Tennessee pitching drew the spotlight to start the week as Ryan Williams and Pierce Johnson did everything but sell popcorn in the stands for the Smokies. Meanwhile, Dylan Cease continues to dazzle the Arizona rookie league.
Myrtle Beach remains in a lurch in the second half despite excellent outings from Jonathan Martinez and Daury Torrez, while South Bend was carried to two victories thanks to outfielder Yasiel Balaguert and pitcher Tyler Ihrig.
In Iowa, Junior Lake blasted two home runs, while Arismendy Alcantara and Christian Villanueva also left the yard. The system also has a new hitting star as Frandy Delarosa of Eugene is one of the leading offensive players in the Northwest League.
For more details, along with some new top prospects, check out today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (14-10)
Late Thursday night, Eugene jumped all over Tri-City early and then cruised to a 10-4 win. Donnie Dewees (1-for-3 with an RBI) and Frandy Delarosa (1-for-5 with two stolen bases) singled to start the game. Delarosa stole second base. Ian Happ (0-for-3 with two walks and a stolen base) walked and a sacrifice fly plated Dewees. Delarosa and Happ pulled off a double steal, and Delarosa scored on a wild pitch. Ian Rice (0-for-4 with a walk) walked and two more wild pitches scored Happ and advanced Rice to third base. Tyler Alamo (2-for-2) drew a walk and Ho-young Son (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch. Adonis Paula (1-for-4 with two RBI) greeted a new pitcher with a single that drove in Rice and Alamo. Kevonte Mitchell (0-for-4 with an RBI) reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Son. A sacrifice fly then plated Paula. The Emeralds scored a little more conventionally in the fourth after Happ walked with two out and scored on the first home run of the season by Matt Rose (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI). In the fifth, Alamo walked and Son singled, with a ground out and a wild pitch bringing in Alamo.
The big lead was just what the doctor ordered for Kyle Twomey, who was making his first professional start. Twomey gave up two hits and had a strikeout in two scoreless innings. Regularly scheduled starter Jose Paulino then took over and allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks while striking out eight in 4.2 innings. John Williamson had two strikeouts as he tossed 1.1 perfect innings. Jae-Hoon Ha continues to settle in as a pitcher as he fanned two in the ninth.
It was one of those nights for the Emeralds on Friday as they were embarrassed by Tri-City 12-3. Starting pitcher Andin Diaz just wasn’t fooling the Dust Devils. Diaz allowed eight earned runs and lasted only one inning. Francisco Carrillo entered in an unusual role as long man and gave up two earned runs with two strikeouts in two innings. Pedro Araujo was the lone bright spot for the Eugene pitching staff. Araujo struck out five in three scoreless innings. Mopping up was Jared Cheek, who yielded two more earned runs with a strikeout in two innings.
Eugene could only muster one good offensive inning. Blake Headley (1-for-3) was hit by a pitch with two outs. Ian Rice (1-for-4) singled and Ricardo Marcano (1-for-3) walked to load the bases. A base hit by Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-4 with an RBI) scored Headley, and a double from Ho-young Son (1-for-2 with a double and two RBI) drove in Rice and Marcano.
The Emeralds were able to gather themselves after a blowout loss the previous night, but the offense was still in a funk and Eugene lost 4-1 to Tri-City on Saturday. The Emeralds began the game well after Frandy Delarosa (2-for-4 with a stolen base) and Ian Happ (2-for-4 with a double and two stolen bases) had one out singles in the first, and pulled off a double steal. A ground out brought in Delarosa.
Ryan Kellogg started in a scheduled two inning appearance and struck out a batter, walked two, and gave up a hit as he shut down the Dust Devils. Adbert Alzolay relieved and had two strikeouts but allowed two earned runs in an inning. Greyfer Eregua had his third straight great performance as he struck out four in four scoreless innings. John Williamson has yet to figure things out as he surrendered two runs (one earned) with two strikeouts in the eighth inning.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (38-47)
It was an offensive display Friday as South Bend and Lake County combined for 23 hits, with the Cubs coming out on top 9-7. Kevin Encarnacion (3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) singled to start the second inning. A one out base hit by Jeffrey Baez (1-for-3) put runners at the corners. A double from Rashad Crawford (3-for-4 with a double and three RBI) scored Encarnacion, and a double by Charcer Burks (1-for-2 with a double, three RBI, and a stolen base) drove in Baez and Crawford. A walk by Jason Vosler (0-for-4 with a walk) started the third. Encarnacion doubled and a one out walk to Baez loaded the bases. A single by Crawford plated Vosler and Encarnacion. A sacrifice fly brought in Baez. In the fourth, Gleyber Torres (2-for-5) led off with a single and came home on a one out double from Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and three RBI). The winning margin came in the eighth when Burks walked and came around on a home run from Balaguert.
