Five Stars of the Cub Farm, 5/30/21: Davis, Amaya, Nwogu, Bain, Abbott, Velazquez and More

There is a competitive on-field advantage to providing league-best off-field benefits to minor leaguers. I truly believe that, and as a fan of the Cubs, I continue to hope they come around to this belief, too.

Let’s break down the day in the minors for the Cubs.

Honorable Mention: Scott Kobos finished up an amazing May yesterday with two more scoreless innings, making it 11 for the month. Kobos has struck out 19 of the 43 hitters he’s faced, and is just too advanced for Low-A … Shouts to Jacob Wetzel and Flemin Bautista for getting on base two times in both games of the MB doubleheader … Behind Amaya, the 3-4-5 of the Smokies lineup (Grayson Byrd, Tyler Payne, Chris Morel) each went 2-for-5. Morel in particular has found a groove recently, posting an above-average 771 OPS while playing five positions in the last 12 games … Michael Rucker is now up to 13 strikeouts in his last 25 batters faced … Chase Strumpf has been slumping a bit lately, but hopefully busted out of it last night with two hits and a walk.

Five: Brennen Davis and Miguel Amaya


Cumulatively, the Cubs top two hitting prospects went 4-for-7 with two walks and five runs. This also includes both guys getting an opposite field single. Brennen indicated after the game that his rehab stint with South Bend ended (.321/.406/.607 in eight games), so he’ll be joining Miguel in the lineup this week.

(A note on the third member of the Cubs top 3 prospects. I heard from a source yesterday that Brailyn Marquez is “real close” to leaving Arizona and beginning his minor league season. I don’t think I’m expecting quite this week, given The Athletic’s reporting that the Cubs “haven’t set a start date,” but I am expecting shortly thereafter.)

Four: Jordan Nwogu

The strikeouts have been a surprise, with 17 in 32 PA, given the 18.3 K% he had playing pretty much every day during his time at Michigan. Then came a hamstring injury that cost Nwogu two weeks. But he’s now healthy and looked great yesterday (just missed a double, too), and here’s to hoping has found something to lock into.

Three: Bain, Gallardo & Thoresen

The three A-ball starters (the Pelicans played a doubleheader) combined for a cumulative line of 13 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 16 K. We’ve talked about Bain and Gallardo in the past, so I’ll focus today on Sam Thoresen, one of the Cubs undrafted free agents last year. The 6-foot-3 right-hander allowed 85 walks and 16 HBP in 91 career innings at the University of Minnesota, but the Cubs belief in that arm is evidenced by allowing him to win a rotation spot. After struggling his first time out, Thoresen has been very solid in his last four: 14 IP, 10 H, 2.57 ERA, 7 BB, 20 K.

Yesterday’s streaming feed in Salem wasn’t quite good enough to draw impressions from, but Thoresen’s outing inspired me to watch his other best performance: May 13 when he got 16 whiffs on 59 total pitches. Thoresen has a short arm action coming out of a slow, deliberate delivery. It’s a mostly filled out frame, though I think there is some upper body projection remaining. Thoresen has one of the better raw curveballs in the organization, and while the pitch lacks consistency, at its best has the depth and sharpness of a plus-to-better foundational pitch. Combined with mid 90s fastball velocity, there’s an interesting prospect here with a good reliever floor. Great signing by the scouting department.

Two: Cory Abbott

I’m going to allow myself to be hyped on the 13 strikeouts, but there’s still work to be done, as two more home runs led to four earned runs. I could complain that they should be unearned, as a Daniel Descalso pop-up fell as a “single” while Abiatal Avelino and Andrew Romine stared at each other, but hard contact is an issue that needs solving.

Still, 13 is one big strikeout number. And you had to know I was going to tell you what those K pitches were:

  1. 94 mph fastball up and away (swinging)
  2. 94 mph fastball at the knees (looking)
  3. 84 mph plus curveball away (swinging)
  4. 94 mph fastball up and away (swinging)
  5. 93 mph fastball up and away (swinging)
  6. 93 mph fastball outside corner (swinging)
  7. 84 mph curveball inside to LHH (swinging)
  8. 94 mph fastball up and away (swinging)
  9. 93 mph high full-count fastball (swinging)
  10. 92 mph fastball up and away (swinging)
  11. 93 mph fastball outside corner (looking)
  12. 93 mph high fastball (swinging)
  13. 89 mph plus bottom-drop-out cutter (swinging)

One: Durna, Velazquez & Windham

Home runs for these three to lead South Bend to a dominant 12-2 win. Durna had four hits, as the BABIP struggles of his first two weeks are regressing to normal territory, where Velazquez raised his to .533. One of the hotter hitters in baseball, some of Velazquez’ massive month is surely due to good luck, but I’ll also point out that he’s shown big increases in fly balls and pulled balls.

written by

Bryan Smith is a Minor League Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @cubprospects.

more cubs news

Cubs Injury Updates: Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ, Justin Steele (UPDATE)

If you're looking for some good news following a pretty frustrating weekend of baseball at Wrigley Field, I do have some for you. Just before the game, a trio of updates were reported for the Cubs injured players, and it...

