Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Canario and Perlaza reach 4 times; Amaya with 3 hits in AA return; Hodge pitches well in High-A debut; Crow-Armstrong and Ballesteros homer; Horton signs

Alexander Canario (photo by Todd Johnson)

MLB

The first MLB Draft signing news is beginning to roll in. The Cubs have secured deals from 1st rounder Cade Horton, 7th rounder Nick Hull, and 15th rounder Hadyn McGeary with bonus amounts being reported.

Other signings have occurred, including 4th rounder Nazier Mule, 5th rounder Brandon Birdsell, 8th rounder Mason McGwire, 10th rounder Brody McCullough, 12th rounder Mathew Peters, and 13th rounder Luis Rujano, but no figures have been disclosed.

The Cubs have not announced any of the deals, so none of the above is official.

On the sad end of news, Dwight Smith, the runner up in the 1989 Rookie of the Year voting, and one of my favorites as a kid, passed away. The Cubs many prospects who debuted in late-80s and early-90s were a big part of the reason I do writing like this.

AAA

Omaha 9, Iowa 1

Game Recap

A real rough outing for Cam Sanders, as he failed to make it out of the 1st inning (0.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 0 K). Consistency remains his biggest stumbling block on his path to the Majors as a SP. I remain in the camp that Sanders should be used in a two-inning relief role at first, and then if he proves himself his usage can be expanded into either late inning duties or given a shot as a swingman/starter. He’s got the stuff for both jobs.

Anyway, his performance yesterday dug the Cubs into a hole they couldn’t crawl out of. Nick Madrigal is ramping his rehab back up, and provided the only RBI of the night for Iowa, as he recorded two hits (and even added a rare walk). Affiliated ball RBI leader Matt Mervis made his AAA debut, doubling once in four at bats.

Top Performers

  • Nick Madrigal: 2-3, RBI, BB (.294)
  • Dixon Machado: 2-5, 2B, R (.311)
  • Darius Hill: 2-4 (.331)
  • Dakota Mekkes: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (6.59)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Matt Mervis obviously gets the headlines for his promotion. His meteoric rise this season deserves the attention. But don’t overlook Nicholas Padilla. The righty has always had a good arm and stuff, but it took a further step forward this year, along with some improvements in command, which has allowed him to make the same jump from High-A to AAA as Mervis. While Mervis won’t even be Rule 5 eligible in the offseason, Padilla is set to be a Minor League free agent. If he pitches well for Iowa down the stretch, don’t be shocked to see the Cubs add him to the 40-man roster in order to keep him in the organization with an eye toward a potential bullpen role in Chicago for next season.

AA

Tennessee 10, Chattanooga 6

Game Recap

It didn’t take the Smokies bats long to wake up from the All-Star break. They scored three times in the top of the 1st, with Miguel Amaya capping off the inning with an RBI single. Two innings later he’d kick off the scoring in another three-run frame, this time with an RBI double scoring Chase Strumpf. Yonathan Perlaza picked up right where he left off in the first half by knocking in the two on a double.

Big innings were the theme of the night for Tennessee, as their final four runs all came in the 7th. Jake Slaughter knocked in one with a single, and Alexander Canario another with a double. The final two runs came home on a wild pitch and passed ball.

On the mound, Chris Clarke and Samuel Reyes got hit pretty hard, but Bailey Horn came on to shut the door over the final three innings, allowing no hits.

Top Performers

  • Yonathan Perlaza: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB (.246)
  • Alexander Canario: 2-4, 2 2B, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB (.240)
  • Miguel Amaya: 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI (.600)
  • Chase Strumpf: 2-4, 2B, R, RBI, BB (.242)
  • Bryce Ball: 2-5, 2B, R, RBI, BB (.272)
  • Bradlee Beesley: 3-5, R, SB (3) (.189)
  • Bryce Windham: 1-3, 2 R, 2 BB (.200)
  • Jake Slaughter: 1-5, R, RBI, HBP (.322)
  • Bailey Horn: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (S, 2, 3.43)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Obviously, Miguel Amaya has been activated from the IL after recovering from last season’s elbow surgery. He’s missed a lot of time the past few years, but he’s still got the necessary skills to be a big league starter behind the plate if he can stay healthy. At this point, if he can finish this year strong, and then open next season in Iowa behind Chicago’s presumed backstops (Gomes and Higgins) then Amaya will be just a phone call away from his MLB debut, with a chance to take on a large role by the start of 2024.

Righty Kyle Johnson was activated from the Developmental List.

