Daily Farm Report: Looney for Cooney, Audry goes off, and the Palm Beach hit squad

Looney for Cooney! - Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinal affiliates go 2-2 on the night, with surprise power from Audry Perez and stellar pitching from Tim Cooney, who fanned nine I-Cubs over six innings.

Memphis 11 Iowa 1

Notables:

  • Greg Garcia (2B): 1-5, 3B, 2 R, RBI
  • Randal Grichuk (CF): 2-5, 2 R
  • Oscar Taveras (RF): 1-5, 2B, 2 RBI
  • Audry Perez (C): 2-4, 2B, GS (1), 5 RBI
  • Tim Cooney (SP): 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 0 ER, 9 K; 1-3, H, RBI
  • Jose Almarante (RP): 2 IP, H, 2 K
Field Notes:

I attended this game with Overlord Humphrey and fellow VEB member Ben Godar (thanks for the seats Mr. Godar!) -- it was also $1 hot dog night, which is kind of like Easter in that it's always in the spring and you never feel quite right the day afterwards. Beers, of course, still cost $9 and the rights to your first-born but you gotta have something to wash down processed nitrate pig hooves with. If they can't get you one way they'll just get you another I suppose.

Tim Cooney was very impressive in his first start for Memphis, and it's not like this lineup is completely lacking offensive potential either. Javier Baez might be the best hitter in the minors, for one. Also playing tonight for Iowa were Arismendy Alcantera, Josh Vitters, Christian Villenueva, and Matt Szczur, all guys who made Minor League Ball's Top 20 Cubs Prospect list in the pre-season in what was one of the better farm systems in baseball.

I wasn't kidding with that tweet: That's the PA that got Javier Baez thrown out of the game in frustration -- even though I thought he had a legit gripe in that it looked like he was able to check his swing. I was sitting almost right down the first baseline and a certainly never saw his bat cross the plane of the plate from my vantage point, but the first base ump rung him up and the home plate ump tossed him when Baez protested the call.

I'm not sure it would have mattered much: Cooney had Baez all tied up in both his PA's on the night. Pinpoint control of his fastball and cutter on the inside half and fading changeups away on the outside half. The lone Iowa run came when Cooney picked off Matt Szczur only to have Xavier Scruggs airmail the ball into left field, allowing Szczur to advance to third. Alcantera drove him in with a sac fly to Taveras in RF a few pitches later. That was the night in a nutshell -- working in the 90-92 range and touching 93 a couple of times on the stadium gun, Cooney's fastball command got him ahead in counts and his changeup was the put-away pitch for most of the night. We saw a few curveballs, but not many, mostly a two and four seam fastball coupled with a cutter to his glove side and the good changeup fading to the arm side. Just a masterful pitching performance.

Grichuk continued his hot hitting in the series, squaring up two balls and lining them right back up the middle for base hits. Taveras took a 3-1 fastball off the left center field wall and had another PA later in the game where he missed his pitch twice in the same PA and ended up flying out to RF; he was clearly frustrated after that PA, almost like he just can't quite pull the trigger the way he'd like to yet. He ran very well both on opening day and again tonight so it's unclear if it's the ankle that's bothering him or if he's just not quite worked out the kinks yet inside the batter's box.

Audry Perez was the surprise of the night -- a double down the right field line would have scored two had it not been ground ruled after getting into the gear in the Redbird bullpen, and his 6th inning grand slam was a well hit ball to left field. While the ball barely made it out, it's worth noting that it's really damn hard to hit the ball out to LF in Principal Park: It's 335 down the line with a 2 story wall and the closest comparable big league stadium I cant think of would be Jacobs Field in Cleveland. You really have to get into one to hit it out there, just like Grichuk did on Thursday night, hitting one over the Cub club, which sits on top of said 2 story wall.

  • In the first three games of this series, Memphis has outscored Iowa 30-3.
  • Memphis goes for the sweep tomorrow afternoon with Tyler Lyons slated to pitch for the Redbirds.

San Antonio 6 Springfield 3

Notables:

  • Mike O'Neill (LF): 1-4, 2B, R, K
  • James Ramsey (CF): 1-3, 2B, BB, RBI, K
  • Patrick Wisdom (3B): 2-3, BB
  • David Popkins (RF): 0-3
  • Aledmys Diaz (PH): 0-1, K
  • Seth Blair: 4 2/3 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, HR
Notes:
  • O'Neill notched his first strikeout of the season so those of you in the "Mike O'Neill First Strikeout pool" can pick a winner.
  • Blair threw 86 pitches but only 52 were for strikes, but pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings after giving up a 2 run homer in the first.
  • Springfield loses the series 2-1 and begins a three game set Corpus Christi tomorrow evening. Starter for Springfield has yet to be named.

Palm Beach 8 St. Lucie 3

Notables:

  • Charlie Tilson (CF): 2-5, R, RBI, K
  • Breyvic Valera (2B): 2-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI
  • Jacob Wilson (3B): 2-4, 2 R, RBI
  • Anthony Garcia (OF): 1-4, R, K
  • David Washington (1B): 3-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, SB
  • Sam Tuivailala: 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Notes

  • Tuivailala struggled in his second appearance and had to be relieved by Iden Nazario in the 7th.
  • Palm Beach hitters rapped out 13 hits, 3 for extra bases, but didn't draw a single walk on the night.

Wisconsin 8 Peoria 4

Notables:

  • C.J. McElroy (CF): 1-5
  • Mason Katz (2B): 0-5, 2 K
  • Carson Kelly (C): 1-5, 3B, RBI
  • Ronald Castillo (RF): 1-4, 2B, K
  • Kenneth Peoples-Walls (LF): 1-4, K, SB
  • Juan Herrera (SS): 2-4, R, RBI, SB
Notes:
  • Catcher triples are pretty rare in any baseball league, especially for a guy like Carson Kelly, who's not exactly fleet of foot. There's got to be a good story surrounding this particular triple, but I've not yet heard it yet.
  • This Chiefs lineup is one that should run quite a bit: McElroy, Peoples-Walls, and Herrera all have good speed and the ability to swipe a bag. I would expect to see them run quite a bit with those guys when they hit lower in the lineup, but hopefully not too much when they're getting on base in front of Kelly and Castillo.

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