Cubs Minor League Daily: Assad, Thomas, Maples, Clifton, Baez All Do Good Things

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Assad, Thomas, Maples, Clifton, Baez All Do Good Things

Chicago Cubs

Some days there are so many thing happening in the minors I’m not sure what to make the headline. When you’re usually covering four game a day and tracking 100+ prospects (with more to come!), that’s probably to be expected.

So for the good stuff provided by Dillon Maples, Trevor Clifton, and Jeffrey Baez, check out the rest of this article. We’ll deal with the Javier Assad / Tyler Thomas piggyback first.

Sometimes in the minors, particularly when a team has too many starters, you see piggyback arrangements. The details vary, but generally speaking Pitcher A starts, throws 50 to 70 pitches, goes through the order twice, and hands the ball to Pitcher B. That pitcher also goes through the order about twice, throws roughly the same number of pitches, and frequently just finishes the game. In the low minors, this allows two pitchers to both get a short start worth of work in, and often gives the bullpen a nice breather as well.

That is exactly what the South Bend Cubs did yesterday, only they put their two best starters in the piggyback. Javier Assad through four starts now has an ERA of 0.95, and he allowed just three hits and a walk in his five innings. Then the Cubs brought in Tyler Thomas (1.42 ERA in 4 games, 3 starts) who struck out seven in his four innings on the mound.

One of these days I hope another Major League team tries an entirely piggybacked pitching staff (the Rockies briefly tried it several years ago), if only to see how it would work over an extended stretch. Just get eight or ten starters who are good through two trips through the lineup, but have trouble about the third time through. Add in two or three late inning type arms to the back of the bullpen to serve as closers, firemen, or to transition from the first pitcher to the second if needed, and see what happens. I suspect the experiment would last one season at most, but I still want to see someone (other than the Cubs) try it for an extended stretch.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Oklahoma City 4, Iowa 1
The line for Maples is not a typo.

  • Jen-Ho Tseng: 6 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K
  • Anthony Bass: 1 IP, 1 BB
  • Dillon Maples: 1 IP, 4 K
  • Efren Navaro: 1 for 4, 3B
  • Mark Zagunis: 2 for 4
  • Taylor Davis: 2 for 4

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 6, Chattanooga 1
The Smokies struck out fourteen times and did not walk at all, but still pulled out the win thanks to fourteen hits, six of them for extra bases.

  • Trevor Clifton: 5 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 1 K
  • Daury Torrez: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Dakota Mekkes: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Zack Short: 2 for 5, 2B, HR
  • Jeffrey Baez: 3 for 5
  • Eddy Martinez: 2 for 4
  • Charcer Burks: 3 for 4, 2B
  • Carlos Penalver: 1 for 4, 3B
  • Jesse Hodges: 1 for 4, 2B

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Salem 9, Myrtle Beach 3
The Pelicans scored a run in each of the last three innings, but by then the game was pretty much out of reach.

  • Bryan Hudson: 4 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 K
  • P.J. Higgins: 1 for 4, BB
  • Austin Upshaw: 1 for 3, BB, SB
  • Andruw Monasterio: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Chris Pieters: 2 for 4

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 5, Great Lakes 2
Late inning insurance runs saved this one for the Cubs.

  • Javier Assad: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Tyler Thomas: 4 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 7 K
  • Roberto Caro: 1 for 4, 3B
  • Austin Filiere: 2 for 4
  • Tyler Payne: 2 for 4
  • Miguel Amaya: 1 for 4, HR
  • Brandon Hughes: 1 for 1, 2 BB

Other Notes

  • In the bottom of the eighth for Iowa, Dillon Maples struck out the side. But the final pitch to the second batter got away and the runner reached first. Maples struck out the side anyway, and in doing so earned a rare four strikeout inning.
  • For the season Maples now has 13 strikeouts in just 6 innings of work.
  • Trevor Clifton allowed a season high in walks and set a new season low in strikeouts, but he got away with just one run allowed by giving up a single hit in his five innings. His ERA is just under 4.00 for the first time this season.
  • Outfield prospect Jeffrey Baez doesn’t have enough Plate Apperances yet to qualify for the Southern League leaderboard, but if he did he would be on top of it. Baez (45 PA) has a line of .390/.444/.780. That’s good for a tie for 4th in AVG, 7th in OBP, and 1st in SLG. His 1.225 OPS would also be tops.


Author: Luke Blaize

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