It was a pretty good start to the week for some pitchers from the 2014 draft class. Lefty Tommy Thorpe is not thriving in the rotation for South Bend, while Brad Markey was blowing hitters away for Myrtle Beach.
Back from a week of R & R, the Down on the Farm Report is in there and pitching.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (17-21)
Eugene could not dig out of a hole they created Friday and lost 6-5 to Salem-Keizer. The Emeralds used the long ball to get back into the game. Matt Rose (2-for-5 with a double and a home run) belted a solo home run in the second inning. Donnie Dewees (1-for-5 with a home run) led off the third inning with a solo shot, his second in as many days. Alex Bautista (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) reached on an error with one out in the sixth and moved to third on a two out double from Ho-young Son (4-for-4 with two doubles and a stolen base), scoring on another error. Ian Rice (1-for-4) began the eighth inning with a single and came around on a home run from Bautista, his first for the Emeralds.
Ryan Kellogg had all kinds of trouble in his fourth start as he allowed five earned runs on eight hits in two innings. Adbert Alzolay did the heavy lifting for Eugene, striking out five and giving up an earned run in six innings of relief. Trey Masek set down the side in order in the ninth.
The Emeralds tried to keep pace with Salem-Keizer on Saturday but fell short and lost 5-4. Carson Sands started for Eugene and was charged with three unearned runs as one of his own errors contributed. Sands struck out two in five innings. Greyfer Eregua went the rest of the way, allowing two earned runs and striking out three in four innings.
Eugene countered three runs by the Volcanoes in the third inning with three of their own after Frandy Delarosa (2-for-5) and Eloy Jimenez (1-for-4) singled. A one out double from Matt Rose (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) brought in Delarosa and a single by Blake Headley (2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) plated Jimenez. Headley stole second and scored on a single from Alberto Mineo (3-for-4 with an RBI). In the eighth inning, Headley and Mineo singled and a two-out base hit by Donnie Dewees (1-for-5 with an RBI) drove in Headley.
Eugene saw a win go down the drain Sunday as they lost 6-4 to Boise. The pitching staff was having a very good game as Casey Bloomquist fanned three in two perfect innings to start the game. Kyle Miller had a tougher time, giving up two earned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out three in two innings. Jae-Hoon Ha was able to eat some innings as he tossed three scoreless frames and had three strikeouts. Tanner Griggs put down the side in order in the eighth, but had trouble in the ninth. Griggs allowed four earned runs as he ended up with 1.2 innings. John Williamson was able to record the final out.
The Emeralds were aggressive out of the chute as Donnie Dewees (1-for-4 with two stolen bases) led off the game with a single, stole second and third, but was caught stealing home. Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with two doubles) walked and scored on a single from Matt Rose (4-for-5 with two RBI). A double from Alberto Mineo (1-for-3 with a double and an RBI) brought in Rose. Eugene regained the lead in the fifth inning when Jimenez doubled and came home on a base hit from Rose. Blake Headley (1-for-3) began the eighth inning with a walk, and singles by Ho-young Son (1-for-4) and Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) drove in Headley.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (45-52)
It wasn’t even as close as the score indicated as South Bend won in a 6-2 romp over Western Michigan on Friday. Jeffrey Baez (3-for-5 with a stolen base) remained on a tear, as he led off the game with a single. Gleyber Torres (1-for-5) followed suit with a base hit. An error put both runners in scoring position and a Charcer Burks (2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI) double drove in Baez. Yasiel Balaguert (0-for-4) reached on a fielder’s choice as Torres was thrown out at home. Jesse Hodges (1-for-3 with an RBI) was hit by a pitch, and a balk allowed Burks to score. Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with two RBI) brought in Balaguert and Hodges with a single. Base hits by Rashad Crawford (1-for-4) and Baez began the fifth inning, with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt bringing in Crawford. It was Baez again in the seventh, as he started the inning with a single. Baez stole second base and came home on a two-out single from Hodges.
