Nico the Spark, Morel's Power, High-Velocity Cubs, Caissie, PCA, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Nico the Spark, Morel’s Power, High-Velocity Cubs, Caissie, PCA, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I hope you have a great weekend. I hope there is something fun or exciting or delicious in store for you. Enjoy it.

  • I wouldn’t go so far as to say Nico Hoerner’s return was the sole reason for the Cubs’ offensive breakout last night, but there is something to Nico, we go. He is such a thoughtful hitter right off the bat, making a pitcher work hard for his out. You’re rarely going to strike Hoerner out, and if you do get him to put a ball in play early in an at bat, it’s probably because he got a pitch he thought he could hit on a line somewhere. I also think there’s a confidence in the lineup that comes from feeling like, “OK, we’ve got our leadoff guy in place.” Most of what made the offense behind Dexter Fowler so good was the fact that, well, they were really good. But at least some of it was knowing that every time they could turn the lineup over, it was gonna start right back up with Dex.
  • “Oh man, Nico,” David Ross said after the game, per “He got that knock there, the double, and it’s just like, ‘OK, there’s the guy that’s our spark.’”
  • “I think having Nico in the lineup is a game changer,” Marcus Stroman said, per the Sun-Times. “Truly. He’s a unbelievable player, he’s dynamic on both sides of the ball, and he sparks us when he’s in there.”
  • Speaking of sparks, Christopher Morel hit his sixth homer already in the big leagues this year last night, and it was his first where he barely seemed to get it:
  • If my count is right, that homer – Morel’s 17th of the year between Triple-A and MLB – ties him with Pete Alonso with the most in pro baseball so far this season. Pete’s count a little more, but it’s still fun to think about.
  • Speaking of just having fun, Christopher Morel is now the best hitter in MLB (min 40 PAs) by quite a bit:
  • Hello, Nick Burdi:
  • Burdi’s command wasn’t there last night for all of his pitches, but when you can throw 99-101 mph with life and keep it at least in the upper half of the zone? You’re going to have some success. Get that slider working with it, and Burdi is suddenly the back-end reliever folks hoped he’d be in his younger days with the Pirates, before health issues set him off course for years, and made him available to the Cubs in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. Dude was averaging 2600 RPM on his fastball last night, and over 2800 on the slider. Love it.
  • The Cubs will have to drop down a reliever when they need a 5th starter, and you might presume Burdi would be the guy on a last-one-in, first-one-out basis – but even if that’s the case, the fact that the Cubs are going to want to keep him on the 40-man at this point is huge. How could you risk losing this guy?
  • Speaking of the velo, Julian Merryweather reached 99 mph last night, meaning the Cubs had two different pitchers go 99+ in a single game. It *HAS* to have been a very long time since that happened.
  • No more key Cubs prospects getting injured running to first base PLEASE:
  • Minor league injury info is always hard to come by, so it could be a while before we find out what’s wrong – if anything – with Caissie. Relatedly, Pete Crow-Armstrong hasn’t played in a few days and I’ve not heard what that’s about. Bummer of timing for an outstanding profile on Caissie and PCA:
  • Happy punchaversary:

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.