Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

News, Notes and Game Recaps from Aug. 3

Myrtle Beach’s Trevor Clifton took a no-hitter into the eighth to help the Pelicans sweep the Keys. Ryan Kellogg tossed five plus innings in South Bend’s win while Ian Happ and Victor Caratini homered in extras for Tennessee

Those guys we traded

Here’s a look at the six prospects the Cubs shipped off to acquire three bullpen arms for the stretch run

Daniel Vogelbach—Played in 13 games for AAA Tacoma and has 2 HR and 8 RBI while hitting .182/.321/.341 with 9 BB and 8 K.

Paul Blackburn—Appeared in two games and one of those was a one-inning start for AA Jackson. In his other start, Blackburn went six frames and took the loss, allowing two runs on seven hits and walk.

Gleyber Torres—In six games in the Florida State League for Tampa, Torres is 5-for-24 with two RBI and a slash of .208/.321/.292.

Rashad Crawford—The 22-year-old is hitting .167/.259/.167 in six games with Tampa.

Billy McKinney—In five games at AA Trenton, McKinney is 4-for-17 with a homer and two RBI. He only hit one homer in over 300 plate appearances in Tennessee.

Jesus Castillo—The 20-year-old right-hander has been assigned to Burlington in the Midwest League and has yet to make his Angels debut.

Dog Days of August

August is the most interesting month in the minors for me. You have several pitchers reaching career-highs in innings pitched and the number of games played starts to take its toll on the position players. I think people have a tendency to pay way too much attention to stats early in the season and not enough of the month-by-month progress or regression. 

Overall its been a rough year for the Cubs pitching in the minors. Top prospects Pierce Johnson, Duane Underwood, Ryan Williams, Dylan Cease and Oscar De La Cruz all missed time this season with injuries and several other prospects have pitched below their expectations. There are some bright spots but the Cubs clearly have no one waiting in the wings to take the ball every five days as a big-league stater.

Cubs strength is still their position players despite trading away Gleyber Torres. Eloy Jimenez is the best of the bunch in my opinion and Ian Happ could make his big league as early as next year. Eddy Martinez got off to a slow start in his first pro season but has been one of the top prospects in the organization the past two months, not only at the plate but he’s been throwing out runners at a record clip the last two weeks and has 10 outfield assists, including two at home in the same inning. 

Here’s the day’s recap:

Pacific Coast League—AAA—New Orleans (Marlins) 9, Iowa 4

The Zephyrs banged out 14 hits to take the series opener at Principal Park.

Hitting Recap: CF Albert Almora (.322) knocked in pair of runs with a double and a single while 3B Jeimer Candelario (.297) delivered a two-run single in the Cubs three-run eighth. RF John Andreoli (.257) and 2B Logan Watkins (.287) had two hits each. LF Bijan Rademacher went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his AAA debut. 

Pitching Chart: Drew Rucinski (5-12, 6.18 ERA) got roughed up for 11 hits and five runs as the right-hander lasted five innings. Rucinski threw 81 pitches and fanned four. RH Pierce Johnson continues to work out of the bullpen, fanning four in two shutout frames. Gerardo Concepcion was tagged for four runs in the eight, allowing three hits and a walk. Spencer Patton fanned one in a scoreless ninth.

I-Cubs Notes: Jordan Pries gets the ball for the third time for Iowa since being traded by the Mariners. IF Tommy La Stella hasn’t reported to Iowa to start his latest assignment. Cubs are saying he was given extra time to deal with personal issues......According to Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register, OF Mark Zagunis has a broken bone in his foot and could miss the rest of the season. Zagunis (.274/.360/.486, 50 G) has not played since July 29. OF Bijan Rademacher was promoted from Tennessee to replace Zagunis on the roster.

Southern League—AA—Tennessee 7, Birmingham (White Sox) 6—10 innings

Ian Happ and Victor Caratini blasted solo homers in the 10th to as the Smokies topped the Barons for the third straight night.

