Dakota Mekkes is at it again. Last season, the big reliever went on a long run of scoreless outings with Myrtle Beach, and this year he has already made it to ten appearances with an ERA of 0.00 for Tennessee. He isn’t entirely unscathed – he did give up an unearned run in his second game – but this streak is fantastic nonetheless.
Batters are hitting just .048 off him this year. He also has 17 strikeouts in his 13.1 total innings of work. The blemish here would be the eight walks, but given the rest of his line that isn’t too big of an problem.
The question with Mekkes this season was whether his pitches had enough movement to still be tough on the more advanced hitters in the upper minors. We knew his side-slinging deception would give him an edge, but we didn’t know if it would be enough when he faced better competition
We do now. Thirteen innings isn’t much of a sample size, but it is tough for this sort of scoreless dominance over that many different games (against six different teams) to be simply an aberration. Mekkes is still tough for Double A hitters to hit, and that is very good news for the Cubs.
Sometime later this summer we’ll see how Triple A hitters do against him. And if that goes well, I wouldn’t rule out Mekkes heading to Chicago in September with an eye towards competeing for a job in the 2019 bullpen.
- Michael Roth: 6 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 5 K
- Zach Hedges: 3 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Stephen Bruno: 2 for 5, 2B
- Efren Navarro: 1 for 5, HR
- Mark Zagunis: 2 for 5, 2B
- Bijan Rademacher: 3 for 5, 2B
- Ryan Court: 1 for 2, 2B, 3 BB
- Wynton Bernard: 2 for 5, 2B
- Duncan Robinson: 7 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 3 BB, 6 K
- Craig Brooks: 2 IP, 5 K
- Dakota Mekkes: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K
- Charcer Burks: 1 for 4, SB
- Zack Short: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Jesse Hodges: 2 for 5, 2B
- Will Remillard: 1 for 4, HR
- Tyson Miller: 5 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Casey Bloomquist: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- Connor Myers: 2 for 5, 2B
- Tyler Alamo: 3 for 5, HR
- Chris Pieters: 2 for 4
- Erich Uelmen: 5 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K
- Brian Glowicki: 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 3 K
- Austin Filiere: 2 for 3, 2B, BB
- Michael Cruz: 1 for 4, 2B
- Nelson Velazquez: 1 for 4, 2B
- Zach Hedges came up from Tennessee to bolster a depleted Iowa bullpen, and between his three innings and Michael Roth’s best (and longest) start of the season, Iowa got out of the game with only those pitchers taking the hill. The Cubs even managed to win the game in the process and are now just one win away from their tenth victory of the season.
- You won’t see many bullpen performances better than Craig Brooks coming into a tie game for the Smokies and striking out five over two innings while allowing absolutely nothing. He threw 32 pitches in those two innings. Only seven weren’t strikes.
- If you want to follow a comeback story, keep an eye on catcher Will Remillard, who just returned to Tennessee after missing almost all of the last THREE seasons following multiple surgeries. He kicked off his comeback with a homer.
- I didn’t expect to see Nelson Velazquez until Eugene started playing next month, but yesterday marked his South Bend debut. Velazquez has one of the highest ceilings among hitters in the Cubs organization, and scouts absolutely love his tools. He could turn out to be the steal of the 2017 draft. On the other hand, he had a horrifically high strikeout rate with Arizona after he was drafted (31%), and that will be something to keep a close eye on as he get established in the Midwest League. He will also, in all likelihood, produce a number of very long homers.