CURRENT RECORD: 19-9, Tied for first place.
When I see the amount of talent that is currently on the Myrtle Beach roster, I get a little giddy. And then I have to tell myself to calm down and to not rush their development. One great months is one great month. That’s all it is. It is not a precursor of great things to come nor is it a prerequisite to get to the next level. However, it is the first step in getting to the next level.
How I look at the Myrtle Beach affiliate has changed quite a bit in the last year. They are no longer the Cubs High-A affiliate, they are Low-A and they are doing two jobs at once. They’ve also taken on a task of being the team that has to do the job of a short season affiliate and a full season affiliate at the same time.
Here are 10 other things about Myrtle Beach this year in no particular order.
1. With no short season affiliate, there’s a step missing in the development plan and the necessary ones. Don’t be surprised to see several prospects spend two years at this level. I think that’s going to become more the norm. I would not be surprised to see Reggie Preciado come back next year as a 20 year old. This year, Richard Gallardo, Ethan Hearn, and Yeison Santana are off to much better starts in their second year at Myrtle Beach. So, if you see a prospect not doing so well this year, it’s not over for them, they are not washed up, and you should feel bad about yourself because they’re only 19 or 20 years old. That is extremely young to be up in Low-A baseball. This tweet by one of my favorites on Twitter sums up that notion.
2. Myrtle Beach has five guys who are 23 or 24-years-old who should be pitching in South Bend. Most of them are of the relief variety and their placement in Myrtle Beach tells you the depth of the Cubs have when it comes to relief pitchers now. Who would be the replacements If they get moved up? That’s a story for another day.
3. Pete Crow Armstrong is ready for South Bend. I don’t think I need to explain why.
4. I named BJ Murray as one of my breakout hitters back in the spring. I thought that he would just do really well in the Carolina League considering his college experience and his somewhat mature body type. He’s made me look good as he was hitting .308 heading into this week.
5. Kevin Alcantara currently has my favorite swing in the system. It is a work of art when he can extend his arms and just drive the baseball. It doesn’t have to be over the fence, but he has some serious power in that 6-foot-6 frame.
6. James Triantos is an up-and-down machine this year. Right now, he’s on a little bit of an upswing. He started out the year a little rough, got hot for a week, cooled off for another week, and has now started to tick back up. That’s going to happen with a 19-year-old kid in Low-A. Just get used to it and you’ll be fine. If he smooth things out and becomes “Mr. Consistent,” he’s not going to be in Myrtle Beach anymore.
7. Luke Little might have the nastiest stuff in the system. They day he learns to control and command it, we will see a no-hitter, several in fact.
8. Outside of Gallardo, I think most of the starting pitchers are going to be here all year. Right now, the offense has been so good that a lot of people haven’t noticed the starting pitching has struggled a little bit and has been helped out by a shut down bullpen. Porter Hodge did win Pitcher of the Month for April but his first start in May was a bit rough. We’ll see how he responds and he’s just going to have to learn to adjust from start to start, game to game, and hitter to hitter. Just because something worked in the first inning doesn’t mean it’s going to work in the third or the fourth.
9. Cristian Hernandez is not coming anytime soon. If he was tearing it up daily in EXST, he would bound and down Myrtle Beach quickly.
10. Buddy Bailey is still the man! I always love it during the game when Buddy takes out a memo pad and writes something down. One of my favorite things is seeing him scribble something down so that he can either put it in his game report that goes to Jared Banner or that he can have a later discussion with the player. He leaves no stone unturned and everything is a learning moment from the beginning of practice all the way to the end of the game. What he’s going to do with this crew the next month or two will be a lot of fun to watch.