Thompson's Tough One, Morel's Bounce, They Got the Power and the Speed, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Thompson’s Tough One, Morel’s Bounce, They Got the Power and the Speed, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The end. No more ‘Better Call Saul’ after tonight. I feel like the last several times one of the all-time-great shows ended, there was at least one other one still on the air. Maybe I’m wrong about that, or maybe I’ll feel later like there is still an all-time great on the air right now, but I can’t think of what it is. So I’m a bit sad today.

  • Keegan Thompson had a rough one, obviously, but it was kind of a weird one. You had that first inning featuring just four batters but 31(!) pitches thanks to a 10-pitch at bat and a 12-pitch at bat. Rain may have been a factor in the lack of command, and the second inning kicked off again with super long at bats, walks, and the harder contact. He just couldn’t seem to finish guys off. The pitch count got out of control, and he couldn’t finish the inning. His CSW was awfully low and his velocity was down a bit, but I don’t know how meaningful this was or wasn’t.
  • Oh, also, he’s now over a career high in innings pitched, so there definitely should be an eye out for him wearing down, especially in an outing where the laboring starts almost immediately because of the long at bats. I’m very glad he got pulled when he did.
  • From Yan Gomes (Sun-Times): “He was getting ahead, throwing some quality pitches, and then couldn’t put them away. We were kind of trying everything, going through his whole arsenal to try to put them away. They were fouling it off. And that’s sometimes what teams will do. They kept spoiling his pitches, getting him into deep counts. Next thing you know, we started too hard to try to get ahead and trying something new to start with to see if that was the deal. And we started losing a little bit of the strike zone.”
  • Fun fact on the back-to-back Yan Gomes and Christopher Morel homers – although Gomes’ blast looked like a MONNNNNSTER shot and Morel’s just barely got out, because of the way Great American lays out, Gomes’ homer was actually only 26 feet longer than Morel’s:
  • Morel, by the way, has bounced back a bit lately – rest for the hamstring, perhaps? – had has been raking this past week. He’s now just shy of 300 plate appearances in the big leagues, hitting .260/.331/.464/119 wRC+ as a mostly 22-year-old who barely played at Triple-A, and who can play almost any position. Maybe he regresses next year, maybe he never takes another step forward. Blah blah. But if this young man were in another organization and emerged like this, we’d be pointing to him as a guy that other org gets to enjoy for the next many years as they try to compete. Why Morel isn’t viewed that way by some Cubs fans, I don’t understand. He may not be a star, but he’s a young, valuable, important piece for the Cubs to turn the corner in 2023 and beyond. He’s part of why I’m optimistic about 2023.
  • It hasn’t been a week of games yet, so whatever, but I believe I have yet to see a game that Franmil Reyes plays in where the top exit velocity for the Chicago Cubs in that game was not him. He’s just fun. I really hope he hits …
  • Michael Rucker quietly had an eye-popping appearance yesterday, generating 8 whiffs on just 28 pitches, and posting a 43% CSW (he allowed a run on four hits in his 1.2 innings, though, so that’s why you wouldn’t call it a “great” outing – just some eye-popping metrics). I tend to think he’s pitching for his 40-man spot the rest of the way, but only because the Cubs are so overloaded with quality relief prospects who are ready for the big leagues. On most rosters, I think a pre-arbitration guy who can be a capable/good middle reliever with minor league options remaining would never even be a 40-man question. But the Cubs are full up on those types, and you also have to remember the eight-man bullpen limit going forward.
  • The Cubs added two more 10-10 prospects to the system yesterday:
  • Bryan is counting Christopher Morel’s numbers at the big league level to get him there, but even if you excluded him, you’re still talking about ELEVEN Cubs prospects who’ve hit at least ten homers this year and stolen at least ten bases. I’m not saying 10-10 is some magic cut-off for measuring speed and power in the system, but the Cubs had three such prospects last year. THREE. In 2019, they had ONE. In 2018, they had TWO. Again, not saying this is some perfect metric, but the disparity is just so enormous. (Also, if Fabian Pertuz or Ethan Hearn hit a few more homers, or Yonathan Perlaza steals a couple more bases, there are EVEN MORE prospects about to click over into this group. Heck, Darius Hill, Luis Vazquez, James Triantos, and Bradlee Beasley, among others, still have plenty of time to pull it off.)
  • What can I say? They got the power, they got the speed
  • From the Tribune: “The Reds’ Joey Votto made his 1,989th career appearance, snapping a tie with Hall of Famer Larry Walker for the most in major-league history by a player born in Canada.”
  • The Cubs will face C.J. Abrams this week:
  • The Ohtani-Judge debates are coming, and while I don’t yet have an opinion on who should win the award, this should not be the argument:


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.