Around the Chicago Cubs’ farm on Thursday, Sept. 15, the playoffs were back in Low-A and High-A. Unfortunately, both Cubs’ affiliates lost, and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans were eliminated from the playoffs altogether. Tennessee joined them as losers on Thursday, so that was also a bummer. However, the heroic 63-75 Iowa Cubs saved the day with a victory. Let’s dive into the highs and lows.
Triple-A Iowa Cubs: 8-5 Victory Over Memphis Redbirds
Biggest Yes: Darius Hill — 2/4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
It has been a while since Darius Hill has gotten a Biggest Yes award. He won three in rapid fashion in the second, fifth, and seventh editions of this series. Then, he mostly kept a pace of getting on base a lot but not showing that much of an impact other than the contact.
In this one, Hill smacked two doubles and picked up two RBIs in the process. It’s great to see that from Hill, especially as the Cubs likely need to add him to the 40-man roster to keep him from getting stolen away in the Rule 5 draft.
Biggest Yikes: Levi Jordan — 0/4, 2 SO, 4 LOB
This was definitely a tough one for Levi Jordan. He’s had his most successful minor league season to date in 2022, thanks mostly to going on a tear over his 24 games played with Tennessee. Still, he’s showing off some power and improved contact skills. Well, you know, outside of this game. In this game, Jordan consistently left runners in scoring position and struck out in half of his at-bats. Yikes.
Double-A Tennessee Smokies: 3-5 Loss to Chattanooga Lookouts
Biggest Yes: Cole Roederer — 2/4, HR (8), 2 R
Cole Roederer went from picking up his third Biggest Yikes award Wednesday to getting his third Biggest Yes award in this edition. Like with his previous Biggest Yes awards, Roederer showed off his raw power in this one. There’s a reason that, when Roederer joined the Chicago Cubs’ organization, he was initially projected to be a guy who could hit nearly .300 and 25 home runs annually. Right now, he appears to be far away from that projection, but he has found several ways this season to make an impact with his bat.
Biggest Yikes: Jarod Wright — 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 ER
The Smokies win this game if Wright doesn’t give up three runs in the sixth inning. After pitching a relatively harmless fifth inning with just a hit-by-pitch on his record, Wright came back out in the sixth inning and immediately started to get rocked. None of the runners he put on base—whether through walks or hits—were huge, detrimental plays. Instead, the Lookouts just chipped away. Wright couldn’t get out of the sixth inning, but he did pick up his second Biggest Yikes award.
High-A South Bend Cubs: 3-5 Loss to Cedar Rapids Kernels
Biggest Yes: Luis Verdugo — 2/4, 2B, RBI, R
This game looked like it was very much going in the Cubs’ direction as the top of the fifth inning ended with them taking a 3-2 lead. It was going back and forth, and Verdugo was right at the heart of it. Verdugo got the scoring started with an RBI single in the second. He doubled in the fourth and scored off a Pablo Aliendo single.
There were a lot of troubles for the Cubs in this one, but Verdugo wasn’t a part of it outside of a groundout with two runners in scoring position. As such, he picks up his third Biggest Yes award.
Biggest Yikes: Joe Nahas — 2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, O R, 2 SO
If you just look at the stat line, you’re probably confused that Nahas is earning Biggest Yikes here. Adam Laskey has the stat line of 0.2 IP with three earned runs, and he did load the bases while collecting two outs in the fifth. Still, this is how Nahas gave up those three runs: walk, hit-by-pitch, and balk.
He did settle in and go three-up three-down in the sixth and seventh innings, but those runs allowed changed the game. The Cubs outhit the Kernels, and there was good pitching outside of that fifth inning. I went back and forth between Nahas and Laskey for Biggest Yikes, but Nahas’s three straight matchups scoring runs sealed the deal for me.
Low-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans: 6-10 Loss to Charleston RiverDogs
Biggest Yes: Haydn McGeary — 2/4, BB, HR, 3 RBI
Man, this 15th-round pick is really something, huh? McGeary has played in 13 games now for the Pelicans, and he has three Biggest Yes awards in that span. The dude was drafted a few months ago out of Colorado Mesa, and he has fit right in with Myrtle Beach.
Unfortunately, this game ended Myrtle Beach’s playoff run. Keep an eye on McGeary as next season kicks off. Likely, he will remain in Myrtle Beach along with Moises Ballesteros, Ethan Hearn, and Malcolm Quintero. I’d imagine most reps will go to McGeary and Ballesteros, but there will also be plenty of DH opportunities to go around, too.
Biggest Yikes: Didier Vargas — 3.2 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 R, 3 ER, 7 SO
This was an elimination game for the Pelicans. They needed to win it. Vargas—combined with some bad defense—put an end to those hopes in the fourth inning when five runs crossed the plate. Josue Huma and Parker Chavers had errors that led to runs, so you only see the three earned runs attributed to Vargas. But make no mistake, Vargas was a significant reason all seven runs crossed the plate.