Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Luis Devers delivers 5 shutout innings to lower ERA to 0.42; Mervis, Crook homer again; Herz effectively wild; Miley kicks off rehab

Luis Devers (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

MLB Draft Signing Update

The Cubs appear to have concluded their MLB draft signings yesterday. Two more deals were finalized to bring their total up to 19 signings. The deal for 2nd rounder Jackson Ferris used up all but $5 of the Cubs $10,603,005 bonus pool. They were also able to sign 16th rounder J.P. Wheat. The only unsigned draftee is 19th rounder Brock Blatter, who was always considered a longshot, as he has a strong commitment to University of Alabama with an NLI deal in place there. With no remaining bonus money Blatter will definitely be out of reach. The Cubs will also not be able to offer more than $125K to any undrafted free agents they wish to sign.

AAA

Iowa 5, St. Paul 4 (10 Innings)

Game Recap

The good news: Caleb Kilian was throwing hard, missing bats, and only allowed one run on one hit. The bad: his troubling struggles with control returned, as he walked six batters over four innings. It would have been nice if Kilian would have been ready to replace any of the veteran starters the Cubs end up trading this week, but it appears he may need some more time in Iowa to iron out whatever is causing his issues.

Dixon Machado and Matt Mervis got the Cubs off to a hot start as each belted 1st inning homers.

Iowa would hold a 3-1 lead heading into the 7th, but St. Paul shortstop Jermaine Palacios hit a two-run homer off Cayne Ueckert to tie it. The red hot Narciso Crook would untie in the 8th with a solo home run of his own.

The back and forth would continue in the 9th as Ben Leeper failed to hold the Cubs one run lead as Palacios came up big again, hitting his second homer. Mervis opened the 10th on 2nd base and would eventually score on a wild pitch. This time, Leeper would finish it off, getting Jake Cave to ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end it.

Top Performers

  • Dixon Machado: 2-4, 2B, HR (2), R, RBI, BB (.312)
  • Narciso Crook: 1-4, HR (16), R, RBI, BB (.269)
  • Matt Mervis: 1-5, HR (2), 2 R, RBI (.241)
  • John Hicks: 2-4, 2B, R (.254)
  • Caleb Kilian: 4 IP, H, R, 6 BB, 6 K (3.55)
  • Wyatt Short: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (4.50)

AA

Tennessee 3, Birmingham 2

Game Recap

After failing to make it out of the 1st inning in his first AA start, D.J. Herz came out and pitched… well, like D.J. Herz: Hard to hit, difficult to score on, and effectively wild. He’d earn the win with five good innings. Peyton Remy followed with three shutout frames, as the Tennessee staff worked to make a three-run 5th from the offense hold up. Jeremiah Estrada made it interesting in the 9th, allowing four runners and a run, but wriggled off the hook to close it out.

Top Performers

  • D.J. Herz: 5 IP, H, R, 4 BB, 2 HBP, 5 K (W, 1-0, 8.44)
  • Peyton Remy: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (6.91)
  • Andy Weber: 2-3, 2 BB (.297)
  • Bradlee Beesley: 1-2, R, BB, HBP, SB (7) (.234)
  • Jake Slaughter: 1-4, 2 RBI, HBP (.311)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Jake Washer knocked in a run in his first appearance with Tennessee this year. He has added a bunch of strength this year and has all of a sudden emerged as a power hitter, but he’s also strangely played just 4 games at catcher, spending most of his time at DH and 11 games at 1B. I’m not sure if there is an injury that is preventing him from playing behind the plate this year, or if the org has simply determined to move him out of that spot. If so, the added offense is even more imperative.

To make room on the roster, Cam Balego was released.

High-A

South Bend 7, Lake County 6 (10 innings)

Game Recap

Another close game, another extra inning affair.

South Bend stormed out to a 5-1 lead, scoring all five runs in the bottom of the 1st, capped by a run scoring double Luis Verdugo. However, the Captains soon matched the Cubs big inning, putting up five runs of their own in the 3rd inning as Wade Miley ran out of gas in his first rehab outing. Now down a run, the Cubs turned to Luis Devers in a piggyback role, and boy did he deliver. His five shutout innings gave the Cubs an opportunity to tie it up, with Verdugo driving in a run on a ground out in the 6th. Verdugo also helped out with his glove:

Hunter Bigge took over on the mound in the 9th and finished his strong month of July with another superb outing. The Cubs closer struggled through a rough June, but he was lights out in the early portion of the season and seems to be back on track once again. He tossed a perfect 9th, then a perfect 10th, striking out four batters.

