Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Kilian, Jensen, Herz, and Little shine; Bullpens blow away opposing hitters; Iowa launches 3 homers; Triantos records first pro hit

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Kilian, Jensen, Herz, and Little shine; Bullpens blow away opposing hitters; Iowa launches 3 homers; Triantos records first pro hit

DJ Herz by Stephanie Lynn

AAA

Iowa 4, Buffalo 3

Game Recap

A tremendous effort from the pitching staff (get used to reading that today) led the way for the I-Cubs. One of the top five arms in the system, Caleb Kilian, made his case for why he is the most MLB ready. In wasn’t the cleanest outing, as he allowed the leadoff man to reach in each of the first two innings and he was forced to work a number of deep counts, but he got out of both jams and despite the high number of pitches was still able to finish hitters off (6 K). Kilian’s new curveball does indeed look like a weapon that can help take him to another level.

Kilian punches out 2 more to begin the 3rd before reaching his pitch limit.
Final line: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K

His 4S and 2S were impressive. His new spike curve elicited multiple whiffs and chases out of the zone. Mix a couple of sliders in. https://t.co/BbcCOZonvR

— Michael Ernst (@mj_ernst)

April 9, 2022

Caleb Kilian’s stuff matched the Buffalo temperatures. He was crisp on a day he went 2 2/3 innings scattering two hits with 6 Ks and 1 BB. He showcased mid 90s velo. Kilian relied heavily on his curve early before absolutely nailing his fastball right where he wanted it. pic.twitter.com/lKmSdIWIr6

— Greg Zumach (@IvyFutures)

April 9, 2022

The bullpen was a bit hit or miss behind him, but Erich Uelmen contributed two impressive scoreless innings, recording all six outs via strikeout. The former 4th rounder and former starting pitcher is taking well to his transition to the bullpen. His low 3/4 release point has always made him tough on righties, but his stuff and command has looked a bit sharper thus far and it has helped him combat left handed batters, which had been an issue for him as a starter. If he can keep this up the Cubs will have an intriguing depth option for Scott Effross.

All of the offense for Iowa came off homers. Jared Young started it off with an impressive opposite field solo shot. He took a pitch on the outer edge and hit it with authority to LCF. What was a nightmarish start (8 swinging K in his first 14 PA) hopefully came to an end when Brennen Davis connected on his own solo shot to LCF. The game winner came off the bat of Trent Giambrone, who is doing all he can so far to maintain a spot in the lineup. He’s consistently put up good at bats so far and has hit the ball hard several times.

Brennen bombs are back! @BrennenDavis__ goes deep for his first hit in 2022. pic.twitter.com/qqwu2fgXJ1

— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs)

April 9, 2022

Top Performers

Caleb Kilian: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 KErich Uelmen: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K Brennen Davis: 1-3, HR (1), R, RBI, BBTrent Giambrone: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBIJared Young: 1-4, HR (1), 2 R, RBIJohn Hicks: 1-3, HBP

AA

Tennessee 3, Chattanooga 0

Game Recap

The Tennessee staff hurled their second consecutive shutout to open the season. Ryan Jensen got the start. The one hit he allowed through four innings is all the Lookouts would get. Brandon Leibrandt and Blake Whitney followed with two no-hit innings each, and Scott Kobos tallied the save without allowing a hit as well.

Top Performers

Ryan Jensen: 4 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 KBrandon Leibrandt: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, K (W, 1-0)Blake Whitney: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 KScott Kobos: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K (S, 1)Chris Morel: 2-3, R, SAC, SB (1)Nelson Maldonado: 1-3, 2B, R, RBI, BBBryce Ball: 2-4, 2B, RYonathan Perlaza: 2-4Darius Hill: 2-5, SB (1)

High-A

South Bend 2, Quad Cities 1

Game Recap

DJ Herz showcased why he is so incredibly difficult to hit against in this one. His extreme crossfire delivery creates so much deception and such a unique release point because his plant foot falls as near to the first base bag as I have seen, save perhaps former Cubs releiver Kyle Ryan. So imagine Kyle Ryan, except add an extra five mphs of velo, and add a plus changeup, and add a potentially plus curveball.

