Game: 6/24 South Bend Cubs and Peoria Chiefs
Final: South Bend Cubs 13, Peoria Chiefs 4
Summary: Kohl Franklin had one of his stronger starts for the South Bend Cubs going 3 innings and giving up 1 earned run, 4 hits, and two walks, while striking out 3. Yovanny Cruz went an inning in relief putting up zeros across the board and striking out 2 batters. And Joe Nahas threw the final 5 innings, giving up 1 earned run, walking 4 batters, and striking out 6. Between Kohl Franklin and Yovanny Cruz, this is the first game the Cubs have thrown two arms in the game that have both thrown 100+ MPH this season.
Offensively, the South Bend Cubs had 16 hits. Caleb Knight led the team with 4 hits and was part of the 6 South Bend Cubs who all had a multi-hit game. Jake Washer and Yohendrick Pinango both homered, and Owen Cassie doubled twice.
Player of the Game: Caleb Knight
Caleb Knight has put together a solid season offensively for the South Bend Cubs. This year he has slashed .253 / .404 / .345. While, the power numbers aren’t particularly impressive, Knight has shown a great eye at the plate and has found ways to get on base. For this week’s game of the week game, Knight went 4-5 with two doubles, making it the first time this year Knight has had multiple extra base hits in a game. Knight is 26 years old and has played in South Bend all year long, and defensively he can be a liability behind the plate. But if he continues to get on base he could get some quick promotions if a catching spot opens up in AA or AAA.
Who You Might Have Missed: Yovanny Cruz
There might not be a better bullpen arm in the system than Yovanny Cruz. The sky really is the limit for the young arm who is coming back after Tommy John Surgery. According to Arizona Phil, Cruz was pumping triple digits consistently in the ACL before his call up to throw for South Bend. We got to see the power arm in action during this week’s game of the week, and Cruz–who hasn’t thrown above Eugene prior to this year–already looks like he has overmatching stuff to the high-A competition. The way his wipeout slider develops is going to be key for how Yovanny Cruz progresses through the system. He is already 22 years old, so we probably won’t see Cruz get a chance in a rotation. But he could be one of the best relief pitching prospects in the next year or two.
What to Keep an Eye On: Kohl Franklin
Kohl Franklin has been struggling all year long with command, but during this week’s game of the week, Franklin was able to give the South Bend Cubs a solid outing. Kohl Franklin has continued to be a mystery. His stuff hasn’t looked all that bad. We’ve seen the plus changeup, a good spiked curveball, and his fastball thrown as high as 100 MPH this year, but the results still haven’t been there. He has a WHIP over 2.00, he has walked and hit a combined 21 batters in 27 innings, and opponents are batting .316 against him. However, we’ve seen a much better Kohl Franklin in his previous two outings, including this week’s game of the week, where he has given the South Bend Cubs 3 innings of 1 run ball. Part of his success has come from his ability to generate more ground balls, something he even struggled with in 2019. Hopefully, his new found success, combined with his better command, will help the young right hander finish the season on a positive note. One concerning thing though, is his pitch count is climbing, and I’m not sure how many more innings the Cubs will want him to throw the rest of the season coming back from injury.
Feature Photo of Kohl Franklin by Todd Johnson (@CubsCentral08)