Some notes from down on the Cubs farm …
⇒ Last year’s top draft pick, and the top pitching prospect in the system for some, Jordan Wicks made his season debut at South Bend. It went very well:
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 15, 2022
⇒ Wicks went 60 pitches over 3.2 innings, striking out five, walking one, and allowing three hits. More from the double-dip day at South Bend:
Yohendrick Piñango and Fabian Pertuz both went yard, Jordan Wicks cruised, and Alexander Canario drove in his first two RBI of 2022 as we split last night's doubleheader against the @TinCaps
— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) April 15, 2022
⇒ Pertuz, 21, continues his scorching start to the year – one of the few bats who have come out of the gate like that. Remember, he was a guy who was getting some attention in the fall as having taken a step forward after a terrible year at the plate at Myrtle Beach last year (and yet got the promotion to South Bend despite that, which also says a lot).
⇒ Good to see Yohendrick Piñango going deep, too. Want to see that power come along.
⇒ Another walk-off winner for the Pelicans, as catcher Ethan Hearn squeaked one through the infield:
The video from the seats-
The call from the booth.
— Sam Weiderhaft (@sam_weiderhaft) April 15, 2022
⇒ Nice to see Nelson Velazquez get off the schneid:
Nelson Velazquez blasted off for his first HR of the season tonight. Also blasted off the pitcher’s hat. pic.twitter.com/uM5ezrdIFZ
— Brad (@ballskwok) April 15, 2022
⇒ Been a very tough start to the year for Velazquez (like so many Cubs hitters), despite the breakout last year. I’m just hoping for a lot of these guys, it’s a matter of shaking off the rust – and for a guy like Velazquez, in particular, he was locked out all offseason.
⇒ Speaking of tough starts, the control problems continue this year for Burl Carraway. Two appearances at Double-A so far this year, and six(!) walks. Zero strikeouts.
⇒ Iowa reliever Ben Leeper had the first really rough outing I can recall in his time in the Cubs organization, and I’m wondering if it is partly because the Cubs gave him a non-traditional look. He came into a dirty inning in the 8th, immediately giving up a run-scoring double. He then issued a walk (with two borderline calls), before striking out two to end the inning. He was then asked to come back out for the 9th, and went homer, pop out, double, walk, pulled. His two left runners scored on subsequent wild pitches by James Bourque. So it wasn’t necessarily QUITE as bad as the box score looks, but certainly not anything close to what we’re used to seeing from him.
⇒ Thoughts at Baseball America on why we’ve seen such an avalanche of top prospects being called up to the big leagues so early this year. It’s absolutely an unusually large wave, and while the CBA changes (prospects who are on the opening day roster can earn their teams an extra draft pick if they get award votes; prospects get a full year of service time, regardless of when they were called up, if they finish high in award voting) are a factor, they probably aren’t the only reason. Other considerations: just an uncommon wave of prospects right now, teams going for the expanded playoff pool, reduced roster expansion in September, and more.
⇒ Cheers to Cubs fans tonight:
The starting pitchers in the system tonight are loaded (as they are most nights). Going to be tough to decide who to watch.
Iowa = Caleb Kilian
Tennessee = Ryan Jensen
South Bend = DJ Herz
Myrtle Beach = Luke Little pic.twitter.com/oovKGqfYLe
— Todd ⚾️🐻🦌 (@CubsCentral08) April 15, 2022