It’s been an exciting week in “The Bushes”. There were excellent pitching performances by Cameron Greathouse, Brett Wallach, Ramon Ortiz, Doug Davis, Nick Struck, Robert Coello and Su-Min Jung.
Nelson Perez, Junior Lake and Jae-Hoon Ha are getting their taters in Daytona. Daytona became the first club in the organization to reach 20 wins, and at 22-8 are sporting the best record in professional baseball. Tennessee had a dramatic ninth inning rally, and Peoria turned a rare trick. Plus, the Cubs cut ties with a former top prospect.
All of that, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report … Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (16 -14)
Starting the week with a two game losing streak, the Chiefs needed a boost. They got it from Cameron Greathouse, and a rare fielding gem. The big, 20-year old lefty had struggled to begin the season, but put it all together Wednesday in Peoria’s 3-0 victory over Clinton. Greathouse (1-2, 4.32) pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out eight and walking three.
In his last inning of work, Greathouse was assisted by the Chiefs turning their first triple play in over four years. Yohan Gonzalez went scoreless for the final two innings to earn his second save.
Matt Szczur (2-for-4, stolen base) now seems to be out of his early season slump, and led the attack for Peoria. Elliot Soto, Smaily Borges, and D.J. Fitzgerald drove in runs for the Chiefs.
Peoria made it two in a row Thursday, beating the LumberKings 4-1. Hayden Simpson continues to show progress, blanking Clinton for 4.2 innings. However, lefty Eric Jokisch is proving to be a find. Jokisch finished up the remaining 4.1 innings by striking out five while walking only one to earn his fourth victory.
A turn at the leadoff spot was able to kick start Pierre LePage, who had been 2-for-13 over the three previous games. LePage went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Richard Jones, hitting .360 over the last five games, clubbed two doubles. Rubi “The Expensive Cuban” Silva drove in three runs.
Peoria opened a series with Kane County Saturday. Coming off of a Friday night loss, the Chiefs used a three-run first inning to cruise to a 6-1 victory. In a true team effort, seven Peoria players provided their eight hits. The lone multi-hit night went to the still hot hitting Richard Jones.
Robinson Lopez gave a workman-like effort, allowing one earned run, striking out and walking one, in six innings for his second victory. Casey Harman and Yohan Gonzalez went the rest of the way for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs closed out the week with another great pitching performance. Su-Min Jung, recently added from extended spring training, allowed only one earned run in 6.1 innings, issuing no walks and striking out two. Jeffry Antigua and Marcus Hatley finished out the game, blanking Kane County as Peoria won 4-1. Pierre LePage (2-for-4, RBI, stolen base) continued to stay hot while Matt Szczur stole his ninth base.
High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (22-8)
Daytona thrilled the home fans before many got comfortable in their seats Monday. Three of the first four batters reached base, then Nelson Perez (2-for-4) delivered a grand slam. Junior Lake also had a big night, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base. The D-Cubs pounded out eleven hits, as they outlasted Dunedin 7-5.
Jeffrey Lorick took the mound and allowed three runs (one earned) in 4.1 innings. Recently promoted Juan Serrano tossed another 2.1 innings to earn his first victory. Jeffrey Beliveau picked up a hold, while Frank Bautista earned his sixth save.
On Tuesday, Brett Wallach delivered a performance that will surely have the organization looking closely. Wallach pitched six innings, allowing only one earned run. He struck out nine while walking two as Daytona cruised to an 8-3 victory over the Tampa Yankees. Wallach (2-1) has pitched well over his last three starts, posting a 1.13 ERA for those games.
For the second night in a row, Nelson Perez went deep. His solo shot was one of twenty hits by the D-Cubs for the game. Evan Crawford continues to sizzle, going 4-for-5 to raise his season average to .371. Matt Cerda and Justin Bour had three hits each, while Junior Lake, David Macias, Perez, and Michael Brenly had two hits apiece.
Daytona faced a pitcher familiar to Cubs’ fans, as Carlos Silva took the mound for the Tampa Yankees. Silva was greeted by a Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-4, HR, four RBI) two-run blast, and would only last three innings. Tampa pitching would keep the D-Cubs quiet over the next five innings, but they exploded for five in the seventh, as Daytona beat Tampa 7-5.
