With Javier Baez back in the line-up, things are now clicking for the Iowa Cubs as a healthy John Andreoli has also been a big boost to the offense during a four game winning streak. Tennessee drew the spotlight with rehabbing Major Leaguers Tommy La Stella and Miguel Montero, but Jeimer Candelario stole some of their thunder.
The Myrtle Beach offense has not been able to match the dominating pitching of Paul Blackburn, Brad Markey and Tyler Ihrig. A red-hot Jeffrey Baez has been carrying South Bend, as first round pick Ian Happ picked up his first two Low-A RBI. Meanwhile, second round pick Donnie Dewees has been on a tear for Eugene.
There’s a lot to get through, along with highlights from the Arizona Rookie League, as well as the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues. So grab your cup of coffee and come inside today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (21-24)
Pitching was the story Friday as Eugene dominated Spokane 7-0. Carson Sands had one of his best games of the year, striking out four and scattering four hits over five innings. Tanner Griggs also seemed to put it all together with a strikeout and two scoreless innings. Jared Cheek finished out the game with two strikeouts in two innings.
It was a big second inning for the Emeralds as Tyler Alamo (2-for-4) led off with a single and Blake Headley (2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI) walked. Back-to-back doubles from Adonis Paula (1-for-5 with a double and an RBI) and Ricardo Marcano (2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI) brought in Alamo, Headley, and Paula. A two-out double from Frandy Delarosa (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) scored Marcano. In the fourth inning, Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-4 with a stolen base) singled with two out, stole second, and came home on a base hit from Donnie Dewees (3-for-5 with an RBI). Alamo had a base hit with two outs in the fifth and scored on a double from Headley. Eugene added a run in the ninth after Andrew Ely (2-for-5 with two doubles) doubled, with a single by Ian Rice (1-for-5 with an RBI) plating Ely.
Eugene could not generate any offense Saturday as they were shutout by Spokane 4-0. Kyle Miller started and gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk as he struck out a batter in two innings. Casey Bloomquist pitched the next two frames and blanked the Indians, striking out two in the process. Pedro Araujo was rocked for six hits and two earned runs as he had two strikeouts in three innings. Jae-Hoon Ha worked around three hits as he struck out a batter in a scoreless eighth inning. The Emeralds collected five hits … Frandy Delarosa (1-for-4), Blake Headley (1-for-3), Adonis Paula (1-for-3), Ricardo Marcano (1-for-3) and Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-3).
The bullpen spoiled a good starting effort for Eugene Sunday as the Emeralds lost 4-1 to Spokane. Oscar De La Cruz was charged with an unearned run as he struck out three in 5.2 innings. Tyler Peitzmeier has yet to get in the swing of things as he allowed three earned runs and struck out a batter in two innings. Craig Brooks got the final out of the eighth inning on a strikeout. The only run for the Emeralds came in the second inning after Blake Headley (2-for-3) was hit by a pitch, Ho-young Son (0-for-3 with a walk) walked, and a single from Ricardo Marcano (1-for-2 with an RBI) drove in Headley.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (47-57)
Once again, run support was nowhere to be found for South Bend as they lost 6-1 to Dayton on Friday. James Norwood was roughed up for six runs (five earned) as he had two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Tyler Ihrig fanned four in 2.2 innings. Daniel Lewis and Corbin Hoffner each pitched a scoreless inning. The Cubs avoided the shutout in the eighth inning on a Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) solo home run.
It was a rare come from behind victory for South Bend on Saturday as they used two runs in the ninth to get past Dayton 5-4. Fresh off the disabled list, Jake Stinnett is making baby steps in his development. Stinnett allowed two earned runs and had five strikeouts in six innings. Ryan McNeil tossed the next two innings and was charged with two runs (one earned). The Cubs asked Dillon Maples to close things out, but he was not up to the task. Maples walked two in 0.2 innings and was replaced by Corbin Hoffner, who was able to record the final out and collect his fifth save.
