Cubs Minor League News: Howard impressive in debut, PCA raking, Alcantara homers, more

Cubs Minor League News: Howard impressive in debut, PCA raking, Alcantara homers, more

by - Senior Writer -

Tuesday was extremely busy for the Cubs and their fans as it marked the first time this season that all seven affiliates were in action. That means more teams, action, and players to keep track of in what should be an exciting summer.

Ideally, you want the best results, as wins and losses are equally important to player development. The full-season teams have been doing a ton of winning the past few seasons, but now it is up to the Rookie League teams to follow, as they posted an overall record of 2-5 on Tuesday.


Tuesday was an extremely interesting game, as most of the damage came in three innings. Not only did the Cubs have a four-run inning, but St. Paul had two four-run frames, with both coming on Grand Slams. Those hits were the difference as the Saints picked up a 10-4 win. The combination of Chris Clarke and Cam Sanders was excellent early on, as they allowed two runs in four innings with four strikeouts. Then came Jordan Holloway in the fifth, who allowed the first of two Grand Slams and took the loss.

Trailing 1-0 in the second after Matt Wallner put the Saints in front with a double in the first, the Cubs offense came out swinging and put together a massive inning. Yonathan Perlaza provided most of the damage as his three-run shot gave Iowa a 3-1 lead.

Jared Young would add an RBI double later in the inning as Iowa was in front 4-1. The problem was this was all the offense the Cubs would have on the day, as it was up to their pitching to hold on to the lead.

After Jose Miranda pulled the Saints to within 4-2 in the fourth, Jair Camargo delivered the game-winning blow as his Grand Slam in the fifth put the Saints in front for good, 6-4. The Saints would add a second Grand Slam later in the game when Chris Williams took Daniel Palencia deep to pick up the 10-4 win. Nick Madrigal continues to torch the ball, picking up three hits, with Perlaza adding two with his three RBIs.


Crooked numbers were the night's theme as the Smokies used a five-run frame to take the lead and picked up the win. That inning made up for a rough outing for Jordan Wicks, who continues to suffer up-and-down performances. Wicks lasted just four innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. He did strike out six as his ERA remains a steady 3.40.

Wicks allowed an Orlando Martinez single in the first to put Rocket City up 1-0 before Nelson Maldonado tied things up with a sacrifice fly in the second. The next inning saw the Trash Pandas gift the Cubs a run with an error while Owen Caissie used an RBI double to put the Smokies in front 3-1. Once the fourth inning rolled around, you had the Trash Pandas starting to time up Wicks as a pair of RBI singles from Tucker Flint and David Calabrese put the Trash Pandas back in front 4-3 and chased Wicks from the game.

That score would hold until the sixth when Cole Roederer opened the five-run sixth with a two-run blast to put the Smokies back in front for good, 5-4. Pete Crow-Armstrong added a two-run triple later in the inning and came around to score on the Luis Vazquez single as the Smokies took an 8-4 lead into the seventh before winning 8-5.


Although the Cubs lost on Tuesday, it was a very special night for the organization as 2020 first-round pick Ed Howard and 2022 Organizational pitcher of the year Luis Devers returned to the field for their first action of 2023. Devers got the start and labored through a painful first that saw him walk four and allowed six runs. You also saw Connor Noland struggle in an unfamiliar relief role, as the pitching was terrible for both sides.

Devers is not known as a power pitcher and prides himself on getting guys to put the ball in play. However, when he doesn't have his command, he tends to get hit hard, which happened during the Lugnuts seven-run first. A pair of bases-loaded walks opened the scoring for Lansing with a wild pitch pushing the lead to 3-0. That was followed by a pair of RBI singles and an RBI triple as the Lugnuts jumped in front 7-0 in the first.

Fortunately for the Cubs, their offense was also up to the task, and they used a massive second inning to make this a game again. Casey Opitz started the inning with a bases-loaded walk, with Kevin Alcantara adding an RBI single to make things 7-3. Jacob Wetzel followed that with an RBI single, with Bryce Ball pulling the Cubs within 7-6 on his double.

As if six runs weren't good enough, the Cubs would score nine unanswered runs to take the lead as an RBI triple from Wetzel tied things up in the fourth before he came in to score on the James Triantos double. Alcantara capped off the scoring for South Bend in the fifth as his fourth homer gave the Cubs a 9-7 lead. It was at this moment when the game changed as the Cubs offense went quiet the rest of the way while the Lugnuts were about to heat up again.

All it took was one swing from Max Muncy in the seventh, and just like that, the Cubs were trailing 10-9. Clark Elliott added an RBI single later in that inning to stretch the lead to 11-9 before the Lugnuts added a pair of runs in the ninth to seal the game. Alcantara had a much-needed big game from the leadoff spot, finishing with four hits and three RBIs.

