Cubs Prospect Notes: South Bend on Fire, Franklin, Caissie, Perlaza, Roederer, Verdugo, Alcántara, Crook

The South Bend Cubs, who have the 5th best record overall in the 12-team Midwest League, are on firrrrre right now, which is maybe unsurprising given how they’ve been the recipient of promotions from the Myrtle Beach team that was on firrrrrre for the entire first half.

  • They won again last night, which gives them eight wins in a row:
  • Speaking of that game and the pictured pitcher, it obviously hasn’t been the year from Kohl Franklin that many were hoping for, at least in terms of results. In hindsight, it was a bit silly to expect a guy with almost no pro experience, who’d missed two straight years, to come out of the gate and dominate. The same thing happened with Riley Thompson, who was also getting all that hype in Spring Training (keep all this in mind whenever Brailyn Marquez is able to finally come back, by the way). But maybe none of that is a reason to hope off the bandwagon on Franklin or the others; maybe the year can just be about development, and leave him in a good place for 2023. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying it wouldn’t be better for Franklin, 22, to show up and dominate at High-A this year. I’m saying only that perhaps the fact that he hasn’t isn’t a reason to take him off your radar.
  • And for what it’s worth, Franklin has now made three starts in a row that lasted at least 3.0 innings with just one earned run allowed. Progress? Development?
  • Owen Caissie continues to have a really excellent developmental year at South Bend:
  • Yonathan Perlaza hits the ball so hard, and Cole Roederer has great speed:
  • He had a terribly slow start to the year, but since May 5, Perlaza has hit .279/.377/.494/129 wRC+ with a 21.1% K rate and 13.1% BB rate.
  • For his part, Roederer is still putting up a good slash at Double-A (.310/.406/.379/110 wRC+), but I’d need to see a lot more power before I could really buy that the .409 BABIP was anything close to justified. In other words, I suspect we need to see some better quality of contact there. Great walk rate and strikeout rate, though, and don’t forget that this is a 22-year-old who barely played before this year and appeared in just 14 games at High-A this year before the bump.
  • Luis Verdugo, a 21-year-old plus defensive infielder, has suddenly started raking at High-A. We’ve been waiting a couple years for this breakout:
  • Can I interest you in a video profile of Kevin Alcántara? Of course I can:
  • Speaking of Alcántara, the implication here is that, if he’s among the best outfield prospects not currently ranked in the top 100, he very well could be soon:
  • Although he’s up with the big league team currently, Narciso Crook would still qualify as a prospect by playing time – so I can include this here in the Prospect Notes:
  • And if you’ve never heard it about him, Crook always rates as one of the nicest players people will encounter. One great thing he does? He signs autographs for anyone as long as they make a promise in exchange: to do a good deed. Via Marquee:
  • “I give them a 2-week timespan so they’re in a rush to do it because if I see them again, they gotta do it again,” Crook said. “For every autograph, that’s a good deed. I feel like we have a great platform here as athletes,” Crook said. “We need more people to make this world a better place. … I just thought about it — what can I do to maybe help a little bit in our society and make this world a better place? …. The more you have little kids and adults out there doing good deeds and loving the game and brining them back to the ballpark. Like, ‘hey, I remember that guy, I have his autograph. I want to do another good deed and I want to go to another game.’ The more of that that we have, the better off we are.”

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    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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