Five Stars of the Cub Farm, 6/15/21, Led By Home Runs From Five Prospects: Hermosillo, Durna, Reynolds, Morel, Maldonado

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Five Stars of the Cub Farm, 6/15/21, Led By Home Runs From Five Prospects: Hermosillo, Durna, Reynolds, Morel, Maldonado

Chicago Cubs

I’m excited for Bob Stock day, not necessarily because of what it portends in the Win-Loss column, but because I think if it were to work out okay, it offers the Cubs a unique way to think about starting pitching moving forward. Stock is a guy you’re going to ask for 9-18 batters, and I think that’s probably all you’re ever going to ask. I’ve always been on the fence with the Opener strategy, and it’s practical value to winning baseball, but I like the idea of playing with the format in unique ways, especially with a deep bullpen like the Cubs have.

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

I’m going to break with our usual method of going through the tweet and instead just give you a couple sentences on each player mentioned.

Carlos Sepulveda: You might remember Carlos from 2016, when a .310 average as a teenager in the Midwest League made him pop up on the back end of some Cubs prospect lists. But the lack of power limited any upside, and Sepulveda ultimately was a victim of the Cubs minor league cuts last year. But as the Cubs have seen the injuries pile up in 2021, particularly to that Smokies infield, they reached out to Carlos and brought him back about two weeks ago. Now playing at Double-A for the first time, Sepulveda now has three doubles in his last two games.

Bradford Deppermann: We recently discovered that Deppermann would like to go buy his full name of Bradford, and I’ll tell you that I’m here for it. The season numbers for the right-hander: 16.1 IP, 15 H, 3.86 ERA, 5 BB, 19 K, 0 HR-A. Very quiet breakout happening here, and I think Deppermann is the type that teams are going to ask about as a throw-in next month in trades.

Pablo Aliendo: The last 14 games: .404/.456/.558, and you just come away surprised anytime he doesn’t grab a couple hits. I reviewed some video over the weekend and my big takeaway was Aliendo’s bat speed jumped out as a fully plus tool. The bad news is that catching hasn’t gone well – 18% caught stealing, 6 errors, 5 PB in 18 starts – so I think I’d begin to wonder if second base was an option here. Has the lateral athleticism for it.

Yohendrick Pinango: The best offensive player in the Cubs system over the last month, especially when you consider the context of age and offensive environment. I think he’s probably cemented himself as a top 12 prospect now, and someone I flat out misranked over the winter.

Scott Effross: Three hitless innings last night, his best performance in Triple-A so far. The sidearmer now has the K% up to 28.9% since joining Iowa, as the slider is showing it’s a plus pitch at any level. Home runs on the fastball are going to be an issue, but credit to Scott for really upping his profile here. He’s a minor league free agent at the end of the year, and you can bet the Cubs will be interested in retaining his services.

Michael Hermosillo: After 10 games since returning from injury, he’s hitting .394/.524/.758. This guy is going to need a Major League opportunity, but the fit is a bit awkward, as he’s kind of another version of Jake Marisnick. I suppose you keep him in Triple-A for depth, and if he’s never called up, you just add him to the 40-man roster after the season (to not allow him to get to minor league free agency).

Tyler Durna: The added pop is pretty significant, as Durna has a lot of the other boxes checked: fantastic defensive first baseman, one of the better contact bats in the system, good batting eye. With even 15 home run power, you have a guy that develops an interesting Major League case down the road. Last 20 games in High-A: .306/.405/.514.

Ryan Reynolds: Seven extra-base hits now in 49 plate appearances. He’s too good for Low-A, move this man to South Bend.

Chris Morel. Let’s jump to Twitter for this one.

Nelson Maldonado: One of my favorite players in the system, the no-batting gloves guy that just wears down pitchers. You can tell how high the Cubs are on him, given the Double-A assignment after just 141 A-ball plate appearances prior to this year. An injury delayed his start to the season by two weeks, and then he struggled out of the gate. But last eight games has found himself, with a .958 OPS and as many walks as strikeouts. Problem will be the lack of a defensive home: he’s mostly DH’ing with the Smokies.

Last I want to end by pointing out that Arizona Phil has been posting his box scores from Extended Spring Training recently at The Cub Reporter. Yesterday’s game brought good news on the injury front, as we saw rehab appearances from Alfonso Rivas, Brendon Little, and Hunter Bigge. The previous day brought us some good news on a few of the prospects brought over in the Darvish trade. The Arizona Complex League (this is what it’s called now) team for the Cubs this year should be loaded with top 40 prospects. That league will get underway in a little less than two weeks.

Author: Bryan Smith

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