Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Too many great performances to choose from for a headline, in one of the best days on the farm in recent history

Jacob Wetzel (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

It is difficult to know where to start.

Simply put, the Cubs farm system dominated yesterday. There were so many impressive performances by top prospects (and lesser prospects) that I simply can’t do them all justice or provide highlights and breakdowns of all of them in the time I have to complete this recap.

I mean, here’s what I’m having to sort through. You tell me who to focus on:

And it is not just yesterday’s action which indicates the way the Cubs farm system and development staffs are rapidly improving. Here are some impressive pitching and hitting statistical indicators for the season (which doesn’t include last night’s dominance):

UPDATE: Here’s another:

If the Cubs hit big at the trade deadline, this may well become a top five system in baseball.

MLB Draft Signings Update

The Cubs have officially announced the signing of 8 draftees from their Top 10 selections. Bonus figures are still only available for a handful of the overall signings, but the two remaining unsigned prospects (Jackson Ferris and Nazier Mule) from the Top 10 have both indicated they will sign, and it is just a matter of settling on a final figure. It is a similar situation from the Day 3 draftees.

The two prep players from rounds 11-20 who figured to be the toughest signs (JP Wheat and Brock Blatter) are the two we’ve had no indications on. Blatter in particular has a strong commitment to Alabama with an NLI in place, which means his bonus demand likely far exceeds the $125K allowance for Day 3 picks, so any overage must come from the Cubs bonus pool and there may not be enough. The Cubs are no doubt negotiating with undrafted free agents as well, and some they are pursuing may cost more than 125K too.

AAA

Iowa 10, Omaha 0

Game Recap

Narciso Crook led the offensive onslaught with a double and a pair of home runs. The 27-year old continues his breakout campaign and is now just one homer shy of his career high which he set last season. He already made his long awaited MLB debut last month, and will no doubt be returning to Chicago once trades free up spots on the MLB roster.

Speaking of guys pushing for a return to the Majors… Caleb Kilian and Sean Newcomb made a helluva statement last night as well. Both of them turned in their best performance of the season. A walk to leadoff the game was just about the only blemish on Kilian’s night. He seems to be sorting out his mechanical issue(s) which contributed to a loss of command and control since he made his MLB debut. He’s incorporating all of his pitches more effectively, and managed to pump his fastball as high as 98 mph.

As for Newcomb, I didn’t get a chance to review any of his innings from last night or any of his recent outings, but talent has never been an issue with him. So, if the org has worked with him to sort through his own mechanical and control issues, a return to the 40 and 26-man roster is likely only a matter of time.

Top Performers

  • Caleb Kilian: 5 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 8 K (W, 3-1, 3.63)
  • Sean Newcomb: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K (S, 1, 3.60)
  • Narciso Crook: 3-5, 2B, 2 HR (12, 13), 2 R, 4 RBI, CS (5) (.260)
  • Levi Jordan: 2-4, HR (3), 2 R, RBI (.248)
  • Dixon Machado: 2-4, R, HBP (.313)
  • Darius Hill: 2-5, 3 RBI (.333)
  • Zach Davis: 1-3, 2 R, BB, SB (13) (.200)
  • Erick Castillo: 1-4, R, 2 RBI (.265)

AA

Tennessee 12, Chattanooga 6

Game Recap

Look out Myrtle Beach, in the second half of the season Tennessee is threatening to replace you as the most fun to watch affiliate.

It wasn’t all good news in the system last night. D.J. Herz walked three batters and gave up a three-run home run without making it out of the 1st inning in his AA debut. We’re not going to dwell on that though. This level was always going to prove a more legitimate test of his command and control than previous stops, and occasional bad outings like this are to be expected. When Herz is wild, hitters at this level are far more likely to wait him out and make him pay than A ball opponents.

His outing led to the Smokies falling behind 6-1 through two innings, but it just made the comeback all the more satisfying.

The Smokies offense would explode in the top of the 4th. Miguel Amaya kicked things off with a double. Two singles and a walk later, Amaya had scored to cut the deficit to four, and the Smokies had the bases loaded with just one out. Jake Slaughter followed with a sacrifice fly to drive in another. Now with two outs, it seemed like Tennessee might have to settle for just a pair of runs, but no, not on this night.

The heart of the order came to the plate and went to work. Alexander Canario hit a three-run blast, then Bryce Ball went deep as well. Chase Strumpf just missed making it back-to-back-to-back jacks as he doubled off the wall. After a pitching change, Amaya stepped up for his second plate appearance of the inning and drilled a two-run homer to center to cap off an eight-run outburst.

The bullpen slammed the door over the final seven innings and the offense kept adding on late. Just a fun night all around.

Top Performers

  • Yonathan Perlaza: 2-3, 2B, HR (11), 2 R, RBI, 3 BB (.250)
  • Alexander Canario: 1-3, HR (16), R, 3 RBI, 3 BB (.241)
  • Bryce Ball: 3-6, 2B, HR (9), 2 R, RBI (.277)
  • Miguel Amaya: 2-6, 2B, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI (.455)
  • Chase Strumpf: 3-5, 2 2B, R, RBI, BB (.248)
  • Bradlee Beesley: 2-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP, SB (4), CS (1) (.202)
  • Bryce Windham: 2-5, 2B, R (.206)
  • Luis Vazquez: 2-5, R (.226)
  • Jake Slaughter: 1-5, 2B, 2 RBI (.318)
  • Peyton Remy: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K (W, 6-3, 7.21)
  • Jeremiah Estrada: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (1.72)
  • C.D. Pelham: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (6.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Not only did Alexander Canario display good plate coverage on his three-run shot in this game, but he is also beginning to display improved patience, pitch recognition, and discipline up there. And if he can sustain that… watch out.

