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Cubs Minor League Daily: Where To Watch For Hugs

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

We are coming down to the final days before the trade deadline, and if there is an available backup catcher or non-premium reliever the Cubs have not been linked to by someone I will be very surprised. And if today runs like the rest of the week, we’ll see the Cubs linked to another new name or two by sunset.


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And then there is that whole Verlander thing that is either getting close, or is unlikely to happen, or is hung up on money, or is happening bacause Detroit has to move some money, or all of the above, or something else. That one has all the earmarks of a story that will go down to the final minutes before the trade deadline and may leave us not entirely knowing what happened until an hour or two after. Should be fun.

And all that means we are still in full blown #HugWatch mode. So, where should you be watching?

I think we can break our HugWatch candidates into three groups.

Iowa: watch the lineup. Jeimer Candelario, Mark Zagunis, John Andreoli, Jacob Hannemann, and Bijan Rademacher in particular. Those are probably the most major league ready bats, and any of them could be a part of a trade for a reliever or backup catcher pretty easily. If Iowa comes out with a lineup that is missing, for example, Candelario, go on high alert. If it is missing Candelario and Zagunis, then perhaps keep your eye on Detroit.

South Bend and Eugene: If a team wants to focus on upside, then they might try to raid the lowest levels of the Cubs system. Isaac Paredes, Aramis Ademan, and Miguel Amaya are probably the biggest names on the bat side. If you don’t see someone from that group in the lineup, Paredes or Ademan in particular, it could indicate that as major of a trade as the Cubs are still able to pull off is in the works. Be careful with Amaya, though. Since he is a catcher, he may be out of the line up just to get a day off.


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Pitching: Odds are good we won’t know a particular pitcher is being discussed unless he just happens to be scratched that day. The nearly ready pitchers are mostly in Tennessee and Iowa right now, and that is where I would watch for tell tale signs of imminent Hugs. There are some exceptions, Justin Steele in Myrtle Beach and Jose Albertos in Eugene in particular, but for the most part if you look for late scratches in Tennessee and Iowa, you’ll be ready to feed the HugWatch rumor mill with the best of them.

With this many irons potentially in the fire, it looks like we are in for a fun couple of days, not to mention a fun Blogathon.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
El Paso 7, Iowa 6
The Cubs staged a ninth inning rally, but needed one more run.


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Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Montgomery 5, Tennessee 4
The Smokies rallied for three in the bottom of the ninth, but they needed four.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Carolina 8, Myrtle Beach 2
The Pelicans are now just 6 and 15 at home in the second half.


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Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 15, Lake County 2
The Cubs only out hit Lake County 14 to 10.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Salem-Keizer 6, Eugene 1
The Emeralds were being shutout until the ninth.

  • Enrique De Los Rios: 5 IP, 6 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Keegan Thompson: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K
  • Jake Steffens: 1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Austin Filiere: 2 for 4
  • Jose Gonzalez: 1 for 2, 2 BB

Rookie: AZL Cubs
Angels 4, Cubs 1
The Cubs were shut out for the first seven innings.

Other Notes

  • Yapson Gomez has been promoted to South Bend from Eugene. Unless you really pay attention to the farm system, Yapson Gomez is probably not a name you are familiar with, but you may start to hear it more often. Gomez is 23-year-old left handed starter in his first season outside of rookie ball. With Eugene he worked both as a starter and reliever, tossed 25.1 innings, struck out 31, walked 5, and had a GO/AO of 2.07. That’s a K/9 over 11, a BB/9 under 2, and a GB% within half a percent of 65%. Those are very impressive numbers, even for a guy a little old for the level. If Gomez can keep that up as he moves up the system, you will definitely be hearing that name a lot more often.
  • Keegan Thompson was the Cubs’ third round pick last month, and now he has made his professional debut for Eugene. Working out of the pen, he walked two and struck out two while allowing a hit in two scoreless innings. He only got two groundouts, and threw a total of 39 pitches. All in all, that was a pretty good start to a career.

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  • This may be a whole lot of nothing, but Tommy La Stella has not started an Iowa game since the Cubs sent him back to Iowa on the 22nd. He’s pinch hit twice, on the 25th and 26th, and that’s it. Given that we are in full #HugWatch mode, we could read between some lines here and figure that either (a) there is a deal close that will include La Stella and the Cubs do not want to risk him getting injured until the deal is complete, or (b) the Cubs are working on a number of deals that could include other players in Iowa who share a position with La Stella (such as Candelario), and the Cubs want to give scouts a good look at those other players, or (c) both, or (d) this is just a pure coincidence, and it instead has some totally benign explanation like soreness or something.

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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.