Schwarber's First, Mills Rebounds Well, Iowa Bullpen Stacked, and Other Bullets

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Schwarber’s First, Mills Rebounds Well, Iowa Bullpen Stacked, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Family is headed back home after our adventure in the Smokey Mountains, including a visit from a friendly bear.

  • How about Alec Mills, eh? Like I said last night watching the game, it’s not at all hard to see his secondaries as big league caliber pitches. The changeup (which got him 7 whiffs on 18 pitches) is nasty. The slider has great movement, though he didn’t command it. The slow curve is borderline eephus, and is a fun free strike when he commands it. His fastballs, though, are not especially impressive, and that caps his ceiling. I dig the natural cutting action he sometimes gets on his four-seamer, but it’s only about 89-90 mph. He tops out at 92 mph, and if he’s not locating it extremely well, it can get smoked.
  • All in all, it was the kind of start you hope to see from your depth AAA starters if you’ve got a really strong group – he gave up the three early (it could have been a lot more if not for the impressive defense), and then he managed things very well from there to get himself a quality start. I expect that pitching to Martin Maldonado helped an inexperienced arm, too. Heck, if Tyler Chatwood or Adbert Alzolay or Mike Montgomery (fair thee well) had gone six innings and allowed just three runs, we’d be very happy about it.

  • Now we see if the Cubs option Mills right back to Iowa to bring up another arm (like a return for Carl Edwards Jr., perhaps). They will not necessarily need Mills to start again in the short term because of off-days, and the eventual return of Cole Hamels. We’ll see.
  • More fun with Kyle Schwarber’s first even walk-off RBI:

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • Robel:

  • Something to really keep your eyes on at AAA Iowa – Duane Underwood, long a very legit pitching prospect who could not quite get over the starting hump, has been lights out since they converted him to a reliever earlier this year. Going back to the start of June, he’s got a 1.89 ERA (2.11 FIP) over 19.0 innings, with 25 strikeouts, just 5 walks, and 15 hits. Nasty:

  • Underwood’s wasn’t the only great Iowa inning last night:

  • Edwards, notably, is probably going to be back with the big league team soon. That Iowa bullpen also has Dillon Maples, James Norwood, and Rowan Wick, among others. Loaded with big league POTENTIAL.
  • Jon Lester, Obvious Shirt haver:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.