Feature photo of Richard Gallardo by Stephanie Lynn
On a day that saw two of the top pitching prospects in the system take the bump in Ryan Jensen and Kohl Franklin, it was actually a battle between the other two starters for who would take home today’s Pitcher of the Day award. Matt Swarmer was going to be the move here, and a guy that is well-deserving thanks to his season line. But after a rough 5th inning of work from Swarmer, the award goes to Myrtle Beach’s Richard Gallardo. The former top IFA signing has actually put together a really solid season thus far and continued that trend with a 5.0 inning performance of five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. He gave up a run but it was unearned.
But the story on the farm Thursday was once again the explosive Tennessee Smokies offense. They put up another ten runs at the plate, thanks in large part to Bryce Ball. He is today’s Hitter of the Day after a 2-5 game with a double, a homer pulled down the right field line in a hurry, three runs batted in, and two runs scored. Ball has shown plenty of promise this season, limiting his strikeout numbers and doing a good job of keeping the ball off the ground early in the season. Over the last week or so, the grounders have returned so this bomb might be a sign of things to come.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Reliever of the Day goes to a piggybacker. If there’s a way to bet on DraftDuel or FanKings for Cubs minor league piggybackers performing admirably, you should put down a pretty penny on that one. Thursday night it was an extended five inning, 72-pitch outing from Joe Nahas in relief of Franklin in South Bend. He did give up one earned run on a homer and saw another unearned run cross the plate on a play that featured two errors by both corner infielders. But besides that, it was just one other hit, one walk, and five punchies for the former undrafted free agent signing.
The AA team hitting lineup even with only one Nelson seems pretty deep 9 hitters for an opposing pitcher to deal with. Lots of guys I expect to hit the occasional HR and string together some quality at bats.
Hill, Ball, Strumpf, Nelly, Weber. It’s an exciting lineup!
Part of me enjoys that Gallardo has to earn every ounce of credit from this fanbase, prefer that to undeserved hype, but do find it so ‘Merica that he has to do more than Franklin to get less fanfare within the base (at this stage). Keep on chugging!
The start itself was excellent again. Hitters got the ball in the air occasionally this start, not so often for Gallardo, but few were pulled and maybe one was hit hard. They couldn’t see the curve even with an early hump, untouchable as the pitch lost said hump deeper into the inning. Gave the folks a show with those last two Ks to close the outing…93-96 with command, mostly 94-95, pounds the strike zone. (70% this season), lots of GBs (60% this year after 53-56% last), still secretly the best young SP prospect currently in the org
Is it just me or is this fanbase being conditioned to not value actually throwing starts and innings? It doesn’t seem to be a pre-req for getting SP hype
Part of me enjoys that Gallardo will have to earn every ounce of hype with the fanbase, beats the more exhausting overhype. Still, it feels so ‘Merica that this guy has to do more than Franklin to get less hype (at this stage). In general it feels like actually making starts and throwing innings is not something Cubs fans want out of what we deem as SP prospects
Gallardo was the top ranked pitching prospect in his IFA class