Cubs Minor League Daily: Let's Talk Pitching Options on the Farm

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Let’s Talk Pitching Options on the Farm

Chicago Cubs

Jon Lester is injured. Just how bad we do not yet know (not as I’m typing this anyway), but missing at least one start seems likely. Missing more than one is certainly possible. Missing enough to put a dent in the Cubs’ division title hopes is also not out of the question, in which case the Cubs may consider making a trade for a pitcher like Justin Verlander.

That doesn’t seem like the most likely outcome right now, though, so let’s take another look at those Iowa pitchers we have been speculating about receiving September call-ups. There are a lot of options here, depending on how the Cubs want to handle things.

For example, if they replace Lester in the rotation by moving Mike Montgomery, that could open the door to add lefties Jack Leathersich or Rob Zastryzny to the bullpen. Left handed batters are hitting just .240 off right hander Matt Carasiti, so he might be in the cards as well. And so might Dillon Maples; he has the stuff to get literally anyone out.

Or, if the Cubs want to bring in another starter, they may still look at Zastryzny. Seth Frankoff would be a good pick here as well. He would probably give up a couple of homers, but between the strikeouts and the grounders he could keep the Cubs in any game.

If the Cubs wanted to turn this setback into an opportunity to evaluate a possible piece of their future, this could be a time to bring in Jen-Ho Tseng. Like Maples, he would need a 40-man roster slot, though. Of course, both pitchers are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so they will have to be added to the 40-man roster in any case eventually.

If I were to guess now, I’d lean towards Zastryzny getting the call. He gives the Cubs the most flexibility in handling a lack of Lester. Once September rolls around I suspect Carasiti and Leathersich could be up as well, and Maples may not wait even that long.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs

Iowa’s pitching tossed a combined 14 innings of 5 hit, shutout baseball in this doubleheader, and they did so against the best team in the division.

Iowa 1, Colorado Springs 0
Andreoli walked it off with a seventh inning homer.

  • Jen-Ho Tseng: 6 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 2 K
  • Jack Leathersich: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
  • John Andreoli: 1 for 3

Iowa 6, Colorado Springs 0
Unlike Game One, there was no shortage of Iowa offense in this one.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Chattanooga 12, Tennessee 11
The Smokies entered the ninth with a five run lead.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 13, Winston-Salem 6
A pair of four run innings pushed the Pelicans to an eight run lead by the end of the fifth.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Fort Wayne 7, South Bend 0
A lone double was the only hit for the Cubs.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Hillsboro 3, Eugene 0
Eugene had more errors (two) than hits (one).

  • Brendon Little: 4 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Erich Uelmen: 3 IP, 2 H, 3 K
  • Jose Gonzalez: 1 for 3

Rookie: AZL Cubs

Arizona had the day off.

Other Notes

  • Iowa has been playing some good baseball lately, and suddenly find themselves within three games of the .500 mark. Considering that they were more than ten games under not that long ago, this is a nice accomplishment.
  • Myrtle Beach has also been playing better of late. The Pelicans already have a guaranteed spot in the postseason, and it looks increasingly like they will be the only team (other than perhaps Eugene) to make the postseason in the farm system. Myrtle Beach will be attempting to win the Carolina League Championship for the third straight season.
  • Jen-Ho Tseng now has an Iowa ERA of 1.67 after seven starts and 43 innings in the Pacific Coast League. That would be the best in the league among with pitchers with at least 40 innings.
  • Two different relievers combined to give up six walks in the Smokies’ ninth inning.
  • Andreoli’s walk-off homer to win Game One was no cheap shot. It also happened to put in an end to what had been a perfect game. He had a nice spin move to dodge the obligatory gatorade shower as well.

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Author: Luke Blaize

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