Happy Labor Day! The traditional last day of the minor league season will see us back where we started as Eugene completed their season falling one game short of the playoffs despite the hot hitting of P.J. Higgins.
Both Myrtle Beach and Tennessee are creating a buzz as Willson Contreras could take home a batting championship for the Smokies, while the Pelicans are going to the playoffs with their own hitting champ Chesny Young.
South Bend will put their first season as a Cubs’ affiliate in the books as newcomer Angelo Amendolare continues to impress. Meanwhile, Iowa will have to wait one more game before finding out whether Carlos Pimentel can be its first pitcher to lead the Pacific Coast League in ERA.
Enjoy it while it lasts, for this is the second to last regular season Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (38–38)
Eugene ended their season series with close rival Salem-Keizer on Thursday with a 5-1 win. Ryan Kellogg has one of his best pitching performances as he struck out two in three scoreless innings. Adbert Alzolay had his strikeout pitch working as he fanned 10 and gave up an earned run in 5.2 innings. Tyler Peitzmeier struck out the final batter of the game.
With a playoff spot on the line, Donnie Dewees (2-for-5 with a stolen base) led off the game with a single followed by a base hit from P.J. Higgins (3-for-4 with a stolen base). A one out single by Andrew Ely (3-for-5 with two RBI) drove in Dewees. Alex Bautista (1-for-5) started the fourth inning with a single and Tyler Alamo (1-for-3) had a one out base hit. Bautista scored after a wild pitch and a ground out. A walk to Higgins and a double by Eloy Jimenez (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) brought in another run in the fifth inning. The Emeralds put the game away in the ninth when Dewees and Higgins singled and pulled off a double steal. A ground out plated Dewees, and a base hit by Ely scored Higgins.
Moving to Hillsboro for the final regular season series, Eugene was unable to muster three hits in a 2-0 loss on Friday. The Emeralds used their “no-hit” squad, but Kyle Twomey gave up two earned runs and had three strikeouts in 2.2 innings. Preston Morrison relieved and also had three strikeouts as he held the Hops in check for 3.1 innings. Luis Hernandez and Trey Masek each tossed a scoreless inning. Ian Rice led the offense by going 2-for-3, while Eloy Jimenez went 1-for-4.
The Emeralds put their playoff hopes in jeopardy on Saturday by losing 4-1 to Hillsboro. Casey Bloomquist surrendered two earned runs as he had two strikeouts in three innings. Kyle Miller was able to keep the Hops off the board for 1.2 innings and had a strikeout. But Tyler Peitzmeier continued to struggle as he gave up two earned runs in only 0.2 innings. Scott Effross once again shut down Hillsboro for 1.2 innings, while Jae-Hoon Ha had a strikeout in a scoreless frame. The only run for Eugene came in the fourth after P.J. Higgins (1-for-4 with a double) had a ground rule double and scored on a single by Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with an RBI).
Needing just one win to have a shot at qualifying for the playoffs, Eugene came up short on Sunday and lost 3-2 to Hillsboro. Opening night starter Carson Sands was charged with the task of keeping the Hops at bay. Sands allowed two runs (one earned) with two strikeouts in three innings. Greyfer Eregua worked around two walks in an inning. Pedro Araujo went the rest of the way, giving up an earned run and striking out four in four innings.
The Emeralds tried to fight their way back into this game. Alberto Mineo (1-for-3 with a double) doubled to start the third inning and scored on a two out single from Eloy Jimenez (1-for-3 with an RBI). Eugene tied the game in the fifth when consecutive singles by Sutton Whiting (1-for-3), Donnie Dewees (2-for-4 with two stolen bases), and P.J. Higgins (1-for-5 with an RBI) brought in Whiting.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (64-72)
South Bend closed out their home season on Friday with a 5-3 win over the Dayton Dragons. The Cubs used two big innings as they loaded the bases with consecutive singles by Rashad Crawford (1-for-2), Angelo Amendolare (2-for-4), and Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-3). A base hit by Jordan Hankins (2-for-3 with two RBI) brought in Crawford, and a force scored Amendolare. Newcomer Danny Spingola (1-for-1) singled to start the seventh inning, with Amendolare following for a base hit and Encarnacion reaching on a sacrifice attempt. Spingola came home on a sacrifice fly and a base hit by Hankins drove in Amendolare and Encarnacion.
