That rumbling you hear from far off is not just the spring storm clouds, which effected play in the minors this weekend, but that of several Cubs’ prospects beginning to show their stuff.
South Bend starting pitchers Erick Leal, Zach Hedges and Trevor Clifton gave up only one earned run in 15 innings. In Myrtle Beach, pitchers Daury Torrez came back from a bad first start and Duane Underwood took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
It was the bats that provided the noise in Tennessee as they have the Southern League’s leading hitter in Dan Vogelbach while Albert Almora Jr. had a 5-for-5 game. Iowa ran into some hard luck but had encouraging performances from pitchers Tsuyoshi Wada and Barret Loux.
So start getting familiar with these and other names, as they are coming soon to your favorite ballpark, by reading today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (4-7)
South Bend took out their frustration of the past two nights in Fort Wayne on Friday, playing their most complete game of the season in an 11-3 victory. Pitching was up to their standards as Erick Leal looked more comfortable in his second start, having the Tin Caps pound the ball into the ground. Leal had eight groundouts in his five innings along with three strikeouts as he gave up an earned run on six hits and two walks. Jordan Minch had a more difficult time as he allowed two earned runs and struck out two in two innings. Lefty Tyler Ihrig, off the disabled list, kept hitters off balance as he had two strikeouts in two scoreless innings.
After a quiet first inning, the SB Cubs came out swinging as they collected 14 hits, all singles. Jason Vosler (1-for-3 with two RBI) led off the second with a base hit, followed by a walk to Gleyber Torres (0-for-3 with an RBI). Vosler scored on a two-out single from Rashad Crawford (2-for-5 with two RBI and a stolen base) and Trey Martin (1-for-6 with two stolen bases) reached on a throwing error that brought in Torres. South Bend pulled off a double steal, with Martin taking second base and Crawford stole home. The Cubs kept up the pressure in the third inning after Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with an RBI) walked and Cael Brockmeyer (3-for-4) singled to put runners on the corners. Vosler and Torres drew successive walks to push Amaya home. A one-out single by Charcer Burks (2-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Brockmeyer and Vosler. South Bend added a run in the fourth inning that started with a Chesny Young (1-for-2 with a stolen base) single. After a one-out base hit by Brockmeyer, young scored on a ground out.
The SB Cubs put the game away in the fifth inning that began with a Jeffrey Baez (3-for-5) single. Base hits by Burks and Crawford brought in Baez and Burks scored on a throwing error. Martin singled and Young walked to load the bases, with Crawford scoring on a sacrifice fly. A single by Brockmeyer reloaded the bases and Young scored on a force play.
Once again, South Bend failed to hold a lead on Saturday as they lost to Great Lakes 5-4. Zach Hedges pitched a masterful game. Hedges struck out three and gave up two hits in five scoreless innings. Tommy Thorpe relieved and had trouble. Thorpe committed an error on a pick-off attempt that led to an unearned run as he had a strikeout in two innings. Leading 4-1 going into the ninth, the SB Cubs fell apart as they committed an error and James Farris allowed four runs (two earned) in two innings with five strikeouts.
South Bend grabbed the lead in the third inning after Trey Martin (2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a stolen base) doubled with one out and stole third base. A triple from Chesny Young (1-for-4 with a triple and an RBI) plated Martin and Young scored on a throwing error. Justin Marra (1-for-4) singled to lead off the fifth inning and moved to second on a throwing error. A one out double by Martin brought Marra home. The SB Cubs added a run in the seventh when Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with a double) started things with a double and he scored on a single from Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with an RBI).
The South Bend Cubs simply cannot close out a game as the bullpen blew its fifth save opportunity on Sunday in losing to Great Lake 4-1. For the third straight game, the SB Cubs received an excellent effort from a starting pitcher as Trevor Clifton, looking more relaxed than in his first start, struck out seven and gave up only a hit and a walk in five innings. Tyler Ihrig relieved and tried to go for the four innings save, but ran out of gas in the ninth and allowed the score to be tied. Ihrig went 3.1 innings and let in an earned run while recording a strikeout. Francisco Carrillo needed just two outs to give South Bend a chance in the bottom half of the inning, but surrendered three runs (one earned).
