Kohl Franklin – Picture by Todd Johnson

It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty. There’s just 18 games left in class A and 24 at Double-A. With Myrtle Beach already in, my focus this week was watching South Bend and Tennessee play under pressure. The Smokies were playing Birmingham who began the week about six games back while South Bend was playing Beloit who they had a one game lead over to start the week.

The Smokies seemed to have a Jekyll and Hyde sort of week and South Bend and Beloit were nip and tuck pretty much every game. As of today, Tennessee is in second behind Rocket City and South Bend is up five games after winning five in a row at home.

A Peek to 2023

Before we get to the Who’s Hot List and the Players of the Week, I thought I’d break out my crystal ball and look at who might be in the starting rotations at each affiliate next spring. There are some interesting dilemmas that the Cubs have to think through this winter and next spring training.

Iowa – Wesneski, Kilian, Assad, Jordan Wicks, and possibly Ryan Jensen, Walker Powell, and/or Chris Clarke. 
Tennessee – Riley Thompson, DJ Herz, Ben Brown, Daniel Palencia, and Kohl Franklin
South Bend – Cade Horton, Luis Devers, Porter Hodge, Luke Little, Tyler Schlaffer, and maybe Richard Gallardo. Tyler Santana needs to fit in there somewhere along with Brandon Birdsell.
Myrtle Beach – Drew Gray, Connor Noland, Jackson Ferris, Will Frisch, Sam Thoresen, Koen Moreno, Grant Kipp, Carlos Garcia, and Brody McCullough.

This list does include Jack Patterson, Manny Espinoza, Chris Kachmar, Derek Casey, Brailyn Marquez or any of a number of other injured starters as well as couple of starters from Mesa like Kenyi Perez, Kevin Valdez, . It’s going to be a hot mess and quite the competition to get a rotation spot. Some big named pitchers could find themselves in the bullpen to start the year.

Who’s Hot in Pitching in August

Iowa – Jeremiah Estrada, Brendon Little, Nicholas Padilla all have a 0.00 ERA. Ben Leeper is at 1.50 and Javier Assad rolls in at 1.56 this month. Wow! Dakota Mekkes continues to shove this half with a 1.93 ERA in August.
Tennessee – Zac Leigh was doing well at South Bend before he became a Smokie. Walker Powell has a 0.68 ERA while Ryan Jensen is at 1.35. 
South Bend – Yovanny Cruz leads a parade of pitchers at 0.00 this month including Gabriel Jaramillo and Luke Little. Luis Devers is at 1.20 while Richard Gallardo is down to 1.56. Porter Hodge comes in at 2.45 to round it out.
Myrtle Beach – Gregori Montano and Chase Watkins look good this month along with Tyler Santana and a surprising Didier Vargas.

Hitter of the Week

PCA hit .409 with a .486 OBP and a rather large OPS at 1.136

Starting Pitcher of the Week

Kohl Franklin was a beast the other night going five scoreless innings and striking out 9 Sky Carp along the way.

Reliever of the Week

Peyton Remy threw 5.1 innings in relief this week and struck out 9. He gutted it out and kept the Smokies in the games. 

Team of the Week

South Bend lost the opening game in the series to Beloit and then rattled off five one-run wins to take a five game lead in the division with 18 left to go.  Magic Number….14