The game ended on a walk off wild pitch which scored Yeison Santana.

Top Performers

  • Luis Devers: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K (0.42)
  • Hunter Bigge: 2IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K (W, 5-2, 4.95)
  • B.J. Murray Jr.: 2-3, RBI, BB (.267)
  • Pablo Aliendo: 2-5, 2B, 2 R, RBI (.268)
  • Jordan Nwogu: 2-5, R (.243)
  • Luis Verdugo: 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI (.264)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 5, Augusta 2

Game Recap

Leave it to Myrtle Beach to win convincingly. It wasn’t easy, but Tyler Santana won his 8th game as he worked into the 6th, and Johzan Oquendo worked around some traffic to throw three shutout frames.

Ethan Hearn hit his 7th homer.

Top Performers

  • Tyler Santana: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, HBP, 7 K (W, 8-1, 2.37)
  • Johzan Oquendo: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, HBP, 5 K (4.38)
  • Alfredo Zarraga: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (S, 4, 2.25)
  • Ethan Hearn: 2-4, HR (7), 2 R, 2 RBI (.191)
  • Josue Huma: 2-4, 2B, R, BB (.260)
  • Jacob Wetzel: 2-4, 2B, R (.214)
  • Alejandro Rivero: 1-3, 2B (.267)

ACL

Brewers 10, Cubs 7

DSL

Cubs Blue 3, Mets1 2

Cubs Red 3, Pirates 2

Comments

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  • I'm really looking forward to seeing this year's draft picks, plus prospects gained at the TDL, join the talent currently in the farm system. Also looking to see some of that talent join the MLB team after the TDL. My favorite longshot has to be Haydn McGeary, who may never translate his hitting prowess at a D2 school to pro ball, but oh, boy, if he does...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    McGeary is certainly going to be a fun one to keep an eye on.

  • Great reporting Michael. The farm system is on the rise ! It looks like Matt Mervis is pushing his way to the big club. When will these picks be posted on the Cubs top 30 ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I think most of the national sites did their prospect updates just before the draft. May not see the new guys from the draft or tdl until after the season.

  • Pablo Aliendo, still very young, playing a premium position- and having a very nice year at High A. I didn’t expect him to be hitting.268 at SB, this year. He looks very athletic also.
    Miguel Amaya seems to be hitting fine as DH, unfortunately he’s not quite ready to catch yet. But both of these guys seem to be the future.
    But I do hope the Cubs don’t trade Willson. I hope they try to extend him for around 4 years at $16.5-17/year. But if they can’t work something out, I’m ok also with offering Willson the QO for next year for $18.5 or whatever it is.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    I'm a fan of Aliendo. As you said, athletic (he even played a little IF last year), and has a strong arm. At the plate he is a good contact hitter, and has occasional pop. He isn't very big and so I'm not sure if he holds up as an everyday catcher without wearing down, but I definitely think he can be a backup.

    Glad they are getting Amaya ABs this year. We'll have to see in 2023 if the injury and time away affected his defense. Could get a shot in Chicago in 2nd half if they deal Gomes next TDL.

  • How is the catcher ballesteros doing this year?

    I saw Wade Miley did a rehab yesterday. I wonder if a team would give a low level prospect and a PTBNL based on his performance for them the rest of the year?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    My two cent guess, is the only way Miley is traded. Miley would be included in part of a trade package, & the Cubs pay 100% of Miley's salary above the minimum.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    Miley's salary is irrelevant (it's not my money).

    I did see that the Cubs have 5 of the remaining 15 tradeable assets. Contreras, Happ, Robertson, Smyly & Givens.

    I also think Simmons, Martin and maybe Ortega & Schwindel might be moved.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I agree most of the Cubs players are available in trade

    So you wonder if another team might give Cubs potentially two players for Miley? Miley, has pitched 19 innings all season.

    That could happen. I think Cubs would give Miley away if another team would pay his remaining salary.

    My two cents-If the Cubs pay Miley's salary. I could see a middle, or small market team taking a flyer on him being healthy. Then asking for him as the second player coming from the Cubs in a trade.

    Kinda of like last season when Cubs sent Baez, Williams, & cash to Mets for PCA.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I'm hoping Jed trades Rowan Wick, & Wisdom too.