The game started well for South Bend. Jeffrey Baez (4-for-5 with a stolen base) singled and scored on a triple from Gleyber Torres (1-for-5 with a triple and two RBI). A two-out double by Jesse Hodges (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) brought in Torres and a base hit from Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with an RBI) plated Hodges. That’s the way it would remain until the ninth when Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-4) and Erick Castillo (2-for-4) began the inning with singles. After a failed sacrifice attempt, a base hit from Baez loaded the bases. Encarnacion and pinch-runner David Bote scored on a ground out that led to a throwing error.
Things seemed to change in a flash Sunday as a scoreless tie in the fifth innings ended in a 7-2 victory for South Bend over Dayton. Rashad Crawford (2-for-4 with two doubles) started the sixth inning with a double and Jeffrey Baez (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI) followed with a single. Crawford was out at home on a fielder’s choice that allowed Gioskar Amaya (1-for-5) to reach. A base hit from Ian Happ (2-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Baez and Amaya. After the Dragons tied the score at two in the bottom of the sixth, back-to-back doubles from Crawford and Baez put the Cubs back ahead 3-2. South Bend loaded the bases in the eighth inning after a single from Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4), Jesse Hodges (1-for-4) was hit by a pitch, and a walk to Vimael Machin (0-for-3 with a walk). David Bote (1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) delivered a Grand Slam to put the Cubs ahead for good.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (62-45)
The Myrtle Beach pitching staff is now beginning to throw their weight around in the Carolina League as they stymied Fredrick 2-1 on Friday. Paul Blackburn had a performance many expected regularly out of him as he struck out three and scattered seven hits in seven scoreless innings. Josh Conway gave up an earned run, but ended up striking out the side in his inning of work. It was save No. 13 for Jasvir Rakkar as he set down the side in order in the ninth.
The Pelicans made the most of their opportunities. Chesny Young (1-for-4 with a double) reached on an error in the second inning. Jason Vosler (1-for-2) drew a one out walk and a single from Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Young. In the sixth inning, Young doubled with one out and scored on a fielding error.
The bullpen was not able to come through for Myrtle Beach on Saturday as the Pelicans lost 4-3 to Fredrick. Brad Markey threw strikes as he allowed an earned run on four hits and a walk while striking out a batter in six innings. Fernando Cruz gave up two earned runs in an inning. James Farris was charged with an unearned run as he had two strikeouts in 0.2 innings. David Berg got the final out of the eighth inning. The only runs for the Pelicans came in the eighth inning after Danny Lockhart (1-for-4) and Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3) singled and came around on a home run by Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI), his seventh of the season.
A pitcher’s duel for six innings ended up with Myrtle Beach blinking first as the Pelicans lost 2-0 to Fredrick on Sunday. Just called up from Low-A, Tyler Ihrig had three strikeouts and shut down the Keys for six innings. David Garner struck out two and allowed two earned runs on three hits, including a home run, in two innings. Danny Lockhart went 2-for-4 with a double while Jordan Hankins was 1-for-3 with a double. Mark Zagunis and Kevin Brown each went 1-for-3, and Chesny Young was 1-for-5.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (55-49)
The hole was just too big for Tennessee to climb out of on Friday as the Smokies lost 7-4 to Montgomery. Ryan Williams had a rare bad start, allowing five earned runs and striking out a batter in five innings. Juan Paniagua stemmed the tide a little as he had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Andres Santiago gave up two earned runs as he pitched a frame.
The Smokies drew within two in the seventh inning after Bijan Rademacher (0-for-3 with a walk) walked and moved to third base on a passed ball and a single from Willson Contreras (1-for-2). A one out base hit from Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with two RBI) brought in Rademacher. Contreras scored on a ground out. A single from Wes Darvill (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Candelario. Tennessee added a run in the ninth after Contreras walked with one out, advanced to third on a single from Billy McKinney (1-for-3), and scored on a force play.
Overcoming one bad inning, Tennessee was able to power past Montgomery 5-4 on Saturday. Spot starter Jeffry Antigua surrendered four earned runs in the third inning but wound up striking out five in six innings. Corey Black had everything working for him as he fanned four in two scoreless innings. P.J. Francescon continued to be pleasantly unexpected as went 1-2-3 with a strikeout in the ninth for his 16th save.
