It cannot be a lot of fun right now for pitchers in the Southern League when they have to face the Tennessee Smokies. Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach are mashing the baseball.
Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach are roommates and hitting three, four in the Smokies’ lineup. The Bash Brothers, as Vogelbach labeled the duo, helped Tennessee to a 16-10 victory over Chattanooga on Saturday night. Schwarber went 1-for-4 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored. And Vogelbach, who received his Southern League Player of the Week award before the game, was 3-for-3 with a home run, two walks, three runs scored and three RBI.
For the season, Kyle Schwarber is 14-for-39 with two doubles, one triple, two home runs, 10 walks, 10 strikeouts and 24 total bases (.359/.480/.615) for a 1.095 OPS in 12 games.
Dan Vogelbach is 20-for-47 with seven doubles, two home runs, 11 walks, three strikeouts and 33 total bases (.426/.534/.702) for a 1.237 OPS in 13 games.
RHP Duane Underwood, one of the top pitching prospects in the system, has had a good start to his season. In three games for High-A Myrtle Beach, the 20-year old is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. Underwood has allowed four runs, two earned, on 10 hits with five walks and 12 strikeouts in 16 innings.
On April 18, Underwood took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Underwood allowed one run on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts in six-plus innings. Underwood faced 20 batters, recorded seven groundball outs and not a single fly ball out.
Underwood’s fastball was in the 93-95 range and topped out at 96 mph according to Baseball America. Underwood threw his curveball in the high-70s not only for strikes but he recorded strikeouts with the pitch. Underwood did not mix in his change-up, only one change of pace from the right hander that night according to Baseball America. Underwood’s change-up has been graded as a plus-pitch.
Duane Underwood arguably has the best stuff in the Cubs’ system. Underwood took big steps forward last season in his development, both on and off the field. And he’s definitely one of the more intriguing arms in the organization.
RHP Dallas Beeler reported to Triple-A Iowa for a rehab start with the I-Cubs on Saturday night. And his first start of the season didn’t exactly go as planned.
Dallas Beeler gave up seven runs, six earned, on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in four innings. Beeler threw 74 pitches, 43 for strikes, in Iowa’s 9-8 loss to Colorado Springs. The game was played at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs.
With all of the pitching injuries the organization is dealing with right now, Dallas Beeler just starting a rehab assignment is positive news regardless of the outcome in Colorado.
Minor News, Notes and Transactions
• Christian Villanueva blasted a three-run home run in the top of the first inning of Saturday night’s game, his first Triple-A homer of the season. Since his promotion to Triple-A Iowa, Villanueva is 6-for-28 with a double and a home run (.214/.241/.357/.599).
• Stephen Bruno smacked a Grand Slam on Saturday night for Double-A Tennessee. Kyle Schwarber, Dan Vogelbach and Willson Contreras were along for the ride.
• RHP C.J. Edwards tossed two shutout innings on Saturday night. Edwards walked two and struck out three batters. In four appearances out of the Smokies’ pen this season, Edwards has allowed seven runs, three earned, on five hits with eight walks and 10 strikeouts (3.52 ERA, 1.70 WHIP).
• After 14 games, Albert Almora is 17-for-58 with three doubles, five walks and four strikeouts (.293/.333/.345) for a .678 OPS.
• LHP Rob Zastryzny returned to the Smokies’ rotation. Zastryzny allowed one run on three hits with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings on Saturday night.
• The Cubs released 1B Danny Canela according to Baseball America. Canela played in 80 games between Short-Season Boise and Low-A Kane County last season. The 24-year old batted .292/.342/.416 with a .758 OPS. With Kane County, Canela hit .278/.304/.352 with a double and a home run in 14 games.
• The Washington Nationals signed RHP Justin Amlung to a minor league contract according to Baseball America. The Cubs released Amlung on April 1. The Cubs selected the 24-year old (May 21) in the 12th round of the 2012 draft. Amlung split time last season between Low-A Kane County and High-A Daytona and was 8-4 in 27 games, 13 starts, with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
• OF Rashad Crawford is using his speed to contribute to the South Bend Cubs according to a report from The Elkhart Truth.
• It was Superhero night Saturday in Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans wore alternate jerseys but lost to Winston-Salem 4-2. It was the first time this season the Pelicans lost games on back-to-back days.
• OF Billy McKinney is off to a good start the season. McKinney was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in Saturday’s loss, just one of three games that McKinney has not collected at least one hit. McKinney has reached base safely in each of the 13 games he’s played in this season. McKinney is 15-for-47 with a double, a home run, seven walks and six strikeouts (.319/.411/.404) for a .815 OPS.