Cubs Minor League News: Crook stil hot, Maldonado homers, Strumpf impressive, more
Crook continues his hot hitting (Photo via Iowa Cubs)

Cubs Minor League News: Crook stil hot, Maldonado homers, Strumpf impressive, more

by - Senior Writer -

Wins were not easy to come by on Thursday as the Cubs Minor League system went 2-5. Had it not been for the rookie league teams who combined to go 2-1, the Cubs would have gone winless on the night, and that is not what you want.

While the losses piled up last night, most of the games were competitive, and that is all you can ask from these teams. Considering the product the MLB team is trotting out there, maybe it is best to watch the minor leagues to know what to expect in the seasons to come.


Iowa came back down to earth a bit on Thursday after taking the first two games in relatively easy fashion. Brandon Leibrandt had a start to forget as he yielded six runs in five innings. Take that away, and the Iowa bullpen was pretty good, including a pair of scoreless frames from Michael Rucker.

All the damage off of Leibrandt came in two innings, with three runs crossing home in the second and three more in the fifth. Clay Dungan put Omaha on top for good with an RBI single in the second before the Brewer Hicklen homer made things 3-0. Another homer from Narcisco Crook in the bottom of the second made things 3-1, with Nelson Maldonado going deep in the third to make things 3-2.

That would be all the offense for Iowa in this one, as Omaha closed out the game with five unanswered runs on the strength of four homers to claim the win. Iowa had just three hits in the game, with Levi Jordan joining the home runs from Crook and Maldonado.


If this series has taught the fans anything, it would be that these teams are very evenly matched. After falling in 11 innings on Wednesday, the Smokies locked in another extra-inning tilt where they failed again 6-5.

Anderson Espinoza had a night to forget command-wise as he walked six and allowed four runs in just 1 2/3 innings. Samuel Reyes, Bryan King, and Danis Correa followed him up as they allowed just two runs the rest of the way, with Correa taking the loss in the 10th.

Trailing 1-0 in the second, Cole Roederer tied things up on an RBI single as his good numbers in AA continue. Pensacola answered that run with four of their own in the next two innings as Norel Gonzalez, Bubba Hollins, and Jan Mercado all had RBI singles to put the Blue Wahoos in front 5-1.

Looking for offense in their own right, it was time for Tennessee to rip off a three-run frame with Roederer picking up a bases-loaded walk before a sacrifice fly and Chase Strumpf double made things 5-4. Jake Slaughter would tie things up in the fifth off his solo shot as that 5-5 score held until the 10th. Correa was struggling in the extra frame as he loaded the bases and hit Gonzalez to force in the game-winning run. Strumpf accounted for two of the five hits from the leadoff role.


With seven of their runs coming in two separate innings, Quad City was all about quality innings. They only needed those two innings, but those were good enough to pull away from South Bend.

Daniel Palencia got through five innings and, for the most part, pitched well. While he did allow three runs on four hits, he struck out five with no walks, as that has been an issue for him. Despite striking out three in two innings of relief, Riley Martin took the loss while Zachary Leigh allowed four earned runs.

Rylan Kaufman got the start for the River Bandits and, for the most part, held their offense down. His lone run allowed was a fourth-inning RBI ground out from Owen Caissie, but that was after a three-run second had Quad Cities up 3-0. Still trailing 3-1 in the seventh, Fabian Pertuz came through with a massive hit as his RBI double tied things up 3-3.

In the bottom half of the innings, Quad City retook the lead for good on the Rubendy Jaquez single. They then added four more in the eighth, with three coming on the Juan Carlos Negret homer to pull away 8-3. Yohendrick Pinango continues to lead the offense with two hits.


This series has been about pitching, with Myrtle Beach picking up consecutive shutout wins to open things up. Thursday saw them on the other side as the Pelicans were held to just one hit through five innings before seeing action suspended.


Not everyone would lose on Thursday as the ACL Cubs used a five-run first to cruise to the win. While Kenyi Perez got the start and tossed three shutout frames, Yovanny Cruz earned the win as he allowed one run in two innings to go with four strikeouts.

From the offensive side, the Cubs bats exploded in the first inning as five runs came across to score and opened a huge lead. With an error leading to the first run, Ismael Mena and Christian Olivo added RBI singles to make things 4-0. A double steal later in that frame put the Cubs up 5-0 as they were in charge early.

Read Garcia kept the party going in the second with a sacrifice fly, but that would be it for the offense. Fortunately for them, it was enough offense as a fifth-inning wild pitch was all the Reds could do. Pedro Ramirez and Olivo led the way with two hits, while Cristian Hernandez grabbed one.


The DSL side of the Cubs have been very familiar with the Yankees so far as they have seen most of their games against them. With a pitcher's duel in full swing, it was the Cubs taking care of business and disposing of the Yankees 3-1.

After Melvyn Amador delivered four hitless innings, Runelvis Toribio and Fraimin Marte finished things off. The Cubs needed just five hits in the game, with the Yodel Diaz RBI double in the second putting them on top for good. The Cubs would add two more runs on a wild pitch and double steal to build a 3-0 lead after five.

While the Cubs had five hits, the Yankees had just one, with that hit coming as an RBI double from Diomedes Hernandez in the seventh to cap off the scoring.


The lone rookie team to lose on Thursday was the DSL Blue squad that fell 7-3. Granted, three of their runs came later, but a lot of damage came early in the game to open things up.

It was the Cubs striking first using a Jerry Torres single to take a 2-0 lead in the second. That lead was short-lived as Boston tied things up in the bottom of the third before a fourth-inning passed ball put the Cubs back in front 3-2.

That would be the last lead they would have as the two-run triple off the bat of Axel James put the Red sox in front 4-3 in the fourth. Three innings later, Jose Liriano delivered the dagger as his two-run shot extended the lead to 6-3 before they added another run later.

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