The Smokies were steady on offense as Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a triple) led off the game with a triple and scored on an error. Jeimer Candelario (3-for-5 with a home run) led off the second inning with a solo home run, his first in Double-A. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a home run) followed suit in the third inning, as he blasted a solo home run with one out. The fifth inning started with a double by Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI). Consecutive singles from Willson Contreras (3-for-5 with an RBI), Billy McKinney (1-for-5), and Candelario loaded the bases and drove in Almora. A wild pitch allowed Contreras to score.
All the Smokies needed was one inning on Sunday to beat Birmingham 5-2. Tennessee started the third inning with a double by Stephen Bruno (2-for-4 with two doubles). Singles by Jacob Rogers (2-for-4) and Ryan Dent (3-for-3) loaded the bases. Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with a double and three RBI) doubled in Bruno, Rogers, and Dent. A single from Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4) put runners at first and third. A ground out scored Hannemann and a double by Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) brought in Almora.
Andres Santiago was in complete control, giving up only three hits and a walk as he struck out eight in six shutout innings. Gerardo Concepcion was all over the place as he walked two and gave up a hit which led to an earned run in an inning of work Matt Brazis returned from the disabled list and was nicked for an unearned run as he pitched an inning. Starling Peralta had a strikeout as he set down the side in order in the ninth for his third save.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (58-50)
Iowa kept pouring it on until they came away with a 5-2 victory over Nashville on Friday. The I-Cubs were hot out of the chute as Matt Szczur (1-for-5 with two stolen bases) singled with one out in the first and stole second base. Javier Baez (1-for-3 with a double, and RBI, and a stolen base) walked and pulled off a double steal with Szczur. A two-out triple by Rubi Silva (1-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) drove in Szczur and Baez. John Andreoli (2-for-4 with an RBI) led off the third inning with a single and came home on a double by Baez. Mike Olt (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Baez with a two-out single. Luke Carlin (2-for-4 with a triple) tripled with one out in the fourth and scored on a base hit from Andreoli.
Iowa got good Drake Britton, sort of, on Friday, as the lefty only allowed two earned runs as he walked seven in 5.2 innings. Carl Edwards Jr. lowered his ERA a little as he had two strikeouts in 1.1 scoreless innings. Ryan Buchter and Brian Schlitter each fanned two as both blanked the Sounds for an inning.
Iowa took advantage of the rarified air of Colorado Springs to pound the Sky Sox 13-8 on Saturday. Tsuyoshi Wada had another rehab start and allowed five earned runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings. Armando Rivero gave up an earned run and had a strikeout in 1.2 innings. Joe Ortiz went the rest of the way, surrendering two earned runs in 1.1 innings.
The I-Cubs announced their presence with authority. John Andreoli (3-for-6 with a home run) cracked a solo home run to lead off the game. Matt Szczur (1-for-5) reached on an error and Christian Villanueva (3-for-6 with two RBI) had a one out single. A double from Rubi Silva (2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI) drove in Szczur and Villanueva. Silva came home on a base hit from Mike Olt (2-for-4 with an RBI). The top of the order generated offense again in the second inning. Andreoli and Szczur singled with two outs. A double by Javier Baez (3-for-6 with a double and five RBI) brought in Andreoli and Szczur, and a single from Villanueva scored Baez. Chris Valaika (3-for-5) stared the third inning with a base hit and was sacrificed to second. Andreoli reached on an error and a two out base hit by Baez plated Valaika. Andreoli came in on a single from Villanueva and Silva cracked another double to bring Baez and Villanueva home. Iowa added two runs in the ninth after Valaika, Adron Chambers (1-for-1), and Andreoli had consecutive one out singles to load the bases. A two-out base hit from Baez scored Valaika and Chambers.
