south bend cubs logoIt seemed to me that I had been typing up a lot of pretty good pitching performances over the past few weeks, including a few more today, so I got to wondering just how the Cubs’ affiliates were stacking up against their leagues in terms of pitching. As it turns out, the Cubs are actually doing very well in that area.

Eugene, for example, is second in the Northwest League in ERA at 3.12 (league average 3.62). South Bend leads the Midwest League in ERA at 3.22 (average 3.53), as does Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League (3.44, average 3.77). The Smokies have had some  ups and downs with their pitching this season, but their 3.60 ERA is good for fifth in the league and is still under the average of 3.73. In fact, of the five highest level teams, only Iowa has an ERA that is worse than league average (4.79 to 4.46). And in every one of those five leagues, the average age of the pitching staff on the Cubs’ affiliate is younger than the average pitching age for the league. These are good signs.

Minor league team ERA, even team ERA as compared to the league, does not guarantee that the Cubs are going to develop a steady stream of major league pitching talent in the near future. There are a lot of other variables other than just talent that go into a team’s ERA (home park effect being a notable one). But when an organization as a whole is consistently outperforming (in general terms) across almost all the leagues, it does indicate that there is a depth of pitching talent there.

Patience is still in order, but there are good reasons to be optimistic on the future of the Cubs’ pitching pipeline.



Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Round Rock 3, Iowa 0
Despite the final score, Zastryzny pitched a good game.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 5, Jacksonville 3
Four of Blackburn’s five highest strikeout games this season have come in his last five starts.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 8, Potomac 1
Another strong start for Leal.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Lansing 3, South Bend 2
Dewees may have made his adjustments. He is now up to a seven game hitting streak.

Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene 7, Salem-Keizer 4
Eugene has now won three straight and is starting to run away from their division.

Rookie: Arizona Cubs

Arizona had the day off.

Other Notes

  • Iowa only struck out four times in their game against Round Rock; they were just unable to string enough of their hits together to pick up any runs.
  • The Tennessee Smokies are riding a five game winning streak and are tied for the best record in the league in the second half.

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