Welcome to the Minor League Shuffle! Injuries throughout the organization launched a flurry of activity, but games continue to go on. As bad weather and the early season grind take their toll, the organization suffered its first “O-Fer” on Saturday. However, Nelson Perez seems to be enjoying his new surroundings, as is Jeffrey Beliveau. D.J. LeMahieu is on fire, with a 16-game hitting streak. And another affiliate reaches twenty wins.
All of this, and more, in this week’s Down on the Farm Report. Low Class-A – Peoria Chiefs (20-17)
Peoria started the week by sweeping Kane County 4-0 on Monday. Cameron Greathouse had his second straight good outing. The lefty two-hit the Cougars, striking out five and walking five in six innings of work. Recently promoted Alvaro Sosa and Marcus Hatley completed the shutout. Matt Szczur (2-for-4, stolen base), Pierre LePage (1-for-2, stolen base), and Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-4) paced the attack for Peoria.
In a real nail-biter on Tuesday, the Chiefs outlasted Burlington 2-1 in eleven innings. After tossing a scoreless inning, starter Hayden Simpson left the game with tightness in his shoulder. Eric Jokisch replaced him and went 6.2 innings, yielding the Bees’ only run while striking out five. Casey Harman and Yohan Gonzalez held Burlington in check the rest of the way, Gonzalez earning the victory. Richard Jones was the offense star, going 4-for-5 and having the game-winning hit. Matt Szczur and Arismendy Alcantara joined Jones with multi-hit games.
After blowing a lead and allowing five runs to score in the ninth Wednesday, Dallas Beeler took the mound for the Chiefs Thursday. Beeler had just come off of the seven-day disabled list, and held Burlington scoreless for three innings. Robinson Lopez, came on and allowed a two-run home run, but struck out four and walked four in five innings of work. Yohan Gonzalez finished the job in the ninth, as Peoria and Lopez came up with a 6-2 victory.
Leadoff hitter Pierre LePage (2-for-4, double, two RBI) and Rubi Silva (2-for-5) paced the attack for Peoria. Greg Rohan (1-for-4) had three RBI.
After dropping two to Kane County, Peoria took out their frustration by pounding out eighteen hits as the Chiefs defeated the Cougars 11- 8 on Sunday. Anthony Giansanti had the game of his young career, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, and three RBI. Richard Jones also went yard as part of a 3-for-5 game. Greg Rohan and Smaily Borges had four-hit performances.
Hayden Simpson started and went 3.1 innings, striking out two and allowing three earned runs. Eric Jokish piggy-backed Simpson, and finished the game allowing three runs and striking out four to run his record to 5-0.
High Class-A – Daytona Cubs (26-11)
Once again, Daytona started the week out right with an 11-7 defeat of Brevard County on Monday. Brett Wallach had a rough start, allowing six runs (five earned) in 4.1 innings. Brent Ebinger then came on and stopped the Manatees in their tracks for 1.2 innings to earn the victory. Jordan Latham and Ryan Buchter earned holds in mop up work.
But Wallach was bailed out by the offense, thanks to Justin Bour, Nelson Perez, and Jake Opitz. Bour’s awakening bat was 3-for-5, including a solo home run. Nelson went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI; Opitz 3-for-4 and three RBI.
Daytona made it seven in a row Tuesday, as the D-Cubs came from behind to beat Jupiter 4-2. One again, hot-hitting Justin Bour led the charge, going 3-for-4, including a two-run homer. Jae-Hoon Ha shook off a bad night Monday by hitting a double while going 2-for-4 on the evening.
Zachary Rosscup kept the Hammerheads at bay, tossing five innings for scoreless ball, walking and striking out four. While Ryan Searle and Frank Bautista each gave up a run, Searle earned a hold and Bautista picked up his ninth save.
Following a Wednesday loss to Jupiter, Dayton spotted the Hammerheads a run on Thursday, and then brought out their bats. A position change for Logan Watkins to left field created a spark, and he responded with a 2-for-5 games with a double and two RBI. Every other D-Cub reached base safely, as Daytona came up with four runs in the eleventh inning to beat Jupiter 6-2.
