Some of my best memories at this blog have been writing and reporting about the Cubs minor league system because of how good it has been. Leading up to last year it was really the only thing to get excited about as the Major League team was subpar at best. Now the Cubs are World Series favorites, and the prospect rankings are not as top heavy but the talent is apparent throughout. That’s part of what makes this year so fun, winning at the major league level and still seeing a tremendous amount of organizational talent in the system.
Here’s how MLB Pipeline breaks it down (link to the list)
- Gleyber Torres – SS
- Willson Contreras – C
- Ian Happ – 2B/OF
- Duane Underwood – RHP
- Albert Almora – OF
- Billy McKinney – OF
- Jeimer Candelario – 3B
- Dylan Cease – RHP
- Oscar de la Cruz – RHP
- Eloy Jimenez – OF
- Pierce Johnson – RHP
- Donnie Dewes – OF
- Bryan Hudson – LHP
- J. Wilson – OF
- Eddy Martinez – OF
- Carl Edwards Jr. – RHP
- Justin Steele – LHP
- Mark Zagunis – OF
- Ryan Williams – RHP
- Dan Vogelbach – 1B
- Trevor Clifton – RHP
- Jake Stinnett – RHP
- Carson Sands – LHP
- Jen-Ho Tseng – RHP
- Victor Caratini – C
- Christian Villanueva – 3B/1B
- Corey Black – RHP
- Jacob Hannemann – OF
- Brad Markey – RHP
- Josh Conway – RHP
I really can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to keep an eye on all the arms that are on this list. I really feel like there are a number of pitchers on this list that are close to making a major impact in the system, and eventually on the big league roster. Duane Underwood (#4), Pierce Johnson (#11), Carl Edwards Jr. (#16), and Ryan Williams (#19) all have a great chance to be pitching on the North Side this year. I mentioned that the prospects near the top of this list might not have the same allure as a Kris Bryant, or Anthony Rizzo but they are players who will be part of the next wave of big league talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if Willson Contreras (#2) sees time with the Cubs this year as the backup catcher, or splitting time with Montero/Schwarber depending on what day it is. Please don’t sleep on Albert Almora, a healthy 2016 will go a long way to seeing if he is indeed the CF of the future for the Cubs.
THURSDAY • MAY 7, 2015
Walk-off! The Pelicans improved to a seasons best seven games over .500 with a 2-1 win over Salem thanks to a Billy McKinney walk-off dinger! You can also thank Duane Underwood for dominating on the mound.
At the Plate:
- Mark Zagunis is an on base machine, he was 0-for-2 with three walks in the win.
- Billy McKinney is similar to Zagunis in regards to being one of those on base machines, he was 1-for-1 with FOUR walks, said walk-off dinger, an RBI, and a run scored.
- Jacob Rogers, and Trey Martin each had one hit, both singles.
On the Mound:
- Duane Underwood Jr. got the start tonight, and was brilliant. He worked seven innings, giving up one run on three hits while walking one, and striking out four.
- Juan Paniagua was solid out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings while striking out one.
- Michael Heesch picked up his second win of the season, he worked a scoreless inning in doing so.
A tough loss for the Smokies as they saw an early 4-0 lead slip away in a 5-4 loss. The Smokies scored four times in the first inning and couldn’t find anymore offense the rest of the way.
At the Plate:
- Albert Almora has picked up where he left off before the injury, he was 1-for-4 with a run scored, he’s hitting .310 on the season.
- Kyle Schwarber was solid in this one, he went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
- Bijan Rademacher had the big hit for the Smokies, he was 1-for-4 with a double, and three RBI’s.
- Elliot Soto was the best of the bunch tonight, he was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
On the Mound:
- Corey Black got the start, and he struggled with his command, he worked five innings, giving up three runs on four hits while walking four, and striking out seven.
- Fernando Cruz was outstanding out of the pen, he worked three scoreless innings, giving up one run, unearned, on one hit while striking out four.
- Stephen Perakslis picked up the loss in this one, he worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up one run on three hits.
Things got a little close late in this one but the South Bend Cubs hung on to beat Bowling Green 3-2. Not many teams can say that as Bowling Green boasts a 17-11 record on the year, tonight the Cubs had just enough.
At the Plate:
- Charcer Burks has been great this year, it continued tonight, he was 1-for-3 with two walks, and two RBI’s.
- Justin Marra found some extra base magic, he was 1-for-3 with a double, and a walk.
- Jesse Hodges was solid as well, he went 1-for-3 with his fifth double of the year, a walk, and a run scored.
- Jeffrey Baez had a nice game, he went 1-for-3 with a walk, and a run scored, maybe that will get him going.
- Gleyber Torres continues to get on base, he was 1-for-4 with a walk in the win.
On the Mound:
- Zach Hedges got the start, and he does what he usually does, put up zeroes. He worked five scoreless innings, giving up three hits while walking two, and striking out four.
- Ryan McNeil was decent out of the pen, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out two.
- Jordan Minch was touched up, he worked 1.2 innings, giving up one run on one hit while walking one, and striking out two.
