The Breakdown – Ballesteros news, lots of awards, partner events and some guys who need more pub

Like clockwork, the first half of the minor league baseball season ends in just a few days. Tennessee is still pushing for a playoff spot and they are only 2.5 games back. Their elimination number is 5. They need some help getting in. South Bend and Myrtle Beach were eliminated along with Iowa a while ago. Mesa is still waiting for a wild card and they are tied for the wild card spot with 38 days to go. It is still too early in the Dominican Republic to look at the rankings after two weeks.

Some late news from last night

Moises Ballesteros is moving to Iowa, according to our own Greg Zumach. He is now just a phone call from Chicago.

Let’s start this week with some video and digital awards.

Infographic of the week

This was a nice one from Marquee. And yes, it is a new award and I really like it!

Dinger of the week

Grand slams always win. Owen Caissie hit one this week.

Throw of the week

Tip of the day… don’t run on Alexander Canario.

Web gem of the week

Cristian Hernandez is becoming the man we thought he would be. An example…

Let’s take a look at what happened at each branch over the last seven days, along with some of the guys who need to hype it up a bit more.

Iowa – The I-Cubs have essentially become a circus team this year. Movements occur daily between Chicago and Iowa. Illuminators come up and down. Boys are on the injured list. When I open the game notes every day, I’m always in for a surprise. Bryce Windham is still hitting well. I’m curious to see if he will get a chance here in the coming month. He’s been on a roll for the past six weeks and there hasn’t been much talk about him. His ability to be a Swiss Army Knife guy who catches, plays second and third and even in the outfield really sets him apart from other guys.

Tennessee – The Smokies can’t get all three facets of the game going at the same time. When hitting, starting throwing is disabled. When the starting pitching is on, the middle relief struggles. The one area that doesn’t appear to be an issue is the back of the bullpen. Frankie Scalzo keeps putting zeros. And Joe Nahas seems to be figuring some things out at Double-A. He did great this month, and rightly so, because his curve could be anything.

South bend – It was a rough week in Peoria as the bats just seemed to go to sleep. Brett Bateman returned to the lineup while Parker Chavers, Felix Stevens and Ed Howard continued to hit well. As a team, they just can’t string together enough offense to put enough numbers on the board. Some of you might want to start paying attention to what Ed is doing. He may not be 100% yet, but he’s been on a roll since May 1, hitting almost .300 in that span. In fact, he has been well above .300 for the past two weeks.

Myrtle beach – The Pelicans had a rough week with some bullpen issues late in the games. They could have easily won five out of six, but instead lost the series. Promising performances came from Jaxon Wiggins, Naz Mule and Alfonsin Rosario continue to impress on the board and Cristian Hernandez may be entering his final week as a Pelican. He was great on the board and up the web gem.

Mesa – We are now six weeks into their season and the kids are still just raking. When they get any kind of pitching, whether it’s starting or relieving, they win ball games because all they do is bully the opponent into submission. Right now, the hottest hitters in the system are Eriandys Ramon and Joan Delgado. I’m not surprised to see Mesa put up seven, eight or nine runs a day.

Batter of the week

There were a lot of guys having a good week. Christian Franklin was excellent, James Triantos was pretty good, as were Cristian Hernandez, Ed Howard and Parker Chavers. But Moises Ballesteros accepted the award this week. Off the cycle, he hit .381 with two home runs and 9 runs batted in, far from the nearest prospect.

Starting Pitcher of the Week

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the best week to start pitching in the system. There were several arms that got off to a good start, going five innings and giving up a few runs. But in terms of looking for a dominant five- or six-inning start and a shutout, there was really only one this week. And that goes to Kenton Egbert, Myrtle Beach and soon South Bend. He pitched five innings and struck out four. I expect to see him pitching for the Cubs in High Class A in the coming weeks. The runner-up was Nico Zeglin, also a Pelican, who went 4 scoreless in his first start yesterday.

Tall Reliever of the Week

Luis Martinez-Gomez may only have a few more appearances left in Mesa. The Cubs 2023 draft pick put together his best performance this week. He went scoreless four times Saturday night and whiffed five batters.

The Frankie Scalzo Short Inning Reliever of the Week

Scalzo has competed for this award several times and has won many. He has yet to give up a full season run. But this week he was shut out by my guy, Joe Nahas, who was outstanding for Tennessee this month. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings with 4K.