Jeffrey Lorick allowed only an unearned run over 5.1 innings, striking out three while walking one batter. However, Jordan Latham allowed the Hammerheads to tie it up in the seventh inning. Newcomer Ryan Buchter and Ryan Searle then slammed the door, Searle picking up the victory.
Daytona avenged a Saturday loss to Fort Myers by thrilling the home fans with seven in the bottom of the first inning, as the D-Cubs cruised to an 8-3 win Sunday. Five Daytona players provided their ten hits; led by Justin Bour’s 2-for-4 with a double and his tenth home run. Jake Opitz, Evan Crawford, and Logan Watkins were also 2-for-4, while Jae-Hoon Ha was 2-for-3 with a stolen base. Opitz’s two hits were doubles.
Zachary Rosscup raised his record to 3-0 by going five innings and striking out four, allowing two earned runs. Ryan Searle and Jordan Latham pitched two innings apiece to close it out, Searle allowing an earned run.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (22-15)
After spotting Huntsville a run Monday, Tennessee got out their bats and went to business, blowing the Stars away 10-2. Right-hander Alberto Cabrera started and had one of his better outings; he pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs, striking out three and walking three. Thriving in his new bullpen role, Rafael Dolis, along with Kevin Rhoderick, blanked Huntsville the rest of the way.
D.J. LeMahieu continued his torrid pace, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Rebel Ridling, Josh Vitters, Matt Spencer, and Nate Samson joined LeMahieu in recording multi-hit games, while Brett Jackson had a three-run triple.
After losing two games, Tennessee received more bad news as Brett Jackson was placed on the seven-day disabled list. That, along with promotions to the parent club, gave the Smokies a new look on Thursday. The new faces came up big, as Tennessee defeated Huntsville 7-5.
Robert Whitenack continues to impress, as he scattered nine hits over six innings, striking out two and walking one, to earn his third victory. Newcomer Jeffrey Beliveau debuted by giving up an earned run in an inning of work. In a new role, Rafael Dolis picked up his first save, allowing an earned run over two innings.
Recently slumping Ryan Flaherty pulled out of it in a big way, clubbing two doubles and four RBI while going 3-for-4. D.J. LeMahieu continued to stroke the ball by having a 2-for-3 night, including an RBI. Matt Spencer cracked his seventh home run, a solo shot. Recently promoted Nelson Perez also got his first Double-A hit.
Friday saw Trey McNutt take the hill for the Smokies. McNutt went two scoreless innings, and then turned the game over to Tennessee’s shutdown bullpen. Ty’Relle Harris, Kevin Rhoderick, Marco Carrillo, and Blake Parker followed, with Rhoderick allowing the only earned run as Tennessee defeated Huntsville 4-1.
D.J. LeMahieu was virtually unstoppable, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Ryan Flaherty blasted a two-run double. Newcomer Nelson Perez made his presence felt, gunning down two runners. Marwin Gonzalez also made his debut in centerfield.
On Sunday, the Smokies proved the saying “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape!” After dropping Saturday’s game to Chattanooga, Tennessee brought the thunder and gave the Lookouts a 13-1 beat down. Brooks Raley pitched his best game of the season, striking out four and allowing only one earned run in five innings of work. Marco Carrillo then came on and pitched three innings of no-hit baseball, earning his third hold. Carrillo even helped himself by slapping a single and scoring in his only at bat. Rafael Dolis finished the game with a scoreless ninth.
D.J. LeMahieu is giving people a hard time coming up with new adjectives to describe his performance. LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to 16 games by going 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and two RBI. Nelson Perez and Josh Vitters each went 2-for-5; Perez clubbing two doubles while Vitters thumped a two-run homer. While only going 1-for-2, Ryan Flaherty also had a great game. Flaherty walked three times, scored two, and drove in two.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (15-21)
Iowa got off to a bad start this week, losing their first two games and having their Wednesday night game postponed. In a double-header on Thursday, the I-Cubs dropped the opener to Colorado Springs 11-5.