Former 26th round draft pick Zach Hedges put a bow on his first full season by striking out three and allowing an earned run in five innings to raise his record to 8-8. Dillon Maples was able to contribute two scoreless innings and two strikeouts to the win. Jordan Minch had some trouble in the final two innings as he gave up two runs (one earned) and struck out two batters.
The SB Cubs saw a fine pitching effort go to waste on Saturday as they lost 5-2 to Lake County. Erick Leal had another strong start as he was nicked with an unearned run and had eight strikeouts in six innings. Daniel Lewis was also a victim of the defense, including his own error, as he was charged with four unearned runs in an inning of work. Sam Wilson had a strikeout in a perfect inning. Angelo Amendolare (1-for-4) and Kevin Encarnacion (1-for-3) led off the game with singles, and after a wild pitch, scored on a base hit by Jordan Hankins (2-for-4 with two RBI).
South Bend is limping toward the end of the season as they lost 3-0 to Lake County on Sunday. Tommy Thorpe had a solid effort as he allowed two earned runs and had three strikeouts in five innings. Ryan McNeil also fanned three as he gave up an earned run in two innings. Corbin Hoffner struck out a batter in a perfect inning. The Cubs managed only three hits as Angelo Amendolare was 1-for-4 while Jordan Hankins and Erick Castillo each went 1-for-3.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (81-56)
It was a night of redemption for Myrtle Beach on Friday, as they put a few rough games behind them to shut out Wilmington 4-0. Brad Markey continued his incredible stretch as he fanned six and scattered three hits in seven innings to improve his record to 7-0. David Garner tossed a perfect inning with a strikeout. Jasvir Rakkar worked around a walk with a strikeout in the ninth.
The Pelicans broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning after Cael Brockmeyer (0-for-3 with a walk) walked and scored on a two out single by Jason Vosler (2-for-4 with an RBI). Danny Lockhart (1-for-3) was hit by a pitch to start the fifth inning, and he came home on a two out base hit from Ben Carhart (2-for-3 with an RBI). Myrtle Beach put the game away in the ninth after Jeffrey Baez (1-for-4 with a stolen base) led off with a single and stole second base. Base hits by Vosler and Gleyber Torres (1-for-4 with two RBI) plated Baez and Vosler.
Win No. 80 for Myrtle Beach came in one of their patented comebacks as the Pelicans took game one of a doubleheader with Wilmington on Saturday 4-2. Pin-Chieh Chen (1-for-3 with a double) had a one out double in the first and scored on a two out single by Jason Vosler (2-for-4 with three RBI). Behind by a run in the fifth inning, Gleyber Torres (2-for-4) singled and came home on a double from Danny Lockhart (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI). Chesny Young (0-for-3 with a walk) walked and a two out base hit from Vosler brought in Lockhart and Young.
Game two did not go the Pelicans’ way as Myrtle Beach lost 6-2 and ended up splitting the twin bill with Wilmington. Jeremy Null was hit hard, giving up six earned runs on 11 hits in five innings. Null also struck out five batters. James Farris tossed a scoreless inning. Myrtle Beach scored in the fourth inning after Jason Vosler (0-for-3) reached on an error and came around on a home run from Ben Carhart (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI).
The Pelicans remained determined to finish their season strong as Myrtle Beach jumped out to an early lead and beat Wilmington 4-1 on Sunday. Daury Torrez came off the disabled list and had one of the best pitched games of his career. Torrez allowed an earned run on four hits with a strikeout in six innings. Michael Heesch blanked the Blue Rocks for an inning and had two strikeouts. David Berg and Jasvir Rakkar each tossed a scoreless inning, with Rakkar picking up his 16th save.
