Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Mervis hits two bombs including walk off and Caissie hits grand slam as South Bend completes big comeback; García also goes deep twice; Four Smokies homer; Swarmer Ks 10

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Mervis hits two bombs including walk off and Caissie hits grand slam as South Bend completes big comeback; García also goes deep twice; Four Smokies homer; Swarmer Ks 10

Matt Mervis (photo by Rikk Carlson)

MLB

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

There was a flurry of roster moves and promotions throughout the system yesterday, beginning at the MLB level. The Cubs activated Wade Miley from the IL to make his first start of the season last night. The club also purchased the contract of utility man Ildemaro Vargas. To make room on the 40-man roster for Vargas the team designated Adrian Sampson for assignment. Michael Hermosillo (left quad) and Nick Madrigal (low back strain) were placed on the 10-day IL to make space on the active roster for Miley and Vargas.

AAA

Iowa 5, Omaha 2

Game Recap

Robel García blasted two home runs for the second time this season, John Hicks hit a solo shot, and Tyler Payne went 4-for-4 to lead the offense. Outside of those three Iowa didn’t threaten much.

Ro-Bomb sighting at Principal Park pic.twitter.com/F2sPrmwReL

— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs)

May 11, 2022

Ro-Bomb #2 of the night for the lead! pic.twitter.com/I6U5UlKTVi

— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs)

May 11, 2022

The five runs was plenty however, as Matt Swarmer dominated over five and two thirds innings of work. He got beat just once on a fastball, surrendering a two-run homer in the 4th. It was the only hit he allowed. His slider was devastating throughout as he punched out 10 batters.

Brandon Hughes and Erich Uelman didn’t ring as many guys up as Swarmer, but they did make quick work of the Omaha lineup over the final three and a third, allowing just one baserunner combined.

Top Performers

Robel García: 3-4, 2 HR (4, 5), 3 R, 3 RBI (.279)Tyler Payne: 4-4, RBI (.333)John Hicks: 1-4, HR (2), R, RBI (.152)Dixon Machado: 2-4, BB (.304)Nelson Velazquez: 1-3, R, BB (.273)Matt Swarmer: 5.3 IP, H, 2 R, 2 BB, 10 K (2.17)Brandon Hughes: 2.1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (W, 1-0, 0.00)Erich Uelmen: IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (S, 2, 2.93)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Two well deserved promotions were announced yesterday for starter Cam Sanders and reliever Bryan Hudson. Sanders has been one of the most impressive arms in the system this year. He’s regularly worked in the 95-97 mph range while incorporating a five pitch mix. There are still consistency issues with his command but his arm and stuff is legit. It’s a good bet that we’ll see the son of former Cubs swingman Scott Sanders get a shot at filling a similar role in Chicago at some point in the second half of this season.

Hudson too is having a fine season. The tall lefty creates a lot of extension and deception to help his solid stuff play up. He is throwing more strikes and missing more bats than ever while maintaining the high ground ball rates he’s generated throughout his career. Cubs now have three lefties in Iowa (Hudson, Hughes, and Brendon Little) who should get added to the 40-man roster at some point this season or before the Rule 5 draft this offseason assuming they all stay healthy. It should be a fun battle throughout the season to see which of the three gets the first opportunity once roster spots open up in Chicago. Those three should provide the Cubs with good LHRP depth heading into next spring training alongside a hopefully healthy Brad Wieck, Justin Steele, and potentially Sean Newcomb if the club decides to hold onto him.

AA

Tennessee 8, Montgomery 4

Game Recap

Homers and good pitching were the story in Tennessee as well.

Four different Smokies went deep in this one. Yonathan Perlaza continued his red hot week with a two-run shot in the 2nd. Luis Vazquez hit a solo homer in the 3rd. Then Chase Strumpf hit a three-run blast and Levi Jordan added another solo shot to conclude the Tennessee scoring in the 8th.