The offense got the lead in the fifth inning after Jeffrey Baez (0-for-1 with a walk) walked, moved to third on a base hit from Gleyber Torres (2-for-3), and scored on a single by Jesse Hodges (2-for-3 with an RBI).
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (6-3)
Pitching for Myrtle Beach was the key in a 3-2 to win over Winston-Salem on Friday as the Pelicans came back from a two day rain break. Daury Torrez put a shaky first outing behind him and showed why he was one of the best pitchers in the Midwest League last season. Torrez struck out four and allowed an earned run on four hits and three walks in five innings. James Pugliese came in to bridge the gap and gave up an earned run with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Matt Brazis completed the five-out save with a strikeout in 1.2 scoreless innings.
All the runs for Myrtle Beach scored in the second inning after Jeimer Candelario (3-for-5 with a double) led off with a double followed by a walk to Jacob Rogers (2-for-4). A one out single by Shawon Dunston Jr. (1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) drove in Candelario and a base hit from Danny Lockhart (2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base) scored Rogers. Dunston and Lockhart pulled off a double steal. And Dunston scored on a sacrifice fly.
Myrtle Beach experienced a thrill in game one of a doubleheader on Saturday as pitcher Duane Underwood took a no-hitter into the seventh and final inning of a 4-1 victory over Winston Salem. Underwood was lifted after giving up two singles to start the seventh and would be charged with an earned run to go along with four strikeouts in six innings. Starling Peralta stopped the rally to earn his first save.
The Pelicans put up three runs in the fourth innings after Shawon Dunston Jr. (2-for-3 with a triple and a stolen base) had a one out triple and scored on a single from Billy McKinney (1-for-3 with an RBI). Successive two-out doubles by Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) and Victor Caratini (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) brought McKinney and Rogers home. Dunston led off the sixth inning with a single, stole second, and scored on a base hit from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with an RBI).
In game two on Saturday, Myrtle Beach jumped out ahead and never looked back as they beat Winston-Salem 8-4. Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a double) started the game with a single followed by a double from Mark Zagunis (2-for-2 with a double). A passed ball allowed Hannemann to score, and Billy McKinney (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) drove in Zagunis with a base hit. After a double from Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI), a single by Jacob Rogers (1-for-3 with two RBI) plated McKinney while a sacrifice fly scored Candelario. Ben Carhart (1-for-2 with a home run and three RBI) extended the lead in the fourth inning with a solo home run.
Hannemann led off the fifth inning with a double and after a pair of walks to Zagunis and McKinney, Hannemann scored on a sacrifice fly. In the seventh inning, back-to-back doubles by McKinney and Candelario scored another run. Candelario later scored on a ground out.
Paul Blackburn had a poor outing by his standards. Blackburn allowed four runs (three earned) while striking out four in five innings. Josh Conway earned his first save with two perfect innings that included a strikeout.
Myrtle Beach was postponed on Sunday due to rain.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (6-3)
Tennessee played a doubleheader on Friday and the Smokies survived a pitcher’s duel in game one to beat Pensacola 1-0. Ivan Pineyro was on top of his game as he gave up only two hits while striking out three in six innings. Hunter Cervenka completed the shutout as he worked around a walk in the seventh inning.
Tennessee scored the only run of the game in the seventh after Kyle Schwarber (0-for-1) drew a one out walk. Dan Vogelbach (2-for-3) singled, and a wild pitch moved Schwarber to third. An infield base hit by Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with an RBI) brought in Schwarber with the walk-off.
In the nightcap, the Smokes fell apart in extra innings after rallying to tie the game in the seventh and lost 4-1 to Pensacola. Pitching again was solid as Jeffry Antigua received the spot start. Antigua allowed an earned run while striking out four in 3.2 innings. Stephen Perakslis had two strikeouts in 1.1 innings, and Andres Santiago tossed two scoreless innings. Zach Cates once again had a rough time as the Smokies committed three errors in the ninth while Cates contributed a wild pitch that all led to three unearned runs. Cates had a strikeout in two innings.
Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3) started the rally in the seventh with a one out single. A base hit by Dan Vogelbach (3-for-3) put runners on the corners and a ground out scored Rademacher.
