Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Kilian, Sanders, Herz, Devers continue to shine on mound; South Bend posts 2nd straight shutout; Big days at the plate for Higgins, Young, Perlaza, Triantos, Roederer

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Kilian, Sanders, Herz, Devers continue to shine on mound; South Bend posts 2nd straight shutout; Big days at the plate for Higgins, Young, Perlaza, Triantos, Roederer

Cam Sanders (photo by Rikk Carlson)

AAA

Iowa 10, St. Paul 3

Game Recap

A rare offensive explosion from the Iowa lineup. The effort was led by the two guys who have provided the most consistent production for the team throughout the first month. P.J. Higgins doesn’t provide much power but he’s been above .300 all season, and his 5-for-5 effort yesterday pushed his average to .377 on the year. Jared Young has been a bit on the opposite end of the spectrum. He hasn’t hit for much of an average, but he’s brought the power. His home run brought his total to 8 on the season, second best in the system behind new teammate Nelson Velazquez. Young also doubled, his third over his last two games.

Jared Young’s comeback the past two seasons has been amazing. It is like 2019 never existed pic.twitter.com/3KtBQIY5ug

— Todd (@CubsCentral08)

May 8, 2022

Iowa also got an impressive outing from their most consistent starter. Caleb Kilian has had to work around traffic in several of his starts, but he’s mostly kept the opposition off the board, thanks in large part to the ability to miss bats at an above average level while keeping a lot of the contact he does allow on the ground. The righty has given up just one home run over 24.2 innings. He mixes speeds well, the new curveball has given him another viable weapon, and he just seems like he always has a plan of attack available to him. But his command hasn’t been as sharp as last year, and I’m sure the Cubs are hoping that will come around as the season progresses.

I’m not sure if he could come in and dominant MLB hitters right out of the gate but I don’t see him struggling any worse than the current staff either. I know fans are anxious to see him in Chicago, especially given the big club’s recent results, but I would expect the Cubs to slow play it with Kilian a bit. He’s still being limited to 4-5 innings and 75-85 pitches per start. He threw just 100.1 innings last year (plus a handful of starts in the AFL). I would expect them to slowly stretch him out in Iowa while controlling his innings load over the 1st half, while they let Wade Miley and Alec Mills work their way back into game shape and continue to showcase Drew Smyly. Once trade interest picks up in those veterans Kilian should be a ready replacement.

Top Performers

Jared Young: 3-4, HR (8), R, RBI, 2 BB (.283)P.J. Higgins: 5-5, 2B, 3 R, RBI, SB (1) (.377)Tyler Payne: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, BB (.241)Ildemaro Vargas: 3-6, 2B, R, 2 RBI (.279)Robel García: 1-4, R, RBI, BB (.250)Greg Deichmann: 1-4, RBI, BB (.172)Caleb Kilian: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K (W, 1-0, 1.46)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Andrelton Simmons (shoulder) started at DH in his second rehab outing. He was once again removed after getting four at bats. Cubs are clearly not pushing him too hard. My guess is he will require a couple of more rehab appearances this week, maybe trying to get him back-to-back starts in the field before heading to Chicago next weekend.

Stephen Gonsalves was forced to leave with one out to go in the 9th because of an injury. Ben Leeper came on to finish the game.

Brendon Little made his 2022 debut with a scoreless inning. The 94-95 and good slider that put him in line (before injury) for 40-man consideration last September appears to be back.

AA

Tennessee 9, Birmingham 4

Game Recap

His final line doesn’t leap out at you, but Cam Sanders picked up right where he left off in his last start. He was unhittable in his previous outing and through his first four innings yesterday allowed only a pair of weak singles. His control wasn’t as sharp this time around though. He did issue a couple of early walks and thren uncorked his second wild pitch with a runner on in the 5th. He’d eventually give up a two-run homer before being lifted because of pitch count later in the inning.

Barons’ anncr: scout told me if Cam comes anywhere close today to what he did Tuesday, I’m putting him down as a major league pitcher.

Sanders seems to have a lot of confidence in his SL right now, shaking off other pitches in 2-strike counts. A prime example from today: pic.twitter.com/9fFlv06Uba

— Itsacon (@thats_so_cub)

May 8, 2022

Consistency remains the one thing holding him back. The stuff is good. And in many innings he can put it where he needs to. But not often enough where I can easily see him projecting as a SP in the Majors. It’s not out of the question, but his best role may end up as the multi-inning reliever the Cubs have found successful with Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele, and Adbert Alzolay in recent seasons.

Anncr: “Wow. His stuff is just dirty.” pic.twitter.com/NZqsam79C2

— Itsacon (@thats_so_cub)

May 9, 2022

The Cubs were saved from potentially losing Sanders in the cancelled Rule 5 Draft last offseason. They won’t be so lucky again. Sanders will need to be added to the 40-man this fall, which means the Cubs could jump the gun and add him in the 2nd half of the season and potentially utilize him in Chicago as a replacement for a traded starter or reliever. In the more immediate future, my guess is he heads to Iowa in the next round of promotions.

Sanders wasn’t the only story yesterday. Christopher Morel continues to break out offensively, and could very well being joining Sanders with a move to Iowa soon. And we already know he can field:

Christopher Morel with a nice play in CF in the 1st inning. pic.twitter.com/iyUPJi9Evn

— Itsacon (@thats_so_cub)

May 8, 2022

Yonathan Perlaza has also taken advantage of the playing time opened up by the recent promotions of Nelson Velazquez and Nelson Maldonado. He recorded the team’s only extra base hit yesterday and has now reached base multiple times in each of his last four games (5-for-10, 2 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, 4 BB, HBP, SB).

