Caissie doubles down on jacks

May 21st, 2022

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Caissie goes yard in first two at-bats (May 20)
Owen Caissie entered action with one home run on the season, but the 19-year-old doubled down on that through his first two at-bats to power High-A South Bend's 6-2 victory over Wisconsin.

The eighth-ranked Cubs prospect opened the scoring with a solo blast to right-center in the second inning, and then turned around another inside fastball to the same part of the park for a three-run shot in fourth. It's the first career multihomer game for the 2020 second-round Draft pick of the Padres.

Caissie has notched 11 hits over his past seven games with five extra-base knocks, 10 RBIs and five runs scored. -- Rob Terranova

Howard facing 'long road' as surgery looms (May 19)
Highly-touted shortstop prospect Ed Howard (No. 14 on Pipeline's Top 30 Cubs prospect list) is facing a "long road" in his return, Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer acknowledged. Howard is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a serious left hip injury, but the ballclub is hopeful he will make a full recovery and could be ready by Spring Training next season.

"The early prognosis is really good as far as a comeback," Hoyer said. "But that's going to be a comeback after a lot of rehab and a lot of time. I know he's in good spirits. But he's got a real road ahead of him. You feel for him. I think he gained the most strength of anyone in that rookie camp we had this winter. His exit velocities were way up. His contact rate was up. He was playing really good defense. It was exciting to see him having that kind of year early on."

In the bottom of the ninth inning against Fort Wayne on May 10, the 20-year-old Howard pulled a ground ball and then attempted to avoid a tag on an errant throw from shortstop Ripken Reyes. The Cubs' prospect landed hard beyond first base, rolling on the ground in clear pain and then slamming his helmet in frustration. The incident came as Howard was enjoying a strong stretch for High-A South Bend.

On the season, Howard (Chicago's first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft) slashed .244/.323/.317 in 23 games, but he had turned things on of late. The shortstop had slashed at a .320/.382/.440 clip in his last 14 games, dating back to April 20. That followed a .125 average (.362 OPS) in his first nine games of the season. -- Jordan Bastian

Kilian tosses another gem, on Cubs' radar (May 19)
Pitching prospect Caleb Kilian (No. 4 on Pipeline's Top 30 Cubs prospects list) logged another strong performance for Triple-A Iowa, allowing no earned runs in 5 2/3 innings (80 pitches) against Columbus. Kilian struck out eight, walked one and lowered his ERA to 1.31 through eight outings on the season.

"He threw really well today, which was nice," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said from Wrigley Field. "Today was sort of the longest we've let him go. I think after he pitched in the Fall League until the very end, we took it slow with him in Spring Training and even into the season -- we tried to lessen his workload a little bit. ... He's been getting better and better with each start.

"We're really excited about him. I can't speak to timetables, but certainly we're well aware of the success he's having."

Kilian was one of the prospects acquired from the Giants in the Kris Bryant trade last summer.

Hoyer said he "wouldn't speculate" on whether Kilian might be an option for Chicago for one of its upcoming doubleheaders (May 30 vs. Brewers and June 4 vs. the Cardinals). Hoyer did not, however, rule out that the right-hander might make his Cubs debut at some point this season.

"Certainly, the way he's throwing," Hoyer said. "He's in Triple-A. He's getting a lot of guys out. He's certainly putting himself in position for that." -- Jordan Bastian

Prospect Morel promoted from Double-A (May 17)
Christopher Morel heard the words from Double-A Tennessee manager Michael Ryan, but the Cubs prospect was in disbelief. Morel had to make sure this was not some sort of joke, and that he was in fact heading to the Majors.

"He told me, 'I told you yesterday you're not playing today. And you're asking why. I'll tell you. The team called for you,'" Morel said on Tuesday at Wrigley Field. "He told me, 'Hey, you're going to the big leagues.' I said, 'Are you kidding me?' He said, 'I'm not kidding you. You're going to the big leagues.' I'm so happy in this moment."

The Cubs promoted the 22-year-old Morel to fill the roster spot vacated by veteran outfielder Jason Heyward being placed on the injured list (no designation). Morel is a versatile defender who can handle multiple infield positions, but he has also spent the bulk of his time in center field this year for the Smokies. At the plate, Morel was batting .306/.380/.565 with seven homers, five doubles, 20 RBIs, 22 runs scored and 33 hits in 28 games.