Starter Michael Wagner came down to earth a little as he allowed four earned runs and struck out three in five innings. Alex Santana had his first Low-A appearance and had two strikeouts while giving up an earned run in two innings. Sam Wilson still has yet to find his way, as he surrendered two earned runs while striking out two in two innings for the win.
Make it two in a row for South Bend on Saturday as their pitching dominated Lake County 2-0. Tyler Ihrig was named the starter and had his good stuff working. Ihrig struck out three and scattered five hits over 7.1 innings. Corbin Hoffner went the rest of the way, striking out a batter in 1.2 innings.
The Cubs snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth inning after Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-2) drew a one out walk and scored on a two out triple from Jeffrey Baez (1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI). Charcer Burks (1-for-4 with a home run) added the punctuation in the sixth inning as he blasted a solo home run.
The series between the South Bend Cubs and the Lake County Captains evened on Sunday as the SB Cubs lost 3-1. Trevor Clifton had eight strikeouts but allowed three earned runs on six hits and two walks in 6.2 innings. Dillon Maples struck out two in 2.1 scoreless innings. The only run for South Bend came in the eighth inning after Andrew Ely (1-for-3), Rashad Crawford (2-for-3) and Charcer Burks (1-for-4 with an RBI) had consecutive singles to bring Ely home.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (48-39)
While the Myrtle Beach offense remains in a funk, the Pelicans’ pitching was enough to help them to a 2-1 win over Carolina on Friday. One of the more under-the-radar pitching prospects Jonathan Martinez gave a special performance. Martinez allowed an earned run and struck out two over seven innings. Fernando Cruz had a strikeout in two perfect innings to receive the win.
The Pelicans loaded the bases in the second inning after Jacob Rogers (0-for-4) reached on an error and both Victor Caratini (2-for-2) and Kevin Brown (2-for-4) singled. A one out walk to Carlos Penalver (0-for-1 with three walks, an RBI, and a stolen base) forced in Rogers. Myrtle Beach broke a 1-1 tie when Penalver walked with one out, stole second, and came home after a pair of errors.
Saturday’s Myrtle Beach game was suspended with one out in the top of the fourth inning due to lightning. The game was resumed on Sunday and the Pelicans responded with a 9-0 win over Carolina. Daury Torrez started the game and looked to be in top form as he held the Mudcats hitless while striking out a batter in 3.1 innings. Michael Heesch took over when the game resumed and had two strikeouts in 2.2 innings. David Garner fanned three as he tossed two innings, and David Berg had a strikeout in the ninth.
Trey Martin (1-for-4 with an RBI) led off the third inning with a single and Mark Zagunis (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch. A fly out and a ground out brought in Martin with the first run. In the sixth inning Chesny Young (1-for-4), Jeimer Candelario (0-for-3 with two walks), and Jacob Rogers (1-for-3) walked. A single by Victor Caratini (2-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Young, and a force play scored Candelario and allowed Kevin Brown (2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI) to reach. A fielder’s choice by Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Rogers, and a two out single by Martin scored Brown and Chen. Candelario and Rogers walked again in the seventh inning and came around on Brown’s three-run home run.
Sunday’s regularly scheduled game was shortened to seven innings as Myrtle Beach lost to Carolina 2-1. Jeremy Null had a good outing, striking out a batter and allowing two earned runs on four hits in six innings. James Farris worked around a hit and had a strikeout in the seventh. The Pelicans scored in the sixth after Chesny Young (2-for-3 with a double) had a one out double and came home on a single from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with an RBI).
