Here’s the first minor league recap of the season. I’ve made some changes to how I cover the game, going to try to provide more analysis of what I see and less box score coverage. I’ll provide a link to the box score but won’t be providing as much game scoring recap as I have in the past. I will provide links to game stories, if available. Of course, if there are some historic or noteworthy games, I’ll go into more detail.
I’ll continue to start with the AAA game each report and work my way down, adding the Eugene, Mesa, and the two Latin American Summer League teams when they start. For those of you new to the site, each player has its own player page, accessible by clicking on their name, that provides pictures, links to previous stories, bio information, and some videos.
Big congratulations to the South Bend and Myrtle Beach affiliates for their home debut wins tonight.
AAA—Memphis 7, Iowa 4
Memphis overcame a 4-1 deficit to beat Iowa in the season opener.
Hitting Recap: 3B Kris Bryant (NorthSIders #1) was 1-for-4 with a RBI single and a run scored while SS Addison Russell (NorthSiders #2) had a pair of single, scored once, and knocked in a run. LF Junior Lake delivered a two-run single in the four-run third and 1B Mike Baxter had two singles in his Cubs minor league debut.
Pitching Chart: Donn Roach made his Cubs debut and it was nothing spectacular, allowing 10 hits and four earned runs over 5.1 frames. He threw 77 pitches, 56 for strikes and got nine ground ball outs. Also making his Cubs debut, Drake Britton allowed back-to-back doubles in the seventh and then Armando Rivero (NorthSiders #10) surrendered a two-run homer to Xavier Scugggs. Gonzalez Germen tossed a scoreless 8th in his Cubs debut.
I-Cubs News: Javier Baez has left the team to be with is family after the passing of his 21-year-old sister. Cubs.com reporter Carrie Muskat wrote about their relationship in December of 2013. Here’s the link.......Carlos Pimentel gets the start on Friday night as the I-Cubs look to even up the series with a 6:05 p.m. CST start.
AA—Tennessee 7, Mississippi 2
Corey Black hurled five solid innings and Smokies made host of their seven hits in the season-opening win on the road.
Hitting Recap: C Kyle Schwarber (NorthSiders #3) was on base three times in his AA debut with a RBI triple and two walks. CF Albert Almora (NorthSiders #4) went 1-for-4, walked once and scored twice while 1B Daniel Vogelbach (NorthSiders #14) went 1-for 3 with a RBI. Seven different players collected a hit, including 2B Stephen Bruno (NorthSiders #28) who tripled and a scored on a wild pitch in a three-run 8th. RF Bijan Rademacher (NorthSiders #36) was 1-for-4 in his AA debut.
Pitching Chart: Corey Black (NorthSiders #18) got the start, throwing 64 pitches in five innings of work for the win. The right-hander threw 40 strikes, allowed four hits (1 for extra bases), one earned run, three walks and four punchouts. Black also picked off a pair. C.J. Edwards (NorthSiders #6) threw 49 pitches, 27 for strikes in 2.1 frames of relief. Edwards is starting the season out of the pen and the Cubs front office has said they have no plans to permanently move him out of the rotation and this move is to help keep his arm fresh for the entire season. After retiring seven of the first eight hitters he faced, Edwards ran into problems as a single, a double and walk ended his night with a line of 2.1 IP, 2H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2K. LH Hunter Cervenka got the final five outs, two on punchouts, to earn the save./P>
Smokies News: Ivan Pineyro (NorthSIders #35), who missed most of last year with an arm injury, get the start on Friday night as the Smokies look to make it two straight over the Braves,
High A—Myrtle Beach 9, Wilmington 1
The Pelicans pounded Wilmington pitching for 15 hits and Duane Underwood won his debut as Myrtle Beach celebrated their Cubs affiliate debut with a convincing win.
Hitting recap: 1B Jacob Rogers won’t be on any top prospect lists but the “unofficial MVP of Kane County” last year picked up right where he left off, going 3-for-4 with a homer, a double and two RBI to pace the offense. DH Shawon Dunston (NorthSIders #41) got it all started with a RBI triple in the second. CF Jacob Hannemann (NorthSiders #20) and SS Carlos Penalver (NorthSiders #27) both had three hits while C Victor Caratini (NorthSIders #15) and Daniel Lockhart had two each. Pelicans were 8-for16 with RISP. LF Mark Zagunis (NorthSIders #29) went 0-for-4 but threw out two runners on the bases, including one at home.
Pitching chart: Duane Underwood (NorthSiders #11) worked fast, commanded the strike zone, and won his Carolina League debut with five solid innings. A two-out error led to the only run of the game off the right-hander. He allowed four hits, walked two and fanned five, and coaxed five ground ball outs. His fastball showed good late movement to the arm side and threw a few knee buckling breaking balls. Jonathan Martinez (NorthSiders #24) threw a scoreless inning of relief and due to the number of quality starters at Myrtle Beach may have to get his work out of the bullpen for the time being. James Pugliese, a relief pitcher who throws in the mid-90s and had a solid year last year at Kane County, tossed two scoreless frames and Starling Peralta threw the final inning.
Pelicans News: Daury Torres (Northsiders #17) gets the start on Friday night and Paul Blackburn (Northsiders #12) goes on Saturday.
Low A—South Bend 2, Bowling Green (Rays) 1
Before a franchise record crowd of 7,086 fans at Four Winds Field, first baseman Cael Brockmeyer hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 9th in South Bend’s Cubs affiliate debut.
Hitting recap: 1B Cael Brockmeyer (Northsiders Report #50) had a pair of doubles and the game-winner, a no doubter over the left-field wall. RF Jeffrey Baez (Northsiders #46) provided the other run with a long homer in the second. SS Gleyber Torres (Northsiders #9) made his Midwest League debut and was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, but did look good at the plate despite chasing some fastballs up and out of zone. LF Charcer Burks (Northsiders #48) hit leadoff in his MWL debut, going 0-for-4 with 3 K. South Bend’s only other hit of the night was a single from 2B Chesny Young (Northsiders #44).
Pitching chart: RH Jake Stinnett (NorthSIders #19) looked good in his debut with his fastball sitting in the low 90s during his five frames. His only mistake was taken out of the park opposite field, one of three hits. He issued two free passes and fanned four in his MWL debut. The South Bend pen was just as impressive as Ryan Williams and James Farris, both drafted last June, tossed two scoreless frames. Williams got four ground ball outs in two frames with a strikeout. Farris, the 9th round pick out of the University of Arizona, had runners on both innings but used four strikeouts to pitch out of trouble and got credit for the win, the first of his career.
SB-Cubs News: Cubs 15th round pick RH Jeremy Null gets the start on Friday night against Bowling Green with a 6:35 p.m. CST first pitch. The Western Carolina product threw 16 innings between Boise and Mesa in his debut season—15 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 13 K.