Cubs Insider Weekly Farm Report: 7/6 – 7/16
AAA: Iowa Cubs
No one has been hotter over the last 10 days than outfielder Junior Lake. Lake went 11-24 with 4 home runs and 7 RBI. The 25-year-old has his slash line up to .310/.399/.476 on the season at Iowa.
Catcher Kyle Schwarber belted his 15th home run of the season and was also named MVP for the Futures Game in Cincinnati.
All-Star Arismendy Alcantara has started to turn it around. Alcantara went 11-37 at the dish with a home run, triple, and 5 doubles. He hits his XBH’s in bunches, so a sustained hot streak should be on the horizon.
Christin Villanueva hit his 11th home run of the season. Villanueva is currently slashing .256/.324/.448.
All-Star game starter Carlos Pimentel continues to pitch very well. In 2 starts, Pimentel went 11 innings allowing 5 runs on 9 hits. The right-hander has lowered his season ERA from 4.95 on May 22nd to 3.15 as of July 16th. The 3.15 ERA puts him in the top 10 in the Pacific Coast League.
Rehabbing Tsuyoshi Wada pitched well in his 2 starts. The left-hander was especially outstanding out of the break, going 6 innings allowing only 1 run. He also struck out 5 and walked none. Overall in the 2 starts, Wada went 10 innings allowing a total of 2 runs.
Recently demoted Jeffry Antigua was excellent in his 2 starts. Antigua went 10.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits. On the season, Antigua is 4-3 with a 3.42 ERA.
Hitting Star: Junior Lake – 11-24, 4 HR, 2B, 7 RBI, 2 BB, SB, 6 R
Pitching Star: Jeffry Antigua – 2 GS, 10.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K (1W)
AA: Tennessee Smokies
With notoriety comes expectations. Willson Contreras has started to pop up on national prospect lists and he has not disappointed. Contreras went a modest 9-34, but he also added 10 walks versus 5 strikeouts. On the season, the catcher has 33 walks compared to only 39 strikeouts.
Outfielder Billy McKinney went 10-36 with 5 RBI. He also walked 6 times. McKinney’s season numbers are excellent despite not having big home run numbers. He is currently slashing .310/.382/.472.
With Albert Almora at the Pan-American games, Bijan Rademacher has been getting everyday playing time in the middle of the order and fared pretty well. Rademacher went 10-38 with 4 RBI. He also walked 6 times.
On the mound, Pierce Johnson continues to be dominant in his return from injury. In 2 starts, Johnson went 12 innings while allowing only 2 runs. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 6 starts this season.
Ryan Williams was fantastic in his 2 starts, one of which was rain-shortened. Williams went 9 innings allowing only onw run. More impressive, he struck out 12 and walked none. Williams may be on his way to Cubs organizational pitcher of the year. He is 8-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 14 starts this season.
Hitting Star: Willson Contreras – 9-34, 3B, 2 2B, 3 RBI, 10 BB, 5 R
Pitching Star: Pierce Johnson – 2 GS, 12 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 7 K (2W)
High-A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Chesny Young went 11-33 with his first home run of the season.
Outfielder Kevin Brown went 9-34 at the dish blasting 2 home runs. Brown also drove in 6 runs.
Jonathan Martinez continues to be brilliant. In his 2 starts, Martinez went 14 innings allowing only 1 run on 8 hits. Martinez is now 6-1 with a 2.67 ERA on the season.
Jen-Ho Tseng is back. The right-hander was magnificent in his 2 starts, going 15 innings allowing only 2 runs. After a rough start to the season, Tseng has seemed to regain last season’s form. In his last 3 starts, he has pitched 20 innings allowing 9 hits, 6 walks, and 2 runs. He has stuck out 13 and walked 6.
Paul Blackburn returned from the disabled list, going 3 scoreless innings in his first appearance in over a month.
Jeremy Null was his usual self, providing 2 more quality starts. Null went 12 innings allowing 4 runs and continues to show excellent control. He has surrendered only 4 walks all season.
Hitting Star: Kevin Brown – 9-34, 2 HR, 2 2B, 6 RBI, BB, 5 R
Pitching Star: Jonathan Martinez – 2 GS, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (1W)
Low-A: South Bend Cubs
Yasiel Balaguert has been on absolute fire. Balaguert went 14-37 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI. On the season, the Cuban is slashing .301/.336/.459
Catcher Gioskar Amaya has really turned it on. He went 11-32 with a home run and 5 RBI. Over the last 30 days, Amaya is batting .390.
Charcer Burks went 8-30 with his 2nd home run of the season. Burks also drove in 5 runs and stole 3 bases.
Kevin Encarnacion went 12-34 with 7 runs scored. The outfielder is hitting .325 over the last 10 days.
Zach Hedges was dominant in his 2 starts. The right-hander picked up 2 wins throwing 15 innings of 2 run baseball and is now 5-5 on the season with a 3.64 ERA in 15 starts.
Tyler Ihrig picked up a win going 7.1 shut out innings in his last start.
Erick Leal was solid his 2 starts, going 13 innings allowing 5 runs on 14 hits. The lone strikeout is worrisome, but he only walked two.
Trevor Clifton struck out 14 versus only 3 walks in his 2 starts.
Hitting Star: Yasiel Balaguert – 14-37, 3 HR, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 7 R
Pitching Star: Zach Hedges – 2 GS, 15 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K (2W)
Short Season-A: Eugene Emeralds
Eloy Jimenez went 4-12 in his return from injury.
Ian Happ has started to get it going with the base hits. He went 12-39 with a triple and 3 doubles. He also continues to walk a lot, drawing 5 free passes. Despite the .269 batting average, Happ has impressed many with his eye. He currently has an OBP of .405.
19-year-old shortstop Frandy Delarosa has been a pleasant surprise. He went 15-41 with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored. For the season, he is batting .307.
Oscar De La Cruz continues to open eyes. De La Cruz picked up a win versus Vancouver going 6 innings allowing only 1 run. The big right-hander is 2-1 on the season with a 2.39 ERA.
Justin Steele picked up a win versus Vancouver as well going 5 innings allowing 1 run. Steele is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA at Eugene thus far.
Right-hander Greyfer Eregua was solid in his 2 long relief appearances. Eregua threw 7 scoreless innings striking out 11 batters.
Hitting Star: Ian Happ – 12-39, 3B, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 4 SB, 7 R
Pitching Star: Greyfer Eregua – 2 G, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K