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (47-38)
Pitching and defense were the undoing of Tennessee on Friday as they lost to Biloxi 6-4 in 12 innings. Starter Ivan Pineyro has not been impressive in his past few starts as he gave up three earned runs and struck out a batter in six innings. Starling Peralta held the Shuckers for an inning, striking out a batter. Rafael Soriano allowed Biloxi to tie the game as he was charged with an unearned run. Reliable P.J. Francescon was pushed a little too hard as he surrendered two earned runs with two strikeouts in three innings.
The Smokies countered three runs in the top of the third with two of their own after Elliot Soto (2-for-2 with a stolen base) singled and Bijan Rademacher (0-for-4 with a walk) walked with one out. After a ground out, a double from Billy McKinney (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Soto and Rademacher. Soto walked to start the fifth inning and a one out double from Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a double) put runners in scoring position. A two out single by Stephen Bruno (2-for-2 with a double and two RBI) plated Soto and Contreras.
Tennessee snapped a three game losing streak on Saturday as it was the Ryan Williams Show in a 6-1 victory over Biloxi. Williams is emerging as the stopper of the pitching staff as he thwarted the Shuckers’ offense, striking out five and allowing an earned run over six innings. Michael Jensen was his usual solid self, tossing two scoreless innings. Corey Black had a strikeout as he worked around a walk in the ninth.
The Smokies answered a run in the top of the third inning with two of their own after Bryant Flete (2-for-3) singled and Ryan Williams (1-for-1) walked. A ground out moved up the runners, and a single by Elliot Soto (1-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Flete and Williams. Williams help his cause again in the fourth inning. Wes Darvill (0-for-3 with a walk) and Flete drew one out walks and a single by Williams loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly brought in Darvill. Tennessee put the game out of reach in the eighth inning after Flete led off with a single and was bunted over to second base. Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base) had a base hit and stole second to put two runners in scoring position. An error that allowed Bijan Rademacher (0-for-5) to reach safely scored Flete and Hannemann, and Willson Contreras (2-for-4) followed with a walk. A single by Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drove in Contreras.
The Smokies made it two in a row on Sunday as Tennessee was all over Biloxi 8-2. Pierce Johnson looks as if all he needs is innings pitched to move forward. Johnson struck out four and allowed an earned run on five hits and four walks in five innings. Gerardo Concepcion is improving in small doses, as he and Rafael Soriano each went 1-2-3 in an inning of work apiece. Zach Cates gave up an earned with a strikeout as he pitched two innings.
Tennessee took the lead in the second inning and never looked back after Willson Contreras (0-for-3 with a walk) walked and Billy McKinney (1-for-3) singled. Contreras scored on a sacrifice fly. A base hit by Wes Darvill (1-for-3) and a walk to Bryant Flete (0-for-1 with three walks and an RBI) loaded the bases. A ground out allowed McKinney to score. Elliot Soto (1-for-3) led off the third inning with a walk and McKinney drew a free pass with two outs. Stephen Bruno (0-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base) reached on a force attempt the scored Soto, and stole second base. Walks to Darvill and Flete forced in McKinney, and a single from Pierce Johnson (1-for-2 with three RBI) drove in Bruno and Darvill. In the fifth, Bruno was hit by a pitch and Flete walked with two outs. A double from pinch-hitter Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-1 with a double and two RBI) brought in both Bruno and Flete.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (46-43)
Persistence paid off for the I-Cubs on Friday as they came back in extras to beat Omaha 5-3 in 10 innings. Iowa flexed their muscles in the second inning as Christian Villanueva (2-for-4 with a home run) and Mike Olt (2-for-4 with a home run) hit solo home runs. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5 with a home run) went deep in the third inning. Taylor Davis (1-for-4) walked to lead off the 10th and was replaced by pinch-runner Roberto Caro. After a sacrifice bunt, a double from Junior Lake (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) scored Caro. Olt was hit by a pitch and Rubi Silva (2-for-5 with an RBI) singled to drive in Lake.
Starting pitcher Jeffry Antigua did well enough to win, as he allowed two earned runs and struck out three in five innings. Yoervis Medina continued his struggles as he gave up an earned run with a strikeout in 1.2 innings. Joe Ortiz retired the only batter he faced. Providing some quality relief was Armando Rivero, who struck out two in two scoreless innings. Brian Schlitter set down the side in order in the 10th for his ninth save.