Lefty Tommy Thorpe continues to thrive as a starter as he lowered his ERA to 2.52 in that role by striking out four in six shutout innings. Daniel Lewis was hit hard in 1.2 innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks. Corbin Hoffner retired every batter he faced in 1.1 innings as he collected his fourth save.
South Bend relied on their bullpen as they were able to stave off Western Michigan for a 3-1 win on Saturday. James Norwood, who has spent the better part of 2015 on the disabled list, was the starter for the Cubs. Norwood lasted four innings and gave up an earned run while striking out a batter. Jordan Minch, also fresh off the DL, had two strikeouts as he blanked the Whitecaps for 1.2 innings. Ryan McNeil only gave up a walk in 2.1 innings while striking out five in the process. Alex Santana had a strikeout and worked around a hit and a walk in the ninth to pick up his first save for South Bend.
The SB Cubs tied the game in the third inning after David Bote (2-for-4 with an RBI) and Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a stolen base) started the frame with singles. A one-out base hit by Gleyber Torres (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) drove in Bote. Gioskar Amaya (2-for-4 with a stolen base) led off the seventh inning with a single and a stolen base. Jesse Hodges (0-for-3 with a walk) drew a one out walk and a base hit by Bote brought in Amaya. A force play with a throwing error allowed Hodges to score.
Sunday saw the pitching staff not hold up their end as South Bend lost 5-1 to Western Michigan. Zach Hedges was unable to contain the Whitecaps, as he allowed five earned runs on two walks and four hits, including a solo home run. Hedges also struck out three in five innings. Dillon Maples had what could be considered his best outing of the year, as he worked around two walks in two scoreless innings. Tyler Ihrig set down the side in order, including a strikeout, in the eighth.
The only run for the Cubs came in the first inning after Ian Happ (2-for-4 with a double) doubled with two outs and scored on a single from Gioskar Amaya (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base).
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (57-43)
It was a game to forget for Myrtle Beach on Friday as the Pelicans lost 5-0 by Lynchburg. Michael Heesch was given another spot start and the lefty allowed five earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out two in three innings. James Pugliese hurled three scoreless innings and struck out five batters in the process. Fernando Cruz retired every batter he faced, as he struck out three in two innings. The Pelicans managed only four hits … Chesny Young (1-for-4), Victor Caratini (1-for-4), Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3) and Kevin Brown (1-for-3).
The offense for Myrtle Beach continued to scuffle on Saturday as they lost 1-0 to Carolina. Paul Blackburn pitched well enough to win. Blackburn allowed an earned run and struck out four in 5.1 innings. David Garner gave up only a walk in 1.2 innings while striking out a batter. David Berg and Jasvir Rakkar each tossed a scoreless frame and both had a strikeout. The Pelicans collected six hits … Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a double), Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a double), Chesny Young (1-for-4), Kevin Brown (1-for-4), Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) and Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3).
The Pelicans’ offense may be beginning to gel as they were able to support some excellent pitching in defeating Carolina 3-1 on Sunday. Brad Markey had possibly the finest performance of his young career as he racked up 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless innings. James Farris set down the side in order in an inning. Jasvir Rakkar made things a little interesting as he allowed an earned run, but struck out two in the ninth to collect his 11th save.
It was the bottom of the order that came through for Myrtle Beach. Kevin Brown (2-for-3 with a double) began the fifth inning with a double and Jason Vosler (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) followed with a single. A base hit by Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with an RBI) brought in Brown, and a two out single from Trey Martin (1-for-3 with an RBI) scored Vosler. Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-4 with two stolen bases) reached on an error to start the sixth and advanced to third base on a ground out and a stolen base. Brown drew a two out walk and Vosler doubled in Chen.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (51-47)
Tennessee blew the game wide open in the sixth inning Friday and the Smokies cruised to an 8-4 win over Chattanooga. Ryan Williams was in control as he gave up only two earned runs to the Lookouts while striking out six in five innings. Juan Paniagua relieved and allowed an earned run in 1.2 innings. Starling Peralta was nicked for an unearned run in 1.1 innings. P.J. Francescon worked around a walk in a scoreless ninth inning.
