If there was an unofficial motto to the minor league coverage at Bleacher Nation prior to mid-2015, that motto would have been “Help is on the way”. That was the message we tried to convey on a regular basis – the major league team was in bad shape, but the answers were lurking in the minors.
I would love to say that today. With a large number of key Cubs banged up or struggling with effectiveness (or both), and now with Kris Bryant dealing with an ankle sprain, I would love to be able to tell you that the Cubs have some extra reinforcements they can call on in Iowa to help bridge the gap until everyone is back to full health.
But I can’t. Because they really don’t.
Now that Ian Happ, Mark Zagunis, Jeimer Candelario, and Victor Caratini are all in Chicago, there isn’t a lot of ready depth left in Iowa. In the outfield, John Andreoli is having a down year and Jacob Hannemann only has 21 games with Iowa and probably needs more time (although he isn’t playing badly). Bijan Rademacher could come up, but I think he is about it.
On the infield, Elliot Soto could be a defensive fill in for anyone, but the bat is a limiting factor. Chesny Young looks like a utility player in the making, but I don’t think he’s ready for Chicago yet. The best bet might be Jemile Weeks, owner of a .619 OPS.
On the pitching side, the news isn’t much better. Seth Frankoff (3.07 ERA) is probably the only starter who could be called on right now (Aaron Brooks might be an option, but he has still been inconsistent). In the bullpen Jack Leathersich might be the last bullpen option who hasn’t gotten on a shuttle to Chicago yet. Pierce Johnson has the stuff to help, but consistency has plagued him as well.
Hopefully the injured Cubs start to get better soon and the 2017 team can start to look and feel more like that 2016 team in the second half. If that happens, this has been nothing but a fun exercise that no one will remember.
Let’s just hope that’s what happens.
- Aaron Brooks: 5 IP, 4 R, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- David Rollins: 1 IP, 2 K
- Andury Acevedo: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- John Andreoli: 1 for 5, 2B
- Jacob Hannemann: 1 for 4, HR
- Chris Dominguez: 2 for 4, HR
- Jemile Weeks: 1 for 4, 2B
- Duane Underwood: 6 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 1 BB, 1 K
- Daury Torrez: 1 IP, 1 K
- Dave Berg: 1 IP, 1 K
- Charcer Burks: 1 for 3, HR, 2 BB
- Andrew Ely: 2 for 4, BB
- David Bote: 1 for 4, 2B, BB
- Jason Vosler: 2 for 3
- Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 4, 2B
- Trey Martin: 3 for 4, HR
- Duane Underwood: 1 for 3, 2B
- Tom Hatch: 0.2 IP, 8 R (2 ER), 5 H, 1 BB.
- Scott Effross: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Pedro Araujo: 1.2 IP, 3 K
- Trent Giambrone: 2 for 4, HR, BB
- Eloy Jimenez: 1 for 4, 2B, BB
- Jesse Hodges: 1 for 4, BB
- Tyler Alamo: 2 for 5
- Tyler Pearson: 2 for 3
- Erling Moreno: 5 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K
- Roberto Caro: 1 for 4, 2B
- Isaac Paredes: 1 for 4, HR
- Luis Ayala: 2 for 4, SB
- Jesus Camargo: 4 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 6 K
- Elvis Diaz: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Jhon Romero: 1.1 IP, 2 BB, 3 K
- Michael Knighton: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Zach Davis: 2 for 3, BB, 2 SB
- Aramis Ademan: 3 for 4, 2B
- Miguel Amaya: 1 for 4, 2B
- Tolly Filotei: 2 for 3, 2 SB
- Brailyn Marquez: 4 IP, 4 R (2 ER), 5 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Jose Mac Donna: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
- Austin Upshaw: 2 for 5, 2 HR
- Jonathan Sierra: 2 for 5, 3B, SB
- Rafael Mejia: 1 for 4, 2B
- Cam Balego: 2 for 4, 2B
- Marcus Mastrobuoni: 1 for 4, HR
- Speaking of Cubs getting healthy, it looks like Ben Zobrist is about to start his rehab with the Tennessee Smokies.
- If the Cubs did need another starter and the timing did not line up for Frankoff, there are some options in Tennessee that are worth considering. Jen-Ho Tseng and Trevor Clifton, in particular, could probably hold their own for a few starts if the Cubs really needed them to.
- The pitching line for Tom Hatch requires some investigation. It is not all that often that a pitcher allows more runs (earned or otherwise) than he allowed baserunners in an inning, but that is exactly what happened last night. The inning began with a single and a botched bunt, leaving a runner on first with one out. Two more singles and a throwing error scores a run and leaves runners on second and third. Another run scores on a fielders choice and throwing error. Another single scores two. Hatch then picks a runner off first for the second out in the inning. A walk, a reached on error, a hit by pitch, and a homer complete Hatch’s 32 pitch day. Result? One of the oddest pitching lines we’ve seen in a long time.
- The 2017 draftees are starting to arrive in Mesa. Austin Upshaw, he of the two homers for Arizona last night, is one example; Upshaw was the Cubs’ 13th round pick.
- Now that the College World Series is over (Congrats to Florida), I think we will likely see first round pick Alex Lange sign in the near future.