For hitters, my somewhat arbitrary line at which I declare sample sizes to be large enough to be meaningful is the nice round figure of 100 plate appearances. For pitchers it is a little more vague. I don’t really have as clear a line that I wait for, but I generally stay cautious until a guy gets into the range of 20 to 25 innings pitched.
Jeremy Null now has 22.2 innings this season. He is now significantly good.
If you were reading Bleacher Nation all winter (and I’m sure you were) that name should sound familiar. He was one of the prospects I talked about in a Deep Sleepers article in early March. At that time I expected Null, the Cubs’ 15th rounder in 2014, to head to bullpen with the idea that the Cubs may try to move him up the system quickly.
Instead, Null is now the ace of the South Bend pitching rotation and has a ridiculously good line that includes 23 strikeouts, just 2 runs on 18 hits, and not one single solitary walk so far this season. His ERA is just 0.79. His WHIP also just 0.790. His strikeout to walk ratio is impossible to calculate under the laws of normal math (since we sort of can’t divide by zero). Somewhat oddly, his GO/AO ratio (which was over 1.00 last season) is sitting at just 0.59. Given that he isn’t giving up very much hard contact at all, though, that flyball tendency isn’t likely to be a problem for a while.
Null was one of the last few players to be cut from the Bleacher Nation Top 40 Prospects List, and it looks like I probably should have left him on there. Provided he keeps pitching like this, when I re-rank the Top 40 mid-season I suspect I will have a very tough time leaving Null off the chart.
I think after another few starts in South Bend the Cubs will be looking for an opportunity to move Null up to Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans’ rotation is crowded, though, and there is actually a bit of a logjam of pitching prospects that may need some clearing before Null is really able to accelerate up the system. Those problems have ways of solving themselves, so it is only a matter of time before a minor injury somewhere up stream creates a 6’7″ hole in someone’s rotation.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa – Iowa had the day off.
Tennessee – A late Chattanooga rally lead to a 3-1 Smokies loss.
Myrtle Beach – Myrtle Beach collected their tenth win of this year with this 2-1 final.
South Bend – The Cubs won a shutout, 2-0.
Performances of Note