South Bend hadn’t even recorded the final out in their win on Wednesday night before the debate started on social media of when Dylan Cease should be promoted. A fun debate if you like pontificating about issues you have no control over.
For starters, the Cubs have no history of promoting a pitcher that was drafted out of high school during the season. Duane Underwood, Paul Blackburn and Trevor Clifton all had stellar seasons in Class A but spent the entire year at the same affiliate. So the first thing Cease has to overcome to earn a promotion is history.
And since he’s only made three starts in April in the Midwest League, you may want to pump the brakes. First off, Cubs are going to treat the right-hander with all the caution in the world. He had Tommy John surgery after they drafted him and coming into the season, had only pitched 68 innings in two seasons. While everyone raves about his fastball into the upper 90s, its his ability to throw his curve for strikes and the development of his change-up that will be the key to his development as a starter. Cease may have the best curve in the organization but needs to develop a third pitch. Command has been an issue early in his career but his balance is much better on the mound and his delivery is smooth.
However, if Cease continues to dominate hitters like he did Wednesday night against Great Lakes, then the Cubs may want to present a tougher challenge for the 21-year-old. If they’re more worried about his command and the change-up, he may be logging his 100 innings in South Bend.
Pacific Coast League—AAA—New Orleans (Marlins) 7, Iowa 3
New Orleans grabbed an early lead and beat Iowa for the second time in the series.
Pitching Chart: Williams Perez (0-2, 11.00 ERA) made his second start for Iowa, getting charged with six runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings. David Rollins, Ryan Williams and Juan Paniagua all pitched in relief.
I-Cubs Notes: RH Eddie Butler (1-0, 1.45 ERA) takes the mound for his fourth start on Friday night in New Orleans.
Southern League—AA—Game 1—Tennessee 4, Birmingham (White Sox) 0; Game 2—Tennessee 10, Birmingham 8
Smokies blanked the Barons in the opener and then out slugged them in the night cap.
Hitting Recap: Game 1—Smokies took a 3-0 lead in the first when CF Charcer Burks singled and scored on a single by Ian Rice. Two more runs came across after a throwing error with the bases load. Smokies only had four hits, including doubles from 3B Andrew Ely and 2B David Bote (.353); Game 2—Tennessee collected 14 hits in the win, three from SS Carlos Penalver (.235). RF Yasiel Balaguert (.192) was 2-for-4 with three RBI while 3B Jason Vosler (.211) went 2-for-4, scored twice and plated three runs. C Erick Castillo (.294) and LF Jeffrey Baez (.229) both had two hits.
Pitching Chart: Game 1—Trevor Clifton (2-1, 3.00 ERA) worked around five hits and two walks over five shutout innings to earn the win. Clifton fanned five and threw 87-pitches, 49 for strikes. Game score 59. Brad Markey fired two shutout innings.; Game 2—RH Daniel Corcino got the start and tossed 2.2 scoreless innings, fanning one in the 42-pitch effort. LH Gerardo Concepcion was charged with two runs over 2.1 frames and got credit for the win. RH Jhondaniel Medina yielded five runs and RH David Berg got the final four outs but allowed three inherited runners to score in the sixth and then gave up a run in the seventh.
Smokies News: Duane Underwood (0-1, 4.50 ERA) makes his third start in the series finale against Birmingham.
Carolina League—High A—Myrtle Beach 11, Down East (Rangers) 7
Pelicans (7-8) hit three homers and took the series opener at Down East (7-8).
Hitting Recap: Myrtle Beach scored six times in the fifth, three coming on a homer from RF Eddy Martinez (.184), his second. 1B Matt Rose (.203) smacked a solo shot (4) in the second and 3B Jesse Hodges (.239) hit his first homer in the seventh, a two-run blast. Connor Myers (.106) added two RBI with a triple and C Tyler Pearson (.211) was 2-for-4 with a run knocked in.
Pitching Chart: Casey Bloomquist got the start and didn’t make it out of the third inning, allowing four runs on seven hist and two walks in 2.2 frames. He threw 66 pitches and had a game score of 28. LH Tommy Thorpe (1-1, 4.15 ERA) got the win in relief, giving up a run on a hit and a walk in 2.1 frames. Craig Brooks recorded his second hold and James Norwood picked up his first save, working two innings.
Pelicans News: Adbert Alzolay (1-0, 4.40 ERA) makes his team-best fourth start at Down East on Friday night.
Midwest League—Low A—South Bend 8, Dayton (Reds) 3
South Bend (8-6) scored six times in the second and took the series opener from Dayton (9-5).
Hitting Recap: DH Zack Short (.271) ripped a two-run double in the second while RF Chris Pieters (.156), 1B Jhonny Pereda (.310), CF Darryl Wilson (.200) and SS Isaac Paredes (.245) all drove in runs in the six-run second. LF Kevonte Mitchell went 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Pitching Chart: Manuel Rondon (2-0, 3.86 ERA) fanned six over five innings and got credit for the win, surrendering two runs on three hits and a walk. Marc Huberman worked two scoreless and Pedro Silverio pitched the final two frames, fanning four.
SB-Cubs News: Jose Paulino (0-0, 2.25 ERA) makes his second start of the year on Friday night after beginning the season at extended spring training.