The minor league season is officially underway. All four full season affiliates began their season on Thursday. I would think these updates would evolve as the season goes on. I’d really like to highlight players we don’t typically consider prospects, as well as covering the prospects we all know about. My intention is to let the first part of that develop so as the season goes along and the performance accumulates, then it will be a good time to do that.
I don’t know about the rest of the you, but I couldn’t really care if the Iowa Cubs won or lost. We follow the minor leagues to get an idea how the players are doing. Those players, any of them really, who could wind up at the big league level helping the team in games we actually care about.
I’m not sure how Myles will do these on the weekend and hopefully they’re a bit different than mine. My plan isn’t to tell you who won or lost. I’ll provide the box score from milb.com and even the score, but I’m not going to talk about that inning the Tennessee Smokies let the game get away after they led off the inning with a single, infield hit and walk.
On Thursday, the Cubs minor league teams scored only 11 runs combined. If you add in the MLB team, the 5 teams scored a combined 14 runs. Four of them scored 3 and another 2. Only the Chicago Cubs won their game.
The PCL is back. The league that’s sure to provide you some high scoring games did that on Opening Night. Even though the Cubs scored only 3 runs, both teams had 11 hits.
Cubs starter Chris Rusin was even decent. He threw 5 innings, allowed 3 runs, only 2 of which were earned, walked a couple and struckout 4. Casey Coleman and Rafael Dolis would throw a scoreless 6th and 8th inning, but they had trouble getting any Isotope out in the 7th.
Jensen Lewis recorded an out and gave up 4 hits and 5 runs. Zach Putnam finished the inning and allowed 2 more runs on 3 hits.
Brian Bogusevic (1B) had the best night among the hitters as he collected 3 hits, all doubles, in 5 plate appearances. Ty Wright (LF) and J.C. Boscan (C) were each 2-4.
Logan Watkins (2B) batted at the top of the order and was 1-5 with 3 strikeouts. Brett Jackson’s new swing went 1-4 with an HBP and 2 strikeouts. Brad Nelson (3B) added a couple walks in 4 plate appearances.
The Smokies allowed 4 home runs in 8 innings pitched. Starter Dallas Beeler gave up 3 of them in 5.1 innings. He also allowed 7 hits, struckout 5 and walked 1. Beeler also hit 2 batters. You won’t win many games when you give up that many baserunners and that many home runs.
A.J. Morris pitched 1.2 innings and allowed a hit, a home run, struckout 2 and walked 1. Tony Zych finished the game. He allowed 2 hits and 2 runs, neither of them earned, in an inning of work.
Matt Szczur was in LF and Jae Hoon Ha in CF. I guess I had expected Szczur to play CF and Ha in RF. Both of these players will have to stick in CF if they’re to have much value to the Cubs down the road.
Szczur got off to a fast start. He was 3-4 with a run scored. Arismendy Alcantara (SS) was 2-3 with a walk and a home run.
The middle of the Smokies lineup (3-6) combined to go 0-16 with 4 strikeouts. Jae Hoon Ha, Justin Bour (1B), Christian Villanueva (3B) and Rafael Lopez (C) were each 0-4 with a strikeout. Johermyn Chavez (RF) added the only other Cubs hit.
Groundballer Ben Wells got the start for the Cubs and pitched pretty well in his debut. He’s young for the level. He lasted just 4 innings and if you look at the hits or runs allowed you might not think it was so hot. He gave up 7 hits and 2 runs scored, but more importantly than either of those, he struckout 4 and walked no one. If you could only know two things about a pitcher’s performance, you’d want to know his walks and strikeouts. Those are about as good as it gets in terms of predicting future success. Not that 4 innings will do anything like that, but it was a pretty good debut.
He was relieved by Sheldon McDonald who threw 2.2 innings, allowed 3 hits and a couple runs while striking out 3 and walking 1. Eduardo Figueroa threw 2.1 scoreless.
Zeke DeVoss led off and played CF for the Cubs. He was 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Tim Saunders doubled in a run and scored one himself in 4 plate appearances while Javier Baez was 0-3 with a sac fly. Jorge Soler singled twice in 4 plate appearances. Stephen Bruno (2B) and John Andreoli (LF) collected the only other two Cubs hits.
Soler was was also picked off 1st base.
It’s a little more difficult to argue Pierce Johnson had a good night than it might have been for Ben Wells. While Johnson struckout 4 and walked 1 in his full season debut, he also gave up 6 hits and 5 runs in 2.1 innings. He kept the ball in the yard and the 1st rounder will have many more starts this season.
Johnson was relieved by Justin Amlung who threw 2.2 innings, allowed a run on 2 hits, walked 2 and struckout 2. Brian Smith struckout 4 in 2 innings while walking 2 and allowing a run.
Rock Shoulders hit a 2-run home run and struckout twice in 4 plate appearances. He drove in the only runs of the game for the Cougars who had only 5 hits on the night.
Pin-Chieh Chen and Gioskar Amaya combined to go 0-8 out of the top two spots in the order. Dan Vogelbach batted 3rd and went 2-4 (both singles). Jeimer Candelario was 1-3 with a walk and Willson Contreras was 1-2 and was hit by a pitch.