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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: July 31

South Bend keeps rolling. Iowa wins out west. Plus, a look at the prospects the Cubs traded to Detroit.

Andy Weber
Andy Weber
Al Yellon

First off, congratulations to Emeralds Riley McCauley, Fernando Kelli, Jake Slaughter and Chase Strumpf who were all names to the Northwest League All-Star Team. They’ll take on the Pioneer League All-Stars on August 6 in Boise.

I’m on the road tonight, so I haven’t had the opportunity to give my take on the two pitchers the Cubs gave up in the Nicholas Castellanos deal. I may try to get something done on Friday, but here’s my thumbnail take. Paul Richan is the better of the two prospects. He’s a real command and control pitcher and has a good head for pitching. Most of the guys like this don’t make it, but some these types turn into something good. (I’m not going to mention a certain Cubs pitcher because people will think I’m making a comp, but he’s a best-case scenario for a pitcher like this.) Richan’s pure stuff isn’t great, but his velocity has improved lately and I’m sure the Tigers are thinking that his upward trajectory could turn him into a quality major league pitcher at the back of a rotation.

Even when the Cubs drafted Alex Lange in the first round in 2017, a lot of people were saying that he was destined for the bullpen. He’s got an awkward delivery that has led to a lot of command and control issues. His stuff isn’t as good as it was at LSU either and he’s had a pretty miserable 2019 season so far. If the Tigers can fix him, they might get a solid middle reliever. But in the Cubs system, he was going backwards.

The Cubs didn’t get Castellanos for free. The Cubs got two months of a outfielder who mashes lefties and the Tigers got one semi-interesting prospect with a low ceiling (for now) and one reclamation project. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

July is over already?

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs trumped the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks), 7-4. The win snapped a five-game losing streak.

Starter Matt Swarmer turned in a “quality start” with three runs on seven hits over six innings. (Although in Reno in Triple-A this season, that qualifies as a dominating performance.) Swarmer walked two and struck out three. It was his sixth win of the year.

Danny Hultzen pitched the ninth inning and got the save. He allowed a two-out double, but that was the only baserunner. Hultzen struck out two. It was Hultzen’s first career save.

Second baseman Zack Short hit a two-run home run in the third inning, his fifth of the season. Short went 1 for 5.

Right fielder Trent Giambrone had two doubles and three RBI in a 2 for 5 game.

Left fielder Mark Zagunis also had a pair of doubles in a 2 for 5 evening. Zagunis scored twice. Both times, Giambrone doubled him home.

Shortstop Addison Russell went 2 for 3 with a double and two walks. Russell scored twice.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies were extinguished by the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), 7-1.

Smokies starter Erick Leal didn’t allow a hit over the first three innings and then he got smashed for seven runs in the fourth inning. Leal’s final line was seven runs on four hits and four walks over 3.1 innings. He struck out five.

Right fielder Charcer Burks was 2 for 4. He scored Tennessee’s lone run in the seventh inning on a Zach Davis ground out.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were locked up by Frederick Keys (Orioles), 5-2.

Alexander Vargas pitched into the seventh inning, but he got the loss when he allowed three more runs in the seventh. His total for the night was five runs on nine hits over 6.1 innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Second baseman Delvin Zinn went 2 for 4 with a double.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs surfed past the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers), 5-1. It was South Bend’s fifth-consecutive win and ninth in their last ten.

Brailyn Marquez is the current Midwest League Pitcher of the Week and he’s making a bid to win that award again this week. Marquez pitched six inning of no-hit baseball. He only walked one and struck out eight as he picked up his fifth win of the year.

Over his last two starts, Marquez has pitched 12 innings and allowed one hit and one walk while striking out 22.

Casey Ryan got into some trouble in the ninth inning as he gave up one run and then loaded the bases with one out. So Brian Glowicki was summoned from the pen and he got the save by retiring both batters he faced, the first one by a strikeout.

Shortstop Andy Weber continued his torrid pace, going 2 for 4 with a double and a triple. He also walked once. Weber scored one run.

Second baseman Clayton Daniel went 2 for 4 with an RBI double and a walk.

Right fielder Jonathan Sierra was 2 for 4 with a two-run single in the fourth inning.

DH Nelson Maldonado went 2 for 4 and scored one run.

Center fielder Cole Roederer went 2 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base. He scored one time.

Eugene Emeralds

The Eugene Emeralds were tarnished by the Spokane Indians (Rangers), 3-1.

Josh Burgman gave up two runs, one earned, over the first two innings and took the loss. Burgman surrendered two hits, including a solo home run. He struck out one and did not walk anyone.

Alexander Guerra doubled home Grayson Byrd in the second inning with the only Ems run of the game. Guerra was 1 for 4. Byrt was 0 for 3 with a walk.

AZL Cubs

Cubs 1 beat Athletics Green, 5-0.

Cubs 2 beat the Diamondbacks, 3-2.