Hitting Recap: Ian Happ’s quickest path to the big leagues  may be in the outfield as he’s made four starts in the past week after seeing most of his time at second in AA. Starting in right, the Cub first-round pick in 2015 homered with two outs in the 10th and scored three times. C Victor Caratini (.296) followed Happ with a bomb of his own over the left-field fence, ending the night 2-for-5 with two RBI. 1B David Freitas (.306) was 2-for-5 with a RBI while DH Jorge Soler had two singles and walked once. 

Pitching Chart: Brad Markey went six innings, surrendering three runs on five hits in the 69-pitch outing.  He fanned two, got eight ground ball outs and had a game score of 59. Jack Leathersich worked a scoreless seventh but Starling Peralta (6-1, 3.28 ERA) got charged with a pair of unearned runs in the eighth, his first of two innings. Stephen Perakslis got the first two outs of the 10th but walked the next four hitters to cut the lead to one. James Farris fanned the only batter he saw for his fourth save.

Smokies News: Zach Hedges (0-1, 4.09 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday night at Birmingham.....Cubs have signed free agent outfielder Lane Adams and assigned him to Tennessee. Adams was released after the Yankees acquired Billy McKinney from the Cubs and sent him to Trenton. Adams hit .254/.341/.357 in 92 games this season between AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 6 HR and 31 stolen bases.

Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach 5, Frederick (Orioles) 0

Trevor Clifton took a no-hitter into the eighth as the Pelicans swept the Keys.

Hitting Recap: Pelicans scored the only run they would need in the third when Tyler Pearson singled, took second on a passed ball, advanced to third on a fly out and scored on a Charcer Burks ground out. Jeffrey Baez slugged a solo homer in the fifth and added another solo shot in the ninth. 1B Yasiel Balaguert delivered a two-run double in the eighth. SS Andrew Ely was 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Pitching Chart: If you’re looking for the Cubs top pitching prospect you may want to put your eyes on Trevor Clifton, 12th round pick in 2013 and the Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May. The 21-year-old made his 19th start on Wednesday afternoon against Frederick, the third time he faced the Keys. The right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth before a leadoff double from Jomar Reyes ended the post-game press conference and the day for Clifton. He fanned six in the 97-pitch gem. Ryan McNeil allowed two hits over the final two shutout innings.

Pelicans News: Preston Morrison (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his second start in the Carolina League on Thursday night against Carolina.

Midwest League—Low A—South Bend 2, Fort Wayne (Padres) 0

Ryan Kellogg and two relievers blanked Fort Wayne in the series opener.

Hitting Recap: Cubs scored both of their runs in the third when 2B Carlos Sepulveda (.323) led off with a bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a single by DH P.J. Higgins (.274). An error on a ground ball off the bat of C Alberto Mineo (.304) scored the first run and 3B Vimael Machin (.176) made in 2-0 with a RBI single to left. LF Eloy Jimenez (.343) had his nine-game hitting streak snapped—20-for-34 during the streak. Sepulveda, Higgins and Machin all finished with two hits.

Pitching Chart: Ryan Kellogg (5-7, 3.28 ERA) held the Tin Caps to a pair of hits over 5.2 shutout innings and left after 93 pitches, 54 for strikes. The 6-foot-6 left-hander recorded seven ground ball outs, issued two walks and finished with a game score of 68. Despite his record, Kellogg sports a 1.12 WHIP in 107 innings and a .239 BAA. Tanner Griggs got the final out of the sixth on a fly ball to left and worked two more scoreless frames, fanning three. Carson Sands, fresh off the DL, picked up his first pro save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

SB-Cubs News:  RHP Kyle Miller (5-2, 257 ERA) has been placed on the DL and the Cubs have activated LHP Carson Sands......2B Carlos Sepulveda left the game with an unknown injury after the bottom of the fifth. South Bend play-by-play man Darin Pritchard said he ran to first “gingerly” after grounding out in the fourth.