- James Farris had his shortest outing of the year, but it was all he needed to pick up his third save of the year. He worked a third of an inning to shut the door.
The Iowa Cubs didn’t have much going in this one, but found a way to push four runs across the plate in the seventh for a 4-1 victory in Nashville.
At the Plate:
- Arismendy Alcantara has been flashing the power in Iowa, he was 1-for-4 with a walk, his fourth dinger, two RBI’s, a stolen base, and a run scored.
- Mike Baxter has been solid all year, he was 2-for-4 with a run scored, he’s now hitting .314 on the season.
- Jonathan Mota was right in the middle of the action, he went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the win.
- John Andreoli, Chris Valaika, and Taylor Davis all had one hit tonight.
On the Mound:
- Tsuyoshi Wada got the start, and continues to make a push to be promoted, he worked 5.2 innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking two, and striking out six.
- Gonzalez Germen has been awesome in Iowa, he worked 1.1 scoreless innings to pick up his third win, he struck out two in the process.
- Blake Cooper worked a scoreless inning to pick up his second hold of the year.
- Brian Schlitter worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the season.
THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2015
So far so good as the South Bend Cubs make their Cubs affiliate debut with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Bowling Green. Jake Stinnett got the start for South Bend and was pretty good, he worked five innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking two, and striking out four. The game was very much in doubt until Cael Brockmeyer crushed a walk-off dinger to the delight of the South Bend faithful.
At the plate:
- Jeffrey Baez went 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
- Cael Brockmeyer had a huge night, he went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a dinger, an RBI, and a run scored.
On the mound:
- Ryan Williams came on in relief of Stinnett and was spotless, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out one.
- James Farris was equally as good and picked up the win, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while walking two, and striking out four.
Talk about a grand entrance to the Cubs organization. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans exploded this evening, not literally, putting up nine runs on fifteen hits in the victory. Seven of the nine Pelican hitters had hits, five of them had a multi-hit game. Duane Underwood was solid, but he could have been throwing underhand and would have picked up the win, but he was really good.
At the plate:
- Jacob Hannemann did his job at the top of the order, he went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and a run scored.
- The other Jacob was pretty good too, Jacob Rogers went 3-for-4 with a double, a dinger, two RBI, and two runs scored.
- Victor Caratini, thanks Braves. Caratini was 2-for-4 with two RBI in the win.
- Both Shawon Dunston Jr., and Daniel Lockhart each had a triple in the win.
- Carlos Penalver was brilliant as a second lead-off man of sorts from the nine spot, he was 3-for-4 with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base.
On the mound:
- Duane Underwood was steady as usual in this one, he worked five innings, giving up one run, unearned, while walking two, and striking out five.
- Jonathan Martinez took over and tossed a scoreless inning, giving up one hit while striking out one.
- James Pugliese was outstanding, he worked two scoreless innings, giving up two hits while striking out one.
- Starling Peralta cleaned things up in a mop up role, he worked a scoreless inning, giving up one hit while striking out two.
The Smokies were extremely efficient in this one as they managed to score seven times on just seven hits, not terribly easy to do. You know what makes it much easy? Taking walks, the Smokies earned six walks in the win, that’s how you play winning baseball. The one-two punch of Corey Black, and C.J. Edwards shut the door on the Braves, Black started, and Edwards came out of the pen to pick up a hold.
At the Plate:
- Albert Almora got things off on the right foot, he went 1-for-4 with a walk, and two runs…. wait, a walk!!? I like it.
- Kyle Schwarber gave Smokies fans a glimpse of what he beings to the table, he was 1-for-3 with two walks, a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored.
- Dan Vogelbach also joined the fun, he was 1-for-3 with a walk, and an RBI in the win.
On the Mound:
- Corey Black got the start and picked up the win, he worked five innings, giving up one run on four hits, while walking three, and striking out four.
- C.J. Edwards made his debut out of the pen tonight, and he was okay, he worked 2.1 innings, giving up one run on two hits, while walking two, and striking out two.
- Hunter Cervenka was tasked with shutting this one done, and that’s exactly what he did, Cervenka worked 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out two.
This was a tough one, the excitement of opening day, and a really good lineup was erased this morning when we found out that Javier Baez‘s sister Noely had passed away, thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Javy. To the game, the Cubs were able to create some two out magic in the third as they scored four times to take a 4-2 lead, it was short-lived however. Memphis scored twice in the fifth, and then three times in the seventh en route to a 7-4 victory.
At the plate:
- Addison Russell got off to a great start tonight, he was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and a run scored.
- Kris Bryant didn’t hit a dinger, let that sink in, he finished the night 1-for-4 with an RBI, and a stolen base.
- Junior Lake was productive, he went 1-for-4 with two RBI in the loss.
On the mound:
- Donn Roach got the start, and found too many Redbird bats, he worked 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on ten hits while walking one, and striking out two.
- Drake Britton was handed the loss in this one, he worked 1.1 innings, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out one.
- Armando Rivero didn’t get much work in this one, he worked a third of an inning, giving up one run on one hit.
