Chicago Cubs Weekly Farm Report (4/22/19): Nico Hoerner on Fire, South Bend Cubs Ridiculously Average

News in the System

  • The best news of the system this week was Adbert Alzolay getting his first in-game action of the year. Per Arizona Phil, he was working 95-96 mph with his fastball and was able to go 34 pitches, generating 11 whiffs. Alzolay will continue to build up his arm strength and conditioning in Arizona before he heads north to Iowa.
  • It should not come as a surprise, but the three northernmost affiliates have been dealing with plenty of weather-related issues this season. This week saw multiple games rained out, which means plenty of double-header baseball. Why only play one when you can play two anyway?
  • At this point, Triple-A Iowa seems to be the best team the organization has to offer. They continue to rack up the wins this season while High-A Myrtle Beach is struggling through this season in the early going. They looked much better this week, though, as you will see in their bullets!

Triple-A Iowa Cubs

  • The I-Cubs went 4-3 this week, good for their third consecutive week playing over .500. They dropped the finale in their series with the OKC Dodgers before traveling down to New Orleans, where they lost two of three. They traveled back up to Oklahoma City to wrap up the weekend, taking the first three games of the series. A Monday game against the Dodgers closes the series, then the I-Cubs get an off day as they travel back home for a five gamer with the Nashville Sounds.
  • Once again it was Trent Giambrone and Dixon Machado leading the charge for the offense this week. They have been the two best players to suit up for Iowa this season and this week was no different.
  • Giambrone put together a .269/.345/.615/.960 slash line in his 26 at-bats. He finally walked three times and hit two more bombs to add to his system-wide lead with six.
  • Machado went .292/.414/.583/.997 and also homered twice. He only struck out in 10.3% of his plate appearances and walked in 17.2% of them, tacking on nine RBI for good measure.
  • Duane Underwood Jr. made a start that included giving up four earned runs in his 5.1 innings of work, but he looked dominant nonetheless. He got worked a bit in the 6th inning, but for the five prior innings, he was mowing hitters down. He only gave up two hits on the night and struck out seven.
  • Dillon Maples had his most impressive week of the year. In his three innings of work, he struck out 45.5% of the batters he faced and, more importantly, he only walked one batter all week long.

Double-A Tennessee Smokies

  • The Smokies dealt with some weather issues this week as they saw their Friday night matchup with the Jackson Generals suspended in the 3rd inning due to rain and game 2 of their doubleheader against the Chattanooga Lookouts postponed until Monday. They put up a record of 2-3 in the games they were able to play and will wrap up the final four games of the Lookouts series before moving on to play the first four games of their series against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. It could be a challenging week ahead, with eight games in seven days.
  • Robel Garcia came out of the gate this season firing on all cylinders before he was held up with an injury for about a week or so. He came back this week and picked right up where he had left off, homering twice and doubling in his 11 at-bats. He also walked in 26.7% of his plate appearances.
  • Nico Hoerner has already started to figure out Double-A pitching. The Cubs’ top prospect slashed an absurd .471/.500/.647/1.147 on the week and now has a organization-best 172 wRC+.
  • I’m telling you, the pitching in Kodak is unbelievable. Cory Abbott went 5.2 innings, giving up only three hits and a run while striking out seven and walking one in his start this week.
  • Tyson Miller continued the dominance with eight total innings between his two starts. In total, he gave up only two knocks and a run while striking out 20% of the men he faced.
  • The bullpen kept up just fine, too. The combination of Bailey Clark, Ian Clarkin, Craig Brooks, Scott Effross, and Jordan Minch went 14.2 innings while only giving up eight hits and one run with a 10:3 K:BB ratio.

High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans

  • The Pelicans had what was by far their best week of the season as they went 4-3 in games against the Frederick Keys and Lynchburg Hillcats. They will have a pair of three game series coming up at home against the Carolina Mudcats and on the road versus the Salem Red Sox.
  • Miguel Amaya showed why he is so highly regarded this week with two homers, two doubles, and three walks in his 21 plate appearances.
  • Tyler Payne, the other half of the catching duo, performed admirably as well. He laced two doubles and a home run in his 16 at-bats this week.
  • Cam Balego made his debut at High-A and has impressed so far. He has homered, doubled twice, and driven in eight total runs in just 18 at-bats, good for a 1.020 OPS.
  • Oscar De La Cruz made his first start since he was suspended for violating the league drug policy. He looked good in his five innings of work, giving up no runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out three.

Low-A South Bend Cubs

  • The boys from South Bend did it again. For the third straight week they took home an even .500 record. This week they went 3-3 in their six games against the Great Lakes Loons and the Lake County Captains. They will look to improve from their terribly average marks as they play seven games in the upcoming week against the Lansing Lugnuts and the Fort Wayne Tincaps.
  • Jonathan Sierra has looked good at the plate but we had all been waiting on his first home run. Well, we finally got to see it this week and it contributed to his .842 OPS. He continues to strike out at a low rate on the season (12.1%) and it was no different this week (13.6%).
  • DJ Artis just keeps getting on base, this week at a .440 rate. He had seven hits and seven RBI from the leadoff spot.
  • Riley Thompson put together another terrific start this week, going five innings of three-hit baseball. He did not allow a single run and struck out five while walking no one.
  • Cam Sanders had another good one in his start as well, going five innings with three hits allowed. He gave up no runs and struck out four, walking three batters in the effort.
  • Ethan Roberts is proving to be a valuable piece in the back end of South Bend’s bullpen. He was able to throw three innings, giving up only two knocks while striking out three and walking none.
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