In the second game, the I-Cubs made a comfortable lead an adventure. Ahead 8-1 in the top of the fourth, pitchers Austin Bibens-Dirkx and John Gaub allowed six runs over the next two innings to bring the Sky Sox within a run. Iowa came back with three in the top of the sixth. They then hung on as Colorado Springs scored one in the sixth and two in seventh, as Iowa won 11-10. Chris Carpenter picked up the win in relief with an inning of work, while Scott Maine earned his sixth save.
Bobby Scales accounted for five of Iowa’s 21 hits, including a double. Bryan LaHair and Scott Moore each had three hits, with LaHair slugging his ninth home run. Luis Montanez and Brad Snyder also went deep, each adding two-run shots.
After dropping two more games, the I-Cubs were down 7-3 to Reno to start the fifth inning on Sunday. Iowa managed to score eleven runs over the next five innings to outlast the Aces 14-11.
Leading the charge for Iowa was Luis Montanez, who was 3-for-5 with a double and six RBI. Chris Robinson and Bobby Scales were also 3-for-5, with Robinson driving in four runs. Pinch-hitter Brad Snyder also blasted a solo home run.
As for pitching, well, what can you say about J.R. Mathes and Thomas Diamond allowing eleven earned runs in seven innings? Diamond would get the win in relief; while Scott Maine pitched two scoreless innings for his seventh save.
News and Notes
Left-handed pitcher Doug Davis and C Steve Clevenger were assigned to Iowa. The Chicago Cubs recalled C Welington Castillo and selected the contract of LHP Doug Davis; outrighted RHP Thomas Diamond and optioned RHP Justin Berg to Iowa. Left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Beliveau, OF Nelson Perez, OF Kyung-Min Na, and C Luis Flores were assigned to Tennessee. Tennessee placed OF Brett Jackson and OF James Adduci on the 7-Day disabled list. Daytona activated C Mario Mercedes from the 7-Day disabled list. Catcher Luis Flores and 2B Gian Guzman were assigned to Daytona. Peoria Chiefs placed OF Matt Szczur on the temporarily inactive list in order to attend his graduation ceremonies from Villanova University. Peoria activated RHP Dallas Beeler and LHP Graham Hicks from the 7-Day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Michael Burgess (OF) – .222, .293 OBP, .737 OPS, 7 Doubles, 7 HR, 23 RBI, 3 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Chris Carpenter (RHP) - 2-1, 6.41 ERA, 19.2 IP, 14 ER, 20 K, 17 BB, 2 Holds, Save 1.88 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Micah Gibbs (C) – .320, .427 OBP, .840 OPS, 4 Doubles, HR, 8 RBI, Stolen Base (Peoria Chiefs)
- Reggie Golden (OF) – is in extended Spring Training
- Jae-Hoon Ha (OF) - .311, .344 OBP, .867 OPS, 10 Doubles, 2 Triples, 6 HR, 27 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases, 7 Outfield Assists (Daytona Cubs)
- Brett Jackson (OF) – .295, .420 OBP, .938 OPS, 7 Doubles, 3Triples, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 13 Stolen Bases, 2 Outfield Assists (Tennessee Smokies)
- D.J. LeMahieu (IF) – .355, .388 OBP, .888 OPS, 12 Doubles, Triple, 2 HR, 24 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trey McNutt (RHP) – 1-2, 2.29 ERA, 19.2 IP, 5 ER, 15 K, 5 BB, 1.32 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Hayden Simpson (RHP) - 0-1, 4.45 ERA, 30.1 IP, 15 ER, 24 K, 12 BB 1.68 WHIP (Peoria Chiefs)
- Matt Szczur (OF) – .320, .398 OBP, .767 OPS, 5 Doubles, 7 RBI, 10 Stolen Bases, Outfield Assist (Peoria Chiefs)
- Josh Vitters (3B) -.236, .286 OBP, .697 OPS, 7 Doubles, 5 HR, 20 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
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