After 830 games in which the Cubs system compiled a 444-386 record, the 2015 minor league regular season has ended for the Cubs’ affiliates. The Cubs had two teams, High-A Myrtle Beach and the AZL Cubs of the Rookie League, make the playoffs. The Cubs also had two players in the organization, Willson Contreras and Chesny Young, win batting championships.
The Cubs’ affiliates had 20 All-Stars, 19 players or pitchers of the week, and Carlos Pimentel was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year.
As we look forward to the postseason, here are the final summaries for 2015 in today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (65-72)
South Bend ended the 2015 season on a high note on Monday, as they shut out Lake County 3-0. Starter Trevor Clifton put an exclamation point on his season as he struck out five in 6.1 innings to end up at 8-10 for the season with 103 strikeouts. Alex Santana added 1.2 perfect innings and had a strikeout. Sam Wilson had a strikeout in the ninth to collect his second save.
The Cubs broke a scoreless tie in the third inning as Vimael Machin (1-for-4 with a stolen base) reached on an error and stole second. A two-out single from Kevin Encarnacion (2-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Machin. Jesse Hodges (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on a two out base hit from Erick Castillo (1-for-4 with an RBI). South Bend added a run with one out in the eighth after Ian Happ (1-for-3) walked and came home following singles by Jordan Hankins (1-for-3) and Hodges.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (81-57)
It was a minor blip on an otherwise great season as Myrtle Beach lost in their final regular season game 5-4 on Monday to Wilmington. Starter Tyler Skulina had a hard time in the second inning as he allowed five runs (one earned). Skulina ended up striking out three in two innings. Tyler Ihrig pulled long duties and had four strikeouts in three innings. Jonathan Martinez got in some work as he had two strikeouts in an inning. David Garner worked around a hit to strike out the side in the seventh, while James Farris fanned two in the eighth.
The Pelicans started out right after Pin-Chieh Chen (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) singled with one out in the first inning and came home after a passed ball and base hit by Mark Zagunis (1-for-2 with an RBI). Myrtle Beach cut the deficit to two runs in fifth inning when Chesny Young (1-for-4) singled and came around on a home run from Chen. Zagunis walked to start the eighth and score on a two out single from Jacob Rogers (2-for-3 with an RBI).
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (76-63)
It was an unusual way to end a season, but a rainout on Sunday meant a doubleheader on Monday as Tennessee took the opener from Biloxi 2-0. The Smokies struck first in the fourth inning after Bijan Rademacher (0-for-3) was hit by a pitch and singles by Willson Contreras (4-for-4) and Jeimer Candelario (1-for-2) loaded the bases. A walk to Dan Vogelbach (0-for-2 with an RBI) forced in Rademacher. Contreras singled and Candelario walked, with Contreras scoring after a double play and an error. Jeffry Antigua had two strikeouts as he pitched four innings, while Neil Ramirez set down the side in order in the fifth. Starling Peralta tossed the final two innings for his sixth save.
In the nightcap, the Smokies emptied the bullpen and it would end up costing them as Tennessee split with Biloxi, losing 3-2. Ryan Williams, the scheduled Sunday starter only tossed a scoreless inning before yielding to Corey Black, who gave up an earned run in an inning. Michael Wagner had two strikeouts in two innings, but James Pugliese allowed two earned runs in 1.1 innings. Gerardo Concepcion got the final two outs. Tennessee scored their runs in the third inning after Bryant Flete (1-for-3 with a triple) and Tyler Pearson (1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI) had back-to-back triples. Pearson was out at home as Corey Black (0-for-1) reached on a fielder’s choice. Singles by Jacob Hannemann (1-for-3) and Stephen Bruno (1-for-3) loaded the bases, and Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3 with an RBI) drove in Black with a base hit.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (80-64)
The final game of the season was anti-climactic as Iowa lost to Round Rock 7-4 on Monday. All the runs came off the bullpen. P.J. Francescon was given a surprise start and struck out three in three scoreless innings. Armando Rivero and Drake Britton each tossed a scoreless inning, but Frank Batista gave up two earned runs in two innings. Ryan Buchter lasted only 0.1 innings, as he gave up two earned runs. Brian Schlitter allowed three earned runs in the final 0.2 innings.
The I-Cubs saw a four run lead go up in flames after Mike Baxter (2-for-4 with a triple) tripled with one out in the second and came home on single from Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-4 with an RBI). A base hit by Luke Carlin (1-for-4) and a sacrifice fly brought in Alcantara. John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base) belted a solo home run to start the third inning, and Christian Villanueva (1-for-4 with a home run) went yard with one out in the sixth inning.