Cubs Minor League Daily: A Run Of Excellent Prospect Pitching

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Cubs Minor League Daily: A Run Of Excellent Prospect Pitching

Chicago Cubs

Server troubles torpedo’d the publishing of the Daily yesterday, and that is unfortunate. That Daily was such a profoundly beautiful piece of writing that, had it been published, it would have certainly swept me away and into a lucrative career as a Nobel Prize winning Hollywood screenwriter [Brett: Can confirm]. Fortunately, even though the original is now doomed to the dustbins of history, I can provide you with the important bits.

Namely, the Cubs farm system is enjoying a very nice run of excellent pitching performances lately. On May 8, Iowa’s Jake Buchanan pitched eight innings of one run ball, while Pierce Johnson came in for his fourth save (and continued his streak of scoreless save opportunities). Tennessee’s Trevor Clifton, on the road in a battle for first place, tossed six shutout innings and fanned seven in the process. And then South Bend’s Duncan Robinson, a pitcher we have not discussed much, pitched seven shutout innings of his own in route to the Cubs’ win.

That run continued yesterday when Adbert Alzolay nearly tossed a no-hitter to open Myrtle Beach’s doubleheader and Bryan Hudson pitched six innings of one run ball for South Bend, his second strong start in a row.

And that’s not even getting into the work done by the Cubs’ bullpens lately, a topic that honestly needs a column of it’s own. Or the very nice performance turned in by Dylan Cease a few days ago. Or… well, a lot of good pitching to be honest.

If you have been waiting to celebrate The Year of the Pitcher, it might be time to break out the balloons and serve the cake. I think it may have finally arrived.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs

Iowa had the day off.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Jackson 2, Tennessee 0
The Smokies stay in first lasted just a day.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Myrtle Beach 1, Winston-Salem 0
After six no-hit innings, a two hit shutout will do.

Winston-Salem 5, Myrtle Beach 1

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Burlington 4, South Bend 3 in ten innings.
The Cubs gave up a 3-1 lead in the eighth.

Other Notes

  • Fans of the draft will remember the name Daniel Poncedeleon. He was drafted by the Cubs back in 2013 but ultimately did not sign. He pitched in Iowa on Tuesday as a member of the Memphis Redbirds, and was unfortunately struck in the head by a line drive in the second inning. He was taken from the pitching mound to the hospital, and there he has since undergone surgery to take care of some pressure resulting from the injury. Here’s hoping he recovers fully and is back in uniform in no time.
  • Once upon a time, Brad Markey nearly drove me to insanity. On the mound, he looked good. In the results column, he looked good (3.17 ERA in Double A in 2016, for example). His peripherals, though, ranged from bad to just plain weird and in no way supported or explained his success. That 3.17 ERA did not come from strikeouts (4.48 K/9) or frequent ground balls (0.99 GO/AO), and his HR/9 wasn’t great (0.90), and his walk rate certainly wasn’t breathtaking (3.10 BB/9). Looking at his peripheral numbers, I’m not sure where that success came from. But now, at last, Markey’s peripheral numbers are making sense since a move to the bullpen. The success is there (2.12 ERA), but now we can see a healthy strikeout rate (9.00 K/9) and signs of weak contact (.234 BABIP). Order is restored to the universe. Then again, he hasn’t even tossed 20 innings yet, so I probably shouldn’t get too excited.
  • When Victor Caratini next takes the field, he will do so as one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Not only does he have a line of .361/.397/.537, a line that is overlooked only because he usually plays with a couple of guys named Ian Happ and Jeimer Candelario, but Caratini is coming off consecutive four hit games. Going back to May 6, he has 18 total bases in his last four games. And this might not even be his best stretch of the (short) season. Between April 15 and April 25 he totaled six multi-hit games as part of a ten game hitting streak.

Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.