What started as a tight game on Saturday turned into a laugher as Tennessee blew past Pensacola 7-1. It all started when Ryan Dent (1-for-3 with an RBI) walked to lead off the third inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Elliot Soto (3-for-5) singled to put runners at the corners. A base hit by Albert Almora (5-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base) brought in Dent, and a one out walk to Dan Vogelbach (0-for-4 with a walk) loaded the bases. A single by Stephen Bruno (1-for-4 with two RBI) scored Soto and Almora. The Smokies extended the lead in the fifth. Soto and Almora singled to start the frame. Soto moved up a base on a throwing error and Almora stole second. Kyle Schwarber (0-for-2 with three walks) walked, and Soto scored on a double play. The game broke open in the sixth after Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with a double) walked and Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4) singled. One out later, pinch-hitter Willson Contreras (1-for-1 with a home run and three RBI) delivered a three-run home run.
Starter Felix Pena was downright nasty as his breaking ball fooled the Blue Wahoos all night long. Pena struck out six and allowed an earned run on four hits and two walks in six innings. Fernando Cruz earned the long save as he had four strikeouts in three scoreless innings.
Tennessee was postponed on Sunday due to rain.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (4-5)
The Iowa Cubs could not come back all the way in their home opener on Friday as they lost to Oklahoma City 3-2. Tsuyoshi Wada, on a rehab assignment, was given the start and pitched 4.2 strong innings and struck out six while allowing an earned run. Swingman Yoanner Negrin relieved and gave up two earned runs in 1.2 innings. Drake Britton had a good outing, striking out two in two perfect innings. Blake Cooper pitched a scoreless ninth.
Behind 3-0 in the sixth inning, John Andreoli (1-for-3 with a stolen base) started the inning with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. A two-out base hit by Chris Valaika (1-for-3 with two RBI) brought Andreoli home. Andreoli was the catalyst again in the eighth inning after he led off with a walk and stole second. After a wild pitch moved Andreoli to third, he scored on a sacrifice fly.
Iowa was postponed on Saturday due to rain.
On a soggy Sunday, Iowa was not able to get a run on the board as they lost to Oklahoma City 4-0 in six and a half innings. Barret Loux made his second start of the season and looked even better than first one. Loux allowed an earned run and struck out five in five innings. Just promoted from Double-A, Hunter Cervenka had a rude welcome as he was pounded for three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Armando Rivero entered the game before the rain delay, but failed to record an out.
The lone highlights for the I-Cubs offense were Adron Chambers and Rubi Silva, each going 1-for-2 with a double.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs selected the contract of 3B Kris Bryant and RHP Gonzalez German; optioned OF Matt Szczur to the Iowa Cubs; sent LHP Tsuyoshi Wada to the Iowa Cubs on a rehab assignment; assigned INF Christian Villanueva and LHP Hunter Cervenka to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Starling Peralta to the Tennessee Smokies from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans; assigned RHP Jasvir Rakkar to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the South Bend Cubs; assigned RHP David Garner to the South Bend Cubs from extended Spring Training.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Blake Parker on the 7-day disabled list, activated C Taylor Teagarden from the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies activated C Erick Castillo from the 7-day disabled list. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans placed RHP Juan Paniagua on the 7-day disabled list; activated LHP Michael Heesch from the 7-day disabled list. The South Bend Cubs placed RHP Jasvir Rakkar on the 7-day disabled list; activated LHP Tyler Ihrig from the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .308/.375/.385/.742, three doubles, three RBI, stolen base (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 0-1, 6.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, three earned runs, nine strikeouts, 1.35 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- J. Edwards (RHP) – 0-0, 4 IP, 6.75 ERA, three earned runs, four strikeouts, 2.00 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Billy McKinney (OF) – .273/.429/.318/.747, double, four RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Kyle Schwarber (C) – .250/.500/.563/1.063, triple, home run, two RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
- Jake Stinnett (RHP) – 0-1, 7.1 IP, 7.36 ERA, six earned runs, six strikeouts, 2.05 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Gleyber Torres (IF) – .278/.395/.306/.701, double, five RBI two stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)
- Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP) – 1-0, 5 IP, 3.60 ERA, two earned runs, five strikeouts, 0.80 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Duane Underwood Jr. (RHP) – 2-0, 11 IP, 0.82 ERA, one earned run, nine strikeouts, 0.82 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .484/.579/.613/1.192, four doubles, three RBI (Tennessee Smokies)