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Cubs Minor League Daily: College Tournament Time and a Good Month for Justin Steele

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

The most exciting annual baseball tournament this side of the MLB Playoffs starts on Thursday, the NCAA Baseball Tournament. The field is set for the 64 team brouhaha that culminates in the College World Series in Omaha.


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Why do we care? Because the Cubs’ front office is almost certainly going to draft heavily from the college ranks again, if not quite so heavily as last year, and there is a very good chance that multiple players in this tournament will be Cubs by the end of June. There is a moderately good chance that one of the players in this tournament will be selected by the Cubs in the first round.

Who should we be watching? If you want to see the highest density of talent on the field, the best rule of thumb is to watch any game featuring two teams from the South. If you want to look for the sort of hidden gems you know the Cubs would love to find, then focus on teams that make their home in cold weather states (including one Illinois-Chicago). If you just want to see some good baseball, then watch whatever game happens to be on. There are no bad choices.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Memphis 6, Iowa 5
These two teams exchanged rallies in the final two innings, but Iowa came up short.


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Double A: Tennessee Smokies

Tennessee had the day off.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 6, Carolina 3
Fortunately, of the eight errors in this game, Myrtle Beach committed only two.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Fort Wayne 3, South Bend 0
Arguably the best pitching performance in this game came from the Cubs’ starter.


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Other Notes

  • It isn’t very often that four home runs aren’t enough to win a game, but that’s what happened to Iowa.
  • Justin Steele has now gone two consecutive starts without allowing a walk to cap of a quietly good month of May. He may very well be in contention for Pitcher of the Month in the organization. On April 29 his ERA as 3.74; it is down to 2.55. In his five starts, he allowed more than one earned run just once – yesterday. Add it all up and his month includes an ERA of 1.63 and 23 strikeouts against 8 walks. That’s a good month.

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(Photo by Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans)
  • Speaking of the draft, I took a look at some potential Cubs’ first round picks yesterday. The upshot – I am expecting at least one bat from the Cubs two first round picks, and I see no reason to think they will draft out of high school in the first round for the first time since Albert Almora… although a certain high school shortstop does look like a candidate. I also look for the Cubs to try to maximize the value of their picks by targeting a guy (or more than one) who is likely to slide due to injury.

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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.