Zachary Rosscup pitched 5.2 innings and allowed five runs (three earned). Rosscup gave up seven hits, striking out five while walking one. Jordan Latham and Frank Bautista put away the Yankees, Latham earning his second victory, with Bautista picking up his seventh save.
Major league veteran Doug Davis took the hill for the D-Cubs on Thursday. Davis overmatched Single-A talent, and threw 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball, defeating Tampa 5-0. Davis ended up striking out seven and walking two.
Daytona backed him with thirteen hits, three of which came off the bat of Junior Lake. The D-Cubs’ leadoff hitter smacked a triple, a home run, and recorded three RBI. David Macias, a resurgent Justin Bour, Michael Brenly, and Jake Opitz also contributed multi-hit games.
Daytona pitcher Nick Struck gave an eye-opening performance on Friday, as the D-Cubs outlasted Brevard County 5-4. Struck tossed six scoreless innings, striking out seven while walking three. However, after pitching 2.1 scoreless innings, Dae-Eun Rhee was done in by an error by Logan Watkins. The error led to three unearned runs; as Jeffrey Beliveau and Frank Bautista came on to record the final two outs. Beliveau earned his fifth hold while Bautista got his eighth save, as Nelson Perez gunned down the tying runner at home. Perez (2-for-4) was also the offensive star of the game, doubling and driving in two Daytona runs.
The D-Cubs flexed their muscles Saturday, defeating Brevard County 15-5 in a good, old-fashioned laugher. An eight-run second inning was highlighted by a Jae-Hoon Ha (2-for-6, 5 RBI) grand slam. Justin Bour (2-for 5, triple, 2 RBI) then went back-to-back with Ha to complete the scoring for the inning. Daytona’s two hottest hitters, Nelson Perez and Evan Crawford, also had big nights. Perez was 3-for 6 with an RBI, and Crawford was 3-for-5 while driving in four runs.
Surprise starter Jeffrey Lorick was sailing until the fifth inning, when he allowed two of his three earned runs. Aaron Kurcz followed and struck out four Manatees in 1.2 innings for his second victory. Juan Serrano, Eduardo Figueroa, and Ryan Searle finished out the game, with Serrano yielding Brevard County’s final two runs.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (18-12)
In his second outing for the Smokies on Monday, Robert Whitenack picked up his first win, thanks to the domination of Tennessee’s hitting and bullpen. The big right-hander gave up four earned runs in five innings, striking out four while walking two. Hung-Wen Chen, Marco Carrillo, and Blake Parker then stonewalled Carolina over the next four innings, and brought home a 9-4 victory.
Whatever Whitenack gave up, the Tennessee hitters were able to respond. Josh Vitters and Marwin Gonzalez were the hitting stars. Vitters, previously in a slump, went 2-for-4 with his fourth home run, a double, and two RBI. Gonzalez was 3-for-4 and also had two RBI. D.J. LeMahieu, Matt Spencer, and Rebel Ridling each also recorded multi-hit games.
Trying to avert a three game losing streak on Thursday, the Smokies were down 6-4 to Mobile. Tennessee had gotten in a jam after lefties Chris Rusin and Ryan Buchter allowed six earned runs in 5.1innings. Kyle Smit then let the air out of the BayBears, shutting out Mobile for 2.2 innings.
Tennessee had clawed their way back into the game thanks to D.J. LeMahieu and Matt Spencer. After LeMahieu doubled in the first, Spencer popped his fifth home run. LeMahieu added a solo shot in the third. In the eighth inning, Brett Jackson was brought home on a fielder’s choice after doubling earlier.
That set up a dramatic ninth inning rally. With one out, Steve Clevenger walked and Blake Lalli singled. After a force out put runners on first and third, Josh Vitters‘ dribbler loaded the bases. Brett Jackson then walked to bring in a run. Down to his last strike, D.J. LeMahieu’s single brought in two runs to give the Smokies a 7-6 lead. On Cinco de Mayo, Mexican national Marco Carrillo slammed the door to pick up his second save.
