Kohl Franklin – Picture by Todd Johnson

Welcome to the All-Star break which also includes a break for minor league players. There will be no games through Wednesday for the rookie leagues and through Thursday for the full season affiliates. As well, there will be no Tuesday Transactions. They look to be going to Friday.

Luckily, there’s a draft.

I will be live blogging all afternoon today and tomorrow. I’ll actually start around 1 PM central. The Cubs will have eight selections today and 10 tomorrow. Then, nondrafted free agency begins and the bonuses revert back to the pre-pandemic $125,000 limit instead of $20,000 of the last two summers.

For me, the news of the week basically happened quickly and it was all about South Bend. I traveled down to Peoria on Tuesday and Thursday to see them play and I got to see both Jordan Wicks and DJ Herz pitch in their final games as South Bend Cubs before they were promoted on Friday to Tennessee. The Tennessee team, I guess you could say, is now pretty much stacked. They have several of the Cubs top hitting prospects and now they have three of their top pitching prospects in Jensen, Herz, and Wicks

Meanwhile, Luis Devers stepped in and took over Jordan Wicks’ spot in the rotation at South Bend and did just fine yesterday. My best guess is that Joe Nahas comes off the development list and slides right into DJ’s old spot in the rotation. The question is going to be how serious Daniel Palencia’s injury is. If he is down for an extended time, South Bend will need a replacement. Trying to pick one guy to come up from Myrtle Beach would be interesting. More than likely, that could be Tyler Santana. Who comes up from Mesa to replace Santana might be the bigger mystery.

One of the highlights of the week, even though he’s not going to be pitcher of the week, was Kohl Franklin‘s five inning affair on Wednesday night. The lanky 22-year-old threw his best start of the year and wound up getting a win. He struck out six batters and made it through five innings on 69 pitches. As well, he also got some publicity in the form of a news report via a local TV station and also Brendan King talked to him about how well he is doing now that he’s being allowed to pitch more.

Affiliate round up is going to take a little bit different look this week. I’m going to tell you the records and where they’re at in the playoff hunt and then I will take a look at some starting pitching by the numbers to find which starters are having a good month with an ERA of 3.00 or lower on each squad. To give you a hint, it is much better than July.

Iowa – 40-49; 3-3 on the week – 14 games back – 10.5 weeks left

Right now, Matt Dermody and Luke Farrell both have ERAs under 2.00 after two starts. Whether that will continue is uncertain. This rotation now looks more solidified than it did last month when it was piecemealed together. Now, Assad and Kilian are all aboard to strengthen the staff and their improved record shows that. Swarmer was DFA’d on Sunday and we will see if he makes it through waivers.

Tennessee 9-9; 4-2 on the week – 1 game back – 9 Weeks left

Jordan Wicks, the newest Smokie, did not allow a run this month in South Bend while DJ Herz was sitting there with an ERA just above 3 before coming from the north. Riley Thompson pitched well in 2 very short starts and had an ERA under 2, but he is now on the Development List again. Walker Powell has an ERA down at 2.08 after a studly performance Saturday.

South Bend 15-6; 4-2 on the week – 3 game lead – 8 weeks left

With Wicks and Herz gone, Kohl Franklin and Luis Devers still have ERAs under 3.00. In fact, they are both 1.00 and under for the month.

Myrtle Beach 12-9; 4-2 on the week – 1 game back – 8 weeks left 

4 starters have ERAs under 3.00. Tyler Santana (0.57), Luke Little (2.25), and Tyler Schlaffer (2.40) are all having excellent months and Porter Hodge is at 2.13. This rotation could dominate the July All-Star team on August 1!

The Hitter of the Week

The Starting Pitcher of the Week

13 Ks. 6 IP. 1 Run. Richard Gallardo – winner winner, chicken dinner.

The Reliever of the Week

Luis Rodriguez of Myrtle Beach this week…. 4.2 IP, 8 Ks. Wow!!!!

Team of the Week

Last week, the Smokies won the award last week on run differential because every affiliate was 3-3. I didn’t need a tiebreaker this week as South Bend just annihilated the Chiefs on the road in Peoria. They came to town with one of the best rotations in the league and then left town without Wicks, Herz, and who knows what the status of Palencia is. They have some time to get things right. Having Luis Devers helps!