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Chicago Cubs Around the Farm Fifth Edition: 8/12/22

Check out the stars and underwhelming performers from around the Cubs’ farm system on Friday, August 12.
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Darius Hill Chicago Cubs Prospects

Photo: Dylan Heuer

The Chicago Cubs were off Friday following the Field of Dreams game, but all of their minor league teams were in action. Here are the best and worst performances from each level.

Triple-A Iowa Cubs: 9-5 Victory Over Louisville Bats

Biggest Yes: Darius Hill — 2/5, HR (3), 3 RBI

In the short history of our Around the Farm series, Darius Hill has become the first two-time "Biggest Yes" award winner. Big round of applause for the best contact bat in the Cubs' system. Hill is my 28th-best prospect in the Cubs' system, which is a testament to how deep the farm is rather than the 24-year-old outfielder's talent. In general, the biggest knock on Hill is his ability to hit for power. However, he hit his third Triple-A home run and ninth MiLB home run of the season last night. It broke a tie in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the Cubs never looked back.

As a Rule 5-eligible player this offseason, Hill is making it difficult for the Cubs to determine whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster to protect him. On one hand, Chicago has a boatload of outfield prospects, which could make Hill expendable, and there's no guarantee he will be taken in the Rule 5 draft. On the other hand, Hill is hitting .337 and has an OBP of .371. His bat-to-ball skills are elite. I wouldn't mind seeing the Cubs bring him up for a cup of coffee in the majors this year to see if they have something.

Biggest Yikes: Canye Ueckert — 0.0 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 1 BB

This was definitely a yikes situation for Ueckert. Simply put, he has had a rough season in Iowa after being lights out in High-A and Double-A last year. Friday was no different.

In the eighth inning, Ueckert took the mound with a 5-1 lead. Without recording an out, he managed to let the Bats get within one run. Luckily, Hill led the charge in the bottom of the eighth to secure a win. However, this was a rough outing for the 26-year-old right-hander.

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Double-A Tennessee Smokies: 16-14 Loss to Mississippi Braves (Yes, You Read that Score Right)

Biggest Yes: Jake Slaughter — 4/6, 2 HR (15), 2B, 4 RBI

This game featured an incredibly fun second inning, even though the Smokies came out on the wrong end of things when all was said and done. Leading the offensive charge for Tennessee, Slaughter almost hit for the cycle. It was like he was playing MLB The Show out there. At the end of the day, Slaughter hit two home runs, a double, and a single, culminating in 4 RBIs. It's wild that a 10-run second inning and all the offense Slaughter and company created wasn't enough for a win.

Biggest Yikes: Max Bain — 1.2 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 4 BB

How Max Bain was sent back out in the fifth inning blows my mind. Ben Brown started the game and got roughed up. Bain came in to relieve him in the fourth and got knocked around, too. Then, Bain took the mound in the fifth inning, and he promptly repeated the process. In 16 games with Tennessee, Bain has a 7.50 ERA, a 2.17 WHIP, and a .285 BAA. As such, seeing Bain on the mound is probably an exciting experience for hitters.

High-A South Bend Cubs: 9-6 Victory Over Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

Biggest Yes: Luis Verdugo — 3/5, HR (5), 2B, BB, 5 RBI

There are a ton of incredible offensive performances here from which we can choose. Pablo Aliendo went 3/6 with a double, and BJ Murray put up a line of 4/4 with two walks and a double, to name a couple. Still, Verdugo takes the cake here. For one, the Cubs had 17 hits, which—inevitably—leads to runners being left on base. Verdugo managed to never leave a runner on while racking up five RBIs. It's safe to say, without Verdugo, the Cubs don't win this game.

Biggest Yikes: Fabian Pertuz — 1/5, 2 SO, 6 LOB

Pertuz got on base, so he has that going for him. Moreover, he even swiped a bag! However, other than that, it was a rough night for the Cubs' second baseman. The 21-year-old left three runners in scoring position and six left on base total while striking out twice. On the year, Pertuz has showcased a little bit of power, but his bat still needs time to mature. That was on full display Friday.

Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 5-6 Loss to Columbia Fireflies

Biggest Yes: Scott McKeon — 2/4, 3B, 2 RBI

This was a tough loss for Myrtle Beach, but McKeon had a solid performance as the No. 9 hitter. For the most part, McKeon has struggled with the bat in his two-year MiLB career thus far. As such, it's nice that he was able to have a game like this where he hustled around the bags for a triple and knocked two runners in.

The UDFA after the abbreviated 2020 MLB Draft had a nice career at Coastal Carolina, where he showed off a nice contact bat. The hope is the 24-year-old can get back to that, though it's tough to envision him ever hitting for much power.

Biggest Yikes: Ethan Hearn — 0/4, 3 SO, 2 LOB

Hearn was the DH Friday. You know, the position where your only expectation is to hit. Well, Hearn... didn't. More than that: he could barely manage to put a ball in play. So far in his career, Hearn's bat has been rough, though he has shown some flashes. He was responsible for the only run the Pelicans had on Thursday, after all. However, there is no real way to justify coming up completely empty at the plate with three strikeouts, especially when he wasn't catching.