The Smokies struck early. Jacob Hannemann (4-for-5 with a double, two triples, and two RBI) led off the game with a double and scored on a two out double from Willson Contreras (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Tennessee answered two Chattanooga runs in the third with two of their own after Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) belted a solo home run. Elliot Soto (2-for-4 with a double) followed with a double and came around on a two out single from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-4 with an RBI). Stephen Bruno (2-for-3 with an RBI) and Wes Darvill (1-for-3) drew one out free passes in the sixth inning. Hannemann tripled both home and he scored on a ground out. Contreras singled to start the seventh inning and scored on a two out base hit from Bruno. Hannemann tripled for the second time in the game to begin the eighth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly.
On Saturday, the Smokies could not get their offense in gear until the final inning, and then it was too late as Tennessee bowed 4-3 to Chattanooga. The game may have had a different complexion if the pitching staff were able to hold the Lookouts as starter Andres Santiago struck out three and allowed two earned runs in six innings. Gerardo Concepcion was the only Tennessee pitcher to escape without being scored upon, as he tossed a shutout inning. Rehabbing Zac Rosscup went only 0.1 innings as he gave up an earned run with a strikeout. Corey Black remains unimpressive, as he had two strikeouts, but allowed what would be the winning run in 1.2 innings.
Tennessee made a valiant effort to tie the game in the ninth inning after Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4) led off with a single, and Elliot Soto (1-for-3 with a double) walked. A one-out base hit by Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with an RBI) brought in Almora, and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with an RBI) singled in Soto. A base hit by Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with a double) loaded the bases, and a walk to Jacob Rogers (1-for-2 with an RBI) forced in McKinney. However, two weak outs ended the threat.
Tennessee ran into a buzz saw Sunday as the Smokies lost 8-0 to Chattanooga. The Lookouts’ pitching staff stymied Smokies hitters, as they collected eight hits but could not score … Jacob Rogers (2-for-4 with a double), Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with a double), Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4), Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4), Billy McKinney (1-for-4) and Stephen Bruno (1-for-3).
It was a long afternoon for Tennessee pitchers as starter Felix Pena allowed four runs (three earned) and fanned eight in five innings. Zach Cates tossed an inning and gave up two earned runs. Juan Paniagua pitched the final three innings and allowed two earned runs with two strikeouts.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (52-49)
Relief pitching could not hold for the I-Cubs on Friday as they lost to Memphis 5-3. Starter Carlos Pimentel had a decent showing, allowing two earned runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four in five innings. Carl Edwards Jr. could not find the plate, as he walked three and gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings. Ben Rowen yielded a hit as he pitched 0.1 innings. Armando Rivero and Blake Cooper both had a strikeout as each tossed a scoreless inning.
Iowa had the early lead after Christian Villanueva (3-for-4 with an RBI) led off the second inning with a single. Mike Olt (2-for-4 with an RBI) followed with a base hit. A sacrifice moved up the runners and Villanueva came home on a passed ball. Matt Szczur (2-for-5) began the third inning with a single and advanced to second on an error. Junior Lake (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch and Villanueva drove in Szczur with a base hit. In the fifth inning, Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4) drew a one out walk and Lake followed with a single. A two out base hit from Olt brought in Alcantara.
Iowa pitching simply did not give the team a chance to win as they lost 7-5 to Memphis on Saturday. The Redbirds climbed all over starter Drake Britton as he gave up seven earned runs in the first two innings. Britton settled down and had three strikeouts in six innings, but the damage had already been done. Joe Ortiz tossed two scoreless frames.
The I-Cubs tried to claw their way back into the game. Taylor Davis (1-for-4) singled to start the second inning and one out base hits by Jonathan Mota (2-for-4), Drake Britton (2-for-3), and Matt Szczur (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) scored Davis and Mota. A single by Junior Lake (3-for-4) led off the third inning and Lake came around on a two-run homer form Mike Olt (1-for-3 with a home run and three RBI). Base hits by Lake and Christian Villanueva (1-for-4) began the fifth inning. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Lake scored on a sacrifice fly.
