duane underwood pelicansThere were plenty of good things happening in the minors yesterday, but the biggest of them was in Double A. Duane Underwood, slowed by forearm tightness last year and elbow stiffness this spring, made his 2016 debut for the Smokies. For the first start of a season, he did pretty well. Results aren’t as important right now as just getting him consistent innings, but the results in this game were pretty good for one of the Cubs’ best pitching prospects.

Also interesting in the Smokies game was that Brad Markey returned to the bullpen. Markey had middling results as a reliever for the South Bend Cubs last season, but took off when he became a starter for Myrtle Beach. He arguably had the best second half in the farm system in 2015. He opened the season with Tennessee as a starter and pitched well in that role, but in this game he moved into a multi-inning relieving┬árole. It will be interesting to see if he remains in that role or moves back into the rotation, suggesting that yesterday’s outing was simply to keep him on schedule and also accommodate Underwood’s return.



As for Underwood, there are reports that he hit 99 MPH in this start. Minor league stadium radar guns are, in general, not to be trusted completely, but I think it is safe to say he is throwing at full velocity.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa 1, Colorado Springs 0
I have nothing against the offense, but I love a good pitchers’ duel. This was a good pitchers duel.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 8, Biloxi 3
This was also a pitchers’ duel until the Smokies offense blew the game open with an eight run eighth inning.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Salem 4, Myrtle Beach 3
One of the best prospects in baseball is visiting Myrtle Beach this weekend. If you want to see good quality video of Yoan Moncada in action, then watch some Pelicans’ games on MiLB.tv.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Cedar Rapids: 4, South Bend 1
Spingola continues to have the best season we’re not talking about. We’ll be taking a close look at his stats in the near future.

Other Notes

  • I’m reading way too much into this, but one thing that stands out on Buchanan’s stat sheet is that his already elite ground ball rate has spiked even higher with the Cubs. His GO/AO through two starts with Iowa is a stratospheric 4.50. It is probably a sample size aberration, but there is a small chance this is the result of Buchanan joining a new system. We’ll see.

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