Cubs Prospects Notes: Arias, Jensen, Franklin, Hodge, Carraway, PCA, Aliendo, More

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Cubs Prospects Notes: Arias, Jensen, Franklin, Hodge, Carraway, PCA, Aliendo, More

Chicago Cubs

The full slate of minor league teams should FINALLY be back in action today. Stupid early-season weather …

  • The Myrtle Beach Pelicans will get start number two from Cade Horton this evening, but it was the guy starting last night who was very impressive. Righty Michael Arias threw four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits, one walk, and striking out eight. The clips I saw looked nasty, and most importantly, he was in the strike zone. The chatter on Arias, 21, going back to last year in the ACL was that the stuff was top-of-system caliber, but he was still working on controlling it.
  • The Pelicans won that game on a walk-off single by Rafael Morel, younger brother of Christopher Morel:
  • Speaking of Christopher and the rest of the Iowa Cubs, here’s hoping they can actually play a game tonight. Thanks to the weather, they haven’t played since last Thursday. Not great to have a forced week off in the middle of the season, especially when that crew was so hot.
  • Ryan Jensen was solid last night after not getting out of the first inning in his previous start:
  • Kohl Franklin’s hammer is a thing of beauty:
  • Now here’s a name you may not have thought about for a while:
  • Carraway was the Cubs’ second round pick in 2020, the rare pure relief prospect taken that high in the draft. The Cubs did so because they had rated Carraway as having the second best fastball in the entire draft, and *the* best breaking ball in the entire draft. His college experience was very limited, and there were known concerns about the control and the mechanics. But the Cubs wanted the pitch quality, and decided to take a big chance by grabbing him early. Unfortunately, it’s been a mess for Carraway since then, as he’s dealt with extreme wildness issues (the kind so extreme that it makes you wonder about the yips), and then saw his 2022 season end in May with an injury.
  • The 23-year-old lefty has been rehabbing in Arizona and it’ll be interesting to see how the control looks when he finally gets back out on an assignment. The hope would be not only that he’s now healthy (and that has a positive impact on results), but also that having some time away from the field provided an opportunity to reset and start fresh. You can still dream on the pitch quality, but the ability to throw strikes still needs to hit some threshold level. Doing it in extended spring training games is one thing, but doing it in a full season assignment when you have the pressure to get back to your development is another. My fingers are crossed.
  • Pete Crow-Armstrong simply does it all (including getting ejected from a previous game for arguing about a teammate’s checked bunt from the bench in a game he wasn’t playing – dude is PASSIONATE):
  • PCA is currently hitting .343/.395/.571/156 wRC+ in his first 9 games at Double-A, with a 5.3% BB, 21.1% K, .228 ISO, and he’s also stolen six bases. He’s going to be a top 10 prospect in baseball for the midseason updates. Just FYI.
  • Porter Hodge should be making his third start at Double-A Tennessee this week, and you just want to see progress from the righty. Only just having turned 22, and with only 40.1 innings at High-A, this was an aggressive opening assignment for Hodge (reportedly earned by way of how good he looked this spring). He got some love from BA as a potential breakout candidate:

Porter Hodge, RHP, Cubs: After a physical transformation heading into 2022, Hodge arguably broke out a year ago. That said, outside of Cubs minor league aficionados Hodge is largely an unknown name. Armed with a four-pitch mix, Hodge is the quintessential supination-profile pitcher. He employs a lower efficiency, high-spin fastball with heavy cut that sits in the low-to-mid 90s. While his fastball generated great results in 2022, his slider is his standout pitch. A low-to-mid-80s sweeper with ride and spin rates in the 2,600-2,700 rpm range, the pitch generated whiffs at a rate greater than 45% last season. Hodge has an opportunity to take a step forward this season to become a top 10 prospect in the system and possibly a top 100 prospect.

  • Say hello to a new top 30 prospect for the Cubs at MLB Pipeline, and it’s a very deserving one:
  • We don’t hear a ton about Pablo Aliendo because he’s the “other” catcher at Double-A Tennessee (paired with Miguel Amaya, who is RAKING, by the way). But Aliendo, who was a big bonus IFA prospect in 2018, is seen as a very good defensive catcher and was an above-average bat at High-A at just 20/21. So being a catching prospect at Double-A at age 21/22 is already impressive in its own right, and Aliendo is pairing it with a (very early!) slash line of .455/.600/.818/265 wRC+. Gonna need a whole lot more than 15 plate appearances before we say much about his offensive development, but it’s probably worth pointing out that he was really darn good after the cold April in South Bend last year: .287/.347/.423/116 wRC+.
  • Kevin Alcántara with a fun slide and extreme happiness about it:

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.