Grabbing the attention to start the week is Double-A Tennessee and their high octane offense. Riding a four-game win streak, the “Bash Brothers” of Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach have been joined by Stephen Bruno and Willson Contreras in providing the opposition multiple headaches.
South Bend evened their record over the weekend behind outstanding starting pitching from Trevor Clifton and Ryan Williams. Myrtle Beach dropped three in a row as Jacob Hannemann and Billy McKinney are emerging as two of the Carolina League’s best hitters. Iowa remains inconsistent as they regained pitcher Dallas Beeler, but may have lost Barret Loux.
So take a look inside today’s Down on the Farm Report, before the Smokies have another big inning!
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (9-9)
The SB Cubs continued their struggles against Fort Wayne this season on Friday, losing 5-1. The game had a promising start after Chesny Young (1-for-3 with a double and a stolen base) doubled with one out in the first inning, stole third, and scored on a base hit from Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with an RBI). But that would be all for the SB Cubs offense as they managed only two more hits the rest of the night.
South Bend starter Zach Hedges did not perform badly. Hedges allowed three earned runs on seven hits while striking out three in five innings, but did not receive any run support. James Norwood also had a good outing, striking out a batter in two scoreless innings. James Farris experienced a shaky inning of work. Farris gave up two runs (one earned) with two strikeouts.
While South Bend managed only three hits on Saturday, the SB Cubs rolled to a 9-2 victory over Fort Wayne. Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with an RBI) walked to lead off the second inning but was wiped out on a force play that allowed Justin Marra (0-for-4) to reach on an error. Gleyber Torres (0-for-1) and David Bote (0-for-2 with an RBI) walked to load the bases, and a single by Charcer Burks (1-for-4 with three RBI) plated Marra and Torres. Trey Martin (0-for-4) reached on an error that allowed Bote and Burks to score.
Jason Vosler (1-for-4), Marra, and Torres walked in the top of the third and Bote was hit by a pitch to bring in Vosler. On a force play that allowed Burks to reach, Marra and Torres scored. There was additional shaky pitching by the Tin Caps in the fourth as Martin and Chesny Young (0-for-3) walked, with two wild pitches allowing Martin to cross home. A single by Brockmeyer drove in Young.
Trevor Clifton had his second straight excellent start. Clifton struck out seven in five innings as he allowed an earned run on three hits. David Garner worked his way out of a couple of jams with some double-play balls as he struck out two in two scoreless innings. Jordan Minch went the final two innings. Minch struck out two batters and gave up an earned run.
South Bend evened their record at 9-9 on Sunday with a 7-1 victory over the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. Starting pitching was once again the story as Ryan Williams continued his dominance of the Midwest League. Williams gave up only one hit as he struck out three in six scoreless innings. Francisco Carrillo was a little better than in previous appearances as he was charged with an unearned run with a strikeout in 1.2 innings. Tommy Thorpe worked a perfect 1.1 innings.
The SB Cubs use two big innings to put away Fort Wayne. Jesse Hodges (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI), Gioskar Amaya (0-for-3) and Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-2) all drew walks to start the second inning. Hodges and Amaya scored as David Bote (0-for-4) reached on an error. A single from Trey Martin (2-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases) allowed Balaguert and Bote to score.
Martin walked to lead off the seventh inning. Gleyber Torres (3-for-4) singled and Chesny Young (0-for-4) walked to load the bases. A base hit by Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Martin and Torres, and a ground plated Young.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (9-7)
Myrtle Beach could not piece things together on Friday night and lost 4-3 to Winston-Salem. Starter Duane Underwood had his poorest showing of the young season, but by all means it was not a bad one. Underwood allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks as he struck out three in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion was also decent as he surrendered an earned run with two strikeouts in two innings. Tayler Scott appears to be taking to his new role in relief as he fanned four in two scoreless innings.
The Pelicans scored all of their runs in the fifth inning after Wes Darvill (1-for-4) stroked a one out single, Alberto Mineo (1-for-2) walked, and a base hit from Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4) loaded the bases. An error allowed Darvill to score, while Mineo scored on a sacrifice fly.
On Saturday, Myrtle Beach could not overcome the first inning as the Pelicans lost 4-2 to Winston-Salem. Paul Blackburn started and was not sharp. Blackburn allowed four earned runs in the first, but ended up going five innings with three strikeouts. In his first action of the year, Ben Wells pitched three perfect innings with a strikeout. Jasvir Rakkar worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Pelicans tried to claw their way back into the game in the sixth inning after Billy McKinney (1-for-4 with an RBI) walked and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with an RBI) singled. But all Myrtle Beach could muster was a one run on a ground out that scored McKinney. In the seventh inning, Danny Lockhart (1-for-4 with an RBI) led off with a single. A one out base hit by Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with an RBI), a wild pitch, and a ground out brought Lockhart home.
It’s now a three game tailspin for Myrtle Beach as the Pelicans lost 6-1 in a rain shortened six innings to Winston-Salem on Sunday. After a promising Spring Training, Tyler Skulina continued to disappoint as he allowed six earned runs on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts in four innings. Josh Conway worked his way out of a few jams to pitch two scoreless innings and record a strikeout.
The only run for the Pelicans came in the sixth inning after Jacob Hannemann (2-for-3) led off with a single and Mark Zagunis (0-for-3) reached on an error. Billy McKinney (0-for-2) walked to load the bases, and a one out base hit by Jacob Rogers (2-for-3 with double and an RBI) drove in Hannemann.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (10-5)
After a rainout on Friday, Tennessee played a game that more resembled T-ball than baseball as they defeated Chattanooga 16-10. Pin-Chieh Chen (3-for-5 with a double) doubled to lead off the game and came around on a Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with an RBI) home run, his third of the season. Elliot Soto (1-for-4 with a double) doubled to start the third inning. Chen followed with a single and Soto scored on a double play.
