Matt Mervis – Picture by Micah Manuel

Yesterday, I looked at some pitching stats from the Cubs system in the first half which is set to end in about a week and a half for Myrtle Beach and South Bend and two weeks from today for Tennessee. We’re starting to get a good look at just exactly how well some players are doing over time. With most minor leaguers, you tend to look at smaller sample sizes to see how adjustments are being made whether that’s a week at a time or my favorite, a month at a time. However, half a season is also an excellent time frame.

Most of the pitching stats yesterday had some surprise leaders. The same is true for most of the hitting stats. No one could’ve predicted how well Matt Mervis and BJ Murray have done this spring and even Pete Crow Armstrong has been a pleasant surprise in that he’s doing much better than expected. Let’s take a look at some of the leaders in several categories.


1. Matt Mervis 177
2. BJ Murray168
3. Levi Jordan 161
4. Pete Crow Armstrong 157
5. Nelson Velazquez 141
6. Chase Strumpf 141
7. Juan Mora/Kevin Alcantara 130 

It is extremely exciting that Matt Mervis has just dominated two levels so far. The question will be if he is going to get a chance to do it at a third level this summer. AA does not seem to be that big of a challenge for him. At number six, strength has really taken off here the last month and he’s walking at a much higher rate than normal and striking out much less. On the season, strengths a percentage is 34% but over the last month it’s under 20 which is much more acceptable. But this stat always gives us a good idea of who’s producing runs whether it’s driving them in or storing them Maura is probably the biggest surprise after Mervis Anne Murray on the list. Some would say Jordan, but Levi is always done well when he’s healthy.

Walk Percentage

1. Chase Strumpf 17.5
2. BJ Murray 16.6
3. Jacob Wetzel 15.1
4. Yonathan Perlaza 14.9
5. Ethan Hearn 14.6
6. Dixon Machado 13.8
7. Bryce Ball 13.6

A low walk percentage is important because it shows just exactly who is seeing the ball really well. In addition, the stat can tell you who is much more patient at the plate. It’s rare for a guy to have a high walk rate and a high strikeout rate but it does happen from time to time. It is happening now with Chase Strumpf as the exception. The two names to talk about are Jacob his Wetzel and Ethan Hearn. I really like Wetzel’s approach at the plate but as for him hitting for average has just not happened for him yet. Can a high walk rate portend future success at the plate? It could. The same is true for Ethan Hearn’s. Bryce Ball showed he had a great eye at the plate previously and now he is taken off by being more aggressive early in the count. But for Hearn and Wetzel, you have to wonder when it’s going to start kicking in. And when it does, I’ll be able to say I told you so.

Stolen Bases

Those no need for a big list here as only two guys are in double digits. Pete Crow-Armstrong has 13 and Nelson Velazquez has 11. That’s it. Last year’s throw over rules are not in effect this year so SBs are way down.

RBI (before Saturday night)

1. Matt Mervis 49
2. Alexander Canario 43
3. Bryce Ball 41
4. Kevin Alcantara 36
5. PCA 31

The fact that Matt Mervis is on pace to drive in 100 runs this year is beyond phenomenal. And consider that Alexander Canario basically struggled for the first three weeks at Tennessee, and he still has 43 RBIs, you have to wonder just how proficient and productive these guys are going to be in the second half. The same is true for Kevin Alcantara who’s batting average finally just hit .270 the past week. And, and you have to wonder how Pete Crow Armstrong will do at South Bend now that he’s sitting in the three spot instead of lead off. Think about that, most of PCA’s RBI came from the top of the lineup. That tells you how deep Myrtle Beach‘s lineup was if he was driving them in.

Home Runs (before Saturday Night)

1. Nelson Velazquez 15
1. Matt Mervis 15
3. Alexander Canario 13
4. Chase Strumpf 11
5. Jared Young, Yohendrick Pinango, and PCA – 9 

I don’t think there’s any shockers here outside of Mervis doing so well but he hit double digits last year. Yohenrick Pinango sacrificed a little bit of average for more power but he’s getting there. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a professional hitter.

Lowest Strikeout Percentage (130 plate appearances)

1. Levi Jordan 11.1
2. Darius Hill 11.9
3. Dixon Machado 12.4
4. Ezequiel Pagan 15
5. Juan Mora 18
6. James Triantos 18.1
7. Nelson Maldonado 19.1

There are not a lot of surprises with this group. It contains guys who consistently make contact. Pagan is the one who has really turned it on here the past month. After getting plenty of playing time because of an interim injury to Jacob Wetzel, and then PCA’s promotion, Pagán has just taken off. He’s hitting home runs, doubles, he is all over the place when it comes to highlights at Myrtle Beach. 
When the first half ends, there’s not going to be an All-Star team at North Side Bound. Iit is a little too close to the end of the month. There might be some players of the first half type of thing in The Breakdown on the 27th, but that’s about it. Still, I’m sure they’re going to be several surprises in the second half as well as the Dominican Summer League and Arizona Complex league are both in full effect and who knows just exactly what’s going to happen there over the course of the next two months. Throw in trades at the major league level and it could get a little crazy. I kind of like it like that.