Jimenez, Happ headed to AFL
Cubs top prospects Eloy Jimenez and Ian Happ will play in the Arizona Fall League when play begins on Oct. 11. They will be joined on the Mesa Solar Sox by C Victor Caratini and right-handed pitchers Duane Underwood, Stephen Perakslis, James Farris and Ryan McNeil.
Jimenez is the youngest of the group as the 19-year-old was named the Midwest League’s MVP and top prospect and is hitting .331/.371/.536 in 111 games with 14 HR and 81 RBI.
Happ, the Cubs first-round pick in 2015, started the year in Myrtle Beach (.296/.410/.475 7 HR, 42 RBI, 69 G) and was promoted to AA Tennessee in late June. With the Smokies, the switch-hitting Happ is batting .259/.321/.395 with 6 HR and 27 RBI in 59 contests.
Caratini has spent the entire season in AA and the switch hitting backstop is slashing .294/.378/.409 in 112 games with a career-high six homers. He was named a Southern League post-season all-star.
Underwood is regarded as one of the Cubs top pitching prospects but has been hampered by injuries this season. In 13 starts at Tennessee, the hard-throwing 22-year-old was 0-5 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 58.2 innings. He went on the DL July 7 and during his return has pitched in Mesa and South Bend and was assigned to Myrtle Beach on Wednesday.
Farris started the year in Myrtle Beach and after eight saves and 17 appearances, was promoted to AA in early June. In 24 games for the Smokies, the 24-year-old is 1-3 with a 2.83 ERA and five saves in 35 innings (38 K).
Perakslis, the Cubs 21st round pick in 2012, has spent a majority of 2016 in AA but did appear in five games in Iowa, including three starts. For the Smokes, the 25-year-old has pitched in 26 games (three starts) and sports a 3.54 ERA in 53.1 innings with 42 punchouts.
McNeil, the Cubs third-round pick in 2012, leads the Carolina League with 21 saves and has a 2.44 ERA in 51.2 innings with 57 K and a 1.28 WHIP.
Caratini, Young named Southern League All-Stars
Caratini becomes the second straight Smokies' catcher to be named to the SL's Postseason All-Star squad. The 23-year-old ranks second in the league in on-base percentage (.378) and third in batting average (.294). In 112 contests this season, Caratini has scored 56 runs with 24 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 46 RBI and 52 walks. The first-time postseason All-Star has set career-bests in at-bats (401), runs scored (56), hits (118), total bases (164), home runs (6), walks (52) and is on-pace to set a career-high in average (.294). The Coamo, Puerto Rico native was also named a Southern League Mid-Season All-Star earlier this season. Caratini was acquired by the Cubs in a trade with the Atlanta Braves on July 31, 2014 in exchange for LHP James Russell and IF Emilio Bonifacio.
Young earns postseason honors for the second time in as many seasons after being honored by the Carolina League in 2015. Named as a utility all-star on the postseason squad, Young is second in the SL in average (.295), fifth in hits (137) and third in OBP (.378). So far this season, Young has scored 57 runs and recorded 24 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 35 RBI, 57 walks and 16 stolen bases. Young was named the league's Player of the Month for April, named the circuit's Player of the Week for April 18-24 and was chosen to his first Mid-Season All-Star team.
Pacific Coast League—AAA—Iowa 10, Nashville (A’s) 1
Cubs knocked out 17 hits and ended a three-game losing streak.
Hitting Recap: CF Albert Almora (.309) collected his first four-hit game at Iowa, scored three times and added a RBI to lead the hit parade. DH Matt Murton (.316) had two hits and drove in three runs while 1B Jeimer Candelario (.325) was 3-for-5 with one knocked in. LF John Andreoli (.255), RF Bijan Rademacher (.277), and SS Kris Negron (.253) all had two hits, with one of Negron’s a solo homer (9).
Pitching Chart: Jordan Pries (6-3, 4.68 ERA) had his best outing since being traded to the Cubs, allowing a solo homer, one of three hits over seven solid innings. Pries fanned seven, and had a game score of 74 in the 92-pitch outing. Right-handers Miguel Mejia (5.96 ERA) and Jose Rosario (2.33 ERA) both tossed a scoreless frame.