Enhanced Box Score: Marlins 6, Cubs 3 – April 21, 2024

Well, this is what happens when you don't close out winnable games earlier in the weekend when you have the chance - it's a four-game series split with the lowly Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field. I watched most of this...

Pre-Gamin’: Marlins at Cubs (1:20) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — The Cubs were just a couple outs away from sweeping the double-header, but they came up short after another blown save by Adbert Alzolay in Game 1. But because they won on Friday, they still have a...

Words are Great, Actions are Better, and Other Bulls Bullets

The Chicago Bulls have entered Phase 1 of the recovery process – acceptance. Arturas Karnisovas sat down with reporters after another depressing end to the regular season and – shockingly – said the right things. Not only did he take...

Here’s One Unique Reason Shota Imanaga Keeps Dominating

For all the issues in the Cubs rotation so far this season (injuries, underperformance), Shota Imanaga has been an absolute dream. And although I didn't expect his first earned runs of the year to come against the Marlins (and their...

Assad Keeps Dealing, Gaming Out the Rotation, Who Else Could Close? And Other Cubs Bullets

Let's just jump right into it. Javier Assad had a wobbly start to his game yesterday, immediately allowing a double and a walk to open things up, while dealing with some clear command issues. Miguel Amaya took notice and trotted...

Enhanced Box Score: Cubs 5, Marlins 3 – April 20, 2024

Muuuuuuuuuch better. But first, the bad stuff. For the second straight game, the Cubs couldn't get anything going against a Marlins starter; only this time, that starter was not an established big leaguer like Jesus Luzardo. Nope, for what felt...

Alexander Canario Just Demolished a Baseball

In the bottom of the ninth inning of the first half of today's double-header, Alexander Canario swung out of his shoes and came up empty. In the bottom half of the sixth inning of the second game ... he connected....

Of Course Cody Bellinger Homered Today

Cody Bellinger has been swinging a really nice bat lately, and that continued in the top of the first inning tonight at Wrigley Field (and of course he homered on 4/20...easiest call ever). Check out his fourth homer of the...

Pre-Gamin’: Marlins at Cubs (6:40 CT) – Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

CUBS LINEUP — The only silver lining I can see right now, is we don't have to wait very long between another frustrating Cubs loss and blown save by Adbert Alzolay. The next Cubs lineup is already out, and it...

Latest News

Yankees vs. Athletics Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Monday, April 22, 2024

Entering Monday's matchup with the New York Yankees (15-7), the Oakland Athletics (8-14) are on a three-game losing streak. The contest starts at 1:05 PM ET on NBCS-CA with the Yankees listed as -247 favorites, while the are +203 underdogs...

Yankees vs. Athletics Probable Starting Pitchers – April 22

The Oakland Athletics (8-14) kick off a four-game series against the New York Yankees (15-7) with a Monday matchup at Yankee Stadium. First pitch is at 1:05 PM ET.The probable pitchers are Carlos Rodon (1-1) for the Yankees and JP...

Mavericks vs. Clippers Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets for NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Dallas Mavericks are slight 2.5-point favorites heading into Game 2 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers at Arena on Tuesday, tipping off at 10:00 PM ET on TNT. The Clippers lead...

Bucks vs. Pacers Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets for NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Milwaukee Bucks are slight 1.5-point favorites for Game 2 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Fiserv Forum on Tuesday, starting at 8:30 PM ET on NBA. The Bucks hold a 1-0 lead...

Thunder vs. Pelicans Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats and Best Bets for NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-point favorites in Game 2 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans at Paycom Center on Wednesday, tipping off at 9:30 PM ET on TNT. The Thunder have a...

Nuggets vs. Lakers Predictions, Best Bets and Odds: NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Monday, April 22, 2024

The Los Angeles Lakers are 7.5-point underdogs for Game 2 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on Monday, tipping off at 10:00 PM ET on TNT. The Nuggets are on top...

Knicks vs. 76ers Predictions, Best Bets and Odds: NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Monday, April 22, 2024

The New York Knicks are 5.5-point favorites heading into Game 2 of the opening round of the NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden on Monday, beginning at 7:30 PM ET on TNT. The Knicks have a...

Giants vs. Mets: Start Time, Streaming Live, TV Channel, How to Watch

On Monday, Jung Hoo Lee and the San Francisco Giants (10-13) play Pete Alonso and the New York Mets (12-9), with first pitch scheduled for 9:45 PM ET at Oracle Park.Keep reading to see how to watch the San Francisco-New...

How to Watch Angels vs. Orioles: Live Stream or on TV

On Monday, Reid Detmers will take the mound for the Los Angeles Angels (9-13) against Albert Suarez and the Baltimore Orioles (14-7), with first pitch scheduled for 9:38 PM ET at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.Keep reading to find out all...

Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox Series April 22-25: Odds, Starting Pitchers & Predictions

The Minnesota Twins are hosting the Chicago White Sox for a four-game series, with the first matchup getting underway at 7:40 PM ET on Monday, April 22.Twins vs. White Sox Series Info White Sox @ Twins Time: Monday, April 22...

more cubs news