Chicago Cubs Weekly Farm Report (7/23/19): Ian Happ Ready, Tennessee Has Fastest Duo in Minors

News in the System

  • We not return you to your regularly scheduled programming with the Weekly Farm Report this week. We are about to hit a busy time in the system as the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaches. I will be tuned into MiLB TV for the next week or so as we are in full #HugWatch mode.
  • Rising prospect Brennen Davis was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt for the second time this month. It was enough to injure his finger and put him up on the IL, but it is not expected to be too serious and we should see him back in the lineup before the season is over.
  • Adbert Alzolay was looking like he would not see any more time in the minors this season after a strong start to his career in Chicago. Unfortunately, he now he finds himself on the IL with bicep soreness. He was sitting in the high 80’s with his fastball (about 8-10 mph slower than normal) before he was pulled from his last start. There is currently no timetable for his return.
  • The Growing Cubs Podcast featured some thoughts on the newly released Baseball America top 30 Cubs prospects lists as well as the usual segments including Listener Questions, Dudes and Duds, and TBT.
  • There is a serious youth movement in the lower minors and Todd Johnson wrote about the 19-year-olds taking the organization by storm.

Triple-A Iowa Cubs

  • The I-Cubs dipped below .500 for the week, going 3-4 mostly due to some serious starting pitching miscues. The team allowed nearly eight runs per game. Fortunately, their season record still sits at 56-45, good enough for a 10-game lead on the Omaha Storm Chasers in the PCL American Northern division.
  • If you take out the two starts made by Colin Rea, each of the other starters recorded clunkers. Trevor Clifton allowed seven runs on Tuesday, Alzolay gave up five on Wednesday, Tyson Miller surrendered seven on Thursday, and Matt Swarmer saw five runners score.
  • Ian Happ is red-hot. He clobbered three homers last week and seems just about ready for a promotion to Chicago. He has also upped his trade value if the front office sees that as an option.
  • Phillip Evans was the other bat with an impressive week. He had four extra-base hits in his 21 plate appearances while striking out only three times.
  • PJ Higgins received a promotion from Tennessee and has already played the three positions he saw the most time at in Double-A. He took the field at his natural catcher position as well as both sides of the corner of the infield.

Double-A Tennessee Smokies

  • The Smokies went 1-5 last week as they continue to scuffle in this second half of the season. They are 10-20 since the All-Star break and are already nine games back of the first place (and first half winners) Montgomery Biscuits. 
  • Cory Abbott put up a line that we have gotten used to seeing from him: Seven innings, two hits, one earned run, six strikeouts, one walk. He should be starting 2020 in Iowa.
  • Jhonny Pereda oddly did not walk in his 21 plate appearances last week, but he made up for it by striking out only once and OPS’ing .952. His season strikeout percentage now sits only 0.3% above his walk rate.
  • Erick Leal has had a strange career path in the Cubs system after being acquired in the Tony Campana deal years ago. He is back up to Tennessee after a delayed start to the season and a quick stop in Myrtle Beach.
  • Zach Davis got the call to Double-A last week and now fills out the duo with Roberto Caro as the fastest teammates in Minor League Baseball. They have a combined 66 stolen bases this year.

High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans

  • The Birds went 3-2 last week and just have kept flipping the script from the first half of the season. What was once the worst team in the league now sits in second place in the division in the second half, just one game out of first place. 
  • Jack Patterson made another start at this level and once again he did not give up a run. His scoreless streak is now up to 24.2 innings and there is no one forcing his way onto more radars than the Bryant University alum.
  • Manuel Rodriguez was called on for nine outs out of the bullpen last week and he recorded *checks notes* nine strikeouts. He did not walk anyone, did not allow any runs, and only let two guys reach by hit.
  • Jesus Camargo just keeps on doing his thing as a multi-inning reliever this season. Another 4.1 scoreless innings puts his ERA at 2.48 with opponents hitting just .175 off of him.
  • After missing over a calendar year recovering from Tommy John surgery, Chad Hockin had a heck of a performance in his return. He struck out five and put up nothing but zeros besides that in his two innings back on the mound.

Low-A South Bend Cubs

  • South Bend salvaged the week with a win on Sunday to finish at 1-5. They just aren’t scoring a ton of runs right now, but with the talent they have taking the field every day, that will surely turn around sooner rather than later. They were helped out by a good start to the second half and have a record of 14-16, just five games out of first place.
  • Faustino Carrera has probably gone too far under the radar this season based on his performance. He went five innings of one run ball last week, moving his ERA to 2.58 with a 1.11 WHIP.
  • Cam Sanders is not too far behind Carrera. He gave up three hits and did not allow a run in his five innings, pushing his ERA to 3.17 and WHIP to 1.32.
  • Brendon Little is finally truly healthy and looked terrific in his two starts last week. His 9.2 total innings produced a 13:4 K:BB ratio and he only gave up a couple runs on five hits.
  • My favorite prospect in the system, DJ Artis, made his way back from a couple months on the IL. He will suit up in centerfield for the Cubs almost every day from here on out.
  • Yonathan Perlaza got the call up from Eugene and doubled a couple times. He can play some second and third and really has filled out his body with decent muscle at only 20 years old.

Short Season Eugene Emeralds

  • The Ems went 3-4 last week, losing their four games by a total of only seven runs. They failed to secure the division in the first half of the season and will look to turn things around in the second half as they sit at 16-21 overall
  • Zach Mort had a heck of a week. He made two starts totaling 13.1 innings and only allowed a .156 batting average with a 0.68 WHIP. He only gave up one hit in his 6.1 innings on Sunday.
  • Brandon Hughes could be a pretty cool story. Originally drafted as an outfielder in the 16th round in 2017, he has been converted to a pitcher and struck out three batters in his two innings of relief last week.
  • The organization’s first round draft pick from this year was Ryan Jensen. He made his second start of the season on Thursday and his first at home, striking out four in his two innings of work. He featured a fastball sitting in the high 90’s and a pretty good-looking slider to go along with it. He will be on a pretty strict innings limit this year after getting worked quite a bit during his time with Fresno State.
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