Cubs Prospect Notes: Walk-Off Winner, Hill, Mervis, Palencia, Nwogu, Pinango, McAvene, Powell, More

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Cubs Prospect Notes: Walk-Off Winner, Hill, Mervis, Palencia, Nwogu, Pinango, McAvene, Powell, More

Chicago Cubs

What a day for the Cubs yesterday on the minor league side, eh?

  • That’s outfield prospect Darius Hill, who is continuing to put up good overall numbers at Triple-A (.326/.370/.458/122 wRC+), though he’s been in a bit of a slump lately, and obviously a lot of that success is built on the batting average (probably his carrying number), which is inflated by a .369 BABIP. Hill, 25 next month, is Rule 5 eligible after this season, and I’d call it still TBD whether the Cubs call him up in the second half to get a look, whether they wait until November to make a 40-man decision, or whether they decide to roll the dice that no team out there would see him as ready for a 26-man roster spot out of Spring Training.

  • And PCA was praising minor league hitting coach Rachel Folden while there:
  • Cubs pitching prospect Daniel Palencia may have suffered a (serious?) injury in his final start of the first half, but it was a really weird situation:
  • So, Palencia went after a ball and went down in a heap, was checked by the staff, and stayed in the game only to have the same thing happen almost immediately again? Either the first issue was a very minor (mild ankle roll? calf cramp?) and they felt it was CLEAR that he was OK, or something was seriously messed up with that process. Hopefully he’s all right, because Palencia has significant upside and he is having a great developmental year.
  • Check out something incredible Matt Mervis did before the All-Star break:
  • Outfield prospect Jordan Nwogu homered twice this weekend:
  • Nwogu, the Cubs’ third round pick in 2020, has his season slash up to .238/.346/.409/112 wRC+ and his strikeout rate under 30%, but he’s another guy who struggled initially at a new level and then heated up: .262/.367/.462/127 wRC+ since May 11, strikeout rate at 25.9%.
  • Speaking of hot South Bend outfielders, Yohendrick Pinango has had a BLISTERING last two weeks: .453/.473/.679/219 wRC+. He’s struck out 7.3% of the time during that stretch despite the .226 ISO, lol. He’s just 20, but he’s been so good now for so long that you wonder if the Cubs will want to challenge him at Tennessee before the season is over. It’s also a pretty crowded South Bend outfield already, and that’s before you even start to think about giving Kevin Alcántara or Ezequiel Pagan the bump there.
  • Perhaps Pinango can join Alexander Canario in Double-A as a scorching outfielder:
  • It’s been a long road for pitcher Michael McAvene to get healthy after the Cubs took him in the third round in 2019, but he’s been dominating in relief this month at South Bend:

Trying to figure out what the Cubs may or may not have in Walker Powell, an undrafted free agent signing last year … who is already at Double-A and getting results:

  • The catch with Powell is that he is already 26, and although the results have been there all year as he’s risen from Low-A to High-A to Double-A, the peripherals have been all command-control/contact-management. So you take that combination of age and style, and you wonder if the successful results are mostly just about a very polished/experienced pitcher facing youngsters that he could easily maneuver into poor swing decisions. I suppose in that regard, I’m glad the Cubs aggressively hustled him up to Double-A, and we’ll see if the results continue.

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.