The two hottest teams in the Cubs’ minor league system are South Bend and the Myrtle Beach as the SB Cubs rode the hot bats of Tyler Alamo, Eloy Jimenez and Donnie Dewees to take two out of three. The Pelicans have won four straight as they were powered by Yasiel Balaguert and Gleyber Torres.
Tennessee also won two out of three but with greater variance as Billy McKinney and Jeimer Candelario are awakening from their early season slumber. It was the usual suspects for Iowa on offense, but pitchers Ryan Williams and Jake Buchanan were the ones to shine the most.
With the only needle pointing upward this spring being the Cubs’ fortunes, here is today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (21-14)
On Friday, South Bend broke out in the late innings and swamped Lansing 15-2. The SB Cubs scored four runs in the seventh and eight runs in the eighth highlighted by a two run triple from Donnie Dewees (4-for-6 with a double, a triple, six RBI and a stolen base) and the second homer of the season by Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBI), a two run shot. Tyler Alamo (3-for-5 with an RBI) and Bryant Flete (2-for-5) also contributed heavily to a 13-hit attack.
The most consistent pitcher for South Bend so far this season has been Adbert Alzolay. The starter against the Lugnuts allowed two earned runs on five hits over six innings. Casey Bloomquist qualified for the long save as he fanned seven in three perfect innings.
It was another big inning for South Bend that proved the difference as they defeated Lansing 6-2 on Saturday. The SB Cubs loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on singles by Eloy Jimenez (3-for-5) and Daniel Spingola (1-for-4) and a walk to Jesse Hodges (2-for-4). After a wild pitch scored Jimenez, base hits by Tyler Alamo (1-for-4 with an RBI) and Ian Rice (3-for-5 with an RBI) drove in two more, with a sacrifice fly and two-out a single by P.J. Higgins (1-for-5 with an RBI) completing a five-run inning.
Preston Morrison displayed better control than in some of his other performances, as he struck out five and allowed two earned runs in 5.1 innings. Craig Brooks faced six batters and had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings, while John Williamson tossed 0.2 innings. James Norwood went the final 1.1 innings for his second save.
Pitching gave back what the South Bend offense earned and then some on Sunday, as they lost 7-6 to Lansing. Starter Ryan Kellogg put the S-Cubs in a hole as he gave up six earned runs in only four innings. Kyle Miller went the next 2.1 innings and allowed the eventual game-winner. Scott Effross pitched 1.2 scoreless innings.
South Bend tied the score at four in the fourth inning after a double from Tyler Alamo (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Eloy Jimenez (1-for-5) and Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-2 with a double and an RBI). Ian Rice (1-for-3 with an RBI) came home on a ground out and a double by Sutton Whiting (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) brought in Alamo. In the fifth, P.J. Higgins (1-for-4) scored on a double by Martinez, and a sacrifice fly plated Donnie Dewees (0-for-3).
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (20-15)
Myrtle Beach played a complete game on Friday in destroying Frederick 8-3. The contest was not as close as the score makes it, as the Keys were never more than two runs away from the lead. Erick Leal allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out three over 7.2 innings. Jordan Minch got the last out of the eighth inning, while Jose Rosario pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Pelicans were powered by three home runs as Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) smacked a two run shot with Charcer Burks (2-for-5 with a double, a home run, and two RBI) on board in the first inning. It was Burks’ turn in the second inning, bringing in Gioskar Amaya (2-for-3 with a stolen base) with another two run homer. Gleyber Torres (1-for-4 with a home run and three RBI) added a three run bomb to the opposite field in the seventh, driving in Amaya and Trey Martin (2-for-4).
It was another rout for the Pelicans on Saturday in their 11-3 thrashing of Frederick. The win was highlighted by an eight-run fifth inning that started out with base hits by Shawon Dunston Jr. (3-for-4) and Trey Martin (2-for-5). Singles by Gleyber Torres (2-for-5 with two RBI), Ian Happ (1-for-5 with an RBI), and Yasiel Balaguert (4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) along with a double from Danny Lockhart (2-for-5 with a double and two RBI) accounted for six runs. A double by Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in the final two runs.
Jeremy Null had his first start of the season and was practically untouchable, giving up three hits and striking out three in five innings. James Pugliese struck out two and allowed an earned run in two innings. Daury Torrez pitched the final two innings and was tagged for two unearned runs.
Myrtle Beach eased back on the throttle a bit on Sunday, as the Pelicans beat Frederick 8-5. The Birds made the score 7-2 before putting on the cruise control as a single by Gleyber Torres (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Trey Martin (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) and Rashad Crawford (0-for- with a stolen base) in the second inning. Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) belted a solo home run in the fifth, while Charcer Burks (2-for-3 with a triple and a home run) crushed a solo shot in the eighth inning.