After a Friday night loss, Tennessee exploded for six runs in the fifth innings, as the Smokies defeated the Mobile BayBears 8-1 Saturday. Robert Whitenack continued to be impressive, allowing one earned run in six innings of work. Whitenack gave up only one hit, while walking three and striking out three. He even drove in Tennessee’s first run in the fifth inning.
James Adduci (4-for-4, two doubles) doubled to start the inning. After a ground out moved him to third, Adduci came home on Whitenack’s fielder’s choice. Brett Jackson (1-for-4) singled and Nate Samson (2-for 5) doubled to score Whitenack. D.J. LeMahieu (2-for-4, three RBI) singled home Jackson and Samson. Rebel Ridling (1-for-5) then launched his sixth homer, plating LeMahieu. Tennessee went on the score two more in the seventh inning, as Ty’Relle Harris and Blake Parker mopped up.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (14-16)
It was truly a trying week for Iowa Cubs’ fans. The I-Cubs dropped five out of seven this week, and were outscored 45-23 in those losses.
After being routed by Round Rock two days in a row, Ramon Ortiz stopped the bleeding as the I-Cubs defeated the Express 3-1. Ortiz had his best outing for the organization Wednesday, going seven innings and allowing one earned run on four hits. Ortiz struck out five while walking only one batter. John Gaub and Scott Maine shutout Round Rock the rest of the way, Gaub earning his fourth hold while Maine picked up his fifth save. Bryan LaHair, Chris Robinson, and Matt Camp had multi-hit games, as Iowa could only muster eight hits against Round Rock pitching.
Struggling starter Robert Coello took the mound Saturday after another two losses by Iowa. Coello gave his best performance since coming to the organization, shutting out New Orleans 1-0. His eight scoreless innings included seven strikeouts and no walks, lowering his ERA to 6.75. Pinch-hitter Brad Snyder delivered a solo blast in the tenth inning, providing Iowa with the game’s only run. Scott Maine pitched the final two innings to pick up his second victory.
News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs released LHP Polin Trinidad and C Max Ramirez. Right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer was assigned to Iowa. Iowa activated IF Jonathan Mota from the 7-Day disabled list. Tennessee placed RHP Kyle Smit on the 7-Day disabled list. Left-handed pitcher Doug Davis was assigned to Daytona. Daytona sent RHP Jordan Latham to the Boise Hawks. Peoria placed RHP Dallas Beeler and LHP Graham Hicks on the 7-Day disabled list. Right Handed pitchers Su-Min Jung and Justin Bristow were assigned to Peoria.
Former Cub minor leaguer Brandon Guyer hit a home run in his first major league at bat for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday. The Rays then sent Guyer back to Triple-A on Sunday.
Top Prospect Watch
- Michael Burgess (OF) – .210, .275 OBP, .735 OPS, 7 Doubles, 6 HR, 19 RBI, 3 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Chris Carpenter (RHP) – 1-0, 3.94 ERA, 16.0 IP, 7 ER, 16 K, 11 BB, Hold, Save 1.63 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Micah Gibbs (C) – .367, .472 OBP, .939 OPS, 3 Doubles, HR, 7 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
- Reggie Golden (OF) is in extended Spring Training
- Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) – .331, .359 OBP, .921 OPS, 8 Doubles, Triple, 6 HR, 26 RBI, 5 Stolen Bases, 5 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Brett Jackson (OF) – .303, .426 OBP, .962 OPS, 7 Doubles, 2 Triples, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 11 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
- D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .318, .353 OBP, .821 OPS, 10 Doubles, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.55 ERA, 17.2 IP, 5 ER, 14 K, 5 BB, 1.36 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Hayden Simpson (RHP) – 0-1, 4.15 ERA, 26.0 IP, 12 ER, 21 K, 8 BB 1.58 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
- Matt Szczur (OF) - .309, .389 OBP, .751 OPS, 5 Doubles, 7 RBI, 9 Stolen Bases, Outfield Assist (Peoria Chiefs)
- Josh Vitters (3B) -.242, .294 OBP, .736 OPS, 7 Doubles, 4 HR, 18 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
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