Skip to main content

Chicago Cubs Around the Farm Ninth Edition: 8/17/22

Check out the stars and underwhelming performers from around the Cubs’ farm system on Wednesday, August 17.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:
Didier Vargas Chicago Cubs Prospects

Photo: Stephanie Lynn/Cubs Den

You guys, I'm close to being able to use numbers in the title instead of spelling them out. Anyway, every Chicago Cubs' farm team except the High-A South Bend Cubs put up a stinker on Wednesday. South Bend, for their part, didn't allow a single baserunner and never struck out. They also didn't play as their game was postponed, but that's just a minor detail. Don't let it take away from their momentous accomplishment.

Triple-A Iowa Cubs: 5-10 Loss to Indianapolis Indians

Biggest Yes: Tyler Payne — 2/4, 1 RBI, 2 Runs

Tyler Payne has 108 at bats now in Triple-A this year, and the results have been promising from a contact standpoint in a growing sample size. The 29-year-old catcher is hitting .324 with nine extra-base hits. In a game where the Cubs were essentially out of it by the fifth inning, Payne was one of the only performers who brought excitement to the game from Iowa's side. He scored a run in the third inning, then he collected an RBI with a double in the ninth.

Biggest Yikes: Caleb Kilian — 3.0 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 5 SO, 6 ER

Yeesh. I'm starting to think we may not see Kilian up in the majors again this season, and that is probably a good thing for the Cubs' fifth-best prospect. Every once in a while, the dude just gets rocked at the Triple-A level. This was one of those times.

Kilian had his ERA creep above 4.0 after this performance. Considering he's been cruising along in the low- to mid-threes and just steadily rising up is concerning. So is the 1.47 WHIP. You still have to think Kilian will right the ship; command is a huge part of his game, and it needs to catch up to how much nastier his stuff has gotten.

Double-A Tennessee Smokies: 4-9 Loss to Birmingham Barons

Biggest Yes: Miguel Amaya — 3/4, 2 RBI

In a game where the Smokies only collected four runs, Amaya was responsible for half of them. His first-inning single scored two runs to add to the Smokies' lead, but then the wheels fell all the way off (more on that later).

Scroll to continue

Recommended Articles

Remember, Amaya is lauded for his defense. The Cubs' 17th-best prospect has been needing his bat to come around because of the organization's lack of major-league depth at the catcher spot if Willson Contreras leaves after this season. As such, a 3/4 showing out of the DH spot is promising.

Biggest Yikes: DJ Herz — 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 4 SO, 7 ER

I have Herz as the 12th-best prospect in the Cubs' system. Other people have ranked him in the top 10 or even near the top five. Unfortunately, the electric lefty continues to struggle mightily in Tennessee. In his fifth Double-A start, Herz now has an ERA of 11.49, a WHIP of 1.91, and he's walked nearly as many batters as he has struck out.

After dominating High-A to the tune of a 2.26 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and .150 BAA in 17 starts, Herz looks totally overmatched most of the time against better competition. Like Kilian, you still buy into Herz as a potential rotation piece or back-end bullpen guy because he's still just 21 and his stuff is unreal. However, his start to Double-A is definitely hindering excitement around him.

Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 1-7 Loss to Down East Wood Ducks

Biggest Yes: Didier Vargas — 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 SO, 2 ER

Listen, this game did not go well for Myrtle Beach, so I am kind of grasping at straws here. I know giving up two runs over 5.0 innings pitched is not an overwhelmingly good performance, but it was nice to see Vargas out there cruising along again, even if he took the loss.

The 23-year-old lefty has a 2.84 ERA for Myrtle Beach in four starts. He's not out there overpowering anyone, but he gets the job done, and I'm interested to see how he continues to develop. Five strikeouts over 5.0 innings is impressive, too, for Vargas. He's not a big strikeout guy, so I'll take a 9.0 K/9.

Biggest Yikes: Angel Gonzalez — 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 0 SO, 3 ER

Listen, Gonzalez is out there as a 19-year-old pitcher in Low-A, and he has looked the part of a young guy facing more advanced bats than if he was in rookie league still. He's a reliever only right now, and the Pelicans basically threw him out there at the end of the game knowing they were already going to lose. Gonzalez sure made sure of it though. Collecting no strikeouts, giving up walks, and allowing a home run will do that to you.