Cubs Minor League Daily: Not Much Big League Help To Be Had

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Not Much Big League Help To Be Had

Chicago Cubs

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.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
New Orleans 6, Iowa 4
Three Iowa errors led to the loss.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 8, Jackson 7
An early 7-0 lead turned into a very narrow win.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Potomac 12, Myrtle Beach 5
A strange first inning effectively ended this game right away.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Fort Wayne 7, South Bend 2
South Bend is still looking for their second win of the second half.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 8, Hillsboro 3
The Emeralds gave up eight walks in this one, but managed their seventh straight win anyway.

Rookie: AZL Cubs
AZL Cubs 9, AZL Dodgers 6
It wasn’t as hot for this one. Game time temp was only 106.

Other Notes

  • 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.

Author: Luke Blaize

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