Cubs Minor League Daily: Don't Overlook The Bats

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Don’t Overlook The Bats

Chicago Cubs

Lately it seems like there is a new excellent pitching performance to focus on every day in the farm system, and yesterday was no exception. Duane Underwood struck out ten for Iowa, for example, and Erich Uelmen struck out nine for South Bend. Both of those pitchers are noteworthy pitching prospects and normally I would dive into those performances.

But not today. Because while we’ve been focused on the development of the Cubs’ horde of pitching prospects, some key bats have been quietly rebounding.

Jacob Hannemann, for example, currently has a eight game hitting streak and is hitting .273/.341/.364 with ten steals. When you consider that his OPS at the end of April was just .413, you get an idea just how well he’s been playing lately. In May his line read .310/.381/.391.

Chesny Young is another player rebounding after a slow start. April for Young meant an OPS of .447. May? .738, including an OBP of .361. His season line is up to .273/.313/.312 and still trending up.

Tennessee’s Jason Vosler homered four times in April, but he hit only .183/.340/.390. In May he started to look like himself again, and posted a monthly line of .269/.341/.538.

Aramis Ademan really struggled to begin the year after an aggressive assignment to Myrtle Beach, but he is starting to turn things around as well. Ademan has a six game consecutive on base streak going, and he scored in all six games. He actually went backwards from April (OPS .651) to May (OPS .571) despite a slight uptick in OBP, but so far in June it is all coming together. The sample size is tiny, but he’s off to an OPS 1.195 kind of a start to the month.

And these are just a few examples. I think a fair bit of this is simply players seeing their stat lines naturally return to their normal levels after starting in a slump, but it is good to see that the good trends on the farm extend beyond the pitchers mound.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
El Paso 4, Iowa 3
Underwood allowed four runs in the first, but settled down nicely after that.

  • Duane Underwood: 5 IP, 4 R, 3 H, 4 BB, 10 K
  • Alberto Baldonado: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K
  • Dillon Maples: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Mike Freeman: 1 for 4, BB, SB
  • Bijan Rademacher: 1 for 4, BB
  • Jacob Hannemann: 1 for 3, BB
  • Chesny Young: 2 for 4

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Birmingham 6, Tennessee 3 in ten innings
The Smokies tied it up in the fifth, and that was all the scoring until the extra frame.

  • Oscar De La Cruz: 6 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K
  • Jordan Minch: 1 IP, 2 BB, 1 K
  • James Norwood: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
  • Jeffrey Baez: 1 for 4, BB
  • Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Jesse Hodges: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Ian Rice: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Trent Giambrone: 2 for 4, 2B

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 5, Salem 4 in ten innings
The Pelicans won their seventh straight by scoring four times in the eighth, setting up their walkoff in extras.

  • Keegan Thompson: 7 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Jose Paulino: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K
  • Jhon Romero: 1 IP, 2 K
  • Andruw Monasterio: 2 for 5
  • Aramis Ademan: 2 for 3, HR
  • Connor Myers: 2 for 4
  • Luis Ayala: 2 for 4

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 4, West Michigan 1
Cubs’ pitching kept West Michgan off the board entirely until the eighth inning.

  • Erich Uelmen: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 9 K
  • Enrique De Los Rios: 3.1 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 K
  • Jared Young: 1 for 2, BB
  • Christian Donahue: 3 for 4
  • Roberto Caro: 1 for 3, BB

Other Notes

  • Chattanooga and Jackson both lost yesterday, so the Smokies lost a chance to gain on the division leaders. Tennessee remains two games behind, and they are now a full game back of Montgomery (who have won eight in a row) as well.
  • The Pelicans, who began this run in last place, are now tied for third with Down East. They trail division leading Winston-Salem by just two and a half games.
  • Once upon a time, Jose Paulino was a pretty well regarded pitching prospect. He struggled badly for the Pelicans to start the season, and there were frequent reports that his velocity was way down. On May 23, not long after giving up seven earned runs in just over three innings, he was placed on the disabled list. He returned yesterday as a reliever, and things went well. He allowed just one hit in his two innings of work and walked no one.
  • Officially De Los Rios needed just thirty five pitches to record ten outs for the South Bend Cubs. Considering he gave up three hits and struck out two, that is a remarkably effecient outting.

Author: Luke Blaize

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