MLB Pipeline has Morel ranked as the Cubs' No. 21 prospect on its Top 30 list for the organization.

"C-Mo is somebody who can give us a lot of versatility," Cubs manager David Ross said. "He can play pretty much any infield position and every outfield position. He's on the 40-man, and swinging the bat really well right now. He's got a dynamic skill set. Some power, some speed and really versatile." -- Jordan Bastian

Pinango crushes two homers, six RBIs (May 13)
With two swings of the bat, Yohendrick Pinango doubled his home run total on the year and nearly doubled his RBI mark as well. The 20th-ranked Cubs prospect mashed a pair of dingers, including a grand slam, to power High-A South Bend's 11-2 drubbing of Fort Wayne.

Pinango hammered a two-run shot in the sixth and followed that up one inning later with a monster grand slam to right that traveled 400 feet at 108 mph.

The 20-year-old has four homers and 13 RBIs through 27 games this season. -- Rob Terranova

OF Brennen Davis placed on Minor League IL (May 12)
The Cubs' top prospect, who hasn't played since May 3, is dealing with a back issue, according to a source. In 22 games with Triple-A Iowa, Davis is hitting .195/.286/.299 with two homers and seven RBIs. Davis' timetable for a return is currently TBD.

Trio of Smokies combines for no-hitter (May 11)
Peyton Remy has known Danis Correa and Eury Ramos since the three of them started out in Rookie ball nearly five years ago.

The trio of righties combined on a milestone – a no-hitter for Double-A Tennessee in its 5-0 victory over Montgomery. It was the Cubs affiliate's first no-no since Eric Jokisch went the distance on Aug. 6, 2013.

Remy set the tone with eight strikeouts across six innings, Correa struck out three and walked one in two frames and Ramos closed it out with two strikeouts in the ninth.

“That was awesome,” Remy said. “I’ve known them for a long time now and it’s pretty cool to see all of us get here together and then do that.” Full story »

Canario among group promoted to Double-A (May 10)
Outfielder Alexander Canario, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Cubs’ No. 18 prospect, was promoted from High-A South Bend to Double-A Tennessee. Canario, 22, had a slash line of .281/.360/.584 with seven home runs in 100 plate appearances with South Bend. Joining Canario in jumping from South Bend to Tennessee were right-handers Max Bain (2.84 ERA), Chris Clarke (3.42 ERA) and Nicholas Padilla (1.80 ERA). -- Shaun O’Neill

Caissie’s first homer of 2022 a grand slam (May 10)
Right fielder Owen Caissie, the Cubs’ No. 8 prospect, hit a grand slam to help High-A South Bend rally from a five-run deficit and pull out a 9-7 victory over Fort Wayne. Caissie connected in the bottom of the sixth inning on a 1-1 pitch from right-hander Nick Thwaits. Though Caissie might have the most raw power of any Cubs farmhand, he hadn’t gone deep this season until hitting the slam on his 73rd plate appearance. A 2020 second-round Draft pick of the Padres, Caissie came to the Cubs in the Yu Darvish trade. He hit seven homers in 226 plate appearances in his first pro season last year. At 19 years old, he is 3.4 years younger than average in the Midwest League. -- Shaun O’Neill

Crow-Armstrong, Preciado help power Pelicans (May 4)
Pete Crow-Armstrong and Reginald Preciado were at the forefront of Single A Myrtle Beach's 24-6 romp of Salem.

Crow-Armstrong, Chicago's sixth-ranked prospect, went 3-for-3 with a two-run jack, a walk and scored twice. Preciado, the club's No. 11 prospect, collected four hits -- including a pair of two-baggers -- while driving in a career-best six runs and scoring.

The 24 runs set a high mark for runs scored in a single game in the Minors this season and was the most runs by the franchise in at least 17 years. Full story »

Canario clears the fences for third consecutive game (May 3)
A ninth-inning homer off the bat of Alexander Canario not only spurred a comeback, it also extended a personal streak. The No. 18 Cubs prospect belted a towering two-run shot to center field in his final at-bat as High-A South Bend rallied for a 5-4 win in 10 innings over visiting Peioria.

Canario entered the ninth inning hitless in three plate appearances before leaving the yard for a third consecutive game and for the sixth time this season. The 21-year-old improved his slash line to .284/.348/.580 with 12 extra-base hits and 21 RBIs in 21 games, including 11 in his last seven. -- Michael Avallone