The Chicago Cubs are entering the final weeks of the minor league season. With the mediocre season so far for the Iowa Cubs, we won’t have to wait out a postseason run before some of the prospects make it to Chicago in September. We highlight the latest additions to the walking wounded and recap the week in the farm on this week’s The Call-up.
Almora Jr., Matusz on the shelf
The season is all but over for the Iowa Cubs entering play on Monday. Despite the small two-game winning streak, the Cubs find themselves entrenched in 16-game deficit behind Oklahoma City. Inconsistent play, injuries, and the revolving door to Wrigley Field have all contributed to the lackluster year in Des Moines.
Albert Almora Jr. can be added to the list of players on the shelf. Almora was placed on the disabled list Sunday as he continues to struggle with a sore thumb.
Facing first-place Oklahoma City on August 10th, Almora injured his thumb playing defensive. Although he tried to stay in the game, he was lifted after one at-bat. The timing is not great for the young prospect, but the injury shouldn’t keep him off the field for too long.
More from Chicago Cubs Prospects
- MLB Pipeline ranks Pete Crow-Armstrong as Cubs top prospect
- Cubs Prospect Spotlight: Luis Devers continues to dominate
- Cubs: Alexander Canario wins Southern League Player of the Month
- Cubs: Hayden Wesneski already among team’s top prospects
- Cubs Minors: Yohendrick Pinango is primed for a jump to Double-A Tennessee
Assuming he needs to rest the hand, Almora can continue to prepare for what looks to be an obvious September call-up. In limited work, Almora Jr. did provide a few flashes both offensively and defensively. The Cubs will be sure to take it easy with his recovery so not to endanger his chance to return to Chicago in 2016.
The same can’t be said for Brian Matusz. It probably will frustrate some readers by the sight of his name, but Matusz inability to stay healthy will ultimately define his time as a big leaguer.
After being drafted fourth overall by Baltimore in 2008, Matusz made his Major League debut in August of 2009. Shortly after, he was shut down to preserve his arm. By 2011, he spent two months on the disabled list, returned and struggled. He was sent down and returned before being demoted a second time for poor play.
The Cubs brought him in and assigned him to be a starter, a position he hadn’t played in a few seasons. Matusz struggled in his comeback start against the Mariners. After his one appearance, the 29-year-old lefty was outrighted to Triple-A Iowa.
In his return to the minors, Matusz again struggled giving up three earned runs in just two innings. The Cubs placed him on the DL Sunday with a sore left elbow. Given the potential, he entered the league with, and his rash of injury problems, Matusz has basically slipped into the realm of a possible bust. The inability to stay healthy attributed to the short careers how highly touted Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.
No word yet on how long he may be out for, but with an elbow issue in his throwing arm, we could see Matusz get shut down for the remainder of the season.
Minor League Round-up
Iowa Cubs (53-69) 3rd place in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division
Last Week: (3-3), This Week: @Fresno Grizzles August 14th-15th, @Sacramento River Cats August 16th-19th, vs. Memphis Redbirds August 20th
Tennessee Smokies (19-29) 4th place in the 2nd half of the Southern League North Division
Last Week: (1-5), This Week: @Pensacola Blue Wahoos August 14th-15th, vs. Jacksonville Suns August 17th-20th
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (32-19) 1st place in the 2nd half of the Carolina League Southern Division
Last Week: (5-1), This Week: @Carolina Muscats August 14th, vs. Winston-Salem Dash August 15th-18th, vs. Lynchburg Hillcats August 19th-20th
South Bend Cubs (32-17) 2nd place in the 2nd half of the Midwest League Eastern Division
Last Week: (5-1), This Week: @Dayton Dragons August 14th, @Bowling Green Hot Rods August 15th-18th, @Lansing Lugnuts August 19th-20th
Eugene Emeralds (12-5) 1st place in the 2nd half of the Northwest League South Division
Last Week: (7-0), This Week: @Spokane Indians August 14th-16th, vs. Boise Hawks August 1th-20th