High-A

South Bend 6, Quad Cities 2

Game Recap

The fun continued in South Bend. This time, the focus returned to the mound, where Luis Devers continues to put his name on the map in terms of Cubs starting pitching prospects. He fired six no-hit innings to lower his ERA at South Bend to 0.54 through his first four appearances (and 2.17 combined between MB/SB). Reliever Michael McAvene couldn’t keep the no-hitter intact, but did so with the shutout, which also extended his own shutout streak in the month of July to 7.2 innings.

The 22-year old knows how to change speeds and is capable of spotting his pitches in good locations more often any of the Cubs arms at the A ball levels. If he keeps this up, and doesn’t reach an innings cap, I could see Devers finishing his season in Tennessee. And depending on how many good prospects the Cubs add at the deadline, Devers should secure a spot in the system’s Top 30, and maybe even Top 20.

A couple of the Cubs top hitting prospects got in on the action as well. Pete Crow-Armstrong went oppo for his second homer in as many days, and Owen Caissie went 3-for-3 with a homer and walk. Jake Washer followed Caissie’s blast with one of his own, marking the second back-to-back jacks in the system yesterday.

Top Performers

  • Luis Devers: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 HBP, 2 K (W, 2-0, 0.54)
  • Michael McAvene: 2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (2.03)
  • Owen Caissie: 3-3, HR (9), 2 R, 2 RBI, BB, SB (6) (.272)
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong: 2-5, 2B, HR (6), R, RBI (.261)
  • Jake Washer: 2-4, HR (11), R, 3 RBI (.286)
  • Luis Verdugo: 2-4 (.270)
  • Jonathan Sierra: 1-3, BB (.269)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 14, Charleston 4

Game Recap

A big night on the farm wouldn’t be complete without the Pelicans whooping the opposition.

Jacob Wetzel hit two home runs and drove in a career high 6 runs. Kevin Alcántara went 4-for-4 with a triple, a walk, a stolen base, and sac fly. Ezequiel Pagan reached safely five times. And Josue Huma reached base four times from the leadoff spot.

Richard Gallardo followed up his best outing of the season with a solid one.

Top Performers

  • Jacob Wetzel: 3-5, 2 HR (6, 7), 3 R, 6 RBI, BB (.208)
  • Kevin Alcántara: 4-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI, SF, BB, SB (11) (.273)
  • Ezequiel Pagan: 3-4, 2B, 3 R, RBI, 2 BB (.300)
  • Josue Huma: 2-4, 3 R, 2 BB (.274)
  • Richard Gallardo: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, BB< 5 K (W, 6-6, 4.05)
  • Johzan Oquendo: 3 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 4 K (4.75)

ACL

Cubs 5, Athletics 1

DSL

Mets1 6, Cubs Blue 1

Cubs Red 12, Mets2 11

Comments

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  • So great to see this especially after a strong draft and what is also, hopefully, a strong trade deadline. Gonna be a fun couple years watching the rush to the majors.

  • That's what I call a fun day at the ball park(s). The video above that is a must check is the Bryce Ball HR, and watch the infielders. It was crushed so well even they did not turn around when it happened!

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    In the last 2 days all the Cubs teams from the majors to Single A won 9 out of 10 games. That's dominance.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    The farm is loaded, but it is just now working its way to Iowa. At some point, maybe in a year, brass will separate the best from the rest. Redundancy will become apparent and Jed will have a wealth of quality to trade for a difference or two to win all the marbles.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The cubs are loaded with minor league talent. But they lack the #3 & #4 hitters they will need to get them to the world series. So a lot of this redundant talent will need to be traded.

    I am ok with letting Happ and Contreras go because on a world series team they are 6-7 hitters. I think we have plenty of those.

    The dilemma for me is lead off. I think by 24' we potentially have the best lead off hitter we have had since fowler (PCA). But if the plan is to compete next year, Ortega is ok but not next level.

    Obviously, starting pitching is critical.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    @blcreature: I don’t know if you’ve read about this LH hitter in the Cubs system, creature. You might want to do a little research- his name is Matt Mervis. . . . &@)!!????
    And your ok with letting Happer and Contreras go, because ‘Cubs have plenty of 6 and 7 hitters on a World Series team’!!!! What are you smokin?

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I agree with being ok letting them go *depending on return*. Willy has 370 obp (19th in MLB) and 845 ops (26th in MLB). with better protection i can see that going 360/~900 and 30+ HRs. Not sure what baseball you're watching but that's only a 6-7 hitter on an all-star team.

  • WOW, a three game sweep in Philly ! When was the last time that happened? Forced to hear the out of town broadcast, the Philly announcers raved about Christian Morel's performance, and also complimented Nico Hoerner.
    More great reporting Michael from the minors, can't wait to see these kids on the big club.

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    ronvet, regarding Morel: I happen to be in 2 fantasy leagues. The single player from my teams that I have regretted most often, not putting in my lineup- is Morel. He really does seem to find a way to contribute, on a regular basis. I’m a believer - even though I don’t play him enough lol.

  • After watching last nights game, I wondered how many games Wisdom's defense or lack of it cost the Cubs ? Hey Rossi how about putting Morel at third where he played that position in the minors and inserting Wisdom at the DH position ?
    Just a thought !

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