The I-Cubs had a rare day-night doubleheader Saturday as they dropped game one to Omaha 3-2. Carlos Pimentel went the distance for Iowa as he allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two in six innings. Junior Lake (2-for-3 with a home run) smacked a solo home run with one out in the second inning. Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3 with a triple) tripled and scored on a Taylor Davis (2-for-3 with an RBI) single in the sixth inning.
In game two, the I-Cubs turned the tables and beat Omaha 3-2. Major Leaguer Tsuyoshi Wada had a rehab start and allowed two runs (one earned) in four innings. Ben Rowen followed and struck out a batter in two scoreless innings. Brian Schlitter collected his 10th save in a scoreless seventh inning.
A two-out single by Matt Szczur (1-for-4) and a double from Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) to drive him in marked the first run of the game for Iowa in the third inning. A single by Taylor Davis (1-for-4 with an RBI) brought Alcantara home. Junior Lake (1-for-2 with a home run and a stolen base) supplied another solo home run, his second of the day, in the fourth inning.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (10-6)
Late Thursday, the AZL Cubs outlasted the AZL Rangers 4-3. Fourth round draft pick outfielder Darryl Wilson made his professional debut and went 1-for-1 with a double and two RBI. Pedro Silverio once again had a good outing, fanning three in five scoreless innings.
Pitching was in the forefront on Friday as the A-Cubs trounced the AZL Giants 6-1. Dylan Cease remains impressive as he struck out three and no-hit the Giants over three innings. Manuel Rondon picked up most of the remaining innings, allowing an earned run as he had three strikeouts in four innings. Joe Martarano had a big night at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI.
The AZL Cubs were off on Saturday.
Dominican Summer League – DSL Cubs (19-18)
There wasn’t much to say about the DSL Cubs on Friday as they were blown out 12-2 by Yankees-2. Starter Andri Rondon struck out four but allowed three earned runs in three innings. Playing second base, Yeiler Peguero was 2-for-2 with a stolen base.
After tying the game in the eighth inning, the DSL Cubs fell to Mets-2 4-3 on Saturday. Luis Aquino was dazzling in relief, striking out three in three perfect innings. Second baseman Edgar Rondon was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Venezuelan Summer League – VSL Cubs (22-26)
The VSL Cubs could not keep up with the VSL Tigers on Friday as they lost 5-3. Andres Bonalde had three strikeouts and allowed two earned runs in four innings. Outfielder Jose Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI, and Henrry Pedra went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.
The V-Cubs ended the week with a 6-1 loss to the VSL Tigers on Saturday. Emilio Ferrebus suffered the loss as he went four innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out a batter. First baseman Jose Rojas went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent LHP Tsuyoshi Wada to the Iowa Cubs on a rehab assignment; optioned INF Mike Olt to the Iowa Cubs; assigned C/1B Cael Brockmeyer to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned C/1B Cael Brockmeyer to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned 1B Joe Martarano to the Eugene Emeralds from the AZL Cubs; assigned RHP Tanner Griggs and RHP Preston Morrison to the Eugene Emeralds
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Carl Edwards Jr. and C Kyle Schwarber on the inactive list.
Top Prospect Watch
- Victor Caratini (C) – .251/.352/.354/.706, 16 doubles, three home runs, 33 RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dylan Cease (RHP) – 0-2, 8.2 IP, 1.04 ERA, one ER, nine K, 0.465 WHIP (AZL Cubs)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 3-7, 64.2 IP, 4.73 ERA, 34 ER, 66 K, 1.361 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Carl Edwards Jr. (RHP) – 1-0, 17.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, six ER, 23 K, 1.189 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 4-0, 28.2 IP, 1.26 ERA, 4 ER, 19 K, 1.256 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Billy McKinney (OF) – .310/.363/.456/.819, 17 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 24 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
- Kyle Schwarber (C) – .333/.403/.633/1.063, seven doubles, a triple, three HR, 10 RBI (Iowa Cubs)
- Carson Sands (LHP) – 1-1, 22.2 IP, 2.78 ERA, seven ER, 13 K, 1.147 WHIP (Eugene Emeralds)
- Justin Steele (LHP) – 3-0, 22 IP, 1.23 ERA, three ER, 27 K, 0.864 WHIP (Eugene Emeralds)
- Gleyber Torres (INF) – .305/.373/.394/.767, 15 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 44 RBI, 12 stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)