If any screenwriters are paying attention, the bidding war for the rights to the Dillon Maples movie should begin shortly. I don’t think we could come up with a better baseball story if we tried.
This is a guy who was nearly out of baseball and written off by many as a failed prospect. Twelve months ago, after years of injuries and control issues had kept him no higher than A ball, he had a K/9 of just 6.12 in the Low A Midwest League after lasting just seven innings in High A. Virtually anyone guessing would have said it was the end of the line. Heck, it felt like it was the end of the line a year earlier.
Now he’s headed for Chicago as one of the best relief pitching prospects in the organization. His Triple A K/9 is 13.75, and his ERA just 1.96. His stuff, including a fastball that grades out as high as 75 and a pair of breaking pitches that are said to have some of the best spin rates in the game, gives him a chance to be an impact reliever for the Cubs down the stretch.
We are going to see a ton of articles on the Dillon Maples story, and all of it will be deserved. The season Maples is having is exactly the sort of thing baseball movies are made of, and if Maples happens to be on the mound at any key moments over the next couple of months I strongly suspect someone will consider making that movie. I hope they do.
In the meantime, we’ll finally get some PitchFX data on the Maples’ ridiculous stuff and may even get to see how he handles high leverage situations in a major league playoff chase in front of tens of thousands ecstatic fans. I suspect he’ll do just fine.
A note from Brett: In addition to the obvious competitiveness reasons – dude is good – one reason I really love the Dillon Maples call up is the message it sends to other Cubs minor leaguers. This guy worked hard, stayed positive, rehabbed repeatedly, did the grind for years after being a top prospect, and now he’s getting the call. Hold that example up for every youngster in the system.
Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Iowa was rained out.
- Zach Hedges: 5.1 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K
- Steve Perakslis: 1.2 IP, 2 K
- James Pugliese: 1.1 IP, 1 H
- Charcer Burks: 3 for 5
- Andrew Ely: 2 for 5, HR, BB
- David Bote: 2 for 5, 2 2B
- Trey Martin: 3 for 6
- Carlos Penalver: 3 for 4
- Michael Rucker: 6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K
- Scott Effross: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
- Zack Short: 3 for 3, 2B, 3 BB
- Trent Giambrone: 2 for 5
- Jesse Hodges: 3 for 6, 2B
- Adonis Paula: 2 for 6
- Eddy Martinez: 3 for 4, BB
- Vimael Machin: 3 for 4, BB
- Connor Myers: 1 for 2, 2 BB, SB
- Bryan Hudson: 7.2 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K
- Luis Ayala: 2 for 4
- Aramis Ademan: 1 for 4, 2B
- Kevonte Mitchell: 2 for 4
- Andruw Monasterio: 1 for 3, 2B
Short Season A: Eugene Emeralds
Eugene had the day off.
- Brailyn Marquez: 2.1 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Jeffrey Passantino: 2.2 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 4 K
- Eugenio Palma: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K
- Carlos Sepulveda: 2 for 4, BB
- Luis Hidalgo: 4 for 4, 2B, BB
- Jonathan Sierra: 1 for 4, 2B, BB
- Nelson Velazquez: 1 for 2, 3B, 3 BB
- Hudson’s seven plus innings for South Bend mark one of his best starts of the season. He limited the walks, did not allow an earned run, and generated thirteen ground ball outs in addition to striking out four.
- South Bend still trails Bowling Green by one game. The Cubs have one more game with West Michigan today, and then head to Bowling Green for three to wrap up the season. Basically, the Cubs control their own destiny. If they win enough games in Bowling Green, they finish in third place, claim the second playoff slot, and are off to the post season. If they don’t, they go home. Today we’ll find out how many “enough games” is.
- Eugene is in good shape, but there is still some risk. They are tied with Boise for second, two games behind Hillsboro. Boise wraps up the regular season with three games at home against Hillsboro. If Boise sweeps those games, they would pass Hillsboro and the best Eugene could do is tie Boise (by sweeping Salem-Keizer). We’ll deal with that scenario if it happens. On the other hand, if Boise loses even a single game to Hillsboro, then Boise can’t finish in first. Since Hillsboro won the first half title, should Hillsboro win the division in the second half the second playoff slot would go to the second best overall record. Eugene leads Boise in that race by two games. So, the safest way for Eugene to make the postseason is to beat up on Salem-Keizer and root for Hillsboro to win a game.
- Arizona is down to one game left to play. If they win on Saturday, they win the division and head to the postseason. The Angels are the only team that can catch the Cubs, and the Angels play today. Should the Angels lose today,
it doesn’t matter what happens on Saturday; the Cubs will have won the division.
- Myrtle Beach, of course, has already clinched a playoff slot via winning the first half division title. The Pelicans are also playing very good baseball lately, and are going to be entering the postseason on a high note. They may yet pull off the three-peat.