Game: 5/19 Iowa Cubs and Columbus Clippers
Final: Cubs 8, Clippers 2
Summary: Caleb Killian had another dominant outing for the I-Cubs striking out 8 batters, walking 1 batter, and giving up 2 runs (0 earned), in 5.2 innings of action. Eric Stout followed Killian with 2.1 innings of work, 0 earned runs, 6 strikeouts, and 1 walk. Hudson closed the game, throwing an inning, striking out 2, while not allowing a walk, a run, or a hit. At the plate, Dixon Machado, PJ Higgins, and Zach Davis all had two hits and John Hicks, Robel Garcia, and Nelson Velazquez all homered for the I-Cubs. Robel Garcia now leads the entire Cubs system with 11 home runs.
Player of the Game: Caleb Killian
I don’t know if the Cubs have had a pitcher as dominant as Caleb Killian in the system in the past decade or two. Killian has been everything you could ask for as a piece of a Kris Bryant trade. So far this year Killian has put up video game numbers with an ERA of 1.31 in 34.1 IP with 40 SO and 13 BB. He has as many walks as he did all of last year in over 100 innings, but Killian has still shown his plus command of all his pitches that has led to lots of swings and misses. What’s even more impressive is that his GO/AO is at 2.59 so fat this season. Killian’s sinker has been a real weapon and it’s helped him also limit the home run ball, something that will make him really successful when he pitches at Wrigley. Killian is already on the Cubs 40-man roster. It’s only a matter of time before he is throwing at Wrigley in the next month or so.
Who You Might Have Missed: Bryan Hudson
Bryan Hudson has been dominant in AAA since he was promoted on May 11th. In three appearances for the I-Cubs, Hudson hasn’t given up an earned run while walking 2 batters and giving up a hit in 4.2 innings. And in those 4.2 innings he has struck out 6 batters. Hudson has continued to baffle hitters with his unusual arm action from the left side with his heavy sinker slider combination. Like Killian, Hudson has a high ground ball percentage of 71%. We’ve seen the Cubs willingness to find a spot on the 40-man for relievers, and once they clear up some space on the roster after the trade deadline, we could see Hudson throwing out of the bullpen for the Cubs.
What to Keep an Eye On: a Nelson Velazquez promotion
Velazquez hit his first home run during this week’s game of the week. The question now is when will Nelson Velazquez hit his first major league home run, and I would bet it’s happening this year. Velazquez has continued to destroy pitching for the second year in a row. This year he has an OPS close to 1.000. Like with the rest of the players mentioned during this week’s game of the week, Velazquez is ready for a promotion to the MLB squad soon. He was added to the 40-man roster last year, so there doesn’t need to be any sort of roster maneuvering. At this time, the Cubs have Suzuki, Morel, Happ, and Jason Heyward who can all play the outfield. You can probably guess whose outfield spot Velazquez would take.
Feature photo of Caleb Killian by Dylan Heuer (@dylan_heuer)