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Cubs Minor League Daily: Cubs’ Top Pick from 2016, Thomas Hatch, Strikes Out 13!

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

Fans understandably want to see strikeouts in the minors, but there are a lot of reasons that sometimes perfectly good pitchers don’t pile up the strikeout totals. Maybe the organization has them working with a different pitch in two strike situations. Maybe the scouting on the other team is nebulous, and therefore so is the game planning. Maybe the game calling is a little predictable, or the umpire is less than a perfect example of the best of his profession.


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A lack of strikeouts in the minors, particularly the low minors, does not necessarily indicate a lack of stuff, in other words, nor does it mean that we should give up on a pitcher. Sometimes strikeouts don’t happen for perfectly good reasons.

And sometimes they do happen.

And sometimes they come in bunches.

(Photo by Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)

Going into last night, the season high strikeout total for the Cubs first pick in the 2016 draft, Tom Hatch, was seven in five innings. In fact, going into last night, Hatch’s season numbers in general did not look too great. His ERA was 5.45, and that was despite not allowing an earned run in his previous start. His FIP offered some hope at 3.58, and his strong ground ball rate and complete lack of any allowed homers were positives, but there was a prevailing concern in some corners of the fandom regarding Hatch that the lack of results meant he was overmatched in High A.

He isn’t. And by striking out 13 of the 16 batters he retired, batters in a good Carolina lineup, he indicated quite clearly that he is up to the challenge of pitching in High A. I wouldn’t expect this sort of performance every time he takes the mound, but nor would I worry about Hatch quite yet. For now, just enjoy the highlight of his 13th strikeout of the night.


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Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Memphis 5, Iowa 2
The usually solid Iowa bullpen wasn’t in this one.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 2, Biloxi 1
Offensive woes kept the Smokies from a sweep.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Carolina 4, Myrtle Beach 1
The two teams combined to strike out 30 times in this one.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
South Bend 3, Fort Wayne 1
The Cubs have now won four straight.

Other Notes

  • When 30 total players strikeout, as happened in the Pelicans’ game, I tend to suspect something non-standard in the interpretation of the strike zone. I could be way off, but 30 Ks in a game is a little unusual. Not that it means too much in the other direction, but it’s worth pointing out that 9 of Hatch’s 13 Ks came on a swinging strike three.

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  • Items in the Myrtle Beach online auction to benefit tornado victims in East Texas should have gone up yesterday, but as of my writing this the link to the auction still displayed no items. Keep checking that page, though, because there should be quite a few items from some well known major league names. And best of all, it is for a very good cause.
  • This auction is organized former Cubs farmhand and current coach Ty Wright, and I don’t think it is the first time he has done this. When he was playing for the Smokies a few years back, tornados hit the Oklahoma City area and he organized an auction to benefit folks in that disaster as well. I picked up what I consider to be the ultimate collectors’ item in that auction – a game used bat signed by a closer. At the time the auction was announced Frank Batista had exactly 0 career plate appearances. By the time I got the bat, though, he had his career first. I don’t think I have the bat he used in that PA. In fact, I’m still not sure who did use the bat that Batista signed.
  • Happy Memorial Day everyone, and a doubley Happy Memorial Day to the veterans and the families of veterans.

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Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.