High-A

Quad Cities 3, South Bend 1

Game Recap

New arrival Porter Hodge dominated in his South Bend debut, throwing 4.2 shutout innings. The only three baserunners he allowed were on a hit batter, and two infield singles. He even managed to pick off one of those three. He did fall behind some hitters, but his fastball and slider both looked good most of the night and it allowed him to battle back whenever he got down.

Unfortunately, the offense and the bullpen did not fare as well. Quad Cities recorded a pair of runs off Riley Martin in the 7th and another off Hunter Bigge in the 8th. The Cubs managed to push across just one run in the bottom of the 7th on a solo shot by Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Top Performers

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Injuries, Updates, and Trends

South Bend received some much needed reinforcements. Top 15 prospect Kevin Made was summoned from Myrtle Beach, along with underrated starting pitching prospect Porter Hodge. Both players spent parts of last season in Myrtle Beach before returning much stronger and more refined this year, and it showed in their performance. Made learned to work counts better, and also engages his lower half more in his swing, allowing him to take advantage of his added strength to hit for more power. South Bend has struggled to hit for much power of late, so his arrival is welcomed. Hodge remade his body as well and increased his velocity to the low-90s consistently (can touch up to 96). This pairs with his slider which was always a pretty good pitch.

Dalton Stambaugh was sent down from Tennessee to eat some innings in South Bend. With D.J. Herz and Jordan Wicks having been summoned to AA prior to the break, veteran lefty Stambaugh may well fill one of their vacant rotation slots in South Bend along with Hodge.

Low-A

Charleston 3, Myrtle Beach 2

Game Recap

Juan Mora singled to lead off the game and eventually came around to score, and Luke Little turned in one of his finest performances of the season to put the Pelicans in command through the first four innings. The River Dogs would get to the Myrtle Beach pen in the middle innings though, and the offense could only respond with one late game run.

Top Performers

  • Luke Little: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K (2.70)
  • Juan Mora: 2-4, 2B, R (.286)
  • Ethan Hearn: 1-3, R, SB (11) (.181)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 1-3, BB (.199)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Outfielder Parker Chavers was added to the Pelicans roster for the 2nd half. Last year’s 7th round pick attended Coastal Carolina to some fanfare as a 5 tool prep prospect, but never really had the career expected as injuries (missed a season with torn labrum) and a bit of swing-and-miss caused some issues. He’s got plus speed and defense in CF and enough raw power to be a threat. Another injury kept him out in the 1st half, but hopefully if he can stay on the field he can begin to find his way. There is raw talent there.

With Made moved up to South Bend, infielder Scott McKeon was moved down to replace him on the Myrtle Beach roster. A solid glove man, his bat had failed to make any impact with South Bend in the first half. I would expect Josue Huma to get most of the starts at SS for a while.

It is unclear who will replace Hodge in the rotation, but I suspect it will be Frankie Scalzo Jr. The hard throwing second year man has been getting stretched out after missing a good chunk of the first half due to injury. He threw three innings in his final game before the break.

ACL

Guardians 11, Cubs 6

Eighteen year old catching prospect Moises Ballesteros (.298/.385/.607) hit his 7th HR in just his 27th game of the season. He’s been the ACL Cubs most steady offensive producer by far through the first five weeks.

DSL

Cubs Blue 3, Cubs Red 2

Comments

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  • fb_avatar

    thanks for the updates Michael. I'm glad to see that Horton signed for so much underslot and that Mule signed too. He's a very interesting player, maybe not an Ohtani (who, btw gave up 6 ER last night but is still the most unique player in the history of MLB) but has so much potential it will be interesting to watch his progress.
    I do love speed and will be watching Chavers. The one thing I wish we had done in the draft was to pick up more speed in the position players--not that we drafted that many. But we need pitching and Kantrovitz certainly provided us with that.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    We got Keshun Collier with the 20th pick. He has blazing speed.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John57:

    Thanks John.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I was wrong about Mule signing. As of today (7/24) he and Ferris haven't signed.

  • More great reporting ! Thanks Michael ! We have just moved to Scottsdale from CA. and I can't wait for spring training next year !

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to ronvet69:

    I can't wait until spring training but only because that means another Chicago winter is behind us. Truthfully though, I can't wait to see all the young players we have be that much more experienced and see what they can do.

  • I agree with you Jonathan. I think the Cubs did a good job identifying some college power arms to add to the system. One pitcher who I would like to see stay healthy is K Moreno from last years draft I think he can be another young power arm. As well as L Little also from last years draft class.

  • My mistake Little and Moreno where drafted in the abbreviated. 2020 draft class

  • Michael I just wanted to apologize to you if I did anything to not have my comments posted here. I enjoy reading your work very much and like the idea of being able to contribute timely comments as well. Thanks for the opportunity should you find my comments suitable.

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