Northwest League—Short-Season—Eugene

Eugene enjoyed its final day of the all-star break and are back in action on Thursday as they host Vancouver. No starter has been named. IF Stephen Bruno will join the team and start a rehab stint. Bruno went on the DL back on June 11 in AA Tennessee with a back injury.

Arizona Rookie League—Cubs 3, Giants 1

Four Cubs pitchers kept the Giants in check.

Hitting Recap: Cubs tied the game in the fourth on a single from SS Isaac Paredes (IFA15-M, .296) and a RBI double from C Michael Cruz (.274). 2B Edgar Rondon (.280) stole home to give the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the fifth and 3B Rafael Mejia (.209) doubled home a run in the eighth. LF Kwang-Min Kwon (IFA15-SK) made his pro debut on Wednesday night in the Arizona Rookie League. Considered the top prospect out of the Pacific Rim and one of the best young international power hitters, the Cubs gave the 18-year-old a reported $1.2 million after his senior year of high school. Scout Paul Weaver described the youngster as a five-tool player with a high baseball IQ. He made a big splash at fall instructs, taking the home run derby and showcasing his power. In his debut against the Giants, Kwon went 0-for-2 before being replaced by Tolly Filotei after hitting in the fourth. Cruz had two doubles while RF Luis Ayala (.306) and Rondon had two hits each.

Pitching Chart: Stephen Fife returned to the mound for the first time since going on the DL on May 24 with AAA Iowa. Signed as a free agent in the off-season, the former Dodger allowed a hit over three innings and got charged with an unearned run. Josh Conway made another rehab appearance with a 1-2-3 fourth. RH Jordan Brink (1-1, 9.00 ERA) fanned two in a scoreless fifth and earned the win. RH Javier Assad (IFA15-M) struckout seven over the final four shutout frames, to earn the save. The right-hander gave up four hits and walked one.

Cubs Notes: Cubs face the Padres on Thursday night.

Dominican Summer League— Mets 1 (7), Cubs 1 (6) 

Mets scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game and walked-off in the ninth.

Hitting Recap: 1B Luis Hidalgo (IFA-13-V, .222) launched his eighth homer, a three-run shot in the fourth to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. They added two more in the eighth on a RBI single from 3B Rafael Narea (IFA14-V, .260) and a sacrifice fly from SS Yonathan Perlaza (IFA15-V, .271). CF Jose Gutierrez (IFA15-V, .245) went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored while DH Jonathan Sierra singled and scored.

Pitching Chart: Brailyn Marquez (IFA15-DR) got the start and tossed 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and a walk that produced two runs, one earned. He fanned four and got five ground ball outs. Elvis Diaz (FA15-DR) fanned six over three innings but gave up four runs on seven hits. Moises Ramirez (IFA12-DR, 1-1, 2.39 ERA) got charged with a blown save by allowing the tying run to score on a double in the eighth and took the loss as a walk, a wild pitch, a double and another wild one gave the Mets the win.

Cubs Notes: Cubs battle Mets 1 on Thursday.

Dominican Summer League—Twins (11), Cubs 2 (2)

Twins crushed the Cubs behind a 13-hit attack.

Hitting Recap: 2B Luis Diaz (IFA15-DR, .268) had two hits and scored once while SS Aramis Ademan (IFA15-DR, .236) was 1-for-3 with a run scored. 3b Richard Nunez (IFA13-DR, got credit for his 16th RBI.

Pitching Chart: Carlos Ocampo (IFA15-Col.) didn’t make it out of the first as he allowed two runs on two hits and three walks and left with the bases loaded. Wilfre Delgado  (IFA15-DR) got out of the jam without any more runs but surrendered five runs over the next three innings. Ivan Medina (IFA13-V) gave up a run over two innings and Sucre Valdez (IFA14-DR) got charged with three unearned run in three frames.

Cubs Notes: Cubs face the Twins on Thursday.

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