Around the Cubs farm system action last night …
The Iowa Cubs lost 7-0 to New Orleans.
- Not a lot from this one in the way of highlights. I did note that Taylor Davis made a late pinch hit appearance, which means he’s back at AAA, presumably taking the spot of Taylor Teagarden. Davis, a catcher by trade, was hitting fairly well at AAA and was trying to learn some other positions when he was demoted to AA to accommodate Kyle Schwarber. He absolutely destroyed the ball at AA, and it’s clear that, in terms of his bat, Davis is not challenged lower than AAA. But I’ve heard he’s probably not going to have the glove to catch in the big leagues, so the hope would be he could become a future bench bat or trade piece.
- Arismendy Alcantara has quietly gone ice cold and has resumed his alarming strikeout tendencies (14 in his last 10 games, for example).
- Through a couple starts, Frank Batista’s crazy no-strikeout-no-walk approach that worked so well at AA is not hacking it at AAA. He gave up 11 hits – but literally no walks or strikeouts – last night and five runs.
The Tennessee Smokies lost 4-1 to Birmingham.
- Felix Pena struck out seven in his six innings of work, but unfortunately he also walked four and gave up six hits. That was one of his worst outings this year, though, as the 25-year-old righty has been working with a FIP close to 3.00 for the Smokies. He and rotation-mate Ivan Pineyro (FIP also right around 3.00) are going to make for tough Rule 5 rostering decisions after this season for the Cubs.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans won big 16-4 over Carolina.
- Only one Pelican did not have a hit, and, if you can believe it, the culprit was Mark Zagunis. Among the rest, Victor Caratini was the only Pelican without at least two hits.
- Jeimer Candelario went 4-6 with a double and a triple, raising his line to .282/.331/.440. Speaking of tough Rule 5 decisions, the 21-year-old switch hitter is going to be another. Will a team believe they can stash him at the big league level all year? Would seem really tough, but you never know. His upside remains quite good.
- Starter Jonathan Martinez, who’d been pitching very well of late, made it only two innings in this one. Looks like he was knocked out, rather than an injury.
The South Bend Cubs won 1-0 over Bowling Green.
- Recently drafted and promoted Vimael Machin came up and had two hits as the shortstop in this one. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly, but if the Cubs wanted to test Gleyber Torres at High-A (which would be kind of crazy for an 18-year-old), they’ve got a shortstop in place now at South Bend to make the move.
- Jeffrey Baez’s homer accounted for the only scoring in this one. It’s been a disappointing year for the 21-year-old Baez, who is hitting just .187/.253/.275.
- Michael Wagner, Ryan McNeil, and Corbin Hoffner combined to throw the shutout. McNeil, the Cubs’ third round pick in 2012, is a Tommy John recoveree, and he pitched two innings of relief. He’s got upside. Hoffner is currently remaking himself as a submariner.
The Eugene Emeralds lost 5-4 to Vancouver.
- Ian Happ continues to walk a ton and strike out a bit, the latter of which makes me a little nervous. It’s still so early and Happ – you’ll have to remember – is younger than most college juniors.
- Tyler Alamo had a couple hits in this one, including a double, pushing his line up to .343/.425/.371 in the early going. That double was his first extra-base hit.
- Eloy Jimenez did not play in this one (he left early the game before).
The AZL Cubs lost 5-0 to the AZL Indians.
- The gigantic bright spot in this one was the opening three innings pitched by Dylan Cease, in which he allowed no hits, walked one, and struck out three. The 19-year-old righty was one of the Cubs’ big three high school pitcher picks last year, who immediately underwent Tommy John surgery (it was expected). He came back quickly, and the fact that he’s already dominating rookie ball competition is such an encouraging sign. He could be very, very good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins Carson Sands and Justin Steele – the other two high school arms from last year – at Eugene before the year is up.