God has not been content to destroy only the Chicago Cubs. The Lord in His infinite wisdom (and wrathfulness) has now deigned to smite the Cubs’ minor leagues.
The big, awful news: Robert Whitenack is having Tommy John surgery. The 22-year-old came largely out of nowhere this year, dominating High A before an early promotion to AA. The Cubs were very much considering him for a September call-up – that’s how quickly and how far he had ascended in the minds of the Cubs’ brass.
But that’s all to be put aside now, and he’ll have to work hard over the next year just to come back.
“It’s a crushing blow and unexpected,” farm director Oneri Fleita told Bruce Miles this morning. “I told him the advantage he has is that he was a step away from Triple-A. He knows how close he is, and that’s going to make him work harder to come back. He’ll be fine. He knows what he’s working for.”
For the year, Whitenack was sporting a 1.93 ERA over 11 starts between Daytona and Tennessee, with a microscopic 0.94 WHIP and 7.0 K/9.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Cubs’ top pitching prospect, Trey McNutt left last night’s game after just two innings of work. Details are a bit sketchy at this point, but Miles says McNutt was involved in a collision while fielding, tried to stay in the game, but eventually had to leave.
I’m almost speechless in my frustration. It’s one thing when a guy who isn’t helping the Cubs win games – and, since they aren’t winning too many this year, that’s pretty much everyone – goes down with an injury. It’s quite another when the young kids we’re supposed to be so excited about right now go down.