No. 21 prospect inches closer to Minor League HR lead

September 27th, 2022

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Mervis extends Minor League RBI lead (Sept. 26)
Need to bring in a run or hit a homer? Matt Mervis has been the guy to step up.

The No. 21 Cubs prospect continued to show his ability to produce runs as he went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs in Triple-A Iowa’s 8-5 loss to Toledo.

The 24-year-old showed the pop in his bat early, crushing a solo shot to right field in the first inning. Mervis finished off the night producing another run through a groundout in the 10th.

The first baseman's long ball brought his homer tally to 36, which puts him two off the Minor League pace set by Colorado's Hunter Goodman, and his RBI tally between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A to 119, which leads all of the Minor Leagues. -- Edwin Perez

Herz, bullpen lead way for Smokies (Sept. 25)
Pitching made all the difference for Tennessee.

Smokies hurlers, including starter DJ Herz, were the deciding factor as they struck out 12 while allowing one run off four hits in Double-A Tennessee’s 4-1 win over Pensacola.

The Cubs’ No. 13 prospect started it off, allowing an unearned run on three hits and four hits while striking out five batters over the 3 1/3 innings he worked. The bullpen (Riley Martin, Blake Whitney and Bailey Horn) closed out the victory by combining to fan seven of the last 20 Blue Wahoos batters.

The prospects' penchant for strikeouts gave them the win in Game 1 of the Southern League Finals, putting the Smokies one win away for the club’s first championship since 2004. -- Edwin Perez

High-A affiliate wins second league title in three seasons (Sept. 21) 
In their second consecutive decisive Game 3 of the postseason, the High-A South Bend Cubs again rose to the occasion by slugging their way to a Midwest League crown with a 7-4 victory over Lake County in the Championship Series at Classic Park. It was the second league title in three seasons for the Chicago affiliate.

"To win two Game 3's like this, both on the road, we just never quit in that dugout," South Bend skipper Lance Rymel said. "As long as we have a heartbeat, we have a chance and to do that against two really good ballclubs like that really says a lot about this group and how bad they wanted it."

So South Bend used a familiar formula in its championship-clinching victory after pacing the circuit all season in hits (1,095) and batting average (.252). The club combined for 10 knocks, with every starter but one recording at least one hit, and three long balls. Full story »

Canario swats first three Triple-A homers (Sept. 20)
Alexander Canario didn't have any home runs in 12 games with Triple-A Iowa coming into action. Now he has three.

The Cubs' No. 9 prospect had a monster night, hitting three long balls as part of a 3-for-5 night with four RBIs to power Iowa to a 12-11 win over host Omaha at Werner Park. It was the first three-homer game of Canario's professional career.

Batting out of the two-spot, Canario got things going with a solo home run to right-center field in the top of the first inning off right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden. After striking out in the third, he crushed another dinger off Mengden an inning later, this one a two-run shot to center. Full story »

Alcantara's grand slam lifts Pelicans (Sept. 4)
Kevin Alcantara likes nothing more than seeing the bags juiced.

The No. 3 Cubs prospect belted his third grand slam of the season which turned a 6-3 deficit into a 7-6 lead. Single-A Myrtle Beach added on two more runs to defeat Charleston, 9-6, at Jospeh P. Riley Jr. Ballpark. 

Alcantara is 8-for-19 (.421) with four extra-base hits and 27 RBIs with the bases loaded this season, a big reason why he's driven in a career-high 82 runs batting mostly from the leadoff spot.

The 20-year-old added a single and is now slashing .272/.359/.446 with 39 extra-base hits and 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts. Alcantara's 14th homer of the year was his first since he hit a leadoff jack on Aug. 13. -- Michael Avallone

Nwogu collects first multihomer game, adds third (Aug. 25)
Jordan Nwogu had never hit two home runs in one game in his life (dingers in both ends of a high school doubleheader don’t count, he says), so when asked where hitting three homers in one game ranked among the feats he’s accomplished on the field in his life, the 23-year-old was quick to answer.

“Number one,” Nwogu said without missing a beat.

The Cubs outfield prospect made both personal and team history on Thursday night, swatting three home runs to lift High-A South Bend to a 13-3 win over West Michigan. He added a single and a walk while driving in four runs, also a career high.

“I was excited to do that for my team, but also figure something out for myself,” he said. Full story »

OF Brennen Davis to play in Arizona Fall League (Aug. 25)
The Cubs plan on having Davis (MLB Pipeline's No. 2-ranked Cubs prospect), who is currently working his way back from a back procedure in early June, get more at-bats after this season in the Arizona Fall League. Davis missed more than three months of games from May-August and recently began a Minor League rehab assignment. Most recently, Davis went 1-for-4 in a game with High-A South Bend, but Chicago plans on having him move up to Triple-A Iowa in the near future.

"There was definitely a period of time that we were very concerned about his back injury," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said on Aug. 25. "Obviously, the diagnosis was kind of the best-case scenario. And he's still finding his way back from a performance standpoint, but that's just timing and reps. It's exciting to us that he's going to be able to get those reps for the rest of the year in the Fall League, and hopefully head into the offseason feeling really good about himself.

"Obviously, not the year that we had hoped for him. But certainly, it's a much better situation than we thought we were in in the beginning."

