Cubs Minor League Daily: #HugWatch Primer

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Cubs Minor League Daily: #HugWatch Primer

Chicago Cubs

cat hugsSo far the Cubs have been publicly quiet during this trade season, but I don’t think that will last. Reporters from all over have had the Cubs checking in on all kinds of players, and now that a few major deals have effectively established the market and unblocked the flood gates, I think we’ll see the Cubs rolling into action.

That’s right, unblocked the flood gates. Today, tonight (especially tonight), and tomorrow could be even busier and crazier than things have been so far. And things have been pretty crazy.

So, consider this your super fast guide to things to look for in the Cubs farm system this evening. In short, this is your guide to #HugWatch 2015, Cubs Edition. We are not predicting any trades, or saying which players should be traded. These are just guys to watch because they could be traded.

Iowa is in Nashville at 8 PM ET. Lineups should be up an hour or so before game time. Carlos Pimentel is the starter, but I don’t think he is a likely trade chip. If you don’t see Mike Olt, Christian Villanueva, Arismendy Alcantara, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, or Javier Baez in the lineup though, something may be in the works. If Baez is missing, that something may be major (but that could include his promotion to Chicago to fill in a roster spot there rather than he necessarily being dealt).

I should note that Szczur hasn’t played since the 28th, but is not on the disabled list.

Tennessee is also on the road and starts in Nashville at the same time as Iowa. Their starter, Rob Zastryzny, is a plausible piece in some moves, so if he is scratched take note. On their lineup sheet, look for Albert Almora, Billy McKinney, Jeimer Candelario, and Willson Contreras. Those are probably the most tradeable bats in Double A for the Cubs right now. If more than one of them are missing, we could be looking at a non-trivial deal in the works.

Myrtle Beach starts up at home at 7:05 PM ET, and they have not yet announced a starter. The Pelicans rotation includes some trade candidates, Paul Blackburn, Jen-Ho Tseng, and Daury Torrez among them, as does their bullpen (Josh Conway in particular). Duane Underwood is on the disabled list, and so I don’t expect he will be moved. As for the lineup, Victor Caratini and Cael Brockmeyer probably top the list of names to look for. Mark Zagunis is a possible candidate as well.

South Bend also has a 7:05 PM start and is sending Tommy Thorpe (not a likely trade candidate) to the mound. There are a number of pitchers on this team who could be moved (Trevor Clifton, Ryan McNeil, and Erick Leal among them), but none strike me as very likely. In the lineup, we should see Gleyber Torres. If he is not there, something very serious may be building. Ian Happ can’t be traded yet, so no worries there. Other than those two, I think the rest of this roster carries too much risk to be notable trade candidates yet.

And finally, at 9:30 PM ET, Eugene takes the field. Their starter, Ryan Kellogg, can’t be traded yet. Pitchers on this team who could be include Carson Sands, Justin Steele, and Oscar De La Cruz. None are terribly likely to be dealt, unless the Cubs deal with a team looking at a long rebuild or who might be willing to gamble on some upside (Milwaukee or Miami, perhaps). In the lineup, and again, none of these are all that likely to be dealt, Frandy Delarosa and Ho-young Son are two names to look for. Eloy Jimenez is by far the biggest name on this roster, and the likeliest to be included in a deal, but he tweaked something the other night and did not play yesterday. As a result, we can’t read anything into Jimenez not being in the lineup.

And there you have it. Remember that the absence of any of these players does not mean a deal is definitely happening, but it could indicate that something is in the cards.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa – The Cubs gave up all of Nashville’s runs in the late innings as they lost 6-4.
Tennessee – The Smokies jumped to an early lead and turned it into a 5-2 win.
Myrtle Beach – The Pelicans built an early lead that became an 8-5 win.
South Bend – The Cubs were shut out again, this time 5-0.
Eugene – The Emeralds found just enough offense to take home this 4-3 win.
Arizona – The Cubs only managed one run in this 5-1 loss.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Felipe Paulino struck out 12(!) over 6 innings of work. He pitched to 3 batters in the 7th, retired none of them, and ultimately it led to two runs. He walked no one and gave up just 4 hits.
  • [Iowa] Zac Rosscup earned both his outs via the strikeout in his 0.2 rehab innings, but he also gave up 2 runs on a hit and a walk.
  • [Iowa] Rubi Silva homered for the 11th time, doubled, and finished with 2 hits. John Andreoli also doubled.
  • [Iowa] Javier Baez walked and struck out 3 times. Some of his swings were on the ugly side in this one.
  • [Tennessee] Pierce Johnson turned in a very nice game. Over 7 innings he allowed a run on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7.
  • [Tennessee] P.J. Francescon might start drawing some consideration as a reliever option for the Cubs. He earned his 15th save in this one by pitching 1.1 hitless innings with 2 walks. His K/9 (8.05) doesn’t scream late inning reliever to me, but I could see him as an option in the middle of the pen.
  • [Tennessee] Elliot Soto and Billy McKinney each finished with 2 hits. McKinney’s line also included his 21st double.
  • [Tennessee] Albert Almora walked 3 times (I feel like that should be a headline), singled, and stole 2 bases. He now has 6 steals on the year.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Trey Martin put the game away with his 3 run homer in the 7th inning. It was his first of the year for the Pelicans and one of his 2 hits in the game.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Chesny Young finished this game 1 for 5. His batting average fell to .337 as a result.
  • [Myrtle Beach] Victor Caratini doubled and finished with 2 hits, as did Daniel Lockhart. Cael Brockmeyer also had 2 hits.
  • [South Bend] Trevor Clifton struck out 7 in his 5 innings of work, but he also allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks.
  • [South Bend] A Yasiel Balaguert double was the only extra base hit for the Cubs.
  • [Eugene] Preston Morrison and Kyle Twomey each pitched 2 hitless innings, and each allowed one walk. Morrison struck out 2, and Twomey struck out 3.
  • [Eugene] Greyfer Eregua struck out 5 over the final 3 innings. He allowed a hit and 2 walks.
  • [Eugene] Ricardo Marcano finished 3 for 3 and added his 2nd steal of the season. Kevonte Mitchell tripled (his 2nd), walked, and stole his 6th base of the year.
  • [Eugene] Andrew Ely finished 2 for 4.
  • [Arizona] Andruw Monasterio reached twice on a single and a walk. He was the only AZL Cub to do so.
  • [Arizona] Eric Jokisch gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk in his 2.1 innings of rehab work. He struck out one.

Other News

  • I think Johnson could be an option at the back of the Chicago rotation for the Cubs should they fail to make a trade (I honestly think they will make a trade or two, though). Johnson would be better served by some time in Iowa, but if the need arose I think he could step in to the majors and do well enough.
  • The Smokies may literally be the hairiest team in baseball.” And that article may be right in making that claim. I can’t think of too many other teams that have the hair the Smokies do. Another few months and they could form a Poison cover band without needing wigs.

Author: Luke Blaize

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