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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: April 29

Iowa pounds out 5 home runs in an 18-2 win. Ezequiel Pagan leads South Bend past Peoria

Jake Slaughter
Dylan Heuer

Someone tell me what’s in the water in Des Moines this year.

There was a big move as top-ten Cubs prospect RHP Ben Brown was promoted to Iowa today, as well as LHP Bailey Horn. In a corresponding move, the Cubs put RHP Roenis Elías on the temporarily inactive list and released RHP Curtis Taylor.

I had previously said it was unlikely that Brown would see the majors this year. This move has made me reconsider that position.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs pounded the Louisville Bats (Reds), 18-2.

Nick Neidert was also activated off the Development List to make this start and he got the win after allowing just two runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings. Neidert struck out six and walked one.

The I-Cubs batted around in the first inning, scored eight runs and never looked back. Third baseman Jake Slaughter opened the scoring with a grand slam in the first. It was his second home run on the year. Slaughter was 2 for 4 with a walk and a steal. He scored twice and had those four RBI.

The next hitter after Slaughter’s slam, DH David Bote, went back-to-back with Slaughter for his third homer of 2023. Bote was 2 for 5 with a stolen base. He scored twice and had two runs batted in.

Center fielder Christopher Morel just missed hitting a second grand slam in the first inning when his blast curved foul. (Or so the umpires said. The Cubs seemed to think it was fair, although they didn’t argue much. The video wasn’t good enough to tell either way.) So instead, Morel just had to settle for a bases-clearing double later in the at-bat. He then added a two-run single in the third inning. Then in the fourth inning, Morel hit a two-run home run that definitely wasn’t foul. It was Morel’s 11th home run this year already.

So for the game, Christopher Morel went 3 for 4 with seven runs batted in out of the leadoff spot. He scored twice. Morel was also hit by a pitch once.

Shortstop Sergio Alcántara hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Alcántara now has three home runs this year. He was 2 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.

Later in the sixth inning, left fielder Yonathan Perlaza hit his first career Triple-A home run with two men on. Perlaza was 2 for 6 and scored two runs.

Second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni was 3 for 4 with a double and two walks. He scored twice.

First baseman Matt Mervis was 2 for 6 with an RBI double. He also scored on Slaughter’s slam.

Slaughter’s opposite-field grand slam.

Bote going back-to-back.

Morel is looking like prime Sammy Sosa this season. I mean that only in the way he hits them that far.

And Perlaza goes deep.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies lost to the Birmingham Barons (White Sox), 3-2.

Starter Ryan Jensen had some control issues, but he also managed to get the out when he needed it. Jensen allowed one run on four hits over four innings. He walked five batters while striking out four.

Reliever Hunter Bigge gave up a two-run home run to Taylor Snyder in the sixth inning and took the loss. Bigge’s final line was two runs on two hits over two innings. He struck out two and walked no one.

Center fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong was 2 for 4 with a hit-by-pitch and a steal. (He was also caught stealing.) He scored one run.

First baseman BJ Murray Jr. was 2 for 4 with a walk.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs demoted the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals), 7-4.

Starting pitcher Kohl Franklin went 3.2 innings and gave up just one unearned run on two hits. He did have some control issues as he walked three and hit two batters. Franklin struck out four.

The win went to Joe Nahas, who relieved Franklin in the fourth inning, when the bases loaded and two were out. Nahas stranded all three runners and then went on to pitch 3.1 innings without allowing a run. He gave up two hits. Nahas struck out five and walked no one.

Third baseman Fabian Pertuz plated the first run of the game in the second inning on a solo home run, his second on the year. Pertuz was 1 for 5.

Right fielder Ezequiel Pagan was a home run shy of the cycle, going 3 for 4 with a double and a triple. Pagan drove home two and scored once.

Catcher Ethan Hearn was 2 for 4 with a triple. He scored once.

Shortstop Scott McKeon was 2 for 4 with an RBI.

DH Kevin Alcántara went 2 for 5. He scored one run.


Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were bitten by the Charleston RiverDogs (Rays), 2-1 in a game that ended in the bottom of the fifth inning because of rain.

Starter Koen Moreno struggled with control and got the loss. Moreno gave up one run on four hits over 2.1 innings. That doesn’t sound too bad, but he walked six and struck out two.

Myrtle Beach pitchers walked 11 and hit two batters in the 4.2 innings that got played.

Catcher Moises Ballesteros hit a solo home run in the top of the fifth. It was his fourth home run this year. Ballesteros was 2 for 2 with a walk.

Ballesteros’ home run.