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Cubs Minor League Daily: Cease, Underwood, and the Value of Struggles

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

One of the things I look for with every player in the low minors is how they respond to struggles. A player who cruises through the lower minor leagues, beating up on the competition and never really being challenged, does not tell me a great deal. There are a lot of reasons one player can overmatch the competition, and superior talent is not always the correct answer.

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But once a player runs into trouble, then we get to see how he responds. We see how quickly he adjusts, what changes (if any are necessary) he makes, and how quickly he is able to right the ship. Sometimes the changes are quick, and sometimes they are so fundamental that it can take the better part of a season to see the results. One thing we can count on though – good prospects, when faced with challenges, will adapt and eventually return to success.

That’s why I’m very interested to note that Dylan Cease ran into some problems in his start for South Bend yesterday (the very same day he was named the Midwest League’s Pitcher of the Week). It was not an awful start by any means, but it was the first time this season he allowed multiple runs in a game and came after two straight shutout performances, the second of which featured six innings of no-hit ball. Now, or rather five days from now, we’ll get to see how he responds.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Round Rock 9, Iowa 2
The Cubs pitching struck out eleven batters. That’s a positive.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 7, Chattanooga 4
Not a lot of strikeouts, but a solid start for Underwood nonetheless.


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Chattanooga 5, Tennessee 0
The Smokies were held to just three hits in the second game.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Pelicans had the day off.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Lansing 11, South Bend 5
The wind was blowing out in this one.

Other Notes

  • The arrival of Tommy La Stella in Iowa has set the stage for a very mobile infield. Yesterday’s alignment kept Happ at second, moved La Stella to third, dropped Candelario to DH, and sent Chesny Young over to play first.

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  • The Cubs pulled Underwood after 80 pitches in yesterday’s game. That marks his high water mark for the season (through three games). It was also his first game without allowing a run.
  • The South Bend Cubs are already piling up the triples. Pieters has three now, and Wilson a pair of them, as does Kevonte Mitchell. As a team, the Cubs are tied for the league lead with eleven three-baggers.

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Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.

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