Cubs Minor League News: Thompson smacks 15th homer, Hoerner hurt, Ed Howard impressive, mo
Thompson drilled his 15th homer in the win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)

Cubs Minor League News: Thompson smacks 15th homer, Hoerner hurt, Ed Howard impressive, mo

by - Senior Writer -

As another week of competition came to an end, the Cubs Minor League system continues to go about their business as they try and win fans over this season. With the Chicago Cubs continuing to struggle to win games, many die-hard fans have turned away from the major-league side of things and have begun to focus on the future ahead.

Although the organization struggled to win games this week, capping off their week with a 2-3 record, there is a lot to like going forward. A lot of the prospects from recent trades have made immediate impacts in the Cubs organization and could be making waves at Wrigley in the coming years.


At long last, the Cubs were able to solve the Saints, but it didn't come easy. A big reason for that was Cory Abbott turning in one of his best starts of the season. The righty went 5 1/3 innings on the mound allowing just one run on four hits with five strikeouts. His command continues to be an issue as he walked four, but he was able to limit the damage.

Abbott gave way to Dillon Maples, Scott Effross, and newly acquired Marcus Walden as the trio allowed one run in just under four innings. The Cubs have had a hard time scoring throughout this series, and early on, that was not an issue with Trayce Thompson picking up an RBI fielder's choice in the first and Edwin Figuera adding an RBI single in the second. Byron Buxton mixed in a homer in the bottom of the first as Iowa led 2-1 after two.

Still holding the 2-1 lead in the seventh, Saint Paul tied things up as a costly error allowed Tomas Tellis to reach. After committing that error in the seventh, Abiatal Avelino wasted no time giving the Cubs the lead as his RBI single put them in front for good 3-2. One inning later saw Thompson connect for his 15th homer of the season ahead of a Levi Jordan RBI single to give Iowa a pair of enormous insurance runs as they picked up the 5-2 win.

Avelino was one of two players with multiple hits joining Greg Deichmann. Everyone else in the Cubs lineup collected one hit as the team pounded out 11 total hits.


In game one of a doubleheader, the Smokies and Barons went down to the wire only to see the Barons pull it out in extra innings. Making his first AA start was Ryan Jensen as the righty saw mixed results. In four innings, Jensen was charged with three runs on four hits striking out three and walking two. That is a promising showing from someone who had a nice finish to his High A season.

After Mitch Roman put the Barons on top with an RBI single in the second, Jensen allowed a Craig Dedelow homer in the fourth, putting his team in a 3-0 hole. Fortunately for him, the Smokies offense came to life in the fifth as they bailed him out with a big inning. What started with a Tyler Payne RBI double, saw Cam Balego add an RBI double mixed with a Carlos Sepulveda single, and just like that, things were back to even 3-3.

The two teams failed to score over the next two innings, which led to extra baseball being played in game one. Unfortunately, it was Birmingham cashing in during the clutch as Carlos Perez singled home the game-winning run in the 4-3 win.


The second part of the doubleheader was much better if you are a Smokies fan as they made quick work of the Barons 7-1. Alex Katz delivered a short yet successful three-inning start before Samuel Reyes, and Brandon Hughes finished things off in relief.

With just swing, Nelson Velazquez but the Smokies on top for good as his sixth AA homer and 18th homer overall have the Smokies in front 3-0 in the first. Two innings later saw Yoelqui Cespedes come through with an RBI double off Katz to pull within 3-1, but the would-be the lone run the Barons would have in the game.

Following that RBI hit in the top of the third, Chase Strumpf took it upon himself to play long ball again as his seventh homer gave the Smokies a 5-1 lead. Searching for more offense late in the game, Velazquez came through with an RBI single in the sixth to cap off a five-RBI night, with the Smokies winning by a 7-1 score.

Velazquez has had no issues adjusting to AA pitching thus far, leading the team with three hits to go with his five RBIs.

Strumpf connected for a pair of hits while Andy Weber and Sepulveda rounded out the seven-hit performance. Brennen Davis and Christopher Morel were held hitless in the win.


The Cubs had a series to forget against the River Bandits as wins were hard to come by. That continued again on Sunday as the Cubs were held to six hits and pushed across one run in a 7-1 defeat. Although Max Bain took another loss, the righty deserved better after putting together an outstanding performance. Bain went five innings and allowed only two runs to go with eight punchouts, but lack of offense did him in.

Michael Massey put the River Bandits on top for good in the second as his 17th homer of the season had them up 1-0. Three innings later saw Jake Means connect for an RBI double as that hit was the game-winner in the victory. As if his early homer wasn't good enough, Massey put the game away in the

sixth as his second homer of the night had Quad Cities holding a 5-0 lead.

Looking to put an end to the shutout bid, Tyler Durna took it upon himself in the bottom of the sixth, going deep for his fifth homer of the season to make things 5-1. Quad Cities would add on a pair of runs later in the game, with Nick Loftin adding a sacrifice fly before a Means single capped off the scoring in a 7-1 South Bend loss.

Durna was one of six players to record a hit, joining Jake Washer, Yonathan Perlaza, Jake Slaughter, Alexander Canario, and Scott McKeon. Nico Hoerner took one swing in his rehab appearance and left the game in obvious pain putting his season return in jeopardy.


The most exciting game of the night came in Low-A, where the Pelicans took on the Woodpeckers. Unfortunately, the Pelicans wound up on the losing side of that game as Fayetteville pushed across seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come from behind and win.

Daniel Palencia delivered 4 1/3 hitless innings on the mound, but was still charged with two earned runs as he battled command issues all start long. Even with the command issues, it didn't seem to affect him early, as Myrtle Beach gave him a four-run cushion just two innings in.

With Ezequiel Pagan opening the scoring with an RBI double in the second, Josue Huma and Yohendrick Pinango added sacrifice flies later in that inning to cap off a four-run frame giving Myrtle Beach the 4-0 lead.

Bot of the runs charged to Palencia came in the fifth when Chad Stevens connected for an RBI double to cut the deficit in half 4-2. That hit wasn't off

Palencia, but instead Jaret Wright as he came on in relief of Palencia. Sensing they needed more offense, Ed Howard grounded one up the middle to bring home another run with the Pelicans up 5-2.

Stevens was a man on a mission, especially after the fifth inning when he backed up that RBI double with a three-run homer to pull Fayetteville 5-5 in the seventh. Once again, the Pelicans had an answer in the top of the eighth, with Howard adding a sacrifice fly along with an error to give the Pelicans a 7-5 lead. Hoping that lead would hold up, Adonis Giron took Gabriel Jaramillo deep for the grand slam as that proved to be the difference in the Woodpeckers 9-7 win.

2021 eighth-round pick Casey Optiz led the way for the Pelicans collecting two hits as he has started his professional career batting .333. Howard added two hits to go with the two RBIs, while Pinango, Pagan, Jordan Nwogu, and Fabian Pertuz collected the remaining hits.

Fayetteville was led by the bottom of their order, where Stevens and Giron accounted for three of the teams six hits and all nine RBIs.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!