When a minor league player is promoted, it sometimes triggers a chain reaction that spans the entire farm system. This one didn’t get that big, not yet anyway, but there is still some stuff to talk about here.
The headliner is that infielder Vimael Machin is now in Double A. Machin was the Cubs’ 10th round pick in 2015 and moved steadly up the system ever since. He made it to Myrtle Beach for 45 games last year and hit .274/.341/.331 with healthy walk (9.2%) and strikeout (17.9%) rates.
He returned to High A this spring and in 33 games hit .209/.369/.318 with a walk rate of 19.9%, a strikeout rate down to 16.3%, and an ISO (.109) about twice what he showed last year. Machin is older than we’d expect for a High A prospect (24), so a quick promotion to Tennessee isn’t unexpected. What makes this move worth noting is the elite walk rate and improving ISO. Those numbers coming from a left handed hitting infielder could put Machin in line to be a future utility guy if he keeps it up.
To make room for Machin, the Cubs released Carlos Penalver. Penalver (23) had been in the farm system since 2011 and in Double A since 2015. Despite pretty good strikeout rates, he never made enough hard contact to make the jump to Iowa a possibility. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up in another organization as a minor league veteran type signing in a few days.
Taking over for Machin in Myrtle Beach will be Yeiler Peguero, just promoted from South Bend. Peguero’s 2018 numbers don’t stand out (.258/.318/.361, 8.3% BB%, 23.9% K%), but the switch hitting Peguero is one of a number of small middle infield prospects that the Cubs have signed and drafted in large numbers and packed into the lower minors. Advancing to High A at the age of 20 is a nice indicator that the Cubs have some confidence in him.
South Bend has not announced any moves to replace Peguero on their roster, and if they do it may not be an infielder. They have some players on the DL right now, and they are not hurting for infielders. They currently have five on the roster and one on the Disabled List. My guess is most of the at bats that were taken by Peguero will go to Christian Donahue.
This is the first year in the Cubs’ organization for the 23-year-old Donahue, a switch-hitter, and he hasn’t played much so far. He did get the start at second in one game of the doubleheader for South Bend last night, though, and I suspect we’ll see more of him going forward. And that’s a good thing, because right now we don’t have much data on Donahue.
Triple A: Iowa Cubs
The Cubs had the day off.
- Michael Rucker: 5 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 6 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Craig Brooks: 1 IP, and a line of zeroes
- Charcer Burks: 3 for 5, 2 2B, HR
- Jeffrey Baez: 2 for 5, 2B, SB
- Zack Short: 1 for 5, 2B
- Jason Vosler: 1 for 5, 2B
- Eddy Martinez: 2 for 4, 2B
- Jesse Hodges: 2 for 4
- Tyson Miller: 5.2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K
- Jhonny Pereda: 1 for 3, 2B
- Tyler Alamo: 2 for 2, BB
- Game Two
- Bryan Hudson: 5 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 5 BB, 3 K
- Wyatt Short: 1 IP, 1 H
- Ryan Kellogg: 1 IP, 1 K
- Jhonny Pereda: 2 for 3, 2B, BB
- Wladimir Galindo: 2 for 3, 2B, BB
- Tyler Alamo: 3 for 4, 2 2B
- Daniel Spingola: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Aramis Ademan: 3 for 3, 3B
Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 6, Lake County 4 in twelve innings
Lake County 5, South Bend 2
Minor leauge doubleheaders are seven inning games, so that twelve inning contest was even more of a marathon than it may appear.
- Javier Assad: 7 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 6 K
- Brian Glowicki: 2 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Manuel Rodriguez: 3 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Nelson Velazquez: 2 for 5
- Zach Davis: 1 for 4, 2B
- Game Two
- Jesus Camargo: 4 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K
- Jose Albertos: 2 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 5 BB, 4 K
- Chris Singleton: 1 for 4, 2B
- Christian Donahue: 1 for 2, 2B, BB
- As you saw yesterday, Victor Victor Mesa will be one of the best IFA free agents in some time when he is declared a free agent, and the Cubs will certainly be in on him. No matter what, though, they will not be able to put the highest *theoretical* bid on the table, thanks to the rules of the current CBA, but the Cubs familiarity in signing Cuban free agents might give them a bit of an edge anyway. Given the dollar constraints, I suspect he won’t be a Cub, but the potential for adding a high ceiling talent for just dollars is too good to not chase.
- But even if the Cubs don’t sign Victor Victor Mesa, he isn’t the only Mesa available. His younger brother, the 16-year-old Victor Mesa Jr., is also coming to America and could be declared a free agent at the same time. He does not have the international competition resume of his brother, and his age is more that of a typical IFA, so our data on him is a lot more limited right now. That said, with Victor Victor Mesa likely to draw the interest of teams at the high side of the dollar pool, the Cubs may have a better shot of signing the younger Mesa if they like what they see.
- If you haven’t started paying attention to what Jeffrey Baez is doing in Tennessee, you might want to start. He has cooled somewhat, but he is still hitting .340/.407/.580 partly on the strength of a .455 BABIP. That BABIP is unsustainably high, but there are some solid peripheral numbers behind it. First, his ground ball rate and fly ball rate are an identical 35.7%. That means about two thirds of the time he makes contact he is putting the ball in the air (fly balls + line drives (28.6%)). That’s a good start. And when he does hit it on the ground, Baez has legitimate speed and can turn more grounders into hits than a lot of other players. A .455 BABIP is still about a hundred points higher than I’d expect, but his profile this year is that of a high BABIP guy. I’m starting to think he may not be challenged until he gets to Iowa.
- Yesterday’s Game Two was the first three hit game for Aramis Ademan this season.