Chicago Cubs Weekly Farm Report (8/9/21): Trade Acquisitions Shine as System Gets More Exciting

The Cubs have added 31 prospects into their system over the course of the last month or so: 17 draft picks, 10 via trades, and four undrafted free agents. Getting to know each and every one of those guys while also paying attention to four games every day at full-season affiliates has been an awful lot to wrap my brain around.

Add in the fact that it was a remarkable week in terms of individual performances and this is quite the weekly update. So let’s get right into it.

News in the System

  • Brennen Davis was named the Cubs’ MiLB Player of the Month for July. He posted a .298/.410/.667 slash line in 84 at-bats in Tennessee and also put together a legendary performance in the Futures Game in the most impressive month of his very young career.
  • Meanwhile, Ryan Jensen was named Cubs MiLB Pitcher of the Month. He recorded a 1.99 ERA and had 28 strikeouts compared to just four walks in his 22.2 innings.

Triple-A Iowa Cubs

  • Iowa had a full week of seven games in six days and started off the series against Indianapolis with a three-game winning streak. Unfortunately, they dropped the final four games and lost the series. They are 35-47 this season.
  • Greg Deichmann and Justin Steele were promoted to Chicago this week, with the outfielder drawing a few starts in Chicago while Steele is set to make his first career start on the mound Tuesday night.

  • New to the Triple-A level this week were Levi Jordan (.762 OPS in Tennessee), Zach Davis (11 stolen bases), and Ethan Roberts. The latter is the most notable here, as I have been calling for his promotion for the better part of two months. He truly dominated during his time in Double-A this year with a 1.97 ERA and 0.78 WHIP while holding opposing hitters to a .139 average.
  • Nick Martini and Trayce Thompson were the stars at the plate this week. Martini doubled once, tripled twice, and homered on his way to 10 hits. Thompson cranked out three homers in his 21 plate appearances.
  • Keegan Thompson made another start this week, going 3.1 innings and holding Indy scoreless on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.
  • The bullpen combo of Dakota Mekkes, Scott Effross, and Ben Leeper went a total of 8.2 innings while striking out six, walking two, and allowing just three hits without giving up a run.
  • The I-Cubs hit the road for a series with Omaha. The last time the two teams linked up, they split the series back in June.

Double-A Tennessee Smokies

  • The Smokies could only muster a 2-4 series record against Montgomery this week, bringing their season record to 35-45.
  • There will be six new players in Tennessee this week, as Delvin Zinn, Nelson Velazquez, and Jake Washer were promoted on the hitting side of things and Graham Lawson, Samuel Reyes, and Caleb Kilian got the call on the mound.
  • Kilian was part of the return for Kris Bryant and in two starts (including a rain-shortened outing on Wednesday) the righty went 5.2 innings with two runs on seven hits and two walks. He also struck out four.
  • There were three tremendous starts on the bump by guys that have gone well below the radar to this point this season. Luis Lugo gave up no runs in six innings with one hit, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Javier Assad logged six innings and gave up no earned runs on two hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Dakota Chalmers also went six scoreless innings with one hit, one walk, and three punchouts.
  • Brandon Hughes was really good out of the pen, piecing together four total innings where he struck out eight and only walked one batter.
  • It was a much-needed stellar week from Chase Strumpf. He has been riding the struggle bus since debuting in Tennessee early in the season, but this week he posted a 1.134 OPS thanks to nine hits, including three doubles and a bomb.
  • More love for Jared Young yet again, as he posted an OPS above 1.000 thanks to nine hits. Two were doubles and one was a homer, plus he drove in five runs.

  • The Smokies are back home for two weeks, starting off with a series against the Rocket City Trash Pandas and concluding with a set against the Birmingham Barons.

High-A South Bend Cubs

  • South Bend once again saw the offense go wild, posting performances of eight, 10, and 10 runs to finish off the week. They went 4-2 and brought their season mark to 37-46.
  • The new faces at Four Winds Field included Anderson Espinoza (Jake Marisnick trade) and Alexander Vizcaino (Anthony Rizzo trade). They both saw time “starting,” but Espinoza logged the most innings at just three on Wednesday evening.
  • Max Bain came back from the development list and made a 3.2 inning-long start during which he didn’t allow a hit while puching out six.

  • In my eyes, Alexander Canario was one of the most exciting prospect returns when he was acquired for Kris Bryant. He is now proving why he is so electric with a two-homer week. Both were absolute moonshots and it seems like every time Canario makes contact, the ball comes off the bat hard.

  • Bryce Ball continues on this section where apparently I get to talk exclusively about trade acquisitions. He doubled twice and hit a tank of his own while walking five times in 25 plate appearances.
  • South Bend is back on the road for a series with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. If you happen to be a Cubs fan in Indiana, this might be a perfect week for you to check out a team that is loaded with fun new players.

Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans

  • The Pelicans take home the prize for the first Cubs affiliate to complete a sweep under the new scheduling set-up. They went a perfect 6-0 against division rival Columbia and just like that, the Birds are back to .500 this season. The most exciting moment of the series came on Tuesday night, a game in which the Pelicans scored six runs. The kicker? All six runs came on two different inside-the-park home runs, one by Fabian Pertuz and one by the big man Jonathan Sierra.
  • For as good as Myrtle Beach was this week and as exciting as two inside-the-parkers are, the bats were awfully quiet. Jacob Wetzel was the lone standout performer in the hitting stats category as he rocked a 1.097 OPS thanks to a triple and an opposite-field home run in 21 plate appearances.
  • Daniel Palencia was the only new guy in Myrtle this week for a team that has used by far the fewest players in the system this season. Palencia started on Sunday afternoon and threw 63 pitches, a few of which popped triple-digits on the gun. He tallied six strikeouts in three innings.

  • How about the starters? Jose Miguel Gonzalez went five strong, giving up a lone hit and no runs while setting down five via the strikeout with just two walks. Richard Gallardo also went five innings. He gave up two hits and no walks while punching out three and not allowing an earned run to cross the plate.
  • If you like relievers, check out Bailey Reid, Tyler Sullentrop, Gabriel Jamarillo, and Danis Correa. They combined for 16.1 shutout innings with five hits, six walks, and 25 strikeouts!
  • Myrtle Beach will play Charleston at home starting Tuesday night and look to pull out above .500 as the season wears on with just a little over a month left.
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