AAA: Iowa Cubs (3-4 record on the week)
The I-Cubs have run into some rough weather in the early going. This week was no different as they had an already postponed game postponed again. That’s a total of 4 games postponed and that’s not counting the other numerous delays. We can only hope for some clear skies!
When they were able to play, the Cubs lineup got a boost as Javier Baez made his return from bereavement. Baez went 5-19 with 1 HR and 2 RBI; he also struck out 5 times. Those who follow the Baez know his K rate is something that needs to come down for him to have sustained success in the big leagues. There are no ways around it. We will be following that % all year.
Utility man Arismendy Alcantara seems to have taken his demotion well. He went 10-28 on the week with 3 HR and 8 RBI. The speedy 23 year old added 2 triples and a stolen base as well. He is now slashing .277/.358/.596 on the season at Iowa.
On the mound, James Russell continues to get hitters out. Hehad 2 more scoreless appearances and now boasts a 0.00 ERA in 9.2 innings while striking out 12 and walking none on the season. With the recent struggles in the big league pen, you have to think a call up could be coming soon.
Hitter of the week: Arismendy Alcantara – 10-28, 3 HR, 3 3B, 8 RBI, 1 SB, 6 R
Pitcher of the week: Donn Roach – 2 GS, 14 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (2W)
AA: Tennessee Smokies (3-4 record on the week)
If there is one thing that jumps out at you when you look at the the Smokies, it’s that they play a lot of close games. 6 of the 7 games Tennessee was involved in this week were decided by 2 runs or less.
At the dish, Kyle Schwarber continues to impress. The big man went 9-23 while belting 3 HR’s and driving in 6 runs. Schwarber is now slashing a gaudy .347/.462/.653 on the season. He has hit everywhere he has gone and Tennessee is no different. At this point, the only thing holding him back are questions about his defense and if he can stick at catcher. The bat will play anywhere.
Recently promoted Jacob Hannemann wasted no time with his new team, slugging a HR in his first AA at-bat. For the week, he hit 7-28 and scored 4 runs. You never want to see anyone get hurt, but the injury to Albert Almora opens up an opportunity for a guy like Hannemann. Good to see him take advantage.
Starting pitcher Corey Black has electric stuff and he had that on display on Saturday versus the Barons. Black struck out 10 in only 5.2 innings. Control is a key for Black; if he can limit the walks and deep pitch counts, he will pitch deeper into games. Please harness it Corey!
Hitter of the week: Kyle Schwarber – 9-23, 3 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 4 R
Pitcher of the week: Ivan Pineyro – 2 GS, 12 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 11 K (1W)
High-A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans (4-2 record on the week)
The Pelicans ended the week on a 3-game winning streak. How did they do it? Really good starting pitching. The trio of Paul Blackburn, Duane Underwood Jr, and Tyler Skulina each had outings of at least 5 innings giving up a maximum of 1 earned run.
Skulina was the most impressive of the three. He went 6 shutout innings on Sunday while striking out 8. Skulina, a 4th round pick in 2013, has had an up and own season thus far. Hopefully the start on Sunday starts a good stretch of consistent good pitching for him.
At the plate, Billy McKinney had a nice week on Sunday. He went 2-4 while clubbing 2 solo HR’s versus the Hillcats. Good to see him get it going with the power a little bit. Prior to the game on Sunday, he only had 2 XBH on the season.
Hitter of the week: Mark Zagunis – 6-18, HR, 3B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 2 R
Pitcher of the week: Tyler Skulina – 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (1W)
Low-A: South Bend Cubs (4-2 record on the week)
The Cubs continued their strong play, going 4-2 on the week while running their record to 9-4 in their last 13 games.
Gleyber Torres continued to wreck havoc on Midwest league pitching. He went 11-24 on the week including his first 4-hit game of his career. He is now slashing .337/.436/.419 on the season. The kid is only 18 years old! It might be time for me to make my way to Four Winds Field to see him play.
Second baseman Chesny Young also remained hot, going 10-23 on the week while driving in 6 runs and scoring 5. The 14th round pick from last year has been impressive with the bat. He is now slashing .322/.398/.400 on the season.
Jeremy Null continued his dominance, pitching 5.2 shut out innings versus the Whitecaps last Wednesday. He struck out 6 and walked none. On the season, he boasts a miniscule 0.79 ERA. The most impressive item at Null’s line is his K/BB ratio. He has 23 strikeouts and ZERO walks on the season. These stats among others were the reason Jermey Null was named pitcher of the month in the Cubs organization [LINK].
Hitter of the week: Gleyber Torres – 11-24, 2 3B, 2 2B, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB, 6 R
Pitcher of the week: James Farris – 2 App, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (1W, 1SV)