Chicago Cubs Weekly Farm Report (4/12/22): Top Pitching Prospects Steal Show During Opening Weekend

Minor league baseball is so back. But it feels different this year, doesn’t it? After seeing several of our beloved players cast off in recent years, the renewed interest in the farm system is similar to when those same former Cubs were coming up. The MLB team is nowhere near a World Series competitor, but the pitching infrastructure is finally taking shape and fans everywhere are asking when the kids are coming.

I’m here to tell you that the answer is very soon. As I detailed here with my Top 20 Bats and Top 20 Arms recently, the farm system is as strong as I’ve seen it in years and absolutely the best it’s been since I started doing these Weekly Farm Reports back in 2019.

So here we are, ready for another year of weekly updates. I think I’ll be organizing them a bit differently this season, though. Instead of giving equal coverage to all four affiliates by default, I’m going to spend more time focusing on the teams, games, and players that warrant more discussion.

It might read a little differently than in years past, with different headings and an altered flow, but you’re still going to be getting the major goings-on from the farm system over the past week. And it’ll be ready for you to read every single Tuesday throughout the season.

Weekly records

Triple-A Iowa: 2-4
Double-A Tennessee: 2-1
High-A South Bend: 1-2
Low-A Myrtle Beach: 1-2

Trends and Notes

  • The pitching carried the week this week, as is typically the case early in minor league seasons. Between crappy weather and hitters needing a longer adjustment period, it normally takes a few weeks for the hitters to catch up to the pitchers down on the farm.
  • It was great to see the return of two of the top pitching prospects in the system return from a long hiatus – Kohl Franklin and Riley Thompson. Both featured premium stuff and cobbled together pretty solid performances. Already boasting tremendous fastball-curveball-changeup repertoires, it could be straight to the top of prospect lists for both Franklin and Thompson if they can just stay healthy.
  • Nelson Maldonado is way too advanced to be in Double-A, cranking out two homers en route to a 3-for-4 performance on Sunday. If he can showcase some power to go with his elite hit tool, he’ll be in Chicago by the end of the year.
  • It was like we didn’t even miss a beat with DJ Herz. He put together a performance that felt the exact same as his pitcher of the year campaign a year ago, dominating High-A hitters with his fastball-curveball-changeup combo and wacky arm slot.

Standout Players

  • Matt Swarmer (AAA): 7.2 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
  • Ryan Jensen (AA): 4.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
  • Cam Sanders (AA): 4.0 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts
  • Matt Dermody (AAA): 3.2 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
  • Dalton Stambaugh (A+): 3.1 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
  • Erich Uelmen (AAA): 3.1 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts
  • Herz (A+): 3.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
  • Caleb Kilian (AAA): 2.2 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
  • Stephen Gonsalves (AAA): 2.0 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
  • Bryan Hudson (AA): 2.0 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 5 strikeouts
  • Bryce Ball (AA): 5 hits, 2 doubles, only 2 strikeouts in 12 at-bats
  • Trent Giambrone (AAA): 2 doubles, 1 home run, 1 stolen base in 16 at-bats
  • Maldonado (AAA): 2 home runs, 1 double, only 1 strikeout in 7 at-bats
  • Fabian Pertuz (A+): First non-AAA home run of the system

The Highlights

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