- Gonzalez Germen did some solid work out of the pen, he worked a scoreless inning, he walked one, and struck out one.
Here come the Myrtle Beach Pelicans! That’s right, another new affiliate for the Cubs, the Pelicans replace the Daytona Cubs at the high Class-A level. An outstanding location, and a roster filled with talented prospects makes this team a must see, the season opens on Thursday!
Paul Blackburn (RHP)
Matt Brazis (RHP)
Gerardo Concepcion (LHP)
Josh Conway (RHP)
Michael Heesch (LHP)
Jonathan Martinez (RHP)
Juan Paniagua (RHP)
Starling Peralta (RHP)
James Pugliese (RHP)
Tayler Scott (RHP)
Tyler Skulina (RHP)
Daury Torrez (RHP)
Jen-Ho Tseng (RHP)
Duane Underwood (RHP)
Players to watch? How much time ya got? The pitching staff is electrifying, Torrez, Blackburn, Underwood, Tseng, oh my. Billy McKinney, and Mark Zagunis are a pair of highly touted prospects roaming the outfield, so much excitement here.
As we heads towards the end of the season it starts to become a reality, there’s only a handful of Cubs games left this year. For most, this is a blessing as some fans can’t “bear”…. (get it?) to watch anymore given how bad the team has been and other sports have started. For this Cubs fan it’s not so great as I enjoy watching this team play, no matter how infuriating it is at times. With that said it’s time to start focusing on the off-season baseball that will take place, first up is the Cubs instructional league that starts today. This is an important step for many of these players as they are going to get more game experience, and another opportunity to impress the front office heading into next season. Below is a breakdown of everyone that will participate this year, the games begin on September 21. We will give you much more information on these players as our player cards come out, we will also do our best to give you results and box scores of these games, so stay tuned!
Thanks for reading,
Sunday’s minor league recap. Daytona did not play as they had a scheduled day off.
The AZL Cubs won a big one on Sunday beating the Athletics 5-2. Duane Underwood started and pitched the first 2.1 innings giving up two hits and allowing no runs. Juan Paniagua got the win striking out three over the next 1.2 innings. After Carl Lang gave up one run in his inning Anthony Prieto pitched the next two, followed by Carlos Martinez-Pumarino who finished this one off giving up a run, but striking out three in two innings. Ben Carhart had another nice night at the plated going 3-for-5 with an RBI. Trevor Gretzky got his average over .300 as he went 3-for-4 with a run scored in this one. Carlos Penalver and Jeff Baez each had two hits a piece with Baez knocking in one run. Shawon Dunston had a double and an RBI in the Cubs win. With the win the Cubs are now only one game in back of the Athletics for the division lead.
After winning the division on Saturday, Boise came back Sunday and lost 5-1 to Vancouver. Felix Pena got the start and took the loss allowing four runs on five hits over 4.1 innings. He also walked three and struck out five. Su-Min Jung and Tyler Bremer combined to pitch the final 3.2 innings on Sunday. The Hawks had a few highlights at the plate, however. Jeimer Candelario ended the night 2-for-3 and Darien Martin also had two hits. Stephen Bruno had yet another hit in this one and also drove in the Cubs lone run. Gioskar Amaya and Marco Hernandez each a hit in the Boise loss.
Peoria was all over Wisconsin from the get go, eventually winning 10-3. Jeffry Antigua was outstanding on Sunday pitching seven strong innings allowing no runs on three hits, while striking out seven. Pete Levitt pitched the final two frames allowing three unearned runs in the ninth inning. Dustin Geiger led the way offensively going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Jorge Soler go into the fun as well going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.. Jacob Rogers also had two hits, including his first home run with Peoria. The top of the order did their job as well, as Zeke DeVoss and Pin-Chieh Chen each had two hits. DeVoss added a run and an RBI and Chen scored four runs and drove one in as well. Oliver Zapata and Sergio Burruel each had hits with Zapata adding an RBI in the Chiefs victory.
Tennessee scored one in the bottom of the eighth to win the game 4-3. Eric Jokisch was pretty good in this one giving up three runs on eight hits in seven innings. He also walked one and struck out four, his ERA now sits at 2.97. Trey McNutt continued to pitch well out of the bullpen pitching the final two innings and getting the win. Jae-Hoon Ha was outstanding at the plate going 3-for-4 with a double, triple, RBI, and a runs scored. Elliot Soto was 2-for-3 with an RBI and Rubi Silva had a hit and an RBI of his own. Matt Szczur also contributed with hit and a run scored in the Smokies victory.
Iowa scored one in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough losing 4-3 to Oklahoma City. Chris Rusin got the start and pitched good, but took the loss. He pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out seven. Blake Parker tossed the final two innings allowing one run and striking out two. James Adduci, Blake Lalli, and Matt Tolbert all were 2-for-4 with Adduci knocking in a run and Lalli scoring two. Brian Esposito had a double and an RBI and Adrian Cardenas pinch hit with an RBI single in the Cubs loss.
Thanks for Reading,