Trailing 6-3 in the fifth inning, the Smokies exploded after Soto walked, Chen singled. Soto scored on a sacrifice fly. A double by Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) and a single from Dan Vogelbach (3-for-3 with a home run and three RBI) brought in Chen. A walk to Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with an RBI) loaded the bases. Stephen Bruno (1-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) delivered a Grand Slam home run to make it six runs for the inning.
Tennessee found themselves behind 10-9 in the sixth when Soto and Chen reached on fielding errors and Albert Almora (2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled. A wild pitch scored Soto, and Chen scored on a ground out. A base hit by Vogelbach plated Almora. The Smokies then pulled away in the eighth after Almora singled and stole second. Vogelbach walked and a single by Contreras drove in Almora. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3) walked with two outs and a double from Ryan Dent (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) brought in Vogelbach and Contreras.
Fresh off the disabled list, Rob Zastryzny ran out of gas a little as he went only three innings and gave up an earned run with two strikeouts. Stephen Perakslis had an inning he would like to forget as he surrendered five earned runs. Fernando Cruz earned kind of a cheap victory as he gave up four earned runs with three strikeouts in two innings.
C.J. Edwards was the most effective pitcher of the night as he fanned three in two scoreless innings. P.J. Francescon worked around a hit in the ninth to hold the Lookouts.
It was another day and another offensive outburst for Tennessee on Sunday as the Smokies beat Chattanooga 5-2. Tennessee tied the game at one in the second inning after Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a double) stroked a two out double and scored on a single from Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with an RBI). Rademacher started the fun in the fifth inning with a base hit. Rademacher advanced to second on a fielding error. A sacrifice bunt and a walk to Pin-Chieh Chen (0-for-3) put runners on the corners. Consecutive singles by Albert Almora (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base), Kyle Schwarber (1-for-4 with an RBI), Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4 with an RBI) and Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with an RBI) accounted for four more runs.
Frank Batista has been a revelation as a starter for Tennessee. Batista was already second in the Southern League in WHIP, and will now rank in the top five in strikeouts and ERA after fanning eight and allowing an earned run in seven innings. Zach Cates had his second straight good outing as he recorded a strikeout in a scoreless inning. Starling Peralta is still finding his way at the Double-A level as he gave up an earned run while working the ninth inning.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (7-9)
Iowa was able to pull together on Friday to squeeze past New Orleans 2-1 and gain a series split. Barret Loux started for the I-Cubs and allowed an unearned run in the first inning, but had to leave the game after 2.2 innings with an arm injury. Blake Cooper came to the rescue as he tossed 3.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Hunter Cervenka put two rough outings behind him as he fanned three in an inning of work. James Russell was also impressive in striking out four over the final two innings to collect his second save.
The I-Cubs tied the score in the third inning after John Andreoli (1-for-4) singled and was sacrificed to second. A two out base hit by Matt Szczur (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Andreoli. Arismendy Alcantara (0-for-2) walked to lead off the fifth inning, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single from Mike Baxter (2-for-3 with an RBI).
The members of the Iowa team will be mumbling about this one for a while as a controversial call led to a 9-8 loss to Colorado Springs on Saturday. The game marked the return of Dallas Beeler and he did not appear to be in game shape. Beeler allowed seven runs (six earned) in four innings. Carlos Pimentel was all over the place as he heaved three wild pitches and struck out three but was not charged with any runs in two innings. Yoanner Negrin did his job, striking out two in two perfect innings. The controversy came in the ninth, as Joe Ortiz appeared to get out of the inning as the I-Cubs defense cut down the tying runner at the plate and seemed to catch the base runner off of first for a double play. Even though first baseman Mike Baxter applied the tag, the umpire called the runner safe. One the very next pitch, Colorado Springs hit a walk-off home run.
The I-Cubs jumped out ahead in the first after Matt Szczur (3-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled with one out and Mike Baxter (1-for-4 with an RBI) walked. A two out base hit from Junior Lake (2-for-4 with an RBI) scored Szczur, and Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a home run and five RBI) cleared the bases with a three-run home run. Dallas Beeler (0-for-1) helped his own cause in the second inning as he walked with one out, moved to third on a double from Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5 with a double), and scored on a sacrifice fly. Taylor Teagarden (3-for-5 with a triple) and Lake singled to start the third, with Teagarden coming home on a ground out. Szczur singled in the fourth with two outs, stole second, and scored on a base hit from Baxter. Iowa then took the lead in the seventh inning after Teagarden tripled and scored on a single from Villanueva.
Iowa’s game on Sunday was postponed due to inclement weather.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent RHP Dallas Beeler to the Iowa Cubs for a rehab assignment. The Tennessee Smokies activated LHP Rob Zastryzny from the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .306/.343/.355/.698, three doubles, eight RBI, two stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 1-1, 11.2 IP, 3.09 ERA, 4 ER, 16 K, 1.029 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- J. Edwards (RHP) – 0-1, 7.2 IP, 3.52 ERA, 3 ER, 10 K, 1.696 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Billy McKinney (OF) – .306/.407/.388/.795, a double, a home run, eight RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Kyle Schwarber (C) – .349/.463/.581/1.044, two doubles, triple, two home runs, nine RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
- Jake Stinnett (RHP) – 0-1, 12.1 IP, 4.38 ERA, 6 ER, 10 K, 1.784 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Gleyber Torres (IF) – .305/.414/.322/.736, a double, nine RBI, six stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)
- Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP) – 1-0, 9.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4 ER, 8K, 1.179 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Duane Underwood Jr. (RHP) – 2-0, 16 IP, 1.12 ERA, 2 ER, 12 K, 0.938 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .444/.552/.741/1.293, seven doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)