Draft picks Horton, Ferris visit Wrigley Field (Aug. 25)
A pair of potential pieces of the Cubs' future rotation tried on jerseys, toured the clubhouse and took in the scenes at Wrigley Field for the first time on Thursday. The North Siders hosted Cade Horton (first round) and Jackson Ferris (second round), as well as their families, to give them a chance to see where the two pitchers might someday call home. A righty out of Oklahoma, Horton is ranked the Cubs' No. 4 prospect. Ferris, who was picked out of IMG Academy (Fla.), is ranked No. 8.

"My grandpa was a big Cubs fan," Ferris said. "I didn't grow up a Cubs fan, but now, being a Cub, it's something he wanted for me, so it's super cool. And this is everything that I wanted."

"It's a really good organization," Horton said. "The fans are great. And my perception was right. It's been everything that I thought it was."

OF Brennen Davis heading to High-A South Bend, more updates (Aug. 22)
Prior to the Cubs' game against the Cardinals on Monday, vice president of player development Jared Banner provided a few updates from around the farm system:

• Davis, who is working his way back from a back procedure, has been playing games in the Arizona Complex League at the start of his rehab progression. The 22-year-old Davis (No. 2 on Pipeline's Top 30 Cubs prospects list) will be moving his rehab to High-A South Bend on Tuesday, and Banner said the plan calls for him to return to Triple-A Iowa "in short order."

"He's healthy," Banner said. "That's the main focus down in Arizona -- just getting him back on the field, making sure he's healthy and then moving him forward. He's just knocking off a little bit of rust after not playing for a few months. We're excited about what he's going to bring."

• Lefty Jordan Wicks (No. 5) exited his outing Saturday after one inning after allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits (one homer) with two walks, no strikeouts and 39 pitches thrown. Banner said it was a "precautionary" move with Wicks, who has a 4.11 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 27 walks in 87 2/3 innings (22 starts) with High-A South Bend and Double-A Tennessee this year.

"Just playing it safe," Banner said. "We don't have any major causes for concern right now. So we're hopeful that he's going to be back at some point soon."

• Coming off a two-homer performance Sunday, outfielder Alexander Canario has been promoted to Triple-A Iowa from Double-A Tennessee. In 105 games between Double-A and High-A South Bend this season, Canario hit .256 with 31 homers, 24 doubles, 83 RBIs and an .895 OPS.

"Obviously, the power jumps out," Banner said. "That's what you read about on Twitter all the time. But I think it's his ability to cut down on strikeouts during the season this year that's stood out to us. And when [you] see that maturity at the plate develop, that's when it's time to give a guy a reward for that. And that's what the move to Triple-A is."

• Catching prospect Miguel Amaya (No. 16) recently sustained a ring finger injury and is considered day to day. Banner said Amaya, who is currently with Double-A Tennessee and getting at-bats as a DH as he works his way back from a Tommy John surgery, could miss about a week.

Canario shows off power in multihomer game (Aug. 21)
When Alexander Canario hits the ball, it tends to not stay in the park.

The No. 9 Cubs prospect has showcased his power all season long as he logged his fourth multihomer game, going 2-for-5 with two homers in Double-A Tennessee’s 13-5 win over Birmingham.

The 22-year-old’s power display started early as he hit a two-run shot to left-center field in the first inning. Canario was not finished there as he hit his second two-run long ball of the day to left-center field in the fifth inning.

The outfielder’s power display brought his homer tally to 31 and improved his slash line to .256/.336/.559 between High-A South Bend and Double-A this season. -- Edwin Perez

Crow-Armstrong continues to be productive in August (Aug. 20)
It was double the trouble when Pete Crow-Armstrong was up.

The No. 1 Cubs prospect has had a productive month with six multihit games in August. Crow-Armstrong made it seven, going 4-for-4 with three doubles in High-A South Bend’s 4-3 win over Beloit.

The 20-year-old reached base safely in his five plate appearances. Crow-Armstrong showed his capability to produce as he hit three doubles and one single.

The outfielder’s productive day at the plate improved his slash line to .310/.376/.534 this season. -- Edwin Perez

Cubs win battle of dual no-hitters in Dominican Summer League (Aug. 18)
There were two no-hitters thrown in the Dominican Summer League. They just so happened to be in the same game.

Cubs Red defeated Pirates affiliate PIT Black, 2-0, in a seven-inning contest that featured zero hits for either side. Six pitchers combined on the feat: Juan Bello, Wilber Rodriguez and Yohan Crispin for the Cubs; Jonathan Salazar, Dioris Valdez and Hader Blanco for the Bucs.

Cubs Red’s only two runs of the game each came in the bottom of the first inning and were on a pair of errors. Leadoff hitters Darlyn De Leon walked to open the frame and moved to second on another free pass by Joan Delgado two batters later. When De Leon and Delgado pulled off a double steal, a throwing error by catcher Richard Ramirez brought De Leon in from third. Two batters later, Delgado also scored on a throwing error by PIT Black shortstop Kelvin Diaz. Full story »

Alcantara homers in three-hit night at Single-A (Aug. 13)
Kevin Alcantara led a comeback that just fell short in Single-A Myrtle Beach's 4-3 loss to Columbia.

After the Fireflies began the game with a three-run first inning, the Cubs' No. 4 prospect wasted no time mounting a response with a leadoff homer to right field on the second pitch he saw in the bottom half of the inning. The 20-year-old's fifth-inning double to right led to a game-tying single by Ezequiel Pagan. With his team's back against the wall in the ninth, Alcantara singled but wasn't able to come around to score. He ended the night 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI.

August has been a trying month for the center fielder, and a three-hit performance is just what he needed to get back on track. -- Ethan Sands