Cubs Prospect Notes: Hill, Pagan, Mervis, Zarraga, Slaughter, Estrada, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Hill, Pagan, Mervis, Zarraga, Slaughter, Estrada, More

Chicago Cubs

I had a bunch of stray Cubs prospect things I wanted to mention, so I threw them together for you bullet-style …

  • Although Narciso Crook got the dedicated write-up today because he’s been doing it at such an extreme level for over a month, another Triple-A outfielder at least merits a prominent note: Darius Hill, 24, is up to .415/.455/.585/180 wRC+ over his first 10 games at Iowa. He has struck out just 9.1% of the time, and although his profile and his swing sure look like a pure “contact” guy, he’s actually put up a .171 ISO so far at Iowa after being at .178 at Double-A. He has primarily played left field with only a taste of center, so there will be a lot of pressure on the bat to keep developing. Like Crook (and oh yeah that Nelson Velazquez guy), it’s gonna be worth following Hill over the coming months.
  • A heads up on yet another young outfield prospect who has really started to hit: Ezequiel Pagan, 21, is hitting .270/.351/.405/113 wRC+ at Low-A Myrtle Beach with an 8.8% BB rate and a 15.3% K rate. But, like so many others this year, he did that “struggled for a while and then exploded thing”: since April 30, he’s hitting .337/.402/.535/159 wRC+, with a 7.0% BB rate and 13.2%(!) K rate. If Kevin Alcántara weren’t so aggressively forcing his way up to High-A South Bend, you might have Pagan on your radar for a promotion soon.
  • I got multiple DMs from folks who happened to be at the Myrtle Beach game where this guy pitched, saying he was looking really impressive. So heads up on Alfredo Zarraga:
  • Through his first week in the ACL, Cristian Hernández is doing just about what you’d expect: he’s crushing the ball and walking a ton (.313/.421/.500/157 wRC+), but he’s also striking out 31.6% of the time. All part of the process. So far, so good.
  • I’m trying to figure out what to make of corner infield prospect Jake Slaughter, who has a whole lotta highlights like this lately, and who also just won player of the week honors in the Southern League:
  • Slaughter, 25, was the Cubs’ 18th rounder in 2018, and although he got a brief taste of Double-A last year, he mostly has been at High-A the last two years, putting up average-ish numbers. Then he got the surprising bump to Double-A 10 days ago, and he has hit FOUR homers in eight games. Through 36 PAs, he has also walked 5 times and struck out just 3 times, and he’s doubled. So five extra-base hits against just three strikeouts. It’s as good as a week can get, which is just wild to me for a guy who got the surprising bump to Double-A in the first place. Still not sure he’s A Guy – eight games is only eight games, after all – but I do find it to be a very interesting story.
  • Everyone who is into Cubs prospect nerdery is wondering if multi-inning relief prospect Jeremiah Estrada is going to get the bump to Double-A after today’s off-day. He’s just been so over-the-top dominant at High-A that it’s gotta be time soon. Naturally, like so many other guys we love and who haven’t yet reached Double-A … he’s Rule 5 eligible after this season. So, yeah. He’ll need the next challenge soon.
  • Been a good few days for Owen Caissie and game-winners (the homer is 111 mph off the bat):

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.