Jake Stinnett had a solid effort as he struck out five and allowed two earned runs in six innings. Tommy Thorpe and Ryan McNeil each gave up an earned run as they pitched the middle two innings. James Farris surrendered an earned run in the ninth.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (17-20)
It was never in doubt for Tennessee on Friday, as the Smokies dominated Montgomery from the start in a 12-5 win. After wriggling out of trouble in the first inning, extra base hits by David Freitas (3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and two RBI), Carlos Penalver (2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI and a stolen base), and Jacob Hannemann (1-for-5 with a triple and two RBI) put the Biscuits down 4-0. The Smokies also took advantage of some wildness, as both Penalver and Chesny Young (1-for-5) were scored on bases-loaded walks in the fifth inning. Freitas also added a solo home run in the sixth inning.
Brad Markey went four innings and allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out three. Starling Peralta blanked Montgomery over three innings, while Miguel Mejia did the same for an inning in his first appearance for the Smokies. David Garner had trouble in the ninth, as he gave up three earned runs.
Returning home to a series with Birmingham on Saturday, Tennessee suffered yet another embarrassing loss at the hands of the Barons 11-1. Although starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny was hung with five unearned runs in five innings, his four walks and three hits allowed meant more than his seven strikeouts. Michael Jensen was allowed to flounder as he gave up six earned runs in 2.2 innings. Josh Conway mercifully got the final out after three walks in 0.1 innings.
The offense continues to be disjointed and lack leadership. Victor Caratini (1-for-4 with a double) doubled and scored on a two-base hit from Kelly Dugan (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) in the fourth inning.
The Smokies let loose some pent up frustration on Sunday as they blew away Birmingham 12-4. A shake up in the batting order helped. Mark Zagunis (2-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in Chesny Young (1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) and Jacob Hannemann (1-for-4 with a double and a stolen base) with a double in the first inning. A double by Kelly Dugan (2-for-2 with a double and two RBI) in the third inning brought in Billy McKinney (2-for-5 with an RBI) and Victor Caratini (3-for-5 with two RBI), and RBI singles from McKinney and Carlos Penalver (1-for-3 with an RBI) plated Hannemann and Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with two doubles).
Duane Underwood Jr. had to be removed in the third inning after throwing 72 pitches and giving up three earned runs. Juan Paniagua did some heavy lifting as he struck out three in three scoreless innings. David Berg allowed an earned run in two innings, and Corey Black had a strikeout in a perfect ninth.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (18-17)
It was high drama on Friday night as Iowa used a two out rally in the bottom of the ninth to get past Nashville 3-2. Ryan Williams had yet another quality start as he allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out seven in six innings. Gerardo Concepcion did well in his Triple-A debut, striking out three in two perfect innings. Carl Edwards Jr. was also perfect as he pitched the ninth for his first win.
The I-Cubs only had Willson Contreras’ (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI) opposite field solo home run in the seventh when they got down to their last out in the ninth. Dan Vogelbach (0-for-3) walked and pinch-runner Arismendy Alcantara stole second, as Taylor Davis (0-for-3) got a free pass to face Albert Almora Jr. (2-for-4 with a double, a triple and two RBI). Almora Jr. foiled the strategy by lacing a double to left to bring in the game winning runs.
Going on their first west coast swing, Iowa destroyed Reno on Saturday 17-2. Jake Buchanan is looking more and more like a good pick-up for the franchise as the burly right-hander struck out five and allowed two earned runs in seven innings. Lefties C.J. Riefenhauser and Giovanni Soto completed the game with a scoreless inning apiece.
Among the many offensive highlights were RBI triples from Willson Contreras (2-for-5 with a triple and three RBI) and Albert Almora Jr. (3-for-6 with a triple, two RBI and a stolen base) in the first and second innings. Arismendy Alcantara (3-for-3 with a home run, three RBI and a stolen base) belted a three run home run also in the second inning, with Contreras slashing a two-run single in the seventh. Kris Negron (1-for-5 with a home run and three RBI) launched a three-run homer in the eighth.
Iowa got some of the taste of their own medicine on Sunday as they were battered by Reno 9-3. OOF! Is about all you can say about newly signed starter Alex Sanabia and his performance as he allowed seven earned runs in 1.1 innings. Jean Machi was summoned from the pen and gave up two earned runs in 2.2 innings. Felix Pena, Brandon Gomes and Spencer Patton held the Aces the rest of the way, but the damage had already been done.
Shane Victorino (0-for-2) scored in the first, and Kris Negron (2-for-4 with a double and a triple) tripled and came home on a ground out in the second inning. A consolation run came in the ninth as Negron doubled and was brought in on a single by Logan Watkins (1-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base).
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs signed free agent RHP Alex Sanabia and assigned him to the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Michael Wagner to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the Iowa Cubs.
The Tennessee Smokies released INF/OF/C/P Anthony Giansanti.
- Gleyber Torres Photo – Larry Kave – Myrtle Beach Pelicans