordan Alvarez, Frankie Montas, & Oneil Cruz.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Since 22 is the season of prospects if you are a Cubs fan anyway. I have been reading about left handed hitting catcher Moises Ballesteros he looks like a kid who could rocket up the prospect lists.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    He’s likely to be a DH, IF everything goes right.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    IF everything goes right, he develops into a MLB starting LH catcher. He has a strong arm and a quick release, but right now his offense is ahead of his catching. He is only 18 years old and has plenty of time to develop. I am keeping an eye on him.

  • In reply to John57:

    And it would be nice if you’re right. His size is one of the reasons his catching is behind his hitting potential. He is a large person, it could be a definite challenge for him to first, get into, and then keep himself in the athletic condition necessary to maintain the mobility required for any defensive position.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Moises Ballesteros, signed in Jan 2021, six months later than normal because of new covid IFA rules.. A scouting report that came out then-said A left handed bat, generates a ton of raw power with relative ease. A SMALL BUILD, he has yet to find the weight room....

    I have no idea what he looked like in 2019/2020. At least one person thought he had a small build a few years ago.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    Naujack, I see he’s listed at 5’10” and 195. The player I saw on the backfields in March, saw 195 some time ago. It would be nice if he turns out to be a good LHH C, but the person I saw that day had some conditioning to get through, first.

  • Congrats to the Pelicans for winning the first half in Low A ball. Love the EPs they have as each is capable of giving the team a solid 5 innings every night. They had to earn this one as the team is second place was pretty damn good as well.

  • Speaking of prospects, does anyone know what happened to Pete Crow-Armstrong? Haven't seen him on the field in a while.

  • In reply to Old Dog:

    Hurt his hand. Getting ready to come back soon.

  • In reply to John57:

    Thanks John!

  • In reply to Old Dog:

    Looking to the Cubs future I think we have many excellent options for present and future outfielders. Same goes with infielders and relievers. If Willson is gone we dont have a lot of quality options there.

    But if you want to win you better have quality starting pitching and the cubs are a couple short in that category. They have plenty of 3-5 starters. But they are gonna have to sign a 1 & 2 and I hope they are in the running to add both of them this off season.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    There are very few 1 & 2 starters out there at any time. And why would the Cubs get them now when the team has multiple holes? Wouldn't you want to do that as the last step to get to a WS quality team. The farm has a lot of pitchers developing. It would not surprise me if we develop a couple TOR arms in the next few years.

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    I can't wait until he's back. Without rushing him I could see him with the Cubs in the second half of next year. We should begin to see the fruits of all these trades by then; add a 7th pick this year and probably a top 5 pick next year and we should see a completely revamped Cubs team. btw, did anyone see the Canario throw from deep in RF directly to home? It was like Clemente or Dwight Evans playing out there.

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