The I-Cubs only had 6 hits in this one, though three of them were for extra bases. It was a quiet night for Albert Almora and Dan Vogelbach. They combined to go 0-7 with a walk (Vogelbach earned the walk). Willson Contreras got the game off.
The I-Cubs have a couple of excellent hitting catchers on the roster in Contreras and Taylor Davis. Davis is 26 years old and was drafted all the way back in 2008. I don't know a lot about the guy, but looking at his numbers, he's a pretty good hitter. In only 60 PA at Iowa he's hitting .340/.417/.415 (.384 wOBA, 132 wRC+). He had 63 PA at AA this season and he hit .339/.365/.429 (.361, 124). Last year at AAA in 282 PA he hit .309/.361/.444 (.361, 116). In 78 PA at AA in 2015 he had a 178 wRC+. The year before at AA in 152 PA he had a 143 wRC+. The guy can hit. That's not a bad problem to have for this team as David Ross will be retiring. I have no idea how good a defensive catcher Davis is, but maybe next year's backup will come from within. Maybe it will be Miguel Montero? Could go either way.
Jake Buchanan got the start for the Cubs and he lasted only 5 innings. He gave up 9 hits, walked a batter and 3 of the 6 runs scored were earned. he struckout 4 and allowed a home run. Armando Rivero threw 2 innings of 1-hit baseball, striking out 4. Giovanni Soto threw 2 innings and allowed 3 hits and 3 runs.
Chesny Young was 1-4 with a double. Jeimer Candelario was 2-4 with a couple of doubles and a strikeout. Jacob Hannemann, Mark Zagunis and Victor Caratini each added a hit and that was it for the Smokies offense.
Billy McKinney continues to struggle. He was 0-3 with a strikeout. Last season when he was promoted to AA, he picked up 308 PA over 77 games. He wasn't great, but for a 20-year old in AA, he kind of was. He hit .285/.346/.420 with a .354 wOBA and 116 wRC+. So far in 40 games and 161 PA this season he's hitting only .234/.342/.277 with a .304 wOBA and 86 wRC+. That's not terrible and there's some reason to be optimistic.
His walk rate dropped from 13.6% in High A last year to 8.8% at AA. The 13.6% was a career high and probably would have come down had he stayed at that level. He was at 11-12% the year before, but only 8% in his debut season (only 18 years old at the time so that's pretty good). Anyway, it's back up to 13% this year so that's promising. He had lowered his strikeout rate last year when he was at High A, but now it's back up to his career levels around 18%. That's not bad. The next thing I notice when looking at the numbers that gives reason to be even more optimistic, his BABIP is only .294 and it's been about .330-360 in his career. It probably would be closer to .300 at the MLB level, but in the minors I wonder if we might see that increase in the next couple months. On the negative side, his ISO is down to .044 (almost 100 points lower than last year at AA and 160 points lower than 2015 High A). It's easily the lowest of his career. He's had ony 5 extra base hits (4 doubles and a triple).
Stephen Perakslis threw only 4 innings, allowed 3 hits and runs, walked nobody and struckout 3. Jose Rosario gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in 2 innings of work. David Garner finished the game and threw 2 innings, allowed 2 hits anda run. He walked 2 and struckout 1.
Gleyber Torres had a big night. He was 3-5 with a home run (5). Trey Martin and Charcer Burks each had 2 hits. Martin was 2-4 with a double and two driven in. Burks was 2-3 with a home run. Ian Happ, Yasiel Balaguert and Jason Vosler each added a hit. Happ was 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout.
Torres got off to a really slow start. Through April he had hit only .179/.289/.308. He had 1 home run. So far this month he's hit .322/.358/.544 with 4 home runs. His wRC+ on the season is already better than average despite the horrible April. I expect his overall numbers will come up a bit and we're not going to be talking about how the team's top prospect took a hit this season.
Erick Leal had a realy good start and improved to 6-2. He threw 7 innings, allowed 5 hits and 2 runs. He walked 2 and struckout 5. Leal has really good control in his career, but a very low strikeout rate. It's really rather disappointing how many low strikeout pitchers this organization has. Absurdly low strikeout rates.
The Cubs had 10 runs on 12 hits and they added 3 walks so a lot of good games here. Only two in the lineup didn't have a hit. The leadoff hitter, Andrew Ely (2B), went 0-3 with 2 walks, a strikeout and 2 runs scored. The 9th hitter, Bryant Flete, was 0-4 with a strikeout.
Kyle Twomey pitched 5 innings, allowed 5 hits and 5 walks and 4 runs. He struckout 6 and allowed 2 home runs.