The Cougars pitching staff received another award Monday when RHP Duane Underwood was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week. Underwood pitched six scoreless innings in his start last Saturday and allowed only three hits while not walking a batter and striking out six.
Duane Underwood, the Cubs second round pick in 2012, doesn’t turn 20 until later this month (July 20) and is 3-2 in 13 games, 12 starts, for Kane County this season. In 56 2/3 innings, Underwood has allowed 25 runs, 16 earned, on 52 hits with 23 walks and 40 strikeouts.
Duane Underwood is one of several young pitchers on Kane County’s staff that is having a good season. Juan Carlos Paniagua was recently named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June and Paul Blackburn was the organization’s Pitcher of the Month for May. Daury Torrez, Jen-Ho Tseng and Tyler Skulina all have ERA’s below 3.00 and WHIP’s around 1.00.
And due to poor eating habits, Duane Underwood’s teammates have given him the nickname “Chunky Butter.”
Albert Almora had a very good Monday before cramping forced him to leave the second game of a doubleheader early. Almora hit two home runs Monday night, one in each game, and went 3-for-7 in the two games with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored.
Albert Almora is hitting .415/.455/.683 over his last 10 games with three doubles, a triple, two home runs, three walks, three strikeouts and a 1.137 OPS.
Look for Arismendy Alcantara to see more playing time in centerfield. During an interview Monday on 670 The Score, Jed Hoyer said Alcantara will start playing more centerfield. The Cubs were having him play center once a series, but Hoyer said his ratio of games played in centerfield will increase while his time at second base decreases.
Alcantara is tearing up Triple-A pitching and is pushing for a promotion to the big leagues. In 88 games, Alcantara has hit .308/.354/.538 with 24 doubles, 11 triples, 10 home runs, 21 stolen bases and a .892 OPS.
Jorge Soler went 3-for-4 with a double and a home run Monday night. Soler has gone yard in back-to- back games and he played outfield Monday night as well. Soler is 13-for-33 in nine games with the Smokies this season with eight doubles and two home runs (.394/.444/.818/1.263)
SiriusXM Futures Game
The SiriusXM Futures Game is Sunday, July 13 and will be televised on the MLB Network. Kris Bryant is expected to be the starting third baseman for the U.S. Team and Javier Baez is expected to be the starting shortstop for the World Team.
Mike Ferrin is calling the game on SiriusXM (MLB Network Radio) and the baseball station will provide in depth coverage of the Futures Game.
First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 4:00pm CDT.
Minor League Transactions
According to Baseball America, the Cubs released minor league pitchers Joe Gardner and Julio Rodriguez. The Cubs signed both right handers out of independent ball when injuries left the Smokies short in the pitching department.
The Cubs also released LHP Jonathan Sanchez, 2B Zak Blair, OF Oliver Zapata and OF Arnaldo Calero.