Mark Zagunis (0-for-3 with a stolen base) was hit by a pitch with one out in the first inning and stole second base. A two out base hit by Ben Carhart (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) put runners at the corners, with a wild pitch allowing Zagunis to touch home. A double by Victor Caratini (3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI) plated Carhart, and a single from Jeffrey Baez drove in Caratini. Myrtle Beach added an insurance run in the eighth after Jason Vosler (1-for-4) had a base hit and scored on a double from Carhart.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (75-62)
The Tennessee bullpen was unable to hold a lead on Friday as the Smokies lost 7-3 to Biloxi. Pierce Johnson once again was at the top of his game, allowing an earned run and striking out three in seven innings. Neil Ramirez relieved and gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings after the Smokies had taken the lead. Matt Brazis failed to get a batter out as he surrendered four earned runs. Tayler Scott got the final out of the eighth inning.
Jacob Hannemann (2-for-4 with a home run) started off the game right as he led off with a solo home run. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-4) and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-2 with an RBI) singled with one out in the eighth inning. A base hit by Carlos Penalver (1-for-2 with an RBI) drove in Vogelbach. Tennessee scored a consolation run in the ninth when Hannemann and Anthony Giansanti (1-for-4) singled and walks to Vogelbach and Candelario forced in Hannemann.
It was a romp on Saturday as Tennessee had their way with Biloxi, winning 7-2. Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5 with a double and a triple) led off the game with a triple and scored as Dan Vogelbach (0-for-2 with an RBI) reached on an error. Jeimer Candelario (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) belted a two-run homer to bring in Vogelbach. It was Hannemann again in the third, this time with a double as Carlos Penalver singled and Vogelbach walked to load the bases. A double by Willson Contreras (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in Hannemann and Penalver. Candelario reloaded the bases on a free pass. Bijan Rademacher (0-for-3 with an RBI) was hit by a pitch to force in Vogelbach, and Contreras scored on a sacrifice fly.
Felix Pena had one of his best ballgames, striking out five and allowing an earned run in seven innings. Gerardo Concepcion shut out the Shuckers for 1.1 innings and had two strikeouts. Juan Paniagua gave up an earned run as he pitched the final 0.2 innings.
Tennessee’s game on Sunday was postponed due to wet grounds.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (80-63)
With the playoff race pressure off, Iowa played free and easy on Friday in an 8-1 victory over Round Rock. Dallas Beeler had his sinker working, recording nine ground outs as he allowed an earned run and struck out a batter in five innings. Frank Batista had a strikeout as he tossed two scoreless innings. Ryan Buchter finished off the game with two strikeouts as he shut down the Express for two innings.
The I-Cubs scored in bunches. Taylor Teagarden (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) led off the second inning with a single and came around on a home run from Chris Valaika (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI). Singles by Christian Villanueva (1-for-5) and Mike Baxter (1-for-4 with an RBI) began the sixth inning. A double by Teagarden drove in both runners. Arismendy Alcantara (2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base) doubled in Teagarden. Alcantara stole third base and scored on a sacrifice fly. John Andreoli (0-for-3 with two walks) and Emilio Bonifacio (2-for-4) drew walks to start the ninth. Taylor Davis (3-for-5) loaded the bases on a single. A free pass to Baxter forced in Andreoli. Bonifacio scored on an error.
Iowa just could not come back on Saturday as they lost to Round Rock 4-3. Starter Felipe Paulino put the I-Cubs in a hole as he gave up four earned runs and had five strikeouts in five innings. Zac Rosscup, Carl Edwards Jr., and Armando Rivero each tossed a scoreless inning.
