Rollie Lacy and Ben Hecht combined to pitch a no-hitter for South Bend last night. Lacy walked two and struck out six over seven innings, and Hecht struck out two more in the final two frames as South Bend won 7-0.
This is just the latest chapter in a very good year for Lacy. A 2017 11th round pick, he started the season in the bullpen. After six games of relief work he had an ERA of 1.93 and an incredible GO/AO of 4.17. He moved into the rotation on May 6, and he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game since. He did give up nine runs on May 18, but thanks to South Bend turning in one of the worst defensive performances I have ever heard of, only one of those runs was earned.
Given his blend of very good strikeout rate (10.18 K/9) and ground ball rate (66.4%), I think it is only a matter of time before we see Lacy bumped up to Myrtle Beach.
Ben Hecht was drafted one pick after Lacy and has struck out 22 in 20 relief innings for South Bend. For the season batters are hitting just .157 off Hecht. Early in the season he had some trouble with walks, but he has improved in that area dramatically over the course of the spring.
As good as this game was, Lacy and Hecht didn’t have the only noteworthy pitching performance for the Cubs. Myrtle Beach also got some great pitching. More on that in a bit. And we’ll have some minor league All-Star selections as well. But first, take a look at the highlight reel from South Bend’s no hitter.
- Alec Mills: 6 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Dakota Mekkes: 1 IP, 1 BB
- Justin Hancock: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- Dillon Maples: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Mike Freeman: 2 for 5, 2B
- Efren Navarro: 2 for 3, 2B, 2 BB
- Victor Caratini: 2 for 4, BB
- Stephen Bruno: 2 for 4, 2B
- Jacob Hannemann: 2 for 3, BB, SB
- Thomas Hatch: 6 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K
- Craig Brooks: 2 IP, 3 K
- Tommy Nance: 2 IP, 3 K
- Vimael Machin: 2 for 5, 2B
- Trey Martin: 1 for 4, 2B, BB, SB
- Jason Vosler: 1 for 4, HR, BB
- Jeffrey Baez: 3 for 5, HR, SB
- Alex Lange: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 4 K
- Erick Leal: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K
- Wladimir Galindo: 2 for 4, 2B, HR
- Kevonte Mitchell: 2 for 4, 2B
- Rollie Lacy: 7 IP, 2 BB, 6 K
- Ben Hecht: 2 IP, 2 K
- Zach Davis: 3 for 4, 3B, SB
- Jhonny Bethencourt: 1 for 3, 3B
- Jared Young: 3 for 3
- Miguel Amaya: 1 for 4, 3B
- Roberto Caro: 2 for 3, 2 SB
- 2017 first rounder Alex Lange has not given up a run since May 17. In his three starts since then he has struck out 19 in 17 innings while walking just two. Lange’s ERA is down to 2.89.
- Tennessee is now just two games behind in the division.
- Winston-Salem finally lost, so Myrtle Beach was able to pick up a game. They are now just three and a half back in the division.
- Dakota Mekkes was making his Triple-A debut, and hit 95 mph on the gun. It’s not all deception.
- The Southern League All-Stars have been announced, and there are four Smokies on the list. Starting pitchers Trevor Clifton (now with Iowa) and Thomas Hatch make the cut, as does reliever Dakota Mekkes (now with Iowa) and outfielder Jeffrey Baez. All of those names should be familiar. Clifton and Hatch have been two of the better pitchers in the farm system in the first half, Mekkes has proven that there is more to his sucess than just his funky delivery, and Baez was blisteringly hot to start the year and is turning in a very good season.
- Meanwhile in the Midwest League, five Cubs make the All Star roster. Pitchers selected include Javier Assad, Rollie Lacy, and Brendan King. Infielder Jared Young and catcher Miguel Amaya round out the selection. Young also got off to a very good start, but was derailed for a short time with an injury. Lacy we talked about above, and Brendan King has been turning in a very good season for South Bend out of the bullpen (9.82 K/9, 3.86 ERA). Given the rest of the pitching in the low levels, Javier Assad (3.59 ERA) is probably flying a little under the radar right now. He shouldn’t be. He struggled a bit in his last two starts, but in general he’s been pitching pretty well. Miguel Amaya should be very familiar to every Cubs’ fan by now. This 19-year-old catcher is quickly playing his way into the very top tier of Cubs’ prospects.