  • In reply to Naujack:

    It was reported earlier that two teams are scouting Wisdom. What would he bring back in a trade?

  • Chris Martin to Dodgers. No word on the return yet. There's a rumor that it could be catcher Diego Cartaya, That would be great, but seems like an overpay by the Dodgers if true.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Too good to be true. It's OF,2B,3B Zach McKinstry.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Cubs seem to have recently done good with older kids who haven’t stuck around with other MLB teams and bounced back and forth between MLB and AAA. Looking at his stats, maybe they see something in him that they believe they can fix or unlock. But he’s definitely shown potential at the upper levels and maybe he just needs a chance to play every day, which he’s not gonna get with a team looking to win another title.

    Overall they weren’t gonna get a lot for Martin. This seems like a nice little lottery ticket for a guy who can play multiple defensive positions in the IF and OF.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Cubber, was pretty dismissive about a previous post you made regarding going after Noah Syndergaard. While I do think $25M/yr might be a tad much - I do think you have a very solid suggestion. It looks like Musgrove could be extended in SD. In that case, I do think going after Syndergaard is a nice idea. Maybe trying something like $65-70M/ for 3 years makes sense.
    Depending on how things go this TDL, that might be the only addition to the rotation we’d need, going into next year.

  • I just saw on the MLB site that the Cubs are trading Chris Martin to the dodgers.

  • Michael- thinking about the 3 cubs relievers that are going to be traded, now that Martin is gone, who are the guys we can expect to see fill these roles from the minors? This is exciting to think about moving forward and seeing a little glimpse into maybe some future cubs starters or relievers getting their feet wet over the next couple months.

  • In reply to Cubber Lang:

    Guessing Newcomb will get another shot once roster spots are open. Cubs have been stretching him out, so he might even get some starts. Espinoza figures to get some looks too, but maybe not full time.
    Cubs are also converting Cam Sanders to the pen. They sent him to the dev list last week, presumably to work on a plan and pitch mix for the role. Think we'll see him at some point.
    Alzolay also looks like he could be back in a month for the final month or so.
    I could also see one of the Rule 5 eligible guys like Padilla/Correa/Whitney/Ramos get a spot.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    If they do trade Robertson Givens Smyly and of course Martin I also hope to see a lot of Alzolay, Espinosa & Newcomb. There is some real pedigree there with Espinosa and Newcomb and it would be nice to see Alzolay build on the promise he has showed.

    I hope they can move Miley somehow. Because Hendricks will be back pretty soon.

    I would like to see the rotation finish the year out with Stroman Hendricks Killian Thompson and Steele. When Killian Steele and Thompson hit their limits on innings (assuming that is something the Cubs will do) then Nemcomb Alzolay & Espinosa could take up those innings. Dont forget we have Herz Wicks Horton and Devers working their way to Chicago in 23' or 24' The Cubs have a very good starter base for 23' IMHO they will just need to add an ace.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Thanks Michael. At this point I kinda forgot about Alzolay. Maybe he can find a nice solid role as a late inning setup man for the cubs and stay healthy that way. I’m really impressed with how the FO has managed to piece together their bullpens recently. The expired prospects and reclamation project pitchers have mostly done a good job. I think the pitching lab is working.

  • Cubs got Darius Hill for Martin. Sign me up

  • Really happy to see the Cubs sign 19-20 draft picks only time will tell if it was a good draft. I still would have liked one of the good bats at 7. we will see if the gamble for 2 pitchers undersold then overslept payoffs in the future but loved the gamble on raw ability.

  • In reply to CubFanStuckInStl:

    19 out of 20 ain't bad ! I have more confidence in the Cubs draft team than I did in the past.

  • I went to South Bend on Friday night and saw Miley's rehab start. He didn't really run out of gas -- he was giving up hits and hard contact in the first inning, too. He wasn't really fooling anyone, even early in the game. He also wasn't helped by some "throwing the ball all over the place" defense in the top of the third inning (I yelled from the stands, "you guys are playing like a bunch of minor leaguers!" - and then immediately felt bad about my lame joke) -- two throwing errors on plays that looked like a mediocre American Legion team -- but his pitching did not look like a major leaguer facing a High A team.

    On the other hand, Devers looked great and Bigge was blowing away the Great Lakes batters with 97 mph heat.

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