The Cubs' farm system is really good at going 2-2. The Iowa Cubs won a close one due to Matt Mervis being—well—Matt Mervis. Then, in High-A South Bend, Jordan Nwogu just hit a ton of dingers and the Cubs won 13-3. Meanwhile, the Smokies and Pelicans lost close ones due to bad defense (Tennessee) and bad pitching (Myrtle Beach). Let's dive in.
Triple-A Iowa Cubs: 2-1 Victory Over St. Paul Saints
Biggest Yes: Matt Mervis — 1/2, BB, HR (5), 2 R
Biggest Yes for this game was a really tough decision for me. On one hand, you have Hayden Wesneski with a phenomenal outing—5.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 7 SO. On the other, Mervis scored both of Iowa's runs including their final one on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th. Mervis continues to rack up Biggest Yes wins, and this makes it back-to-back awards for the Cubs' 21st-best prospect.
Biggest Yikes: Narciso Crook — 0/4, 3 SO, 3 LOB
Crook, batting one spot ahead of Mervis, laid a goose egg on Thursday. He couldn't figure out Louie Varland (who—if you're wondering—is very, very good and fun to watch) and the rest of St. Paul's pitchers. As a result, Crook left runners in scoring position and even more on base. He also struck out 75% of the time he came up to the plate.
I mean, the silver lining is that if he had done pretty much anything, Mervis wouldn't have been able to hit a dope walk off. So, thanks for that, Crook! We know it was part of your plan all along.
Double-A Tennessee Smokies: 2-3 Loss to Rocket City Trash Pandas
Biggest Yes: Samuel Reyes — 3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 5 SO
The Smokies struggled to produce runs, but their pitching staff (outside of Ryan Jensen's 2 ER in 3.2 IP) did a nice job limiting the Trash Pandas. Reyes mostly cruised along for his 3.1 innings pitched. He would have gotten through his outing spotless if not for the Smokies' left side of the infield. In the 7th inning, Andy Weber and Chase Strumpf had back-to-back throwing errors. Then, Reyes gave up his only hit of the game, which scored the unearned run. His stuff was working, and he was fun to watch.
Biggest Yikes: Andy Weber — 0/4, 2 SO, 1 LOB, 2 E
Weber couldn't produce at the plate Thursday. He struck out 50% of the time and never got on base. The problem beyond that was Weber's fielding performance. Usually, Weber has a solid glove at both shortstop and second base. However, he had the throwing error to kick things off in the 7th as mentioned above. He had a fielding error as well to round out an—overall—poor showing.
High-A South Bend Cubs: 13-3 Victory Over Western Michigan Whitecaps
Biggest Yes: Jordan Nwogu — 4/5, BB, 3 HR (13), 4 RBI, 5 R, SB
I mean, how do you not give this to Nwogu? Luis Devers was incredible (5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 6 SO). However, Nwogu just stepped to the plate and hit home run after home run. He was comically good. MLB The Show on Rookie with sliders all the way up good. Nwogu is likely heading to Double-A Tennessee soon after Alexander Canario's promotion, and this may have been the exclamation mark to convince the Cubs to pull that trigger.
Biggest Yikes: Jonathan Sierra — 0/3, SO, 2 BB, 6 LOB
It's hard to give a Biggest Yikes to a guy who had a .400 OBP, but that's what happens when the Cubs win 13-3 and there are a ton of great performances. Sierra took his two walks, but he also left six runners stranded. That's one thing, but then he also left four runners in scoring position. Look, not having a ton of candidates for a Biggest Yikes is a good thing, so Sierra's going to go ahead and take this one for not getting anything done at the plate with runners on base.
Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 8-10 Loss to Augusta GreenJackets
Biggest Yes: Moises Ballesteros — 3/3, 2 BB, 2 R
Ballesteros has a sweet swing, man. He just does. The Cubs' 15th-best prospect is just 18, and he's slashing .295/.419/.443 in 61 at-bats for Myrtle Beach. He's walked 13 times to just 16 strikeouts which shows an advanced bat at a young age. Ballesteros still has a lot of work to do behind the plate, but it's easy to project the bat as something that can carry him through the farm.
Biggest Yikes: Koen Moreno — 2.2 IP, 3 H, 5 BB, 6 ER, 2 SO
Essentially, if Moreno is pitching, he will probably be showing up as the Biggest Yikes award winner. In 10 games, Moreno has a hilarious 11.05 ERA and 2.64 WHIP. His BAA is .282. Each time I write about him, I say that I still really want him to end up being good. He's only 21 and was a 2020 5th-round draft pick. Still, at this point, I'm also finding it fascinating that he just gets destroyed every game. Rooting for you, Koen. I can't wait to write about you as a Biggest Yes... but you're continuing your Biggest Yikes streak.