Herz at release is always jarring to see, but I maintain that release point is a feature and not a bug. pic.twitter.com/VQfxWgIqxL

— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects)

April 9, 2022

DJ Herz records 5 strikeouts on the first Herzday of the year. Here are all of them. pic.twitter.com/6o2ig8OalK

— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines)

April 9, 2022

Max Bain followed Herz in a piggyback role. The big righty is still getting stretched out so it will likely be a few weeks before he works his way into the rotation. It was an up and down performance 1 R in 2 IP) with traffic on the bases. I saw a much more fluid delivery compared to last season though, when he looked like a reliever having to muscle up for velo on every pitch. Everything flowed much more easily yesterday, and he also featured an improved curveball and sink on his two seamer. There are arms ahead of him in the system, but if Bain can lock in this new look consistently he will remain in the picture as a future starter.

It was also nice to see a trio of guys who have struggled with injury and consistency come in and hold the fort over the final four innings. Brad Deppermann loaded the bases with no outs in the 6th, but then reached back for some mid-90s gas while mixing in a couple solid curves, and blew away three straight hitters. Jose Albertos followed with a pair shutout innings. His velo looks to be down in the low-90s now compared to once topping out around 97, but he still got good sink and arm side run on it, and he’s still got the big sweeping curve. He punched out four in two innings.

The guy who followed has had even worse luck throughout his career, but may have the most upside remaining of the three. Jeremiah Estrada came in to close the game out and effortlessly blew a number of fastballs by the Quad Cities hitters. We’ll need to see what his offspeed looks like in future outings, but the former high bonus California prep star had excellent late life on his mid-90s velo. I suspect the spin rate was impressive.

Three up and three down, all by strikeouts for Jeremiah Estrada. Pretty much nothing but fast balls and it does not look like high class a is going to be much of a challenge for him. I can’t tell you how excited I am for him! Here are all three of his Ks in a thread pic.twitter.com/B9FBMBrEgc

— Todd (@CubsCentral08)

April 9, 2022

It was also nice to see a couple of young hitters show some patience yesterday. Pablo Aliendo not only had two hits, including the game tying single, but he also took two free passes. Yohendrick Pinango had a hit and a walk as well. Those two were fairly aggressive contact hitters for Myrtle Beach last year, and neither has a ton of power, so developing a better on base percentage is key to their development. It may prove the difference between a future bench and starter role, or even what keeps them from the Majors entirely.

Top Performers

DJ Herz: 3 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 KBrad Deppermann: IP, H, 0 R, 2 HBP, 3 K (W, 1-0)Jose Albertos: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, HBP, 4 K Jeremiah Estrada: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (S, 1) Pablo Aliendo: 2-2, RBI, 2 BB Yohendrick Pinango: 1-3, R, BBBradlee Beesley: 1-3, BB

Low-A

Charleston 7, Myrtle Beach 2

Game Recap

Sticking with the theme of impressive work from the starting pitchers throughout the system we finally come to big lefty Luke Little. Known for his 100+ mph heat prior to the draft, the Cubs took a deliberate approach to his development in 2021, keeping him back in EXST and then slowly working him into games in Mesa. Control issues were a problem last year, but at least for his first outing in 2022, everything looked great.

Not only was he working in the 98-99 mph range, but he was also mixing in a really nice curve. If he can keep that combo anywhere near the plate he should dominate Low-A hitters.

CHC LHP Luke Little, the 6’8” lefty who got internet famous for hitting 105 MPH before being drafted, looked good in his Low-A debut. Two innings, three strikeouts, one walk. Played a lot with upper-90’s fastball and command of a breaking ball. pic.twitter.com/TV3dl4GMBs

— Trevor Hooth (@HoothTrevor)

April 10, 2022

I’m also curious to watch the Cubs experiment with stretching out former collegiate closer Frankie Scalzo Jr. this season. He punched out six in his 3 innings piggybacking off Little yesterday.

James Traintos recorded his first pro hit, a double, and drew a walk as well.

Top Performers

Luke Little: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 3 KFrankie Scalzo, Jr.: 3 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (L, 0-1)Tyler Santana: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 KJames Triantos: 1-3, 2B, R, BBMalcolm Quintero: 1-3, 2B, R, BBReggie Preciado: 1-3, BB

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Recent Comments

Four pitchers from within the organization dominated today. All up in less than a year. I believe Marquez, Killian, Leeper…
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Yup, nice W today. And a tip of the cap to the Pitch Lab operation. I hope I’m not jinxing…
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Good recap Michael. Right now as I read this the Cubs are winning 9-0. Thompson just got thrown out for…
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In reply to drkazmd65:
You are gonna have to throw strikes to this Cubs team. They arent going to go out of the strike…
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I like Levi Jordan. Maybe the next ‘David Bote’?
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