Since the Nelsons left, this guy has been on a tear the last week. He’s hitting over 500, has two Dingers in five RBI the last five games. pic.twitter.com/hvcbO6X3UY

— Todd (@CubsCentral08)

May 10, 2022

Chase Strumpf three run dinger

and yes, their centerfield camera is that out of focus pic.twitter.com/m1hBdFEoLq

— Todd (@CubsCentral08)

May 11, 2022

Brandon Leibrandt deliver four solid innings. He did give up a couple of homers himself, but he didn’t walk anyone so he managed to limit the damage. Dalton Stambaguh and the recently returned Wyatt Short each fired a pair of no-hit innings.

Top Performers

Yonathan Perlaza: 1-2, HR (3), 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB (.183)Chase Strumpf: 2-4, HR (6), 2 R, 3 RBI (.209)Luis Vazquez: 2-3, HR (1), R, RBI (.193)Levi Jordan: 2-4, HR (2), R, RBI (.333)Andy Weber: 2-4, R (.323)Dalton Stambaugh: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K (W, 2-0, 5.23)Wyatt Short: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (0.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Starters Max Bain and Chris Clarke received promotions to Tennessee. The two have been on really good runs of late in South Bend and as they are slightly older prospects it is good to see that they are ready for the challenge in AA. Bain is a fascinating undrafted free agent story. He was not in good shape coming out of college, but worked hard to lose a bunch of weight while dedicating himself to building his velo and learning all the latest info to help develop his repertoire.

He created a lot of buzz heading into last season, but was a bit his results were a bit of a disappointment mostly due to command and consistency issues. Hut he showed the good arm strength, and his secondaries would often flash. He just struggled to put it all together.

He worked hard again this offseason to become more flexible and his mechanics look far more fluid this year. The change has led to better command. Bain has also seemingly settled on a repertoire after doing a lot of experimenting with different grips and pitches last year. It’s put him solidly in the mix as a potential future big league starter or long man.

Unlike Bain, Clarke has always been a highly thought of pitcher, all the way back to his prep days and then again during his time at USC. Unfortunately, durability issues have plagued him for years and causing him to often bounce between starting and relief roles. Minor injuries have cropped up throughout his first couple of years in the Cubs org as well, but he’s stayed on the mound so far this spring and through the first month of the season. If he can finally get in a groove and carve out a consistent role as either a starter or reliever he’s got a chance to make the Majors down the road.

He’s not a pure power pitcher, relying a lot on his curveball and changing speeds. He’ll be Rule 5 eligible this winter, and figures to be one of the tougher roster decisions the Cubs will face so getting as much information as possible on him in AA the rest of this year makes sense.

A third arm received a promotion as well. The Cubs picked up reliever Nicholas Padilla in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 draft last year, which is not typically somewhere you acquire prospects, but the team may just have uncovered one. He’s always had a decent arm, but he’s come into this year and his stuff is just popping a bit more than in previous years. It’s not likely more than a middle relief profile, but considering the method of acquisition it was a good job by the Cubs scouts to identify him.

Veteran Wyatt Short also rejoined the squad for a third (maybe fourth) go around. The lefty spent the early part of the year in EXST waiting for a spot to open up in Tennessee or Iowa.

Andy Weber is just beating the crap out of the baseball the past two weeks. This might be one in the more under reported stories in the system. He is hitting .341 with a .400 OBP in his last 10 games. Not to mention, an .815 OPS. He is 2/4 tonight pic.twitter.com/f0g9F5whIK

— Todd (@CubsCentral08)

May 11, 2022

High-A

South Bend 9, Fort Wayne 7

Game Recap

South Bend found themselves down 7-1 heading into the bottom of the 6th yesterday. That’s no big deal for these comebacks kids though. This team has mounted a bunch of late inning rallies throughout the year, but this one might be the most satisfying.

