Cubs Insider Weekly Farm Report: 6/1 – 6/7
AAA: Iowa Cubs (4-3 record on the week)
Injuries suck, man. Why can’t we turn them off like we can in a video game? Javy Baez fractured his ring finger Sunday sliding headfirst into 2nd base. The timing is extremely unfortunate. Baez had transitioned to third base in the expectation that he might get the call to the big leagues soon. Prior to getting hurt, Baez had a very good week at the plate, going 10-29 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. Get well soon, Javy.
No one had a better week at the dish than Christian Villanueva. The corner man went 10-30 with 4 home runs, 12 RBI, and 9 runs scored. He also added a triple and 2 doubles. I should note the 4 home runs came in 4 consecutive games. Villanueva now boasts a slash line of .285/.344/.514 at Iowa this season.
Arismendy Alcantara remained on fire at the plate. For the week, he went 11-25 with a home run, triple, and double. Alcantara also stole 6 bases in 7 attempts. He has put himself back in the conversation for the big league team.
Donn Roach continued to do Donn Roach things. The right-hander threw 12 innings of 2-run ball, picking up a win and a no-decision in his 2 starts on the week. Roach also struck out 7 and walked only 2. For the season, he now has a 6-0 record with a 2.07 ERA in 12 games started. Small sample size, schmall sample size. It’s fun to talk about a players success.
Hitter of the week: Christian Villanueva– 10-30, 4 HR, 3B, 2 2B, 12 RBI, 2 BB, 9 R
Pitcher of the week: Donn Roach– 2 GS, 12 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K (1W)
AA: Tennessee Smokies (4-3 record on the week)
Willson Contreras is en fuego. The 23-year-old went 13-31 with a home run, double, and 9 RBI at the dish. Contreras has provided great protection to Schwarber in more ways than one. He’s the guy who catches when Kyle doesn’t. And Contreras is currently 2nd amongst all qualified batters in the Southern League in batting average, hitting a robust .332.
The other catcher on the roster is pretty good too. Kyle Schwarber just rakes, man. He went 9-29 with 6 RBI and 5 runs scored. Schwarber leads the Southern League in OPS and is in the top 5 in almost every other offensive category. A promotion could be coming soon based on the Kris Bryant path. Bryant was promoted after 68 games played last season. Schwarber is currently at 52.
On the mound, Ryan Williams made his debut at Tennessee on Wednesday and picked up the W. He went 5.1 innings while allowing 3 runs. He struck out 4 and walked only 1. A promotion for Williams was not all that surprising as he just dominated Low-A. However, it caught me off-guard that he skipped High-A completely. College pitchers generally move quicker than high school arms, so it’s not too surprising in that regard.
Frank Batista lowered his league leading ERA. “El Tiburon” started twice throwing 12.2 innings and allowing only 2 runs.Batista is now 6-1 with a 1.49 ERA in 11 starts. Just an incredible run.
Corey Black’s pen debut went very well. The right-hander made 2 scoreless appearances going 4 innings in total while striking out 5. If he pitches well and limits his walks, there is an outside shot we could see Black in the big leagues to help bolster the pen for a last season playoff push.
Hitter of the week: Willson Contreras – 13-31, HR, 2B, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 5 R
Pitcher of the week: Frank Batista – 2 GS, 12.2 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (1W)
High-A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans (2-6 record on the week)
Offense did not come easy for the Pelicans last week. Mak Zagunis, the most consistent bat for the Pelicans all season, went 8-27 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI. The catcher-turned-outfielder also drew 4 walks and stole 2 bases. Zagunis leads the Carolina League with an OBP of .436.
When Chesny Young makes an out, I am surprised. Young went 10-28 with 3 RBI. He is batting .360 in 23 games since his promotion.
There are about 8 pitchers in Myrtle Beach that intrigue me. Throw Tyler Skulina into that category. Skulina continues to pitch very well as he went 6 innings while allowing only 1 run. The 23-year-old struck out 8 batters while walking only 1 and is now 2-4 with a 3.75 ERA. He also has 47 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched.
Reliever Michael Heesch picked up both Pelicans wins last week. Heesch made 3 appearances throwing 4 scoreless innings. In 13 games this season, he is 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA.
Closer James Pugliese also had a very nice week with 2 appearances totaling 4.2 innings of scoreless ball.
Hitter of the week: Mark Zagunis – 8-27, 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 2 SB, 8 R
Pitcher of the week: Tyler Skulina – 1 GS, 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (L)
Low-A: South Bend Cubs (4-2 record on the week)
Cael Brockmeyer had himself a good ending to the week. He started off 0-7, but finished 7-15 with a home run and 4 RBI in the final 4 games of the week. Overall, the catching prospect is batting .302 in 48 games this season.
Those who follow the Cubs minors closely know the story of Kevin Encarnacion. The outfield prospect was involved in a horrific motor accident which caused him to miss all of last season. He has made his presence felt early on this season though. Encarnacion went 6-17 on the week with a home run and 3 RBI; feel-good story of the season.
Jeffrey Baez was productive in a small sample. Baez went 5-10 with 2 RBI in his 3 games played last week. It’s been a struggle for the 21-year-old thus far, but hopefully some positive production gets him going. Baez is slashing .215/.277/.292 through 39 games.
Jeremy Null was back in the win column following a solid 6-inning outing versus Quad Cities on Saturday. Null allowed 1 run on 5 hits. He also struck out 4 and walked none. After a few shaky starts, Null has seemed to right the ship. His season numbers are still excellent sitting at 6-1 with a 1.75 ERA.
2014 2nd round pick Jake Stinnett also picked up a W last week. He went 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs. He struck out 5 while walking 3. Stinnett has been wildly inconsistent all season with his control. He has walked 27 batters in 38.1 innings.
Hitter of the week: Cael Brockmeyer – 7-22, HR, 3B, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 R
Pitcher of the week: Jeremy Null – 1 GS, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (W)