Top Performers

Yonathan Perlaza: 2-3, 2B, R, 2 RBI, HBP, SB (1) (.174)Christopher Morel: 3-4, R, RBI (.313)Andy Weber: 3-5, 2 R, RBI (.311)Bryce Ball: 2-5, R (.297)Bryce Windham: 2-4, R, RBI (.213)Levi Jordan: 1-3, R, RBI, SF (.313)Luis Vazquez: 1-5, R, 3 RBI (.175)Chase Strumpf: 0-3, R, 2 BB (.195)Cam Sanders: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K (3.38)Kyle Johnson: 1.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (2.61)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

trends

High-A

South Bend 2, Peoria 0

Game Recap

D.J. Herz only threw 50 pitches yesterday, but made them count. His control had been off in his previous couple of outings, but he righted himself in this one. He breezed through 2.1 shutout innings, setting the tone for the South Bend bullpen as the team recorded their second straight shutout. Bailey Reid, Eduarniel Nunez, Nicholas Padilla, and Jeremiah Estrada each made quick work of Peoria batters. Other than Estrada providing a scare by walking the bases loaded in the 9th, Peoria never really threatened in any other inning.

DJ Herz day! Ends the 2nd inning with his 2nd K of the game. pic.twitter.com/JT4vl2JAdW

— Jordan Miller (@Miller_MiLB)

May 8, 2022

HIGHLIGHTS
Make it back-to-back shutouts and 3 games in a row without allowing an earned run… Cubs win all 6 this week, just wow!

Here’s how it all went down in the series finale. pic.twitter.com/1NFA4wjYX4

— SBCubs Fly The WWWWWW (@SBCubs)

May 8, 2022

How about this web gem from Luis Verdugo!?
This was our @LavenInsurance Defensive Play of the Game. pic.twitter.com/srFpN5CyAX

— SBCubs Fly The WWWWWW (@SBCubs)

May 8, 2022

Top Performers

D.J. Herz: 2.1 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (0.93)Bailey Reid: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (5.79)Eduarniel Nunez: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (W, 4-1, 5.40)Nicholas Padilla: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 3 K (1.80)Jeremiah Estrada: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, K (S, 3, 0.96)Pablo Aliendo: 2-3, 2B, R, RBI (.175)

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 8, Salem 3

Salem 5, Myrtle Beach 3

Game Recap

Take away one rough outing on April 19th (7 runs, 4 earned in 0.2 IP) and Luis Devers has been as solid as any pitcher in the system so far this year. Since that game Devers has struck out 16, walked just 2, and allowed just 4 earned runs over 14 innings. He was the ACL club’s most consistent starter last season, and he’s shown average or better stuff in the little bit I’ve seen of him this year. I’ll be sure to give him a closer look once Myrtle Beach returns home and I get a better camera view.

In Game 1, the Pelicans offense once again came up with a big inning to pull away from the opposition. This time it was a five-run 3rd featuring a sac fly by Cole Roederer, then back-to-back-to-back hits by Kevin Alcántara, Malcolm Quintero, and Juan Mora. The final run of the inning scored on a wild pitch. Myrtle Beach added two more the next inning on an RBI double by James Triantos (his second double and third hit of the game). He would eventually score on a throwing error as Alcántara stole second base.

Cole Roederer just misses a HR and will have to settle with an RBI single pic.twitter.com/zUWzHlSIvh

— Jordan Miller (@Miller_MiLB)

May 8, 2022

Triantos is having himself a day so far. In game one of a doubleheader he is three for three pic.twitter.com/JDpUKs3GhF

— Todd (@CubsCentral08)

May 8, 2022

Game two was a little rougher on the pitchers. Tyler Schlaffer entered the year as a starter with some buzz, but it’s been a rough go thus far for him. He gave up two runs in 2.1 innings to raise his ERA to 6.30. Jose Gonzalez followed and didn’t fare any better, giving up three runs over 2.2 innings. An Ezequiel Pagan homer and Kevin Alcántara RBI double weren’t enough.

Ezequiel Pagan connects for his 1st HR as a Pelican. pic.twitter.com/rWn7uKmzJ1

— Itsacon (@thats_so_cub)

May 9, 2022

Speaking of Alcántara though, like Triantos, his bat seems to be heating up. These are two young guys with little experience tasked with performing in a pitcher’s league, so bumps in the road should be expected, but we are already seeing each make quick adjustments, which is a great sign.

Top Performers

James Triantos: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 R (.260)Cole Roederer: 1-1, 2 RBI, 2 BB, SB (2)Ezequiel Pagan: 1-3, HR (1), R, RBI (.167)Malcolm Quintero: 2-4, R, RBI (.310)Liam Spence: 2-3, 2 R (.169)Kevin Alcántara: 2-7, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB (4) (.250)Pete Crow-Armstrong: 2-7, 2 R, BB (.400)Juan Mora: 1-3, 2B, RBI (.250)B.J. Murray: 1-3, RBI (.308)Luis Devers: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, BB, 7 K (W, 2-2, 4.05)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

In Game 1 Adam Laskey and Sheldon Reed extended their scoreless innings streaks to open the year to 10.2 and 8.2 respectively.

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