There is no doubt it has been a trying first five weeks of the season for 19-year old Owen Caissie. There have been few bright moments for him so far, but hopefully yesterday’s big blast can serve as a launching off point for him. With the bases loaded and his team down six Caissie tapped into his plus raw power:

Eighth-ranked #Cubs prospect Owen Caissie slams his first homer of the year for the @SBCubs. pic.twitter.com/P3SMdm51UA

— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline)

May 11, 2022

The grand slam still only brought the Cubs to within two with just three innings left. They would be held scoreless in the 7th, but thanks to Bailey Horn and Hunter Bigge’s work over the final three innings of the game the South Bend deficit would grow no larger. The team would draw within one in the 8th on an RBI single by Luis Verdugo.

This also set the stage for Matt Mervis in the 9th. He had already kicked off the South Bend scoring on the day with a solo homer in the 2nd and then added another RBI on a swinging bunt single in the 3rd, but the first baseman has regularly been right in the middle of the Cubs late inning fireworks and he came through yesterday once again. His second homer of the game was a dramatic walk off blast to complete the Cubs comeback. The club has now one seven straight games.

A MATT MERVIS WALK-OFF BOMB WINS IT!

The #SBCubs have won 7 in a row, and this @hoosierlottery home run was the dagger over Fort Wayne in the 9th.

The Comeback Cubs do it again! pic.twitter.com/LAekKDAEa5

— SBCubs Fly The WWWWWWW (@SBCubs)

May 11, 2022

The Comeback Cubs did it again! Re-live a wild game at @FourWindsField as we took down Fort Wayne 9-7.

FULL HIGHLIGHTS https://t.co/wCYYmSIhoi pic.twitter.com/hiVK1LfsZp

— SBCubs Fly The WWWWWWW (@SBCubs)

May 11, 2022

Top Performers

d

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Cole Roederer completed his rehab stint in Myrtle Beach and has rejoined South Bend. He was hitting the ball really well for the Pelicans. Good to see him back in South Bend and hopefully he can put together a few solid months and finish the year in AA.

In addition to Roederer, South Bend also received reliever Walker Powell up from Myrtle Beach.

Jose Albertos and Didier Vargas were activated from the IL and utility man Jake Slaughter was added to the roster from EXST.

Some potential bad news though for Ed Howard:

Oh no. Ed Howard leaves the game after a collision with the first baseman. He wasn’t able to put weight on his left leg

— Jordan Miller (@Miller_MiLB)

May 11, 2022

Low-A

Charlseton 7, Myrtle Beach 3

Game Recap

Not going to dive too deep into this one. A rare rough night for the Pelicans. Luke Little and Tyler Santana showed off their stuff (9 K) but were also wild in and out of the zone (7 H, 6 BB) through the first five innings. Johzan Oquendo and Jake Reindl did come into to deliver four shutout innings to give the Pelicans a fighting chance for a comeback.

Their effort was for naught though. The birds did draw eight free passes of their own, but couldn’t deliver a big inning as they managed just five hits on the night.

Top Performers

B.J. Murray Jr.: 1-3, HR (2), R, RBI, BB (.310)James Triantos: 1-3, 2 BB (.263)Johzan Oquendo: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 5 K (4.91)Jake Reindl: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 2 K (1.00)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

PCA takes advantage of a tiring Patrick Wicklander, connects on a 1st pitch FB, and extends his hitting streak to 15 games. pic.twitter.com/LXADaNeOSL

— Itsacon (@thats_so_cub)

May 11, 2022

Preciado will be putting this pitch over the fence in 2023. Pretty swing, but a work in progress. A lot of potential! pic.twitter.com/C5hTF3ubeY

— Itsacon (@thats_so_cub)

May 11, 2022

This is what we call a back foot slider pic.twitter.com/aTRHuf7Skh

— Jimmy Nelligan (@NelliganJimmy)

May 10, 2022

Over everything!@BJMurray14 | #MBPelicans pic.twitter.com/WyHGk9siMt

— Myrtle Beach Pelicans (@Pelicanbaseball)

May 11, 2022

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