Cubs Minor League Daily: Internal Starter Options Are Imperfect If Multiple Needs Arise

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Internal Starter Options Are Imperfect If Multiple Needs Arise

Chicago Cubs

Yu Darvish is injured. Tyler Chatwood is wild. Kyle Hendricks is inconsistent. Mike Montgomery is doing a nice job lessening the impact of all of that, but the fact remains that the Cubs could find themselves in need of another starter in the not too distant future.

They could trade for one, but any trade for someone significantly better than who they have in house would probably require a deal from the 25 man roster. That may not be a good idea, either.

So lets take a look within the system. This could have been the moment Adbert Alzolay needed to get a shot at the majors, but he’s out for the year with a lat injury. Eddie Butler is rehabbing, but still out. Drew Smyly – same thing.

I would like to say Jen-Ho Tseng should get the call, but he has been inconsistent this season. He’s looked better in his last two starts, but those two starts are just the second time this season he has given up no more than three runs in each of two consecutive games. Tseng in a spot start could work, but I’m not sure how he would do over four or five games.

Alec Mills has consitently pitched pretty well this year, but he just gave up four or more runs in two straight games for the first time all year. The consistency aspect would have me worried here as well. The same goes for Oscar De La Cruz. In addition to pitching some of his worst games of the year just recently, De La Cruz also hasn’t been tested in Triple A yet. I’m not sure either of these two are the answer right now.

Duane Underwood isn’t a bad candidate. Other than the first inning, he pitched a good game against the Dodgers on the road recently. Unfortunately, that whole consistency thing comes back again. Underwood gave up six runs on eleven hits just twelve days after tossing seven one hit innings. Underwood has good stuff, but over a longer stretch he would make me a bit nervous.

There is one more option to consider. Luke Farrell. I know he’s pitched mostly in relief for the Cubs this season, didn’t dominate in his one start, and his 4.76 ERA doesn’t exactly jump off the page at you, but when in the minors Farrell works as a starter, not a reliever. He could probably be stretched back out to the ability to consistently work six-ish decent innings in short amount of time. That would weaken the bullpen, but with guys like Dillon Maples and Dakota Mekkes waiting in the wings, that’s a risk the Cubs might be able to take.

Long story short, though: the internal options, should the Cubs need another starter, are imperfect right now, at best.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Memphis 6, Iowa 2
This game also included a rehab start by Carl Edwards Jr.

  • Alec Mills: 6.2 IP, 6 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 5 K
  • Carl Edwards Jr.: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Brad Markey: 1.1 IP and a line of zeroes
  • Taylor Davis: 2 for 4
  • Bijan Rademacher: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Lane Adams: 2 for 4, 2B

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Chattanooga 7, Tennessee 2
Tennessee did not win their fourth straight.

  • Oscar De La Cruz: 3 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 K
  • Ryan McNeil: 2 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 4 BB, 2 K
  • Daniel Spingola (OF): 1 IP and a line of zereos
  • Trent Giambrone: 2 for 4, HR
  • Jeffrey Baez: 2 for 4, 2B

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Buies Creek 2, Myrtle Beach 0
The Pelicans have now lost six in a row.

  • Cory Abbott: 6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K
  • Jose Paulino: 3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K
  • Connor Myers: 1 for 4
  • Aramis Ademan: 1 for 4

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 4, Dayton 1
All the scoring for both clubs came in the eighth inning.

  • Rollie Lacy: 5 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K
  • Yapson Gomez: 2.1 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 K
  • Ben Hecht: 1.2 IP, 2 K
  • Brandon Hughes: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Rafael Narea: 2 for 4
  • Michael Cruz: 1 for 4, 2B
  • Cam Balego: 1 for 3, 2B
  • Delvin Zinn: 2 for 3

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Everett 4, Eugene 3 in ten innings
The Emeralds have now lost seven straight.

  • Jeffrey Passantino: 4 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 1 K
  • Luis Aquino: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Dalton Geekie: 1.2 IP, 3 K
  • Eugenio Palma: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 K
  • Nico Hoerner: 1 for 4
  • Tyler Durna: 2 for 4, 3B
  • Jake Slaughter: 1 for 3, BB
  • Jonathan Soto: 2 for 3, 2B, BB

Rookie: AZL Cubs 1

Cubs One had the day off.

Rookie: AZL Cubs 2
Cubs Two 7, Brewers 1
The Cubs collected eight walks alongside their nine hits in this one. They only struck out five times.

  • Blake Whitney: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K
  • Fernando Caulderon: 3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K
  • Riley McCauley: 1 IP, 1 K
  • Andry Rondon: 2 IP, 2 K
  • Ivan Medina: 2 IP and a line of zeroes
  • Reivaj Garcia: 0 for 2, 3 BB
  • Grant Fennell: 4 for 5, 2 2B
  • Jose Alejandro Gonzalez: 1 for 5, 2B
  • Ezequiel Pagan: 1 for 3, BB
  • Miguel Pabon: 1 for 3, BB

Other Notes

  • In Iowa’s game, the wind was blowing out to left at 16 MPH. Mills mostly kept the ball on the ground, but not entirely.
  • Edwards threw 19 pitches before being lifted.
  • There is one notable name missing from the Cubs’ list of signed draftees – fifth round pick and Virgina 2B Andy Weber. Thanks to a tip from @Savermetrics, though, we have an update. The deal isn’t done, but according to the local paper, it probably will get done. This isn’t exactly news since we already knew the Cubs would sign anyone they took in the first ten rounds, but it is good to have confirmation of that in case anyone was worried.
  • Eugene picked up some significant reinforcements before the game yesterday. From the 2018 draft came SS Nico Hoerner, 3B Jake Slaugher, 1B Tyler Durna, and RHP Paul Richan.
  • We’re about halfway to the 100 PA rule of thumb for taking stats seriously threshold with the players in the Arizona League, and a quick check in on 16 year old second baseman Reivaj Garcia reveals good number so far. His overall line is very good at .350/.422/.375, but the walk rate of 10.9% is just impressive given how young he is compared many other players in that league. He also has a good strikeout rate of 17.4%. I wouldn’t get too excited yet, but it is starting to look like the Cubs have a very young, switch hitting middle infielder with a very good understanding of the strikezone and the ability to make consistent contact. Don’t worry about the lack of power yet. It’ll turn up as he gets older.

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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.