On Sunday, Iowa came from behind and kept up the advantage as they outlasted Colorado Springs 9-7. The I-Cubs pecked away at a three-run deficit after Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-4) singled with two outs in the second inning and scored on a triple by Taylor Davis (2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI). John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and an RBI) led off the third inning with a double and came home on a single from Adron Chambers (3-for-4 with a double and two RBI). In the fifth, Andreoli walked with one out and Chambers singled. A base hit from Javier Baez (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Andreoli. The I-Cubs busted things open in the sixth inning after Rubi Silva (1-for-5) started off with a base hit and scored on a double from Mike Olt (2-for-5 with a double and an RBI). Alcantara singled and Davis walked to load the bases, with a base hit from Dallas Beeler (1-for-3 with two RBI) bringing Olt and Alcantara home. A one out double by Chambers plated Davis. Iowa added two important runs in the eighth inning after Davis had a base hit and scored on a one out triple by Andreoli, who then came in on a sacrifice fly.
Starter Dallas Beeler got off to a rocky start and allowed five runs (four earned) on 11 hits and a walk while striking out four in 5.2 innings. Ryan Buchter had a strikeout and gave up an earned run as he tossed 1.1 innings. Blake Cooper also surrendered an earned run as he worked an inning with a strikeout. Brian Schlitter recorded save No. 15 with two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Arizona Rookie League – AZL Cubs (17-15)
All games in the AZL were cancelled on Friday due to rain. The AZL Cubs had a scheduled off-day on Saturday.
Dominican Summer League – DSL Cubs (32-22)
It was a tight contest between two playoff contenders on Friday as the DSL Cubs came out on top of Yankees-2 3-1. Pitching dominated for the D-Cubs as Hector Garcia was nicked for an unearned run but no-hit the Yankees over three innings while striking out three batters. Wander Cabrera fanned five as he tossed four shutout innings. Second baseman Edgar Rondon was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base.
The DSL Cubs out-slugged the Yankees-2 team for an 11-8 win on Saturday. Once again, it was the “big three” for the D-Cubs as Chris Pieters was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, Rafael Mejia 1-for-3 with three RBI and a steal of home, and Edgar Rondon went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a stolen base. Julian Aybar won his seventh game as he struck out four in 2.1 scoreless innings. Aneuris Rosario collected his eighth save by setting down the side in order in the ninth.
Venezuelan Summer League – VSL Cubs (27-39)
The VSL Cubs made the most of their opportunities on Friday as they defeated the VSL Tigers 6-3. Starting pitcher Gabriel Lima had two strikeouts in six scoreless innings. Second baseman Jhonny Bethencourt was 1-for-5 with two stolen bases, including a steal of home. Outfielder Jose Gonzalez was 1-for-5 with two RBI.
Patience aided the VSL Cubs on Saturday as they drew eight walks in a 6-5 win over the VSL Tigers. First baseman Jose Rojas was 2-for-3 with a walk while outfielder Luis Hidalgo went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Harrinson Bermudez came on in relief and had a strikeout in four perfect innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent C Miguel Montero to the Tennessee Smokies on a rehab assignment; sent OF/1B Mike Baxter outright to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Fernando Cruz to the Tennessee Smokies from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans; assigned LHP Tyler Ihrig to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the South Bend Cubs;
Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .241/.291/.363/.654, 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 32 RBI, six stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Victor Caratini (C) – .248/.339/.350/.689, 202 doubles, three home runs, 44 RBI (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dylan Cease (RHP) – 0-2, 15.0 IP, 1.80 ERA, 3 ER, 12 K, 1.067 WHIP (AZL Cubs)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 3-9, 72 IP, 5.00 ERA, 40 ER, 73 K, 1.417 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Carl Edwards Jr. (RHP) – 2-1, 24.2 IP, 3.28 ERA, 9 ER, 32 K, 1.257 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Eloy Jimenez (OF) – .272/.316/.384/.700, five doubles, three home runs, 12 RBI, three SB (Eugene Emeralds)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 5-0, 48.2 IP, 1.66 ERA, 9 ER, 39 K, 1.212 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 (INF) – .309/.373/.406/.779, 20 doubles, five triples, two home runs, 51 RBI, 17 stolen bases (South Bend Cubs)