Leiter's Special Night, Givens Improvement, Hoerner's Average, Suzuki Wraps Up, Prospects Aplenty, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Leiter’s Special Night, Givens Improvement, Hoerner’s Average, Suzuki Wraps Up, Prospects Aplenty, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have not lost since Fabian the BallGOAT became an international superstar. You could call that a coincidence, but I call it providence.

  • As most folks guessed, Alec Mills’ departure last night was indeed a recurrence of the back pain he’d felt early in the year, which cost him so much time (Cubs.com). Pretty good bet we see him out again for a while.
  • Mark Leiter Jr. filled in quickly and ably, going 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk, while striking out five. He left to a standing ovation, which is probably a pretty special moment for him.
  • Leiter’s outing was enough to drop his season ERA to 4.85 (15% worse than league average), and his FIP to 3.86 (4% better than league average). At 31, this probably isn’t the big breakout for Leiter, and none of this is likely to matter in the standings (or at the Trade Deadline), but I still give him credit for giving himself a chance to make these appearances in the big leagues. I really do hope that moment last night was special and memorable.
  • Mychal Givens has his ERA back down to a pretty-normal-for-him 3.45 (19% better than league average) after two scoreless last night. Even if he were super hot from here, I don’t think he’ll be as coveted at the deadline as guys like Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin were last year, but I do think he and Chris Martin will be desirable enough to return something of note. (Obviously David Robertson will be the big fish in a bullpen trade.)
  • Batting average is a rare discussion point around here, but I think it’s interesting to note that Nico Hoerner is up to .312 (hey, Chicago!) after another multi-hit game. Since a lot of his productivity is going to come from his ability to hit for a high average, you love to see it. Though it’s interesting: in an era where batting average doesn’t get a lot of talk, and where the ability to generate hits is tremendously depressed, Nico’s .312 batting average is only 14th in baseball. Heck, there are currently 26 batters in baseball who are hitting at least .300. It’ll fade some, I’m sure, but last year only 14 batters hit .300 or better.
  • Hoerner is back in there at shortstop today, which is very encouraging after he took that late foul ball off of his knee. He hopped around and limped a bit, but was able to finish the at bat. Hopefully it was just painful in the moment, and didn’t leave any kind of bone bruise or whatever else could show up later and be one of those “ah, we didn’t realize how bad it was until … ” situations.
  • In what was his final rehab outing, Seiya Suzuki struck out twice, walked once, and literally dented the outfield wall with a 113mph double:
  • Confirming the trio of very important rehabbers:
  • Big stuff happening down on the farm again yesterday for the Cubs. Seriously been a fantastic few days. Among the highlights, Caleb Kilian touching 98 mph and seeming to get himself back on track:
  • The question now is, with Mills likely out, who takes his next turn in the rotation? Leiter or Kilian? I’ve gotta assume it’s Leiter, if the Cubs are really having Kilian work on some things.
  • This is what it looks like when your rotation has been decimated. Quite a credit to the bullpen – and some of the guys rotating in and out – that they haven’t completely fallen apart:
  • I wrote yesterday about how Cubs infield prospect James Triantos might be coming out of his latest mini-slump, and then he doubled and homered again – he loves pitches in this spot:
  • Kevin Alcántara had another big night in that game, too, as well as second base prospect Juan Mora, who keeps doing enough to hang around the edges of prospect consideration.
  • Can’t mention prospects without showing Matt Mervis with an extra-base hit:
  • Meanwhile the South Bend Cubs won their TENTH straight game:
  • This made me chuckle:
  • Notably, this isn’t ALL because of the short porch in right at Yankee Stadium, because he’s got 13 at home and 9 on the road:

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.