It’s been a rough season when it comes to wins and losses in both rookie leagues. The two DSL are at the bottom of the league and only the Baltimore DSL team has a worse record than either of the Cubs’ squads. In the ACL, Mesa is not doing well in this category either. Fortunately for Mesa, they are putting up a lot of runs. Their pitchers also happen to given up even more runs, second most in the league to be exact. I will spare you the records of all three teams.
Luckily, winning is nice, but development is the key objective at these levels. Alexis Hernandez for example, had a very rough first month. This month, he’s hitting .273 which is much more acceptable. I hope he continues to improve! Last month’s Player of the Month Carlos Ramos started July 0-for-20. So, you never know what will happen.
When I started contemplating what to write for this week’s rookie league round up, I had to think back about what I wrote the past two times. Two weeks ago, I looked at statistics and then last week was the All-Star team for the month of June.
I thought this week I would have 10 surprises I am having about players in both leagues. Some of them are going to be good surprises based on performance in production. Others are going to be surprises about players that haven’t met lived up to the hype or expectations
Let’s get to it
These 10 surprises are in no particular order
1. I’m stunned at how consistently good Adan Sanchez is in the DSL. It’s like he shows up every day, goes 1-for-3, and then usually is taken out in the sixth or the seventh inning because it is awfully hot for catchers down there. But that consistency is the stuff legends are made of. And he’s only 17.
2. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t been watching Oferman Hernandez work hard to improve all winter long. He came out of the gate hot in June and has been cooling off a little bit, but he is still hitting at a pretty good clip.
3. While I was initially surprised to see Koen Moreno as part of the Mesa roster, I was not surprised he had a first couple of rough outings. I was pleasantly surprised this week to see him bounce back in his third start as he went three innings and allowed just one run while striking out three. Good for him!
4. I’m really surprised that home runs are coming in bunches already from Moises Ballesteros. I’m not surprised that he has power, I’m just surprised that he’s able to tap into that already at such a low level in the system.
5. We heard about before the rookie league season was how big of an arm Michael Arias had according to Arizona Phil of The Cub Reporter. He still does but his pitchability needs improvement. I thought he would be much better based on Phil‘s recommendation. Right now, he’s got an ERA close to five and he is striking out close to one an inning.
6. I am really pleased with what I’m seeing in the box scores from Kenyi Perez who did not allowed a run in June in the ACL. I am wondering if he’s going to get a callup to Myrtle Beach next month after the trade deadline?
7. The ACL Cubs have already had two promotions from the Dominican Summer League to Arizona this year. That never happens this early. Normally, if it does happen, it’s usually at the end of the year and pretty close to fall instructs so that the player can start to get acclimated to American culture.
8. Coming into this season, all accounts projected that Dominic Hambley would be a starting pitcher with his build. That’s not been the case. The Cubs have used him in a relief role as a long man and it hasn’t really clicked yet for him. Right now, I’m not getting a lot of info as to why that’s not working out. It could be that he’s just used to preparing for a game as a starter both physically and mentally. It’s an adjustment to move to the pen, no doubt. Fingers are still crossed for him. He has a rep as being a hard worker and very coachable.
9. I am not surprised that pitching has been an issue in both rookie leagues. It usually is not good in Arizona which is not really a good place to develop pitchers because the ball flies a little further in that kind of climate. I would not be surprised to see several young pitchers repeat rookie league next year or at least spend all spring in extended spring training rather than go directly to Myrtle Beach.
10. Wilson Cunningham got in a game, pitched one inning, and struck out two guys. Most of you remember that name from last year’s draft as the Cubs were able to sign him by agreeing to pay for most of his college expenses while allowing him to attend said college and throw just during the summer. I am not surprised he was in Mesa, but I am extremely pleased he did so well in his debut.