Cubs Prospect Notes: Canario Promoted, Wicks Status, Amaya Status, Palencia’s Stuff, Homers Aplenty, More
Plenty to get into this morning from the Chicago Cubs farm system …
- Fresh off the two-homer game that got him to 31 on the season, with everyone’s reaction “OK, yeah, it’s time for Iowa,” it seems outfield prospect Alexander Canario really is going to Iowa now. As originally reported by Twitter user @TheMcBlack and then confirmed by the crew at Northside Bound, Canario is being promoted to Triple-A Iowa this week.
- It could wind up a promotion-heavy week, with the ACL ending on Tuesday, and then you could see bumps up from there pushing other bumps up and so on. Now we wait to see if Canario to Iowa means that any of the South Bend outfielders are sent up to Tennessee. Yohendrick Pinango? Jordan Nwogu? Owen Caissie? Jonathan Sierra? I don’t *think* it would be Pete Crow-Armstrong just yet.
- On the potentially less happy news side of things, we got a couple injury updates from Patrick Mooney. First, on lefty Jordan Wicks, who left his start this weekend after a drop in velocity, an arm shake, and a glove bite:
- Obviously I like that the word “precaution” was thrown in there, but I have to be honest, that’s what the Cubs would say in pretty much any scenario before they knew the results of any testing. In other words, while I appreciate Mooney finding out what the Cubs were willing to share, these minor league situations just don’t lend themselves to the same level of openness we see at the big league level. Wicks could be getting an MRI as we speak for all we know. Or not getting one at all. Or already having gotten one and it wasn’t good. Or it was great. I just don’t think we actually know much of anything until something definitive happens like he goes on the IL, shows up in a brace in Instagram photos, or steps back on the mound firing bullets.
- The other injury update from Mooney is a little more detailed – Miguel Amaya is on the 40-man roster – and it does sound possibly encouraging, at least relative to how bad it could have been:
- Oddly enough, that’s the exact same finger Patrick Wisdom injured this weekend, and it was also not a break. Finger dislocations can have a pretty wide range of recovery time, depending on how much damage happened in the dislocating process. Hopefully Amaya can be back before the season ends and get more of those desperately-needed at bats.
- Hey, so, uh, is Daniel Palencia maybe secretly the Cubs’ best pitching prospect? Because this stuff is off the charts:
- I am not comparing the two pitchers, because that would be insane, but I can think of only one starting pitcher that touches 102 mph with his fastball and 94 mph with his slider, and it’s Jacob freaking deGrom. You could never expect Palencia to be deGrom – he’s making short starts in High-A right now – but in terms of how eye-popping the stuff is and how it should be making us sit up and go wide-eyed, this is as good as it gets.
- As Ryan Davis suggested on Twitter, it’s fun to think about what happens if the Cubs gave Palencia the Jordan Hicks treatment next year – i.e., the jump straight from High-A to the big leagues in the bullpen. It’s unorthodox, obviously, but if you’re already open to transitioning future “starters” to the big leagues as relievers, why not see how Palencia’s truly unique set of pitches plays against big league batters? If you think he can handle it developmentally, you might get a lot of really interesting bits of information – to say nothing of the possibility that he’s just great and ready. That said, although Palencia’s stuff is eye-popping, the results haven’t always matched, even against High-A hitters. Probably best to just let him do the normal development route. He is not Rule 5 eligible until after next year, just in case you were worried.
- Starting pitching prospect Ben Brown was also showing off some nasty stuff yesterday at Double-A Tennessee, striking out seven over 5.0 innings:
- Utility prospect Andy Weber joined Alexander Canario in homering twice yesterday for the Smokies, and he remains perpetually right at the edge of “yes, that’s a possible future big leaguer if he stays healthy, if he can still play shortstop, and if he just hits a little more”:
- Also homering twice yesterday was catcher Casey Opitz, whom you might remember as the consensus very good catching prospect – like, just the catching part – that the Cubs took in the 8th round last year out of Arkansas. The thinking was that this guy could be a big league quality catcher, but that he would never hit at a level remotely close enough to be playable. That may yet be the case, but if the glove is legit, then he really only needs to be “pretty awful” at the plate in order to be a big-league-caliber backup. With his homers yesterday, the 24-year-old is now hitting slightly above league-average at High-A. It’s a start!
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