For all of you out there who love strikeouts, meet your new hero.
Dillon Maples has had a long road to get to this point. He was effectively Dylan Cease before Dylan Cease was Dylan Cease – a highly regarded high school right handed flamethrower who fell in the draft due to potential arm issues, was drafted by the Cubs and signed to a fat bonus, and immediately went to work. The difference is that Cease had a very smooth rehab from arm surgery, and Maples had a very rocky development process that included a mechanics overhaul, injuries, and some serious bouts with wildness.
And then 2017 happened. Maples was about as good as it gets at the back of the Myrtle Beach bullpen to start the season, so after 21 games the Cubs moved him to Tennessee. Despite the jump to Double A being generally considered the hardest jump in the minors, Maples has thrived.
Through 12.2 innings of work, he has 27 strikeouts. That results in a K/9 of 19.2. NINETEEN POINT TWO! He has an ERA of 2.84 despite a BABIP near .500!
And that’s not the best part.
The best part, I kid you not, is that in his last five appearances totaling 4.2 innings of work, EVERY SINGLE OUT has come via the strikeout. That’s not quite fourteen consecutive strikeouts – there were some walks and hits in that span as well – but fourteen straight outs have come via the strikeout.
Given all that, the fact that he has a groundball rate of 61.9% almost feels like an afterthought, even though 61.9% is alone extremely impressive.
The Double A sample size is on the small side here, but the complete and utter dominance is unmistakable. I will be very interested to see what he does in the majors, possibly as soon as later this season.
Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa is enjoying their All Star break.
- Preston Morrison: 6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 5 K
- James Pugliese: 3 IP, 1 BB, 1 K
- Dillon Maples: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- David Garner: 1 IP, 1 BB
- Charcer Burks: 1 for 5, 2B
- Carlos Penalver: 1 for 3, 2B
- Michael Rucker: 7 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K
- Dakota Mekkes: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 5 K
- Eddy Martinez: 1 for 3
- Robert Garcia: 0 for 1, 2 BB
- Manuel Rondon: 3 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 K
- Jared Cheek: 3 IP, 2 H, 2 K
- Pedro Silverio: 1 IP, 2 H, 3 K
- Roberto Caro: 1 for 4, 2B
- Chris Pieters: 1 for 4, 2B
- Isaac Paredes: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Kevonte Mitchell: 1 for 3, 2B
- Bailey Clark: 3.2 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 4 BB, 3 K
- Jhon Romero: 2.1 IP, 5 K
- Jake Steffens: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Zach Davis: 1 for 5, 3B
- Aramis Ademan: 3 for 4, BB, 2 SB
- Gustavo Polanco: 2 for 4
- Brandon Hughes: 2 for 4, 3B
- Kwang-Min Kwon: 2 for 4, 3B
- Yunior Perez: 2.2 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 6 K
- Mitch Stophel: 1.2 IP, 2 K
- Ben Hecht: 1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K
- Marcus Mastrobuoni: 2 for 3
- Dakota Mekkes has now made ten appearances for Myrtle Beach, recorded at least four outs in each appearance, and has yet to allow a run. He last allowed a run with South Bend on May 31. It was unearned.
- Michael Rucker finished his day with one hit allowed, and it did not come until his final inning of work.
- With the help of two Iowa Cubs, the Pacific Coast League won the Triple A All Star Game 6-4. Seth Frankoff allowed a solo homer in the second inning while striking out two, and Matt Carasiti struck out one while recording the final two outs of the game for the save.