Cubs Prospect Notes: PCA Injury, Promotions, Estrada, McAvene, Jensen, Young, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: PCA Injury, Promotions, Estrada, McAvene, Jensen, Young, More

Chicago Cubs

We get another dose of Cubs prospect goodness tonight, with Caleb Kilian making his second big league start (great piece from Bryan here if you missed it). Some more Cubs prospect news and discussion for you …

  • Starting with some of the good news: promotions and activations! At last, and as predicted by prospecting nerds, relief prospect Jeremiah Estrada did get the bump to Double-A Tennessee this week. Having owned at High-A all year (23.0 IP, 1.17 ERA, 42.9% K rate, 11.0% BB), and being Rule 5 eligible after the season, this was a necessary move to see how he handles the new challenge. I’d say there’s a chance Estrada, 23, could even reach Triple-A this year – we see that sometimes with relief movers – but that probably doesn’t so much matter when it comes to the 40-man decision. If he keeps showing the stuff he’s been showing, I’ve gotta believe the Cubs will protect him in November.
  • Corner infielder B.J. Murray, 22, also got the long-awaited bump from Low-A Myrtle Beach to High-A. There was just nothing left for him to do at Low-A, so the 2021 15th rounder is off to South Bend.
  • Part of the reason there was an opening for a position player at South Bend, though? That’s the bad news. Maddie Lee reports that Pete Crow-Armstrong suffered a hand injury (no details yet), and “is expected to miss a week or two.” Hopefully that last part means that it isn’t super serious (but then, nobody acted like Seiya Suzuki’s hand injury was all that serious initially either). And here we were just enjoying PCA’s newly-anointed Basically Consensus Top 50 Prospect status.
  • Here’s a visual on the hand, with a little more information from a fan who saw PCA at Wrigley Field:
  • At Wrigley Field makes you think PCA was getting evaluated by team doctors, and maybe there was a fear that it was worse? So maybe this is actually great news that it’s just a bone bruise? In any case, there’s no reason to push things right now, because, if he’s back in a few weeks, he’ll still get in plenty of time at High-A to wrap his season.
  • Joining Murray at South Bend is righty Michael McAvene, who is hopefully finally fully healthy and ready to really go. The hard-throwing, high-upside, third rounder from 2019 has thrown just 13.1 total innings as a pro thanks to injuries and the pandemic (just 0.2 last year), so I have zero idea of what to expect from him at High-A in what is almost like his pro debut.
  • Cubs pitching prospect Ryan Jensen just came off the Development List with two perfect innings at Tennessee. Looks like he was working on a delivery change, which is notable for him, because he’d previously had some of the longest arm action I can remember seeing:
  • Wondering what the Development List is, by the way? Todd Johnson has a good summary here at Northside Bound. In short, it is a way to remove a minor league player from his active roster spot on a minor league team (they have roster limits, too), even if he isn’t injured. Say a pitcher is working on a new pitch or mechanical tweak – he could head to Arizona to do it without having to take up a spot on a roster. (Each organization is subject to an overall limit of 180 domestic players, though.)
  • The bats have been so good at Triple-A Iowa lately (Narciso Crook and Darius Hill, especially) that I barely even get a chance to mention that Nelson Velazquez – a guy we had previously been talking about constantly! – is hitting .302/.375/.628/160 wRC+ over the last two and a half weeks. It goes by almost unnoticed.
  • One of those Iowa bats, by the way, belongs to Jared Young, who has recently been playing some third base. Nice to see the versatility increasing, which will give him a better shot at making it to The Show. In theory, he can play the infield and outfield corners, and he’s hitting .263/.333/.485/114 wRC+, and .299/.366/.520/133 wRC+ since May 4. Young was part of the back-to-back-to-back homers on three straight pitches last night.
  • The Myrtle Beach Pelicans pitching is just silly:

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.