Some Cubs prospect news and notes for your Thursday afternoon …
- July’s pitcher of the month for the Cubs is the latest on the promotion train – according to his Instagram, big lefty Luke Little is headed to South Bend. He finishes his time at Low-A Myrtle Beach with really impressive numbers: 2.91 ERA over 52.2 IP, 2.74 FIP, 35.7% K, 13.6% BB, 56.5% GB, 0.00 HR/9. He was pitching in short bursts each time out, so we still have to see how the stuff and mechanics hold up over longer outings if he is going to keep starting. But, so far, the 21-year-old lefty was just too dominant for Low-A hitters.
- With Little on his way to South Bend, look at some of the final numbers the arms put up at Myrtle Beach:
- Greg’s point is the stats, but let me emphasize that the predicate is quite impressive, too: the ENTIRE Low-A rotation was promoted to High-A before the final month and a half of the season. That’s extremely impressive.
- Caleb Kilian just finished pitching this afternoon, and showing off the heat:
- With Wade Miley almost back, and joining a full five-man rotation, it’s not a lock that we’ll see Kilian at the big league level again this year. It’s clear that, either in relation to his promotion or because of it, there were significant mechanical issues that he had to sort out (part of it might be the process of learning to better control his rapidly improved stuff and velocity). Seems like he’s getting there at Iowa, but he might just be there until the end of the year with an eye toward him contributing as needed in 2023 (and/or emerging as a regular if he breaks out like Justin Steele and Keegan Thompson have).
- I love this – the Cubs just want to win, no matter the level:
- A visual on 18-year-old middle infield prospect Pedro Ramirez, who is raking in the ACL:
- Pete Crow-Armstrong, once again showing off his EXTREME range in center field:
- The book on Owen Caissie is that he may not wind up having the glove for right field, but I gotta tell you, he definitely has the arm:
- From that game:
- Yovanny Cruz has one of the most electric arms in the farm system when he’s healthy (a rarity, unfortunately), and he was reportedly touching 100 mph in the game. As for Luis Verdugo, he’s quietly moved his line up to .276/.356/.404/113 wRC+ (11.0% BB, 18.1% K) this year as a 21-year-old at High-A, and a very capable defender all over the infield. He is a legit prospect.
- Reggie Preciado’s rehab continues on into the field of play:
- Visuals on two of the Cubs’ four positional draft picks, who’ve arrived in Arizona:
- I have wanted to do a full write-up on the state of the Cubs’ pitching development infrastructure, but in case I don’t get to it, make sure you check out Sahadev Sharma’s great piece on the topic:
- A snippet with some names that Sharma has been hearing about, if you want a taste:
Once upon a time, a poll of Cubs executives on their best pitching prospect would lead to one obvious answer: Brailyn Márquez. As talented as Márquez, who recently underwent shoulder surgery, is, the organization is proud to have such a diverse set of talent that it would be impossible to come to a consensus on who is No. 1 in the group.
In fact, they believe there’s major-league talent at nearly every level of the minors. There’s Kilian, Wesneski and Javier Assad, whose stuff has jumped this year, at Triple A. Jordan Wicks, last summer’s first-round draft pick, has put in extensive work this winter to improve his breaking balls and is getting much more swing-and-miss than anticipated while keeping his brilliant changeup and not seeing a rise in walks. Both he and D.J. Herz have arrived in Double A. Porter Hodge, Richard Gallardo, Luis Devers and Tyler Schlaffer have all gone from Low A to High A this year while 2020’s fifth-round pick, Luke Little, has impressed at Low A. Ryan Jensen, Riley Thompson, Kohl Franklin, Daniel Palencia, Alfredo Zarraga, Zac Leigh, Ben Leeper and others have opened eyes at various points of the season with improved stuff or impressive results, and oftentimes both.