Iowa cut the lead in half in the fourth inning after Emilio Bonifacio (3-for-4 with a stolen base) singled, stole second, and scored after two ground outs. The I-Cubs tied the game in the sixth after Bonifacio walked and Taylor Davis (1-for-4) had a base hit. Bonifacio scored on a double play. Singles by Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-3) and Chris Valaika (3-for-4) began the seventh, and a base hit from John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a stolen base) brought in Alcantara.
It was a tough fight for the I-Cubs on Sunday as they defeated Round Rock 8-5. Carlos Pimentel was looking for his 13th win of the season but did not get any help from his bullpen veterans. Pimentel struck out five and allowed an earned run in five innings. James Russell lasted only 0.2 innings as he gave up three runs (one earned). Blake Cooper restored order by striking out two in 1.1 scoreless innings. However, Yoervis Medina surrendered an earned run in only 0.2 innings. Brian Schlitter tossed 1.1 perfect innings and had two strikeouts for his 23rd save.
It looked as if Iowa could breathe easier after the fifth inning when Ryan Dent (2-for-4) walked and one out singles by Emilio Bonifacio (3-for-5) and Taylor Davis (2-for-4 with two RBI) drove in Dent. A base hit by Christian Villanueva (3-for-5 with a double and an RBI) brought in Bonifacio, and another single from Mike Baxter (1-for-5) loaded the bases. Taylor Teagarden (1-for-5 with a double and two RBI) hit a ground rule double that scored Davis and Villanueva. In the seventh, Villanueva led off with a double and scored on a single by Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with an RBI). Adron Chambers (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) followed with a double to plate Alcantara. John Andreoli (2-for-5 with an RBI) walked in the eighth inning and came home after base hits by Bonifacio and Davis. The same scenario happened again with two outs in the ninth, as Chambers walked and scored after singles by Dent and Andreoli.
News and Notes
The Iowa Cubs activated LHP Drake Britton and RHP P.J. Francescon from the 7-day disabled list; placed RHP Dallas Beeler on the 7-day disabled list. The Tennessee Smokies placed OF Albert Almora Jr. on the 7-day disabled list. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans activated RHP Daury Torrez from the 7-day disabled list; placed RHP Jeremy Null on the 7-day disabled list.
Top Prospect Watch
Note: Carl Edwards Jr. and Dan Vogelbach return to the Top Prospect Watch
- Albert Almora Jr. (OF) – .272/.327/.400/.727, 26 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 46 RBI, eight stolen bases (Tennessee Smokies)
- Trevor Clifton (RHP) – 7-10, 102.1 IP, 4.22 ERA, 48 ER, 98 K, 1.329 WHIP (South Bend Cubs)
- Carl Edwards Jr. (RHP) – 3-1, 31.2 IP, 2.84 ERA, 10 ER, 39 K, 1.231 WHIP (Iowa Cubs)
- Eloy Jimenez (OF) – .284/.328/.418/.726, 10 doubles, seven home runs, 33 RBI, three stolen bases (Eugene Emeralds)
- Pierce Johnson (RHP) – 6-2, 95 IP, 2.08 ERA, 22 ER, 72 K, 1.137 WHIP (Tennessee Smokies)
- Justin Steele (LHP) – 3-1, 40.2 IP, 2.66 ERA, 12 ER, 38 K, 1.303 WHIP (Eugene Emeralds)
- Gleyber Torres (INF) – .290/.349/.379/.728, 24 doubles, five triples, three home runs, 64 RBI, 22 stolen bases (South Bend Cubs and Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Duane Underwood Jr. (RHP) – 6-3, 73.1 IP, 2.58 ERA, 21 ER, 48 K, 1.036 WHIP (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
- Dan Vogelbach (1B) – .276/.404/.432/.836, 16 doubles, a triple, seven home runs, 38 RBI, a stolen base (Tennessee Smokies)
- Mark Zagunis (OF) – .270/.404/.411/.815, 24 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, 53 RBI, 12 stolen bases (Myrtle Beach Pelicans)