Chicago Cubs Weekly Farm Report (4/29/19): Brailyn Marquez Has Strange Start, MiLB Vets Shine

News in the System

  • There has been far more movement around the system from level to level this season than what we would typically see around this time of the year. That is mostly due to the high number of injuries in the entire organization and ineffectiveness early on at the MLB level.
  • The Iowa Cubs have a stacked roster right now, with Mike Montgomery, Tony Barnette, and Addison Russell on rehab assignment in Triple-A and Ian Happ and Carl Edwards Jr. also finding themselves down there. That is a lot of big league talent.
  • Todd Johnson has posted a few prospect profiles here at CI recently to look at players who’ve gotten off to hot starts: DJ Artis, Cam Sanders, and Aramis Ademan.
  • We are finally approaching the time of the year where patterns start to develop with prospects. Stats still need to be used with small-sample-size alerts, but a lot of the randomness is giving way to legit signs of offseason improvement.

Triple-A Iowa Cubs

  • While the I-Cubs might have loads of MLB talent on their roster, they did not exactly perform like it by going 3-3 this week. After playing the same four teams so far this year, they will get some new energy in them as they face a coupe of new opponents over the next few days. They will stay home to face the San Antonio Missions for four games before hitting the road for the first three games of a four-game series with the Omaha Storm Chasers.
  • It was the week of the big leaguers in Iowa bringing the fans a little bit of MLB flavor in Triple-A. Barnette got 1.2 innings of work for rehab while while Alec Mills appeared in 2 innings on the mound. Edwards is still down in Iowa and he got an inning in before hitting the IL with a non-baseball related injury.
  • Speaking of talent, there was plenty of offense to go around this as a group of veteran players led the way. Cristhian Adames (1.383 OPS), Jim Adduci (1.066), Phillip Evans (1.222), Donnie Dewees (1.192), Johnny Field (1.149), Ian Happ (1.081), and Addison Russell (1.043) all put up huge numbers at the plate.
  • Matt Swarmer turned in his best start of the season this week. The Cubs’ 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year went 6 innings, allowing only one run on a home run. He gave up 2 total hits and struck out 6 while only walking one.
  • The I-Cubs put up a PCL-record 15 runs in the 1st inning Sunday afternoon, including two grand slams, to carry them to an eventual 19-5 win.
  • Zach Borenstein was released from the Cubs organization this week. The first baseman and outfielder was signed this offseason to a minor league contract.

Double-A Tennessee Smokies

  • It was a rough week for the Smokies, who went just 2-6 by splitting their four games with the Chattanooga Lookouts and dropping all four games against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. They will look to steal one against Jacksonville on Monday before they travel back home for four and a half games with the Jackson Generals.
  • 19-year-old Luis Vazquez got the assignment to Double-A this week to fill in for a while at shortstop. He spent time in Eugene a season ago and will probably continue the 2019 season there unless he gets to play in South Bend after a week or so.
  • Robel Garcia is way too good to be in Double-A. He has spent the last three years playing in Italy of all places, and this week he tacked onto his dominant season by putting up a .957 OPS with a pair of homers and another couple of doubles. He only struck 9.7% of the time and walked in 19.4% of his plate appearances.
  • P.J. Higgins just continues to mash even while playing all sorts of positions on the diamond. He has now logged innings at catcher, first, second, and third this year and this week he slashed .333/.441/.481 while walking more than he struck out.
  • The starting rotation for the Smokies has been nothing short of incredible so far this season, but it is the bullpen that gets the highlight this week. Craig Brooks threw just two innings, but he is now up to 9.2 innings this season and still has not allowed a run to cross the plate. He has struck out 13 men and walked six while only allowing four batters to reach via hit.
  • Xavier Cedeño is rehabbing for the big league team with the Smokies in Double-A and this week he did not give up a run in his 2.1 innings of work. He allowed four hits and had a 4:1 K:BB ratio and is inching closer to his return to the Major Leagues.

High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans

  • The Pelicans just can’t seem to get off the struggle bus this season. They went 1-5 this week, moving them to 7-17 on the young season.They will look to finally turn things around on a four night date with the Down East Wood Ducks, followed by a three-gamer with the Salem Red Sox. All of their games this week will be at home.
  • There actually were not any promotions or new assignments at this level this week, so it looks like it is going to be this same group that will have to dig itself out of trouble for the time being.
  • The brightest spot of the week was Oscar De La Cruz, who made his second start on his way back from his suspension. He went six innings of five-hit baseball and only gave up a single run. He struck out eight without walking anyone.
  • Jesus Camargo was oft-used out of the bullpen this week, going a total of 5.2 innings. He only allowed two hits without giving up a run, lowering his season ERA to 2.12 with a 0.94 WHIP.
  • Ben Hecht has been electric this season and put together a 6:1 K:BB ratio in his 2.2 innings this week, giving up one hit with no runs. He has a 1.59 ERA on the season and has struck out 32% of the batters he has faced.
  • Ademan was the man at the plate this week, proving that he learned a lot going into this year. After a really rough start, he has been red-hot and is looking really advanced at the plate as he is working counts. This week he slashed a ridiculous .438/.550/.813/1.363 while walking 15% of the time. He added a double, a triple, and a homer to his line.

Low-A South Bend Cubs

  • The boys at the lowest level of full-season ball put together a heck of a week, going 5-2 to bring their season record above .500 for the first time at 13-10. They face off against some new faces coming up as they take on the Burlington Bees for three games before traveling to Clinton to take on the LumberKings for three games.
  • Jack Patterson, a 32nd round pick last year, got the call to South Bend this week and made his debut as a piggyback reliever. He took the loss but went 3.1 innings and only gave up one run on three hits.
  • Brailyn Marquez had the strangest start I have seen so far this season, going 3.2 innings and striking out a career-high eight batters while walking a career-high seven. Only 42 of the 86 pitches he threw went for strikes, despite throwing 69 fastballs. The craziest part was that only four balls were put in play against him, with the only run he gave up on the day coming via wild pitch.
  • Delvin Zinn put together the best performance the Cubs system has seen this year. He went 5-for-5 on Wednesday with two doubles, a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored. He is up to a .885 OPS on the year.
  • Andy Weber has been hitting in the three hole in the order all year and he is finally starting to figure it out. This week he slashed .407/.448/.778/1.226. He homered once, tripled twice, and doubled thrice.
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