Cubs Minor League Daily: Things Looking Brighter for Myrtle Beach

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Things Looking Brighter for Myrtle Beach

Chicago Cubs

Yesterday the Myrtle Beach Pelicans picked up their second series win of the season, and their first on the road.

The Pelicans began the year in bad shape, but in the past ten days they’ve started to play quite a bit better. The record is still ugly, but as we head into May there are some positives emerging.

Austin Upshaw, for example, was hitting just .114/.205/.200 on April 19, and how has a line of .203/.258/.305. That’s a nice improvement for ten days. Defensive artisan Connor Myers has never been known for his power, but this year has a slugging percentage of .409.  That might be enough to let his excellent center field glove keep moving up the system. Keegan Thompson gave up nine runs in his first two starts, but hasn’t given up any in his two most recent outings. Matt Swarmer had an ERA of 3.86 on April 15. That’s now down to 1.74. Alex Lange was great in his last outing. And there are more positive trends besides these.

One more was added yesterday when Bailey Clark was promoted from South Bend. Clark was ranked 38th in the most recent Top 40; he wasn’t any higher than that largely because of his wildness. As I noted then, Bailey has some great stuff, and if he could control it consistently he’d quickly become one of the best pitchers in the system.

Bailey Clark has been controlling his stuff. In 14.1 innings for South Bend he struck out 19 and walked just 3. If he keeps that up in Myrtle Beach (and he got off to a good start yesterday), we could see Clark in Tennessee for the second half. His stuff is probably good enough to move that fast.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Oklahoma City 5, Iowa 3
The win percentage is down to .190.

  • Alec Mills: 5 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 3 BB, 3 K
  • Justin Hancock: 1 IP, 1 H
  • Ryan Court: 1 for 5, HR
  • Chesny Young: 2 for 3

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 3, Chattanooga 2
Tennessee 3, Chattanooga 2
The Smokies swept a road doubleheader.

  • Thomas Hatch: 5 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 6 H, 1 BB
  • Jake Stinnett: 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K
  • Dakota Mekkes: 1 IP, 1 K
  • Jeffrey Baez: 1 for 3, 2B
  • Trent Giambrone: 1 for 3, HR, BB
  • Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 3, HR
  • Trey Martin: 2 for 3
  • Erick Castillo: 2 for 3
  • Game Two
  • Oscar De La Cruz: 7 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 5 K
  • Jeffrey Baez: 3 for 3, 2B
  • Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 3, 2B
  • Eddy Martinez: 1 for 3, 2B

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 5, Salem 3
That’s the first road series win of the season.

  • Matt Swarmer: 5 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K
  • Bailey Clark: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K
  • Austin Upshaw: 2 for 5
  • Jhonny Pereda: 2 for 4, 3B
  • Wladimir Galindo: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Chris Pieters: 2 for 4, 2 SB

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Great Lakes 9, South Bend 4
The Cubs tried to rally back a couple of times, but never did get the lead.

  • Jose Albertos: 1.2 IP, 5 R, 3 H, 6 BB, 3 K
  • Brendan King: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Brian Glowicki: 1.2 IP, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Brandon Hughes: 2 for 4
  • Miguel Amaya: 2 for 4, 2B

Other Notes

  • With a win today the Iowa Cubs would finish April with a winning percentage of about .227. A loss would leave them at .181. In their quest to finish April over .200, they will be at home and will send Adbert Alzolay to the mound.
  • One of the best pitchers for Iowa this year has been reliever Justin Hancock. Don’t let his 5.59 ERA worry you. He’s had two rough appearances (both against Oklahoma City), but other than that he’s pitched very well in relief. He’s attacking the strike zone (12 K in 9.2 IP), avoiding walks (allowed 2) and is getting quite a few grounders.
  • I strongly suspect Jose Albertos is struggling with a mechanical issue right now (and/or making a change). Walks have never been a serious problem with him. Sure, there are a couple of games we could point to, but in general Albertos has hung out around the strike zone and been very effective at it. Right now, just getting into the strike zone is a problem. He has now walked 14 in his four starts and has a WHIP of 4.41 as a result.
  • Don’t forget, though, that the minors exist for player development. This is the place for players to make changes, work through issues, and refine their games as necessary to improve. That can result in stat lines not reflecting talent levels (as in this case), and it does mean that patience is often in order. In a couple of months we may very well see Albertos back to mowing through hitters like we expected him to before the season started.


Author: Luke Blaize

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