A heartbreaking end spoiled a tremendous effort by the I-Cubs on Sunday as they lost 2-1 to Memphis. Jeffry Antigua was at the top of his game as he one-hit the Redbirds and struck out two in six scoreless innings. Ben Rowan and Blake Cooper each set down the side 1-2-3 in the seventh and eighth. Brian Schlitter needed to only record three outs for the win, but gave up two earned runs in the bottom of the ninth. The only run for Iowa came on a solo home run by Mike Olt (2-for-4 with a home run) in the fourth inning.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (14-13)
A late rally was not enough on Friday as the AZL Cubs lost to the AZL Athletics 5-4. First baseman Jose Paniagua was the big stick, as he went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Rehabbing Matt Brazis tossed a scoreless inning, but Trey McNutt allowed three earned runs in two innings of relief.
The AZL Cubs were hitting on all cylinders Saturday as they shutout the AZL Brewers 11-0. Austyn Willis fanned five as he tossed five innings. Carlos Sepulveda was the big man in the lineup as he was 2-for-6 with four RBI while rehabbing Javier Baez was 2-fo-3 with a double.
Dominican Summer League – DSL Cubs (26-22)
The DSL Cubs brought out the bats on Friday as they out-slugged the DSL Brewers 11-9. Outfielder Samir Lara was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI, while catcher Erick Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run. Julian Aybar struck out four in 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.
The D-Cubs ended the week on a low note as they lost 8-1 to the DSL Brewers on Saturday. Starter Wander Cabrera went two innings and struck out four while allowing two runs (one earned). Designated hitter Rafael Mejia was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Venezuelan Summer League – VSL Cubs (23-37)
It took 14 innings on Friday, but the VSL Cubs fell to the VSL Phillies 3-2. Closer Juan Rengifo may have been stretched too far, as he gave up the winning run in 3.1 innings while striking out two batters. Catcher Gustavo Polanco went 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI.
The misery continued for the VSL Cubs on Saturday as they lost 2-0 to the VSL Phillies. Eugenio Palma pitched well in relief, striking out four in five scoreless innings. The V-Cubs were limited to three hits as Fidel Matos was 1-for-4 while Gustavo Polanco and Daniel Diaz went 1-for-3.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs optioned RHP Dallas Beeler and LHP Clayton Richard to the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Ryan Dent to the Tennessee Smokies from the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF Sutton Whiting to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the Eugene Emeralds; assigned OF Ian Happ to the South Bend Cubs from the Eugene Emeralds; assigned OF Alex Bautista and RHP Scott Frazier to the Eugene Emeralds from the AZL Cubs; assigned OF Roberto Caro to the AZL Cubs from the Iowa Cubs; assigned INF PJ Higgins to the AZL Cubs;
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .243/.286/.359/.645, 12 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 29 RBI, four stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Victor Caratini (C) – .243/.338/.345/.683, 20 doubles, three home runs, 42 RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dylan Cease (RHP) – 0-0, 4 IP, 9.00 ERA, 4 ER, 4 K, 2.25 WHIP (AZL Cubs)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 3-8, 67 IP, 4.97 ERA, 37 ER, 66 K, 1.403 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Carl Edwards Jr. (RHP) – 2-1, 21.1 IP, 3.80 ERA, 9 ER, 26 K, 1.313 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Eloy Jimenez (OF) – .280/.339/.390/.729, four doubles, three home runs, 11 RBI, three SB (Eugene Emeralds)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 4-0, 41.2 IP, 1.73 ERA, 8 ER, 32 K, 1.272 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Billy McKinney (OF) – .274/.335/.400/.735, 19 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 27 RBI (Tennessee Smokies)
- Justin Steele (LHP) – 3-1, 30 IP, 2.40 ERA, 8 ER, 29 K, 1.300 WHIP (Eugene Emeralds)
- Gleyber Torres (IF) – .316/.381/.413/.794, 20 doubles, four triples, two home runs, 49 RBI, 18 stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)