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Cubs Minor League Daily: Firsthand Thoughts On The Pelicans

Cubs Minor Leagues and Prospects

As the Blog-a-Thon was entering it’s final hours, I wandered over to Frederick to see Myrtle Beach in person. Unusually for me, this was my first in-person minor league game of the season. More unusually, it’s probably my only one of the season.


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So here, in no particular order, are some disjointed thoughts on a lot of stuff.

First off, the Frederick Keys have the most useless stadium radar gun I have ever laid eyes on. That thing would register the pitch for a quarter second, then switch to the velocity of the swing of the bat. Or the throw back to the pitcher. Or maybe the umpires fist. Or basically anything that happened to be moving. If you trusted it, you’d think half the pitchers thrown in that game were under 70 MPH. Throwing a hundred sided die would be more accurate.

The Pelicans’ line up from top to bottom had a very good approach at the plate. They fouled off a ton of pitches, laid off some tough pitches, rarely took themselves out of at bats, and relentlessly drove the ball up the middle. They hammered the ball from gap to gap all night, and even mixed in some opposite field drives. From the standpoint of team approach as a whole, it was nice to see.


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Eddy Martinez looks good. I could be off, but it looks to me like his bat speed has ticked up since last season. He was also more disciplined than I’ve seen him in the past.

Zack Short put together a number of nice at bats. He is already a patient, disciplined hitter who is willing to work with what the pitcher offers. He made solid contact a couple of times, but he just doesn’t have the power right now for those drives to really do a lot of damage. Keep an eye on him, though. I think that bat could be good enough to land him a utility infielder role in the majors. And all of that mostly goes for Vimael Machin as well.

Robert Garcia might be the sleeper on this team. He has flown well under the radar, but he has a good swing, decent power, and plenty of speed. He’s not having a great year, but I would not be surprised to see him morph into a fourth or fifth outfield candidate one day.


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Dave Berg took the mound, and I have no idea why his season has gone south. I expected that lefties would do well against this side-arming righty, but the lefties in the Key’s lineup acted like they never really saw the ball. He sat them down easily. The right handers, on the other hand, hammered him. One ball left the stadium over the scoreboard. Another batter made hard contact on a pitch on the hands. I’m not sure what’s different this year, but here’s hoping he can get it turned around. One thing I did notice – he gets a ton of movement on what I think was his fastball. So much that he sometimes had a hard time locating it, particularly against right handed hitters.

And finally, Jake Stinnett made an appearance, and I remain a member of the fan club. I think (based on not much, given that radar gun issue) that he had the best velocity of any pitcher in the game. He got more ugly looking swings than any pitcher in the game. It looked to me like he occasionally left pitches up in the zone that could have been crushed, but other than that he appeared to be hitting his spots and keeping hitters off balance. Don’t give up on this guy just yet.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa 5, Albuquerque 3
A four run fourth helped move Iowa to within six games of .500.


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Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Jackson 10, Tennessee 2
For the Smokies, this game got out of hand in a hurry.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Frederick 13, Myrtle Beach 8
This was a three hour and forty minute contest, and a good chunk of the reason was all those pitches the Pelicans were fouling off.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Bowling Green 8, South Bend 1
Once again, only a ninth inning run prevented the Cubs from being shut out.


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Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds

Eugene had the day off for their All Star break.

Rookie: AZL Cubs
Athletics 5, Cubs 1
The Cubs scored first. They didn’t score again.

Other Notes

  • Miller did not have a great game for the Pelicans. When he kept his stuff down in the zone, he was actually pretty effective. But he had trouble keeping the ball down, I think, and the Keys feasted on anything up in the zone.
  • Connor Myers is a defensively gifted center fielder whose bat trails well behind his glove (OPS of .460). Except when he plays in Frederick, near where he grew up. There he morphs into a complete player. For example, six of his 35 hits for the Pelicans this year have come in four games in Frederick. If he can find a way to tap that Frederick magic away from Maryland, he could turn into a nice outfield prospect.
  • Three Eugene Emeralds were selected to the Northwest League All-Star team. Aramis Ademan, the Emeralds shorstop and one of the best hitting prospects left in the Cubs’ organization would be in the game, but he has been promoted to South Bend. Gustavo Polanco gets the nod at first, and Luis Aquino will be working out of the bullpen.

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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.