Cubs Minors Daily: Hernandez impressive, Espinoza with two hits, De La Cruz pitches gem


by - Senior Writer -
Hernandez is an elite prospect for the Cubs
Hernandez is an elite prospect for the Cubs

Just like the case on Monday, Tuesday will also be about the Rookie League as DSL takes center stage for the second time this week. With Iowa now having Monday and Tuesday games for the final two weeks, it gives fans a chance to watch the lowest level of the minor leagues more in-depth as they are the only ones playing ball those days.

Although most of the players on the DSL rosters are young 16–18-year-old prospects looking to prove themselves, there are several players on the Cubs rosters that could become significant pieces for this team's future. That all revolves around the organizations No.3 overall prospect in Cristian Hernandez, who has looked good in his first professional season.

According to FanGraphs, Hernandez is just the 28th player since 2006 in the DSL to have five home runs and 20 steals.

Not yet 19 years old, Hernandez was one of the best international free agents in his classes and has lived up to his billing this season. Drawing comparisons to a young Alex Rodriguez in terms of average and speed and Manny Machado in terms of the power, he is viewed as the shortstop of the future for this team, even if it doesn't happen for a few years. Fans haven't had a chance to watch him much this season, but once we turn the page to 2022, look for him to go to the ACL for a bit before heading to full-season leagues, and then fans can see what he is about.

DSL RANGERS2 5 – DSL CUBS RED 2

The Rangers cooled off the streaking DSL Red Cubs on Tuesday, knocking them off 5-2. In a rare game, the Cubs elected to use just two pitchers, with Enmanuel De La Cruz starting. In what was his 10th start of the season, De La Cruz continued to pitch great, allowing one run on four hits in five innings to go with four strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 2.06 on the season.

That run he allowed came in the first inning when he helped the Rangers out with a wild pitch that put them in front 1-0. Once the game shifted to the fourth inning, the Cubs offense started to get going as they were the ones now in control. Luis Maza has had an excellent last week of games and

continued that with an RBI groundout in the fourth to tie things up 1-1.

Speaking of someone who has been on a tear the last few weeks, Moises Ballesteros may be the hottest hitter on DSL Red at the moment. Not only has he been able to get back to putting the ball in play, but his power numbers are starting to show up as his RBI single in the top of the fifth gave the Cubs

the lead 2-1. Holding that lead heading to the bottom of the sixth, Anthony Martinez was called on in relief, and things didn't go well.

Despite going four innings, Martinez was shelled, allowing four runs on seven hits as the Rangers offense started to hit him early and often. An Edgar Basabe double tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth before the Luis Zambrano RBI single gave the Rangers the lead for good 3-2 in the seventh. One inning later saw the Rangers deliver the dagger as Basabe upped the ante by connecting for his two-run shot giving the Rangers the 5-2 win.

The Cubs had just five hits in the loss, with Wilmer Bolivar, Anderson Suriel, and Fredy Montenegro joining Maza and Ballesteros. Pedro Ramirez was moved from the leadoff spot to the No. 2 hole and went hitless. He is still hitting .352, which is the highest average in the system.

DSL CUBS BLUE 9 – DSL RANGERS1 3

It has been a while since DSL Blue has had a convincing win, but they did just that, tripling up the Rangers 9-3. The Cubs used a quartet of pitchers with Marino Santy. Gleiber Morales, Gregoris Carrasquel, and Michael Arias all getting at least two innings of work in on the mound.

The Cubs couldn't have asked for a better start to their game offensively as they came ready to hit in the first inning. Not only did Cristian Hernandez put the Cubs on top for good with an RBI single, but a Frank Hernandez RBI groundout and the Dilan Granadillo sacrifice fly followed that up as the Cubs took a 3-0 lead early.

Looking to use that momentum on the mound, Santy struggled with his command walking five hitters compared to just one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings. One of

those walks was a bases-loaded walk to John Mejia to put the Rangers on the board before Danyer Cueva grounded out for another RBI to make things 3-2.

Still holding that lead in the third, it was the Cubs offense once again coming through as they brought home three runs for the second time in the game.

The Leonel Espinoza double got the scoring started before he came home on the Granadillo single. A Daniel Ferreira bases-loaded walk later in the inning brought home another run as the Cubs led 6-2.

The rest of the game was fairly quiet, with the Rangers picking up a seventh-inning sacrifice fly from Glider Figuereo to make things 6-3. The Cubs answered in a big way in the bottom of that seventh inning using RBI singles from Ferreira and Lizardo Ruiz, mixed with the Carlos Ramos force out to push home three more runs to bring home a 9-3 win.

Espinoza led the way with two hits for the offense as Ferreira joined him. Along with his two hits, Ferreira led the team with two RBIs, with Granadillo adding two of his own. Cristian Hernandez continues to hit, picking up another RBI to bring his average to .287 on the season.

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