I-Cubs Notes: No starter has been named for Thursday night’s series finale.
Southern League—AA—Tennessee 8, Birmingham (White Sox) 7
Smokies closed out the season at home with a wild win over the Barons, capped off by a home-run robbing catch by center fielder Trey Martin to end the game.
Hitting Recap: Smokies raced out to a 8-3 lead after five innings as LF Chesny Young (.298) went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. DH Ian Happ (.262) ripped a pair of doubles, scored once and knocked in a run. 1B David Freitas (.279) and SS Carlos Penalver (.212) both had two hits while Penalver, 2B Daniel Lockhart (.203), and RF Kelly Dugan (.259) all plated runs.
Pitching Chart: Promoted to the Smokies earlier in the day, RH Jonathan Martinez made his AA debut on Wednesday night against the White Sox affiliate and got the win. Martinez fanned eight over five frames, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Juan Paniagua got roughed up for four runs over 1.1 frames. Nick Sarianides got the final two outs of the seventh and James Farris retired all six hitters he faced for his fifth save.
Smokies News: Zach Hedges (3-2, 2.23 ERA) takes the hill on Thursday night.
Carolina League—High A—Lynchburg (Indians) 3, Myrtle Beach 0
Hillcats blanked the Pelicans on four hits.
Hitting Recap: Only four hits for the Pelicans—doubles from CF Donnie Dewees (.281) and 2B David Bote (.340) along with singles from DH Ian Rice (.249) and SS Andrew Ely (.251). Pelicans were 0-for-5 with RISP and stranded five.
Pitching Chart: Preston Morrison (1.77 ERA) fanned a career-high nine hitters and blanked the Hillcats for six innings, yielding three hits and two walks. Morrison threw 91 pitches, 55 for strikes, and had a game score of 75. Tommy Nance (2-1, 3.00 ERA) suffered his first Carolina League loss, surrendering three runs over 2.1 innings on three hits and two walks. Scott Effross (6.75 ERA) recorded the final two outs of the ninth.
Pelicans News: Jeremy Null (4-5, 4.44 ERA) gets the start on Thursday night.
Midwest League—Low A—West Michigan (Tigers) 3, South Bend 1
In a preview of the first round of the MWL playoffs, the Whitecaps took the series opener as the Cubs continue to struggle at the plate.
Hitting Recap: Cubs only run of the game scored in the eighth when 2B Carlos Sepulveda (.315) walked and eventually scored on a single from C P.J. Higgins (.274). Higgins and SS Andruw Monasterio (.217) both had two hits.
Pitching Chart: Oscar De La Cruz (1-2, 3.25 ERA) went five innings and gave up three runs on four hits and two walks. The right-hander fanned three and threw 77 pitches, 48 for strikes. Pedro Araujo (1.69 ERA) tossed two shutout frames and Mark Malave worked a scoreless eighth in his MWL debut.
SB-Cubs News: Jose Paulino (2-1, 3.34 ERA) takes the mound on Thursday night against the Whitecaps.
Northwest League—Short-Season—Eugene 3, Tri-City (Padres) 2—12 innings
Yeiler Peguero’s sacrifice fly scored Jose Gonzalez in the 12th to give the Ems the walk-off win.
Hitting Recap: RF Jose Gonzalez (.219) led off the bottom of the 12th with a single, moved to second on a ground out, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Yeiler Peguero’s fly ball to right. Ems grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first, scoring on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by C Marcus Mastrobuoni (.220). Gonzalez and Peguero (.260) both finished with two hits.
Pitching Chart: LH Manuel Rondon fanned seven over five shutout innings as the left-hander lowered his ERA to 1.10. He gave up three hits and walked three in the 83 pitch outing. Game score 65. LH Marc Huberman (0.66 ERA) fanned three over two scoreless and LH Andin Diaz (3.79 ERA) got charged with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the ninth. RH Chad Hockin (6.00 ERA) fanned three in two shutout frames and RH Jed Carter (3-0, 6.00) worked a scoreless 12th and got credit for the win.
Emeralds Notes: Pedro Silverio (2-2, 5.08 ERA) takes the hill on Thursday night.