Well it may have felt swift, but another month of Minor League Baseball has been put in the can, and that means it’s time to acknowledge some of the best performances from the Cubs Minor League system in May.
Indeed, we let the Cubs pick their own player and pitcher of the month this time around, and we think they did a pretty good job.
So congrats to catcher Jhonny Pereda and righty Cory Abbot!
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 7, 2018
Pereda, 22, is a single-A catcher playing with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who’s off to a really great start this season: .297/.370/.413. He may not be hitting for a ton of power (.116 ISO), but he makes a lot of contact (15.0% strikeout rate) and has gotten on base plenty (10.4%). Given his position and age, those numbers are really quite excellent. Power always seems to come later for catching prospects.
And of course, in May, he exploded for more power (.172 ISO) and an even better walk rate (13.9%), which, naturally, did wonders for his May slash line: .287/.386/.460. In news that doesn’t surprise me in the least, our Minor League ace, Luke, was all over Pereda early in May (he really knows his stuff):
Start banking your Prospect Hipster street cred by talking about Myrtle Beach catcher Jhonny Pereda now. He’s 22, he’s hitting .304/.366/.363, and we know that catchers often develop with the bat a little slower than other positions. At 6’1″, 170 lbs, he has room to add some muscle, and with it will come a little extra power. His 9.1% walk rate and 13.1% strikeout rate bode very well for his ability to make consistent contact. Add it all up, and Pereda is looking like a strong candidate to be 2019’s Double A out-of-nowhere breakout guy. I can make a case that he has a breakout season underway right now.
Always listen to Luke.
And then there’s Cory Abbott.
Abbott, also 22, is a 6’2″ right-hander pitching with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, having just been promoted from the South Bend Cubs, where he was killing it: 2.47 ERA (3.52 FIP). And even though his peripherals are a bit higher than his results, know that he has a 30%+ strikeout rate and a 7.0% walk rate on the year. That’s exactly what you want to see from a 22-year-old at the lower levels. He hasn’t gotten a ton of ground balls (38.5%) yet and we can’t see how much hard or soft contact he’s generated, but opposing batters are hitting just .205 off him and with a 1.01 WHIP, so I’m willing to bet he’s fine in that regard.
As for May, Abbott made six starts that month, striking out 41 batters in just 30.1 IP, while walking 11. His 2.67 ERA is technically higher that month than it is for the season, but it’s obviously still very impressive.
At the start of the season, Luke ranked Abbott as the Cubs 23rd best prospect overall. Here’s part of what he had to say:
The upside here is a solid middle of the rotation starter if he develops a third pitch, or a potential late inning relief arm if he doesn’t. The risk here is we really don’t know very much about him yet. I suspect the Cubs will push him up the system fairly quickly, at least until he hits a level where he struggles a bit, so we should get some good video on him this season.
If we’ve learned anything yet, it’s to trust Luke, so it’s no surprise that Abott – the Cubs’ second rounder last year – was just promoted to Myrtle Beach, where he’ll make his first start at High-A today.
Congrats to both guys. Now go win the award again.