Cubs Prospect Notes: Wicks Great Debut, Pertuz and Velazquez Go Deep, Pelicans Walk Off, More

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:

⇒ 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:

⇒ 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).

https://twitter.com/cubprospects/status/1514808858224459782

⇒ 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:

⇒ Nice to see Nelson Velazquez get off the schneid:

⇒ 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:

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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