Cubs Insider Weekly Farm Report: 5/11 – 5/17
AAA: Iowa Cubs (3-4 record on the week)
The I-Cubs were in tight games all week. 5 of their 7 games were decided by 2 runs or less.
As I mentioned last week, it was only a matter of time until Javier Baez got it going. Baez went 10-25 at the dish with a HR and 7 RBI. Also encouraging was that he struck out only 6 times versus 3 walks. We can take that ratio! At the conclusion of Sunday’s game, Baez was sitting at a cool .299 batting average. Our own Todd Johnson, wrote a nice piece about Baez and his change in where he stands in the batters box. He is much closer to the plate this season as shown by screen shots in Todd’s article.
John Andreoli continued his nice season. The speedster went a modest 5-22 at the dish, but he did walk 4 times and stole 6 bases. Andreoli has always been an intriguing prospect because he has walked and stolen bases at every level he has played at. The main question here is will pitchers in the big leagues challenge him more because of limited power? Probably. Regardless, he will still be a useful piece off the bench for many years to come at the very least.
Blake Cooper has been a busy man. Busy and effective. In the last week alone, he pitched in 4 ballgames, throwing 5 innings and allowing only 1 run. Cooper also struck out 7 and walked only 1. On the season, he sports a 1.74 ERA with an opponents batting average of .189. If the bullpen continues to struggle, he could be called up to help the big league club.
Donn Roach keeps making it had to ignore him. Roach continued his dominance last Wednesday against Nashville going 7 strong innings while allowing only 1 run. He continues to get ground balls and sported a 10/4 GB/FB ratio on the day.
Hitter of the week: Javier Baez– 10-25, HR, 2B, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SB, 3 R
Pitcher of the week: Donn Roach– 1 GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
AA: Tennessee Smokies (6-2 record on the week)
The Smokies had a dominating week going 6-2. In their 6 wins, the Smokies scored a whopping 39 runs. Unfortunately, the 2 losses were shutouts.
Kyle Schwarber is a man-child; the catcher went 9-25 with 4 HR and 8 RBI on the week. He also walked 5 times. There is a lot of encouraging news coming out about his defense lately as well. Reading this article over at MiLB.com, it sounds like he wants to improve that part of his game. A prospect with that type of drive will find a way to make it work one way or the other.
Billy McKinney celebrated his promotion to AA by going 5-14 with 4 doubles last week. Small sample alert: if he can remotely keep this up, that trade with Oakland last season may go down as one of the best the Cubs have ever made. Too dramatic? Maybe.
Starting pitcher-turned-reliever-turned starter Jeffry Antigua picked up 2 wins on the week. Control was a bit of an issue, but he was able to minimize the damage by limiting the opposing offenses to 0 and 1 run respectively. In the 2 starts overall, he went 11.1 innings allowing only 1 run. He did scatter 8 hits and issued 7 walks. Antigua, still only 24 years old, has good enough stuff to succeed but he has always been an enigma in terms of putting it all together with consistency.
Ivan Pineyro was very good again. He picked up the win last Thursday going 5 innings allowing only 1 run. He struck out 7 and walked none. More starts like his last few and he could be in Iowa shortly.
Hitter of the week: Kyle Schwarber – 9-25, 4 HR, 2B, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 8 R
Pitcher of the week: Frank Batista – 2 GS, 12 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 10 K (1W)
High-A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans (4-0 record on the week)
So, remember when the Pelicans played 9 games last week? They played only 4 this week due to 3 postponements. The universe is telling them something, I’m just not sure what exactly. The good news is when they did play, they won!
With Billy McKinney being promoted, the Pelicans offense will need someone to step up. That someone can be Jeimer Candelario. The 3rd baseman went 8-21 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI last week, showing signs of putting together a strong stretch. He ended the week with 3 multi-hit games.
This is starting to sound like a broken record, but Mark Zagunis is an on-base machine. He went 8-19 with 2 more walks. His on base percentage for the season sits at a cool .438 and there do not seem to be any signs of slowing down.
Recently promoted Chesny Young started off right where he left off, going 5-13 with 2 RBI. He also walked twice and scored 4 runs.
Duane Underwood, Jr. is becoming a must watch/follow. Every start this season has been a good one. No different last Friday versus Carolina. The right-hander tossed 5 shutout innings while striking out 3 and walking none. He is now 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 6 games started.
Reliever James Pugliese had the rare 2 win week out of the bullpen. Pugliese threw 4 innings in his 2 appearances giving up 1 run. He struck out 2 and walked only 1.
Hitter of the week: Mark Zagunis – 8-19, 3B, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 4 R
Pitcher of the week: Duane Underwood Jr. – 1 GS, 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (1W)
Low-A: South Bend Cubs (3-4 record on the week)
South Bend went 3-4 last week, splitting a 4 game series with Lansing and losing 2 of 3 to Great Lakes.
Starting pitcher Trevor Clifton was excellent last Friday, going 6 strong innings while allowing only 1 run. He also struck out 7 batters. Since his first appearance of the season, Clifton has been very good. He sports a 1.66 ERA in his last 6 appearances. A 2.60 ERA overall on the season is nothing to sneeze at either.
What’s an update without Jeremy Null? Null twirled 6 innings of 1 run ball last Tuesday versus Lansing picking up win number 4. Once again, the right-hander didn’t walk anyone and improved his K/BB ratio to 30/1 on the season.
Ryan Williams picked up another win tossing 6 innings of 3 unearned run ball on Saturday. He also struck out 7 while walking none. For the season, Williams sports a miniscule 0.72 ERA.
Offensively, it was the Gleyber Torres Show once again. The kid continues to impress everyone around baseball. Torres went 12-29 with 5 doubles and 7 RBI. For the season, Torres’ slash line looks very impressive as he is .336/.422/.425. Keep in mind he is still just 18 years old.
Leadoff man Charcer Burks went 9-32 on the week. Burks drove in 6 runs (5 in one game) and stole 2 bases.
Hitter of the week: Gleyber Torres – 12-29, 5 2B, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 4 R
Pitcher of the week: Trevor Clifton – 1 GS, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K (1W)