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Chicago Cubs Around the Farm 10th Edition: 8/18/22

Check out the stars and underwhelming performers from around the Cubs’ farm system on Thursday, August 18.
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Chicago Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong follows through a swing for the South Bend Cubs

Photo: Kayleigh Sedlacek/South Bend Cubs

The entire Chicago Cubs' farm system was playing again on Thursday after South Bend had a delay Wednesday. Meanwhile, I was creating schedules for students for roughly 16 hours preparing for the school year to start, so I am bringing you edition 10 a little late. There were several phenomenal performances on Thursday (and some duds) that we want to make sure to update you on, so let's dive in.

Triple-A Iowa Cubs: 3-0 Victory Over Indianapolis Indians

Biggest Yes: Javier Assad — 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 SO, 0 ER

Watching Javier Assad pitch is a treat. Assad, a minor-league free agent after this season, has dominated Double-A and Triple-A hitters. After 15 games in Tennessee and a 2.51 ERA, his eight games in Iowa have led to similar results. By throwing six shutout innings Thursday, Assad lowered his Triple-A ERA to 2.95 to go along with a 1.04 WHIP and .223 BAA.

Biggest Yikes: Narciso Crook — 0/4, 3 SO, 1 LOB

Crook is one of those classic Quadruple-A players. His bat is, on the whole, more advanced than the majority of Triple-A bats, but he's on that fringe of being an MLB-level player. On the season in Iowa, Crook has 18 home runs and a slash line of .271/.351/.538. Still, Wednesday was a bad one for the outfielder. He was one of only two Cubs to not reach base in the game, and he managed to strike out 75% of the time.

Double-A Tennessee Smokies: 4-6 Loss to Birmingham Barons

Biggest Yes: Walker Powell — 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 SO, 1 ER, 3 R

Primarily working out of the bullpen, Powell has ascended from Low-A Myrtle Beach all the way to Double-A Tennessee this season. Simply put, hitters struggle to do any damage against him. The highest WHIP he has at any level is 0.99 at both High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee.

His two walks on Thursday were abnormal. It brought him to 10 walks in 34.1 innings in Double-A. The three runs don't look great, but two of them came due to errors from the defense behind him.

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Biggest Yikes: Riley Thompson — 3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 SO, 3 ER

Thompson had a lot of buzz going into this season. In his 2018 and 2019 seasons (Low-A and High-A respectively), the right-handed pitcher put up stellar numbers and found his way onto preseason top 30 prospects lists before this year. However, in 15 starts for the Smokies, Thompson is 0-5 with a 6.16 ERA. He continued that trend on Thursday with a dud of a performance.

High-A South Bend Cubs: 6-1 Victory Over Beloit Sky Carp

Biggest Yes: Pete Crow-Armstrong — 2/3, 3B, R

Crow-Armstrong loves playing Beloit, and we love watching PCA play in general. In a game that featured several solid performances, Crow-Armstrong gets the Biggest Yes after the electric play shown above. After roping a ball into right field, the Chicago Cubs' top prospect hustled around the bases for a triple then scored on a beautiful slide home after a throwing error.

The outfielder's bat continues to play along with his elite defense. It's hard to imagine how long High-A South Bend can hold onto Crow-Armstrong at this pace.

Biggest Yikes: Yohendrick Pinango — 0/4, 3 LOB

Pinango's bat is for real. The 20-year-old hits for power (38 extra-base hits in 420 at-bats), and there is still a lot of projected growth for the Chicago Cubs' 11th-best prospect. Unfortunately, Thursday was rough for Pinango. While the Cubs' offense came alive again after three straight losses, he was not a part of that process. Instead, Pinango came up completely empty at the plate, leaving runners on base in the process.

Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 4-12 Loss to Down East Wood Ducks

Biggest Yes: Parker Chavers — 2/4, HR (2), 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 SO

As Todd mentions here, Chavers has been killing it in August. In a blowout loss for the Pelicans, Chavers provided some of the only excitement for Myrtle Beach fans. A seventh-round pick in 2021, Chavers (24) was an older player who seemed to come from Coastal Carolina as a guy who could move quickly through the system. He has dealt with a few injuries that have given him some difficulties, but the bat seems to finally be coming around.

Biggest Yikes: Sam Thoresen — 0.1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 ER, 5 R

What a way to make your Low-A season debut. Thoresen went undrafted in the shortened 2020 MLB draft, and the Chicago Cubs quickly signed him to a free-agent deal. He never dominated the college level, so the Cubs probably thought there was something there to unlock. In 2021, Thoresen made seven starts for Myrtle Beach and posted the following figures: 3.13 ERA, 14.09 SO/9, 1.35 WHIP, .173 BAA. At first, it seemed like the Cubs were onto something.

So far this year, Thoresen is, well, proving them wrong. He made four appearances for the ACL Cubs and gave up eight runs in four innings. Now, he could barely get a single out in Low-A. His stuff is there. He throws a heck of a heater, but he's going to need to find the ability to command his pitches and continue to miss bats to be successful.