After a day off on Monday across the system, the Chicago Cubs' minor league teams took the field again on Tuesday. Several relief pitchers stood out (what else is new), though Kyle Johnson may have done enough to drag the entire group down. Otherwise, you'll see some familiar names that really struggled and some exciting arms that didn't, as all of the 'Biggest Yes' award winners for Tuesday are pitchers. Let's dig in.
Triple-A Iowa Cubs: 2-1 Victory Over Indianapolis Indians
Biggest Yes: Nicholas Padilla — 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 SO, Save
Obviously, the pitching staff held the Indians to one run. It's just hard for me to justify giving the Biggest Yes to a 35-year-old Wade Miley rehabbing his way back to the majors or a 31-year-old Luke Farrell, who has pitched in the majors and has been a career minor leaguer since 2013. Instead, we'll hand it over to Padilla. The 25-year-old right-hander is quietly having a phenomenal season and rapidly rising through the Cubs' farm.
He started the year in High-A South Bend and quickly ascended to Double-A. After 15 appearances there, Padilla made the jump to Triple-A. In six appearances (9.2 IP) thus far, he's been his most dominant yet. A 0.93 ERA, .152 BAA, and a 1.03 WHIP stand out across his stat line. The Cubs have roughly a trillion legitimate bullpen prospects, so you may not have heard of Padilla yet. Well, here's your introduction: he's a stud.
Biggest Yikes: Matt Mervis — 0/4, 1 SO, 1 LOB
Mervis continues to hit well as he has skyrocketed up the farm system based on his bat. However, the Cubs' 13th-best prospect put up a bad showing Tuesday. For a player whose value is based almost entirely on his bat, the Cubs can usually rely on Mervis getting on base and knocking in runs. He did neither this game.
Double-A Tennessee Smokies: 6-10 Loss to Birmingham Barons
Biggest Yes: Peyton Remy — 3.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 4 SO
Giving up 10 runs doesn't seem like a scenario that would lead to the Biggest Yes going to a pitcher. However, Remy is blameless here as he shut down the Barons for three innings after Chris Clarke gave up four runs to start the game. Remy has been having a tough go of things in Double-A going back to last year. His work as a starter just wasn't getting it done. As a reliever, he has looked better.
On Tuesday, his 0 runs given up dropped his ERA below seven down to a still-not-pretty 6.81. Still, his performance Tuesday is all we're looking at, and he did an excellent job stopping the bleeding.
Biggest Yikes: Kyle Johnson — 2.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 SO, 6 ER
After Remy stopped the bleeding, Johnson metaphorically ripped the wound right back open. Giving up two home runs in his two innings pitched, he took a close game and managed to give the Barons a comfortable lead.
Johnson, 28, hadn't pitched in the minors since 2018 before this season. The Cubs have been trying him out of the bullpen in Tennessee, and he has had what can only be described as a bad time. He had a 5.69 ERA going into Tuesday's game, and he left it with a 6.81. Woof.
High-A South Bend Cubs: 2-5 Loss to Beloit Sky Carp
Biggest Yes: Luke Little — 3.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 SO, 2 R, 0 ER
I'll preface this by saying the error and other mistakes that led to Little's two runs being "unearned" were mainly attributed to... well, Luke Little. He had an error on a wild pickoff attempt in the first, then he had a wild pitch in the second which led up to a passed ball by Pablo Aliendo. The Sky Carp capitalized on both of those situations to score. Still, in a game without much to highlight, you can always enjoy that Little just strikes batters out. He sits at No. 31 in my prospect rankings for the Cubs, but he could rise quickly.
Biggest Yikes: Owen Caissie — 0/4, 3 SO, 1 LOB
Caissie is still an offensive force, of course, but he did not show it Tuesday. With a power guy, strikeouts are expected. Even so, three strikeouts with no time on the bases is not something you like to see from the seventh-best prospect in the Cubs' system. There were several unproductive batters Tuesday for the Cubs; Caissie just takes the cake as the Biggest Yikes here.
Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 4-2 Victory Over Down East Wood Ducks
Biggest Yes: Tyler Santana — 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 SO, 0 ER
What a performance for Santana, who continues to show he is way too advanced for Low-A baseball. His six shutout innings lowered his ERA on the season to 2.28. He's 11-1 with a .212 BAA and a 1.09 WHIP. I mean, come on. That is unreal. He isn't an overpowering, strikeout guy. Still, the 24-year-old is ready for High-A baseball. It'll be interesting to see how he performs against slightly more advanced bats.
Biggest Yikes: Ezequiel Pagan — 0/4, 3 LOB
Pagan finds himself on the Biggest Yikes list too often for a guy who really is having a quality showing as a 22-year-old in Low-A ball. He has a slash line of .291/.368/.446 with 10 home runs, 11 doubles, and five triples. However, for someone who gets on base at a really good clip, Pagan didn't manage a single base Tuesday. He's got good bat-to-ball skills, so he didn't strike out at all. Still, he left three on base, and you need more out of the third slot in the lineup.