Howard connected for three hits in his season debut, with Wetzel and Yohendrick Pinango picking up multi-hit games.


While most of the games in the Cubs system were filled with drama, this was not one of them, as the Pelicans took care of the Greenjackets in seven innings. Most of the Pelican's damage came in the seventh when they scored six times, as that was more than enough to back Grant Kipp.

Kipp continues to impress this season as the right-hander gave the Pelicans six innings of one-run ball. He walked one and struck out four as his ERA fell to 2.98. Jorge Bautista was equally as good early, giving up two runs through six innings before falling apart in the seventh. Felix Stevens provided Kipp with some early support as his solo shot put the Birds in front for good, 1-0 in the second.

That was the game's only run until the sixth, when a wild pitch brought home the winning run and saw Myrtle Beach take a 2-0 lead. The lone run off of Kipp came in the bottom half of the sixth when Francisco Floyd got into one and drove it over the fence. Thankfully, the Pelicans offense had more in store as Ismael Mena opened a massive seventh inning with an RBI groundout that made things 3-1.

Reivaj Garcia and Parker Chavers followed that up with RBI singles to make things 5-1 before Moises Ballesteros cleared the bases for a three-run shot and capped off the scoring in an 8-1 win.

Chavers continued his strong play with three more hits, while Garcia and Pedro Ramirez picked up two.


It's hard to win games when your pitching gives up 32 runs in two games as the ACL pitching staff is struggling. However, Drew Gray was not one of the ones struggling as he tossed 2 2/3 hitless innings with seven strikeouts. Apart from him, things were a struggle, although Gleiber Morales struck out four in his 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

For the second night in a row, it was the ACL offense getting going first, and it shouldn't shock anyone to see the catalysts for it. Adan Sanchez opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first before a fielder's choice allowed Anderson Suriel to reach base and put the Cubs in front 3-0. A bases-loaded walk from Dominic Hambley in the third put the Padres on the board, and it started a relentless offensive attack late in the game.

An Eddy Beltre homer followed that walk in the fourth to tie things up, while Max Schrock put the Padres in front for good with a single. The next inning saw the Padres extend their lead as Oswaldo Linares went deep to put them up 7-3. That lead would grow to 10-3 in the sixth as the Cubs aided them with a trio of runs and capped off three-straight three-run frames.

In catchup mode yet again, the Cubs pulled within 10-5 in the sixth before the Wally Soto single and Christopher Paciolla double made things 10-7 in the eighth. Each team would add an additional run in the ninth, which is how the game would end. Alexis Hernandez led the offense with three hits.


Coming off their season-opening win, the Cubs hit the road for the first time this summer, where they fell to the Mets 4-3. All it took was one crooked inning for the Mets to grab the win as their three-run third did the Cubs in. Juan Archbold was the tough luck loser on the afternoon, charged with three runs in three innings, although one run was earned.

Starting fast has not been an issue for DSL Blue this summer, with Leonel Espinoza putting the Cubs in front 1-0 with a solo shot in the second. Later in that frame, Moises Febrillet picked up a sacrifice fly as the Cubs held a 2-0 lead early. Holding that lead into the bottom of the third, the Mets' offense came to life and started to put Archbold in a tough spot.

Granted, an error and a wild pitch didn't help, as the first run scored on that wild pitch, but the Cristopher Larez single-tied things up 2-2. Randy Guzman capped off the three-run third with an RBI double to put the Mets in front for good, 3-2. One inning later saw Daiverson Gutierrez come through with the game-winning single as the Mets took a 4-2 lead into the fifth.

DSL Blue pulled within 4-3 late on the Febrillet RBI double; they couldn't get any closer and fell by that 4-3 score. Edward Vargas and Espinoza came away with three hits in the game, with Febrillet leading the way with two RBIs.


Two games into the season, DSL Red is searching for their first win as they dropped a well-pitched game to the Yankees. Zhiorman Imbriano was impressive on the mound as he struck out four in 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Opposing him was Jerson Alejandro, who was equally as good as he matched Imbriano with four strikeouts in four scoreless frames.

Knotted 0-0 entering the fifth, the Yankees cashed in first as a wild pitch gift-wrapped the game's first run with the Cubs trailing 1-0. That lead didn't last long as DSL Red rallied to tie things up in the bottom of the fifth, with Angel Cepeda ripping an RBI single to get the job done. That would be the game's only run for DSL Red, but fortunately, their pitching held up as the score remained 1-1.

Once the seventh inning rolled around, the Yankees bats suddenly came to life as they pulled away with a big inning. While a wild pitch never helped anyone when that brings home a run, the Luis Suarez triple proved to be the game-winner, with the Cubs falling 4-1.

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